Today I received an email titled ‘How to cope with climate change anxiety‘, and it had the ‘There is no planet B‘ image.
It was sent by news.patientaccess.com – they are linked to my local NHS surgery. The article was written by Milly Evans and reviewed by Dr Sarah Jarvis MBE.
I’ve extracted a few highlights below, but here is the complete article which is well worth reading.
With seemingly nothing but bad news coming our way, how can we feel more positive and care for our mental health in the age of climate anxiety?
Hilda Burke, spokesperson for the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), psychotherapist, couples counsellor and author of The Phone Addiction Workbook, has noticed more people with climate anxiety coming into therapy.
Talk about it.
Talking through your fears and coming up with coping strategies to manage both the current fears and the hypothetical outcomes of climate disaster can help you to handle your anxiety in day-to-day life.
Some people find that their paralysing anxiety is relieved by action. In fact, Burke suggests that her patients manage their anxiety by getting involved in movements to prevent environmental problems.
Getting involved in protests, campaign groups or even just making small environmentally friendly changes to your own life can help you feel that you are doing your bit. Often it has the added benefit of surrounding you with communities of people who feel the same anger and frustration as you and channel it into productivity.
If 24-hour news and social media coverage is making you anxious every time you go on your phone or turn on the TV, switching off for a while or avoiding it completely can reduce key triggers. Even restricting the hours when you can look at climate change-related content could help you sleep better and put you in a better mood during the day, especially if you avoid it first thing in the morning or late at night.
Look after yourself
“Mindfulness is a useful strategy that when practised on a regular basis can lead to increased feelings of well-being and relaxation,” suggests Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK.
Maintain a healthy sleep routine, eat a balanced diet and engage in exercise to boost your overall happiness and make anxiety easier to cope with. Very few people will be able to deal with their mental health well when they aren’t taking care of their body’s needs.