Climate change is the long-term shift in average weather patterns across the world.
When faced with a serious and urgent threat like climate change, we can sometimes feel anxious about the future and hopeless about what we can do.
The effects of the climate crisis are worrying but fear can prevent us from taking action and negatively affect our mental health.
Here are a few things you can do to manage your stress about climate change.
Try to make more sustainable choices
If you want to do more to combat climate change, look at what you can control. Making more environmentally friendly choices every day is the easiest way to make a difference.
Some ways to do this could include:
- walking or cycling instead of taking a car or bus
- recycling plastic, paper and cans whenever you can
- composting food waste at home
- save energy at home by turning off light and appliances that you’re not using
Tell your family about your plans to do more for the environment, and ask them to join in too!
Don't deny your feelings
It can be painful and difficult to face the reality of the climate crisis.
Although you might want to give up or deny that the crisis exists, keep up your efforts. Avoiding these feelings makes it harder to take action and hiding negative emotions can make you feel worse.
The following tips can help you to move forward:
- instead of avoiding the climate crisis, acknowledge your feelings about it
- forgive yourself for anything you did in the past that was not environmentally friendly
- focus on what you can do now
- be kind to yourself – there’s only so much one person can do
Join in environmental efforts in your community
If there are any groups that organise activities to tackle the climate crisis near you, check them out.
Working towards a common goal – whether it’s protecting green space or keeping your community tidy – may also have more success than trying it on your own.
The opportunity to meet with like-minded people can help you make friends and build a support network too!
Do not go down the rabbit hole
When you care about climate change, it is natural to want to hear and read about it.
However, there is so much disinformation out there so it’s important to get your facts from a reputable source.
Pick one or two credible websites and stick with them. Avoid going on social media or looking things up every day as this will only add to your stress and make you feel more worried
Take time to appreciate nature
Make an effort to get outside or visit a natural, green space every day.
Not only is this good for your overall mental health, it can also remind you why your efforts to combat climate change are so important.
Talk about it
If you ever feel sad or overwhelmed about climate change, remember that you can always talk to a parent, carer, good friend or another trusted adult.
Whenever you need to talk, Childline is ready to listen. Call 1800 66 66 66, send a text to 50101 or chat online at Childline.ie, 24 hours a day, every day.
If you would like to learn about how to get your school involved with helping the planet visit https://www.fairtrade.ie/get-involved/fairtrade-schools/become-fairtrade-school/
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