Eco-anxiety is a new phenomenon that has emerged as a result of the rise in consciousness and concerns about the climate crisis and other environmental issues. With this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 10th – 16th) themed around ‘nature and environment’, the UK’s first 100% plastic-free firewood retailer, Love Logs, has teamed up with a mental health expert from Living Well Consortium to offer five top tips to help manage eco-anxiety.
In recent years, the global climate crisis has become increasingly prevalent within mainstream media channels. From activist Greta Thunberg to experts including David Attenborough leading the call for the change, there has been a confronting demand for everyone to accept accountability and to take responsibility for the future consequences that the planet may have to face.
To help advise on how to manage feelings of “eco-anxiety”, Heather Emery – co-founder of Love Logs – and Waqar Aza – Clinical Practitioner at Living Well UK – have compiled their top five tips.
Talk to someone
Broad topics like ‘eco-anxiety’ can be very overwhelming because they affect so many different factors. Waqar suggests acknowledging feelings of anxiety by talking to a professional, and also reminding ourselves that we can only be accountable and in control of our own individual responsibility.
“If you are experiencing “eco-anxiety” this can become overwhelming for many who feel that they are not doing enough and can lead to us becoming very self-critical. This can further lead to us self-punishing and self -sabotaging which can be very damaging. Talking therapies can be a helpful way to learn ways of coping and managing with such feelings including developing grounding techniques and self-compassion,” says Waqar.
Reconnect with nature
Several studies have linked spending more time in nature to improving your overall health and wellbeing. Some experts even recommend keeping a rock, dried flower, or another natural object that you can look at and touch when feeling overwhelmed, as a grounding technique. Waqar says:
“Fostering a personal connection with the great outdoors is a great way to reassure yourself that you are doing as much as you can right now and that if there is still more you will get there as part of your journey of self-development.”
Seeking accurate and credible information from verified sources is a great way to tackle any eco-anxieties as it may make it easier to breakdown key topics and current events, as well as being able to discuss what you’re feeling with friends and family. Waqar explains:
“Use trustworthy sources to remind yourself that we can only be accountable and in control of our own individual responsibility. Speak with others and share your concerns you’ll find that often everyone is feeling in similar way to you – not only will this help to reassure but could also lead to a group effort to ways of taking responsibility.”
From eating less meat to volunteering with environmental groups, there are several ways that you can make a change. Since its inception last summer, Love Logs has worked with Eden Reforestation Projects, to plant two trees for every order it receives. The Eden Reforestation Projects also goes a step further by also ensuring a “positive human impact”, employing local villagers in countries such as Nepal and Madagascar to plant millions of trees every year. Heather says:
“At Love Logs, we’re passionate that all businesses – regardless of size – can have a huge positive environmental impact, and we are so proud to practice what we preach with our plastic-free ethos and signature tree-planting. We’ve seen first-hand the rise in consumers making a conscious effort to shop more sustainably and it’s extremely encouraging to see.”
Support sustainable businesses
There are several sustainable swaps that we can make as consumers to help reduce worries around the planet’s future. Love Logs’ Heather explains how her business only works with British suppliers to make positive change within the firewood industry:
“We’re committed to offering our customers both sustainable and locally-sourced products and want people to feel confident that by buying from us, they’re not only supporting our small business but also helping to contribute positively to British suppliers and local economy. Plus, it’s beneficial to the environment as it enables us to grow our tree planting programme, with two trees planted for every order.”