Eco-Anxiety: How to deal with it?

Ever since I started living an Eco-friendly life in 2017, my anxiety kept on barging in my mind.

‘Am I doing enough?’ ‘The Amazon Rainforest is burning. I’m not doing enough!’ ‘I used a paper bag today instead of bringing my own bag!’

These are just some of the questions that bother me on a daily basis. Sometimes, I even can’t sleep thinking about that non Eco-friendly detergent that I used because I had no option in the city that I am living in or re purposing my old toothbrush to clean my sink but will eventually turn to micro plastics and kill the marine life.

If you are experiencing the same, don’t worry, you are not alone. You are indeed suffering from Eco-anxiety. Stephanie Watson of How Stuff Works defined Eco-anxiety as chronic fear of environmental doom – the concern that increasing human development and pollution that leads us into an inevitable scourge of floods, famines, heat waves, species extinctions, and ultimately, the demise of our planet.

Eco-anxiety is indeed real and it can truly stress you out (especially if you are just starting out living an eco-friendly life). In my experience, I felt that I have hit the rock bottom where I thought that my actions didn’t matter at all and won’t change anything.

While it is true that my small daily actions don’t create that much of an impact, it is still better to do something than to wait and do nothing. Here are the things that I did and still doing to overcome Eco-Anxiety:

  1. ACCEPTANCE

It was early January 2019 when I started to feel the early signs of Eco-anxiety. It was when I was living with people who were not living the same way as I did. While it brought me to disgust and fear in the beginning, it taught me that not everyone can do the same thing as I do for some valid reasons such as accessibility to bulk stores, or the financial incapacity to purchase a more sustainable alternative. This also opened my mind that progress is much better than perfection – that there will be times that I have to choose between two evil options and just choosing the lesser evil ones.

Acceptance does not mean that I’m giving in with going back to the pre-Low Impact Filipina life but rather doing as much effort as I can everyday. Practice acceptance in your daily struggles but never give in and turn back to life that hurts the planet.

2. Find a support group

Are your housemates not cooperative with your initiative of segregating your trash? Or do you have your daily dose of caffeine in a reusable tumbler but your officemates chose the disposable ones? This sounds really upsetting.

Whether online or offline, it is always good to meet like-minded people who feel the same for the planet as much as you do. In my case, when my schedule permits, I always try to meet my fellow environmental bloggers and local business owners to refresh my minds and give and take a tap on the back.

If your time doesn’t permit you to do so, you may join online groups such as the following:

3. Get a new perspective

I lived in Manila for two years trying out my career as a teacher. I also started living sustainably in this city but realized that that was not for me. Year 2018 when I moved to San Pablo city, a decision that I will never regret in my life. Walking around Manila everyday, I knew that I cannot do it alone and I will not be able to solve the trash problems. Having these thoughts everyday made me think that I am hopeless. Moving to San Pablo, Laguna gave me a much better perspective of my environmental vision. Several factors helped me to do so such as the plastic bag ban, and the annual environmental projects of the city and the school.

Note: You do not need to move out of your city to get a new perspective. You can get it from attending seminars, or doing environmental activities that you can adapt to your own city. You can also have it at home reading books of how wonderful our planet is. You can start anywhere.

4. Start going back to work!

This blog has been down for the past three months for variety of reasons for personal reasons. I became very fragile of what I see online and offline. After some months of break, I’m coming back grinding and writing of how we can help our fellow Filipinos, the Philippines, and the world, not only by raising awareness but also by asking them to urgently switch to a more sustainable life. While corporal responsibility can create a massive impact, here are the things that you can do to help reduce your footprint:

  • Eat less meat, go vegetarian or vegan.
  • Fly less.
  • Practice minimalism.
  • Send letter to businesses about their packaging.
  • Write to your local government officials.
  • Practice a less plastic life.
  • Lower your purchase.
  • Live a low impact life.

5. Follow Eco-influencers

There is nothing bad following celebrities who inspire us to be beautiful or feel beautiful everyday. But, following eco-influencers really helped to get a much better perspective in my daily grind of environmentalism. They gave me so much tips and tricks and virtual tap on the back during my low times. Here are my favorite Filipino influencers that I follow on Instagram:

If you have more eco-influencers that you follow, please leave a comment below. Also, if you found this article helpful, I would love it if you would give it a share!

Published by Angel Mata

Angel is a teacher based in Laguna, Philippines. She is advocating for reducing one's environmental impact through waste reduction, vegetarianism, and second hand purchase.

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