What a fucking year this week has been. Vast swathes of Australia are up in flames, people have lost homes, livelihoods and their lives, a billion of our animals have perished and the folks in power seem capable of little more than forcing limp handshakes.
It can be an overwhelming and anxiety-inducing time for anyone who loves this beautiful country, not to mention anyone who cares about the fate of our planet. In order to take action and set the stage for positive change, we do need to be mindful of managing our anxiety, despair and helplessness during these tough times.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind in the midst of feeling overwhelmed by it all…
Help in what way you can
It should go without saying that the best thing you can do, for both yourself and for those affected by the tragedy, is to offer help and support. This will look different for everyone, whether it’s donating money or supplies, setting up a charity fundraiser, becoming a volunteer, supporting local businesses or doing your bit to spread awareness. Every little bit helps, so don’t let guilt get you down when you feel like you’re not doing enough. Look at what you’ve got in terms of money, time and resources and spare what you can spare. It’s empowering to contribute, however small.
At Indigo, we want to do out bit to contribute, that’s why we’ll be donating the January proceeds from our new online course, Get Your Shit Together, to bushfire relief. If you’re looking for more ways to help, the ABC has put together a great resource here.
Stay intelligently informed
There’s a lot of information flying around online and across traditional media about what’s going on regarding the bushfires. It’s important to stay informed, but it’s also important to be mindful of where this information is coming from. Certain publications are biased in terms of how they present information. Also, when people are angry, scared or feeling threatened, they’re more inclined to share sensationalised content that might not contain genuine and valid information. It can be challenging to know what’s the truth when so many people have aggressive and opposing opinions on the matter. Double check what sites and outlets you’re getting your info from and be wary of content that’s all hype and no substance.
Don’t ignore the good
Even in the midst of tragedy, there are examples of heroism, compassion, kindness and generosity that shouldn’t be overlooked. So many people are banding together to do their bit and help make a difference which shows that humanity can be bloody awesome when it comes down to it. Don’t forget to seek out the good news stories in the midst of all the fear-mongering, like this one about heartwarming animals rescued from the devastation.
Set time to switch off
Just as it’s essential to stay informed, it’s also wise to give yourself a little break from all the bad news (if you’re in the gifted position to do so). This does not mean that you don’t care. It just means that you value your mental health and understand that being exposed to apocalyptic, doomsday articles 24/7 is not altogether good for it. Give yourself the chance to switch off your phone and connect with friends, connect with your body, connect with your values. Once you log back on, rest assured, you’ll be feeling more grounded and resilient as a result.
Live aligned with eco-values
If you’re feeling helpless, it’s worth checking in with your values regarding the environment and ask if you are living in alignment with them. While you might not be high up in a political party and capable of enacting large-scale change, you can get proactive and make changes to your own life that reflect your intentions to love and consider the planet. Whether it be eating less meat & dairy, converting to green energy, taking public transport, being mindful of water and electricity usage, purchasing organic & environmentally friendly products, and many more. None of us are perfect, so don’t beat yourself up if you are not a shining mother earth goddess every minute of every day. But a concerted effort to live in alignment with our values in this area will help us take back some control.
Make some noise
If climate change is something you feel passionate about and desperately want to see policy change and action taken, then why not join organisations or protests where you can rally with likeminded people to have your message heard?
If you’re struggling with feelings of anxiety, despair or helplessness and would love to chat to someone about it, feel free to book in with one of our Indigo practitioners here. For free resources, you can call the below helplines to have a chat with a licensed counsellor.
- Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511
- Lifeline – 13 11 14