Eco-anxiety, news anxiety and the importance of looking after your mental health

by Olly Halton

Photo by Eren Li on

The news is quite a scary rabble right now: war, famine, climate change, and the cost of living rising exponentially so that soon we may find people fighting to stay off the streets or making the difficult choice of eating or keeping warm.

I know plenty of people who fear the mounting cost of living due to inflation.  There is an illusion of minimal rises of a few pence when in reality the rises are quite significant. This current crisis is affecting basic necessities such as water, electricity, gas, housing, and food. Restrictions, shortages and hose pipe bans come into play and suddenly fields are full of dying crops where once there was an abundance of produce. Global warming has cast its ugly shadow over the world with greenhouse gases impacting climate change, and now we have no choice but to wait patiently for the next move on the chessboard. If major changes are not put in place what will happen next?

Situations around the world frighten many people, me included, at the inability of mankind of finding ways of getting along – there are wars and refugee displacement in at least three major countries, whilst others have their basic human rights threatened; human rights we often take for granted here in the UK.

It’s important to have knowledge of current affairs in order to appreciate that not everyone has the life we lead here in the West. Some are in faraway countries begging for the shelling or famine to end, whilst others could very well be our neighbours closer to home, wondering how they will be able to heat their house this Christmas or afford presents for under the Christmas tree.  

Whilst it’s important to educate ourselves on what is happening in the world it is also important to have a sense of balance. We have recently come through a Covid pandemic, forest fires in Australia, floods and now a war in Ukraine. This catalogue of disasters, both natural and manmade, can be anxiety inducing to the point where we may find ourselves constantly scrolling the news channels for information.  If you find you are spending too much time reading about negative news and as a result you are feeling anxious or panicky, please seek help from friends or perhaps consider counselling.

Self-care is important too. With the world the way that it is, it is important to look after yourself and your mental health. Whatever activity helps you to feel better, make the time to do it. A walk in nature has been proven to have beneficial effects on our mental health so try to get outside every day. Maybe a coffee and a catch up with a friend or loved one or reading an escapist novel. Perhaps a hot bath, listening to music or playing a game. Whatever you feel will help to take your mind off what can sometimes feel insurmountable. Also, doing your bit to save the planet and thinking of others will have a positive effect as well. Kindness and volunteering can also help to promote feel good chemicals in our brains making us feel happier. See below on how you can find out more.

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