Are you worrying about our planet and what the future might bring? How does this issue link to self-care?

Are you worrying about our planet and what the future might bring? How does this issue link to self-care?

Last night was Earth Hour. The idea is that you switch off your lights from 8.30pm and 9.30pm as a sign that you are supporting taking care of our planet. The idea has been around for about 10 years and started in Australia.

We took part in Earth Hour switching off our lights plus as many other electrical appliances as we could. For Joe and I caring for our planet is the ultimate in self-care. After all if we don’t take care of our home our other self-care efforts will be for nothing.

I am increasingly speaking with people who worry about the future, and I worry too. Today I invite you to take a step back if you too are worrying.

Worry has a value in that it motivates us to take notice of dangers in our life and environment. It is the cognitive version of the flight and fight response and if unchecked it can develop into generalised anxiety. This can lead to an unhealthy form of paralysis and stress.

So what can you do to stay socially responsible without losing yourself in anxiety, worry and stress?

Draw up a list of actions you personally can take to make a difference and start taking action from this list. There are many small and easily taken changes you can make to how you live in the world. Start there.

Review the list and take more action. Every time you take action to make a difference, take some time to appreciate your contribution.

As a general approach to worry here is a process to begin taking back control:

  1. Acknowledge what you are worried about and write it down.
  2. Reality check what you are worrying about (and if necessary get a second opinion).
  3. List actions you can take to address the worry.
  4. Acknowledge that you are taking action and give yourself credit.
  5. Schedule time to review your progress and add additional actions if necessary.
  6. In between taking action and scheduled review time put the worry in a box and close the lid.

If you are experiencing extreme worry or anxiety I recommend you seek support from an appropriate professional. There is an old cliché that a worry shared is a worry halved and there is some truth to that.

To return to my original thought stream about Earth Hour. Taking an action and interest in the state of our planet is good for you on a values and spiritual level. This form of self-care needs to be balanced with allowing yourself to also take time out to breathe and enjoy the here and now.

I make a point of spending some time in nature every day. This re-charges me so that I can give some energy to taking social responsibility for my impact on our environment and the planet.