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Self Care is Climate Care - Anxiety

Self Care is Climate Care - Anxiety

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Embodied wisdom which enables climate activists to create more sustainable and regenerative impacts with their climate action.

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Would a free monthly workshop benefit you and your activism?

We’re all inclined to get stuck in ways of living that don’t help us or our climate action. These are usually the result of personal and ancestral trauma that we hold in our bodies and communities.

Distracting and numbing ourselves with addictions, cycles of drama and spirals of shame and guilt are just some of the unskilled responses we can all use to cope with the challenges of the world.

These coping mechanisms and defences are a normal response to trauma but can end up wreaking havoc in our lives and often stunt the growth of our change-making practices.

What unhelpful behaviours are currently causing you problems and getting in the way of your activism?

Living in a biodiversity and climate crisis is traumatic. As we learn more about it it is normal to feel grief, anxiety, rage and fear. Some of the unskilled coping mechanism we might rely on when we feel these things include:

- Obsessively reading endless articles and posts that amplify climate dread.

- Excessive screen time (e.g. binge watching and excessive social media or porn use)

- Regularly getting caught up in friend, relationship and family dramas

- Poor time management of our work, activism, social life and studies.

- Binging eating unhealthy foods or struggling to eat at all

- Drinking and/or smoking too much

These are normal responses to a chaotic world, but they are not nourishing.

If relied on exclusively, these behaviours result in vicious cycles that negatively impact on our mental, social, physical and emotional health and wellbeing.

Vicious Cycles

If these unskilled behaviours are perpetuated, they result in feelings of anxiety, grief, loneliness, despair, shame, guilt, overwhelm, exhaustion, numbness. It can feel like our lives are spiralling out of control and active hope feels far out of reach.

Yet, we know it isn’t the only way.

Virtuous Cycles

Virtuous cycles of behaviour can support our lives and activism. They can let us feel happier, healthier, more hopeful, connected and resilient. Happier, healthier, people lead to more resilient communities who can adapt to our changing world more effectively.

Behaviours that can support us include:

- Understanding our emotions and how to process them (i.e. emotional literacy)

- Non-violent communication skills to identify our feelings and needs and then express requests with clarity

- Healthy relationship dynamics with solid trust and clear boundaries

- Encouraging and supportive environments with like-minded people

- Hobbies and self-care practices that we love and make us feel good

- Reflective practices like journaling and art therapy

- Meditation and mindfulness to support your mental health

- Skills for healthy conflict and conflict resolution

- Good sleep and adequate rest

- Eating healthy foods and drinking enough water

- Practices that cultivate inner peace and a balanced lifestyle

- Community Care

When we live in a way that amplifies these virtuous cycles we feel happier, more hopeful, excited and joyful. Healthy habits and behaviours allow us to sustain these positive impacts for longer periods of time so that they infuse all our works and creations with love, beauty, courage, compassion and inspiration.

When we feel happier we can:

- Create sustainable change for a regenerative present and just future

- Be part of positive change-making projects and stand up for life on earth

- Co-create peace and happiness in our communities, leading by example

- Feel happier, healthier and have fun in the process

We are blessed to live in a time when our mission is supported by the world - it’s an exciting time to be making a positive impact on planet earth!

Transformation

Implementing and sustaining these life-affirming practices can be a challenge. Community support, care and guidance are essential. Nobody can care for themselves or the earth in isolation.

So, how do we transform the vicious energy-depleting cycles into virtuous life affirming cycles together?

Our Self Care is Climate Care sessions are a communal space for activists to break free from drama cycles and embrace emotional freedom in an empowered community.

These spaces help to prevent activist burnout, expand self-awareness and support deep restorative healing of ourselves, our communities and the earth.

“Our fear of being exposed in a culture where everybody else is wearing a mask can be a major obstacle to our reaching out for help. This is why it is so crucial to have a trusted circle of people who can give you that sense of belonging and of community” - Sobonfu Somé author of ‘The Spirit of Intimacy - Ancient African teachings in the ways of relationships.’

What you can expect in this 2.5hr session:

- Trust building exercises

- Deep listening and empathy skills

- Understanding boundaries for better self-care

- Guided meditations and mindfulness techniques

- Art therapy

- Community care

- Ritual and ceremonial components which facilitate healing

- A like-minded community of change-makers working in universities across Ireland

- An opportunity to process deep intense emotions in a constructive way

- Peace building techniques as an inner resource

- An opportunity to expand your self-awareness and heal past traumas

We will meet from the comfort of your home via Microsoft teams to explore 3 key climate related emotions:

RAGE – Tuesday 8th March, 6-8.30pm

GRIEF – Thursday 21st April, 6-8.30pm

ANXIETY - Thursday 19th May, 6-8.30pm

There are 4 in-person community care sessions available on UCC campus:

February, Tuesday 8th, 1-2pm

March, Thursday 24th, 6-7pm

April, Tuesday 12th, 1-2pm

May, Tuesday 10th, 1-2pm

All sessions are kindly funded by UCC Green Campus and Green Campus Ireland. The workshops are open to everyone to attend (you can drop into individual sessions or attend them all!).The sessions are free but places are limited so please register in advance to secure your spot.

The UCC Green Campus Self Care is Climate Care workshops are facilitated by Melanie O’Driscoll of the Green Step.

Mel has a background in environmental education and zoology and is currently training as an interfaith minister and spiritual counsellor with the OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation. Her work is informed by her past experiences as a young activist struggling with climate anxiety. Her practise is informed by restorative practise and non-violent communication.

You can reach her by email with any questions or queries:

thegreenstep3@gmail.com

Sign up for more on the website:

www.thegreenstep.org

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