Climate anxiety is a thing, a very real thing. Soaring among young millennial and Gen Zers in particular, climate anxiety is the stress or fear we experience when we get closer and closer to an anti-goal without feeling like we can do anything about it. An “anti-goal” is something we don’t want to happen; in this case, climate change. Popular Netflix show ‘Queer Eye’ have even covered a case of climate anxiety in an episode entitled ‘The Anxious Activist’ where college student, Abby, felt unable to enjoy her downtime due to her involvement in climate activism which led to an ongoing – and extremely rational – fear.
Similarly to the case of Abby, climate anxiety may be causing many freelance creative to feel unable to focus or to enjoy their creative zone. It can also lead to a sense of guilt when you’re working on a project that doesn’t aim to help climate change, i.e your morals feel compromised. For example, you could be a graphic designer working on a logo for an airline company or a fashion designer asked to design the new season for a fast-fashion brand. Choosing between your paycheck and the environment can seem like an obvious decision but when there are bills to pay we often find ourselves torn.
This has a domino effect since you may find yourself in a constant state of worry which prevents you from seeing any ideas and inspiration that may come your way.
On the other hand, the last thing we want to do is ignore climate anxiety. Here are some things to help keep your activist morals centred but allow the inspiration to continuously flow.
Journal: Get out what is making you worried. If you find your mind drifting, put those thoughts from mind to paper. Writing a hate letter to the world is a great way to detox some of that anxiety.
Why should you be more responsible than others? Holding on to grief won’t make a difference but this is easier said than done. However, letting go of the pain is crucial in convincing others from a more positive perspective to start holding everyone accountable.
Schedule in the change. If your main cause of anxiety is coming from feeling that you’re not doing anything, sit and think about what you can do and sensibly schedule it in. Join a couple of Facebook groups and attend what you can.
Use your talent to make a change. When you are scheduling your change, maybe use some of that time to put your creativity to a good cause. This also allows you to set aside a creative time solely focused on the climate so a) you’re doing your bit and b) the other creative time can be dedicated to different causes.
Talk with others! Knowing that you’re not alone will allow you to share your story and feel a sense of comradery. It will most likely also console you in knowing that many people are making an effort.