Avoid burnout while saving the planet

The Best Ways to Avoid Burnout While Saving the Planet

Best Ways to Avoid Burnout While Saving the Planet

Image by SeventyFour via iStock by Getty Images

You’d be in good company if you adopted an eco-friendly lifestyle due to increasing climate change threats. A recent survey of 10,000 young people ages 16 to 25 found 59% of respondents were seriously apprehensive about the planet’s future, and 84% were moderately concerned about saving the planet.

Of course, an uptick in massive hurricanes and widespread wildfires powerful enough to demolish entire communities is sure to instill fear in just about anyone. However, the struggle to adapt your routine to zero-waste living and a minimal carbon footprint can take your eco-anxiety and turn it into eco-fatigue. 

Avoiding burnout is essential if you want to continue making a difference for a healthier planet. These five tips offer the best ways to recharge and help reset your sustainability goals.

1. Practice Self-Care and Relaxation

Taking care of the planet, in addition to all your other responsibilities, is impossible if you fail to see to your mental and physical health first. That’s why starting a self-care routine which prioritizes relaxation, sleep and well-being is critical.

You may not want to waste even more water by running a warm bath, but you can practice self-care in the following ways instead:

Additionally, you might want to volunteer at a park cleanup event in your community. Studies show volunteer work helps reduce anxiety and improve your mood.

2. Realize You Can’t Fix Everything

Saving the planet is simply too much work for one person. Sometimes, avoiding eco-burnout requires reminding yourself you can only do so much — the rest requires a collective effort you have no control over.

The zero-waste lifestyle isn’t exactly affordable for everyone yet, either. As more people purchase eco-friendly, organic products, costs will likely decrease. Until then, swap toxic cleaners, beauty products and other conventional items for greener alternatives where you can. DIY is also a good alternative. Zero-waste is not for the faint of heart or tight budgets, and perfection should never be your objective. 

Keep in mind creating some waste on your eco-friendly journey doesn’t exactly equate to failure. You’re still doing your part if you choose organic toothpaste, but haven’t yet purchased a non-plastic toothbrush. Even if you have a closet full of “fast fashion” items, but you’ve recently started buying ethically made clothing, it makes a difference. Each little bit adds up.

3. Figure Out What Sustainable Living Looks Like for You

Making small changes to reduce your carbon footprint is far more practical than overwhelming yourself with a massive overhaul of your daily habits. Suppose you attempt to reduce plastic waste, strictly purchase locally grown foods, DIY green alternatives for every product and shop for secondhand clothes. In that case, you’ll likely end up with a terrible case of eco-fatigue.

Examine your dreams for living sustainably to determine what’s most important — and feasible — for you to take on in the here and now. Perhaps start with two or three easy changes, such as installing low-flow faucet aerators to save water in your bathroom or turning off lights in unoccupied rooms to conserve energy. 

Once your schedule slows down and you’re in the right mindset, you can begin to add other eco-friendly changes to your daily routine.

4. Take Time to Plan

Planning is a valuable stress-management technique that helps avoid climate change-induced burnout. 

While you schedule errands and write your to-do list for the day, think about whether you’ll need to pack some reusable bags for groceries or if you can get to your destination by bicycle or walking instead of your car.

Be aware of items you might need soon, creating a list so you can get everything in one trip. This trick works for online shopping, as well. Let’s say you order a nontoxic cleaner, but find you typically reorder it again in a month. It may be best to buy two or three refills immediately, so they arrive in a single package. 

5. Stay Optimistic 

It can be hard to stay positive when it feels like the Earth is up in flames — however, there is plenty to be optimistic about while saving the planet.

The fight against climate change has seen lots of progress in recent years. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), renewable power accounted for 7% of electricity generation in 2020, growing to over 8% in 2021. Likewise, more people have developed an awareness of climate change and demand more robust environmental policies and resilience strategies. 

Collectively, these achievements are impressive and something to be proud of — and the changes you’ve already made to your routine have made it possible. 

Create Positive Environmental Change by Avoiding Burnout

The world doesn’t expect you to lead a perfect, zero-waste — and you certainly shouldn’t place immense pressure on yourself to pick up the rest of the population’s slack. It would be best — for your health and the Earth’s — to take care of yourself before throwing all your energy into saving the planet.

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