Environment Crisis and Mental Health: The Need for Urgent Action

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Environment Crisis and Mental Health: The Need for Urgent Action

Focusing on the immediate physical environmental damage is easy during natural disasters and climate change. However, the impact of these crises extends far beyond what the eye can see. Environmental concerns can profoundly affect mental health, causing stress, anxiety, and depression. The uncertainty of living in an unstable environment can also lead to chronic stress, which can have long-term mental health consequences.

Moreover, the displacement and loss that result from environmental crises can lead to trauma, grief, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People who have lost their homes or loved ones may experience a range of emotions, from sadness to anger, and may struggle to come to terms with their loss. And while economic hardships often accompany these crises, they can exacerbate mental health issues, particularly for those who already struggle with poverty, homelessness, or social isolation.

The seriousness of these problems calls for quick action to meet the mental health requirements of those impacted by environmental catastrophes. This includes providing access to mental health services, such as counseling and therapy, and community-based support networks. But it's not enough to address the symptoms. We must also address the root causes of environmental crises, such as climate change, by reducing carbon emissions, investing in renewable energy, and implementing sustainable practices.

How do heat waves impact mental health?      

Heat waves can substantially influence mental health by increasing stress, anxiety, and despair. The following are some ways that heat waves might harm your mental health:

Sleep disruptions: High temperatures can make falling and staying asleep difficult, resulting in weariness and irritability during the day. This makes it more difficult for you to focus and complete everyday duties, impairing your mood.

Physical discomfort: Heat waves can cause physical pain, such as headaches, dehydration, and exhaustion, leading to increased stress and anxiety.

Isolation: During heat waves, people may stay indoors to avoid the heat, leading to social isolation and loneliness. This can contribute to depression and anxiety.

Financial strain: Increased use of air conditioning and other cooling measures during heat waves can lead to higher energy bills, which can cause financial strain and contribute to stress and anxiety.

Increased risk of violence: Research has shown that hot temperatures can increase the risk of violence and aggression, leading to fear and anxiety in affected communities.

How to take care of your mental health in the summer?      

Summer can be a fantastic time for mental health, but it can also be challenging, especially for those struggling with mental health issues. Here are some tips to help you take care of your mental health during the summer months:

Taking care of your child's climate anxiety: Children face climate anxiety, and parents struggle to address this issue. Being honest with children is crucial as they can quickly discover the truth, leading to a loss of trust. However, parents need to consider the emotional needs of their children and avoid alarming them with statements like, "The world is going to end." We must teach children how to cope with the emotions surrounding climate change and offer them support as a society.

Go out: Being exposed to natural sunlight can increase your body's vitamin D and serotonin levels, which have been proven to enhance your mood. Simply taking a moment to step outside, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the natural environment can calm your mind and body. Engaging in a new outdoor hobby such as gardening, hiking, or paddle boarding for at least 30 minutes in the sunshine is crucial for your self-care routine. Spending time outdoors is an essential element of a healthy lifestyle.

Take time to unwind: Most of us use our paid vacation time to catch up on household tasks we don't have time for during the workweek, such as cleaning the closet, organizing the garage, and scheduling overdue appointments. However, it's better to use this time to relax and enjoy yourself instead. You can read a book at home or plan a trip to a new destination. Spending your vacation time unwinding and taking a break from your daily chores is essential.

Re-focus your energy by planning a getaway: Taking a break from your typical surroundings and experiencing a change in scenery might help you relax and redirect your energies to the present moment. Breaking away from your everyday routine, whether for a brief overnight trip or an extended foreign vacation, can help renew your mind and boost your mood. This will be highly beneficial when you return to your regular life and responsibilities.

Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can hurt your mental health, so aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. You can use apps like Sleep Cycle to track your sleep and find the best time to wake up.

Stay physically active: Physical activities like going to the gym, taking a yoga class, or walking outside can have mood-boosting effects. However, being inactive during summer and spending too much time on the couch can harm physical and mental health. A daily 20-30-minute cardiovascular exercise session can significantly benefit our overall well-being, whether at the gym or outdoors. You might be amazed at how much better you feel by incorporating physical activity into your daily routine.

Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression, so make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Be mindful of your exposure to the sun: While some sun exposure can be beneficial, too much can lead to sunburns, dehydration, and other health problems.

Practice self-care: Take time to do things that make you feel good, such as reading, walking, or practicing yoga.

Stay Connected: Stay in touch with friends and family, and consider joining a support group or seeking therapy if you're struggling. Reach out with mental health apps like SOLH App.

Financial strain: Increased use of air conditioning and other cooling measures during heat waves can lead to higher energy bills, which can cause financial strain and contribute to stress and anxiety.

By taking these steps, we can help mitigate the mental health impact of environmental crises and build more resilient communities. It's time to prioritize the mental health of those affected by environmental concerns and take action to prevent further damage. We can create a safer, healthier, and more sustainable world. 


And if you're someone who is looking for both clinical and holistic ways of mental healing and wants an easy and accessible solution, then get connected with Solh Wellness. At Solh Wellness, we provide therapy programs with easy access to experts with years of experience in the field. Download the Solh App and take a step towards better mental health and life.