• Self Care IS Climate Care

     

    as we heal, the earth heals

    a collaboration with UCC Green Campus

     

    These emotional literacy workshops offer embodied wisdom. It further enables climate activists to create more a sustainable and regenerative impact with their work.

     

    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 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 life’s challenges.

     

    These coping mechanisms and defenses are a normal response to trauma, but they can end up wreaking havoc in our lives and often stunt our capacity for change.

     

    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, it’s 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; too much social media or porn use)

    • Regularly getting caught up in friend, romantic, and family dramas

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

    • Binging on unhealthy foods or struggling to eat at all

    • Drinking and/or smoking too much

    These are accepted responses to a chaotic world, but they’re not nourishing.

     

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

     

    Vicious Cycles

    If these problematic behaviours perpetuate, 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 a million miles away!

     

    Yet, we know it isn’t the only way…

     

    Virtuous Cycles

    Virtuous patterns of behaviour can support our lives and activism. They can let us feel happier, healthier, more hopeful, connected and resilient. And 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 expressing 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 which make us feel good

    • Reflective practices like journalling and art therapy

    • Meditation and mindfulness to support mental health

    • Skills for healthy conflict and conflict resolution

    • Good sleep and adequate downtime

    • 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 to do our work. Healthy habits and behaviours allow us to sustain these positive impacts for longer periods of time so they infuse all our works and creations with love, courage, compassion and inspiration.

     

    When we feel happier we can:

    1. Create sustainable change for a regenerative present and a just future

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

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

    4. 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. This is a very 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, informed care and guidance are essential. Nobody can care for themselves or the earth in isolation.

     

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

     

    Our Self Care is Climate Care sessions are communal spaces 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.’


    This customised programme for climate activists includes:

    • Trust building exercises

    • Deep listening and empathy skills

    • Understanding boundaries for better self-care

    • Guided meditations and mindfulness techniques

    • Art therapy

    • Ritual and ceremonial components which facilitate healing

    • A like-minded community of changemakers working in universities across Ireland

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

    • Peace building techniques

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

     

    Each session is 2.5 hours and we’ll meet from the comfort of your home via Microsoft Teams to explore 3 key climate related emotions. Click the links below to book your free spot.

    RAGE – Tuesday 8th March, 6-8.30pm
    GRIEF – Thursday 21st April, 6-8.30pm
    ANXIETY - Thursday 19th May, 6-8.30pm

     

    There are a further 4 in-person community care sessions available on UCC campus. Sign up to the mailing list below for more information on these ones.

     

    February, Tuesday 8th, 1-2pm
    March, Thursday 24th, 1-2pm
    April, Tuesday 12th, 1-2pm
    May, Tuesday 10th, 1-2pm

     

    All session are kindly funded by UCC Green Campus and Green Campus Ireland. You can drop into individual sessions or attend them all, and it’s absolutely free for all who attend. However, places are limited so please register in advance. Sessions are open to everyone interested, not only UCC staff and students.

     

    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 minster and spiritual counsellor with the OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation. Her work draws on her past experiences as a young activist struggling with climate anxiety. Her methods are informed by restorative practice and non-violent communication.

     

    You can reach her by email with any questions or queries

    thegreenstep3@gmail.com

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