Committing to our climate emergency can be overwhelming at times. To do our best work, we all need prioritize self-care every day. Here are some simple practices that will help:
- Eat a healthy diet: fresh, local, organic (when possible) and vegetable with reduced fat and red meat will protect your health and increase your energy. Avoid excess sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, especially near bedtime.
- Exercise daily– Boost your energy, immune system, and mood with whatever type of exercise works for you; Mix! Prioritize physical fitness, core strength, and flexibility. You can incorporate this into your daily routine by swapping a car ride for a bike or walking to experience the health and climate side benefits.
- Go out into nature– Take a walk and let the fresh air inside you – the sounds, smells and sights will revitalize your energy and remind you why you are doing this job.
- Practice gratitudeRegularly ask yourself, “What am I grateful for right now?” Be genuinely grateful for all that is right in your world. Note: it may be helpful to say these responses out loud.
- Make room for your blemishesBeing concerned about our climate does not mean that you always choose the green option. Allow yourself to be human and acknowledge that others who deny this issue are likely human as well.
- Manage your news entry– You don’t have to take in all the weather news, or any other haunting story, as it comes out. Take frequent “news breaks” and watch for good news stories to balance them.
- Recharge with meditation– Set aside time each day to calm your mind. Learn a meditation technique and practice it regularly, or just find a quiet place, close your eyes, and watch your breath for 20 minutes.
- Do not isolate: Spend time with supportive family and friends often. Share your feelings and concerns, and take the time to listen to theirs, too.
- Prioritize your sleep– Maintain regular wake-up / sleep times; relax, turn off devices and stop serious work at least an hour before bedtime; Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and comfortable.
- Remember to recognize yourselfFew around you will understand the burden you have taken on with this job. Take the time to appreciate and reward yourself. You deserve it and remember: the happier and healthier you are, the better for everyone.
THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING THEY DO!
Bruce Bekkar, MD, is the president of the Climate Action Campaign Public Health Advisory Council and member of the Executive Committee of the Climate for Health Leadership Circle.
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