How to Save the World without Losing Your Mind
I’ve been obsessed with “saving the world” ever since I was a kid. As a result, I’m passionate about a lot of issues. Sustainability, health, and animal rights top the list, but those causes alone have seemingly endless facets. Maddening facts whirl through my mind and conversations about factory farms, chemical concoctions marketed as food, deforestation, toxins in our homes, political corruption, and so on.
Given enough time at a party someone will occasionally ask me, “How do you deal with all that information in your head?” Privately I’ve certainly had some major cry-outs, fits of rage, and profound sadness. What I’ve come to recognize on a deep level is that we really can’t save the world without saving ourselves. More importantly, it’s not our job to save the world; it’s our job to love it. So if we want to shift global circumstances for any cause we need to shift our inner/outer dialogue and crank up the love. We also need to decompress and recalibrate regularly with habits like these:
- Deep breathing or meditation 5-30 minutes a day
- Mind/body exercise like yoga at least weekly
- Lots of laughter
- Sharing your frustrations with someone who can relate without compounding them
- Celebrating the progress being made with the causes you care about (write out a list and talk about that at the next party)
As activists it’s also extremely helpful to know when to take a break from overwhelming information. In addition to self-preservation, when we’re balanced and hopeful we inspire more people to get involved. So if you’re feeling the groove keep up the good work, but if you’re in a funk take a little break and consider these tips:
- Give yourself permission to unsubscribe from some nonprofit email updates
- Limit how often you frequent sites or news sources that make you feel disempowered
- Limit how frequently you watch heavy, cause-driven documentaries
Again, these recommendations are for anyone who’s already rolled up their sleeves and is striving to make a difference. It’s not an excuse though to sit back and let others do all the work for us. Creating a better world is about balanced teamwork.
So, despite how horrific and urgent things can truly be, many causes (and activists) are best supported when the element of fun is woven in too. Vegan potlucks, clothes swap parties, and planting edible gardens at schools are a few of my favorites.
Let’s keep saving and loving the world while simultaneously giving ourselves the same gift. Let’s strive to infuse the light and joy into every detail we can. Sometimes we’ll feel like the world is just too crazy and we’ll wonder if we can keep our sanity intact, but if we consistently utilize these tools and rally together we’ll transform everything from the inside out.
Rachel Avalon is a Holistic Nutritionist & Eco Expert who’s been nationally honored as a leader in sustainability and conscious living. Her work emphasizing plant-based recipes and detoxification is featured in multiple media sources, plus she coaches clients (including celebrities) nationwide. Additionally, she serves as an ambassador for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics as well as Healthy Child, Healthy World, two non-profits dedicated to calling on corporations to offer safer products for the whole family.