Reflections

Blog Update: Taking a Hiatus and Dealing with Eco-Anxiety

When the going got tough, I retreated back to my comfort zone.

At first I thought going on a blog hiatus was quite pathetic and would hurt my stats, but looking back now it was one of the best decisions I’ve made for Green Contours.

It’s been six months since my last post. I didn’t exactly plan on going on a hiatus for six months; I just wanted to give myself time to find balance, overcome my creative block and to deal with other mental blocks.

Now that I have found inspiration to create new content and found some balance in my life, I thought it would be best to catch you up on why I stopped writing.

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What happened?

It’s quite simple: life happened. I became so distracted by other responsibilities and projects that blogging became less of a priority.

I worked a full time job, had long commutes, tended to family responsibilities and had to sort out my mental health.

I eventually ran out of ideas and motivation to write.

Mental Health and Climate Change

I had no mental illness. I wasn’t diagnosed with anything but I did deal with what activists call ‘eco-anxiety’. Eco-anxiety is a mental state millions of people have due to environmental degradation.

The world didn’t stop turning during my hiatus, and neither did climate change. Many huge ecological events and disasters occurred during the last six months.

I couldn’t simply fit them all into one post but I will mention the biggest ones of them all:

  • The Amazon forest was on fire.
  • The Global Climate Strikes that grew immensely.
  • The US pulling out of the climate agreement.
  • 11 000 scientists declaring a climate emergency.

As the news of each environmental concern broke out my anxiety grew larger and larger. I was eventually disheartened. My small efforts to reduce my carbon footprint to influence others to do the same seemed so  insignificant.

Additionally watching other people’s efforts to bring environmental change, from other eco-bloggers to activists such as Greta Thunberg, made me question my own efforts.

Was I doing enough? No. Then what’s the point of trying?

My attitude was gloomy and for a while I was something I never thought I would be: a pessimist.

ecoblogger

What Changed?

I was still active on social media – mainly Instagram. Despite my pessimism and lack of creative outlet I was still interested to see what was happening in the world and searched for inspiration. Believe it or not, but part of my inspiration came from my followers.

Maybe its my small following count (well, small compared to other bloggers) but I didn’t think many people were interested in my blog until I stopped writing.

My followers, most of whom I never met before, asked me why I stopped writing, when I will start again and more asked for advice on how they could reduce their carbon footprint. Some would even send me pictures of their new indoor plant or stainless steel straws they just bought to fight plastic pollution.

When the news of the Amazon fires broke out my phone began to blow up. Everyone was in a panic and they all wanted to do something to help. Of course, I didn’t have any immediate solutions. All I could think of was for them to sign petitions and to stop eating meat.

Their sense of urgency motivated me to start making changes.

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I began to brainstorm on new ideas and changed my whole attitude.

Instead of feeling insignificant I was inspired by other eco-bloggers and activists. Instead having fear of the future I had hope.

Instead of complaining about not having enough time, I made time for content creation.

Of course there were other factors in my personal life that contributed to my stress, but I healed and moved on. Finding closure helped me get over my creative block.

What now?

I have been working on new content for that past two months and I am so excited to share them with you.

November is World Vegan Month so expect vegan content for the rest of the month!

It’s safe to say that I found balance and will try to maintain it so I can continue to grow Green Contours.

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Photographer: Tariq Fontein.


-Kayla

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