We successfully juggle work responsibilities, navigate family drama, and tackle to-do lists a mile long… so why do we shy away from addressing larger issues we feel passionately about, like rainforest destruction and climate change?
The answer lies in our internal resiliency. Overwhelm comes easily when we find ourselves confronted with issues that seem too immense to handle alone. Feeling helpless threatens our emotional wellbeing, so our protective inner self encourages us to look at more manageable responsibilities or distractions closer to home.
Everyone I’ve worked with has experienced some form of overwhelm. What often manifests as forgetfulness or procrastination can instead be a kind of self-care taking place behind the scenes. Projects too large to complete in a day may get swept aside or forgotten completely. Spending an entire day trying to perfect one task might keep us distracted from an anxiety-causing deadline that feels impossible to make. These responses to overwhelm are common but usually breed guilt and self-shaming at the end of the day.
When overwhelm comes up in coaching I encourage people to take small, achievable steps to create the momentum and self-confidence needed to conquer larger goals over time. We can harness the energy that fuels our distraction by redirecting it towards bite-sized actions.
For the last few months I’ve been working with Rainforest Partnership to establish the first annual World Rainforest Day on June 22, 2017. We created World Rainforest Day to encourage education and action about the vital importance of preserving one of the earth’s most precious resources, our rainforests.
Rainforest Partnership is an Austin, TX based non-profit with a global mission to spread awareness about deforestation and protect rainforests for the health of the planet. They have teams on the ground in South America working daily to provide community-centric alternatives to the economically driven deforestation happening in the Amazon Basin. By empowering local individuals through economic initiatives and education they create a domino effect bolstering community income, health, and education.
The rainforests in the Amazon Basin store one-fifth of the world’s fresh water, produce 20% of the world’s oxygen, and store over 25% of the planet’s carbon dioxide. Our shrinking rainforests are essential to the wellbeing of every living thing on our planet, and yet we are losing them at a rate of 4,500 acres an hour. The more trees we cut down, the more CO2 is released, raising temperatures around the globe. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that individual efforts have real, measurable impact – and awareness is the first step to actionable change.
We are not alone – in our passions or our feelings of overwhelm. Instead of turning away, join me by taking a small action today, June 22, and contribute to a larger solution. Whether you choose to eat a meatless meal at lunch, donate to a conservation organization like the Rainforest Partnership, call your HOA about recycling initiatives, or email your representative about the Paris Climate Agreement. Our small actions, collectively, make a difference in the big picture– and help us conquer our own tendencies towards overwhelm.
Pick an action for today and share it on social media using @worldrainforest #worldrainforestday
Follow me on twitter @valeriethomson and Facebook to see what I chose as my action item!