NEWS Mental Health News Climate Anxiety Can Participating in Earth Hour Help Your Mental Health? By Sarah Fielding Sarah Fielding LinkedIn Twitter Sarah Fielding is a freelance writer covering a range of topics with a focus on mental health and women's issues. Learn about our editorial process Published on March 24, 2022 Fact checked Verywell Mind content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. We rely on the most current and reputable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact checked after it has been edited and before publication. Learn more. by Karen Cilli Fact checked by Karen Cilli Karen Cilli is a fact-checker for Verywell Mind. She has an extensive background in research, with 33 years of experience as a reference librarian and educator. Learn about our editorial process Share Tweet Email Print Verywell / Theresa Chiechi Key Takeaways The last Saturday of March is Earth Hour, a time to shut off your lights and take a stand against climate changeThis can be done alone, with loved ones, at a scheduled event, or virtually.Taking a break can help with climate anxiety and general distress. Have you ever wanted to turn off for a little while and simply be? In such a busy world, it’s easy to crave moments of tranquility away from the bustle of life and constant bombardment of notifications. Well, this Saturday, March 26, offers a perfect excuse to go for it, an event known as Earth Hour. The idea is simple: On the last Saturday in March, people are invited to turn off their lights from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm and do anything they want—whether it be a dance party, a game with loved ones, or sit and stargaze. The idea started in 2007 when people in Sydney, Australia were looking for a way to tell their climate-skeptic government that they found climate change worrisome. That first year, over 2.2 million people participated in the area. Last year, people across 192 countries celebrated Earth Hour, with many joining digital events. This Saturday, people can participate alone, virtually, or in person at a local event. Taking part in Earth Hour can help with the fight against climate change and give your mental health a boost — only in part because of climate anxiety. “The benefit of earth hour is by being more intentional with our actions so we can be more deliberate about non-essential energy consumption,” says Dr. Sabrina Romanoff, a clinical psychologist and professor at Yeshiva University in New York City. “While earth hour might not make a significant impact on greenhouse gasses or reduce our ecological footprint, it creates space for active reflection about how our everyday behaviors can help improve the planet.” This time is also an excellent opportunity to look inward, see what’s on your mind, and step back from stressors. Benefits of Collective Action Purposely taking this time to shut off alongside so many others can create a deep sense of community and understanding. “Collective action can strengthen resilience towards feeling hopeless or helpless. At the heart of collective action is a beautiful demonstration of community where like-minded individuals are reminded they are not alone in their passionate movement,” says Gretchen Boehm, a licensed therapist in the Frame Community, children’s author, and practice owner of Growth In Stride LLC. “Individuals have a need to feel connected, capable, that they count and have courage to overcome barriers. Cultivating these values can build a sense of security within oneself and interpersonal relationships.” Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD The benefit of earth hour is by being more intentional with our actions so we can be more deliberate about non-essential energy consumption. — Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD Trying to find a way to combat a problem as massive as climate change can feel utterly overwhelming. Instead of spiraling into deep climate anxiety, coming together to fight this common issue can provide a place to channel this distress, adds Romanoff. It can also bring a sense of inspiration and support. Collective Action Could Relieve Climate Anxiety Integrating This Break Into Your Life If you participate in Earth Hour and see a difference, it doesn’t have to be a once-a-year thing. There are ways to integrate it further into your life from a climate change and mental perspective. Gretchen Boehm, LPC Collective action can strengthen resilience towards feeling hopeless or helpless. At the heart of collective action is a beautiful demonstration of community where like-minded individuals are reminded they are not alone in their passionate movement. — Gretchen Boehm, LPC Boehm recommends determining what triggers poor mental health — such as watching the news — and actively doing the opposite action. She also suggests trying other nurturing activities during this hour break, such as: ExerciseCalling a friendReadingJournalingMeditatingVolunteeringStaying off social mediaGardeningTaking a nature walk Overall, pick parts of your day to reduce energy consumption. As Romanoff says, “Be more mindful with how you consume non-essential electricity, be more present in your life, and try not to fill in the quiet areas of your life with unnecessary stimulation.” What This Means For You If you're interested in participating in Earth Hour, ask your loved ones or search for an event taking place near you. The Current State of Climate Anxiety See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.