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Taking Care of Our Environment and Taking Care of Ourselves

Taking Care of Our Environment and Taking Care of Ourselves

Stillpoint values collaborating with community partners that enhance the lives of all people in the community which is why we are teaming up with Surfrider Foundation. This month, Stillpoint will be doing a beach sweep to help fight plastic pollution on the beaches. Surfrider Foundation fights for protection against plastic pollution, clean ocean water, fair beach access for all, and more.

Surfrider Foundation


Surfrider Foundation was founded in 1984 by a group of surfers who were concerned with health risks associated with the coastal development of one of their favorite surf breaks in Malibu, CA. Their passion for the coastal environment led them to take action, and thus Surfrider was born. In 1993, the Cape Fear Chapter of Surfrider came to be. The Cape Fear Chapter had truly grassroots beginnings with the membership base coming from the Surfrider surf competition participants. They focused in areas of water quality, opposition to offshore oil drilling, stormwater stenciling, beach access, and beach litter. 25 years later, the chapter carries on the spirit of its humble beginnings and continues to grow in strength and numbers tackling important issues regarding our coast.

Why Surfrider Does the Work They Do


We Are Stewards of Our Community. As citizens of the local coastal areas, we live on the front-lines and have the ultimate responsibility for protecting our coastal community and instilling a sense of stewardship for future generations.

The Protection of Our Coast Just Makes Economic Sense. We heavily rely on tourism, recreation, and fishing industries in North Carolina, particularly on the coast. In North Carolina, roughly 51,000 jobs and about 2.2 billion was generated from these three industries.

We Must Be Responsive in Changing Legislation. In 2014, the moratorium on seismic testing off the Atlantic coast was lifted by the Federal Government leaving our coast exposed and vulnerable to oil and gas exploration and exploitation. It’s just not the risk, and it is not the answer for our coast. Alas, with our new administration, we are fighting this again.

Our Personal Environment Matters Too

Taking care of our environment is more important than ever before. If we put effort into making healthy changes for our environment and engage in small, simple activities, (i.e., picking up a plastic bag or water bottle when we see one) we can make a big difference. The same principle of making small, healthy changes resulting in a big difference applies to us too.


We can view both the health of our environment and the health of ourselves through a systems view. This means that we are affected by the different components of our lives. Take the beach for example. The beach is affected by weather and sand erosion. The water is affected by boaters, oil rigs, and sand dredgers. The beach, seabirds, and other inhabitants are affected by the number of people visiting and the amount of litter that is left. We, on the other hand, are affected by our jobs, families, relationships with others, finances, sleep hygiene, exercise, and eating habits.


Our mental health can drastically change depending on the state of the systems in our life. If we aren’t getting enough sleep, eating poorly, and experiencing chronic stress from our jobs, we may experience a myriad of concerns such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, trouble focusing, and more. The components in our life affect our mental health and our mental health affects the components of our life. For example, maybe our job is very stressful. That constant stress takes a toll on our mental health making it more challenging to focus. Our trouble focusing may result in a careless mistake which later creates further work stress; it is a vicious cycle.


Taking Care of Our Own Surroundings


In the same way that we better the environment through regulations, beach sweeps, fines for littering, etc., we can implement changes in our own environment to better our mental health. We can start literally by cleaning up our home or workspace. It has been shown that the act of cleaning, along with the aftermath of clean surroundings can reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Next, we can focus on our more figurative environment like relationships with others. Humans are social beings and we thrive when we feel that we are connected to others in our lives. Spending more time with our spouse, children, family, or friends may improve our mental health. If we feel disconnected from them, we can start by opening up to them about those feelings and requesting to spend more quality time together.


There is a plethora of research showing how going to bed and waking up at about the same time, and having 8 hours of sleep every day improves mood, focus, physical health, even life expectancy. The same has been shown with eating healthy foods and exercising daily. By eating healthy, we get the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that our body needs to function properly. Regular exercise releases neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine which help improve and regulate mood.


Tips to Reduce Stress and Improve Mental Health

Improving our wellness and reducing stress may seem like a daunting task. Here are some small changes we can incorporate to promote healthy outcomes:

  • Prioritize sleep, getting 8 hours of sleep a night

  • Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into our diets, next time we go to grab a bag of chips, we can choose an apple instead

  • Reach out to friends and family for more quality time together

  • Talk with a friend to get work stress off of our chests

  • Set boundaries for ourselves; leave work at work

  • Take time once a week to engage in a fun activity

  • Go on a daily walk or jog at a favorite park

  • Engage in a 5-minute daily meditation

  • Create a budget and put away money to save each month

  • Ask for help when we need it

  • Set small, achievable goals each day

  • Maintain a calendar and daily to-do list

  • Drink 8 glasses of water each day

  • On a nice day, set aside a few minutes to soak up the sun

Click here for more ways to reduce stress in your life.

For more information on Surfrider Foundation and the Cape Fear Chapter, click here.