Dealing with information overload and consistent bad news in a crisis.
In 2020, turning on your television can be traumatic.
COVID-19. Misinformation about the pandemic. Justice issues. Protests. The deaths of public figures we love in addition to close loved ones.
And who remembers the murder hornets?
It might seem we are living through a really bad movie right now. It is however still important that in the midst of it, we continue to take care of ourselves.
Researchers have found that bad news on social media for instance, can lead to severe anxiety and depression.
So how can you deal with the current climate of overwhelming information and daily bad news?
Below are some tips on how to deal with information overload and consistent bad news.
Shutting off the news completely may not be helpful
This sounds counter-intuitive but shutting off the news completely may not be helpful.
It is still important to be informed. Both national and local health agencies are constantly providing updates on how cities or even the country may be re-opening for business following the pandemic.
Information on vaccines and safety measures to take will still be delivered through the news.
Thus, operating with the right information will come as a result of staying informed.
To stay informed, I recommend that you skim the highlights of important stories from whichever source you get your news.
…but you still have the power to turn it off
Your need to be informed does not have to overshadow the fact that after just five minutes of listening to the news, everything begins to turn dark and gloomy.
This is where you can exercise your power to turn the TV off or to stop scrolling through social media.
The arguments people can get into in the comments sections of stories on news websites and on social media can be prolonged and arduous.
When people have arguments on social media, they do not have the luxury of seeing a person’s face, intonation or voice inflexion.
Thus, it can be easy to misunderstand and have things blow up.
My recommendation – avoid them.
Try as you may, you will not be able to change somebody’s long-held beliefs through an emotionally-draining argument.
If you do engage in one and find that you are drained emotionally and mentally, I recommend you disconnect and do something else instead.
Replace news consumption with another activity you enjoy
You don’t have to feel guilty about wanting to unplug from the news or from anything that triggers feelings of anxiety and despair.
It is absolutely okay to take time off and enjoy nature, enjoy your family or read a book to relax your mind and body.
We are living through a difficult time. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to take care of your mind and body. Making sure that the news does not become a trigger for your mental health is one way to do that.