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Self-care for when the news is bad

Updated: Jul 26, 2020

The news is crazy right now. Everyday there seems to be a new crisis, a new cause for concern, and a reason to be outraged. It can be a lot to handle and wreak havoc on our mental health.

A 2018 survey from the American Psychological Association found that more than half of Americans say the news causes them stress and anxiety. However the study also shows that 10% of American adults check the news every hour. 20% report “constantly” monitoring social media.

As a news producer, working in the news industry is very hard right now. Not only is there just a lot going on, but there is a very tense climate in the United States right now with journalists. There is a lot of mistrust between news organizations, and normal everyday people. Rightfully so in some cases. However staying up to date on the latest news is literally my job, and I have to keep up with news stories as they develop.

It’s taken some time but I have learned how to give myself room for “self-care” to keep from becoming overwhelmed by current events. As it seems, every day in 2020 has been a stressful news cycle. I’ll share some of my tips with you.

No notifications

First things first, turn your notifications off. Although social media gives us the opportunity to stay connected 24/7, doesn’t mean it’s mandatory that we BE connected at all times. Notifications are designed to be addictive and can certainly dictate your mood and influence your happiness.

Set an alarm to shut off phone/apps

Giving yourself ‘screen time’ limits will keep you from over indulging in the news of the day, or going down a conspiracy theory rabbit hole at 3:00 a.m. Set an alarm at the same time every night to remind you to put your phone down. (even better if you use an actual alarm and not one on your phone.)

Unfriend/ Unfollow/ Unsubscribe

Unfriend people that share misinformation, racist posts, disgusting content, and anything else that adds no value to your life.

Unfollow accounts that don’t bring you content that is informative, entertaining, substantive, or inspiring

Unsubscribe from outlets that spin the news, tout misinformation, and value commentary over actual news.

You are under no obligation to follow people or accounts on social media that cause you stress and anxiety. Clean up your social media so that you don’t have to look at bullshit every time you log on.

Read real news, not entertainment

A MAJOR issue in today’s society is that most people don’t know the difference between news, and info-tainment. Just because the content of a story, Instagram post, or tweet references current events doesn’t mean it is true or even informative.

Set out time dedicated to catching up

We consume news very differently than we did 20-25 years ago. Back then there were only a handful out outlets to get news, and only so many times a day when you could get it. The times have definitely changed. We are inundated with content 24/7. Sometimes it can be hard to digest. Set aside time during the day to catch up of the latest need to know information. That can be anytime that fits into your schedule. For me, the best time to do that is in the morning. I subscribe to multiple newsletters. My favorites are While you were weekending...Theskimm...and the New York Times daily briefing.

Look for good news stories

Contrary to popular belief, there is ALWAYS good news out there. Local news stations often run human interest and “feel good” stories. You can also check out the Good News Network on Instagram.

Remember: You control nothing but your own actions. No matter how bad the news gets there is very little that you can control. Allow yourself to have emotions, process information, and to not hold on to the anxiety a news story may cause you. The news cycle only lasts 24 hours. Don’t carry it around with you for longer than that.

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