Stay informed and keep your mental health: How I watch the News

If being in quarantine wasn’t bad enough, watching the news can be depressing, stressful and can lead to anxiety and unnecessary worry. It doesn’t have to be that way. During my time in quarantine, I came up with a simple system that kept me informed and I was able to maintain good mental health. Got to throw out a disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional, nor do I have any training in mental health. This is just something that I came up with and help me cope with the media and not feel horrible the rest of the day. Here’s how I stayed informed and not have the news damage my peace and calm.

  • Don’t start or end your day with the news. It’s too easy to wake up, grab the phone and start scrolling. And before you know it, you’ll come across something troubling and disturbing. Don’t start your day off with negative thoughts and feelings. Get up, take care of yourself and your loved ones. Take a shower, brush your teeth, do your hair, fix some breakfast and start your day. And the same goes for when you’re about to go to bed. Shower (with music if you can), get into something comfortable, again take care of yourself and family before going to bed. Don’t end your day with thoughts of the news.
  • Give yourself a time frame when you’re going to consume the news. It can be 11:30 am, 1:30 pm or whenever. The time frame I give myself is around noon. So, if I get upset or disturbed, there’s still the rest of the day to digest and cope with it. Also, by this time my friends and family are up and available if I feel the need to talk to someone. Give yourself a limited amount of time to read or watch the news. I normally give myself about 30 to 35 minutes. Try to keep it under an hour. The next step is key.
  • If you start to read yesterday’s news, stop and continue with your day. If you find you’re reading regurgitated news from yesterday, stop and go back to whatever you were doing before you began reading. It’s that easy. Nothing good will come from reliving yesterday’s news today. You can’t be afraid of missing something major. If something does happen, trust me, you will find out about it. Someone will call or text you, “Did you see or hear about…” When your time frame is up, continue with your day and don’t go back and check the news until tomorrow.
  • Don’t get your news from social media! Hopefully you all know not to get any of your news from any social media platform. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Reddit are not trustworthy or accredited news sources. All can and has been manipulated to spread lies and misinformation. Check out “Smarter Everyday” playlist on Social Media Manipulation for more information. The struggle is real. And while you’re on social media, if you see something news related, let it go and keep scrolling. It’s easier said than done. Just don’t get caught up with clickbait.

This system takes discipline, but it gets easier when you start to notice the difference in your level of anxiety. You don’t have to be plugged in all the time and to be reminded of how shitty the world is every 5 minutes. You got to keep yourself occupied and your mind off what’s going on in the world. If you’re struggling with that, check out my post Bored and in Lock-down? How to keep yourself occupied. It may help you come up with ideas to stay focused and active.

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My system is not foolproof, and it may not work for you. Nor am I telling you to not watch the news. The idea behind it is to stay informed but limits how much and how often you consume the news. Again, this is just something that has help me tremendously with staying informed without losing my peace and calm. I can say with confidence it’s because of this, I’ve been more productive and have been able to put more energy into being creative. Likewise, my thinking has been more balance and not full of worry and negative thoughts. And has had more constructive and inspired days in quarantine than wasted and negative ones. So, how do you manage your consumption of the news and stay sane? Let me know in the comment section below. And feel free to share this with anyone you feel would benefit from it.

 

Mask up, stay safe and keep busy!

Steven

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