How I Stay Sane While Staying Informed

The news and I have a love/hate relationship. While I feel it is my responsibility to stay aware of what’s going on in the world around me (especially now), the constant barrage of discouraging, disheartening stories takes quite the toll on my thoughts and emotions. Just this weekend I was crying to my boyfriend about how truly scared I am for the future, particularly after the distressing news that only one of the officers responsible for the death of Breonna Taylor was charged… for shooting a wall.

This moment (and others like this) have reminded me of the steps I take to stay up-to-date without letting it rattle me too hard. Hopefully, these strategies can be of some use to the empaths among us:

  1. Chose Your Medium Wisely: As a visual person, I find that watching the news can be especially rough on me. Seeing the images of brutality or destruction is just too much for me. That’s why when I do connect to current events, it’s almost exclusively in written form. I can digest the words and still understand the full scope of the reported event without having an unpleasant image seared into my memory.
  2. Stop Scrolling: These days, my Facebook and Instagram feed is a lot less cat pictures and a lot more news articles, complete with prize-fighting arguments in the comments section. It’s a challenge to disconnect, but not impossible. At times, I literally leave my phone in another room and walk away for at least a half hour. The mindless scrolling only serves to get me caught up in the noise of news.
  3. Outlet Options: I do my research constantly and keep aware of which outlets *might* sensationalize a bit too much. I tend to stick to Reuters or Associated Press, as I fond that the style of the writers is relatively neutral; they simply report the facts without the spin. This allows me to truly form my own opinions without getting caught in an ideological slant, one way or the other (although-no secret here-my politics are indeed liberal). Also, I regularly curate my feed and ruthlessly unfollow/block pages that cross the line from “informing the public” to “fear mongering,” and I have made it a point to stop following figures that constantly share videos of street violence. Trauma porn just isn’t my jam.
  4. Timestamp: I never read the news upon waking up or right before bed, as doing so has been known to disrupt my day and my sleep, respectively. I read up in the middle of the day and limit it to about 30 minutes, if that. I’m able to get a handle on what has been going on while being able to refocus my attention on the tasks right in front of me and move on with my day.
  5. Let It Out: Even with all of this, there may be times that you’re overwhelmed-and that’s okay! Feel free to grieve, to cry, to express your fears to a trusted family member, friend, or even a therapist. Keeping that sense of dread bottled up is unhealthy; letting it go will eventually help you feel better and carry on, even if it seems otherwise.

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