These days, a lot of things you might be seeing on news headlines may cause anxiety and stress. But when news can be easily accessed 24/7, it might be very difficult to avoid the news entirely. We have a few ways that you can take care of yourself when the news might cause you to worry and the negative thoughts may be hard to turn off.
- Set firm time limits. If you do feel the need to see the news, set a time to stop regardless of what you might be seeing. For example, if you say you are consuming (either listening, watching, or reading) news for 20 minutes, set an alarm to make sure you stop on time.
- Try to not consume news before bedtime. Headlines can cause you to worry and lose necessary sleep. Sometimes during breaking news, it may be difficult to get away from updates, but it’s important you give yourself space to digest the headlines and wait to digest the story until the next day. If you have heard some upsetting news before bedtime, find another activity for the evening such as reading a book or connecting with family.
- Make an effort to find good news. With all the negative news, it’s important to find good news too. Because news outlets know that their audience is interested in “important” updates, “fluff pieces” that focus on lighthearted events may not be highlighted. Some sites like the Good News Network and Positive News provide exclusively positive information.
- Set boundaries. It’s important to let others know that you may not be comfortable talking about current events. You do not have to talk about the news if you don’t want to. If someone insists on wanting to talk, you can say “I choose not to look into the news that would make me upset right now. I know it’s good to stay updated, but I want to take care of myself first.” A phrase like this addresses the person’s concerns with staying updated but still communicates that you’re not okay with talking about something yet.
- Change up your social media feed. Don’t be afraid to unfollow different sources on your social media feed. If a friend continues to post negative news and you don’t want to completely unfollow them, you can mute your notifications, even just temporarily, to help limit what you are seeing. Try to like or follow positive posts like inspirational quotes or cute animals that you’re interested in, to help change the algorithm preferences of your social media. This means that posts that are recommended to you will change to match the things you are liking and following. If all else fails, take some time to unplug and step away from social media, even for a day.
When things are happening all around the world, it may be easy to forget that you can make a change in your local community. A small action is all that is needed to make a change.If you are looking to make a positive difference, there are a few ways for you to get involved too.
- Volunteer your time. Taking action for yourself in your local community can help ease feelings of anxiety and powerlessness. Try finding an organization that aims to improve the environment in your area, or volunteering with homeless shelters or soup kitchens. If there aren’t any in your area, inquire with your school or city hall to see how you can start one!
- Donate to organizations or causes that give aid to issues you are concerned about. If you wanted to help provide immediate aid to places that may be going through a crisis, they may often have somewhere online or in your community that accept donations. You don’t always have to donate money either; many places accept second hand clothes or household items.
- Voice your opinion to your local officials and candidates. During elections, research candidates and support the ones that align with your views the most (if you’re unsure about the voting process, we have a few tips for that too). You can also call, write, or email your local representatives with suggestions and information.
- Connect with others with similar views. While it’s important to know when you don’t want to talk about certain topics, it’s also good to find support from others who share a similar need for change. Talk to teachers, counsellors, trusted adults, or friends to see what they think, or if they can connect you to someone else who shares similar views and interests in the news.
- Thank those in the community. Sending messages of gratitude (either through snail mail, email, or over social media) to service people like firefighters, police officers, or charity organizations can help convey positive feelings. Encouragement is always welcome!
When the news stresses you out, it’s important to prioritize taking care of yourself. It’s normal to feel anxious or stressed when witnessing potentially traumatic events. There are ways to manage anxiety, and you can find support, or talk to a trusted adult, counsellor, or friend about your concerns. If you’re not sure how to start that conversation, we have some tips to help. You are not alone.
Keywords: coping, self care, media, anxiety, fear, panic, support, depression, social media, newspaper
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