An overflow of news is enough to make anyone anxious, but it can be especially anxiety-inducing during COVID-19. According to the American Psychology Association’s Stress in America Survey, more than half of Americans believe that the news causes stress in their life. Yet Americans inherently recognize the value of the news, as 95% still follow the media regularly. Media has a powerful ability to transform and improve our quality of life, but it is also easy to feel bombarded by a cycle of consistently negative news.
If the influx of breaking news is making you anxious, below are some tips for staying up-to-date without letting it take over your life.
Choose designated times to look at the media each day.
While it can be easy to look at the news constantly, try picking a time each day to check the news, and put a limit on your consumption.
For example, you could set up a 15-minute window to check the news in the morning before work and once again before dinner. When you stumble across a news story during the day, whether through word of mouth or your Twitter feed, hold off on looking into it until your designated time.
Unsubscribe to media that fuels your stress.
Many media outlets create click-bait subject lines for their newsletters, targeting your worst fears so that you click to read more.
If sensationalist email alerts from a particular outlet or publication are contributing to your anger or anxiety, it’s okay to unsubscribe. There are plenty of sources to choose from, and you can always resubscribe if you change your mind.
Turn off push notifications.
While turning on push notifications for your favorite outlets might have seemed like a good idea a few months ago, taking a step away from the constant source of COVID-19 news might be the break you need.
Hide political posts on Facebook.
Frustrating political debates between Facebook friends have become a regular occurrence. However, if you find that the political talk is too much right now, there are a wide variety of options to help keep your feed politics-free.
You can hide posts from your most politically active Facebook friends or install a plug-in that will remove all political content from your feed. For example, there’s the “Remove All Politics From Facebook” Google Chrome extension lets you turn political posts “on” and “off.”
Subscribe to niche newsletters.
If you tend to check media looking for specific kinds of stories, targeted newsletters may be a better solution than simply accepting any and all media stories.
Remember: It’s okay to take a break.
Because there’s so much happening in-the-moment, it’s easy to buy into the idea that you’re being irresponsible if you don’t stay up-to-date with it all. Don’t let the pressure get to you. If social media is bringing you stress, try taking a break for a few hours or even committing to a social media free weekend. Don’t worry: The news will be there when you get back.
While access to media is a privilege that allows us to connect and stay updated, it can also create unnecessary stress and angst.
Even though it can feel like notifications and stories are pulling you back to your phone each minute, remember that you ultimately have the power to reset and redirect your focus.
Simplicity Bryan is deeply entrenched in the worlds of self-help, gratitude, personal finance, and organization. She’s happiest paddleboarding with her pup and storytelling with a purpose. You can follow her here.
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