News Survival Guide

News Survival Guide

News Survival Guide: Empathy Without Exhaustion

You know, the news can feel like a roller coaster that nobody bought tickets for. It’s a constant pull to bear witness to the world’s nightmares – wars, children in crisis, homelessness, cultural and racial inequity, accidents, shootings. You’re trying to stay informed while not being overwhelmed, but there’s guilt tapping you on your shoulder, making you question if taking a breather means turning your back on suffering. It’s a seesaw of trying to understand on the one side, with your mental health tugging, saying “Hey, remember me?”

Listening to distressing news excessively can lead you down a path of anger, anxiety and angst, here’s how:

  1. Stress and Anxiety: Distressing news can ramp up anxiety levels.
  2. Sleep Disturbances: Say hello to insomnia or nightmares.
  3. Mood disorders: Prolonged exposure exacerbates mood disorders. It’s like fertilizing weeds.
  4. Physical Health Problems: Suddenly you’re getting headaches, digestive issues, muscle tension, and colds.
  5. Difficulty Focusing: Loss of concentration, lack of productivity, poor decision-making.
  6. Emotional Numbness: You become desensitized or emotionally numb to distressing events.
  7. Relationships: When there’s negative news, discussions may centre around difficult topics and conflicting ideas, leading to tense talks.

Let’s start our own “News Survival Guide.”

  1. Start a Diet: Set limits, choose sources wisely. Don’t let it hijack your whole day. Be aware that you’re starting to watch the same news repeatedly.
  2. Take Action: Take a stand, big or small. Support causes, sign petitions, volunteer. Every bit counts. If you watch dogs in terrible situations, consider donating to an animal shelter.
  3. Love Yourself: Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s a life raft. Exercise, laughter, hobbies – all mental health healers.
  4. Share the Pain: Talk it out with a pal or a pro. When it gets too much, know that there is help. Decide who will be a friend/family member you can talk to and look up crisis lines in whatever area you live in.
  5. Focus on the Positive: While it’s important to acknowledge the harsh realities, also look for stories of hope, resilience, and positive change. It can restore faith in humanity.

Remember, it’s okay to hit the pause button. Your well-being matters. Balance is key – stay informed, stay empathetic, stay sane.

The Woz
  • Richard Mallows
    Posted at 18:32h, 08 December Reply

    Sound advice Denise. It’s also good to remember that the news put us in that position so just turn it off. xx

    • The Woz
      Posted at 19:37h, 08 December Reply

      Richard, thanks so much for your insightful comment. Sometimes I like to take a break and, in the past, I have turned it off.. even advised my husband not to watch. We can get our news from many sources now such as podcasts, instagram, tiktok and it’s difficult to know what is real news and what is propaganda sometimes. I think if we do watch, we have to be aware of our attachment to a story and what is resulting. My own doctor advised me to turn off the news, particularly when I was previously diagnosed with PTSD as a result of my child dying (watching children dying or dead is not helpful). It’s very difficult to feel I am ignoring others pain and hardships and I have to get a balance to preserve my sanity.

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