Now that we’re stuck at home, you may find yourself glued to your phone more (if that’s even possible). My New Year’s resolution was to decrease my screen time, but that went out the door the second we had to close ours for yet another lockdown. From devastating floods, to unfair anti-LGBTQ+ punishments, and a terrifying rise in gender-based violence – the bad news doesn’t seem to end. And we can’t stop checking for it.
To be fair, we are still in a state of emergency, so it’s important to stay informed, but it goes from helpful to unhealthy when we start obsessively scrolling through social media. The bad news begins to take a toll on our mental health, bringing more anxious feelings and negative emotions with it. As our anxiety goes up, and our mood goes down, we can’t help but to feel hopeless all over again. Here’s why you should start limiting your daily news consumption.
What is doomscrolling?
Doomscrolling is used to describe our tendency to continue scrolling through bad news, regardless of how saddening, disheartening, or depressing it is. Surprisingly, it’s not a new term, but after the year we’ve had – we get why it’s become a buzzword.
Why do we do it?
Not being allowed to leave the house has left us with a lot of free time our hands (sometimes too much). Without our regular activities and entertainment, negative news has taken over our conversations, and even caused FOMO as we see others speak up about social issues. Other than seeing it as a way to connect with others, it also gives us a sense of control – something we desperately need during a time of uncertainty and uncontrollability. Staying up to date has also made us feel productive, as well as prepared for future dangers and threats. It doesn’t help that most of us are addicted to using our phones either, which makes our social media habits even unhealthier.
How do we stop?
What will make you put down your phone – deleting apps, turning off notifications? If you still don’t trust yourself, set screen time limits to stop you from spending too much time scrolling. Use your newly freed-up time to do activities that you need, or want, to do as an enjoyable, and actually productive, distraction. After reading the news, don’t forget to allow your self to rest and release any tension.
Find out how to develop a healthier relationship with social media here, or how to cope with compassion fatigue here.