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.
Can you believe it’s almost been a year since the COVID-19 outbreak? As much as we want it to end by 2021, The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center shows that there is an increasing rate of infections coming from countries who were thought to be controlling their outbreaks.
We’ve experienced lockdowns, travel restrictions, strict guidelines, and just when we were getting used to the new normal – we now find ourselves preparing for another wave. If you’ve started to feel stressed and anxious again from all the fear and uncertainty, here’s how you can cope with those difficult thoughts:
- Acknowledge what you’re feeling
The World Health Organization puts it best – when we are unaware of our thoughts and feelings, we get hooked on them. Start noticing what you’re thinking and how it makes you feel. By understanding your feelings, you’ll be able to avoid getting consumed by your thoughts.
- Practice grounding yourself
When you start to feel overwhelmed and distracted, you need to slow down and refocus your attention to the present. Start by focusing on your breathing and then move on to your surroundings. When you worry about the future, your thoughts begin to race so you need to remind yourself that you are in the present.
- Educate yourself
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has advised that we get to know the facts about the coronavirus to help reduce the stress from fake news and rumours. Discuss your concerns with a doctor and prepare yourself by finding out where and how to seek treatment.
- Take care of your body
Stress can also affect your physical health, so it is important to eat healthy food, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. Although there are no foods or dietary supplements that can prevent or cure COVID-19 infection, these are healthy ways to strengthen your immune system.
- Connect with others
If you’re feeling lonely or isolated, share how you’re feeling with someone you trust or talk to a mental health professional. You can socialise with your family and friends to help distract your mind from stressful thoughts.
Remember, it is normal to feel anxious and you don’t always have to be positive – your emotions are valid. Make sure you’re aware of what you’re feeling, and find reassurance in knowing that there are plenty of resources and welcoming arms to help you.
Let’s take care of ourselves and each other during these trying times!