With the influx of news and events that is occuring now, it’s hard to find a line between becoming informed and overwhelming yourself. A majority of the news that is being published recently is mainly pessimistic, focusing on the mounting number of cases and deaths resulting from COVID-19. Also, since all of our schooling and most of our work has been shifted to online platforms, we have an influx of free time that we use surfing the Internet and social media, contributing to the overstimulation of news.
My morning routine for the past month has consisted of me waking up, going through emails, and reading all of the top news headlines for the day. Most of the time, I don’t gain anything from it, even though I tell myself I’m updating myself, it usually leads to feelings of helplessness.
When the COVID situation started coming to my attention, other universities around the world were starting to close and the NBA was suspending its season. Me and my roommates sat in our living room that night, and I remember the collective fear and anxiety we felt over the whole situation.
During this time, it’s extremely important to take your mental health into account. While yes, it is important to make sure you’re informed, there needs to be a clear line drawn with how much information you’re consuming.
There’s an algorithm to the news that you’re reading and watching. Humans have a tendency to gravitate towards the bad and the scary. There’s something about the stories on murder, kidnapping, death etc. that catches our attention and holds it better than other, more uplifting stories might. When you tap into this news feed, you’re creating a cycle of anxiety and depression that’s completely self-induced.
To ensure that I’m staying informed without becoming overwhelmed in this time, I’ve subscribed to the New York Times daily email. I get all of the top headlines for the U.S., and the COVID-19 outbreak, without it becoming too much. This way, I can stay on top of the news, and not let the negative stories dominate me.