I have made it a ritual to listen to BBC World News every weekday without fail. This is to stay informed not only with what is happening in my country, but in other countries as well. Also, it’s a habit that was passed down from my father and his father to him.
Generally, listening and watching the news has had its ups and downs for me. For one, it is great to be informed about what’s going on in the world and know as much as I can. But it’s often inundated with devastation, sadness, and despair – on a normal day, not when we’re all dealing with a global pandemic. When all of this started, I was feeling anxious until I decided to change my focus.
If you are struggling between staying informed and feeling anxious from watching, listening, or reading the news, here’s what you can do.
Change your phone notifications
What apps have you allowed to notify you? If you’re feeling stressed, go through the settings on your phone and look over all the apps that notify you. Remove notifications from any news apps you have subscribed to and keep the notifications you do allow, to a minimum.
I minimized my app usage after realizing I spent so much time on Twitter in a day, trying to get all the news I could. Changing it all up during this time has helped keep overwhelm at bay.
Reading has a way of drawing you into a different world. There are hundreds of books on various subjects and hobbies that can make you feel like you’re learning new things and staying in the loop without having to know death tolls and other things that might make you feel uneasy. Get lost in a book for a few hours.
Start a movie marathon
Pick a movie/series franchise (I just finished Shameless) and have a marathon! Getting started on a movie marathon is similar to starting a show – it gets you focused on something else for a long time. Netflix has so many movies to choose from. If you don’t know where to start, try out Friends and thank me later.
Listen to new music
Who are your favorite artists? What genre of music do you enjoy? New music is still being released during this time, and it’s yet another way to stay involved. You will have something to talk about with friends, and it’s a great way to pass time. I am currently listening to Promises by Maverick City on repeat. I highly recommend you listen to it.
Watch a documentary
Get sucked into a documentary or docuseries to pass the time and get your mind focused on something else. I have been sucked into true-crime and well, it’s a good place to start.
There’s a documentary on Ted Bundy that was involving – mentally. Try it.
Download a new podcast
Just like a documentary, a podcast you can really sink your teeth into is a great distraction. These ones are some of the ones you can choose to keep you occupied every day!
Remind yourself why you’re watching the news
Set an intention for watching, listening, or reading the news, in the first place. If you really want to be informed, keep your news watching, reading, or listening to a minimum. Set boundaries for yourself, and stick to them. If reading about what’s going on is important to you, that’s okay, but keep your mental health in mind too.
Try a new recipe
There’s a reason why this works – cooking, takes focus, and putting your time and energy into something else right now is exactly what you need. I recommend these recipes.
Talk to your loved ones
Sometimes, staying informed on what’s going on in the lives of your friends and family can make up for those feelings of isolation and loneliness. Give a call to a friend or your family, or reach out via text, or video call – you’ll feel much better knowing your friends and family are there for you in whatever capacity you need it.
Be kind to yourself
If you watch the news and it makes you cry, or it makes you sad, anxious, upset, angry, frustrated, or depressed, that’s the most normal thing you could feel right now. It’s expected that we will feel a little resentment toward the news right now, so allow yourself to feel those feelings first and foremost.
Remember, this too shall pass.
Stay Home & Stay Safe!