Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
How To Deal With The News & Cope With News Overload
Published Jun 30th, 2020 & updated on May 22nd, 2021
Well, well. Who would have ever thought that you’d be googling ‘how to deal with the news’ so many times this year…
It’s 2020 and a year none of us could have predicted. December had us making dad jokes like “I don’t know what next year holds, I don’t have 20/20 vision.”
Now that’s just accurately scary. We were not prepared for shit to hit the fan. Anyone else feel like they’re scrambling to keep it together??
A global pandemic has ripped through countless communities. Economies around the world have been negatively impacted. Racism, white supremacy and police brutality continued to run rampant. And we don’t know yet for sure that we’ll survive the murder hornets.
BUT. We have also found ways to move forward.
We figured out how to adjust our social behaviour and respect boundaries that will keep us from spreading an infectious virus.
And we are working on tearing down systems built on racist pillars and recreating our reality to be accepting, loving, and united. The work of countless activists and the Black Lives Matter movement have instigated real change y’all and we’re here to do the work.
We saw LGBTQ+ rights win a huge civil rights victory in June 2020. The United States Supreme Court declared gender identity and sexual orientation protected from discrimination in employment.
WILD. This is what we’re capable of when amazing humans get together and drive change.
All of this, however, means your newsfeed has been on fire and we’re willing to bet it has taken an emotional toll.
Speaking to our in-house mental health professional, Natalie Asayag LCSW, we came up with a few strategies to help you navigate your feelings — and your newsfeed.
1. Limit The Amount Of Time You Spend Reading The News
Be alert to injustice in society and stay aware of your part in it. Continue to strive for a deeper understanding of social issues. Yes to tough conversations, yes to factual and relevant news intake, yes to uncomfortable growth.
However, you also need to take a step back and let your head absorb everything it just consumed. This is especially true if you find yourself turning to news briefings or news apps automatically when you open your phone. Sometimes we do this habitually without realizing it.
Every 15 minutes that you spend lost in mindless scrolling adds up throughout the day and tires you down needlessly. Limit how much of your time you spend on news.
2. Set Boundaries For Yourself — Not First Thing In Morning & Not First Thing At Night
If you’re the person who loves to read the news in the morning, that’s great! Just don’t do it right after you turn off your alarm. Give your body time to wake up. Take those few minutes of your morning routine to shake off the slumber before you set the tone with the news.
Also consider turning off news notifications to help you regulate when information is thrown your way. This way the power is in your hands!
3. Set Boundaries With Friends And Family Around Conversations
Kindly check in with your friend(s) before a call to see if you can agree on boundaries around the news. Why? Because we all process information differently. They may want to vocalize what they’ve been reading but you may prefer to process internally.
Here’s what you could say:
“Would it be okay if we limit how much we talk about COVID? I’m getting a little overwhelmed by everything I’m hearing.”
“Can I ask that we don’t spend too much time talking about _____ on the phone today? I’d love to catch up on all the other wonderful areas of our lives.”
“I think I may have overwhelmed myself with how much information I’ve taken in about ______. Can we give our brains a break from it and catch up on other things?”
4. Avoid Social Commentary
You hear this all the time because it’s crucial: go to credible news sources. With so many people sharing posts, stories, and articles, find the original if possible and make sure it comes from a reputable source.
Don’t get sucked into what people are saying about it. Many opinions are posted on social media because it’s a great vehicle to make your voice heard. But listen to more than one voice. Follow individuals who give you more than one perspective. Learn to break down an instagram story or a facebook post into the opinion that is shared and the facts that accompany it.
Balance your newsfeed so that you’re getting a mix of negative and positive stories. So often we forget to highlight the good news that we end up constantly battered by the bad. Feel-good stories will keep you from burning out. Our favourites are NPR (National Public Radio) in the US, as well as John Krasinki’s “Some Good News” channel on YouTube.
5. Give Yourself The Space To Think About How You Feel About It
As in, how did the news you just read make you feel?
What emotions are popping up for you?
What do you need in this moment to cope with these emotions?
Journaling is a great tool to explore these questions and learn how your body and your mind are responding to the news. And that’s ultimately our mission — to help you DiveThru what you’re going thru.
We’ve gone ahead and done the research for you. The benefits of guided journaling are countless and that’s why this practice is recommended by many psychologists and neuroscientists. Whether you have a huge life moment you need to process or just everyday stresses, we’ve got a Dive for you!
To help you navigate your feelings during this insane time we’re going through, check out our Processing The News journaling prompt within the app (it’s free to download!).