One of the things I am mindful of is how much news, information, and opinion I consume each day. So far, this week, it’s a lot less than last week. Last week, it seemed like something was changing every hour, and I wanted to know absolutely everything I could. In some ways, it felt irresponsible to not be keeping as up to date as possible. This week, I’m still very much aware of what is happening, but I’m not consumed by it. I can go hours without needing to check my phone for news updates or new articles to read. I spend less time on social media. I’m attempting to tune out the “noise” so I can carry on with my day.
These are the questions I’ve been asking myself this week to help figure out when it’s time to tune out or put my phone down. What do I need to know? What do I want to know? How does the information help me understand what is going on? What can I do with the information? Who/what is the source? What are their qualifications? Does it make sense or does it activate my spidey sense? Is it factual or does it just fuel anxiety?
The last one is hard. Everything that is happening is scary and causing anxiety! However, there is a lot of information that is speculation, and frankly, scare-mongering. For example, I read something yesterday where someone said after you come home from a walk outside, you should immediately throw the clothes you were wearing in the washing machine! For those of us who can be at home and are only going out for walks or groceries; washing our hands properly and often, remembering not to touch our face, socially/physically distancing ourselves, and self-isolating if we’ve been mandated to or are not feeling well are the best protective actions. Take a deep breath if that’s what you’ve been doing, you’re doing all the best things!
Today’s writing exercise – What do you need to know about what is going on? What do you want to know? How will that information help you and from what credible source(s) can you get it? Once you have that information, what are three things you will do instead of tuning into the news just in case something happens or constantly checking your phone for updates and new articles to read? How will you hold yourself accountable to do those things?
If that one seems a little tough, writing down the things you will do is a good first step, then review it at the end of the day. Tell someone in your household or someone you’re checking in with regularly about the things you will do and ask them hold you accountable. If you managed to do all (or even some) of the things, reward yourself! And then write down how it made you you feel better so you can go back and read it if you find yourself slipping back into old habits. Don’t be too hard on yourself. These are weird times, doing the best you can to manage each day is enough.