Staying Healthy and Woke: How to protect mental health while exposed to a negative news cycle.

Receiving news has changed immensely within the past decade. News used to be more accessible through physical mediums such as newspapers, magazines or television, allowing people to somewhat regulate how much news they can consume. Now, the world is under a 24 hours news cycle where you can see what’s happening anywhere at anytime on any platform. You can find news without the intention of seeking out information simply from scrolling through social media.

While it is easy to stay informed, it is also easy to get overwhelmed and triggered with the negativity that is in the news today. However, many active citizens of the world still like to know what is going on around them. This can be a challenging line to walk.

It is important to keep in mind that even the ability to ignore news is a form of privilege. Many people cannot make this choice because it is their lived reality; they do not have the privilege of turning it off. With this in mind, how do we keep ourselves in a healthy mindset, while also staying informed and aware?

We can do this specifically by practicing newscycle self-care. When I find myself feeling overwhelmed with the news, I try to do activities that will take me away from my phone, where it is easy to get sucked into the continuous news cycle. I like to go for walks, spend time doing blackout poetry, or get absorbed into a new book. Any activity that can ground a person in their present reality, instead of the latest news frenzy, can be helpful.

Another way to do news self-care is regulating how much you check your news sources a week. If you find yourself checking the news every day and find it overwhelming, try reducing your news consumption to two times a week, or take a break on the weekends. In addition, reducing your social media consumption is also beneficial because it prevents you from news that may spontaneously come up on your feed. This ensures that you will stay informed on what’s going on in the world around you and stay in touch with those important to you, but also allow you to take care of your mental state too.

In addition to regulating your news consumption, it is also healthy to talk out some of the news you may find distressing with people who you trust. Those people can perhaps not only empathize with how you feel, but can help you begin to recognize the emotions you’re feeling and process them in a healthier way.

The 24 hour news cycle can be hard to handle or manage, but it is also important to stay well-informed and aware about what is happening in the world and how it is impacting others. In order to stay well informed, but also take care of ourselves, we need to make sure that we utilize a self-care that is not only fitted to our individual needs, but helps us when we are triggered by a story in the news.

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