If you, like me, suffer from the throes of anxiety or find yourself catastrophizing in even the smallest of issues (me every time I am faced with a difficult parking situation…) then I implore you give yourself a little media checkup.
Here is the short and sweet version for how I stay informed without going crazy and spiraling into a pit of despair.
- I stay off social media.
- I got on Facebook to share news that my blog is now an official “.com” (yay for no more ads!) and I used Facebook for the church livestream this morning, but other than that… I have’t scrolled through or posted to Instagram since Christmas and I rarely if ever get on Facebook. I’ve found that “fear spreading” is common on social media. And as an anxious person, I latch onto it and it becomes less information and more something to add to my pile of worry.
- I allot 15 mins each day to reading all the recent posts from my local news channel.
- Usually it take less time, but I only get ONE news check per day – not 15 1-minute checks each day. Recently though they have only been sharing lists of the people in the city who have died, been hospitalized, or tested positive, so I may rethink how often I allow myself to view these as well. (work in progress)
- I listen to the ABC News COVID-19 podcast each day.
- The podcast is called “COVID-19 – What you need to know”. It ranges from about 30mins to an hour and they provide highlights of all of the top virus news from around the US and then have various experts answer questions that have been sent in.
Doing these three things has helped my virus-related anxiety immensely. It will look a bit different in your own life, but I recommend choosing TWO sources of media – one local and one national/global – in whatever form you prefer to consume and then place a time limit on each. I imagine that this pandemic is a marathon not a sprint, so imagine the impact on your body and mental health of keeping up this heightened sense of alarm for months on end. I’m only in the beginning phases of my medical classes, but I can tell you right now that the results aren’t too pretty. Right now I am following all of the local orders and sheltering in place and limiting my trips to buy essentials, and for me the very last thing I need is to be an anxious, sweating mess about things I cannot control. It’s not good for my health, it’s not good for my grades in school, it’s not good for my relationship with my roommate because she has to put up with me 24/7, and it’s not good for the rest of my relationships.
I get teased endlessly for my personal rules that I have set concerning consumption of media. Truth be told, I was doing this form of curating long before Coronavirus had even hatched. I encourage you to give it a little test run. Curate the media that you consume during this pandemic and watch how beneficial it can be.
With love and gratitude,