Self-Care for When You Have Spent Too Much Time Watching the News and Now the World Seems Overwhelmingly Sad

By: Emma Jones

With the constant barrage of news from all sides, keeping up-to-date on stuff that’s happening in the world can be exhausting. Hearing about wars, famines, and political polarization 24 hours a day can make you want to turn off your computer and hide under the covers. In order to be an active and engaged citizen, it’s important to stay informed--but it’s also important not to burn out from all the negativity. Here are some tips on how to take care of yourself when it all feels like it’s too much.

1. Take care of your actual physical body. Remember that, no matter how fire your Twitter hot takes are or how many Reddit forums you have commented on today, you do still exist as a physical entity and you need to take care of yourself in order to continue that existence. Take a deep breath. Take a shower. Go outside for a minute. Eat a vegetable. You can’t change the world if you die from scurvy, and you’ll feel much more prepared to tackle the big issues once you have spent some time taking care of yourself.

2. Lighten up your newsfeed. Your time spent on the Internet doesn’t have to be all news all day. Although it can feel like you have an obligation to stay as informed as possible about as many things as possible, there’s only so much your brain can handle. Follow some meme accounts. Watch a dumb YouTube video. Waste some time on Facebook. It’s ok. You’re allowed.

3. Focus on the little things you can do to help. Big, international crises can feel daunting, and the more we learn about them the more we can end up feeling powerless to do anything about them. It’s helpful to remind yourself that although you may not be able to end the ethnic cleansing that is taking place in Myanmar, you can help raise money for refugees, for example. There are often small ways that each of us can contribute that will at least help make things better while the world figures out how to fix the larger issues. Your work may not end with just the little things, but focusing on those little things can help keep you grounded when you are overwhelmed.

4. Commiserate with friends. When worst comes to worst and you can’t shake the feeling that the apocalypse must be approaching, find a pal and cry about it together. Friendship, support-systems, and empathy are the building blocks of social change, and besides, being sad about the world feels much better when you have a buddy to talk to about it.

Emma Jones