5 Little Ways To Practice Self-Care If The News Cycle Is Affecting Your Mental Health
Figuring out how to keep up with the news cycle today without getting anxious isn't easy. You want to stay informed and know what's going on. But at the same time, every news alert can send you down into a deeper state of anxiety. With the current political climate, watching the news has never been more stressful. According to experts, if the news cycle is messing with your mental health, the best way to deal is to practice self-care. "It's so true that many of us feel overwhelmed with the negativity in the world today," Seattle-based therapist, Gretchen Glass, LMFT tells Bustle. "That's why it's important to remember that self-care is an essential part of mental health."
Practicing self-care isn't something you should find difficult. As Glass says, it's all about regrouping and grounding yourself if you feel like the state of the world today is emotionally overwhelming. With the latest reports about the missile strike against Syria, I think many of us could use a moment or two to take a step back, regroup, and calm any stress and anxiety we may have. So here are little ways to practice self-care if you feel like the news cycle is affecting your mental health:
1. Go For A Walk
Go outside, get some fresh air, and just go for a walk. If you're really stressed out, make it a jog or run. Just do something physical. According to Glass, it's important to stimulate other senses when you need a break from an overload of negative emotions.
2. Cut Back Your News Intake
It can be pretty easy to get obsessive over what's happening and what could possibly happen next. But if it's causing you emotional distress, it's probably best to take a break. "If the news cycle is upsetting to you and poisoning your life, go on a news diet," Lauren Handel Zander, life coach and author of Maybe It's You, tells Bustle. "Sure you can stay informed, but put yourself on a limited amount, i.e. check the news twice a week. Stay connected but not addicted."
3. Take A Breather On Weekends
"Even just a couple of days away from the news can have a restorative effect," Dr. Ben Michaelis, clinical psychologist and creator of One Minute Diagnosis, tells Bustle. He suggests turning off all news alerts on your phone, unsubscribe from your favorite news outlets if you have to, or if not, just shut your phone off at night. "The relentless barrage of BREAKING NEWS has been increasing the strain that people are experiencing," he says. "But very little of what you see is an actual emergency. So it can wait."
The two best days to get away from the world are Saturday and Sunday. Don't let the news mess with your weekend time.
4. Read A Book
"Reading as self-care can be viewed in a similar way to meditation," Elizabeth Lane, founder of literary service, quarterlane tells Bustle. According to her, reading is not only refreshing, but it does good things for your brain and sense of well-being. So grab a book and find another world to escape to if you're feeling like this one is letting you down.
5. Recognize Your Signals Of Stress & Channel Your Energy Into Something Positive
The number one thing to know about practicing self-care is to know yourself. Know your limits. What happens when you start to feel angry, sad, or nervous? Do you bite your nails? Does your heart-rate increase? Do you talk in a funny high-pitched voice when you start debating current events with other people? If so, those are all signs of anxiety and stress. "When you begin to feel this way, step away from the news and channel your energy in a positive way," Licensed therapist and certified trauma professional, Tamara Hill, MS, NCC, LPC tells Bustle. You can write in a journal or talk to someone about topics other than the news.
Hill also suggests finding ways to express yourself in healthy ways like contributing your opinion to a podcast or a social media discussion group. Just do something positive with all that anxious energy you may have. "This will take practice so you have to dedicate yourself to practicing these tools," she says. But this is probably one of the best ways you can practice self-care.
The news cycle today may be overwhelming. It's important to stay informed, but it's just as important to keep calm, stay positive, and take care of yourself above all.