Let’s be honest. 2022 hasn’t gotten off to the best start. From the COVID-19 Omicron wave to the war in Ukraine, most people have been getting a lot of negative content on their news feeds.
While it’s important to stay informed, consuming too much trauma-related news is not good for your mental health. Experts say it can raise the risk for depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress symptoms.
And what’s worse is that this could be happening without you realizing it. Take for example, when you log into your social media accounts to see what your friends are up to. But instead, you’re exposed to bad news that inadvertently affects your mental health.
So how can you stay informed, enjoy your time on social media and protect your mental health all at the same time? Here are four tips we recommend.
Avoid Re-Watching the Same News Reports
According to experts, rewatching the same news reports can have a detrimental effect on your mental health. News outlets have the tendency to report the same information over and over again but in different ways. For example, they might bring on another news reporter to share their opinion.
Ideally, you only need about 20-30 minutes of news consumption a day. This is enough to get you up to speed on what’s going on without consuming you in negative content. It’s also recommended to listen to trusted news sources and avoid graphic images and videos.
Read Summaries Without Graphics
To elaborate on the previous sentence, it’s best to get your news in written words instead of videos. Audio and video clips can be visceral, meaning that they relate to deep, inward feelings. Seeing or hearing someone suffering in Ukraine, for example, can take a major toll on your psyche.
Limit your international news consumption to just once or twice a day. It’s very easy to go down the rabbit hole and start binging on negative news. This can lead to feelings of helplessness because, aside from donations, there is not much you can do.
Refocus Your Energy on Self-Care
When living through times of global crisis, it’s especially important to protect your mental health. By reducing the amount of time you spend on social media, you can put this time into yourself. Some of the best self-care practices to implement into your routine are:
- Get enough rest at night, ideally seven hours or more.
- Aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day.
- Manage your stress levels with meditation, yoga or prayer.
- Spend time with positive influences.
- Seek mental health therapy in NJ and talk to a counselor.
Volunteer Your Time or Donate Money
Finding ways to volunteer your time and talents is another way to reduce stress and protect your mental health. This can help reduce the sense of helplessness that many people feel during difficult times. In this case, you could donate money or send care packages to Ukrainian refugees. Or, you could help out at a local homeless shelter to give back to your own community.
Recognize When Help is Needed
These are a few of the ways you can protect your mental health when the latest news is stressing you out. You can’t get away from it entirely, but you can stay informed on the facts while taking care of yourself from within.
If at any time you feel that you could benefit from more structured support, contact CTRLCare Behavioral Health. We specialize in mental health therapy in Princeton NJ, and have convenient telehealth services as well.