Is the news getting down? I totally get it. I too want to be informed and aware of all that is happening—thank you 2020—but the reality is that all the doom scrolling and news-watching are not doing our mental health any good. In fact, what I’m hearing from family, friends and patients alike is that news-related stress is at an all-time high, leaving many of us with intense and persistent feelings of worry and fear about the future.
If you feel like you’re stuck in a never-ending cycle of consume-stress-provoking news-worry-about-all-the-things, there is hope. Even small changes can lead to a significant improvement in your mental health:
- Though it might seem basic in nature, do what you can to step away from your news sources and give yourself space from all the negative input you’re getting. Turning off notifications on your devices so you can control when you consume news media is a great first step!
- Journal your thoughts. Taking a moment to write down your thoughts can do wonders for your mental health. Ask yourself: What is worrying me and what can I do about my worries? Then write it down.
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Meditating can go a long way in quieting the chatter in your head, and can help you regroup and refocus on your day.
- Listen to music. No matter your choice in genre, music can positively impact your mind and allow you to reset.
- Do something that distracts you like cooking/meal prepping, knitting or reading. I like to remind folks that this does not have to necessarily be something productive, but rather constructive. In other words, do something that feels good and which nurtures you.
- Be mindful of unhealthy habits triggered by your stress and do your best to come up with alternatives.
- Incorporate self-care into your daily life. In times of stress, it’s especially important to nurture yourself by moving your body, eating balanced meals, sleeping, and reaching out to a mental health professional if you feel like you could benefit from speaking with an expert.
- Tell those closest to you what you need. Verbalizing how you’re feeling can be incredibly therapeutic as you learn to work through challenging life moments.
- Using these tips as a jumping off point, create a stress management plan by paying attention to what stresses you out and what makes you feel better. (This is similar to the Loneliness Game Plan I write about in my book).
Keep in mind that you can start small – even with just one of these suggestions – and build from there! If you want more tips for managing stress and anxiety, check out my book The Little Book of Game Changers: 50 Healthy Habits for Managing Stress & Anxiety where I share inspiring insight from many field experts.
Remember, we’re living in crazy times, so be gentle with yourself and others.