The 24/7 News Cycle: 5 Ways To Look After Yourself

It’s as if the earth is self-destructing, and world leaders are playing top trumps to see who can bring it to the ground fastest.

The other day I reflected with colleagues that the last couple of weeks have flown by. Usually someone would throw in the old “time flies when you’re having fun” adage, but we all knew the state of the world right now is anything but fun.

Time seems to be moving at double-speed, with another unthinkable news story breaking every day. Covid, partygate, natural disasters, the Russia-Ukraine war – you literally couldn’t make this sh*t up.

When we feel completely powerless against the news of the world, how can we look after ourselves and each other? Here are 5 things you can do right now to feel a little bit lighter.

Sit with it

What are you feeling right now? We often repress uncomfortable emotions to avoid experiencing them, but we end up carrying them around anyway, bubbling beneath the surface.

Take time to sit with what you’re feeling. Where is it in your body? What is it telling you? Try to accept any emotion with compassion. If you’re struggling to connect with your body, this breathing exercise from Wim Hof is a good place to start.

If you’re at the centre of the events unfolding, your emotions might be driving you to action. If you’re further removed, they might be an expression of helplessness or fear for the future.

Be selective

When our brains receive messages faster than they can process them, we experience sensory overload. This is particularly prevalent during periods of breaking news, when the story is still unfolding.

Make a list of all the places you get your news – social media accounts, TV channels, radio shows, the cashier at the supermarket. How can you use these tools to keep you informed and in control, while reducing the noise?

Perhaps you need to turn off notifications and check the news at a certain time of day. Maybe there’s a particular news source you trust to present the facts without bias or exaggeration. Make sure you know how to spot fake news too.

Connect with loved ones

In times of turbulence, it’s easy to feel isolated. Use this opportunity to reach out to friends and family, either virtually or in person. Share how you’re feeling – chances are they’re experiencing something similar.

You can also use this time together to focus on the things that bring you joy and hope. Share a meal, play a board game, watch your favourite film.

Do your part

If you’re feeling helpless, it can be useful to do something small to feel connected to the people at the heart of what’s going on.

Check Instagram accounts such as @shityoushouldcareabout and @simplepolitics for ways to help following specific events. Whether it’s donating to those affected, campaigning your MP to get involved, or spreading the word on social media, a collection of small actions can go a long way.

People on the ground have put together a list of ways to help those affected by the Russia-Ukraine war.

Get creative

It’s no surprise that so many people took up creative hobbies during the pandemic. Producing new things gives us a sense of control amongst a largely uncontrollable world.

Write a poem, bake brownies, learn to knit. Whatever floats your boat, bring something new into the world. It doesn’t even have to be good, the joy is in the creation.

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