Take breaks and deep breaths in between.
With the horror that comes with the news these days, it’s hard to stay optimistic. You browse your newsfeed and feel as though your device’s screen is sucking the life out of you. The headlines can be grim, the comments can be dreadful, and the effects are absolutely draining. It can also be alienating, as though you’re in a simulation looking around aimlessly and thinking, “This is happening, right? Everyone’s seeing this?” (It is. They do.)
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This may be because the conversation around politics can seem like it exists in a vacuum, one where it is devoid of humanity. The onslaught of events and commentaries pile up before we even have the time to process a story, causing fatigue both mentally and emotionally.
For someone who is already riddled with anxiety, the reality of our society feels overwhelming, where the wrongs are too obvious to ignore, and the people in power are making choices too selfish to accept. At my best, I engage and educate. At my worst, I completely disconnect, much to my need to keep myself sane. However, there are healthy ways to manage the stress that comes with it and to help you cope during difficult times.
Speak to trusted friends about it
It’s nice to know that at least in a physical sense, you are never alone in this world. Emotions are universal, and there’s a good chance that someone is having the same sentiments as you. When you have that camaraderie, your burden eases a little bit. Discuss your ideas and opinions with a friend who will listen — not one who will impose their judgements on you. Having a constructive discussion with someone is a good way to let it out and to feel grounded and connected with another human being.
Filter your news sources
Know your sources well. A lot of outlets thrive on clickbait and sensationalized headlines, and they usually make you feel like everything is on fire. Frequent exposure to atrocious news always leads to feelings of hopelessness so choose publications that are careful with their words, ones that are responsible with the information they put out, sans unnecessary exaggeration.
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Take breaks every once in a while
While it is ideal that we all consistently stay updated and engaged, it’s okay to take breaks to save energy. Switching off allows you to breathe and slow down, and pauses allows space for other things in your life, may it be outlets of creativity, or even menial sources of entertainment, that help you feel better.
Engage in humanitarian or political efforts
One of the best and effective ways to feel better is to actually do something tangible. On ground engagement is also much appreciated by organizations and causes that do the hard work for our rights, and they are usually in need of volunteers. Research on how you can get involved, and dedicate the time and effort to serve. It’s replenishing, and you’re not only helping yourself, but also contributing to a greater good.