Taking a Mental Health Break From the News

Cut back on spending too much time immersed in the news

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News about COVID-19 is hard to look away from these days. Updates and alerts seem to be on rapid fire, and unfortunately the news can feel scary and overwhelming. Too much bad news can be detrimental to our sleep, our mood, and our overall mental health. We’ve got ways to help you cut back on spending too much time immersed in the news.

We’ve put together a few tips that will: 
  • Help you reduce the amount of negative news you consume
  • Give you tips and ideas for alternatives to the news
  • Find ways to relax when the news causes you stress
1. Pay attention to how the news makes you feel as you engage with it, and afterward. 
  • After you read, listen or watch a news story about COVID-19, how do you feel? It’s common to feel stressed, anxious, sad, or even numb. 
  • If you’re feeling that way, you could benefit from limiting your news consumption so you don’t get stuck in those emotions. Noticing how you feel can help you make that change. 

Which leads to the next tip…

2. Limit the number of times a day you look at the news.
  • Choose one or two times a day when you’ll look at the news (and not before bed). Limit the amount of time you look at it. If it’s helpful, set an alarm for when you’ll look at the news. Then set a timer for 10 minutes and stop looking at the news when the timer rings. 
  • Turn off your notifications. Notifications on your phone not only can bring up stressful feelings, they distract you from what you’re doing and tempt you into reading the full news story. Instead of news notifications, review your city or town’s website during your set times so you don’t miss crucial information.  
  • Only read news from trusted sources. Local or national news organizations are your best bet. There can be a lot of misinformation on social media, which can cause more anxiety. 
3. Find pleasant distractions. 
  • If every time you pick up your phone, you’re tempted to check the news, choose another app instead. Open a meditation app, look at your photos, search for funny gifs to send to friends. Whatever it is, make sure it lifts your mood. 
  • Or, put your phone down and engage in a calming activity. Go for a walk, take a deep breath, stretch.