How To Deal When The News Feels Like Too Much

"Remember - you can be politically engaged and have happy moments too"

The last two years have been extremely difficult for the world both collectively and individually. Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine is likely dominating your social media feed right now. The scenes emerging from Ukraine are truly heartbreaking and carrying around the news with you while you go about your daily tasks can feel like a lot to cope with.

Watching historic events unfold on our screens while we feel so helpless can be completely overwhelming, and if you’re feeling that way, you’re feelings are valid. Here in Ireland there is little that we can do, all we can do is accept the things that are within our control.

One thing we very much can control is protecting our mental health when we feel that the news is impacting it negatively. If you’re looking to take a step back and look after yourself, here are some tips for staying informed while still minding yourself.

Carve out some ‘no news’ time 

Instead of gluing yourself to the news 24/7, make some time which will be a news-free zone. Spend some time with your family or friends, and agree not to discuss the news for 1 hour or more. Leave your phone in another room and settle down with your favourite TV show, snacks, and cosy clothes. Remember you can be politically engaged and truly care about the heartache that other people are facing while still making time for yourself to have happy moments too.

Avoid stressful apps

Sometimes sticking to fun apps can make all the difference. Pinterest can generally be pretty unstressful and instead be pretty inspiring. You can get outfit inspo, bedroom aesthetic ideas, art and craft hacks, and just about everything else, usually with no news in sight. Maybe you have an app that you love that’s news free? Whatever it is, if you’re finding yourself scrolling a lot, try to veer toward the happy apps!

Rethink your news sources 

If seeing videos of explosions and people in need is dominating your social media feed, causing you to feel deeply upset, maybe it’s time to think of other news sources. Instead of scrolling on your phone, going down rabbit holes which only makes you feel more anxious, switch on the news instead. Sit down with your parents and watch the RTE One news, or read an article from a reputable source about the day’s news highlights. Getting your news intake in bite-sized chunks from sources that you can trust can make the world of difference when it comes to being informed while still remaining calm.

Talk to someone

Living through historical event after historical event will naturally take its toll on anyone. You may be feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or even genuinely scared. This is why it’s really important to reach out and let a parent, guardian, teacher or sibling that you’re feeling down or overwhelmed about it all. They can help you to talk through why you’re feeling the way you are, and give you some tools to cope.

Whether you choose to switch off, educate yourself, speak out or change apps, know that you can’t control everything that goes on around you, but you can control what you chose to do about it, and doing whatever makes you feel better is the best option.