Darcy Glancey discusses how we can balance the difficult news cycle.
The events of the last two years have made the whole world feel very despondent. Checking our phones became a chore because it seems that every notification is more bad news. When our mental health is already struggling from national lockdowns and online learning, this can be extremely overwhelming. Covid-19 dominated all news outlets by March 2020, and it was a time of confusion and panic. 2020 had us all making a strenuous effort to keep things together; the news was something we all had to make a conscious effort to keep up with to understand new restrictions or daily Covid statistics but simultaneously, it was incredibly draining. Doomscrolling, the tendency to keep scrolling through bad news despite finding it upsetting and depressing, was something I’m sure many of us became accustomed to as we scrambled to get the latest pandemic news as it unfolded, and continue to find ourselves battling with now.
As an avid Twitter user, I am constantly exposed to the latest trending news. Twitter, whilst a great platform for keeping informed, can also be very toxic. You wake up one morning and something is trending; suddenly yesterday’s big news has been superseded by this latest piece of news – the cycle is continuous. However, despite the overarching sense of anxiety and sadness that characterised 2020, tweets that expressed being grateful or thankful increased by 20% globally. People are looking for positivity amid the doom and gloom of the relentless news cycle.
If you have found yourself feeling down from being bombarded by one negative story after another, consider checking out @thehappynewspaper on Instagram; a newspaper published every three months celebrating only positive news. One piece that surfaced recently was the remarkable number of blue whales recorded in the coastal waters around the sub-Antarctic Island of South Georgia by scientists from the British Antarctic Survey. They saw 55 different whales, which is a huge increase from the two that were spotted in 2018. I must say it is refreshing to hear, considering the ongoing climate crisis, and is also a nice reminder that there are still positive things happening, despite what the top headlines may suggest.
Another great place for happy news is Good Good Good, a media company founded by Branden Harvey, with a mission to “help people feel less overwhelmed and more equipped to make a meaningful difference”. Good Good Good offers subscriptions to a newspaper full of positive stories, a free weekly email newsletter of five articles that are sure to inspire, and a podcast called “Sounds Good!”.
It’s amazing that we have sources for nice news, however it is still crucial that we remain informed about all news, even if they are of a less cheery nature. So, is there a way we can balance our news consumption better? I think it’s important to take care of yourself and your productivity, avoiding falling into the trap of a mundane routine that consists solely of waking up, going on your phone and staying in bed when you’ve not got anything else to do. This will only damage your mental wellbeing and thus consuming any kind of bad news will probably hit you ten times harder. Make the effort to surround yourself with good people and tweak little things about your routine that could negatively impact your wellbeing. Is your sleep schedule as it should be? Is your living space a little cluttered? Finally, don’t feel guilty for struggling to keep up with everything. Allow yourself some distance from the news apps every now and then and remember; we are not immune to the human side of news and that is okay.