I don’t think there’s a moment of my day where I am not plugged into either my phone or my laptop. I am always connected and receiving new information constantly. It ranges from being in touch with what my friends are doing to hearing about the latest from our government–I see it all. I’ll let you take a guess at which one makes me feel sick to my stomach more often.
It feels like every day something new happens that makes me upset. International disasters, uneducated statements coming from supposed leaders, and most recently, individuals coming forward to share their personal stories of sexual harassment, assault, and rape. The hashtag #MeToo has been spreading everywhere in response to those who do not realize the magnitude of the problem. Individuals are coming forward and bravely posting “Me Too” on their social media accounts, and I have seen so many of my personal friends participate. Call me sensitive, but seeing the sheer amount of people who have a personal story of harassment or assault breaks my heart. I am so proud of those who are bravely sharing their stories, but I ache for them and that experience.
If I’m not upset at the latest hashtag, I am affected by what is going on in our government. It seems as though at minimum every week there is a new battle to fight, kick, and scream about. We are living in a time of heightened stress for all of us. While I take being as informed as possible very seriously, each piece of new information really takes a toll on me. It triggers my anxiety, bringing up feelings of sadness and anger.
I find myself wanting to shut down and isolate myself from all of the information because it just feels like too much, too fast. Because I am constantly plugged in, I don’t even get the chance to process what is going on and take care of myself and my well-being through it all. Yet still, no matter how much it hurts, I don’t take a break from breathing it all in.
Why do I feel like I HAVE to be in the know at all times? It feels like a social responsibility to be well-informed of what is happening in the world around us and participate loudly by using whatever platform I can. I want to help amplify the voices that go unheard. If I don’t stay in touch, a wave of guilt comes over me for the privilege that allows me to stay quiet and turn my eyes away. But being in tune is also bringing on a new level of stress and it feels like my mental health can’t win.
I am beginning to learn that my survival is a political act in itself. Taking care of my mental health is something I need to do more often. We know ourselves best and we need to be able to take note of how we are being affected by negative events happening around us.
I am most fond of taking a social media and social responsibility break to take care of myself. I retreat into myself and try to be as gentle with my thoughts as possible. What I have found to help me most is getting to the news only once a day. Newsletter subscriptions like The Skimm allow me to stay informed about what is going on and process it all without feeling constantly overwhelmed and helpless. To take care of myself is just as important as participating in the bigger conversation. Friends have also suggested taking up meditation, to center myself and help with my anxiety–which I plan on taking up. In this time of negative information overload, what do you do to take care of yourself?
Photo by: Jonathan Encarnacion
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