How to Practice Self-Care When the News Sucks

02 January 2019

Lately, it seems like the news has been filled with horrible thing after horrible thing. Worse, it becomes inescapable and almost addicting to read more and more about these horrible things because of our presence on social media for hours a day. This feeling isn't just from reading reputable news sources, but the everyday person's responses to this news can also be extremely upsetting.

Although it may feel like your duty to stand up and get into Twitter wars or tear strangers apart on a mutual friend's Facebook post, the seemingly futile efforts can prove to be excruciatingly daunting--particularly if what you're fighting about is something that you've experienced personally or are extremely passionate about. I know that I personally have just felt depressed as a result of having and reading conversations with blatantly ignorant people.

Because of the toll that the news can have on a person, it is important to practice self-care during times of hardship and politically charged events--especially when the news triggers memories of our own personal traumas

Delete Social Media Apps

You don't have to go as far as to delete your entire social media profile, because I, of anyone, know how important social media is in the modern world. However, deleting Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform apps from your phone will allow for less time spent consuming toxic comments and headlines that can be distressing. For some reason, just telling myself to not check Facebook wasn't enough, I had to remove it from my phone entirely to break the habit.

If you're anxious about going off the grid without a warning, you can make a post or status update informing your friends and family that you'll be taking a break, and leave necessary contact information if needed. For me, deleting Facebook has brought me a lot of peace during this time, and if I need to check on work-related Facebook items, I can still just check on my computer!

Have a Relaxing Pamper Evening

This applies to everyone! Winding down and treating yourself with a hot bath, a face mask, painting your nails--taking care of your needs for one night with no distractions is an excellent way to escape the outside world and just focus on yourself. I suggest doing this on a day you find yourself especially down or triggered. If you notice thoughts drifting back toward The Bad Stuff™, practice breathing exercises and reframe the mind to instead concentrate on the current activity.

Ignoring your problems is not always the solution--but dedicating one evening to forgetting about what's going on outside and focusing instead on yourself and self-soothing can be quite healing.

Watch Something Funny

When I was in school and my mental health wasn't the greatest, coming home and watching How I Met Your Mother was my sanctuary. I became so attached to that programme because I associated it with the soothing quality laughter has on a person. They always say--laughter is the best medicine! Although HIMYM isn't everyone's cup of tea, there are tonnes of shows at our disposal no matter your taste. Think of something that never fails to make you laugh and smile and just escape for a bit into that world.  After all--laughter is the best medicine!

Another way to apply this trick while still staying informed is by watching satirical, comedic news programming and shows that commentate current events, such as The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live, or, my all-time favourite, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. If you don't have cable, the pieces are typically up on YouTube within 24 hours of going live.

Let Your Creative Juices Flow

Developing a new artistic skill or practising a hobby you enjoy is not only a great distraction, but art is a wonderful way to express pent-up feelings you're harbouring in a tangible way. No matter your art of choice--music, painting, embroidery, makeup, etc., there is some way to express how you're feeling, without getting too political (unless you want to 😉).

Even if you don't feel like expressing your emotions, art can be an equally beneficial distraction (there she goes with distracting yourself again!) and has beautiful results! Dedicating oneself to a craft sparks all sorts of lovely feelings and can be truly cathartic. 

It's so important to practice self-care every now and then, whether there is a reason or not. I hope that 2019 is your year to take care of yourself and keep your best interests in heart, regardless of what may or may be on the news in the coming year. Remember that your mental and physical health should always come first and take the time to soothe and you'll be relieved a lot of extra stress.

Happy New Year and best wishes to all of you!

x, Sarah


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