My client, I’ll call her Tina, was near tears telling me how upset she was about the situation in Israel.
“It’s like I cannot stop reading about it. And whenever I get on social media, I see these images of what’s going on there…I just feel so heavy and so upset!”
We spend a good bit of time in our session just processing all that this and other crises in the world raise for her; fear, despair, confusion…all of it so valid and so very present nearly every time she reaches for her phone. And that was part of Tina’s problem. Like most of us, she reaches for her phone dozens of times per day…and truly disturbing and challenging information and images bombar us over and over and over again.
What does self-care look like when it comes to being aware of what’s going on in the world AND trying to stay steady and ok? I’ve looked back at the good ‘ole days with longing, remembering when you could only get new news twice per day; with the morning paper and the evening news. There’s a sanity to that pace that we lack now. We are limited humans with finite capacity for alarm and yet we are connected to the nervous systems of everyone on the planet through our phones. That’s rough.
Together with my clients, here are four ideas to keep some balance when it comes to being informed:
- Pick and choose what you’ll take a deep dive on. You may be motivated to be informed about what is going on in the world, but face it, it is neither possible nor advisable to learn about everything! Perhaps you limit your deep dives to local stories that impact your life, or you learn a lot about one world situation at a time. Or perhaps you limit yourself to reading about the news just once per day…like we all used to!
- Pivot to prayer for the situation. What if you spent equal time reading and praying about a concerning situation?
- Seek out the good news–there are “good news” websites that you can follow that may bring some feel-good stories that are equally true and valid but just may not be headliners in today’s alarmist news cycle.
- Balance your listening. If you’re like me, you listen to NPR or other news sources while driving around or getting ready in the morning. I’ve made adjustments to help insert some joy and calm into the mix. I listen to a book, worship music, 70’s dance tunes, or the Lectio 365 app. I still listen to the news, but I limit it.
Let yourself off the hook for not knowing about everything all the time. You just can’t and it isn’t good for your well-being!
Please add ideas that have helped you in the comments below! We need all the wisdom we can get!