6 ways to maintain mental health while staying informed
Updated: Apr 2, 2020
In the 21st century, we have grown accustomed to having information almost immediately. And let's face it, social media is a necessary part of our lives in 2020. From maintaining contact with friends during the #Coronavirus, to using our Facebook to register or log-in to service provider websites, we have grown dependent on social media.
Since the outbreak of this virus and pandemic, emotions have run high. There has been a desire to try and manage our anxieties with the Novel Coronavirus pandemic by trying to learn everything there is to know about it. However, as quickly as you can type and submit a question into your Google searchbar, that information has been outdated. We find ourselves in uncertain times with more questions than answers and immersed in a cyber-world with social media news feeds.
This is a recipe for increasing symptoms of ANXIETY and/or DEPRESSION in an already uncertain time.
Maintaining mental health needs to become a priority.
How do you maintain your mental health despite all of the social and news media? Try these simple steps.
1. Self-reflection and understanding your response to consuming media.
Social distancing has increased our screen-time and consumption habits on our devices. This has a secondary effect of making us stay on social media for longer periods of time every day. We view content from our friend's posts and like, comment, and share. Very often, we only are exposed to snippets of worthwhile information that undergoes little to any resource-checking.
Ask yourself what forms of media are you reading, watching, or spending time on? How are you left feeling after spending time with these devices? How are your thoughts impacted by your habits?
2. What is your purpose in consuming this media?
Are you on social media to stay in contact with friends during this time? Are you using social media for news updates? Or are you playing Animal Crossing?
To consume content, we draw into a judgmental mindset where we decide if we like or dislike something. Social media platforms have algorithms that only show content that you might find interesting or that is tailored to your consumption habits. This means (and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it) your newsfeed is biased to you and your interests. If you are spending time on social media, try to limit the actual news data you are accepting as fact unless it's from a trusted news site or journalist source. If you are looking for actual news to track the latest regarding the Coronavirus, try a news website or platform that you trust.
3. Monitor how much time you are devoting to news updates.
It is impossible to know all of the information.
There is a correlation between how much time you spend watching the news, and anxiety symptoms. Try limiting your exposure to media every day. If there are truly news breaking stories, perhaps try limiting yourself to reading only one or two articles and not going down the rabbit hole.
Remember tomorrow is a new day with new events and updates!
4. There is more good in the world than what is shown on the news or on your newsfeed.
There is always good to be found in situations. While the world as a whole is experiencing health crises and panic, we are very rarely shown the good news that is taking place. Take a look at this video below:
5. You are not alone in this!
You are not alone in any of this. Those fears, those feelings of anxiety, others are out there feeling the exact same way. Now is the time to keep in touch with your social supports, your friends, your family, or to even reach out to others online to check in and see how they are managing.
It is extraordinarily easy to find yourself self-isolating. Social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and even quarantining, do not mean that you have to stop talking with others. Technology has made communication easier than ever! If you haven't done so yet today, reach out to a loved-one and check-in with them. Make it a point to carve out time in your schedule and "new-routine" to be social.
We are social beings, and together we will get through this!
6. Preferred levels of communication
There are many different ways to communicate with others. While you may have a preference of texting in your communications with significant others, try to make it a point to communicate where you can assess tone in a conversation. This can be through voice communications like over the phone or with video-chatting like with Zoom, Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Messenger, among others!
You are in control of your behaviors and habits. Social media and news consumption doesn't need to control how you live your life. Remember, there are bright spots out in the world during this dark time. Go out and find them!