09 Apr Slowing things down and reducing our news intake
It’s difficult to think of an event in our lifetime that has dominated the news cycle quite like COVID-19.
It has managed to infiltrate the news unlike anything before it. Even September 11 didn’t cancel all sport and force us to stay indoors.
Nielsen estimates this pandemic will increase news consumption by 60%. It’s important to stay informed but what is the toll of consuming so much negative content at a time when it’s so important to stay positive?
Find the perfect balance
It can be difficult to know how much news is the right amount and it varies from person to person.
If you’re indulging in far more news than usual, take a step back and consider whether it’s affecting you. There comes a point where we’re hit with so much bad news we don’t realise the toll it’s taking on us.
The constant stream of death and destruction is undeniably depressing. Both here and overseas, there is very little to lift our spirits.
If your mood has worsened over the last month or so, the news may have a lot to do with that.
Switching off entirely is not really an option, particularly when government advice and laws change by the hour. But there are ways to reduce our news intake while remaining informed.
Dr Norman Swan’s Coronacast has proved a huge hit with audiences. This daily podcast only runs for around 10 minutes, which some people use as their necessary hit of news before getting on with their day.
If that short burst every day is all you need to feel like you know where things are at, that’s great. On the other hand, spending hours in Facebook groups that spread rumours and fearmongering is a sure-fire way to become even more fearful.
Overconsumption also negatively affects our productivity.
Don’t hit the pause button
Since the Great Toilet Paper Crisis of early 2020, some people are under the impression that it’s time to bunker down for the apocalypse.
If you’re reading stories for hours about doom and gloom, many of them sensationalist and inaccurate, it’s going to create a catastrophising attitude.
But how can we possibly work to our full potential when the world is falling around us?
Unfortunately for those who envisage a future like The Walking Dead, shops are still open and we can go outside to exercise. Things could be a lot worse.
In the meantime, this is no reason to hit pause on your career. Yes, things are crazy right now but if you have a roof over your head, food in your pantry and a desk to work at, you should be able to carry on.
We aren’t living in a dystopia just yet, so continue with a positive attitude to build your career. There’s no reason to put your life on hold waiting for things to return to normal because our idea of normal simply isn’t going to happen.
The government will not flick a switch to return us to 2019. Companies and their employees will take a long time to return to the status quo.
Look after yourself
There is no single approach for everyone to deal with coronavirus. Everyone processes crises differently.
It’s barely been a month of craziness but it’s OK if it’s getting to you.
What you can’t afford to do is wallow in worry and uncertainty.
If you have a lot of nervous energy, find a way to reduce it and process it positively.
Disconnecting from a constant stream of media and focussing on one or two good sources is one method.
If you can’t prevent your anxiety entirely, find active solutions for it. Talk to a counsellor or channel the energy into something productive outside of work.
Get stuck into a classic novel. Learn a language. Find something to disconnect from the uncertainty of 2020 and be at peace with the current situation.
Slow things down and prioritise your own wellbeing. Stop worrying about when things will be ‘back to normal’ and deal with the past instead of relying on the future.
Remaining diligent and focussed is imperative to dealing with this crisis. How we choose to do that is up to us.