Published on February 10th, 2017 | from CAMH
How to stay informed while maintaining a healthy mind
By Dr. Donna Ferguson, Psychologist with the WSIB Psychological Trauma Program
“My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane,” reads an editorial cartoon by The New Yorker’s David Sipress. Suffice it to say, this is a message that rings true for many people who’ve been reading the headlines in the last few weeks.
There has been a lot of mainstream and social media coverage following the inauguration of U.S. President Trump. And the nature of this coverage has become increasingly hostile surrounding hot button issues such as his executive order banning entries from seven majority-Muslim nations. It’s been just a couple of weeks since he stepped into the Oval Office, but the new president has been the main subject of conversation – even here in Canada.
It seems like every day there’s a new hashtag related to U.S. politics, and before we’ve even had a chance to get up to speed on the latest trending topic, a new one has emerged. The constant onslaught of bad news and negativity can be emotionally exhausting. So what can you do to stay informed while maintaining a healthy mind?
Keep tabs on your emotions. It’s always important to think about your own mental health and how the people and environments around you are having an effect. If you’ve begun to notice that constantly reading the headlines has impacted your mood, it’s time to make a change.
Turn it off. You can still remain informed without checking your social media feeds relentlessly throughout the day. Maybe you check once a day, maybe you check once a week – find what works best for you. Avoid letting what’s happening online overwhelm you by devoting your time to the things that make you happy and keep you healthy.
Practice self-care. You’ve heard it before, but it can make all the difference. Make time for sleep, exercise, regular meals and social time with friends or family.
Reframe your point of view. The next four years are going to be a challenge. It’s okay to be disappointed with some of the radical ideas floating around or the changes that have happened already, but thinking only negatively will lead nowhere good. It’s important to strike a balance between realism and optimism. Find ways to get involved and have a positive impact in your own community.
It’s been a busy few weeks for Tweeters everywhere following the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump. It’s important to stay passionate and informed, but not at the risk of your mental health. Keep tabs on your emotions, take a break from the news, practice self-care and reframe your point of view.
February is Psychology Month in Canada. CAMH would like to celebrate the amazing work of all of our psychologists, who make life-saving contributions to the lives of the clients they serve.