What to do when you're experiencing Covid-19 information overload
If you're drawn into endlessly checking your phone or watching the news, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Life coach and hypnotherapist Camilla Sacre-Dallerup has some tips to help you cope when things get too much
With more time on our hands for the vast majority of us and virus news being pumped out from every channel, platform and page, it’s no wonder our brains might be feeling frazzled right now. There are, however, ways to manage the intel you’re exposed to and create a calmer mindset, says life coach and hypnotherapist Camilla Sacre-Dallerup...
Timetable your updates
It’s important to keep informed but it’s also crucial to be disciplined with it. We’re all exposed to a lot of information at the moment and scheduling a portion of it into your day can help. You know when we talk about which tribe or community we belong to? Apply the same principle with your new sources.
Pick one or a handful of top news sources that you trust. You could sign up to a news bulletin that delivers a daily round-up of everything you need to know and of course stay informed with the latest government daily briefings, too. But put time frames on your news consumption and schedule it into your day. This could be first thing in the morning, perhaps, or maybe before or after your evening meal. Just don’t schedule it before you go to bed because you’ll carry that into your sleep and it may cause you stress overnight.
Be firm with yourself
Here’s a scenario that we’ve all likely experienced. When you see a dramatic story pop up, be it on your phone, tablet, computer or tv, what do you do? Is your first reaction ‘Oh, I really don’t think I should read this’, yet you carry on and feel terrible despite knowing you would have been better off dismissing it? If you believe that something is going to cause you anxiety then don’t read it! It’s as simple as that.
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As human beings, we sometimes possess a tempting curiosity to look when we shouldn’t, like when we pass an accident on the road. But we have to ask ourselves, ‘Is this really helpful in this moment to us or anyone else?’ Be choosy about what you read - pick your sources (the ones that won’t make you feel terrible) and stick to them.
Tune into your breath
Can’t break the social media cycle of news and updates? Perhaps you started this morning by reading one Facebook post that made you feel uneasy and then suddenly found yourself reading five more. Everyone has been guilty of this at one time or another! If you find your anxiety, fear and panic levels rising, now’s the time to put your device down and do something completely different.
For me, getting in tune with my breath is my go-to calming fix. I literally just drop down to the floor, lie on my back and do some gentle belly breathing - in through the nose and out through the mouth. While I repeat this, in my mind I say that I’m letting go of whatever has been causing my anxieties as I exhale, and I do this for three minutes. I call this my reset button. Drop, breathe, reset. Give it a try!
Set clear boundaries
Handling well-meaning friends and family members on the phone, or in your household, requires a different approach when you can't simply switch them off! Relaying a gentle but clear message that sets your boundary can be very effective without the fear of putting anyone’s nose out of joint. You could try saying ‘Hey, if you don’t mind, can we talk about something else because this is making me feel uncomfortable and I don’t think it’s helpful right now’.
Don’t be scared to communicate your boundary in that moment and just be honest about your vulnerability. A simple switch of subject matter can take away any awkwardness you might feel by setting that boundary, and you can start to talk about something lighter.
Switch the subject
As human beings, we connect through drama and we feed it to each other because it is a form of connection. For example, if someone starts a conversation and says ‘Did you see that news report on the tv? It was shocking!’ and then the other person joins in to agree and adds their bit, you can find yourself falling into a downward spiral of negative drama. If you think about it, it kind of affects us in a way that gossip can - leaving us feeling a bit yucky sometimes!
You can be that person who switches direction with something more positive, like instead saying ‘By the way, my neighbour delivered some homemade cake to everyone on my street today, which was a lovely surprise!’ Surely that’s the kind of news we could all do with hearing about right now?
Featured image by Mimi Thian on Unsplash.