How Do You Handle Information Overload?
The past couple of weeks have been intense for our city and country. National news coverage went into overdrive a few months ago with impeachment news, with no sign of slowing down as the November election gets closer. Global news tells us of fires, earthquakes, and the spread of the coronavirus. In contrast, our whole city has been celebrating the Chiefs Super Bowl victory. It is a lot to process.
How do you take care of yourself - When catastrophe and exuberance are both a click away?
Here are some practices that help me:
1. Honor all your feelings. Before and after engaging with social media or the news, check in with yourself and notice what emotions and sensations you’re feeling. Notice any tension.
2. Be present to your intentions. Sometimes social media and the news is helpful and informative. Sometimes is it overwhelming and stressful. Being clear about your intention before clicking into Facebook or opening a news article can make a big difference. Why are you engaging with that app or that article? Before clicking, make a conscious choice, identifying what is motivating your choice.
3. Give yourself permission to disengage at any time. If you click on an article expecting information and all you get is opinion, you can close it. If you notice that you‘ve caught up on events for the day, you don’t have to keep reading. It is easy to get lost scrolling through posts and headlines. Step back when you have enough information.
4. Share the burden. You don’t have to shoulder all the problems yourself. You can release it into the care of Spirit. You can tell a friend about your feelings, or your therapist, or your pastor. You’re not alone. Show yourself some love.
5. Do something about it. Use what you notice about your feelings to get involved with causes you care about. Angry about healthcare? Contact your Congresspersons or volunteer . Feeling sick about the fires in Australia? Donate to a trustworthy organization. Did a friend post about a crisis on Facebook? Call or text them with a message of affirmation. One person can’t change the whole world. You can work with others in small ways to make a big impact over time.
These are just some of the practices that help me cope with the overwhelming amount of information available to us at any moment. Are other practices helpful to you? What would you add to my list?