Social Responsibility & Mental Health: It’s Okay to Take a Break
It’s no secret that watching the news and constantly being up-to-date on social media can lead to serious mental fatigue. And the media can quickly become an obsession.
You constantly browse through your Facebook or Instagram to ensure you get all the latest info. Maybe you even keep trying to refresh your news app. It happens to the best of us (me included!).
And the news can definitely get ya down!
The media flashes stories about all the negative happenings in the world - often ignoring much of the positive. You might begin to feel overwhelmed with compassion and just straight-up mentally drained.
Feeling Compassion Fatigue?
For instance, compassion fatigue is a real thing. It’s characterized as both emotional and physical exhaustion leading to an inability to feel compassion or empathy for others. You almost become desensitized, which isn’t exactly ideal. It creates an out-of-touch feeling and detachment from others’ feelings and your own.
And while it’s absolutely your responsibility to stay informed, you can put your phone, tablet, or laptop down. Pull yourself out of it. Give yourself some space. You don’t need to stay in the know on every single detail - or at least not for every single second of your day.
So, what can you do? Where can you begin to draw the line between your social responsibility and mental health?
1. Delete Your News App
This may come off as extreme. But anything you need to know, you will know. It’ll pop up in your Facebook feed or a friend will text you. I actually deleted my news app a few years ago - hands down, one of the best things I’ve ever done.
When the app isn’t there, you just don’t think about it. Any urgent news will be flashed all across your social media or on the latest updates section of your phone or browser. Checking the news doesn’t have to be a daily occurrence.
So… If you’re feeling super drained by all the negative news, delete that app! Save your mental energy for other activities - like bettering yourself through meditation or other self-care tactics. Trust me - it’ll get you so much farther in life than browsing the news 24/7 ever will.
2. Put Your Phone Out of Reach
Easy. Simple. Straight-forward. If you’re beginning to feel slightly blue and out about the media, keep your phone out of arm’s reach. This means putting it in another room if you have to.
And this one’s pretty obvious. If it’s out of reach, you can’t do that whole absentminded reach and browse move (you know the one). You aren’t thinking. You grab your phone and start browsing, whether that be the news or social media. Quit doing that. It’s not serving you or your well-being.
3. Schedule Digital Detoxes
You don’t need to rent a cabin out in the woods for this to be possible (although you could if you wanted!). Simply plan a time that doesn’t involve any digital devices. Take that digital detox. At the same time, it might be a good idea to plan what you’re going to do instead.
And don’t feel pressure here. You can still have downtime - just without your digital devices. Plan an activity, such as a board game night, a baking session, or crafts. Chances are, you’ll probably start to feel a little more freedom and less pull toward your devices after each time you do a digital break.
Learn more: Start a New Season with a Social Media Detox
4. Download a Media Time Tracker App
Yes, this sounds counterproductive because it is an app to limit your time on other apps. But hear me out!
You download a social media time tracker app. You set the amount of time per day that you deem acceptable but not overbearing to spend on each social media app. When you’ve reached your limit, your time tracker app notifies you.
Sometimes, this can prove to be a rude awakening. You think there is no way you will ever go over 2 hours on Instagram. Low and behold, you’ve spent 2 hours on Instagram without even realizing it.
This is also a great way to increase your overall awareness regarding how often you browse your news and social media apps. For some, it’ll be a wake-up call - but one that you desperately need.
Drawing the Line
The one person that knows your limits the best? You.
Pay attention to how you’re feeling as of late. If you feel overly impacted by news or you feel overwhelmed, it’s a sign. It’s your body and mind telling you, “Hey, we need a break.”
This might sound harsh, but we mean it in the kindest of ways, the only person you can control is you. There is always bad news. We live in a world of 7 billion-plus people. Try to focus less on what you can’t control and focus more on what you can control.
You have control over your health, what you eat, what you spend your time on, how you treat others close to you, and so much more. Pour your energy into these aspects of your life. Avoid giving too much attention to the things that are way out of your control. It’ll help!
Go Ahead - Take a Break
You’re 110% allowed. In fact, for your own mental health and well-being, you might desperately need it. Delete that news app. Put your phone out of arm’s reach. Do a few digital detoxes. Become more aware of the time you spend on certain apps.
You got this!
Want to learn more about what you can do instead of browsing the latest media? Why not start a new daily meditation habit? Click here to learn more!