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  • Writer's pictureSue Gascoyne

Breaking News - too much news is bad for our health

Most of us are probably finding ourselves checking our phones and devices much more regularly than usual for nuggets of information and updates at this rapidly changing time. Although at the time this can feel like the best way of staying safe and connected to the latest information, it is also a recipe for anxiety, as it becomes increasingly difficult to put things into perspective and escape the constantly looming shadow of Covid-19.

Gone are the days when families huddled around a single radio to listen to news, although chillingly redolent of Churchill’s ‘at war’ broadcast, many children will have accessed Boris Johnson’s lockdown announcement while alone in their room on their smart phone, without the shared support and togetherness, or crucially limits and filtering of parents or carers. Although 24/7 news portals do help keep us up to date, they also feed our anxieties and

feelings of not being in control.

Here are some ideas for re-establishing limits and regaining control over the news.

  • Try to limit times to watch or listen to the news.

  • Avoid doing so before you go to bed as this may make it difficult to settle or affect the quality or length of your sleep. I learnt this the hard way when I was up ruminating at 4am!

  • Plan a walk or some time spent outdoors after getting a news update, as this will give opportunities for processing and reflection.

  • Try to do something physical or creative after a news update, such as exercise, painting or cooking, to let the stress fall away.

  • Delete social media updates so that you can be in control of what information you receive, when and where.

  • Limit social media groups to those with positive people.

  • Build in family discussions at meal times to share family news, thoughts and concerns.

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