PSA: You Don't Need to Feel Guilty About Taking a Break From the News

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As a political science major who is constantly checking in on CNN updates and AP News alerts, this past year has hit me – and my fellow politics-obsessed friends – hard. It seemed like any and all news was negative, leaving me feeling completely draining. To hear about all of these issues on a daily basis without any ability to ease or help the situation was genuinely exhausting.

Social media didn’t help either.

Instagram infographics on international and domestic human rights abuses, along with Tweets screaming “Why is no one talking about this?” filled my heart with guilt on a daily basis. My frustration approached the breaking point and all I wanted to do was throw away my phone, turn off any ability to hear the news, and even switch my major. It was that bad. 

Keeping up with politics and being informed had been my mantra for so long. “Stay informed so you can keep others informed,” I've always told myself. But at a certain point, taking in and analyzing the news began to feel more like a chore that drove my mental health into the gutter, rather than something I genuinely felt fulfilled in doing. And I wasn’t alone. Many others I spoke to shared the same feelings of exhaustion and not being able to care anymore, plus guilt for not feeling 100 percent motivated to change the world 100 percent of the time. 

election Photo by Markus Spiske from Unsplash Knowing I wasn’t alone, I began to slowly detach myself from daily news for a few weeks – allowing myself to not read every breaking news headline or know all of the facts of an international developing story. And guess what? My mental health started to get better. I felt less exhausted and drained while giving myself a much needed break from the insanity that is our world. While the guilt was overwhelming in the beginning of my news cleanse, it was worth all of the clarity I received. 

So, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to take a break from politics and the news. The infographics, Tweets and TikTok videos will still be there in a week, month or however long you need. While this is far from an excuse to stay ignorant to the things going on outside of our smaller worlds, it’s important to remember that individual mental health matters just as much as the breaking news stories and headlines floating around us all the time.

Don’t feel guilty prioritizing your mental health, especially in this Hell of a year we’ve had.