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Mental Health

5 Healthy Ways To Stay Engaged In This Overwhelming World

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

When things are terrible (which is, unfortunately, most of the time), it is natural for humans to pull away and disengage in the act of self-preservation. But there are many healthy ways to stay engaged, so we do not reach that point.

The majority of what is reported in the news reflects the state of the world, which is, frankly, not positive. This is the reality that we collectively live in. And while so many of us do our best to stay engaged and continue to take action where we can, there is only so much capacity that human begins to have for the constant, overwhelming stream of negative news.

Thankfully, there are healthy ways to consume the news, stay informed, take action, and fight to make the change that will not lead us to burnout or disengagement.

Here are a few ways you can do that…..

Limit* your news intake.

*This does not mean you stop watching or reading the news completely

There is nothing healthy about consuming the news 24/7. Set limits for yourself! For example: do not consume the news until you have been awake for at least an hour — allow yourself an hour of peace in the morning and adapt the same routine to your nights by not consuming any news an hour before going to bed. Notice how you feel when you have allowed yourself that mental space.

Stop Doom-Scrolling.

When a significant event occurs somewhere in the world, do you find yourself continuously scrolling through your social media feeds or refreshing the news to consume all possible information about what is happening?

That is DOOM-SCROLLING. And it is terrible for your mental health.

If you catch yourself in a doomscrolling spiral, step away from whatever device you consume the content. (Yes, physically distance yourself from it.) Set some boundaries with yourself, for yourself. This can look like putting the morning and evening times to consume news or perhaps choosing just one or two outlets from which you are consuming the information. Doing what you can to limit doomscrolling is essential for your mental health.

Consider how you feel before you check the news.

Checking in with yourself and honoring your mental capacity is essential.

A constructive way to gauge our limits for bad news is to consider how we feel before taking it in. Ask yourself how you are feeling mentally before you turn the information on or begin reading the information online. Are you feeling down or pessimistic already? How would you feel if something were to intensify this existing feeling? Are you okay with the probability that the news is almost certainly bad?

One of the quickest and easiest ways that people get burnt out in the space of trying to stay informed and engaged all of the time is by not honoring their mental health. It can be easy to forget, but it is worth reminding ourselves: we must take care of ourselves if we want to care for others.

Focus on what you can control.

Focusing on the things within our control is a valuable way to stay engaged, especially when mostly everything happening around the world is out of our control.

There are several things that each of us has control over:

We can control the content that we consume

We can control how often we check the news

We can manage the accounts we follow on social media

We can handle the people we engage with about the information that we find upsetting or overwhelming. (Try to engage with those who make you feel grounded, not more overwhelmed.)

We can control the actions we take to make change

We should make a concerted effort to remind ourselves about these things we can control whenever we become overwhelmed about how much we can not control.

Take intentional, meaningful action where you can.

Doing something is better than doing nothing. Do not let anyone make you feel like any small action is not enough.

When we are intentional with the actions we take — especially when those actions are meaningful both to us and to the overall cause we are about — it makes a massive difference in the way we can stay engaged in the long run.

Even if you make it small and feel insignificant, remember: single drops eventually fill a bucket.

May is mental health awareness month. Here at HCICU, we take our time talking and discussing mental health, and as a team, we try to create a space where everyone feels safe to speak and share what is on their mind.

Is always listening to music and never paying attention. But tends to get around with things :)
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