Five Steps to a News Diet

I am a news junkie. Perhaps it comes of my former career as a journalist, but it's probably the other way round. I've always had an interest in news. I like to know what's going on, especially in politics and science.

But I also have anxiety. Anxiety and news do not always get along well.

Like right now. This last weekend's massacre in Isla Vista--and the horrible wave of visible misogyny it unleashed--triggered me in ways I thought I could no longer be triggered. It coincided with John being away on a camping trip; when there is no other adult in the house, I can't sleep. Combined with the events over the weekend, it was just too much. I am exhausted and shaky, and so very anxious.

So it's time for a news diet. I've done them before. It's hard, but it does help when I'm like this. Here's how:

  • Stop consuming news. That means, no websites, no TV news, no news podcasts. That last is hard on me; I listen to at least three news podcasts every day, they're a part of my routine. This is the obvious step. I'm also unsubscribing to all the political newsletters I've somehow ended up on. Not even sure how that happened.
  • Reduce social media. This is also obvious! and hard. I'm a twitterholic, and I am on Facebook for professional reasons. So I'm limiting twitter to a strict list of family members for now, and only using FB to monitor a professional group I'm in (that I wish wasn't on FB--that place drives me nuts).
  • Court positivity. Part of what sent me into this anxiety attack was a science fiction horror story I read almost by mistake. I don't read horror and didn't know that's what the story was. And damn the writer--it was so well-written I couldn't stop. By the time I figured out what was going on, it was too late. Consequently, I'm listening to Jane Austen in audiobook. I'm going to read some Terry Pratchett. I may even break out the Mystery Science Theater.
  • Sleep. And by whatever means necessary. If that means sleep aids, that's what I'm doing. If it means naps in the day, that's what I'm doing.
  • Call the doctor. The last time I felt like this, my potassium levels were off. It's worth checking out.

Wish me luck.

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