News and content sources are like a 24-hour café. You keep consuming all it has to offer and it will keep you up at night.

How to deal with the overflow of coronavirus news to avoid anxiety

If your WhatsApp messages seem to have doubled since the pandemic, and if you’re being constantly bombarded with coronavirus news, you’re not alone. Of course, most people mean well because what the world is facing right now is not something that can be taken lightly or easily forgotten. 

However, at such times it’s hard to find a balance between consuming news to stay informed and over-consuming news to the point of anxiousness and panic. You should take a few simple steps to ensure that you’re not unnecessarily consuming news that’s making you feel anxious or unsettled. 

1. Choose a specific time 

It’s important to stay updated, especially during a global crisis like this, but it’s not healthy to consume news constantly. Starting your morning by reading the news on your phone is a big no-no. You don’t want your brain to wake up to mortality statistics around the world. Checking the news before bed is also something to avoid because it will be harder for your mind to feel calm and relaxed enough to fall asleep. Ideally, set aside 10–15 minutes daily after lunch or in the evening after work to check news updates. Do not leave your television on all day with a news channel running in the background. 

Related: 6 practical ways to keep yourself updated on Money matters

2. Turn off notifications

Whether it’s news apps on your phone or social media, go to your phone settings and turn the notifications off. By doing this, you aren’t available to consume news or advertisements as and when someone decides to send it to you. It helps you focus on whatever you’re doing without being constantly distracted. You should also unsubscribe from any newsletters in your mail that are contributing to your anxiety. 

3. Talk about other things

It’s normal to discuss what’s happening with your family, friends, and co-workers because it’s hard for everyone to process this crisis. However, it’s been a while now, and it’s good for everyone’s mental health if the discussions related to COVID-19 are kept to a minimum every time there’s a video call or phone call. You should make a conscious effort to discuss other things – whether it’s a new recipe you’re trying out during the lockdown or an interesting book you’ve been reading. 

Related: Cyber fraud: Common financial scams and how to avoid them?

4. Seek positive news 

Around the world, there’s so much that individuals and organisations are doing to help others during the coronavirus pandemic. Scientists are hard at work to develop a vaccine, artists are creating and uploading their content for free, NGOs are doing what they can to help the homeless, companies are offering their audiobooks and streaming services for free, etc. Reading and indulging in such positive and hopeful news will help balance your consumption and won’t leave you feeling frustrated with the state of the world. 

5. Spend time away from the screen

Even if you’re not actively seeking coronavirus news, you’re constantly getting it from multiple sources. It’s therefore essential to indulge in activities that don’t involve any screen time – whether it’s your phone, laptop, or TV. Try taking up an activity that positively engages your senses, such as painting, baking, dancing, meditation, or reading. 

Related: 5 Things to do if your financial information is stolen

6. Remember to take breaks

Yes, there’s a global pandemic right now with a nationwide lockdown, but you’re doing the best you can by self-isolating and taking all other necessary precautions. It’s okay if you’re not constantly staying updated with every single thing that’s happening in the world. It’s okay if you choose to watch a light-hearted movie that makes you laugh. You can consume content that isn’t news. You don’t have to feel guilty about it. 

When you’re locked away in your home for weeks on end, constantly consuming coronavirus news can make you feel like the world is coming to an end, and we’re all doomed. Hence, at this point, being judicious and selective with content consumption is more important than ever before. Read this to know how to prepare yourself financially during a pandemic.


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