If you’ve been watching the news much at all over the last two years, perhaps you have similar feelings about the world that I do: everything sucks and it’s only getting worse.
A lot has changed in America. We seem to be more divided, and more steadfast in our views and biases than ever before. And no one is interested in discussion or problem solving. Half the country is apparently ok with foreign interference in our elections, deporting our neighbors, and imprisoning children.
In 2015 when #BlackLivesMatter movement hit the mainstream due to the deaths of numerous African American deaths by police actions, I struggled to watch the news. In 2016 when gay clubs were getting shot up and Brock Turner became a household name, I struggled to watch the news. Ever since the Orange Orangutan took office, I have struggled to watch the news. Now that people are seeking asylum, and instead are being criminally charged and separated from their families, I struggle to watch the news.
I feel helpless. And watching the news doesn’t seem to fix anything.
Terrible news, dark times, are actually why I love celebrity drama. Taylor Swift used to be very reliable for dating drama, celerity feuds, and generally easy to find tabloid excitement. Luckily right now Ariana Grande is taking on that role. When people are getting unjustly detained, when rapists are walking free, when black people are being killed for being black, I can’t watch the news any more. And celebrities can create for a very helpful distraction.
And it’s ok to disconnect. Get away from the news cycle, away from your newsfeed and comment battles. It can be triggering, traumatizing even. But it most certainly is depressing.
I have a hard time disconnecting from the news, simply for the fact that I actually work for the news. I can only avoid reading our coverage to an extent, and then there are the water cooler conversations all day long. I find my tolerance for politics talk is more than drained by the end of the day.
But at some point the helplessness wins, and I have to turn it all off. I have to block it all out. I donate where I can, make my calls, and then I tune out. And I focus my time and energy elsewhere.
It’s important, for me, during these times to find someplace to not only distract from the darkness but to put my energy to good use. Find someone I can help. Even on a small scale. Find some way to pay it forward, put good energy into the world, or to just be kind. There can be large scale ways to pursue this, and there can be micro moments to engage in. But during these times I think it even more important to be intentional about being kind to one another.
No matter your situation, take it easy on yourself. Turn off the news, find someone to help, be good to each other because the world needs more kindness.