Everything is Terrible, and it’s Okay to Turn Off the News

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.

 

-Darci

8 thoughts on “Everything is Terrible, and it’s Okay to Turn Off the News

  1. Out of curiosity, what sort of reactions have you received for the suggestion of sometimes turning off the news? Positive? Negative? Mixed? I agree with you, but I would imagine that not everyone agrees either.

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    1. A mix. There’s the loud “have you been watching the news?! Now is not the time to be quiet!” And then there is the quieter “I totally understand and share your feeling of helplessness right now”. Politics are very charged right now and elicit strong emotional responses from everyone, no matter what you are saying.

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      1. Hmmm. Somehow I’m not surprised. Politics are very charged these days, as you noted. And I’m guilty too. When my younger brother didn’t want to watch so much of the news (for the reasons you cited), I got quite cranky at him. Not one of my brighter moments.

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  2. omgosh… I have so felt the same way in the last several weeks. I was watching CNN to Jimmy Dore, so much. Then I would get clips of children being murdered it’s making me sick. It was time to tune out and it is a good idea doing something kind for someone else.

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  3. I always tell people I want to do something that doesn’t hurt my brain after my daily dose of current affairs. Being black, woman and an immigrant means I’m always overwhelmed by the amount of things affecting my communities and I need memes or Beyoncè to function.

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