Recently, it has felt like there is nothing good going on in the world. From national news of school shootings, families being ripped apart, and feeling like our country is constantly on the verge of war, to more local news about car wrecks or violent robberies, we’re left feeling feeling some combination of overwhelmed, angry, scared, and unsettled.
It makes sense to want to bury your head under the covers and forget the world. Or maybe watch the news 24/7 to make sure you aren’t missing something. You might feel paralyzed, hopeless, and unable to do anything. Or maybe you spend all of your time and energy calling representatives, trying to save everyone.
Both of these paths are likely to leave you feeling burnt out and overwhelmed. We often ignore the effect these national and local incidents have on us because we think they shouldn’t be such a big deal if they didn’t happen directly to us or anyone we know. But seeing violent images or hearing heartbreaking stories absolutely impacts us and our mental health and makes self-care incredibly important.
Here are some ways to stay involved with current events without overwhelming yourself.
1. Remember that you alone are not responsible for saving the world.
Sometimes we become so overwhelmed with bad news or politics, we freeze and spiral into a pit of guilt. We feel like we aren’t doing enough and like anything we do won’t matter anyway. And then sometimes we neglect our own needs and families. We get stuck on going to every rally or calling every senator every hour of the day. Rallies are great, phone calls are great, and voting is definitely important, but know your limits and what you are comfortable doing. Choose to spend your energy wisely. When we are intentional with our time, our actions (no matter how small) become more meaningful. We are able to fully engage. Taking action is an effective way to feel less hopeless, but you aren’t going to save the world by yourself. Don’t underestimate the effect seemingly smaller steps like voting or sharing a post on Facebook have.