5 Ways To Cope With Distressing Events In The News

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The news can be very distressing. Here are some things that you can to do to better cope with what’s going on around the world.

1. Manage your news intake

If you’re constantly being bombarded with sad or worrying news, it can make you feel very low. As much as it’s good to know what’s going on in the world, it’s also great to take breaks to help look after your mental health and emotional wellbeing.

You could try to set a specific time that you’ll look at the news, or promise yourself you won’t check the news in the evenings, for example.

2. Check your sources

Some news outlets will share information that is most shocking to the viewer. Sometimes this information is misleading as it doesn’t include the whole story.

Remember to select the sources of the information very carefully. Aim to read, watch, or listen to factual pieces backed by evidence from reputable sources rather than dramatic pieces with the snappiest headline.

3. Monitor time spent on social media

Sometimes you might be scrolling on social media and see something distressing. Be aware that even if you didn’t go out looking for news, you’re likely to stumble across it on social media in times like these.

Try to only look on social media when you’re feeling able to do so. You could set a time limit for the social media apps you use that will restrict your access after a certain amount of time, so you’re not spending too long infinitely scrolling. You could also do a social media cleanse and log out completely until you’re feeling more able to cope.

You can report anything you see on social media that is upsetting, worrying, or that is spreading misinformation. If someone posts lots of things you find upsetting, you could block them.

4. Look after yourself

It’s essential to try and eat well and get a good night’s sleep to help you cope with what’s going on in the world. Doing a little bit of exercise can also help you to manage.

Whether you’re still going to school, college, university, or work, remember to give yourself breaks so you’re not overworking yourself.

Make some dedicated time to practice self-care and do something you enjoy. Focusing on something can distract you for a little while, which can help you feel more able to cope. It may be that you do a jigsaw puzzle, watch an episode from your favourite TV show, or read a book.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try to focus on what’s going on around you and ground yourself. A great grounding technique is the 5-4-3-2-1 method.

5. Get support

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the news, talk to your friends, family, or a trusted adult about how you feel. Sometimes talking about it can lift the weight off your shoulders.

If you don’t feel you can talk to anyone, you can speak to Meic. Meic is an information, advice and advocacy helpline for 11-25’s in Wales. You can contact a Meic advisor anonymously and for free by phone (080880 23456), text (84001), or online chat. They’re open from 8 am-midnight every day.

Meic logo - text reads the letters M, E, I and C

This blog was written in March 2022, following the invasion of Ukraine and the media attention around this. More recent conflicts that are shared in the media include Palestine and Israel. It is important to remember conflicts are happening all over the world, resulting in destruction, human tragedy and refugees.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, check out TheSprout’s Mental Health Info page for more information on how to get help.

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