I’ve frequently mentioned how important it is to limit your news intake. This is true any time, but it’s especially true now that we’re being bombarded with bad news 24/7.

I’ve already reduced my daily news intake to about 10 to 15 minutes a day, and only from reputable sources. I never watch anything, I read the few sources I trust online instead. And as much as I love seeing updates from my friends on social media, I’ve temporarily “hidden” the ones who constantly post links to news about the pandemic. All of that has contributed to lowering my anxiety levels, but I didn’t realize just how much even that small amount of news impacts my mental well-being until I took a complete 24 hours news break on my birthday.

For the first time in more than two months, I went through almost an entire day without feeling anxious. I had a little flare up when I brought in the meal I had delivered from my favorite restaurant. I still wipe down groceries and mail before I bring them in the house. My rational brain knows that it’s not necessary, but the emotional part of my brain still screams “cooties! cooties!” But even that little bit of anxiety was so much less than what I experience when I read the news.

There’s plenty of evidence that overexposure to news is bad for you. It puts your body into continuous “fight or flight” mode, and this constant stress response leads to a whole slew of health problems associated with chronic stress at a time when we should be doing everything we can to keep our immune system strong.

I realized during my 24 hours news break that not only did I not follow the news that day, I also hardly thought about COVID. Of course it’s impossible to not have it be part of your consciousness – after all, if it wasn’t for COVID, I would have gone out to a restaurant to celebrate my birthday with friends. But I didn’t constantly think about something I’d read about earlier in the day, wondering how it would affect me. It made me realize just how much the news stays with me even after my brief daily updates.

Now that I know just how much better I felt with no news for a day, I’m going to make sure I have at least one day a week without the news, starting today. Will you join me in a 24 hours news break?

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16 Comments on Sunday Quotes: Information Overload

  1. Happy Birthday Ingrid, stay safe and well. And your article is so very true; everything you read, everything you hear and watch have nothing but repeats or double talks without very little explanations. No two stations can give the same answers to the same interviews or their postings of the day’s news. It’s so bad you can’t even decipher who’s telling the truth or an untruth. How will we as a country be able to vote. Everyone puts the blame on the next person with no responsibility at all. The very best idea is to pull the plugs on all TVs and Radios and don’t even peak at the news on the internet. Have a Happy Memorial Day my sweet Allegra and my friend, Ingrid.

  2. Great idea! After reading another one of your posts about limiting what you watch on TV about Covid I started doing the same thing…I switch to a non news show as I have to have”white” noise all of the time as for me it helps with anxiety. I find I don’t need to know every minute detail about who says what about the virus.

  3. My husband is a news-aholic…he has it on most of the day. I wear headphones when I’m within hearing range. I haven’t watched the news in months, with the exception of hand-picked segments of CBS Sunday Morning (btw, this morning’s opening music was exceptional, as was Steve Hartman’s segment). I have been working on art projects and taking daily walks. And surrounding myself with my kitties, of course. Be well everyone, and Happy Belated Birthday Ingrid. Keep up the great work.

  4. Thank you Ingrid for the very wise reminder. I find myself on the internet way too much sometimes so I appreciate everything you said. I need to get back to reading a good mystery. This morning before I got up my almost 17 year old tortie Maggie came over and cuddled with me for awhile. That was pure heaven. She is so soft!

  5. Who would have guessed that I would get exactly what I needed from The Conscious Cat? 🙂 I have been dealing with a great deal of stress and also working on this “rational brain/emotional brain” struggle. Constant fight or flight mode describes it perfectly! After reading this earlier, I am committed to having a “no news” day and making a plan for lessening my exposure to it-as well as contentious social media posts featuring friends arguing! Just me and the kitty today, some school work and some rain outside and quiet music! Thanks for this post!

  6. I’ve bounced back and forth over the past 2 months, struggling with staying informed and being flattened by too much news. I took a day off and felt immensely better, but I will confess I felt the tug to see what I had missed. I missed more of the same, so I made the decision very similar to the decision you made, Ingrid.

  7. Absolutely. Such a good idea. We have control over how much we let in our lives.
    I tried it one day & was pleasantly surprised how much better I felt.

  8. I haven’t been watching the news in a few years now because it makes my anxiety so much worse especially now. Even when my partner tells me about something I can feel my body react to it. I barely look at anything online anymore and I haven’t been watching tv or movies. Just sitting with the sounds of nature, cats or with some music is all I want thee days. Not human voices. I have been wiping down grocery deliveries and washing up good every time I handle something or go outside. I think many people think that the measures I take are too extreme but my anxiety spirals out of control as soon as I shift a bit. Take care Ingrid. Hope you had a happy birthday.

  9. You have the right idea. I wish I could turn the news off for a day but my husband watches in the mornings. It’s on right now. But most of the time it’s just a background noise for me. I suffer from anxiety issues and too much does effect my mood and stress level. When my husband is at work, I have complete silence in the house and I like it that way. I hope you will be able to celebrate with your friends when it’s safe to go out again.

  10. Keep up your good habits of wiping down delivered things and I presume, getting the containers and outer boxes out of your living space ( in bags in trash containers in your garage perhaps?) Doing this is rational, not emotional. You seemed to beat yourself up a bit for doing this, but it is a simple precaution. In the link you provide, it is stated : “What the study showed is that under certain conditions in the laboratory, which are obviously kind of artificial, SARS-CoV-2 is detectable for up to three hours in aerosols, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel,” Lloyd-Smith said.”
    You are being rational and responsible to do this to protect you and Allegra. Your practice/habit is a good thing. Covid or not, these things have been unknown places and touched by others. This quick and easy precaution is well worth doing–we have made it a life habit and hope you do as well.

  11. Happy belated birthday Ingrid! I am right there with you in regards to the calming effect of taking a news break. It can be challenging, with it all right there at your fingertips on your phone, but the effects are tremendous if you can limit yourself. I have also been seeking out good news, like with Jim from the office (blanking on his name). Sending you positive vibes and best wishes for a good year ahead, in whatever form that might take. ❤️

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