Staying Informed without Losing your Mind

Stay Informed without going crazy

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The world is a messed up place. Can we agree on that? The world is also a pretty great place. I think we can all be grown up enough to realize both realities aren't mutually exclusive.

As a young adult, I want to be informed about what's happening on this giant rock we call home. I also don't want to wallow in the often distressing, never-ending stream of breaking news. What's a striving to be responsible citizen to do? 

Limit your news sources and time.

This isn't about creating an echo-chamber to reinforce your own ideals. It is about finding sources you trust on platforms that don't steal your peace.

For example, I try really, really, really, really, rea--you get it, hard to not follow news from Facebook and Twitter. (Even though I *literally* follow the news in some of those places because I'm not perfect.) 

There's a few reasons for this but primarily: 

1. It's {potentially} never-ending.
There will almost always be updates to the breaking story's hashtag of the day. Following all those leads is exhausting and most of the time involves a lot commentary I could do without. Of course everyone has a right to share their opinion, but everyone--myself included(!)--also has the freedom to leave their two cents out. 

2. It doesn't provide the brain break I seek on social media.
I like twitter and facebook and instagram because it's where I laugh at memes and see cute pictures of my cousins' babies and discover a whole bunch of other warm and fuzzy things. When I let the "YOU MUST READ THIS ARTICLE NOW" world in, it sets a precedent that consuming is more than engaging.

This doesn't mean if you or I click through to noteworthy story, we'll suddenly stop interacting with loved ones in favor of hour-by-hour updates. I think we both know that! But it definitely feeds into *my* wound or identity belief that doing is more important than being.

3. Context matters.
I have very liberal friends and family; I have very conservative friends and family; I have friends and family dotted all along the political spectrum. Most of us do. (I find my individual positions I hold to be all over the board.) And to be honest, those views color how I will interact with what they've shared.

For example: Johnnie Doe, a more liberal friend from high school shares an article from the New York Times about the goings-on at the White House. Regardless if his commentary is flattering, unflattering, or nonexistent, and if the source material is trustworthy--I'm already unfairly judging what he's shared. Trying to determine, okay what's this really about. Is this an area I need to grow in? Absolutely.

But ultimately, it takes me away from seeking to understand Johnnie and the situation at hand. And it pushes me towards how do I respond and make this about me and my thoughts and ideals. 

"Okay," you say. "I still need to like, know things. I can't be blind just because what I see might be unpleasant!"

I know. And that's what makes this so. freaking. difficult. So...

Step one. Set an actual limit for time you spend following the news. This might be something like 45 minutes a day: watching the nightly news here, following pertinent hashtags there, etc. Or maybe on Sunday I read spend the afternoon reading The New York Times or The Washington Post for a few hours. Or maybe a little of both!

Step two. Actually stick to that limit! This is easier said than done but it has helped me settle into a nice rhythm/routine.

Step three. Schedule some decompression around your news limit. I recommend prayer! But meditation, a brisk walk, or some other whitespace will definitely help.

Step four. Try out TheSkimm.* What's that? It's a FREE daily (M-F) e-newsletter with "the skimmed" version of major stories. I take 10 minutes to read it every morning after Morning Prayer. TEN, yes ten minutes to get the low-down on what's going down 'round the world. It's still media and it definitely has "a view" that might not be a match for everyone but I highly recommendation just trying it for a week!

How do you stay on top of news without going crazy?

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How to stay informed without going crazy. Stay informed and sane

Adulting is hard. Let's do it, together.👇