The year of 2020 has been full of surprises and devastation: massive Australian and Brazilian forest fires, the death of Kobe Bryant, a global pandemic, protests to end racism in the world, and many other emotionally charged events. It's enough to give even the calmest of us a reason to constantly be connected to news and social media.
With emotional topics come journalism that is especially leaning toward one side or another. Watching your friends post divisive articles or having animated conversations, arguments or even friendship-ending fights is especially draining for Empaths & highly sensitive people.
Constant connection to these types of news can definitely take a negative toll on your mental health. Not only that, but the anxiety and energy drain can initiate a downward spiral that prevents you from making the conscious brain and personal connections you need to facilitate positive change in the world. This is a prime time for change, and as Empaths, we need to have a sense of clarity of purpose and deepness of thought to make a conscious impact.
Here are 7 tips we've found that will help heal anxiety and energy drain from being constantly connected to social media and news during this time:
You may feel addicted to seeing who liked your Instagram photo or responding to wrathful comments on Instagram or facebook. If this is you, turning off those red notifications can have a huge effect on your healing and inner peace. This is something you can do in less than 1 minute that will have a massive impact on how you feel in the coming days: go into the settings on your phone, and deliberately turn off all notifications to social media.
Only you know what's right for you: If you need to have some notifications on to monitor a family member in need, or for work projects, obviously use your best judgment. These are only options and tools that we have found work wonders for healing. In just a few days after turning off notifications, you may realize that you no longer feel addicted to opening up twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or news every 5 seconds to read something with an obvious emotional leaning (that you won't see at that moment).
If you take a few days and step back from media consumption, or if you were to venture to a place on the internet with a completely opposite view to you, you may start to see that most media have an emotional leaning to them, a certain biased angle to the story. We forget that there are always 2 sides to the story, and just by eliminating or zooming into certain details, media can paint a picture of what they want you to believe. For Empaths, this can be especially draining to be fed emotional content 24/7. If it as a lean, we feel it. If we see our friends posting something we don't believe in, we feel the conflict inside.
Decide for yourself which pieces of news/media are the most nourishing for you right now. You might decide to only read small, independent news sources that have more of an objective lean or that provide straight facts without much emotional bias.
Some of our clients have taken the step to unfollow hateful accounts or accounts that have an emotional lean without having all the information to create a full picture. Although it's important to see things from all sides -- and what triggers us is definitely something to investigate -- we have our silent prayer and meditation rituals (see #5 below) to go into that space and see how we can change to make the world a better place. Sometimes it's not helpful to constantly consume media that uncenters us.
Make a quick list of news/media sources that are most nourishing for you, that inspire you to take positive action rather than make you feel bad. Include media you will also eliminate from your daily news diet.
One of the best ways to use hashtags is for healing. If you use Instagram, you can follow only inspiring and empowering hashtags to add value to your life, or to help heal what you are struggling with at this time. You can also use hashtags to find hilarious material to shift you out of a gloomy state. Many accounts also offer free helpful tips to cope with certain struggles.
Some great hashtags to follow to flood your feed with empowering or humourous material (and potential solutions!) that you can use to heal are:
There are many other hashtags on many other platforms that you can use to focus on what you need and want in your life, rather than what you don't want to see. Filling yourself up with inspiring material will help you heal so that you can come from a place of clarity and resourcefulness to help others. Find the hashtags that are right for you.
The moment you wake up and the last few moments before bed is when the conscious mind is offline and the subconscious mind is in the forefront. If you feed it anxiety-provoking material such as emotionally-leaning news, divisive comments from people on twitter and friends on Facebook, you will be even more addicted to replying and checking up on the comments as well as struggling to stay positive and productive in the day ahead.
For the morning, make sure to put your phone away and use the time to connect with yourself. #5 shows you how:
It's important to find time to connect with yourself and reflect every day, in order to allow the subconscious to integrate all the new material it is absorbing daily. The subconscious is like a recording device that is always on, always taking in all sorts of information in your surroundings that you are not even aware of. In these times of hyper-emotional events, it's even more important to allow yourself some silence every day to integrate what you are learning about the world and yourself.
The best times to do these periods of silent reflection is in the morning after you wake up (to clear the thoughts your brain has been sorting through at night) and right after you end your workday (to integrate the new information you picked up throughout the day). Scheduling 5 minutes of silence in the morning and evening is a great no-hassle way to start this important ritual to calm anxiety and heal social media addiction. 5 minutes is a great start, but if you feel more comfortable, you can add in some breathing exercises or some light pilates, push-ups or abdominal exercises to get your blood flowing to your brain in the morning as well. These exercises combined with silent meditation or prayer will amplify the centeredness and healing you will feel from disconnecting from media in these sacred times of connection and self-reflection.
When we are addicted and emotionally drained from social media, shift your focus to self-care. What can you do today to schedule in some me-time, a bath, reading nourishing material, some time in nature, or whatever you need to feel good?
It's important to make this a conscious intention for your day. The easiest way to do this is to ask yourself this question before you undertake any activity: What would someone who loved themselves do?
Just as you begin your day with silence, prayer or meditation to reflect and reset your brain's dreaming and assimilating information from the nighttime, it's also essential to drift into sleep from reading material that inspires you or brings you joy.
Whatever you read or pray/do before bed will more easily flow into the subconscious mind, in effect programming yourself to focus on these things more during your daily life, making you happier and more healed overall.
We want to hear from you: Have you been experiencing social media or news burnout lately and how have you handled it? Leave a comment below & share what worked for you!
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