Mental Health Matters: How to cope with the news
While it’s important to stay informed, especially during times of crisis, constantly checking the news, social media, or television for updates can have a negative impact on your mental health.
Anxiety and fear is common during uncertain situations, but if you find yourself feeling extremely anxious, experiencing sleep issues, feeling depressed, being irritable, or having increased fatigue and headaches, it may be time to intervene for your mental health.
Practice the following tips to manage your emotions and cope with any potential mental health concerns during trying times and news cycles:
- Stay connected with your loved ones and let them know how you are feeling. World events may be frightening, but you do not have to go through them alone.
- Take breaks from the news or set time limits on how much news you are consuming. If you start experiencing strong emotions, it is probably time to take a break.
- Set boundaries around the topics that upset you. You do not have to engage in debates or arguments that distress you, whether they are online or with a friend.
- Don’t make assumptions. Many people skim headlines without reading all the information in a news story, but headlines are meant to be eye-catching and do not have many details. Read or watch the full story to gain a better understanding of the situation.
- Practice self-care. When you feel overwhelmed or upset, it’s OK to step back. Go for a walk, have a board game night, or engage in something creative to relax and unwind.
- Care for your body. Remember to eat regular meals, get enough sleep, and prioritize exercise. Feeling better physically can help you feel stronger emotionally.
- Check your sources. Social media allows for incredible connectivity, but it is not always a reliable source of information. Seek out reputable sources, and be careful not to spread misinformation.
- Balance your inputs. Bad news can sometimes feel like it takes over, but good news is always present. Seek out positive news and stories that will lift your spirits and boost your optimism.
If you still find yourself feeling overwhelmed and anxious, help is available. Reach out to a mental health professional, get connected to a support group, and rely on your social network.
Dallas ISD’s Employee Assistance Program by LifeWorks is also available free of charge to all team members and their dependents. The confidential, secure platform has countless resources available from 24/7 on-call counselors to practical tips on subjects like managing your budget, identifying anxiety in children and coping with depression.
Reach out to LifeWorks at (972) 925-4000, or visit www.dallasisd.org/benefits and click on Benefits Resources to access online EAP information. Support is always available, so do not hesitate to ask for what you need.