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How to manage your news intake to avoid increased anxiety about the coronavirus

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We have access to endless amounts of news and information, but how much is too much?

Graphs, upward curves, huge numbers, cataclysmic economic projections … In times of difficulty and change like the present one, it’s normal for us to want to know everything that’s happening in the world in real time. We cling to internet reports, newspaper headlines, TV news, and social media — all of which which are bombarding us with even more content during this pandemic.

To avoid being overwhelmed by anxiety, and to try to keep our self-isolation routine healthy, we need to control two factors in the way we keep ourselves informed:

1
We need to manage the quality of the information we take in.

We have to be sure that the content we consume is factual, and has not been manipulated by people who intend to misinform, either due to political ideology or simply because they have too much time on their hands and no sense of responsibility. It’s important to check the veracity of the information, to see if it comes from reliable sources and if its content matches the facts.

When in doubt, stick to newspapers, websites, and broadcast stations that have professional journalists on their staff. Like doctors, nurses, and delivery workers, journalists are also at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic, performing an exceptional service in raising awareness and controlling the spread of the disease. Some are more objective than others, as are the entities they work for.

2
We must manage how much time we spend watching the news.

At times like this, it’s easy to lose an entire day on the sofa, following the news with the remote control in one hand and our phones in the other—which, besides wasting time, isn’t healthy.

That’s why we need to choose where and when we want to inform ourselves. For example, you might read the newspaper in the morning, watch the news at lunchtime, spend an hour researching news sites on the internet, or watch the nightly news—this would be more than enough.

We also need to restrict our use of our cell phones so that we can use them more efficiently and healthily. it can be helpful to keep the phone away from you, only checking messages when you wake up, after lunch, and at some point in the evening. This habit can help with peace of mind.

Besides having the information to understand current events clearly, we need to be emotionally and psychologically well and balanced so we can help each other get through this crisis. With high-quality information in the right amount, we will come out of this situation much stronger and more aware than we entered.

Octavio Messias

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