‘Doomscrolling’ and Feelings of Loss
Are you feeling a loss of control of the world around us, or are you feeling anxious, or overwhelmed by world events?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out the connectedness that many of us have with our phones. They are always with us. We use them for everything from online banking to storing our photos.
As a consequence, we might take in the news and its associated images without even thinking about it, and gradually start believing that the headlines represent normal life.
The term ‘doomscrolling’ refers to scrolling through our phones and being hit relentlessly with a wealth of unnerving headlines
Perhaps following that up with seeing the same news on social media, hearing it on the radio, watching it on television news, meaning everywhere you turn you’re seeing and hearing the same stories over and over. And that can take its toll on your wellbeing.
If this sounds familiar, ask yourself, are you feeling a loss of control of the world around us, or are you feeling anxious, or overwhelmed by world events? We’re not here to tell you to ‘take time out’ from your phone, you’re grown up enough to do that for yourself.
However, there are a few things you can do to feel more grounded.
What else can you look at on your phone to counter the news? If you like the news format, Sky has Strange News, which offers more light-hearted stories (https://news.sky.com/strangenews). There are also many motivational podcasts, such as The Happy Place (https://www.happyplaceofficial.co.uk/).
Make time to connect with others in real life. Covid and Lockdowns have made us islands in our own homes, with technology becoming the main way of keeping in touch with other. It has been an isolating time. Find someone you trust who you can talk to about your feelings, too. Having your feelings acknowledged can be really helpful.
Don’t underestimate the power of sleep. The news headlines aren’t the ideal thing to read just before you’re trying to settle down for the night. The stories might unsettle you, give you nightmares, and to be honest, the news agenda won’t usually be too different to what you read or heard earlier in the day. So do yourself a favour, and cut off the news a good hour before bed. Getting a good night’s sleep can help with wellbeing and perspective.
We’re living in uncertain times and the constant ‘doom and gloom’ can really have an impact on your mood. Turning the headlines into something you can control can help, for example:
Cost of food is increasing = Get outside and grow your own.
Cost of fuel is rising = Walk when you can.
Cost of living is going up = What changes can you make in your home?
My Facebook newsfeed is all bad news = Find something more uplifting to read and scroll past anything that’s feeding your feelings of anxiety.
The war in Ukraine is making me feel anxious = What can you do to help those people who have lost everything?
What you’re feeling are normal reactions to loss of any kind. We have been through a lot of change in the past two years without much let-up. So go easy on yourself… and breathe.
Maria Bailey is an Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist based near Torquay, Devon, where she lives with her husband, three children and two dogs. Maria uses the Grief Recovery Method, a short action programme via Zoom, to mainly help people who have lost loved ones to cancer and Covid-19. You can find out more about Maria here.