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Doomscrolling

Verb:

Obsessively scrolling social media and news sites about how utterly screwed we are.

Sound familiar? Not surprising. Whether you’re prone to crying over racial injustice posts or obsessing about the latest COVID-19 stats, 2020 has had a lot of us doomscrolling for days. 

We’re big-time doomscrolling right now because it seems like humanity and the world is in a constant state of change. It seems like we’re living through a particularly intense period in time and when left to our own devices (literally, we all now live on our phones) we can get stuck in a morbid vortex of extremely depressing news. But like a car crash, it’s almost impossible to look away. 

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On one hand, we keep scrolling in the hope of stumbling across some good news in an otherwise barren feed. On the other, we want to be informed. Information makes us feel like we’re prepared for what’s to come. It helps us get our action plan together. 

It’s vital to our mental wellbeing that we kick the doomscroll habit. How? We came up with a few easy ways:

Talk to other humans

If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that even the most introverted need a little social interaction to stay happy and healthy. Talking to other people not only helps us cope with stress and anxiety but also helps us move through major life changes, like breakups, job loss and, well, a global pandemic.

Talking things through together makes us feel less alone so get your human hang times in however possible – Facetime, Zoom, a walk date or even an online workshop with mates. Whatever works. 

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Limit your screen time

Did you know both Apple and Android have inbuilt functions that limit your screen time? Yep. Welcome to the wonderful world of technology helping us limit our own technology use. We highly recommend setting up a few time limits to avoid being sucked into a doomscrolling black hole. When you’ve maxed out your screen time, switch it up and do something screenless. Enjoyed simply sitting in a park and indulged in a bit of people watching recently? 

Also, stop going to bed and waking up with your phone. Chuck that thing on airplane mode and switch off the blue light. Give your mind a break before bed, your sleep patterns will thank you. 

Swap neggy news for good news

Let’s talk boundaries. We have relationship boundaries in real life, so why not establish them for our online life? If the people and the accounts you follow on the socials make you consistently envious, doubting or disheartened it’s time to MUTE. BLOCK. UNFOLLOW. It’s very empowering – give it a go.

Also, don’t let social media trick your brain into thinking the whole world is negative. It’s not. If you want more good news in your feeds Upworthy on IG is a whole heap of joy, the Future Crunch gang are sending out snippets of happy, or subscribe to John Krasinski’s Some Good News on YouTube for… some good news. 

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Change up your push notifications

Push notifications are only keeping us in a constant state of fight or flight, so try keeping it local and curate your content consumption to what’s important to you and those closest to you. By limiting your alerts you’ll pick up your phone less and less, and in turn, consume less and less doom and gloom news. It will also make your phone time more intentional because you’ll be choosing when you want to read. 

Mindful not mindless scrolling

Try swapping that vacuous and unending scroll for something more mindful. It’ll not only serve as a break from social media but it will be a healthy distraction from your day-to-day worries. 

A meditation app like Calm or Headspace can bring a bit of zen into your day. Podcasts can be distracting and enlightening. Online puzzling hurts your brain in a good way. Chuck all these mindful apps next to your social media ones and you’ll be more likely to click on them. Hello gratitude, goodbye anxiety.

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If you’re still looking for other ways to get more mindful (reading your favourite book or cooking your housemates breaky are always good ideas), check out this handy resource right here.

Image: Sesame Street