It's time to stop doomscrolling
By: Raquel Van Ry
We’ve all been there – it’s 12:13 a.m., you’re scrolling through your phone, you think to yourself “I should really stop now or it’s going to be impossible to get up tomorrow…ehhh, 2 more minutes, 12:15 is a nice round number”, only to [purposely] forget the time and find yourself still glued to your phone screen at 1:00 am feeling no more satisfied or fulfilled than you did 3 hours earlier. The name for this rut is “doomscrolling”. While social media is fantastic for keeping up with friends and family and sharing your interests with the world, it also contains endless content that’s negative, dark and just plain depressing. Keeping up with news is important but smothering yourself in darkness (not the lack of illumination kind of darkness), right before bed no less, is a recipe for a bad sleep, worsened mental health and potentially lasting impacts on the way you view the world and life itself.
“Mean world syndrome” is kind of the OG doomscrolling – it’s been around since the ‘70s, and it refers to the negative influence violent and bleak media has on people and how it can cause their perception of the world to change to viewing the world as more dangerous and scarier than it really is. Now that we’ve covered the 5 W’s, let’s go over what we can do to turn the tables; still get the perks of the news and social media, without sabotaging our sleep or wellness.
It’s so easy to lose sight of all of the wonderful things we have in our lives to be grateful for – our pet, our job, our favourite sweater. Practicing gratitude is the best way to refocus your mind on positive things when the media makes it seem like there’s nothing but tragedy and horror in the world. Thinking about the things in your life that you’re grateful for, especially before bed, can hugely impact your quality of sleep, the mindset you have the next day and your overall perception of the world. My favourite way to practice gratitude is to set up my favourite diffuser in the corner of my room with a few drops of a sleepy essential oil blend (I love Dreamscape). Once the room is filled with scent I work backwards from that moment and consider all of the people in my life that I love and love me, all of the hardships my awesome self successfully overcame in order to get to where I am, and anything else that brings a spark of joy to my life. If practicing gratitude sounds like something you’d like to try out, check out this article on how to Practice Gratitude
Schedule it in
Just like you need to limit the amount of junk food you eat for a healthy body, you need to limit the amount of time you spend scrolling, for a healthy mind. Whether you keep an agenda or not, make a mental note or set a timer on your phone for when you can start and stop looking at a screen. It may be tough at first, but once you get it in your mind that you can only use your phone or laptop from _am to _am and Xpm to Ypm, it’ll get easier with time, and you’ll find you add more value to your life by having more time to do things that make you happy.
Analyze the content you consume
I couldn’t tell you the number of people I used to follow on Instagram that didn’t add any quality to my life, some that I followed just because I knew them in elementary school. If you also follow people that don’t make you smile, then it’s time to purge them from your list. It’s not personal, it’s self-care. Try to avoid following news accounts that overpopulate your notifications with dark news and stories, instead look for pages like Good News Network or even turn off your phone and grab a good book that chases away the crappies. Eliminate the unnecessary negativity in your life and replace it with something that adds value to your life.
Keeping up with the world is important, I’m not saying you should adopt an ignorant outlook on life, but rather than reading 10 different news stories about how horrible COVID-19 is, isn’t going to help anything, so don’t waste your energy on it. Instead, partake in some of the activities I mentioned above. Reclaim your sleep, your energy and what you take in from the world. For more tips on stopping doomscrolling, here’s another great source to delve into.