Deciding When Too Much News Is A Bad Thing

How do you know when an activity you enjoy is no longer benefitting you? How do you decide it’s time to stop the habit?

For many, many years, I was a news junkie. I would check news websites multiple times a day, hungry for any developing stories. At one point I realized that the majority of my social media feeds were news-related sites, and I was okay with that.

Something shifted in me after the 2016 election. People started talking about bubbles, bias, fake news, Russian bots, etc. Realizing that I was definitely living in a news bubble, I unfollowed several sites and tried to keep my news consumption in the political middle.

But slowly I’ve realized that this isn’t enough. Every time I open a social media app or turn on the television, I am bombarded with breaking news and the latest scandal. I also make the mistake of reading the comments. Frankly, it’s hard to be outraged every day! And honestly, do most people even remember what made them mad six months ago?

I’ve decided that I’ve had enough. It’s time to take a break. I find myself becoming jaded about our political process, and I don’t want to be jaded. I want to be a contributing member of our society, so this means I need to stay informed, but I’m creating some grounds rules so I don’t get burnt out.

I’m calling this the Unplug and Recharge Challenge. Here are the ground rules:

  1. Delete news apps from phone. No more checking news sites first thing in the morning. I want to spend my mornings journaling and exercising, so this goes along with my overall goals anyway.
  2. Unfollow all news sites on social media. Maybe this means I won’t hear about the latest tweet from the president, but really, is that a bad thing?
  3. No news radio. I listen to NPR a lot during my commute to and from work, but during those times the content is all news.
  4. Only consume news related content in the evening. I will keep my NY Times digital subscription, but I can only visit the website after dinner. Local news broadcasts are allowed after the kids go to bed.

That’s it! Pretty simple. I don’t have an end date for this challenge. It starts today and I plan to keep it going indefinitely.

Comment if you want to take the challenge too! #unplugchallenge


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