'Doomscrolling' in the COVID era
In the age of Covid 19, the way in which we have spent our time online has drastically changed. Late-night social media scrolling is nothing new to us, especially over the last decade – but it was a lot more innocent for many, pre-covid. We would typically spend our lazy Sunday nights reading recent travel blogs, online shopping, or searching for Game of thrones spoilers while watching our favourite Netflix series on the couch.
Now though, like many others, we find ourselves lying in bed at 1 am, continuously scrolling until we find another article that will fill us with dread and add to our ever-growing anxiety.
In fact, this kind of social media usage became so popular, that the term ‘doomscrolling’ was coined in March of 2020 during the first lockdown.
As we seek out the bad news it feels like the world is ending. The more bad news we find, the more it drowns out the good news.
Over the last year and a half, it is becoming increasingly harder to look away from our screens as we search for clarity and understanding, only to fall asleep feeling more hopeless and exhausted than the night before.
We spent nearly every day of the last 20 months watching the Corona virus death toll rise steadily, refreshing your page while looking for the latest news on global lockdowns, watching unemployment rates skyrocket, and observing as global leaders fell into chaos, while touting all the rules they enforced. Even now, every post we read seems more negative and threatening than the one before, and the feeling of impending doom is catching up on us no matter how fast we might try to outrun it.
The doom is addictive, and there’s no denying it. Much like how RiskEye looks out for your risks online, your brain is trying to identify risks as they happen in the real world.
As the world is slowly going back to normal, it is important to look after ourselves and our mental health.
Doom-scrolling is leading to an increased feeling of helplessness in ourselves, but we have some great tips for how to break the habit without giving up social media altogether.
- Scheduling a time of day in which you consume the news so that you do not feel as though you’re missing anything, but also you are not overconsuming, is a great way to give your brain a rest and digest what you’ve read or watched without feeling overwhelmed. Try to limit yourself to 20-25 minutes per day. Alternatively, swap out social media scrolling for watching the news on the television.
- Distracting yourself with a hobby, or a pastime is a great way of avoiding and replacing doomscrolling, or needless scrolling in general. It’s good to give our brains a break. Find something that brings you joy and use it to distract yourself from your phone.
- If you do find yourself itching to read up on current events, try looking at ‘good news’ news sources like the good news network. News on social media in 2021 is based around clicks and click-bait, even reputable news sources are guilty of targeting their audiences this way. Don’t subscribe to this way of thinking, not everything going on in the world is negative, in the real-world outside of social media, so many good things are happening. Why don’t you check it out for yourself! https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/
Our last piece of advice here at RiskEye is to be kind to yourself. As the world remerges post-global health crisis, many are struggling to adjust to ‘normal’ life again. Take it easy on yourself, and remember that the world is a very different place outside of the internet.