Sabbatical from the news

One of my 2018 goals was to give up something that’s not good for me each month.  For January, I decided to give up watching and reading the news.  It’s one week in and I can tell you that giving up the news for a month has been one of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself.  In fact, I love it so much that I’m considering giving up the news for maybe forever!

For me, watching and reading the news has always been part of my daily ritual.  I like to be informed.  As soon as I woke up each morning, I’d turn on the news.  During the day I’d occasionally scroll through Facebook and news websites to see what was going on.  I was also an NPR junkie.  I thought it was my duty as a responsible citizen to stay informed and educated.

But the news was sucking the life out of me.  Literally.  I can’t stay detached from it.  Over the last year or so, I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety, I think mainly because of feeling completely helpless about what’s going on around me.  I’ve found myself feeling angry, sad, and frustrated most days.  The news has been toxic for me: natural disasters, political shit, murders, mass shootings – it’s nothing but bad news.

So I’ve been wondering in recent weeks:  what would happen if I didn’t know about the horrible stuff that’s going on every day?  Does knowing what’s going on change anything?  I don’t have control over any of it, so what if I just stopped listening and watching?

After just one week, it’s been truly liberating.  I feel like a huge weight has been lifted.  My mood has substantially improved.  The feelings of helplessness and despair have lessened significantly.  Because here’s the deal:  I have no control over what our government is doing.  I can speak with my vote (and trust me, I will).  I have no control over the weather, the criminals, the racists, or other assholes in this world.  I do, however, have control over how I treat others, how I treat myself, and how I treat the environment.

Some of you may think that I’m just putting my head in the sand and pretending like everything is okay, but no, that’s not what this is.  I can’t be a responsible, productive citizen if I don’t take care of myself first.  That’s what I’m doing here.  I know that realistically if all of us did this, the world could be absolute chaos.

Or would it?



4 thoughts on “Sabbatical from the news

  1. HI Tammy, happy new year! I gave up the news a long time ago, and it was a good decision. Obviously there are headlines you can’t avoid online, but do I read the stories? No! I try to stay clear of the negative stuff as much as possible. I don’t sleep well as it is, don’t need the news to completely derail my chances!

    Continued good luck with your endeavour!


    Liked by 1 person

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