We all know that daily and breaking news can be difficult to process, especially watching media coverage based on a recent traumatic event. According to ABC writer, Lucy Fahey,
‘people exposed to more than six hours of daily coverage of a disaster are more likely to feel vulnerable, despairing, alienated and irritable.’
They will also most likely suffer from unwanted feelings such as intrusive thoughts of the event or a loss of identity, as well as sleep deprivation.
It’s important to limit the amount of media and television you watch in order to maintain a healthy balance and lifestyle. Below are some ways to help manage your stress and anxiety when exposed to traumatic news or events.
- Look after yourself
It’s important to remember to take some time out from watching or talking about distressing news and focus on other everyday tasks and activities that you enjoy. This could simply be watching your favourite movie, (preferably a light-hearted comedy) going for a long walk, baking a cake, or writing for your blog. Doing the things you love will help to de-stress, relax and reduce any negative thoughts about recent bad news.
- Spend time with friends and family – have a work/personal life balance
Another way to step back from watching traumatic news is to find some time to spend with your friends and family, whether it be going out for dinner after work with your workmates, or going to visit your parents and relatives on a Sunday afternoon. Spending time with your loved ones and socialising with your friends is good way to gain some downtime, get things off your chest and most importantly, have fun.
- Avoid consumption of drugs and alcohol
It is never a good idea to use drugs or drink large amounts of alcohol and get intoxicated in order to cope with traumatic news. Find a way to replace drugs and alcohol with something healthier such as exercise, meditation and eating well. Having a healthier lifestyle without using drugs and alcohol will help you to cope with your stress and control your temptations.
- Seek professional help
Sometimes learning and hearing about traumatic news or events can affect you more than you may think. If you’re still struggling to cope, there are many resources out there to help you. There is never a bad time to seek outside help, nor is there any reason to feel ashamed by it. Book an appointment with your local GP to find out what options best suit you. There are also many other professional services such as 24-hour telephone counselling, group counselling and religious or spiritual organisations.