It has taken a lot of years but I fear I have hit my media saturation point.
For me it happened slowly over the last year. It hit hard the last couple of weeks.
I know part of my problem is pure over consumption because I love the news. It is my profession and also my enjoyment. I like to be aware of current affairs. I am also nosy and don’t want to be left out of the loop. What’s that called now? FOMO. Fear of missing out.
However, the last couple of weeks have worn me down. I haven’t been able to look away from the horrors of Hurricane Harvey and Irma. It was one depressing story after the other. If I wasn’t scared for the people in the storms’ path, then I wound be angry at those who ignored the evacuation orders and thought somehow they could ride it out. Stupid and selfish. I found myself blubbering at the stories of people helping strangers. Reporters were jumping in to rescue people. The man giving a stranger the last generator for her ailing father. The first responders, whose own families were in trauma, showing up to save others. All those frightened pets hoping not to be left behind.
It was all too much.
There was this one story of a man who had evacuated from Houston, Texas but a few days later was headed back to take stock of the damage. He goes back into his home and there’s a gator in the kitchen. Aside from losing your possessions and facing financial chaos and possible disease from the filthy water but then after everything else — there’s got to be an alligator lurking in the kitchen???!!
I had to shut it off. It was the gator that broke the camel’s back.
Of course, then I had to turn it back on. It's important and necessary to know what is going on in the world. We need to know about devastating storms, what North Korea is launching next and about important political decisions that will impact our lives. That’s what makes it so hard to limit the information overload. We no longer wait for the 6 o’clock evening news package. It was easier to handle in smaller increments.
Now, its 24/7 and on tv, radio, phone, tablet, in our homes, the doctor’s office and at work. I was recently in a bathroom with a big screen tv.
I know we are all unique in how much we can take in before being overwhelmed but surely an information holiday has to be beneficial.
I am going to try to limit my exposure. It won’t be easy as it is hard to say no to yourself. I have always been able to do it on vacation. I forget everything back home and let myself just be in the moment. What’s that saying? 'A change is as good as a rest.'
I have done it successfully with violent or scary movies. I just don’t let it in. I remember Maya Angelou saying she simply didn’t allow negativity into her home. She had a belief that negative energy would cling to your carpets and walls and seep into the very foundation of your home. I think so too.
I try to listen to music that soothes my soul. I give myself reality breaks with some good old fashioned comedies. (I Love Lucy and the Andy Griffith show are my old standbys)
Experts say decide how much and how you want to receive information. Do you need it coming in constantly on every platform on every device? They say to set time limits just as you would with your children.
As with everything, it is a case of moderation.
Difficult and upsetting news is going to keep coming so I guess it becomes our job to protect ourselves and our families from too much of a bad thing. Unplug and just breathe! I am going to try.