10 Ways To Deal With News Overload & Emotional Stress

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How The News & Lockdown Stress Can Cause Overload

The pandemic has hit many people in some way, whether emotionally, financially, physically, or through the sickness and loss of loved ones. As the coronavirus situation continues to develop, the stress will increasingly take a toll on us all. If that wasn’t enough, the news is full of political unrest, economic tailspins, protests, racism and violence that seem to be ramping up day after day.

The events in the world add another layer of stress on top of what you may already be dealing with in life, and even the news can be a tipping point. With a ferocious mix of emotions, it’s unsurprising that so many of us are becoming overwhelmed.

Here’s a look at how to take a step back and manage the stress, fear and uncertainty.

1. Distraction Therapy

Many rely on distractions for managing chronic pain as they can give us a small break and temporary respite. In times of overwhelm, distractions can be very beneficial. Get yourself away from the situation, the triggers and your own thoughts by immersing yourself in something else. It can be whatever you enjoy or find engaging and engrossing in some way, like a TV series, a good book, crossword puzzles, arts and crafts, gardening or films.

It’ll help reduce the tension, whether you’ve got a few hours or 10 minutes here and there throughout your day.

2. Talk It Out

The need for connection is part of the human condition. In addition, a build up of emotion and stress needs a way out, otherwise it festers and bubbles under the surface. You might want a deep and meaningful conversation or just a casual chat about the weather, because sometimes the old adage of how it’s good to talk can be true. Have a catch-up with friends, family, loved ones or online friends. Pick up the phone, set up a video chat, get on WhatsApp, or reach out on forums and Facebook groups.

Remember to seek professional support if you need it. Don’t feel you have to go it alone. 

3. Get Out Into Nature

The great outdoors can have a plethora of benefits, but during the pandemic and lockdown it’s harder for many to get outside. If you can do so safely, or ideally if you have a garden, try to get a little fresh air from time to time. Revel in the small, simple joys of the blossoming flowers and the green grass. Marvel at the insects and animals.

Feel yourself connect to the natural world and recognise that you are a part of something bigger, grounded and supported by the world around you. If you have a pet, spend more time with them and let their carefree nature soothe and lift your spirits.

4. Be Active

No, I’m not talking about going for a run or hitting the elliptical. If there’s a cause you’re passionate about or a burning issue getting under your skin, make your voice heard. With the political unrest in many countries right now and the decisions being made at higher levels leaving many of us feeling so powerless, simply trying to be involved in some way can give you a sense of achievement.

Maybe there’s a petition you can sign, a blog post you can write to raise awareness, perhaps you can write to your local MP or maybe you can Tweet about it. Whatever it is, you can take a small stance and make your voice heard. 

5. Make Self-Care A Priority

Ironically, self-care often takes a backseat when we probably need it the most. Think of the more meaningful and the more superficial elements of that make up self-care and the ways in which you can show yourself that you matter. Ensure you get your basic needs met first, like nutrition and hydration.

Then, with the small things, think moisturising, pampering, treating yourself, doing the things you enjoy. With the bigger things, think being assertive, standing up for yourself, saying no, and asking for help when you need it.

6. Disconnect & Switch Off 

Take a step away from social media and limit your exposure to the news. We’re constantly connected, and the barrage of opinions, statistics and breaking stories can be overwhelming. It can come at us from all angles, from TV and newspapers, to everyday conversations, Twitter and the radio. It can start to feel like it’s all bad news, and it gets harder to find those feel good and positive stories.

It’s useful to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world, but there should be some balance. You can either go for a full-on news and digital detox, or just ease off a little. If it’s all getting too much, then step away from time and time and maybe set yourself limits with how often and for how long you check social media and read the news. 

7. Flex Your Chuckle Muscles

With coronavirus stress catching up with us, it’s a good idea to try to find reasons to smile and laugh each day. What do you enjoy doing? What makes you happy and brings a little joy? If you don’t have hobbies or interests and are struggling for ideas, consider hunting down the things that might make you smile, even if only briefly.

Think silly memes, cute cat pictures, funny YouTube videos, jokes and one-liners online. Laughter can be a good medicine to add to your daily intake. 

8. Proactive Protection & Prevention

When it comes to the virus, you can’t control government guidance and you can’t control the behaviours of others, but you can be proactive in your personal efforts. Be proactive in setting routines for cleaning and hygiene, ensure you have the products required, and get on top of what you need to do to help protect yourself and your family as best you can. Be part of the solution in curbing the pandemic, because we can all play a role.

We can’t fully guarantee protection against the coronavirus for ourselves and our loved ones, much as we can’t guarantee preventing everyday accidents. All we can do is our best and knowing that you’re doing what you can may help you feel a little more prepared, confident and in control. 

9. Create An Environment You Love

Most of us have been spending more time at home and probably will continue to do so. It’s worth making sure our home environment, especially if it’s also your work environment, as pleasant as possible. When so many of the big things in life seem to be out of our hands, we can try to take a little control back by focusing on what we can do. Look to create a clean, safe, warm, welcoming and comfortable environment. The need for cleanliness can pique OCD tendencies, so if you feel this resonates then be mindful of it.

The adage of ‘a tidy house, a tidy mind’ can hold some credibility and you might just feel more organised and on top of life if you can get your home likewise organised. Decluttering, cleaning and tidying can also be therapeutic, so pace the chores to prevent over-exhausting yourself too quickly and celebrate the small achievements along the way. 

10. Mental Declutter

There are various techniques and activities that can help with calming and decluttering your mind. Exercise, if physically possible, can be a way to let out frustrations and clear your head. Breathing exercises are another way to bring some balance into your daily life. Other people find the likes of yoga, mindfulness and meditation helpful.

Mindfulness can be done through guided online practice, self-help books and apps, or it could be as simple as concentrating your focus when making a drinking a cup of tea. Set aside five minutes or half an hour, whatever you’re comfortable with, to meditate. Go at your own speed and allow your thoughts to present themselves without resistance or judgement. Let them be. Bring yourself into the present and slow things down.

Try to gradually build in time each day for some mentally decluttering as this can help ease the tension and provide you with more mental space and energy with which to cope with life.


Step Away From Stress

Sometimes it’s the small things that can help the most in calming our frazzled emotions and mentally recalibrating. Don’t underestimate the mental health toll that the coronavirus situation and other events in the world can take, especially in conjunction with the pre-existing stresses in your life. Acknowledge how you’re feeling because it’s okay to not be okay.

Try taking proactive measures to ease away from the stress and step away from the harrowing news. Be gentle with yourself and build into your daily lifestyle the tools and activities that can help soothe and uplift you, mentally and physically.

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Caz  ♥

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69 Comments

  1. June 30, 2020 / 4:00 pm

    All great ways to reduce stress, but #6 would be on the top of the list. I’ve done that and feel so much better for it. If it’s not happy I won’t be around.

    Have a fabulous day, Caz. ♥

    • July 4, 2020 / 3:23 pm

      I’m glad you’re already putting no.6 into practice, Sandee!  ♥

  2. June 30, 2020 / 4:27 pm

    Great post Caz!!!

    • July 4, 2020 / 3:23 pm

      Thank you, Sophie! I hope you’re having a lovely weekend xx

  3. June 30, 2020 / 4:27 pm

    Great tips. I certainly use social media and the news far less as a coping mechanism.

    • July 4, 2020 / 3:24 pm

      That’s great to hear, Jo! Do whatever you have to do to get a better balance for you.xx

  4. June 30, 2020 / 4:40 pm

    This really is a trying time for everyone and your tips are excellent. We really do need to learn to switch off at times because it can all just get a bit too much. All your tips are great but ‘Flex your chuckle muscles’ actually made me smile when I read it. Yes, laughter helps. I don’t know how I would get through this (or life in general) without the ability to laugh. Brilliant post.

    • July 4, 2020 / 3:27 pm

      Same here, Liz. That ability to laugh is what keeps me going through the difficult times, too. Laughter is underrated, as is the ability to see the lighter side of challenging or embarrassing things in our lives. It takes some of the sting out when you can laugh about it or laugh at ourselves. Keep those chuckle muscles honed & toned, Liz! 😉

  5. June 30, 2020 / 4:41 pm

    I used to do all these things, now I’m kind of stuck at home, so I read and write not to go crazy.

    • July 4, 2020 / 3:42 pm

      Do what you can to keep that balance and protect your mental health, Bo. Hopefully the pandemic will be a thing of the past before too much longer… hopefully… then we can get back out into nature, exploring, and all the good stuff.xx

  6. June 30, 2020 / 5:01 pm

    I keep away from the news for this reason.

    Nature is awesome…..

    Thinking of you 💕

    • July 4, 2020 / 3:45 pm

      It really it becoming a never-ending array of bad news, isn’t it? Taking a break from it is a good idea, at least from time to time. Stay safe & well, Eliza, and I hope you can have a restful weekend. Please be kind to yourself 🌷 xx

      • July 10, 2020 / 5:27 pm

        I don’t follow news to begin with. Only do occasionally and I always regret it.

  7. June 30, 2020 / 5:39 pm

    Dvds as usual for me. I like my walking, but I only walk to work or grocery shopping. So I am not doing the walking I would like to do, for simple reason of tje worry and stress of those ignoring distance rules.

    I enjoy chats with my neighbour each Monday over a cuppa.

    • July 4, 2020 / 3:47 pm

      Same here with doing less walking generally other than for the shops. It’s great you’re still enjoying different DVDs when you can. It’s a good escape that I enjoy too. Have a pleasant weekend lovely xx

  8. Ashley
    June 30, 2020 / 6:01 pm

    This is such a relevant topic right now. I’ve been trying to stay very aware of how much news I’m allowing myself to be exposed to.

    • July 4, 2020 / 3:49 pm

      I don’t think you’re alone in becoming more aware of the news exposure. It seems that we’re getting a constant wave of bad news hit us one after the other. Limiting intake is a good idea or at least getting a break every now and then.xx

  9. Svet
    June 30, 2020 / 6:39 pm

    Those are great tips, Caz! At times I definitely felt overwhelmed with everything that is going on in the world. I do implement the distraction method by cooking something nice. And I like to spend time in the backyard with my cats. My next goal is to limit my amount on social media.

    • July 4, 2020 / 4:12 pm

      These sound like great ideas to limit the overwhelm a little, and cat therapy is always good for bringing a smile to our faces (unless it involved cat claws, fangs or poop!)  Have a relaxing weekend, Svet ♥ xx

  10. June 30, 2020 / 7:47 pm

    These are great tips. For me, I make self-care number one, even as I assist my elderly dad. I remember hearing on an airplane if the oxygen mask drops down, put yours on first, then assist others. You cant help if you pass out because you didn’t put on the mask first. Same for disconnecting from the media. After the morning update, I turn it off to keep from getting sensory overload.

    You must laugh. I got a good chuckle when a friend showed me a short video of a guy walking down the street. He sees a pickup truck moving slowly with no driver. He thinks fast and grabs a big rock and pushes it under one of the tires which stops the truck from moving. He feels good about his deed… until he sees 3 guys in the back struggling to get the truck moving again. He walks away without saying anything. That’s funny! I got my laugh for the day and decompressed at the same time.
    Thanks for presenting great tips to help with stress Caz. I hope your afternoon was better than your morning.

    • July 4, 2020 / 4:17 pm

      Such a good point on self-care as a priority; the plane reference is a good one to keep in mind. How’s you dad doing? He’s lucky to have you as a son, I can’t think of a better guy to look out for him!

      Hahah that truck video sounds fantastic! I love that the Good Samaritan didn’t say anything as he realised his mistake and just casually walked away. That’s what I would have done, too, hoping nobody noticed…!

      Thank you for sharing this, Darnell. I hope you can find a few reasons to smile over the weekend, and that you can also get plenty of time to chill after your working week and maybe enjoy some writing. 😊 x

  11. June 30, 2020 / 8:44 pm

    awesome tips Caz………..I love getting out in nature. Just wish I felt better to do more of it!

    • July 4, 2020 / 4:30 pm

      I wished you felt better to do it more often, too. Every little helps, and even the opening the windows can help get the benefits of the fresh air until you’re able to get outside yourself..xx

  12. June 30, 2020 / 9:08 pm

    Great ideas Caz. I particularly like the ‘flex your chuckle muscles’ and think it should be used more as a therapy. A good old belly laugh is a fantastic stress reliever. I also find mindfulness and self-hypnosis work a treat.

    • July 4, 2020 / 4:39 pm

      It’s great you find the benefit in mindfulness as well, Caz. Make sure you give those chuckle muscles a regular workout! 😉 xx

  13. July 1, 2020 / 12:55 am

    I’m attempting to step away from stress. This post reminds me to stay away from media for awhile.

    • July 4, 2020 / 5:03 pm

      If you think media, whether social media or news, is getting a bit too intense, then stepping away from time to time can be a good idea. Anything we can do to limit the stress is worth trying. Thanks for reading, Addy, I hope you have a low-stress weekend! 😊

  14. July 1, 2020 / 2:26 am

    BRILLIANT post Caz. I absolutely love it! You’ve done a brilliant job sharing easy, actionable tips for our lives that really do make all the difference.

    You’re 100% right – it has been a ferocious mix of emotions, hasn’t it? Good grief, it seems like everyday brings with it more chaos and confusion in public view. All I can do is pray for resolution in these maddening times. You’re also right that it has affected us all in one way or another. There have been many positives to come out of these crazy times. But sadly, there has also been much to grieve for.

    #3, #6 and #9 are all big ones here in this home. I love what you said here: “Revel in the small, simple joys of the blossoming flowers and the green grass. Marvel at the insects and animals.” — Wow, so beautifully said! It’s true, we really do have so much to marvel at around us when we allow ourselves to simply let go and zoom into the natural beauty all around us. I am far too guilty of missing out on all the joys in everyday living because I’m stuck worrying about this, this and oh yeah, that too! (sigh)

    Your second paragraph under, “Create an environment you love,” had me shaking my head the whole time. I agree with you emphatically! When everything around me is in chaos, I have a VERY hard time feeling positive or focused. It’s a part of my personality that I can’t shake. Cleaning and organizing does become therapeutic and the benefits are lasting when you look around and think, “Wow, what a peaceful space!” It is important, as you said, to pace ourselves though. Otherwise it just becomes yet another source of stress!

    So proud of you for writing this, Caz. It’s truly a brilliant article full of proven, easy to follow and adopt tips for a healthier, less stressed life. Thank you for writing this!! You’re the best! ♥ All my love heading your way. 🤗

    • July 4, 2020 / 5:12 pm

      I wanted to try to make the points a little inspiring/motivational but also actionable. Suggestions can sound good, but you need to be able to do something with them.

      I’m sorry you know exactly what I’m referring to with the news overload and emotional mishmash of the continual tidal waves of bad news.

      I’ve been realising the issue with the home environment more and more the past few months. The out-of-control situation paired with the attention on the virus/hygiene has triggered my OCD tendencies and it’s made me itchy with wanting, needing, to get things organised and tidied. But it does seem to be an ongoing battle as the house isn’t overly practical and we were hoping to move prior to the pandemic, so we just have to make the best of the situation and work with what we’ve got. I hope you’re able to enjoy the therapeutic elements of decluttering and organising without it becoming another source of stress. And I also hope you can flex those chuckle muscles this weekend and find plenty of down time to rest, chill and enjoy a slightly slower pace. Thanks for another wonderful comment!! 🌷 xx

  15. July 1, 2020 / 3:04 am

    Very thoughtful, sensible advice, Caz. Hope you’re practicing all the self-care and relaxing as best you can.
    Annie xx

    • July 4, 2020 / 5:18 pm

      This is more of a “do as I say and not as I do” kind of post, Annie 😉 I will endeavour to start following my own suggestions though, I’m not fond of being a hypocrite! I hope you’re able to have a restful weekend to switch off from the news & do some of the things you enjoy to take your mind off it all, even if briefly.xx

  16. July 1, 2020 / 7:49 am

    these are all good tips; I practice most of them from time to time otherwise you collapse under the load

    • July 4, 2020 / 5:55 pm

      You’re right, you need to step away from the stress at least from time to time to prevent burnout and overload that can affect us all. Stay safe & have a low-stress weekend, John!

  17. July 1, 2020 / 10:17 am

    Great advice Caz. Your tips are always very wise. I am forever thankful for my friends and family and their mutual support. Lock down is easing here in Ireland, but we are staying safe so far. xx

    • July 4, 2020 / 5:58 pm

      I’m glad you liked the suggestions, and I’m glad you’re staying safe, Brigid. Oddly enough, we don’t always hear as much about Ireland’s infection rates & lockdown situation in England, we tend to hear a little more of Scotland’s (though that’s more political than anything else). I hope you have a stress-free, relaxing weekend lovely. xx

  18. July 1, 2020 / 2:59 pm

    This was great Caz! I think you and I think a like or are kindred spirits because I posted something similar early this morning. I had worked on it all day yesterday on and off, but finally completed this morning. I always knew you were a small person with a kind heart, but seriously we are like sisters that never actually met! Great job, Caz!! Please continue to stay safe and keep your head head high!

    • July 4, 2020 / 6:00 pm

      Blog sisters, I love it! You’re always so spot on with your posts, Alys, so you writing something similar to me is a huge compliment! Let’s continue to share the anti-stress message because it’s an important one, especially with the continual bad news of late. Stay safe & have a relaxing weekend, sis. xx

  19. July 1, 2020 / 5:05 pm

    Great tips, Caz! Thank you for sharing them!

    • July 5, 2020 / 8:48 am

      I’m glad you liked them. Thanks, Ann. I hope you’re having a restful weekend 😊 xx

  20. July 1, 2020 / 5:14 pm

    Great one Caz! most needed post in these times! Well personally working out, nature and creating the environement I like are the ones that work mostly for me ~ wish you are well Caz! Thank you~💝🙈

    • July 5, 2020 / 1:45 pm

      I hope you can continue investing time in those things that work for you, Yiena, it all adds up. Thanks for the comment lovely, I hope you have a great week ahead xx

  21. July 1, 2020 / 6:38 pm

    These are some outstanding tips Caz! We really do need to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves right now, as the circumstances we find ourselves in can definitely become overwhelming. You know I love the ‘nature’ idea. Being out in the garden is being in my happy place. 😊 As restrictions start to ease, your tip to be proactive in protecting ourselves. Not everyone sees things as we see them, and don’t take the precautions we take, so we have to be careful to look after our own best interests. These are all great tips and sound advice for any time in our lives – fabulous post Caz!

    • July 5, 2020 / 1:47 pm

      I thought you might relate with the nature one. And you’re right, not everyone will see things as we do where the virus in concerned so rather than letting that worry and frustrate us no end, we can instead focus our attention on the proactive things we can do for ourselves and our families instead. I’m really glad you liked the post, Terri, and thank you for the great comment. I hope you have a low stress week ahead and hopefully plenty of garden time! xx

  22. July 1, 2020 / 8:00 pm

    I like number 7! Thank You and Cheers!!! 🤗❤️😊

    • July 5, 2020 / 1:47 pm

      I’m glad you liked it! Here’s to hoping you have a great week ahead with plenty of things to laugh about, Katy xx

  23. July 2, 2020 / 6:07 am

    In the first weeks of the Corona pandemic I made the mistake to watch every news special and searching the Internet for news constantly. You give great advice here, Caz. Spending time in nature is my favourite thing to do against going crazy.
    Stay safe xo

    • July 5, 2020 / 1:48 pm

      I think a lot of people were hooked on the news, and for good reason, but as you’ve found as well it can become very detrimental of late. I hope you can spend a little more time in nature, Viola. Kittykats are good at soothing our souls when we need it too. Sending love xx

    • July 5, 2020 / 1:49 pm

      I’m glad you liked the suggestions. I’ll join you with watching less news! x

  24. July 2, 2020 / 7:27 pm

    I think we all need to set our own filters and parameters.

    • July 5, 2020 / 1:50 pm

      Amen to that. It’s worth doing to save ourselves from the overload. x

  25. July 3, 2020 / 9:23 am

    I love these tips and will be bookmarking this post and returning to it.

    I do agree about the need to switch off and disconnect. Not only is social media a time sink, I find with Twitter especially if I spend too long in it my stress levels start to rise. I think it’s because tweets have to be short, so the medium is well suited to ill-tempered arguments and personal insults but not to thoughtful discussion and debate.

    • July 5, 2020 / 2:50 pm

      A time sink, that’s a good way to put it! I think I might need to bookmark this and return to it too in the hopes I might be able to take my own advise on stepping away from the news, social media and stress 😂 And you’re right about Twitter, I find the short word count can leave a lot of space for impatience and misunderstandings, too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Nick. I hope you can have a low-stress week ahead.x

  26. July 3, 2020 / 4:21 pm

    Great post as always Caz .Just reading all these points makes you feel lighter .I love nature walks and the chuckle muscles the best , but all points are important.

    • July 5, 2020 / 2:51 pm

      Aw I’m really glad you liked the post, Nisha. Having reminders like this can be helpful I think, even just to make us feel a little lighter and to give us the nudge to make more time on the things that uplift us rather than stress us.xx

  27. July 4, 2020 / 10:07 am

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful tips. I totally agree that spending time in nature and being active can make such a difference to how we feel. I have had to work at making self-care more of a priority recently though but as a gut health blogger, I definitely notice how the correct nutrition for my body can boost my mood and energy levels too. I hope others realise the importance of good nutrition also. 🙂

    Gemma

    • July 5, 2020 / 2:53 pm

      An excellent point about nutrition and gut health, Gemma, and you’re well placed for sharing that wisdom on your blog. Thank you for reading & sharing your thoughts! x

    • July 5, 2020 / 2:54 pm

      The only word that’s really important in the English cat-tionary 😉

  28. July 9, 2020 / 11:35 am

    Wonderful advice, I’ve been practicing a few of these. Thank you for helping many who are suffering.

    • July 12, 2020 / 8:49 am

      I’m glad you liked the suggestions. I hope you can continue to practice some of these as it seems the news isn’t getting any more uplifting as time goes on. Have yourself a relaxing rest of your weekend, Mark! x

  29. July 14, 2020 / 12:05 am

    I spent 20 minutes soaking in the bathtub today with my eyes closed, and it’s exactly what I needed after being too emotionally involved with the news and starting a new ulcerative colitis medicine. Self care for the win.

    Also, we got a kitten for Little Thing last month, and watching him be a complete idiot makes us laugh so much that it’s helped us decompress so much too. 😻

    • July 15, 2020 / 3:21 pm

      That’s great – maybe those 20 minute soaks should happen a little more often. How’re the new meds going? I find that with most new medications or tweaks in routine with them it can take a lot of adjusting to and some things can really knock you about a bit. Go easy on yourself, rest, de-stress. If all else fails, stare at the kittykat because they can take all the worries of the world away for a short while at least. I hope he’s setting in well and behaving himself – he’ll have you all wrapped around his little paw before you know it 😉 xx

  30. July 19, 2020 / 2:03 pm

    Outstanding and super pertinent post, Caz!! Thanks so much! We get SO overloaded with everything, it’s hard to remember to stop and prioritize self care. And you really outlined multiple ways to care for ourselves in these “turbulent” times……sometimes self care and prioritization is portrayed as massages and bubble baths, but it’s so much more than that. And often much easier, like just disconnecting. Thanks!!

    • July 26, 2020 / 10:06 pm

      I’m really glad you liked the post, Stace, thank you! There are definitely different aspects to self-care & you’re right, it can be easier too because sometimes it’s about NOT doing something rather than doing something in order to look after ourselves   ♥ xx

    • July 26, 2020 / 10:07 pm

      Oh yes, I love a good cackle! You know it’s been too long when your face hurts & your tummy muscles feel like you’ve done 50 sit-ups 😆 xx

  31. July 27, 2020 / 6:07 pm

    Well researched and very helpful. Thank you.

    • July 27, 2020 / 9:53 pm

      I’m pleased you liked it, Tim. Thank you. I hope you have a positive, low-stress week ahead 😊

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