I saw a term yesterday I have never seen. It was the word “doomscrolling”. It means continually reading articles, headlines, and social media posts that contain bad news. I thought it was interesting because it seems like more and more lately, that is all you really hear about.
I spent some time pondering what types of stories I tend to gravitate toward or videos I watch most often. At the beginning of the pandemic, I definitely focused on news and updates about COVID-19 and how horrific it is. Lately, I tend to read just headlines or USA Today-style short stories that just cover the news on a macro level. It helps me to be informed without knowing the dark, distressing details in full. I find that this helps keep my blood pressure down.
Our world as we know it has changed dramatically. I think we all can agree with that. Every day there is a new scandal, worsening outbreak update, worry, or concern for us as a country and a global society. Yet, I remain calm in the midst of most of this.
How do I do it? Honestly, I had to think about that for a moment. First and foremost is my faith. It helps me cope in all situations. Additionally, I think, as I have aged I have come to understand one very important life lesson. You can only control yourself and your little corner of the world. You cannot control external factors so it is best not to even try. As a friend once told me, “It’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s how you respond to what happens that does.” That really makes a lot of sense to me, especially now. My best friend and I sometimes spend hours discussing COVID-19 and politics. At the end of the calls, we both agree jokingly that we did not solve the world’s problems during the discussion, meaning we both understand that focusing on all of the dire things that are happening is not helping us or impacting the situations in the least.
My blog entry this week is simply to share that life will continue to change until we as a country settle into our new normal, whatever that will look like. It is best not to focus on the things you cannot control and just make sure you are doing what is right for you and your family. Stay positive. Exercise. Breathe. Practice mindfulness. Do yoga. Make better food choices. Stay connected to friends and family, and forge ahead despite perhaps wanting to just stay still (or hide). As the Coast Guard motto says, we must all ‘adapt and overcome’.
Each of us has our own personal story to live, to write about, to share. Focus on the now. If you are worried about something, write it down so it is not clogging your brain and keeping you up at night. And, if you feel like things are a bit too much for you, reach out and get the help you need. There is no shame in asking for assistance. We all need it at some point in our lives!
There are many free resources available to help, from faith-based communities to civic organizations, as an example. Recovery Program Solutions of Virginia is here to help too. We offer 15 free virtual telehealth support groups weekly, a Warm Line that you can call if you just need someone kind to talk to, and three drop-in Recovery Centers around Fairfax and Arlington Counties open to assist as needed. Just reach out. We are here for you. Visit rpsva.org or call (800) 374-4198 for help today. Stay happy, and safe, please.