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Bookish People by Susan Coll

Sophie is going through it all. She recently lost her husband. Her adult son is floundering. The thriving bookstore she started years ago is taking more effort than she has energy, largely because of her drama-prone staff, cantankerous vacuum, and an unwelcome tortoise.

On top of it all, Sophie is obsessed with the news. And (seemingly like always) it’s a rough news week.

Sophie could use some help processing her grief and certainly would benefit from setting boundaries with her son and her staff. But today we’re not talking about those things. Today we’re talking about the news, and ways to turn it off.

Let me clarify – it is important to engage with the world around us. I would never suggest going cold turkey. BUT I do recommend prioritizing mental health (and self-care) over being up-to-date at every moment of the day. Overconsumption of news leads to stress, anxiety, hopelessness and depression.

Here’s how to stop doom scrolling:

  1. Designate one specific (not too long) time each day dedicated to news.

  2. Stop receiving notifications on your phone.

  3. Be choosy about your sources. Avoid media that exaggerates, promotes fear-mongering, or is highly pessimistic.

  4. If other people bring up news stories you find overwhelming, tell them that you don’t want to talk about it and redirect the conversation.

I like to think that if Sophie had a healthier relationship with the news then she would have an increased capacity to handle life’s other stressors. Maybe she could even use the extra time to get back to her first love, reading.

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