05 May 5 Tips to Manage COVID-19 Information Overload
Feeling overwhelmed by the barrage of news about COVID-19 lately? You are not alone. Read on for some useful tips from Flex instructor Viv Kan on how to overcome the information overload.
There has been no shortage of news about COVID-19 since the pandemic first swept the world a few months ago. From local news outlets and social media to your very own family group chat, the constant bombardment of updates and information is enough to drive anyone crazy. And while it is extremely important to stay informed and alert during this time, keeping our minds healthy and calm should be a top priority, too! Flex instructor Viv Kan shares five useful tips that can help you overcome the overwhelming influx of information.
Tip 1: Avoid checking your phone as soon as you wake up.
Waking up to a slough of messages and updates can increase anxiety, and is also a major source of stress and distraction. Viv explains, “About 15 to 25 minutes or so after we wake up, that’s when our cortisol level—our stress hormones—are the highest. When you read messages right when you wake up, your mind becomes quite busy. You’re reading and reading and reading and then you become distracted.”
Consuming all that information (whether positive or negative) can make you feel heavy and burdened before you’ve even gotten out of bed. Instead, Viv suggests to wait a little before attending to those missed notifications. “I usually read them after I’ve gotten ready, when I’m commuting, or in between classes. But try not to read them right on the get-go!”
Tip 2: House all of your news in one place.
With the amount of information we receive on a daily basis from our colleagues, friends and families, it can be difficult to keep up. One way to deal with this is to house all of your news sources in one place. “At work, dedicate a channel—maybe on Slack or an email that goes out daily—a one-stop shop where all the information on the virus is going to be contained,” Viv suggests. “That will help you to avoid reaching out to other channels and media outlets to get more information.
“What you’re trying to do is focus and not get distracted throughout the day. Try to prevent yourself from looking through other vast types of media channels and just focus it on one place.”
Tip 3: Be mindful of the content you’re consuming.
We’ve all been there. You open Facebook to do a quick check for updates and before you know it, you’ve spent 20 minutes mindlessly scrolling down your feed. “Be aware of what you’re taking in!” Viv says. “Once you feel like the information that you’re looking at isn’t that important and doesn’t give you value or any benefit, just stop and disconnect.” One quick way to do this is to set a time limit on your apps or even on your phone.
Tip 4: Ask yourself, “Does this content nourish me or does it drain me?”
In relation to mindfulness, there is one important question Viv believes we must ask ourselves whenever we consume any type of content: Does it nourish me or does it drain me? “With anything that you’re doing, categorize it,” she says. “When I’m reading this or when I’m consuming this information, does it help me and make me feel better? Or does it make me feel a little bit depressed and is draining my energy? Your applications are designed so that you are going to scroll nonstop. It’s up to you to be able to control that. It’s all about awareness and noticing how much you’re consuming.”
Tip 5: Despite the less than ideal situation, we must look on the bright side
As this pandemic continues to shape and affect every aspect of our lives, it’s easy to succumb to the fear and negativity. As a final tip, Viv reminds us that despite the less than ideal situation, we must look on the bright side. “Think about what you’re grateful for every single day. That’s what I do!”
Viv Kan is a yoga instructor at Flex who teaches classes such as Power Flow Yoga, Stretch and Release, and Hatha. Click here to view her upcoming schedule. For more tips on mindfulness and how to calm our stressors during this difficult time, follow Viv on Instagram.