It’s been a year since the UK voted to leave the European Union. What a year it has been. There have been times I’ve felt like the world has been collapsing in on me under the weight of all the stuff going on.
So, about a year or so ago I decided to stop reading the news. Until then my morning routine consisted of having a coffee as I read various news websites before starting my day. At work I’d check in on the news again at lunch or during breaks. And then I’d read more news in the evening. I began obsessing about the bad things I read about and I’d worry myself sick. I decided that for the sake of my mental wellbeing I would take a break from constantly keeping up with current affairs. Now, you may think this is me burying my head in the sand and if I was so concerned then I’d have done more to try to make a positive difference, to make the world a better place. In my defence I will say that I do try. I try to be a good person. I compulsively recycle, I volunteer, I help others as much as I can, I act nice to strangers.
Yet there are many things, which no matter how hard I try, I alone won’t be able to influence.- the US presidential election being one. Reading news and being constantly reminded of negative events isn’t healthy for me. I needed to switch off and focus on me. I’m not speaking for everyone when I say “stop reading the news!”, of course. But I am a worrier, so removing the source of additional worry can only be a good thing. Right?
I can say yes, it has been largely a good thing. I’ve felt a lot better focusing on my own life and the lives of the people close to me. And of course, no significant world events have passed me by because I hear about them from my friends.
Recently though I have tentatively started checking back in on the news… What I’ve found is that the world still seems as messed up as it’s ever been. But what I’m noticing is people are taking a stand more than I’ve ever realised before. There are a lot of people out there who care deeply about making the world a better place. Alone I might not be able to make a huge difference but I am far from powerless. I can lend my voice. Sure, I’m not part of a peacekeeping force in a war torn country, I might not be in the front lines protesting against awful changes to welfare bills, but I can share the stories of the brave people who do do these things, I can play a part and it helps. I’m glad I’m not shying away from what’s going on, I’m happy to see that despite the doom and gloom there is a lot of hope out there. Perhaps it took a break from the news to help me see this.