Whether it was the election results, COVID number updates, conspiracy theories or the possibility of glass in our potato chips, the news cycle is a weird one, Vixens. But did you know that starting and/or ending your day by endlessly scrolling through your newsfeed can negatively impact your resilience and mental health? While it may seem like being aware of all the things you need to prepare for should help, the habit of trying to find clarity in nuggets of terrible information does more harm than good.
While we’re all for cozying up and binge watching whatever your latest guilty pleasure is (Great British Bake-Off anyone?), binge watching what feels like the end of the world is much less fun. It takes up a lot of your ability to cognitively process the information, and traps your nervous system in a fight/flight/freeze/please state of low grade stress. This negatively impacts sleep, mood, concentration and your immune system. The last one is particularly critical. So how do you stop? The best way is to do something else. Here are five nervous system calming alternatives.
While it may take a few minutes to move from a state of fight or flight to a state where you can rest (and digest better!) it is worth the effort. Moving to a restful state, especially before bed can help improve the quality of your sleep, ensure you absorb more nutrients from what you eat, boost your immune system and increase mental clarity. If a full wind down session before bed is not possible, see if you can schedule a nap on a day off, or block off a chunk of time to soak in a bath. Regardless of how you choose to rest, close your eyes and give them a break. If they are feeling tired or strained, you could also try a cooling gel mask – or refrigerate your favourite eye cream and then gently pat it on.
A little bit more active than resting, this approach can be helpful if you find that your mind won’t quiet itself enough. There are many ways to rebalance your nervous system including meditation (flip back a few blog posts for our 101 guide to help you get started). If that sounds too zen for you right now, you can also try grounding exercises like noticing each of your senses and what you perceive through them. And if that is too passive for you, try heading away from your usual spaces for a walk. Take each step slowly, and notice what you can see, smell, heat, taste and feel before you take the next one.
If solo stuff leaves you missing the dopamine hit that comes from connecting with another person, then you should do just that. Help your brain get what it needs to feel better by calling a friend or someone you trust (you could actually use your phone as a phone!) instead of booking a Zoom date. You might explore really listening to the sound of their voice. Not only will this give both of your eyes a break from all the screen time, but you may hear things you would otherwise miss.
If being social isn’t quite your speed, but you still want something to keep your brain busy then pick a tactile activity that you enjoy. A few that also have meditative qualities include colouring, journalling, knitting or crocheting, doing crossword or other puzzles, playing musical instruments, or dancing to new choreography. No matter which one you pick, try and ensure you are doing something with your body that will keep your mind challenged and focused on what is happening within you and in your space.
Both doomscrolling and resetting take energy. Remember to take the time to replenish and do things are good for your body, like pausing for a deliberate drink of water, or turning everything off and focusing on eating a favorite snack. Settle into yourself and savour the moment and the connection to your body.
We hope this list gives you some ways to climb out of the endless scroll sinkhole. If you find that only doing one thing is not engaging enough, you might explore pairing some, like colouring while on a call with a friend, or going for a walk (while the weather holds) and connecting with someone you trust. Take care of yourselves, Vixens!