Stepping Away From the News is Personal Care

Yaasmeen Piper


My phone buzzes on my nightstand: Ding! Ding!

I toss my cheesy romance novel to the side and grab my phone, assuming it was a text message.

USA Today, the Guardian and Google News flood my home screen.

“Donald Trump Declares National Emergency for Border Wall.”

My chest tightens.

A few days later I hear the same buzzing sound.

Another mass shooting, this time in Aurora, Illinois at a company called Henery Pratt Co.

Five people were killed, including the gunman.

One of the five people killed was Trevor Wehner, a young intern on his first day at the job.

My chest tightens.

My phone keeps going off, all from the new, all talking about death, natural disasters, or some idiotic thing Trump did that day.

For a while, I would try to read at least one of these articles so I know what was happening in the news.

As a journalist, you want to know what is happening in the world around you.

That’s my job, right?

Before, when I read about police brutality, gun violence, or any type of inequality I felt amped up.

I was ready to do something and scream at anyone who was within earshot. I would look for upcoming rallies, support groups, or take to social media or any publication that would take my words. 

But, over the years I started to feel exhausted. The fight never seemed to end.

As a black woman, I felt like each day, each news cycle, I was entering another battle even though my wounds still haven’t healed from the last one.

Eventually, I had to stop.

The news became another source of my anxiety and I’m not the only one.

According to the American Physiology Association, over 60 percent of Americans say the current political climate is a significant source of stress for them.

For most of us, this stress makes us want to do something, to envoke change.

I love being a part of a generation that is so vocal about the inequalities within our country and are fighting to change them.

But, sometimes we feel obligated to fight so much that we burn ourselves out.

Over time, I didn’t finish an article and feel ready to take on the world.

Instead, I felt like I was fighting a war with a country rigged against me with no end in sight.

Being angry was hurting no one but myself.  

I had to remind myself that I am not fighting this battle alone.

There are millions of other people who are fighting for equality just as I am.

Taking a few weeks off won’t stop that.

Now, anytime my phone buzzes and Guardian or USA Today pop up on my screen, it’s usually about the newest novel or Marvel movie, and that’s okay.

I owe it to myself to step away from the news, to turn off my notifications, to unfollow certain news organizations, to heal.

Stepping away doesn’t mean I’m giving up.

It just means I’m taking the time to reenergize.

Whenever I am feeling hurt out from all the negativity in the news, I am reminded of a quote by one of my favorite writers Morgan Jerkins:

“You are not an engine. You still have a body to take care of. Do not worry. The revolution will be there when you return.”

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