At a time like this it’s hard to resist the constant temptation of the news, especially as I am particular susceptible to following it too closely, even at the best of times. I first really noticed this trait in myself in the long run up to Donald Trump’s election in 2016. I constantly followed breaking news, live blogs and opinion poll trackers, in the hope that it somehow wouldn’t happen. Much like a watched pot never boils I was hoping that a watched Trump would never be elected.
Then followed the years of Brexit negotiations. Still ongoing of course, and we’re still on track for an effective no deal exit at the end of this year when the transition period expires, especially as no negotiations can currently take place. What a cherry on top of a wonderful 2020 that would be. I followed the parliamentary procedures in excruciating details, again hoping somehow that this would stop it happening (although in this case what I really wanted was for the vote never to have happened in the first place).
And now, coronavirus, and the rapidly, rapidly changing situation lends itself perfectly to constant checking of the news. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay informed, in fact it is vital to do so right now, but that doesn’t mean I have to be on The Guardian website or Twitter every 5 minutes. There’s an anxiety that comes with constant news updates, especially in a situation like this, where the news is predominantly bad (although shout out to the many wonderful people helping others, and the millions of acts of kindness).
So, I’ve cut back my news consumption and social media usage to three specific times of the day. I don’t miss out on any important news, and still feel as informed as I need to be, but I’m not worrying about it all the time, and I feel more focused on what I’m actually supposed to be doing, whether that is working or parenting. I recommend it, although I appreciate the irony that I’m saying this on a coronavirus blog that you have almost certainly come to via Facebook.