I hate following the news, because my heart breaks for all the victims, and it always seems that there's a victim, doesn't it? There is very little good news that gets reported on.
As a "creative type," that thin skin gives me the sensitivity I need to follow the emotions I write on the page, but it real life it can get in the way. I work alone all day, so reading an upsetting news story can get me all worked up into knots with only my sensitive brain for company.
In my book this month, my heroine, Paige, is a social worker who has lost her thick skin. She used to be able to handle other people's pain, but not anymore. She's on stress leave because pouring her heart into her work has left her burned out. But when our hero comes on the scene with his newborn nephew, she just can't turn him down. He needs someone to show him the ropes in baby care, and she needs a quick "win" to hopefully get her back into feeling confident in her job again. But Mike is a cop who wants to work SWAT, and while he's willing to face the worst stuff every single day, Paige isn't sure she can do it anymore... even in a supporting role.
I've read that with all of the news that comes flying at us from every corner (social media, news channels, websites, radio, etc) that most of us actually become less sympathetic. Our hearts can't break for everyone, and being bombarded with so much heartbreak actually makes us less likely to feel sympathy for the victims.
So, while I'd like to be a well-informed citizen, I do have a few tricks to keep myself sane, too.
1. Only click on those news stories when I have my family at home with me.
2. Limit my contact with news stories and trust my friends to keep me up to date on the really big stuff that matter.
3. Take time in the morning to be grateful and connect with God. If you aren't a spiritual person, that might just be positive thinking, or outlining the things you're grateful for. Regardless, it does help me to keep things in perspective--not everything is awful! There is so much beauty in the world still!
4. Do my best to improve my little corner of the world. I might not be able to reach all of it, but I can do something nice for someone nearby, can't I? I can take the time to smile at someone, contribute to a charity, or give a compliment.
What do you do to keep yourself sane in these news-bombarding times?