Dear Educator

Practice mindful news consumption

Mindful news consumption helps you get the information you need in a way that best supports your overall well-being. Yes, we do need to keep up with the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic. But no, we do not need to be glued to our screens 24/7. This can heighten emotions and anxiety. Some tips to consider:

• Limit information overload, and stick to credible sources. Limit how much and what times of day you will check in with the news. Television news, in particular, follows a 24-hour news cycle, with a constant barrage of chatter and “breaking news.” Even if it’s on in the background, TV can affect not only your state of mind, but the anxiety level in your children, family members, and students. Instead of constantly checking the news on your TV, phone, or computer, decide what times of day you will check in and what sources you will use. For example, in the morning you might spend 20 minutes reading updates from credible sources such as the Centre for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and your local public health department’s website. In the evening, you might limit yourself to watching 30 minutes of TV news. Set a timer! Model these behaviours and work with your family to identify your daily news habits.

• Avoid sources that trigger you. A trigger is something that makes us feel negative, anxious, or sad. Now more than ever, we need to limit triggers. One example is social media, which can be a source of connection — or contention! It’s easy for “fake news” to be spread on social media. And, it’s social, so sometimes comments on a story can turn into a yelling match! These things can be triggers on our emotions and well-being. Ask yourself, “What are my triggers?” related to news. And try to avoid them.
So as you open up the latest news on your phone, laptop or TV, remember that practicing mindful news literacy is an important part of being a resilient educator, parent, and citizen.