In the current media landscape, consumers can very easily become overwhelmed. Our CNN apps notify us about every one of President Donald Trump’s executive orders, our Twitter feeds refresh with breaking news stories and our Facebook friends are constantly sharing articles that frustrate them.
For many, the news today is consistently negative and, at times, can cause people to question their safety and freedom in our nation. As hard and exhausting as this news is to consume, the need often feels constant.
This constant stream of negative news is resulting in a phenomenon now being referred to as “resistance fatigue,” or the tendency to become exhausted by the feeling of always needing to protest against unpopular government policies.
In the first few weeks of his presidency, Trump has already passed a number of executive orders that will directly affect many marginalized groups in our nation, causing students and people across the country to march or protest in resistance. But all of this advocacy, while vital to enacting social change, can take a toll on people’s mental and emotional health.
If you want to be an activist, it is necessary to be informed on current events and issues facing our world. But, it is important to remember that there is a difference between being immersed and being informed.
Completely immersing yourself in news means that you are consuming any and all of it 24/7, whereas being informed can be as simple as reading the news a few times a day.
You can be a good activist and ally while still caring for yourself mentally and emotionally. That is a balance we should all strive for.
When you do choose to educate yourself and consume news, be sure that you are putting your energy toward reliable, accurate and varied news sources — not just your friends’ social media posts. And you don’t only have to read about wars and human rights violations — sometimes we all could use a bit of soft, lighter news in our media diet.
One way to keep yourself from being exhausted by media is to limit yourself to real news sources instead of reading the random, unreliable news articles your friends share on social media. Giving yourself time to consume news media a few times a day allows you to be informed without being completely overwhelmed and exhausted.
Additionally, instead of just reading about what is happening in the world and getting angry, seek out simple ways to get involved. Sit down for 30 minutes and call your senators, sign petitions or email administrators on campus.
Elon University students can’t allow resistance fatigue to discourage them from acting and speaking up for what they believe in. Being an informed citizen is absolutely necessary, but it is important to try and do that without sacrificing your mental health.