Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, it’s been hard to
think about anything else. The terrifying reality of a major-scale war is being
live broadcast on TV and social media. 24h news channels, online news feeds and
Twitter provide a never-ending stream of updates on the unfolding crisis – and
it’s hard to look away.
Welcome to doomscrolling: getting stuck in a pattern of compulsive consumption
of news about an ongoing tragic event. This was a pretty popular way to spend
time during the onset of the Covid pandemic (the term was
added to urbandictionary in March 2020
With the war in Ukraine entering its third week doomscrolling is back – big time.
Anyone who, like me, spent a few evenings refreshing multiple online news
streams and Twitter can likely confirm that it doesn’t make us happier or more
informed in any actionable way. We’re just getting more tired and sadder. But
then hey, there’s a war going on – what else are we supposed to do? Here are
three things I’ve been trying to do instead.
Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.
Whatever you intend to do, you’re not going to be effective at it if you
doomscroll yourself to exhaustion or to a state of debilitating anxiety. Take
care of yourself by doing whatever works for you: check in with family and
friends, eat healthy meals, meditate, exercise.
It may seem ridiculous to prioritise wellbeing in such times. The trick is to
act as if it was very important… which it is. There is only one of you, so
take care of yourself!
hi, are you doomscrolling? Have you had something to eat in the last few hours? Have you had a glass of water today? You still deserve time to rest and recover.
The serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things
I can; Wisdom to know the difference –
Any individual action won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of
things, but that’s all we can – individually – do. Finding some reasonable,
actionable way to support the victims of the war can be helpful in more than one
individual actions add up (think history of social rights movements)
even if you only help one person, that already can be very worthwhile (Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire)
selfish reason: finding something you can do will help you feel a bit better
and take your mind off the news stream
🇫🇷Paris Stand with Ukraine Yesterday in France people said NO to Putin#StopWarInUkraine
volunteer to support refugees, if they are present where you live. Tip:
you can start learning Ukrainian and/or Russian for free on Duolingo to help
bridge the language barrier.
send material help. Tip: as explained by Giles Bolton in
Aid and Other Dirty Business
money travels faster than goods. Consider donating money directly to vetted
local organisations in Ukraine rather than collecting food/medicine packages
and sending them there – unless you live in areas with good logistical
connections to the areas under war.
participate in local anti-war demonstrations → this can be helpful as it
puts pressure to act on decision makers
Final point: doomscrolling is a creature that feeds on free unplanned time.
Think back on when you tend to doomscroll – and make better plans for those
parts of the day, even if it’s just watching that movie you had on your
hi, are you doomscrolling? How about doing another activity that gives you joy instead, reading a book, or going to sleep early tonight? You still deserve time to rest and recover.