When our Q42 group started out and looked to make online content, we all highlighted one thing that we should definitely not do is create a stream of negative news.
If you go on many LGBTQ+ sites, or feeds, what you sometimes overwhelming see is an endless stream of how rubbish it is to be LGBTQ+, that’s not so good for wellbeing…
We also recognise it's important to be aware of what's going on in the world - so wanted to gather some thoughts together of how to navigate negative news, as well as hold on to your wellbeing.
It has an impact
We’re all very much connected to each other these days, regardless of geography.
Some things might be happening on the other side of the world, or across the ocean, or just in a different city, but the ideas that are being shared – the voices that we hear – they can often reach across those distances.
If something’s going on somewhere in the world, even if we're nowhere nearby, it can have an impact and that’s OK. It’s OK if things in the news make you upset or angry or even scared, even if people might say they don’t directly impact you. These things that are happening are NOT OK and are sometimes truly horrific.
Knowing what to do with feelings of anger, sadness and fear about injustices in the world can be really difficult.
If you see a horrible news story that makes you feel rubbish, there might be a few things that can help to avoid getting sucked in to a bit of a “black hole”.
Things that makes us feel stressed, anxious or depressed tends to fall into two broad camps – things we can do something about and things we can’t.
Take a moment and think about where some of the things in the news sits. If you really can't do anything about something, it might be best to look at letting those things go. Often though, there might be things you can do, no matter how small, that help to make you feel you're having an impact. Our post on Everyday Queer Protest has some ideas for this too.
If there’s something you feel you can do, do it! (I’m assuming it’s safe for you to do so of course. Please don’t put yourself at risk out there because if this article!)
It might feel small, like simply signing a petition, or writing a letter to someone who can make a direct impact on things or even simply sharing and raising awareness of what’s going on with links to what others can do about it.
It could be bigger, like taking part in a protest or joining a campaign group. It could be creative like writing an article or making a YouTube or Tik Tok video about it. Doing something can really help to turn those feelings into something positive.
If things build up and you find yourself feeling angry about the state of things that is absolutely valid and important not to dismiss or minimise that feeling. It might help to check out our post on Queer Wrath too.
It might be that you can find something you can do something about and pour your energy into that instead. In fact there a hundreds of amazing causes you could get involved in and supporting anyone less fortunate than others is an amazing thing to do.
Take a break before bed
Seriously, don’t read the news right before bed! Just don’t. No good can come from it!
In fact it might be a good idea to be very selective what social media you go on before bed.
Many of us are somewhat addicted to a range of social media. But in those few hours before going to bed there’s a bunch of feeds that are good to avoid – especially if we know something’s going to be shared that winds us up.
Perhaps ridiculous Tik Tok videos to get a laugh or a feed on Reddit or Instagram that only follows Bread Stapled To Trees and Oddly Satisfying and Whats Wrong With Your Cat? might be an idea.
Remember how “the media” works
In recent years the glory of the internet has meant that anyone can make a news site and share their two cents with the world.
Which is great!
But it means bigger news outlets get more desperate to keep your attention. It means everyone’s fighting to get noticed.
It means sometimes, things are going to get sensationalised to get your attention and only the worst possible facts will get mentioned.
It means those facts are much less important than the clicks they generate. And stories are most likely going to be shared with people already agreeing with that side of things and who are less likely to challenge what’s being said.
It means if you’re getting that news for free, an advertiser or sponsor is probably paying for it instead, and they’re not doing that out of the goodness of their heart – they’re doing it to make sure a specific messages gets to you.
So take things with a pinch of salt. Remember, truly impartial news is a very rare thing to come across.
Take a moment to think about who’s sharing stuff and why they might be doing it and check a few different sources to get the whole picture of what’s going on. And remember that conflict is what sells the most news, so if there's a way to make conflict look bigger and scarier, the media will do it to get your attention.
Celebrate what you have!
If you are afforded rights and freedoms that are denied to others, celebrate them! Make the most of them!
Hunt down those freedoms and embrace them and make the very most of them, even if they feel few and far between sometimes.
And make sure others know those freedoms are important to you!
Make sure you’re living your life and making the most of the things that important to you.
A problem shared is a problem halved right? It might sounds cheesy but it's very often true. Share positive moments with others! …Share negative moments with others!
If you have access to a community of like-minded people, like a youth group or forum or online group, join it and share the things on your mind.
Share your experiences with others and know that you’re not alone feeling rubbish about some of the stuff going on in the world.
And you’re almost certainly not alone wanting to celebrate some of the amazing stuff too!