In case anyone is not familiar with doomscrolling, here is Dictionary.com’s definition.
[ doom-skrohl ]
verb (used with or without object) Digital Technology.
to obsessively check online news for updates, especially on social media feeds, with the expectation that the news will be bad, such that the feeling of dread from this negative expectation fuels a compulsion to continue looking for updates in a self-perpetuating cycle.
Now that we’ve defined our term, let’s chat about it. Doomscrolling is not a new term, by any means, but 2020 really made it sink in for me. Before this year, I had no issues with turning off social media, the news, whatever. There were always times of contention where I would get frustrated or sad or just feeling the toxicity. Times like the months leading up to major elections in the U.S., for example.
The challenges we have faced as a global population AND as individuals this year have been myriad. Controversial and divisive digital public spaces combined with people’s willingness to say pretty much anything online as if there are no repercussions seemed to be amplified by the fact that 2020 has been… well, 2020…you were there.
For me, this year also included a resurgence in activity on Twitter. Before my role here as a Head Geek, I was mostly inactive on Twitter. Compared to 2019, though, my social media activity has at least doubled this year. So much happened this year that I found myself succumbing to the doomscroll and allowing it to affect my motivation and my mood regularly.
What did I do about it?
I was tired of how I felt day after day ingesting all the negativity and toxicity online, so I decided to limit myself. It really started with a camping trip where I had no phone service. Completely unplugged. I felt so GOOD and refreshed after this trip, and after a couple of days back in the “real” world I connected the dots and realized the doomscroll was at least a large part of my problem. Sometime in June, after yet another conversation with fellow Head Geek Leon Adato about the woes of the world, I made a decision. For my own mental and emotional health, I was not going to look at any social media on the weekends. Later, I expanded this to weeknights as well. At first, it was a challenge in self-control as I would be bored and subconsciously open it while watching TV or waiting for something. Then, I would remind myself not to look at it and close it down.
This has done wonders for me, personally. In the beginning, there was FOMO and concern I was ignoring important issues. However, I have realized it will all still be there on Monday or in the morning. If I don’t respond to something as it’s happening, it really doesn’t affect anything.
That’s my story on ending my doomscroll this year. Have you overcome the doomscroll this year? How are you taking care of yourself this year?