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Internet Fatigue: How To Avoid It

by ikalmayang

Malaysian Twitter is riding on the political instability following the recent general election. Countless news on the war in Ukraine bombards our social media timeline, and TikTok is rife with Iranian activists imploring for their voices to be heard amidst their government’s oppressive regime. These are crucial news demanding our attention, with none being less important than the other.

It is no doubt that we have been spending a lot more time online, whether it be news portals or social media feeding on content in hopes to get updates about current affairs –  but these can often lead us down the rabbit hole and be detrimental to our own mental wellbeing, especially when we find ourselves feeling more negative when excessively consuming bad news. 

Therefore, it’s important to recognise that we are experiencing these things, and catch ourselves before we make things worse. Here are 5 tips to ensure that we can avoid internet fatigue. 

  • Step Away from Your Device

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This isn’t much of a tip as it is a necessity. Research has shown that continuous time spent on social media has direct links to increased sense of anxiety and depression. Feelings of inadequacy and helplessness, for example, are some of the effects of prolonged time spent on social media. Therefore, it’s important to mentally check-in and realise when you need a break from being online. 

  • Choose to Consume Light Media

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The beauty of algorithms and the overall vast and unlimited space of the internet is that you’re able to pick and choose to some extent what you’d like to see. Consuming light media perhaps is one of the best ways to practice disengaging your thoughts from things that might cause compassion fatigue. Pick up a light comedy, or even indulge yourself in cat videos. If you find that being online is something you can’t avoid doing, find something that can lift you up.

  • Practice Mindful Scrolling (or Avoid Doomscrolling). 

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First of all, what is doomscrolling? 

It is a compulsive habit that is built out of excessively scrolling through bad news on social media. Doomscrolling can cause you to get sucked into a vicious cycle of bad news that can potentially render you into a state of high-alert and elevated anxiety. Therefore, practicing mindful scrolling is essential to a healthier relationship with the internet. 

Mindful scrolling can be achieved through understanding what kind of content is being put out and how it can affect you as a reader. It is good to keep up with current issues, but know it becomes a detriment when it starts to negatively affect you. 

  • Reach out to Friends and Families

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Have open discussions. When you find yourself overwhelmed, especially with the amount of content that you’ve been exposed to, it’s good to engage yourself in worthwhile conversations. Talking is proven to help alleviate internalised feelings of negativity and fatigue. 

  • Focus on Your Hobbies

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Been putting off that book you’ve always wanted to read? What about that puzzle you abandoned halfway through? Pick these hobbies back up. Not only does focusing on a task help you improve your attention and focus, it also takes away feelings of negativity, is cathartic and gives you a sense of accomplishment. It is time spent meaningfully, food for the soul, and allows your mind to take a break from information overload. 

All in all, while it is good to keep track of news and current issues by being online, we’d do well to take better care of our mental health and recognise when it’s time to take a break, especially to avoid compassion fatigue. The world will keep spinning, regardless. Take it easy.

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