We live in an age where information is at the tip of our hands at any moment. 2020 has been a year full of disasters, crises, uprisings, and more. For some like myself, who have found themselves on social media more often than they would have liked to, a form of fatigue has taken over the act of innocently browsing. Don’t get us wrong, being aware of what’s happening in the world is very important, especially right now, but information overload, or, #infowhelm, is a real thing.
A deluge of news items, social media posts that can at times be misleading, and a constant daily reminder of the world’s atrocities have prompted creatives and writers to consider the limits of knowledge. How much can we really know at all times? And is there a way for us to not feel overwhelmed and completely paralyzed by the swarm of bite-sized news bombardments?
You may be wondering how too much information can somehow be harmful—and we have the answers for you. An overwhelming amount of information reception can sometimes act as a hindrance instead of a conduit to knowledge. This has surely happened to you before: you go on social media, scroll down until you’ve seen your entire feed, gotten overwhelmed by everything that’s happening, got off your phone, and felt handicapped. If this sounds familiar at all, we’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to combat this, while keeping yourself informed, and making more space for action rather than inaction.
Look after your sleep
You probably know that taking your phone to bed with you is not conducive to great sleep. Now imagine being on your phone before bed, and being at the receiving end of so much information. Your brain will not be able to process all of it properly, and it will remain in your psyche as you sleep, leading to interrupted and often light sleeping. Make a habit to cut off your phone time at night, a great trick is to use the “do not disturb” option on your phone, which you can schedule. Another great trick is to add a limit to your daily social media consumption via your phone. You can decide a certain amount of time you want to be on certain apps, and once you’ve reached that limit, your phone will automatically block your access until the next day.
Establish a Time-Out
We all need a little break from our screens. Train yourself to not immediately pick up your phone after a meal, and instead, go for a short walk around your neighborhood, safely of course. Keep your phone at home.
Unfollow accounts that post too much
We all know certain accounts (especially news accounts) that post too many stories, constant reminders of what is going on at all times. Either unfollow these accounts or mute them using the “mute feature” on Instagram. That way you can control the information you receive.
Follow accounts that share good information
Diversify your feed. Disconnect from accounts that don’t filter their content and be very selective. Make sure you have a mix of information as well as access to cultural accounts, art accounts, and even meme accounts. This will help you control the information you get bombarded with. Be selective.
And last, remember that you are not powerless
One of the most powerful things we can do during times like these is to remember that whenever headlines make us feel helpless in the face of current crises, we are actually not. There are steps we can take to look after ourselves and our communities, outside of social media. Don’t be afraid of disconnecting from time to time and using that time instead to volunteer, talk to friends and family, and check up on your community offline. You are not powerless, you are just made to feel so!
While you’re at it, make sure to stretch so you don’t get “tech neck,” if you do, here’s some tips to alleviate it.