News overload can strike without warning

Published 11:21 am Monday, January 30, 2017

One of the rules of thumb when writing personal columns is that you aren’t supposed to begin the column discussing how you were thinking about what to write.

However, I’m going to break that rule because it’s really the whole point of this column.

A good bit of my Sunday was spent staring at a screen and tapping my fingers on my desk.

Email newsletter signup

Monday is my column day and the clock was ticking on my deadline, and yet, not a single thought came to my mind that seemed worthy to put into words and share with others.

With so much going on in the nation, I tried to focus on any one of several issues I felt people could relate to – the wall, the Muslim ban, the marches, women’s rights, civil rights.

I had opinions on all of the aforementioned; however, when it came to writing my column, there was nothing I really felt like getting on my soapbox about this week. I realized that most of the readers probably didn’t want to “hear” my opinions on anything either.

Let’s face it, many of us are just suffering from New Overload, which happens to be a very real condition.

Remember the days following the Sept. 11? Much of the country sat glued to their televisions. After a couple of weeks, so many of us started to avoid the news in any form.

We were just done.

We didn’t want to hear any more about the attacks or pending war. We didn’t want to see any more heart-wrenching photographs.

It’s exactly how I felt this weekend.

I was just done.

I didn’t want to hear, write or think about any of it Sunday. I think the shutdown happened around Friday because I was one of the last few people in my circle to even learn about the president’s ban on Muslims.

On the Mayo Clinic’s website, Dr. Sheila Jowsey says adults and children should avoid media overload and be careful about the amount of negative or bad news they view, and that it could lead to discouragement and depression.

She offers several tips on how people can help to avoid news overload, the first being pretty obvious – turn it off. Stop listening, watching or reading the news. Other tips by Jowsey include: Turn it around – do something positive to make the world better, such as volunteering; Get outside and experience nature; Exercise — it helps relieve stress; Be positive — remember that good news does happen; Talk to your children — their concerns may be different than yours.

So I apologize for not being able to voice some political opinion or express views on current events this week as I have strict orders from my brain to avoid it all costs until it has time to process everything it’s been exposed to in the last week or so.

Since the news is my profession, my brain is only allowed a day or two of rest, however, and by the time most are reading this, I’ve watched the news on television for several hours already as it streams in the newsroom.

I better start getting out more to experience new things to write about because I suspect this brain-shutdown from news overload is going to last for quite awhile.

Alyssa Schnugg is Senior Writer at the Oxford Eagle. Email her at