Information Fatigue

Information Fatigue

What is it? 

Do I have it? 

Short answer…YES

  • Feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by data from people and screens?
  • Having more extreme thoughts related to all of the information (ie: why is everyone worrying, what’s the big deal, I wish everyone would just stop…, what if….).
  • Maybe your level of sarcasm is beyond the norm for you.
  • Pay attention to what your body is telling you (irritability, tense, unfocused, etc).  You may be experiencing information (both info. that is true and false) fatigue.

DO: figure out how to separate yourself, at times throughout the day.  EVERY MINUTE IS IMPORTANT.  Yes, it is!  Take minutes if you are unable to take hours.

DO: consider keeping other parts of your daily routine.  When feeling stressed, we often feel distracted and unfocused.  This is a time when we feel like screens are a helpful distraction.  They are NOT.

DO: engage in activities or with people that do NOT include conversations related to your current stressors (for many right now it’s COVID-19).

DO: separate yourself from stressful information at least 30 minutes before bed…60 is preferred.

DO: check in with yourself throughout the day to see how much data you are taking in and how it’s affecting you.

~Rebecca DoughertyFroelke, MSW, LCSW

Managing Fear

Managing Fear….taking control of the worry

The concept of sitting with your own fears can be a strange concept to most people.  It’s uncomfortable and it can seemingly create more worry thoughts.  Some level of fear is being felt by many people of ALL ages around the globe right now…..AND that is NORMAL. 

Why?  This is an abnormal event. Let me say that again and louder: THIS IS AN ABNORMAL EVENT.  It can, and for most, will disrupt our everyday routine, our usual thinking patterns, and how we behave to name a few.  We as humans, are wired to respond to one of our basic emotions….fear.  It is a part of our body’s way to get us to respond in some manner, preferably to protect ourselves (fight, flight, freeze). 

This state of hyper arousal can be experienced in many different ways and to varying degrees within each individual.  This can include, but not be limited to:

  • overwhelming thoughts at once or persistently throughout the day
  • feeling irritable or restless
  • a lack of focus in work, with conversations or even during down time
  • disruption in sleep
  • general feeling of fatigue

If you feel like some of this is familiar within yourself, it is important to take inventory.  Take a brief moment to notice what thoughts you have. 

In that moment, ask yourself:

“what category do my thoughts fall into: rational or emotional?”

 “how balanced are my thoughts right now?”

When you are able to do this, you begin the process of taking back control over your worry-based thoughts.  This is a process and 100% relief may not be felt immediately (I’m pinging the perfectionistic side of you right now), but you may begin to slowly notice how you are able to slightly shift your thoughts to make them more manageable.  This is the goal….managing ‘all of this’. 

Here are a few steps you can take to manage:

  • Take time in your day to check in with yourself and notice what you are thinking and how are you feeling.  Realistically, this can happen over a few moments.  Ideally, it would happen in a quiet space, but let’s be real and this may need to happen while you’re at a stop light or walking about to your next destination, taking a shower or eating a meal. 
  • Take the moments you can give for this to check in and ask yourself:

“how balanced are my thoughts right now?” 

“are they more emotional?”

“do I have any rational thoughts?” 

If you find that your thoughts are unbalanced go further

  • Begin to ask yourself:

“what are some rational thoughts I can have to create more balance?”

example emotional thought: “I’m worried I may get this!”

example rational thought: “How can I plan and prepare if I do get this?”

Balancing your thoughts is NOT intended to erase the emotional thoughts…balancing allows for both and balance allows for you to have the ability to take back control of the worry-based thoughts instead of them controlling you.