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News Fatigue

February 7, 2021 | by Emuna Braverman

Why I’m going on a news diet.

We are all the victims of fatigue right now – zoom fatigue, pandemic fatigue, home schooling fatigue, stuck-in-the-house fatigue, stuck-in-the-house-with-the-same-people fatigue, politics fatigue, news fatigue…

You name it, we’re tired!

Unfortunately, many of these situations are outside of our control. We can always change our attitudes (how many times have we taken a deep breath and done that in the last year?) but we can’t change the situation. We can’t force the schools to open or the disease to disappear.

But there is one area where we can act and where I, for one, am taking a stand. It’s the politics and the news fatigue. In terms of the former, I think many of us are done. Whichever side of the proverbial aisle you stand or sit on, it’s been exhausting. I have nothing left to say and, more importantly, nothing left I want to say. I have no more emotions I want to devote to politics. I repeat my mantra “God runs the world” and for extra measure, “the hearts of kings are in the Almighty’s hands” (from the book of Psalms), I take that aforementioned deep breath and I return to my more immediate concerns. Like the color of the couch in my family room and why the shower curtain rod came broken…

I’m applying the same philosophy to news in general. Other than at cocktail parties and on Jeopardy, do I really need to know all that information? Does it impact my life in anyway – and am I using it to positively impact the lives of anyone else? If there’s something I can or should do, by all means, tell me. But news for news sake, news so I can sound knowledgeable, news so I can proudly call myself “well-informed”, leave me out. The stress of it and the time wasted are just not worth it. I will no longer be embarrassed if I don’t know which election cycle this is in Israel (seriously, can anyone keep up anymore?) or whether Jenn and Brad are really getting back together.

It’s not that I want to live a self-centered life or run away to an island in the South Pacific; it’s that I want to act where it makes a difference – in my little world. I want to be more patient with my husband (even if I disagree with all of his design ideas), I want to be more available to my children and grandchildren (even though I did ban them from playing in the bedrooms after the closet shelf and everything on it came crashing down), I want to spend my time learning and growing and giving to others. In my small world. In my small community. I don’t want to waste my time and energy on unimportant information.

Some people waste time surfing the web, others reading every news source possible – either way, I’m not living the life I aspire to. When I think about my ancestors, it’s hard to imagine Abraham and Sarah relaxing over their morning coffee with the Sunday newspaper, bagels and lox. There was too much to do, too many people to help, too much gratitude to express.

I’m not going cold turkey (I still call the WSJ every day to find out why they haven’t been able to deliver my paper – although maybe it’s a sign the Almighty is trying to assist me in my endeavor) but I’m seriously cutting back). So I can focus on who and what really count (and perhaps still spend some time getting the color of that couch just right!).


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