Balancing self-care and current events

Stephanie Suarez, Staff Writer

The past year and a half has tested the world and pushed society to new breaking points — or so I thought. As if it was not chaotic enough handling a pandemic and trying to return to a “normal” environment, the universe decided that it was time for the bonus round.

Illustration by Connor Lawless

It is stressful returning to classrooms without socially distancing or realizing you’re going to have to attend in-person classes without the possibility of Zoom. Many students have not had an academic structure that reflects pre-pandemic times for almost two years. When you factor in the sheer amount of chaos that has been happening around the world, this can evoke a whirlwind of emotions.

I’ve grown up watching and reading the news, but along with many other people, I have gotten to a point where I need to step away from the headlines. There has been one breaking news story after another. However, despite how overwhelming the world can become overnight, it is important to remain up to date with the news, in any format that you can digest it best.

Here are some techniques that can be used to help manage the craziness so it isn’t so taxing on you.


Navigating the academic year and the news can begin to take a physical toll on people at a certain point. Personally, I have gone from getting a headache twice a year to feeling I’m getting one every 20 seconds, or I just curl up into a ball and hide away until the world becomes less bleak.

In the end, it comes down to taking things one at a time and knowing when it is necessary to step away and take care of yourself. That could be doing some breathing exercises, moving your body with activity or any self-care techniques, in whatever capacity is best for you.

Personally, I like to take time for myself by watching a couple of episodes of a TV show that I’m currently bingeing or I will do a simple five-minute stretch to get my body moving and relaxing.

Mentally and emotionally

One of the most powerful things to come out of the past year in isolation is the importance of our emotional and mental well-being. You may have been accustomed to putting tasks, responsibilities or assignments first, and then if there was time left over, you could care for yourself. The key to managing two of the most common mental illnesses that people struggle with, anxiety and depression, is finding a balance between activities and taking care of yourself.

Anxiety has become a more normalized discussion topic today in the public eye, as 40 million adults in the United States are affected by anxiety every year, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America. When it comes to depression, around 17.3 million American adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2017, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It is important to recognize that if you or someone you know is experiencing this, you’re not alone, and knowing how to take care of yourself can go a long way.

If you’re finding yourself in a negative headspace after digesting a news story, follow it up with a positive story to help reinforce the idea that there is wholesomeness in the world.

Socially and politically

Last year, when people suddenly had a ridiculous amount of free time on their hands, it was a wonderful time for binging Netflix in bed. However, there was a point where rewatching a show for the seventh time began to lose its magic. While Jan. 9 was when the World Health Organization declared the first COVID-19 case, there were powerful campaigns that formed to move the United States forward, such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the 2020 elections. Reminiscing on the positive impact of these events can help offset the negativity produced by current events.

Although the news can become overwhelming, people should not fully retract from current events, but recognize what is causing the symptoms and how to treat it. We’ve already endured so much change since 2020 began, but continuing to take care of ourselves from any challenges that the news or academics can throw, is one of the most positive techniques we can all do.