Journalism is a constant, 24/7 industry that never slows down. No matter the time of day, there is news. Normal nine to five jobs typically end when you leave the office with maybe a few emails to catch up on at home. For me, I never turn work off. I get emails throughout the night, even while I am sleeping, and subscribe to several news notifications as well as newsletters.
This sounds like overload, but I do it to stay informed on a variety of topics. It is my style, but sometimes I feel like I am experiencing news overload. If I don’t stay on top of the notifications, it can add up, making it nearly impossible to digest all of the information.
It is important to develop boundaries and self-care tips. For me, I try to write down my thoughts to distill them. My brain likes to run one thousand miles per second when I get busy and overwhelmed. By journaling or making lists, I feel better and I can be productive.
Developing your personal self-care rules will help you as a journalist, but also as a person navigating this crazy world. As journalists, we cover some people’s worst days and we investigate some deeply troubling topics. Last week, my reporting centered around the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of people have died from this disease. Journalists internalize these stories, too. It can be too much to take on sometimes, so find those small moments to just let work go.
Al and Rev. Sidney Tompkins help journalists covering COVID-19 manage newsroom stress
The weeks ahead will be stressful. Many of you are working from home, without your usual support network. Some of you have been the target of angry viewers/readers/listeners. Some of you have other pressures including family members who need special care, maybe even your own health concerns are making you extra cautious. Poynter's Al Tompkins and licensed psychotherapist Sidney Tompkins work with newsrooms around the world to help them find ways to cope with the stresses of the job and to recognize traumatic stress symptoms. We need journalists to be great right now. That begins with taking care of yourselves.
Those moments for me are when I can watch a funny television show, read a good book or write. Share your tips below or Tweet me @18NewsTara.