Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Wrestling with Political News Burn-out

 

There are worse things in the world than suffering from following the political news; I’m well aware of that. But it makes sense now and then to see where I measure on the news emotional spectrum, and at the moment I’m getting close to bottoming out.

It’s worthwhile to clarify for myself just what “burn-out” is since the term isn’t always understood. In my case, I define it not so much as getting far too much information from too many sources (although that’s part of it); it’s more about realizing how helpless I am to influence the entire scene: government and its ineptness, politicians who aren’t interested in governing, citizens who know very little about what is going on, and the media that is primarily representing the Left and distorts nearly everything it reports. And for the most part, there is nothing I can do. But here are a few things I’m going to try:

  1. Limit my ruminations about the news I hear. If I don’t obsess about one report or another, it will reduce my stress level.
  2. Work on non-attachment to the current events. This approach is not the same as detaching; instead, it’s about creating some emotional distance from what I’m hearing. This step complements #1 above. It’s not easy, but it’s powerful.
  3. Celebrate those few positive things that are occurring. Knowing that Republicans (not just Trump) are pushing back against the Democrats is very encouraging.
  4. Remind myself (as @seawriter reminded me) that polls are flawed and if anything, present only part of the picture.
  5. Focus on the present. Take an analytical approach to the latest data. Which leads to #6.
  6. Don’t get too far ahead in worrying about 2020. Approaching the next several months as if they are a mystery unfolding would put the news in a whole new light!
  7. Remind myself of all my blessings. In the scheme of things, I’m very lucky!

Does anyone want to join me?

P.S. I realize I could simply take a break from all of it, but that is not going to happen!

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There are 33 comments.

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  1. Seawriter Member

    Susan Quinn: Anyone want to join me?

    I already am doing that. I’d be really crazy otherwise.

    • #1
    • October 10, 2019, at 11:00 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: Anyone want to join me?

    I already am doing that. I’d be really crazy otherwise.

    I just have to keep reminding myself when I start to get spun up. Which is, of course, the hardest time to do it! I’m glad to know that you’re already doing it, @seawriter. I’m encouraged.

    • #2
    • October 10, 2019, at 11:01 AM PST
    • 1 like
  3. Weeping Member

    I’m right there with you, Susan. With all the hysteria raging around, I’ve taken to basically scanning headlines and praying. Too much contemplation of them is not good for me – mentally or emotionally. There’s not really anything I can do to change things; so scanning, praying, and going on with my life seems like the best course of action.

    I also try to keep in mind the stuff I learned from this book years ago. And while I haven’t read it, this one looks like a good read on the subject too.

    • #3
    • October 10, 2019, at 11:18 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Weeping (View Comment):

    I’m right there with you, Susan. With all the hysteria raging around, I’ve taken to basically scanning headlines and praying. Too much contemplation of them is not good for me – mentally or emotionally. There’s not really anything I can do to change things; so scanning, praying, and going on with my life seems like the best course of action.

    I also try to keep in mind the stuff I learned from this book years ago. And while I haven’t read it, this one looks like a good read on the subject too.

    Excellent points, @weeping. I really appreciate all the suggestions to ignore the polls, and that other people are doing the same. Thanks!

    • #4
    • October 10, 2019, at 11:33 AM PST
    • 1 like
  5. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Just keep one big thing in mind. Hillsdale…….Hillsdale……Hillsdale….. An island of good sense in the sea of nonsense out there.

    • #5
    • October 10, 2019, at 11:36 AM PST
    • 1 like
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Just keep one big thing in mind. Hillsdale…….Hillsdale……Hillsdale….. An island of good sense in the sea of nonsense out there.

    Thank you, @rushbabe49! And thanks to Hillsdale!

    • #6
    • October 10, 2019, at 11:41 AM PST
    • 1 like
  7. Eridemus Coolidge

    I really think if a lot more people just turned down their attention level, the whole country would be better off. You can stay informed about the basic big news stories by dipping in far less often (than the media wants to lure people into doing), and still vote like an intelligent voter when the time comes. I think ignoring the poisoning is about the best way to stay sane and independent. You don’t need to be on a continual roller coaster of information about events you can’t influence directly anyway. (I don’t even think responding to average citizens around you offers enough reward to justify spending energy on it either). I’ve been trying to step back from even fringe obcession for awhile now. For good or ill, the world is going whatever way it is destined to go without the vast majority of us feeling obligated to privately over-react to it.

    • #7
    • October 10, 2019, at 12:10 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  8. Weeping Member

    Weeping (View Comment):
    I also try to keep in mind the stuff I learned from this book years ago. And while I haven’t read it, this one looks like a good read on the subject too.

    I haven’t read this one either, but it looks good too.

    • #8
    • October 10, 2019, at 12:33 PM PST
    • 1 like
  9. CJ Coolidge
    CJ

    Politics is a lot like Pro Wrestling, only with a lot more delusion.

    The people calling themselves the government are going to do eventually, one way or the other, do what they want.

    Once you realize the whole thing is basically a spectator sport, it kind of takes a lot of the pressure off.

    I mean, don’t get me wrong–socialism is very deadly. But the root of socialism is democracy, and very few people are willing to recognize this.

     

    • #9
    • October 10, 2019, at 12:40 PM PST
    • 1 like
  10. Samuel Block Member

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: Anyone want to join me?

    I already am doing that. I’d be really crazy otherwise.

    Me too. I really don’t even miss much. Every time somebody brings up a hot topic, my response is normally “I’ve heard a little about that, but I haven’t been following it much.” Whenever it is explained to me by someone who has followed the story, I realize that I’m almost entirely up to speed.

    On the flip side. I have a lot of family who can hardly keep their own houses in order, but tune in to CNN each evening for every last detail. To think that they’ve been waiting by the door for impeachment this whole time is kinda sad.

    So yes, Susan, I think it’s a great idea.

    • #10
    • October 10, 2019, at 1:02 PM PST
    • 1 like
  11. Old Buckeye Member

    I also remind myself (daily!) Who (I believe) is actually in control. 

    • #11
    • October 10, 2019, at 3:07 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  12. Rodin Member

    Good post. I was trying to compose one that asked what would it take to give up on politics entirely? When it becomes obvious that our votes mean nothing with respect to how the country (and our lives) is run, then why would you pay attention?

    • #12
    • October 10, 2019, at 3:57 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  13. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Weeping (View Comment):

    I’m right there with you, Susan. With all the hysteria raging around, I’ve taken to basically scanning headlines and praying. Too much contemplation of them is not good for me – mentally or emotionally. There’s not really anything I can do to change things; so scanning, praying, and going on with my life seems like the best course of action.

    I also try to keep in mind the stuff I learned from this book years ago. And while I haven’t read it, this one looks like a good read on the subject too.

    I think it was Dennis Prager who said that the way to read the NYTimes is to go to the third paragraph from the end, to find the nugget of truth. Headlines are partisan/clickbate hype, making things worse. Perhaps, click through, scroll immediately to the bottom, then scan up a paragraph or so to see if there is any objective fact reporting.

    • #13
    • October 10, 2019, at 4:02 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    I think it was Dennis Prager who said that the way to read the NYTimes is to go to the third paragraph from the end, to find the nugget of truth. Headlines are partisan/clickbate hype, making things worse. Perhaps, click through, scroll immediately to the bottom, then scan up a paragraph or so to see if there is any objective fact reporting.

    That used to be true years ago. Is he still claiming that is a good strategy?

    • #14
    • October 10, 2019, at 4:24 PM PST
    • 1 like
  15. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    I think it was Dennis Prager who said that the way to read the NYTimes is to go to the third paragraph from the end, to find the nugget of truth. Headlines are partisan/clickbate hype, making things worse. Perhaps, click through, scroll immediately to the bottom, then scan up a paragraph or so to see if there is any objective fact reporting.

    That used to be true years ago. Is he still claiming that is a good strategy?

    I haven’t listened that closely.

    • #15
    • October 10, 2019, at 4:28 PM PST
    • 1 like
  16. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    I think it’s pretty normal for people to need a sense of closure, and to worry if they don’t have their mind made up, they’ll just keep going round and round on an issue, wasting everyone’s precious time — what @susanquinn calls rumination. But it’s possible to remain undecided on an issue, without ruminating on it, either.

    If we’re in a situation where the decision is truly up to us, then we must decide — and live with the consequences. For example, in accepting or rejecting medical care for ourselves or a loved one, even if we feel undecided about our options, events must go one way or the other eventually, effectively deciding for us if we fail to decide for ourselves: that is a decision that is truly up to us, and where our indecision functions as a decision in its own right. But for other matters, where the outcome does not depend on our decision — or the probability that it does is so remote it can be discounted — then nothing really changes if we never make up our minds. Nothing can force us to make up our minds when the outcome doesn’t depend on our decision.

    I’m partial to the phrase, “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” Some outcomes I am too unlikely to affect, even if I do all my duties, that I can afford to “not care” about them.

    I might still care a little, especially since I believe the human soul has a general duty to orient itself toward truth. But even the duty to be truth-oriented still doesn’t tell us how much energy it’s worth spending on establishing any particular fact. None of us gets to know it all — at least not this side of Paradise — and which facets of the truth strike us as most salient depends on who we are (what we know, what we value, etc). If our goal is general orientation toward truth, it seems to make sense to care more about more salient truths (because, as far as we can know, they are the more important to our overall perception of truth), and while the truth Out There does not alter simply because subjects differ in their perceptions, salience does.

    To be honest, many specific political facts don’t seem particularly salient to my general orientation toward the truth. There are other facts I can know better to orient myself toward the truth as a whole, and I may as well focus my interest on those facts. As for establishing facts whose outcome isn’t dependent on my input, and which don’t seem otherwise salient: “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”

    • #16
    • October 10, 2019, at 4:46 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  17. MarciN Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    I think it was Dennis Prager who said that the way to read the NYTimes is to go to the third paragraph from the end, to find the nugget of truth.

    I think that’s excellent advice. In fact, I still do that: I read newspaper stories from the bottom up. It saves a lot of time. 

    • #17
    • October 10, 2019, at 5:18 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    To be honest, many specific political facts don’t seem particularly salient to my general orientation toward the truth. There are other facts I can know better to orient myself toward the truth as a whole, and I may as well focus my interest on those facts. As for establishing facts whose outcome isn’t dependent on my input, and which don’t seem otherwise salient: “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”

    Beautifully said, @midge. This approach calls for us to separate out those issues which we value and let go of those things that we don’t. We can’t always be sure about our choices, but we should at least make the effort. Thanks.

    • #18
    • October 10, 2019, at 5:29 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  19. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    My strategy is to focus on a few good sources and just a few issues. I ignore everything else.

    • #19
    • October 10, 2019, at 5:42 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  20. The Reticulator Member

    Eridemus (View Comment):

    I really think if a lot more people just turned down their attention level, the whole country would be better off. You can stay informed about the basic big news stories by dipping in far less often (than the media wants to lure people into doing), and still vote like an intelligent voter when the time comes. I think ignoring the poisoning is about the best way to stay sane and independent. You don’t need to be on a continual roller coaster of information about events you can’t influence directly anyway. (I don’t even think responding to average citizens around you offers enough reward to justify spending energy on it either). I’ve been trying to step back from even fringe obcession for awhile now. For good or ill, the world is going whatever way it is destined to go without the vast majority of us feeling obligated to privately over-react to it.

     They don’t listen to me, so why should I listen to the news people? 

    • #20
    • October 10, 2019, at 5:57 PM PST
    • 1 like
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Eridemus (View Comment):
    I’ve been trying to step back from even fringe obcession for awhile now. For good or ill, the world is going whatever way it is destined to go without the vast majority of us feeling obligated to privately over-react to it.

    I agree, @eridemus. I’m going to start being selective about what gets my energy and attention. That’s a responsible way to deal with an irresponsible media!

    • #21
    • October 10, 2019, at 6:02 PM PST
    • Like
  22. Raxxalan Member

    Actually I think at the current moment I am finding Political News to be a useful distraction, and a way to indulge some dark emotions without them being personally threatening. The synthetic outrage of the news cycle provides a morbid escape and a way to avoid dealing with more personal demons. The real problem with it all is it emits more heat than light. I honestly think for pure information you are better off engaging once 3 days perhaps even once a week. That allows the story to settle down and some signal to emerge from the noise. For the moment though, while I think that @seawriter and @susanquinn have the far healthier and saner attitude toward this subject, I’ll enjoy the roller coaster even if it occasionally makes me sick to my stomach.

     

     

    • #22
    • October 10, 2019, at 8:43 PM PST
    • 1 like
  23. Randy Webster Member

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: Anyone want to join me?

    I already am doing that. I’d be really crazy otherwise.

    Could we tell?

    • #23
    • October 11, 2019, at 3:25 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  24. MichaelHenry Contributor

    Susie Q.: If you didn’t experience media burnout through Russia collusion, Kavanaugh, and now Ukrania, you weren’t paying attention. I’ve done several of the steps you outline, and feel better. However, I think I must have merely suppressed all the anger and hostility, because when I heard this afternoon that Shepard Smith was leaving Fox News, my heart leapt for joy in my sparrow-like bosom. It’s going to be a great weekend. MH

    p.s. I haven’t been participating much in the last year, but when I do, I always read your stuff. You are a very good writer/communicator. mh

    • #24
    • October 11, 2019, at 1:57 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  25. Randy Webster Member

    MichaelHenry (View Comment):

    Susie Q.: If you didn’t experience media burnout through Russia collusion, Kavanaugh, and now Ukrania, you weren’t paying attention. I’ve done several of the steps you outline, and feel better. However, I think I must have merely suppressed all the anger and hostility, because when I heard this afternoon that Shepard Smith was leaving Fox News, my heart leapt for joy in my sparrow-like bosom. It’s going to be a great weekend. MH

    p.s. I haven’t been participating much in the last year, but when I do, I always read your stuff. You are a very good writer/communicator. mh

    Where’s Shepard off to?

    • #25
    • October 11, 2019, at 2:03 PM PST
    • Like
  26. Rodin Member

    MichaelHenry (View Comment):
    [W]hen I heard this afternoon that Shepard Smith was leaving Fox News, my heart leapt for joy in my sparrow-like bosom.

    Now Judge Napolitano. You don’t need to be a Trump suck up to be watchable, but you can’t be an idiot. 

     

    • #26
    • October 11, 2019, at 3:30 PM PST
    • Like
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    MichaelHenry (View Comment):

    Susie Q.: If you didn’t experience media burnout through Russia collusion, Kavanaugh, and now Ukrania, you weren’t paying attention. I’ve done several of the steps you outline, and feel better. However, I think I must have merely suppressed all the anger and hostility, because when I heard this afternoon that Shepard Smith was leaving Fox News, my heart leapt for joy in my sparrow-like bosom. It’s going to be a great weekend. MH

    p.s. I haven’t been participating much in the last year, but when I do, I always read your stuff. You are a very good writer/communicator. mh

    Thanks @Michaelhenry! My sanity comes and goes!

    • #27
    • October 11, 2019, at 3:36 PM PST
    • Like
  28. Percival Thatcher

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    MichaelHenry (View Comment):

    Susie Q.: If you didn’t experience media burnout through Russia collusion, Kavanaugh, and now Ukrania, you weren’t paying attention. I’ve done several of the steps you outline, and feel better. However, I think I must have merely suppressed all the anger and hostility, because when I heard this afternoon that Shepard Smith was leaving Fox News, my heart leapt for joy in my sparrow-like bosom. It’s going to be a great weekend. MH

    p.s. I haven’t been participating much in the last year, but when I do, I always read your stuff. You are a very good writer/communicator. mh

    Where’s Shepard off to?

    Dunno. Don’t care, either.

    • #28
    • October 11, 2019, at 5:40 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  29. TC Chef Coolidge

    Count me in.

    One key feature of turning down the volume is to cut the cable. We did so a couple of years back and my mental health has improved since. We get a HD signal over the airwaves and some streaming; more content than one could ever consume and no political commercials! I do sample local news. We should all live more locally.

    Keep up the good fight.

    Chef

    • #29
    • October 11, 2019, at 5:41 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  30. Chris Hutchinson Coolidge

    I’ve also been wrestling with political news burn out, Susan. I’m not looking to take a complete break either so I have in fact been joining you already. Along those lines, it’s why I haven’t been posting as often lately but I have to say I still come to Ricochet every other day or so to read and thank goodness for y’all. You really are a bit of sanity and reason in an sea of… well, in a sea of very little sanity and reason, even the NR Plus group often gets too much for me. 

    • #30
    • October 12, 2019, at 7:02 AM PST
    • Like
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