Media Exposure & Stress Levels in Times of COVID-19 (Guest Blog by Petra Raspel)

I’d like to talk a bit about media exposure and stress-levels today. Some type of info is always at our fingertips. Literally. You only have to pick up your smartphone to read the latest news. While it’s convenient and useful, it can also cause a tremendous amount of anxiety. Let's take a critical look at the media you're consuming and the ways in which they can affect your peace of mind.
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram give you an up close and personal view of what's going on in the lives of your friends, family members and colleagues. And that type of connection is vital at the moment. However, it also provides you with up-to-the-minute news stories and non-stop access to current events. Plus, there are also TV, radio and print media on top of it all.

Media and Stress 

Non-stop exposure to different types of media can cause a great deal of stress in a number of ways. When you're glued to your smartphone while also trying to pay attention to the world around you, your senses become overloaded. This overload causes you to feel drained and stressed. Being “on" all the time and ready to answer emails and social media isn’t good for anyone. 
And raise your hand if the lines between work and private life have become blurred due to Covid-19.  
Many of us feel more obligated than ever to deal with work messages and crises at the drop of a hat, even while trying to enjoy however we’re currently spending time with our families.
Being constantly exposed to news is another stressor. What’s currently going on the world is traumatic. Reliving that trauma several times a day compounds it, even when it isn't something that is directly happening to you (but all the more if it happens to people you know, or even yourself).
Finally, there’s comparisonitis. Social media can often lead to FOMO or "fear of missing out”. We can feel like our lives don't measure up to those of our online friends:
“Why does lockdown seem to be a doddle for them when I’m struggling?”
“They still have a job. What about me?”

How to cope 

First and foremost, limitation is the key to finding balance. Decide what types of media are most important to you and limit the rest. Then set a schedule. Be vigilant and try not to sneak peeks. Find other things to do, like spending time focusing on projects or causes that are important to you, or exercising (even if you currently can’t go out). Talk to people face to face, either in your household or via videoconference. Do one thing at a time. Multitasking is actually a contributor to stress. It's best to sit and scroll through your Facebook feed before work or moving on to watch the news (as an example). 
 


Petra Raspel is a vocal and cognitive behavioural coach with special expertise in helping (performing) artists and creatives to overcome limiting beliefs and emotional blocks to perform better and without fear. She has helped hundreds of people to prepare for or sustain a singing career, find personal fulfilment through music and overcome limiting beliefs and performance anxiety. Her work in the field of singing, creativity and performance psychology has been featured in several publications and podcasts. Petra studied music, performance pedagogy and psychology and is a member of the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies. She can look back on a career in musical theatre performance, private education and academia in both Germany and the U.K. and currently lives in Glasgow with her husband and daughter. Find out more at www.singingsense.com!