A version of this article is the first edition of the 5 Things newsletter in 2020. Sign up here to get Up to Speed and Out The Door every weekday morning.
We get it. The news can be… a lot. Elections! Climate change! International turmoil! Culture wars! It’s completel understandable if every once in a while you just want to check out. But 2020 is going to be a huge news year, no matter which way you think about it. Here are some resources and pieces of advice to keep your news habits healthy and ensure you survive whatever headlines come our way this year.
If you want to be more engaged
Have you ever just felt hopeless after a hard news day? Then is as good a time as ever to remind yourself that you can make a difference, and you have the power to be a force of change in the world around you. How?
Find new ways to become politically active
Yes, voting is important. But so is paying attention to your local elections, supporting national parks and other federal services, volunteering to be a part of our justice system, and educating yourself about issues and empowering others to use their voice. Here are 25 ways to flex your political power.
Don’t shy away from difficult conversations
Yes, there are few things less appetizing than politics at the dinner table, but sometimes talking through your views — and speaking up for what you believe in — can lead to some rewarding breakthroughs. Here are some tips:
How to politely discuss political differences: Find common ground on the issue at hand. Disagree about gun control? Try to bring up a mutually supported part of it, like increased mental health background checks or school safety measures.
How to call out racism: This one’s tough, and there’s no right way. Some experts suggest focusing on a specific offense that could be defined as racist, rather than applying the term broadly, or using terms like racial bias or racial anxiety, which make people less likely to become defensive. However, it is what it is, and if changing such language defeats the purpose for you, then don’t.
Talk to your kids
Listen, only you know what’s best for your children and what they should be discussing. But every parent needs help sometime. Bookmark these for the next time difficult or complex topics get brought up in the news:
- How to talk to kids about tragic events
- How to talk to kids about hate speech
- How to talk to your kids about racism
- How to talk to kids about violent online content
- How to talk to kids about online hate speech
- How to talk to kids about sexual abuse
- How to talk to kids about gender issues
If you need to recharge
We’re going to be real with you: No matter how much of a news junkie you are, you NEED a break. Even if you think it is your civic duty to be informed on all things, you NEED. A. BREAK.
Respect your feelings and needs
- Recognize that you can be traumatized by terrible news, especially if it hits close to home
- Pursue some positive form of relief, whether it be video games or volunteering
- Allow yourself to feel bad, and grow from it.
Be the bearer of good news — literally
You know, there’s plenty of great news in the world, and you shouldn’t think of it as some sort of current events comfort food. Good stories are a part of balanced, and they can give people the motivation or inspiration to keep engaging with all of the hard stuff.
Then, subscribe to our good news letter, The Good Stuff. It comes out every Saturday, is written by your friends at 5 Things,and will give you plenty of good news to share with others.
If you want to help others
There are plenty of ideas on how to spread positive change over at CNN’s Impact Your World site, but here are some top tips geared toward some of the biggest issues we’ll be facing in the new year:
- 9 simple ways to honor veterans
- Resources for helping refugees
- How to take a mental health first aid class
- Want to know what you can do to fight climate change? Take this quiz.
And, as always, thank YOU.
We often call you guys our 5 Things family, and it’s so true. Thank you for waking up every morning with us, for sending us emails, for telling us what you think, and for making reporting — and reading — the news so fulfilling. Here’s to another year of 5 Things!