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Avoiding Doom-Scrolling and BOOKISH PEOPLE by Susan Coll

Cover of the book Bookish People by Susan Coll used to teach avoiding doom scrolling

Sophie is going through it all. She recently lost her husband. Her adult son is floundering. The thriving bookstore she started years ago is taking more effort than she has energy, mainly because of her drama-prone staff, cantankerous vacuum, and an unwelcome tortoise.

On top of it all, Sophie is obsessed with the news. And (seemingly like always), it’s a rough news week.

Sophie could use some help processing her grief and certainly would benefit from setting boundaries with her son and her staff. But today, we’re not talking about those things. Today, we’re discussing the news and ways to turn it off.

Let me clarify – engaging with the world around us is important. I would never suggest going cold turkey. But I recommend prioritizing mental health (and self-care) over being up-to-date every moment of the day. Overconsumption of news leads to stress, anxiety, hopelessness, and depression.

Here are tips to avoid doom-scrolling:

Set Time Limits: Designate one specific (not too long) time each day dedicated to news.


Decrease Uninvited Interruptions: Stop receiving notifications on your phone.


Prioritize Reliable Sources: Avoid media that exaggerates, promotes fear-mongering, or is highly pessimistic.


Walk Away When Needed: If other people bring up news stories you find overwhelming, tell them you don’t want to discuss it and redirect the conversation.

I like to think that if Sophie had a healthier relationship with the news, she would have an increased capacity to handle life’s other stressors. Maybe she could even use the extra time to return to her first love, reading.


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