Doomscrolling obsessively scanning social media and websites for bad news can promote feelings of anxiety and depression and result in burnout. The high-stress level can cause a lack of appetite and an inability to sleep and do everyday tasks.
Many people have experienced stress since the pandemic began. Added to this is the current climate crisis, the increasing cost of living, and the conflict in Ukraine.
Martin Preston, founder & chief executive at Private Rehab Clinic Delamere, warned: ‘Compulsively watching the news and doomscrooling can cause worry burnout.’
‘Doomscrolling is spending excessive time scrolling through news sites and social media, absorbing negative news. This condition is more prevalent than ever, as more people slip into a damaging cycle of reading negative news about the rising cost of living, Covid-19 pandemic and Ukraine crisis.’
‘It can negatively impact an individual’s mental health, often triggering and worsening feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, fear, and feelings of distress. For some, there is an added risk that too much time spent focusing on these weighted problems can even cause worry burnout.’
‘Constant worrying can take a toll on your emotional and physical health, weighing negatively on your day-to-day life, relationships, career and other aspects. Worrying is a normal part of human life, but during the unprecedented times of the pandemic, people have been exposed to worry burnout, when a person feels overwhelmed and worn out by worry.’
How can you overcome worry burnout?
Everyone gets worried from time to time but left untreated, and it can affect both your physical and mental well-being. While there’s no way to avoid worrying altogether, there are methods to help you get your stress and worry under control.
When worried and stressed, you need to activate your body’s natural relaxation response, which helps to slow your heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and balances your mind and body.
Meditation has many health benefits and is a highly effective way to relieve stress, soften anxiety, and improve mental well-being. Taking time to relax the mind with meditation gives you the space to separate your energy, attention and emotions.
Write down your worries
Writing can help to boost positive emotions and reduce worries and anxiety, according to research from the British Journal of Health Psychology. Spending 20 minutes per day writing about positive experiences can improve your physical and psychological health.
The aim is to find the positive in worrying situations and reduce stress, tension and built-up anger. Start by thinking of what makes you feel worried and begin writing about the positives you can take from the experience.
Physical activity can help lessen worrying and have a massive influence on your physical and mental well-being. Even if that’s just 10 minutes a day, exercising regularly can help individuals suffering from worry burnout.
When exercising, breathing deeper triggers the body’s relaxation response. A cardiovascular activity, like walking outside for 20–30 minutes several times per week, can improve sleep, increase energy and increase stress-busting endorphins. Other forms of physical activity that can help cope with worry burnout are gardening, circuit training, pilates, yoga and tennis.
Reaching out to family and friends for help and support is crucial when coping with worry burnout. Socialisation increases a hormone within our bodies that can decrease anxiety levels and make us feel more confident in dealing with stress.
Limited social support has been linked to increased levels of depression and loneliness. It has been proven to alter brain function and increase the risk of alcohol use, drug abuse, depression and suicide. Social interactions with family and friends play a crucial role in functioning daily.