A few nights ago I found myself on the couch ready to relax for the evening but instead my blood pressure was racing as I forced myself to take a few deep breaths. I was watching a cable news channel and hearing headline after screaming headline coming at me in rapid fire. I had come looking for a recap and insight into the day’s news but instead ended up with a headache!
I don’t think it’s a secret that our political climate isn’t very friendly these days and the various news outlets, with their own ratings to consider, don’t always portray a measured response to each story they break. It’s overwhelming to try and take in the news when it’s coming at you like a fire hose. You want to stay informed but sometimes it feels like it would be easier to withdraw because there just don’t seem to be any good ways to keep up without losing your mind.
How to Stay Politically Informed?
Luckily, I’ve found three different sources that have helped me take smaller sips of the news, making it easier for me to stay informed without being overwhelmed. Has it removed all of my feelings of anxiety about our political process or our democratic government? No. But it has helped me to navigate my way through these loud and noisy days and better understand what my own response can be moving forward.
So, if you’re finding yourself a bit burnt-out by your current news sources, consider one of these to help you stay informed without being overwhelmed.
3 Ways to Stay Politically Informed (without losing your mind)
I’ve shared about this stellar podcast before but can’t speak highly enough of the balm this show provides for my soul. Beth from the right and Sarah from the left bring civility back to politics by discussing all things with grace and humility. Law School friends who come from different sides of the political spectrum, these two women are kind, thoughtful, funny, and engaging as they discuss the latest political headlines each week.
Their aim is always nuance and never platitudes which is such a refreshing perspective and each episode leaves me considering new ideas and perspectives. Hanging out with Beth and Sarah each week keeps me from losing my mind and reminds me that there are lots of intelligent people out there who are working through the complexity of these issues with dignity and poise.
Up First from NPR
Each morning Up First puts out a 10-minute podcast summary of the top headlines. Simple, easy, and low drama, this short check-in gives you a snapshot of the previous day’s news. It’s conversational so it doesn’t come across like a droning news report, and the stories are more than just a click-bait headline flashing across Facebook. I love that I can pop this on while I’m getting ready in the morning or packing up lunches and be informed in just a few minutes. Somehow the shorter dose of news makes it easier to digest and the podcast format also lessens some of the heightened emotional reaction that I experience when I watch the TV.
Reuters TV App
From the well-respected Reuters News organization, this app makes viewing the news on-demand super easy. My husband and I have this installed on our Roku so we can watch a bit of news each night but this app is available for smartphones, computer, tablets, or other smart TV devices like Amazon Fire or Apple TV. Since the news is on-demand, you select whether you’d like 10, 15, or 30 minutes of news and then Reuters curates a collection of stories for you from the day’s headlines.
It’s always being updated so you see the latest information and the time options allow me to control how much news I take in. I will admit, the reporting isn’t always super polished, but in the end I appreciate the condensed, focused news stories as opposed to cable news’ talking-head anchors and panels of political insiders. I also see more coverage of world events, rather than the U.S.-centric reporting of many other sources.
Stay Politically Informed Without Being Overwhelmed
So, does my blood pressure still shoot through the roof from time to time? Yes it does, but now it’s usually because I’m responding as an engaged and well-informed citizen and not an overwhelmed news junkie. Being politically informed is a big responsibility but hopefully these sources make it easier and more manageable to take in the latest headlines at a time and pace that works for you. Saying yes to informed and no to overwhelmed is our new mantra!
What are your favorite ways to get the news? Have you found yourself withdrawing or getting fired up in today’s political climate? Leave a comment below with your best suggestions for staying informed!
PS. Being curious doesn’t just mean traveling the world. It also means learning more and trying new things…so from time to time I like to share a little bit about some things that are working for me in case they might help solve a problem for you or inspire you in some way. If politics isn’t your cup of tea, feel free to check out other great advice my the site.
Amy Winters says
I’m glad you pointed out that it can be difficult to take in all of the day’s political news when it’s coming at you like a fire hose from media outlets who have their own ratings to be worried about. For a while I’ve coped with the political turmoil of the world by withdrawing myself from it and not staying involved. However, I’m currently looking to get a job in the political sector, so I’ve doing some research on ways to monitor politics that are relatively stress-free. I learned a lot of helpful info from your article, so thanks for sharing!
Taylor Wright says
I like how you mentioned how being informed is a responsibility and there are many options, like listening to podcasts. I’ve been wanting to be more informed about politics since the election is next year. Your tips will help me be a more informed citizen.
Michaela Hemsley says
Thanks for these tips on staying politically informed without getting overwhelmed. I appreciate that you mentioned that podcasts can be a good way to do that. I think that watching local news would also be a good way to stay informed about local politics too.
Charlotte Fleet says
Thanks for your tips on how to be politically informed without becoming overwhelmed. I think that a good way to do so would be to read up on topics you are interested in. My sister wants to learn more about politics and is interested in women’s rights, so I’ll help her find a good source to read.