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8 feel-good things you can do instead of obsessively scrolling the news

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Anna Brech
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Have you found yourself spending your days scrolling endlessly through all the coronavirus news updates? From pruning your plants to simple home workouts, here are some great feel-good activities to turn to instead.

How many times have you checked the news so far today? In the last 24 hours? In the last week? Chances are, it’s quite a lot. With all of the constantly changing guidelines and updates being announced in relation to the coronavirus outbreak, it can feel like keeping up with the news is a never-ending mission.

There’s no doubt that in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s important to stay informed – but there is such a thing as too much information, and consuming too much stressful content could lead you feeling emotionally exhausted and burnt out.

Granted, checking the news isn’t a dangerous habit in the sense of binge drinking, or gambling your life away. But it can still be a subtly toxic impulse to give into (particularly if you don’t hold back).

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Coronavirus: is the news making you anxious? Here’s why distraction could be the answer

Reading about all the latest death tolls and lockdowns may hike up your anxiety levels in a way you’re not consciously aware of, as well as making you hyper-alert. 

Worse still, breaking news feeds are addictive: so you’ll find yourself compulsively returning to them, even when you know you could be doing something happier or more productive. 

If the news is making you feel anxious, or you simply need a bit of light relief from everything that’s going on, a little bit of distraction can be a great way to make yourself feel better. Here are eight great things to try instead of compulsive news scrolling, when you have a spare five minutes on your hands.

  • Spruce up your houseplants

    Give us the person who does not own at least one slightly dead-looking houseplant, and we’ll call them a fibber. 

    Sorry-looking ferns or wilting peace lilies are simply a fact of life for those of us who buy into the idea of a green-filled home more than we do the reality.  

    Not to worry, though, as the brilliant Planterina is here to the rescue with a series of simple, non-judgemental plant care tips: all of which can be carried out in the time it takes to read that breaking news blog. 

    And if you want to jump on the houseplant bandwagon, no fear: there are still loads of online plant shops shipping at the moment.

  • Get moving

    Working from home can make it all to easy to hibernate on the sofa, but these easy at-home workouts from Stylist’s very own Strong Women are great for incorporating a little bit of movement into your day.

    Join their Instagram live stream everyday at 1pm to workout with one of the Strong Women ambassadors.

  • Whip up a batch of chocolate mascarpone mousse

    Baking is the ultimate form of escapism, which is why so many of us tune into Bake-Off every year without fail. Even just watching sweet treats being made is soothing, but if you want to get stuck in yourself, try this recipe by Irish chef Clodagh McKenna (as shared by fellow chef Margie Nomura). 

    Chocolate mascarpone mousse with black cherries are everything you need from comfort cooking/eating, and they only take about 10 minutes to put together. Not counting the decorating time, of course.

  • Make your shoes spark joy

    Marie Kondo’s anti-clutter drive has taken the world by storm, but if you want to ease your way in gently, start by clearing out your shoe collection.

    Use the Japanese guru’s legendary method to decide which of your shoes “spark joy” (you’ll know this straight away; it’s a gut response) and which can go to recycling or your local charity shop. It’s a surprisingly therapeutic process.   

  • Reawaken your feminist within

    Around the world, women everyday face sexual harassment, prejudice and pay discrimination; not to mention a legion of other small-scale, casual injustices. 

    If you want to trade your worry over coronavirus into solidarity with the female cause for a second, try listening to any of author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speeches on the topic: you’ll be fired up in no time at all.

  • Immerse yourself in watercolour therapy

    Ohio-based artist Yao Cheng approaches watercolours as a form of meditation: after a day or so of blending colours, she feels relaxed, calm and centred.

    You too can pick up on some of her zen by hosting your own impromptu watercolour session. After browsing a little for inspiration, get started with a beginner’s tutorial on YouTube.

  • Try some bite-sized meditation

    If the words “aura sweep” make you want to roll your eyes, stick with this; because the folks at MDFL meditation studios in New York really know their stuff.

    Though no-one can learn meditation in an instant, these exercises are super-simple and easy to follow. We love this easy pick-me-up routine to “clear out the cobwebs” that you can try anytime of day, anytime you need it.

  • Watch cute cat videos

    OK, OK. It’s a cliché. But clichés are there for a reason. If you find yourself getting a little overwhelmed by which country has banned whom from travelling, hop on over to Mr Willis The Cat’s account on Instagram.

    A one-time bruiser who spent his days in street brawls (hence his name, Bruce Willis), this large ginger rescue cat is now busy gracing our feeds with snippets from his extremely happy, purée-filled life. 

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

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