Staying afloat

Topic Progress:

The International Journalists Network has recommended the following tips for journalists to stay afloat to avoid mental health crisis.

Tips on how journalists can address their own mental health:

You are not immune

Journalists are first responders. When there’s trouble, others may run away from a scene but journalists rush towards it. In order to stay resilient and effective, it’s important to remember that stress can be accumulated over periods of time.

Staying attuned to your own emotional health, and not ignoring signs that you need support, will allow you to catch any issues that arise and manage them appropriately.

Know the signs

Everyone has old bad habits, signature strengths and pre-existing vulnerabilities. Experts have suggested making note of all of these and using them to make a plan on how to cope during a crisis — like the one we’re facing now — or while reporting on traumatic topics.

Take downtime

At this point, everyone has heard about “flattening the curve” of the COVID-19 pandemic, but experts say there’s also a similar curve to measure the amount of stress journalists face. While a certain amount of stress is healthy and motivating, such as looming deadlines, too much can lead to crashing, breakdowns or burnout.

Flattening the stress curve will greatly enhance our ability to effectively function professionally, and our ability to cope well psychologically

Allow yourself some downtime when you aren’t working, which can be more difficult when working remotely.

Schedule your day so you have short breaks, and take unexpected breaks to allow yourself 10-15 minutes to pause.