Family Health

How I Keep Myself From Losing It When The News is So Awful

Feb 7, 2017

Within 24 hours of the Quebec City mosque attack, an article link appeared in my inbox. Then, in my newsfeed: "How To Avoid Being Psychologically Destroyed by your Newsfeed". Ann Douglas' aptly delivered message was exactly what I needed that Monday morning.

The flood of posts seemed endless: hurried media reports; outpourings of sadness and rage; urgent calls to action from socially-conscious friends. And all of this hot on the heels of nation-rocking political upheaval. I told my husband what I'd heard. Beyond that, I didn't know what to do with the news. It was jarring. Sad. Scary. Too much to deal with. So I put it aside, got dressed, and went on with my usual day.

Recommended Reading: On Parenthood and Broken Things

Weeks earlier, when news spread of U.S. funding cuts that would affect women's health organizations worldwide, I didn't want to be silent. I joined 60,000 others at the Women's March on Washington in Toronto. And months ago, when news spread of yet another black man shot by police, I couldn't stop my tears. I cried twice at work that day, comforted by two equally shaken colleagues.

When bad news hits us, the emotional impact can be hard. How do we, then, continue our days as leaders, employees, parents and friends while processing our own thoughts and feelings? Ann's article validated my mixed feelings and reactions. I had, on different occasions, employed each of the strategies she advised. Whether engaging or withdrawing, I saw I could trust my intuition to guide me in a way that's healthiest for me.

When maintaining a healthy mind and body, we're better able to deal with our day-to-day, and cope with extraordinary stresses as they arise.

I especially appreciate the advice to stick to usual routines as much as possible. For me, that includes the gym, and thankfully so. My high-intensity training sessions are my haven from gargantuan political worries and the minutiae of everyday life. The energy and focus demanded by each workout allows no room for extraneous thoughts. And the aggression inherent in weightlifting and sprinting provides a welcome release. I know others who achieve a similar effect through running or cycling; others through yoga or meditation.

Many health and fitness professionals attest to the connectedness of physical, mental and emotional well-being. I believe that when maintaining a healthy mind and body, we're better able to deal with our day-to-day, and cope with extraordinary stresses as they arise. That doesn't necessarily mean taking up marathons or contorting your body into impossible poses. Here are a few fitness and health practices through which you may find personal refuge, release or healing:


  • High intensity workouts: bootcamp, combat or dance
  • Focused, mindful movement: tai-chi, martial arts, Pilates, dance
  • Leisure activities: walking, bike-riding, snowshoeing
  • Therapeutic health practices: massage, steam room
  • Self care at home: epsom salt bath, stretching, sleep
  • Professional services: nutritionist, counselor, therapist

The state of your health won't change the news. Anger, fear, sadness and confusion are hard-hitting realities that we'll continue to face. Whether you take a cue from this list, Ann's article or elsewhere, it's about having healthy coping strategies to draw on when it all feels so awful.

Article Author Debbie King
Debbie King

Read more from Debbie here.

Debbie King (aka SUPAFITMAMA) is a Toronto-based masters athlete, influencer, freelance writer, wife and mother of one. At age 42, she is training toward her goal of becoming a 2020 World Masters Athletics track and field champion. In her work as a writer and influencer, Debbie creates powerful content and connections in female fitness, sport, wellness and culture. Body positivity, inclusion and representation are strong themes throughout. As a regular contributor for CBC Parents, she explores a range of healthy living topics for individuals and Canadian families. Follow her journey at and on Instagram and Twitter.

Add New Comment

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.