Doomscrolling is a solo endeavor. But doomscrolling’s opposite — the mental-health-refreshing news break — is a group project, as the journalist Cherie Berkley discovered when she went on a 10-day media fast. And as with any group project, it only succeeds if you’re upfront about the role you need everyone to play.
“Despite my desire to be temporarily news-free, I felt like I was in the mob: I tried to get out, but everyone kept trying to drag me back in,” Berkley writes in ZORA. “Friends and family members kept inadvertently slipping information to me. For example, my dad asked, ‘Are you still on the media blackout? Okay, well, something terrible happened yesterday.’ My spouse anxiously asked me, around day nine, ‘Are you back online, so can I tell you xyz?’”
Putting down your phone, in other words, is only step one. If you intend to unplug for any meaningful length of time, communicate your plans to your partner, your roommates, your family, or anyone you interact with on a regular basis. And if anyone crosses the boundary you’ve set, reinforce it, as often as you need to.