How to Handle DOOM FATIGUE About the Coronavirus

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Author of The Blackout Book and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted

(Feb 4, 2020) If you’re like a lot of folks, you’re sick and tired of hearing about the coronavirus but at the same time, you’re glued to the news about it. Or maybe it’s a combination of the coronavirus, a global economy threatened by the possible pandemic, a potential war in the Middle East, and the assorted political nonsense we’re currently witnessing that has you saying, “No more!”

There’s a loosely coined name for this. It’s called “doom fatigue.”  Those of us who closely follow current events are the most susceptible to it. And it’s very real. These devices that keep us connected to a constant flow of information are great, but that same constant flow can also contribute to a state of overwhelm and mental exhaustion.

What is doom fatigue?

Doom fatigue refers to the feeling of overwhelm a person may get when faced with one negative event after another during a short period of time. When there’s a topic that is being constantly reported on – sort of like how every other headline right now has the word “coronavirus” in it – you can feel like a situation is even worse than it really is, simply because it’s always right there on the forefront of every website or news broadcast.

Some folks get so sick of it they refuse to read another word about it. They decide, “Forget it. I can’t take it anymore. If it kills me, it kills me” and go on their merry way.

That isn’t necessarily good either – the whole thing that keeps preppers prepared is our awareness of what’s going on in the world and how these events may affect our lives. So to completely write off something as dire as a possible deadly pandemic is as unwise as obsessing over it is.

What can you do to manage doom fatigue?

If coronavirus-related doom fatigue has got you feeling mentally battered and overwhelmed, the following suggestions may help you to get a handle on it while still remaining informed.

Pick your sources.  First things first, decide what sources you are going to trust for information. (Hopefully one of them is this website – go here to subscribe.) Choose 2-3 sources that you find relevant and trustworthy and stop scrolling through the entire internet or going to aggregate sites with headlines from dozens of websites. You don’t need to live, breathe, eat, and sleep coronavirus news.

Set a time to check the news. Another problem is when people search for updates all the livelong day. It’s exhausting, constantly checking for something new. I should know – I do this because it’s my job to do it and some days I just want to go live under a rock – preferably a rock with no wifi. So, decide you’re going to read the news for half an hour in the morning and half an hour after work. Set an alarm and stick to your decision. When your timer goes off, get away from the computer and do something else.

Focus on what you can do. With regard to the coronavirus, there’s only so much we can do. In part, this is because of our budgets – we can only spend so much money on preps – and part of it is because we’re probably not getting accurate information. So focus on what you can do with your allotted money and the available information. Organize your preps, do an inventory, make a list of what you truly need, and add those items as you can. Learn more about boosting your immune system, keep yourself healthy, and use this as an opportunity to see if you have what you need. (This PDF, The Prepper’s Book of Lists, can help you get better organized.)  Go here to read about what I did specifically to get prepared for the coronavirus. So get prepared, but respect your own limits.

Avoid the comments section. For the love of all things cute and fluffy, avoid stepping into the comments section of any news piece you happen to read. In many of them, you’ll be besieged by laptop warriors who spew hatred and ill-conceived 30-second “solutions” for complicated issues. This is not productive. Some comments sections are more like online gauntlets than others. If you do choose to interact, focus on those.

Your mental health and wellbeing is a priority. You don’t want to use up your reserves of resilience before the disaster even strikes your area – assuming it even does strike. While the coronavirus is definitely worrisome, so too was the Ebola scare in 2014, and you didn’t see people dropping dead in American streets then, bleeding from every orifice. The coronavirus may or may not become an issue where you live but it doesn’t need to be your focus during every waking hour. Remember that stress weakens the immune system. If you live in a state of full-blown panic for a month before there’s even an issue, you’re not going to be at your best if it does become an issue.

Nurture yourself. Without sounding all woo-woo mystical or like the type of person who thinks all things are solved with a good pedicure, you should still do things to nurture your own mental health. Maybe for you, that is a long walk in the woods, far away from any internet service. It could mean going outside and playing a game of tag with your children. Perhaps you enjoy crafting or woodwork or some other hobby where you get to indulge your creative side. Indulge in some entertainment like a good book or a movie on Amazon Prime. Whatever it is that makes you feel good and free from worry, be sure to spend some time doing that. It doesn’t mean you’re not focused on preparedness to do something enjoyable. (As I’ve written before, Fun is not the F-word.)

Stay healthy. Do everything you can to keep yourself healthy. Eat lots of high-quality whole food, get some exercise, spend some time in meditation or prayer, and try to keep stress to a minimum. If you have a pre-existing condition, strive to get things under control to the best of your ability. Schedule doctor’s appointments now instead of putting them off – you don’t want to be at a doctor’s office amidst all the germs if things do go bad in the future. The healthier you are, the more your body will be able to fight off any virus you might come into contact with at some point in the future.

Driving yourself nuts isn’t productive.

If you find that just the mention of the word “coronavirus” is enough to make you tense up and feel stressed out, then you may be dealing with some doom fatigue.  It isn’t a productive state to be in because by the time bad things start happening (if they do start happening), you’ll be completely out of energy to deal with them.

Do what you can and then let it go. We are all limited by something – budget, location, a spouse who is not on board, access to supplies, etc.

There really is only so much you can do to get prepared. when you’ve reached that point, then you simply need to take a step back.

And trust me, it isn’t just you who is feeling overwhelmed. There are lots of folks in your shoes.

24-7 doom isn’t productive. It’s exhausting and it is not mentally healthy. Take it from someone who delves into doom every day for a living. You have to learn to manage it. I wrote previously:

Sometimes I get emails from people who wonder how I can write about the things I do and still remain upbeat.

I’ve been working in the alternative news industry since 2011. There have been days at I time I was glued to my laptop covering manhunts, constitutional insults, or scenes of horror. It would be a lie (not to mention rather unhinged) to say that I was unmoved by it all.

Sometimes I ended the day with such awful scenes playing through my head that my night was filled with restless nightmares replaying all that I had learned. Sometimes the last thing I wanted to do the next morning when it was time to start work was switch on that laptop and see the most recent gruesome act of hatred humans had perpetrated on one another.

But here I am, eight years later, still doing it. Still trying to make sense of it all and write things that pull people together instead of tearing them apart. Still looking for that common thread that runs between us all and hoping that more people grab onto that instead of trying to sever it.

And most of the time, I’m okay. Most of the time, I can keep from becoming terribly depressed by the awful things about which I spend my days researching and writing. I can share with you a few of the ways that I prevent the bad news from causing so much anxiety that I want to throw my laptop in the lake and live out the rest of my days, blissfully uninformed. (source)

And when I’m not okay? I give myself permission to take a step back. I do something enjoyable that is totally unrelated.  Getting away from the computer and the radio and the television is important. Nature nearly always helps.

How do you handle a doom overload?

How do you regroup when it’s all too much? How do you handle the barrage of horrible events? Share your secrets for preventing doom fatigue in the comments below.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and runs a small digital publishing company. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

Picture of Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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    • Your comment is why I do read the comment section. This and one other website is where I like to read the comments section. It’s easy enough to dismiss trolls on this site because most of the commenters here stand out as stable, informed and common sensical. I learn a lot about perspective here.

  • One of the most refreshing reliefs from “doom and gloom” or carbon monoxide testing of the latest bunker stove is some form of comedy. Whether it’s a cartoon I recently saw that featured a a donkey with a huge rash on its butt that looked like Hillary’s face, or a T-Shirt with a sign reading “ATF should be a convenience store — Not a federal agency”, a good healthy energizing laugh is something worth enjoying AND sharing.

    Another version of comedy is skillful satire. One of the funniest lately was this piece from the Babylon Bee announcing their buyout of the competing satire organization, CNN:

    And who knows, if you have some skills at creating such jewels, there’s always the possibility of it “going viral” — without need of an N95 mask.


  • I generally dont have a real emotional reaction to news. Generally.
    I dont view it as good or bad, but just information. What I can do about that information or act on it, is more important.
    Being informed is always better than ignorant.

    Occasionally I will peek into the comments section just to see to what level of stoopid Americans are. It is amazing how people will use various mental gymnastics to link one politician, or party to current events. Somehow Pres Obama/Trump, the GOP or Dems are responsible for the Coronavirus outbreak.

  • I would say if you are getting “Doom Fatigue”, that there is a problem with your mental preps.
    You should be sailing over such “doom”, knowing that you are as prepared as you can be.
    This points to a problem that will rear it’s head in a SHTF scenario.
    If you are still fearful, wondering if you can handle what is out there, then you are not ready.
    Confidence will win the day, as well as a positive attitude, as long as it is based in reality that is.
    You will never be perfectly prepped for all situations, so get over it.

    All to often “prepping” is done out of FEAR; Fear of the uncertain future.
    Fearful people make mistakes, that often cost them their lives.

    Prepping for Survival is about giving yourself the best chance to survive, realizing that nothing is guaranteed. Prepping is about stacking the odds of survival in your favor.

    Situational awareness, whether it is a pandemic or SHTF or some other daily life occurrence, should be high on your list of mental training. So that you can act accordingly.
    If this pandemic had started in your local area instead of China, would you have recognized it early on? Would you have been prepped for it?
    Doom is only good, if it motivates you to do a better job of prepping.

    So get off the “Doom and gloom machine’, use it as a resource to see what to prep for, not as the end of your world. Prep for what you can and believe that you will survive the rest by good luck and good planning,( a faith in God helps also).

  • Thank you, Daisy, for another timely article. I woke up exhausted this morning and knew exactly why. I told myself I need to take a break from it all. It’s good to know I have Brothers and Sisters out there that are feeling the same way and that we need to and can take a break. Thank you.

  • Overload can make you realize it pointless to live in fear.
    myself,I like to find a site or two to trust (whether it is actually trustworthy or not),
    And scan for changes.
    Like the weather stay alert for change but enjoy the day because this is the moment you have.
    Oh Planet X will kill us all.
    And pole shift
    Ih and the UN
    And a………..

  • All these people that would normally never believe anything that the government says is now hanging on to very syllable that the governments utter regarding this virus and is more than willing to repeat it and add to the public hysteria.
    I find this interesting.

  • NO one in america LISTENS TO THE LORD,your not going to stop the KILLING OF MY LITTLE ONES…So get used to plagues,THIS ONE, IS THE FIRST OF SEVEN your going to see on your land…EACH ONE WILL BE WORSE THEN THE LAST ONE,you kill my little ones…I KILL YOU…and thats how it works,you were warned not to HARM MY LITTLE ONES,lets see how funny you think these PLAGUES will be by the time the last one has come,and the PLAGUES are just the tip of the iceburg of whats coming….AMERICA..Take back control of your nation or face total removal…population ZERO….your choice…

  • I have found that I get “Doom Fatigue” because many people brush off the warnings of possible danger, call it hysteria, scoff, and laugh, or all of the above. It depresses me and makes me go silent. Thank you for the good article.

    • I often feel the same way, Sandra. The few people in my personal life who know what I do (aside from my kids) treat preparedness like it’s a big joke. Frustrating and sad.

  • I have no television set. Radio station that we are able to pick up here is either from Mexico or the soul station out of Del Rio. We don’t listen to either. So I don’t get the constant doom and gloom from all directions. I did not miss not seeing the super bowl or the debacle in Iowa. We have certain sites that we get our news from that we trust. I feel sorry for all those who were stuck with the impeachment hearings. Most of these are distractions to keep your attention focused on certain events so you won’t see what is actually being done in the background.

  • If you want to avoid the Coronavirus, follow the food laws of the Bible. No swine, no shellfish. Eat only mammals that have a cloven hoof and that chew cud, and fish that have fins and scales. Poultry is OK too.

    • Respectfully, this is incorrect. The coronavirus is passed through droplets. It isn’t related to eating “unclean food.” It’s certainly up to you if you choose to follow this diet but it does not protect you from coronavirus.

  • I remember how badly I had doom fatigue during 9/11. My answer to that was to quit my subscription to cable television. Now, I still refuse to get cable TV, but have a wonderful Roku with all the news channels I can get for free. Ugh! I am still in the same boat as I was back then. So, I literally had to turn my station over to youTube and listen to some 582 Hz calming music with some pretty drone flights over beautiful scenes. I left the music run and took the dog outside so she could get the scoots in the fresh powder of my front yard while throwing snowballs for her to try to find. What a hoot. She is blue healer and border collie so she has lots of energy. She ran through the snow for 1/2 an hour straight. My cats on the other hand are famous for mimicking all those funny cat memes on Facebook. I have no need to cruise the computer for them all I need to do is put things away, turn the heat down 5 degrees, and watch my cats put on the latest funny cat show. I am blessed with grand daughters and lots of animals to entertain. I also read a lot. If I don’t read online, I am reading hard-copy. I also follow good sleep hygiene to a fault by turning off all my electronics at least one hour before I go to bed. I have serious sleep issues and this is something my doctor recommended for me personally. I have no idea if that would work for anyone else.
    These are just a few of the things that I do to avoid or overcome doom fatigue.

  • Good article. Hard not to read any news without doom fatigue, but then panic sells. Some people seem to really need to get worked up, or work others up.

    Good nutrition and hygiene help with emotional distress as well. Just keep good living habits and don’t jump on every fashionable panic.

    Keep up vitamin D, C and zinc levels, stay well-hydrated, wash hands before eating.

    Never randomly touch the mouth, nose or eyes as that transmits pathogens from fingers to face and back. Cold and flu threats mostly resolved.

    Just ten years ago there were the same controversial discussions about swine flu.

    TEOTWAWKI never happened.

  • Timely article. I was on the verge of a panic attack the other day. I had to take a Klonapin(anti-anxiety) to calm down. The anxiety was over the top. I see whats coming and I see the oblivious masses at Walmart/Costco going about life in their own little worlds. I have all my preps on order that are not in place already. The mass panic is at the front door knocking.

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