Originally published Saturday, February 10, 2018 at 06:01a.m.
Dear Annie: I’m suffering from what I call vigilance fatigue. The state of our government’s affairs may never have been worse, and I’m trying to stay on top of it all, but it’s exhausting.
I do want to stay informed, but I find that every moment I’m not working or spending time with my kids, I’m reading a magazine or an online news story or watching cable news. Every night around “Russia o’clock,” as some call it, it’s so easy to collapse on the couch and turn on the TV.
I’m not sleeping enough, and I’m getting stressed out by it all. What do you suggest? — News Junkie
Dear News Junkie: Unplug and let yourself recharge. Take a news sabbatical one day a week. No cable news, no newspapers or magazines and minimal internet, as it’s impossible to browse the web without coming across a troubling headline just screaming for your click. Shutting out the current-events tornado once a week won’t make you apathetic or less informed. In fact, it will do the opposite. Rested and refreshed, you’ll be better equipped to process and engage with news stories the rest of the week. For additional tips on managing your news consumption, I highly recommend reading an article titled “How to establish a media diet: Keeping up by slowing down,” by Jihii Jolly, available on the Columbia Journalism Review’s website.
Dear Annie: I am a former victim of constant bullying and ridicule from classmates. I was bullied for many years, and it affected me in a lot of different ways. As a victim, you lose all sense of who you really are. You spend entire days of your life wanting time to go by as quickly as possible. For example, in class, you can’t concentrate on anything you’re supposed to be learning, because you’re too busy thinking about how you’re going to handle the barrage of attacks from peers who seem bent on making your life miserable.
We as a society must not allow these bullies to get away with their charades. Almost daily, we hear stories of despair — often ending in the death of teens who had their whole lives ahead of them.
Please, Annie, sound the alarm bells. Our young children are the future of our society, and they’re dying for no reason. After hearing one of these stories, I always think, “What goes through the minds of these bullies and educators after a young life is taken?” It just breaks my heart to hear this. This could be your child or my grandchildren. I am 58 years old and want more people getting involved and standing up against this onslaught of hate vulnerable members of our younger generation face. It should be a part of their curricula to learn to respect other students and people in general — because obviously, some kids aren’t being taught this at home. — Sad Grandpa
Dear Sad Grandpa: Your letter touched my heart. I encourage you and anyone else who would like to stand up in the fight against bullying to visit https://www.stopbullying.gov. There you’ll find dozens of resources, including a planning tool kit for hosting anti-bullying events in your community.
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