Protect Your Mental Well Being

The work of tracking misinformation will expose you to disorienting and disturbing content. Some content will start with a germ of truth and distort it in service of a narrative aimed at generating animosity towards targeted groups of people. Some content uses triggering messages, including images and video depicting violence, to generate an emotional response from the reader. Even the most resilient among us find that repeated exposure to such content takes a toll on our mental well being.

We remind and encourage everyone working with Junkipedia to protect their well being by following a few best practices: Limit your exposure to upsetting content. If you don't need to watch the video a second or third time, don't. When you aren't working, don't feel the need to click on every link or watch every upsetting video. Like we talked about, even "innocuous" videos (like people in bomb shelters with their pets) can be really upsetting, especially when there are so many of them.

Take breaks while monitoring. Step outside, text a friend, play an upbeat song, move around. Even a short time away from your computer gives your brain a chance to reset.

Keep work and life separate as much as you can. It's tempting to keep refreshing the news and social media in breaking news situations, but you will get burned out if you never take a break. When you're away from news and work, set boundaries about consuming news and social media (and stick to them).

Also: remember that everyone processes these things differently. Sometimes I feel ok in the moment I've seen something bad, but hours later I find myself upset or yelling about something that seems totally unrelated. Pay attention to how you feel while working -- but also pay attention to how you feel after.

Further reading:

Berkeley Center for Human Rights resiliency resources The Dart Center on working with traumatic imagery First Draft on vicarious trauma

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