Why New Parents Need to Take a Break From the News (and What They Should Do Instead)

Dr. Venuto suggests a total news-media fast or at least a major reduction, corralling your news into 10 or 15 minutes (“In the morning! Not before bed!” she says), and then doing something pleasurable, like playing with your baby or calling a friend. For those worried that being out of touch means slacking off in their political activism, she gently suggests cutting yourself some slack: “If you’re a new parent, you’re not going to be making changes on a global scale. You’re in survival mode. You can put in a call to your representative, and that can be enough.”

Practice ‘Containment’

Lissa Hunsicker Kenney, a social worker in Brooklyn who counsels trauma survivors, also recommends “containment”—the first line of treatment for anxiety—as a first step. “Turning off your iPhone is containment—because it’s so easy for it to become uncontained. It just scrolls and scrolls, and it’s endless.”

So what are we supposed to do, instead? (Besides take care of our kids, I mean.) I asked Lifehacker readers, and my own new-mom friends, what media they turn to for good escapist distraction. I didn’t vet all the answers (though I did nix anything that had “horror” in its IMDB description—what about “non-disturbing” did these people not understand?) so do your own research before leaping into something totally unknown. They’re a good mix of classics, favorite sitcoms and adventure shows, a few kids’ shows and books, comics, and pretty much the entire oeuvre of the BBC.

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