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Coronavirus information overload: Expert offers advice on when to step away

There's been no shortage of headlines surrounding COVID-19. We talk to an expert about how to know when it's time to take a break from seeking more information.

CLEVELAND — 3News’ Hollie Strano talked with clinical health psychologist Dr. Lori Stevic-Rust about the best way to take in all of the different headlines.

Strano jumped right into the topic of when to distance yourself from how much information you take in.

“It's a lot, and I mean I work in the media," Strano said. "So here I am saying it -- but I find that once I walk out those doors, I am very much protective of myself."

Dr. Stevic-Rust told her that getting information is vital. If we don’t have an accurate portrayal of what’s happening in the world around us, our minds can go into overdrive.

“We need to stay informed," Dr. Stevic-Rust said. "Otherwise we conjure up our own stories and then all kinds of bad things happen and the wheels come off the wagon."

She also says, there is a time when we need to put a pause on how much information we get.

"Once we are educated, that doesn't mean that we need to go to five different sources and keep all day long gathering more and more."

She also says that information overload causes our brains to become super saturated. This can lead to a feeling of helplessness and make coping even harder.

“It truly becomes, ‘I don't need to know every story that’s going to break my heart, because I don't have the capacity today to take all of that in.'"

She also says that information intake should be different for depending on age groups.

“No matter where your children are at on that developmental spectrum around understanding it, taking in the information about this virus I think you have to be able to be that buffer,” Dr. Stevic-Rust says.

“Certainly small children need the buffer of, ‘We are safe, we are doing everything we can to keep ourselves safe,’ and then you change the subject and distract them away from that. Then as the older-age children, who are really asking the important questions, that's the point I think where we can drive home the importance of the severity of this virus and why we are sacrificing, why they are missing out and why it's so important.”

For more advice from Dr. Stevic-Rust, you can check out her site here.

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