By now, the conversation surrounding trauma and news is becoming a little more accepted, although I believe there is much work left to do in normalizing mental health conversations in newsrooms. Just a few days ago, a friend told me they brought up mental health concerns to their newsroom, and were told some people just weren’t cut out for news. While no one has ever made that egregious statement to me, it didn’t mean it wasn’t implied.
Mental health issues in journalism are real. The DART Center for Journalism and Trauma compiled research showing between 80 and 100% of journalists have been exposed to a work-related traumatic event. Think about that for a moment. Now add the complex layer of finances, generational trauma, systemic racial and ethnic oppression, oh and a pandemic. Imagine the people sitting in your morning meetings , 80-100 percent of them all dealing with trauma.
Sure, yoga may not eliminate stresses we face, but it can give you the tools you need to live with stress, understand it and manage it. For so long, I thought my worth was measured by the call letters of whatever TV station I was working at. I quickly learned, I was VERY replaceable. Newsrooms will make it seem if you leave, no one will want you. The truth is, that is abusive. It’s preying on vulnerabilities of journalists who are beat into the ground with work, low pay and are often coming into the profession with trauma from living life.
I wish taking a yoga class could up your salary or give you a dream job, but yoga can help change your mindset to recognize your worth and demand it. Seriously, you don’t feel supported in a newsroom or you’re being bullied? It’s ok to leave. Yoga won’t change your life experiences, but it can teach you to live in the present moment, to heal and not live in fear of the past or the future. But don’t take my word for it, science supports this.
If you’re a manager or someone with authority in news, read the last two paragraphs again. Journalists need your alliance and support. There’s a whole generation of journalists, specifically journalists of color who are leaving news, because despite being told they’re not “cut out for news” the reality is, they’re being cut out of news.
So, how to we deal with the emotions from constant 24-hour news cycles, dealing with toxic newsrooms, financial insecurity, overwhelming workloads and burnout?
Here are a few trauma-informed yoga tools that I’ve learned along the way to help build my courage to leave the toxic newsrooms, demand my worth, stand up for the stories that impact my community and more importantly understand that while I can face trauma and triggers, I can still thrive and have success.
- Grounding yoga poses, anything that feels solid or supportive: Balasana (Child’s Pose); Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend); Sukhasana (Easy Pose with a Twist)
- Breathwork/Pranayama: Focusing on breath to help calm the Central Nervous System: Box breathing—> inhale 4 counts, pause 4 counts, exhale 4 counts, pause 4 counts & repeat as needed
- Meditation through movement: Practice linking breath and movement to focus on the present and ease into poses: 2-3 Sun Salutation A & B followed by seated twists & finish with Savasana
- Singing/Chanting to help activate the vagus nerve to regulate the Central Nervous System: A simple chant of OM can help us reset
Take time to reconnect to yourself. Listen to what your body, physically mentally, emotionally has to say.
Yoga for Journalists:
Wednesdays & Saturdays www.TheNewsYogi.com/classes