About 8 years ago I set out to read the news once a week. I was fed up with the constant drip drip drip of speculation throughout the day, and wanted to break that cycle of feeling like I needed to know what was going on as soon as it was happening.
I did this by subscribing to a couple of weekly news magazines on my Kindle. After a while I went down to just one magazine, the arrival of which I would eagerly anticipate and then read with great joy. Instead of consuming the news as some kind of thing to stay on top of, it became a weekly peaceful ritual with plenty of space around it.
A benefit I’ve found of a magazine is that it is constant and finite. You can read it from beginning to end and then it’s done. You don’t have to keep coming back later to peck around and see if there’s anything new, as you do with news websites / apps.
For me this worked really well. I felt calmer and had more much more headspace to think and reflect on the things that actually mattered to me.
Unfortunately this all went a bit wrong during the pandemic lockdowns of 2020. The rules of what you could and couldn’t do were changing so frequently, and at such short notice, that I was unable to go slowly. I had to check the news every day to see what rules had changed, and felt compelled to know about what other madness was happening.
Afterwards I never quite got back into the habit of news being a weekly thing, at one point I even flirted with a paid online news subscription! Before realising after a few months that I really didn’t want the news that often. (Doing the crosswords with my wife was great though! … I suddenly just sounded 40 years older than I actually am…)
Along with that, Amazon has also recently scrapped their newsstand subscription feature of Kindle as part of their shortsighted layoffs, so I lost my wonderful weekly digital delivery of my magazine too.
But I decided about three weeks ago to try and get back to where I was - reading my news once a week, in a nice magazine and nothing else. So far so good. My headspace is back.
I have an online subscription to the magazine, and read just the magazine on my iPad. It requires a little bit more self control as there’s also lots of other ever changing content in the app, which is not ideal. And the iPad itself can be a distraction of notifications and chores. Perhaps I’ll upgrade and get a paper magazine delivery.