Blue lights and negative news: Are you headed for a mental breakdown?

If the doom and gloom of Covid-19 news, updates, vaccine trials, and death rates are getting you down, you're not alone. Consuming such information can have a negative impact on anyone's mental health. Our lived experiences have massively changed – constantly getting the latest and updated news on our electronic devices can be harmful to your well being. Clinical psychologist Dr Nthabiseng Mabena says the current lived experience and the uncertainty of it all can cause some sort of trauma. "We need to acknowledge that we all are experiencing some sort of trauma, whether it be secondary trauma. Just as...
If the doom and gloom of Covid-19 news, updates, vaccine trials, and death rates are getting you down, you're not alone. Consuming such information can have a negative impact on anyone's mental health.

Our lived experiences have massively changed – constantly getting the latest and updated news on our electronic devices can be harmful to your well being. Clinical psychologist Dr Nthabiseng Mabena says the current lived experience and the uncertainty of it all can cause some sort of trauma.

"We need to acknowledge that we all are experiencing some sort of trauma, whether it be secondary trauma. Just as the changes were introduced, this was abrupt, people lost their jobs, there has been uncertainty and pain caused because of this pandemic. When we first acknowledge any trauma, it's the first step to acknowledge everything is not okay, especially during this time."

The consumption of negative news can be detrimental as it can cause anxiety and depression. Mabena said we need to look at the positive things in life and be aware of our triggers.

"Ask yourself, what went right today? Be committed to your own experience and not over-generalising. Blanketing every lived experience will be paralysing for all of us. Be in the here and now. Look into solutions – news such as the development of a vaccine to fight Covid-19. Being positive is key, but it also doesn't mean you are ignoring the reality.

"We need to be mindful of our triggers – what are we hearing? We need to be deliberate about it. After I read something, do I become worse? Know your triggers."

Knowing your triggers will help you create self-awareness to avoid certain things that are not helpful to you.

The impact of the pandemic is becoming more and more personal daily, says clinical psychologist Joel Mbhele, adding that people who have lost loved ones will be going through a lot.

"There will be a process of grief, shock, denial, anger, and guilt depending on the circumstances. It's all part of it, it's an uncomfortable painful moment – a psychological wound. People need to be kind to themselves, it is going to be tough."

He says we also need to stay in touch with those close to us, check in by giving them a call or video call to continue being in contact.

"Create a culture of discussing emotions, we need to talk about how we feel as a family, create a healing mechanism."

The biggest struggle some people have had is adjusting to the new normal. There is a feeling of stagnation.

Mbhele explains that people have struggled to stay at home for long periods of time, living with people they have managed to avoid and not enjoying activities they use to do frequently.

"There's a lot of anxiety of this. Lack of understanding the unknown has been frustrating for people. Some are even in denial and have psychotic fears because of the fear the virus can be overwhelming."

Blue Light

The sunlight has red, orange, yellow, green and blue light rays. The rays on the blue end of the spectrum have shorter wavelengths and have more energy, All About Vision explains.

The lights are visible and can be manmade to mimic being outdoors. Indoor sources of blue light, include fluorescent, ED lighting,and flat-screen televisions.

The blue light has become a big part of our daily lives as we are constantly looking at screen devices, how much and far too much is a contentious issue.

Mbhele says there is natural light we are exposed to during the night time and day time. When we are exposed to less natural light, it translates to less sleep or good quality sleep, causing anxiety, moodiness, and affects one's mental health.

This obviously translates to us limiting our time on electronic devices. He explains we can do this like intermittent fasting, taking dedicated time without looking at a screen, which can understandably be difficult, especially with the nature of your work.

Mbhele refers to some of the tips given by Mental Health America:


  1. Introduce breaks, set boundaries, the early you embrace it the easier it becomes

  2. Get outside, get light naturally, talk a walk

  3. Adjust your screen brightness

  4. Where blue glasses they work by blocking a portion of the blue light wavelength from reaching your eyes.

For years gamers have been wearing these yellow-tinted glasses to protect their eyes as they play video games for long periods of time and during the night time.

It is advised to defer to optometrists to further advice on practical steps that you can take to reduce the impact of blue light.

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