Are you a ‘doomscrolling’ junkie? The new, scary coronavirus habit

Ever find yourself glued to your phone screen, mindlessly thumbing through depressing news for hours on end?

Well, now there’s a word for that: “doomscrolling.”

The trendy new phrase — which has now joined the ranks of other coronavirus-inspired terms like “quarantini” and “zoombombing” — is making the rounds on Twitter to describe everyone’s incessant need to consume somber stories.

“Things I’m Doing a Lot More of Under Isolation: Cooking, Cleaning, Taking deep breaths while walking dogs, Doomscrolling, Sleep Meditations, Facetiming, Existential Crisising,” tweeted Anne Helen Petersen, a senior culture writer at BuzzFeedNews, on March 22.

“I’ve been reading easy junk just to keep me from doomscrolling lately, [and] it feels so good to exercise my brain with some substance,” admitted another user @BrainyMcSawface.

The apt expression has been picking up steam since it was included in a recent Los Angeles Times story about new terms entering our pandemic lexicons.

But some trailblazers have been throwing around the term ever since lockdown life began last month, including Quartz reporter Karen Ho.

She’s been doling out the moniker in posts to remind people to give themselves a break from the doom and gloom of COVID-19 news.

“It’s okay *not* to develop a new skill or side project during a pandemic, just like how it’s okay to set limits on how much you doomscroll at night,” she wrote in one tweet on April 3.

In another post that same day, she added: “you can keep doomscrolling tomorrow.”

Others are following suit.

“Today I’m grateful for baby naps, exercise and fresh air. Let’s all stop doomscrolling for a bit,” tweeted Kelsey Snell, a congressional correspondent at NPR.

Many are actually losing sleep over their doomscrolling habits.

“I am in bed but sleep is very far away. Everything is very difficult right now, isn’t it,” wrote user @Wangleberry in a post on April 7. “I should stop doomscrolling and just try to sleep.”

Errin Haines, an editor at The 19th news site, echoed the struggle, writing, “Me: Why am I so sleepy it’s only 10! [Devil emoji]: Remember? We stayed up until 3 doomscrolling and watching Netflix!”

It’s no wonder then that being stuck at home during the pandemic is leading to a rash of literal nightmares.

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