Who's Right? Navigating Online Health Information
Do you find yourself overwhelmed or confused by the abundance of health information on the Internet? momsAWARE's Andrea Fabry draws from her own experience to offer these five sanity-saving strategies.
- Expect to be overwhelmed.
With the massive amounts of health information readily available, it's completely natural and normal to feel overwhelmed. It doesn't mean that the information is bad or good, it simply means your brain can only process so much at one time. If your health is compromised, you have even less brain space for processing information. This is a catch-22. Taking charge of your health is a good thing, but embracing the help can be extremely challenging. There's no fix for this—just know that being overwhelmed is part of the process. And if you're overwhelmed, the truth is you may be headed in a good direction.
- Resist a sense of urgency.
One of my weaknesses is to believe I have to do everything right now. I remember reading something about greens and detox and staying up most of the night coming up with a plan for the family. The transition proved to be pivotal, but easily could have waited a few more days, weeks, or even months. Give yourself room to sit with new ideas.
- Remember that everyone is unique.
There is not a "one-size-fits-all" when it comes to your health. Genetics, mindset, background, and environment all play a role. What is helpful for one may not be for another. What works for one may have a different effect on another. While this makes it difficult when trying to address your own situation, it is a sanity saver to remember that there is no magic pill, diet, or procedure that will cure everything for everybody.
- Take a break.
In the early years of our journey, I had to rip myself away from the computer. I was a desperate mother searching for answers. We had gone through so much loss. I wanted answers. But I realized that one more hour on the Internet was not the ultimate determining factor in recovering our health. In fact, taking a break can help you return with fresh eyes and a new perspective.
- Know that no one has all the answers.
When I see someone suggesting they have the miracle supplement or diet, I see a red flag. I don't dismiss them, because I may glean something helpful, but I read with a sense of caution. I am careful to avoid putting all my organic, pastured eggs in one basket. I have come to see health as a journey rather than a destination. I am drawn to sites that offer a sense of balance.
Navigating your way through the Internet when it comes to health information is not easy. It's easy to get confused and give up. Don't give up. Muscle your way through and see if you come out healthier on the other side!
To hear an encouraging Toxic Talk conversation on this topic, see Navigating Online Information on our Radio Interviews page.