After a nightmarish 2020 of relentless bad news, this year seemed like a fresh start.
That was behind us. Or so we thought. Then came January 1, and the daily barrage of news -- good and bad -- hasn't slowed down.
In the first week of 2021 we've set a US record for coronavirus cases and deaths, watched in horror as angry mobs breached the Capitol and witnessed a beleagured President facing a possible second impeachment.
Each of these stories would dominate headlines for a few days on their own. But with the unrelenting flood of news, there's barely time to savor the wins or mourn the losses.
"This has been a particularly crazy, unbelievable news cycle because of the magnitude of the events. "I don't recall anything like it," says Rick Rodriguez, a professor at Arizona State University's Cronkite School of Journalism.
"This year, the news cycle seems never to get a breather," he adds. "I've found myself watching news or refreshing my news feeds nonstop, from the moment I awaken to the wee hours of the morning."
Here are just some of 2021's headlines
Nine days into this year, we have already seen:
- The US reported its five deadliest days since the coronavirus pandemic started, with more than 4,000 deaths in one day alone. Health officials are worried a new contagious strain will make things worse.
- Federal officials announced the US economy shed a staggering 140,000 jobs last month, a far worse outcome than experts predicted.
- A new coronavirus strain fueled a surge of infections and hospitalizations in the UK, sending the nation into its third lockdown.
- Prosecutors announced the police officer who shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August will not face charges.
- The Louisville Metro Police Department fired two detectives who were involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.
- Georgia elected its first Black and Jewish US senators, flipping the balance of power in the US Senate to the Democrats.
- Five people were killed after a mob of rioters, spurred on by President Trump, broke into the US Capitol and disrupted the electoral college count in Congress.
- Several Cabinet members resigned in protest after the attack on the Capitol and other top Trump administration officials, including the White House counsel, said they are considering it.
- The FBI is seeking whoever left suspected pipe bombs outside the headquarters of both the Republican and Democratic national committees.
- House Democrats are demanding a second impeachment for President Trump after the Capitol insurrection.
- The latest stimulus payments for about 13 million people were sent to wrong accounts.
- A British judge denied bail for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange days after rejecting a request to extradite him to the US.
- President-elect Joe Biden said he will nominate Merrick Garland, who was famously snubbed by Republicans for a Supreme Court vacancy in 2016, as attorney general.
- President Trump dropped his efforts to overturn the result of the presidential election but said he would break from protocol by skipping Biden's inauguration.
- Twitter said it has permanently banned President Trump from its platform.
- AND ... sources said celebrity megacouple Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are weighing a divorce.
So here's how we cope with all this
As we cautiously wade into the new year, one expert is urging we strike a delicate balance.
2020 taught us there's no pressure to feel joyous during stressful times. And recent events have taught us to avoid overly positive views of the future, says Dr. June Gruber, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Colorado.
"Rather, we must adopt a more realistic view of the current events and contexts we are in, and generate calls to action in light of this," she says. "This does not mean that hope should be diminished but that it must exist alongside the lighter and darker aspects of humanity and the world."
Frustration or sadness are perfectly appropriate responses to an uncertain and tumultuous environment, Gruber says.
She emphasizes the importance of coping strategies because sustained stressors can make people vulnerable to mental health problems.
One way to cope is by reminding yourself that even though things may feel overwhelming at times, it's just momentary.
"Emotions are like ocean waves -- they will peak, but a wave doesn't last forever," Gruber says.
So let's not write off 2021 yet. And if this cascade of news doesn't stop, we'll raise a glass to 2022. Maybe things will be better by then.