I haven’t been blogging much this month, because I’ve had a lot of personal stuff going on that I don’t really want to air publicly. Unfortunately, all of that was further exacerbated this Wednesday, when I started to see the full backlash of the election results. It feels like the whole country is up in arms, and it doesn’t seem like the instability will go away any time soon.
Over the past few days, I’ve realized that when I’ve been getting the most stressed is when I read the vitriol that fills up my Facebook newsfeed. I’ve never been much of a Facebook person anyway, but I’ve gotten in the bad habit over the last month or so of opening it up once a day and seeing what’s in the news feed. What a terrible waste of time! So much anger, so much name calling, and an end result where I feel like everybody hates everybody, rather than any kind of rational discussion or polite acknowledgement of differing opinions.
So for the rest of this month, I’m going to try something that’s not so much a challenge as just a simple rule: no browsing Facebook. It’s pretty much as basic as that. If someone tags me in a post, I’ll still click through to read it and respond – since most of those tags generally do require my response, or at least I think they do to be polite :) But otherwise, I won’t be venturing onto the site and wasting my time reading all the anger and negativity. Even beyond the election, this probably isn’t a bad habit to get into, since I’ve never found much redeeming value in browsing Facebook, and usually regret having wasted time on it.
I also just read today on one of my favorite blogs, A Life of Productivity, that disconnecting from social media can help minimize election-related stress. It seems that according to science, my plan is on the right track! But the study Chris Bailey quoted also found that stress is further reduced by disconnecting from the news as well. This is a tough pill to swallow, as I don’t want to be uninformed. But I’m going to try just keeping up with whatever headlines are in The Skimm, and not clicking on any full articles related to the election. I’m also going to give up cold turkey on listening to the NPR Politics podcast, at least until next month when I can catch back up if I really want to.
Rather than making this challenge a negative (“no Facebook or news”), I’ll try to make it a bit positive. In place of that time I would have spent worthlessly looking at Facebook, I’ll read some of the many library books that I’ve been piling up. In the last month or two, I’ve gotten pretty off track with my annual goal to read 100 books, and I’d like to catch back up if I can. I’m currently at 80 books read this year (follow me here on Goodreads), which means I’m six books behinds schedule, and would like to get to 90 books read by the end of the month to mostly catch up. Ten books in 2.5 weeks seems plenty doable if I prioritize, particularly since there are a lot of weekend/vacation days in there.
Finally, Theodora wrote a great post today on self-care rituals, which had a lot of easy-to-undertake ideas to help destress and recover from challenges. I never take baths, but the idea of a bubble bath and a book sounds amazingly relaxing. (I just don’t understand how you don’t get your book/Kindle wet??? Something to figure out.) I’m going to try to practice a few of these in an effort to bounce back – or at least recover in some manner from – the setbacks I’ve had lately.
Happy Friday – hope you all have a relaxing weekend!
(PS – I tried to write this post to be as neutral as possible, as I don’t really want to have political discussions in this space. Please refrain from making political remarks in the comments as well.)