Life in a global pandemic has increased my background stress level. My coping strategies include limiting unnecessary stress. Some of what I’ve done includes:
- Putting my COVID-19 news in a Twitter list. I want to stay updated on COVID-19 but I don’t want it to overwhelm me whenever I’m on Twitter. When I find a great COVID-19 resource on Twitter, I no longer follow it; I add it to my COVID-19 list. Most of the similar accounts I’d already followed I added to the list and unfollowed. Sure, there are a lot more resources that could be on my list. This is enough for now. When I want my Twitter Coronavirus fix, I can go to my list to find it.
- Unfollowing the outrage machines. Whenever I adopt a new hobby, I’ve discovered there are “professional” victims making sure everyone knows who or what is attacking my hobby. Sorry, but I don’t have the emotional capacity to bear this level of pain. I have hobbies for the enjoyment and learning they bring, not to join a movement. This applies to politics as well. Single issue tweeters can be interesting but wearing on my soul. It’s not personal, it’s self-care.
- Muting words on Twitter. If someone calls politicians names, I don’t need to see it. We’re not bullies on a playground. Onto my muted words list these names go. I also consider unfollowing those who repeatedly call names.
- Blocking people on Twitter. I’m not convinced this has the effect I wish it did, but it still feels good. Twitter should simplify blocking to hover, click. Not click, click, click. I should be able to provide criteria to Twitter for the types of accounts I never want to see.1This is a good topic for another post
- Limiting my time on Facebook. Let’s face it — Facebook’s not that fun anymore.
- Reading slower news. Twitter is throwaway. It churns. There’s often not a lot of thought put into it. Blogs are slower, more thoughtful, and not as likely to be inflammatory.2Yeah, I know–there are exceptions. I try not to follow those blogs. I’ve been spending more time in Feedly and less on Twitter.
- Getting exercise. I take Gilligan for walks and go on gentle bike rides through neighborhoods. An advantage of suburban living is the ability to get outdoors and still maintain more than adequate physical distancing. Taking someone along is always fun, too.
- Noticing nature more. I’ve set up bird feeders and keep them regularly stocked. I have a couple of bird books near them so I can learn the names of the birds. Every evening before bedtime, I used to take Gilligan out on a leash. Now that she’s recovered, the leash isn’t necessary, but she still wants me out there. Looking up, relearning the constellations, and listening to the frogs is a nice way to end the day.
I have a lot more room for improvement. Getting away from my computer more, calling friends and family, taking more pictures, limiting caffeine intake, reading more books, etc., are other things I could do as well, but … don’t.
Are you intentionally eliminating stress in your life? What’s working for you?
Update. Re-reading this, it sounds like I’m lone-wolfing this. That’s not the case. I have an incredibly supportive family and an unofficial therapy dog that do wonders for my sanity. Thank you, family, for all you do for me!