De-stressing me

Gilligan de-stressing

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!

By Brent Logan

Longboarder. Blood donor. Photographer. More about Brent.

6 comments

  1. Started a year ago on my journey to continual de-stressing. We have a job that I love but that leaves me drained and with zero energy to combat stressful ‘anything else’. So my first step was to plant pretty flowers in my approach to the house and put in a small 4×4 area of grass so that I could experience joy all the way from the car door to the front door….and it worked!! Before that everything was brown, muddy, stickery, dusty and boring. Very un-inspiring. So launched bit by bit on a similar journey as yours. Eliminating things and deliberately seeking no-stress activities. Bought books on how to identify weeds and wildflowers. Made a garden area out of a mangy field of dead grass and weeds. Fast forward to quarantining…lol….much has changed in my level of contentment this past year, and i am now pleased (even under these circumstances) to have more time for doing fun things or discovering new things that bring me joy. The other night, while Venus was bright, we did some star-gazing also! And just for the fun of it I have been whacking pathways thru some the brushy areas on the property we live on so that I can explore and discover stuff and make exercising more interesting. . Bought a metal-detector to add to the exploring fun too! Also made a make-shift greenhouse and planted a ton of seeds. Oh! the joy that comes as each little plant breaks the surface of the soil. Hope I don’t run out of time to do/try other stuff before the quarantine ends. sigh. I could go on…but i have rambled enough. thx for the opportunity to share and be grateful. Enjoyed your post.

  2. Wow, Joni — you sound like an expert on de-stressing. Well done!

    With your knowing it’s Venus that’s bright, you’re probably way beyond needing this suggestion, but it’s always good to know for the kids in your life that have an interest in knowing the stars. I *love* H. A. Rey’s book, The Stars. Yeah, he’s the guy who also wrote the Curious George books.

    Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

  3. Thank you Brent for your words. Well said. A crisis or a pandemic are quite self-revelatory it seems. Brings out the ‘us’ in us.
    And thanks for the book recommendation. One question… if I buy that book do I need his other one with maps and diagrams as shown on Amazon? Or is the book you suggested adequate to get my star education back on track!?
    Thanks again.

  4. I only have his The Stars: A New Way to See Them in paperback. I don’t think you need the other (but I’ve never looked inside it, either). It’s a good excuse to go outside and relax in the evening.

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