De-stressing me

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!

Thriving and/or surviving

Some people appear to thrive in our current craziness. Philipp Klein Herrero and Erin Sullivan have created amazing videos and photos while stuck at home.

Some days, I feel pretty good making it to the end of the day with my sanity intact. Brene Brown has a new podcast, Unlocking Us, that’s helping with that. Her two most recent episodes discuss suffering and grief and accompanied me while I walked Gilligan and mopped the floor this afternoon. Recommended.

May you survive, and even thrive in all this.

Stay well.

Hat tip: Jason Kottke and Melissa. Thanks!

New home routine is routine

The sheltering-at-home routine has become, well, routine. Instead of starting my day at Starbucks, I have video conferences with my coffee buddies. On weekdays, I start my day by teleconferencing with another Brent. On weekends, I teleconference with a couple other buddies. Hot drinks in hand, we spend more time talking than we used to on the Starbucks couch. This morning, the others each had a daughter join as we were ending. One dad had done a nice job of cutting and shaving his daughter’s hair–brave man! The girls got to meet and the dads got to be proud. Nice!

Today was supposed to be my high-school reunion, but it was canceled due to the coronavirus. Last night on Facebook, a classmate posted a picture from our reunion ten years ago and said we’ll see each other in another ten. Others lamented not having a reunion, saying they had planned on attending. I offered to set up a teleconference and did, but no one joined. Today, a few more comments, but again no one responded to offers of a meeting. Facebook, thanks for making me feel like I’m back in high school.

Heart with a face mask

In the afternoon, I played on my blog. I added a facemask to my favicon and went back to using the WordPress Twenty Sixteen theme to which I’ve added the Nanum Pen Script font. I’d recently changed to the Twenty Twenty theme but it doesn’t feel “right” to me. This does. :-)

Gilligan continues to improve after her surgery, enjoying her water therapy. What a lucky doggie — I’m not sure there’s much she likes more than water. She has a daily routine, too, with three short walks, multiple trips outside on the leash, naps on the couch, and tons of love.

Wherever you are, I hope you’re feeling the love, too. How has your routine changed or become routine?

Virtual Starbucks buddies

My Starbucks buddies and I are now doing regular Zoom sessions with our homemade coffee in hand. It’s not the same as sitting on the couch in our regular spots, sipping our favorite drinks, but it’ll do.

Tomorrow, we’ll all have our video cameras working. And I think there may be a couple more regulars to invite.

Stay well!

Update: All our cameras going!