When It’s All Too Much

A woman holds her temples in front of an image of an exploding brain.

I don’t know about you, blog buddies, but to me the news of the world feels like too much lately.  Too much fear and anger and stupidity. Too many people on the internet are holding up flashcards that scream: Fear! Worry! We’re all Doomed! There’s No One You Can Trust!

Perhaps we’ve all gotten so used to things being terrible (politically, environmentally, societally) that whenever a new bit of data is presented we automatically start framing it as even more evidence that we’re fucked.

Everything is a catastrophe. Everything is an emergency. Everything is melting down, right now, and nothing will ever be good, ever again.

But it isn’t true.

I blame the media for turning 90% of all headlines into terror fodder. I blame the voices of pop culture for using helpless nihilism as their daily drumbeat. And I blame incompetent government for lowering trust to the point where my friends and I are begging skeptical relatives to take the pandemic seriously. Because when everything is an emergency, nothing is. So why should they believe this time?

It’s a problem.

And yet I also blame myself for all the blaming. Because as far as my own anxieties go, no one is forcing me to scan the interwebs for daily nuggets of trauma, yet I do.

And no one is forcing me to marinate in popular nihilism, yet I do.

Perhaps it’s time to take some responsibility for what I can actually control, eh? 🙂

Turning Down the Anxiety Dial

My project for the day (and upcoming months) is to tidy up my information intake (yet again) by limiting myself to a few trusted sources of news about current events. For me, that’s:

Washington State Public Health Officials

PBS Newshour

The Economist (I enjoy the business news.)

I’m allowing myself just 10 minutes of Twitter, a few times a day. That’s a nice amount for dipping in and reading friend-tweets without getting snared by viral negativity.

When the world feels like “too much” I’m thinking that it helps to make a plan for what needs to be done, follow the plan, and then resume the ordinary work of being yourself.

So be yourself, my friends. Be cautious and be kind, and once you’ve got your ducks in a row, turn off the squawking, screaming, pundits for a while and do something that feeds your spirit.

And I’ll do the same. 🙂