It’s ok to turn it off sometimes

Man, it has been a WEEK. As a Mom of toddlers, I realize I say this most weeks. My life is like that meme going around – Adulthood is saying, “things will slow down after this week” every week until you die.

It feels that way, though. The news has been depressing, at best. Pandemic news and devastating stories from foreign countries abound. It’s easy to get stuck in the doomscrolling downward spiral and hard to not feel constantly compelled to consume news every minute.

Up-to-the-minute news all the time?

Even escapism seems to draw me back into current events. Ads on podcasts say “staying up-to-date on the news is more important than ever!” As if it’s a truth we all just accept. Yet, is staying constantly informed every second more crucial than ever, or is it just making us crazier than ever?

For me, the time has come to let go of the idea that I need to know everything all the time.

I used to think that being the most unceasingly informed person had virtue – no longer. I prided myself on an encyclopedic knowledge of current events without an awareness that it was wearing down my psyche. That doesn’t mean prolonged willful ignorance is acceptable either; it just means I am now permitting myself to turn it off.

The confluence of “justifiable distractions” – Twitter, the 24-hour news cycle, the phones (always the phones) – seems to make it impossible to unplug. This week I noticed it particularly with the news. I started getting empathy nightmares of trying to get my children out of a wartorn and dangerous situation. On the one hand, it’s vital that I, and my fellow citizens, know what is happening across the world. But digging in and holding onto the news so tightly that it manifests in my subconscious is helpful to no one.

It’s too much

Me having nightmares of trying frantically to get my baby across barbed wire fences doesn’t help the woman experiencing that with her own baby. Internalizing issues I can’t affect or control make it so I’m unable to make a clear-eyed assessment of places where I can make a difference. With a vast firehose feed of information, it’s easy to become overwhelmed to the point of drowning paralysis.

So, this weekend will be a slew of frivolous posts about goats and chickens and ducks and babies – maybe a few apple trees that are ready to unload their branches. Not because I don’t care, but because I do.

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