I appreciate the positive impact that IT can have on our lives, I really do. I have a degree in computing and spent ten years working as an IT consultant. This is, after all, a blog, not some newsletter etched on a stone tablet and dropped on your doorstep (that would be rude). But I have come to realise that I've had enough.
I know logically that almost everything now is intrinsically linked to come mechanised or computerised system. And yes, I love social media as much as the next person. I have Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, you-name-it. Yet this week I took the decision to insulate my echo chamber a little further. All in the name of #selfcare. How?
I muted Donald Trump on Twitter.
This in itself is not some revolutionary act of political defiance, but rather a conscious act of self-care. I noticed that I have been finding the furore around Donald Trump's political and personal life to be mostly annoying, occasionally upsetting and often infuriating. So yesterday I decided to change the things that I am presented with when I'm on social media. I added his name and his Twitter handle to my list of blocked items. The result was a feeling of instant relief. Scrolling through my timeline I was no longer presented with the vitriol and disbelief that I had been witnessing several times a day. Instead, I saw more positive things - like @ejbeals story of a young man who had escaped war in Syria to become an astrophysicist in Germany or the by-now-viral illustrations that Tyler Feder @roaringsoftly created and shared with the world on working-at-home-attire (which I can personally relate to!).
In short - my world improved dramatically. And that is not to say that I don't still want to be informed and keep abreast of world politics - but that in my day-to-day scrolling of a social media app that I do not need a near-constant reminder of the deeds of a man whom I cannot tolerate.
I work with a few clients who have employed this tactic with great success when it comes to managing their anxiety and awareness of their predilection to dwell on the negative. By doing this kind of manipulation of the data that we see and the images that we are confronted with we can take back some of the control that anxiety or overwhelm robs us of, and restore some calm to our lives so that we are in a better position to deal with unwelcome news when it eventually does come - as we must all accept that it will. Some strategic avoidance of constant overstimulation of nervous or angry feelings is not the same as avoidance of all - and I think we would all do well to take control back from some of the media's tactics for inciting fear and anger in society, whichever country they may be from.
So that's my self-care for the day. If you'd care to share yours in the comments I'd be glad to hear them.
Laura is an online talking therapist and writer specialising in working with millennials and the LGBTQI+ community.