Monday, December 14, 2015

I've been finding myself more stressed out and overwhelmed on a regular basis these days.  I'm sure there are a lot of factors at play, but most of them can't easily be changed so instead I decided to do a purge of a few smaller things that I know certainly don't help my stress.

One was pretty easy.  I completely cleared off and simplified my desk.  I usually keep a clean desk, but I've had a lot of things on it that I just don't need.  Things like scissors, tape, a pen holder with a dozen pens, highlighters, sharpies... I use these maybe twice a month.  There is no need for them to be on my desk and in my face.  I also have a file rack on my desk with folders of papers that I haven't looked at since I started working with my company.  Anything that could be thrown out was, and everything else was placed in my drawer.

It sounds silly, but simplifying my desk has been a huge help in reducing my underlying stress.  I sit there for 8 hours a day so I guess it makes sense, but it's so easy to just let clutter build up and not even realize the stress is building up as well.

Since that felt so good, I then took a look at my social media accounts.  Facebook used to just be a place where you could see what shenanigans your friends got into over the weekend, but it has become one giant stressor for me.  From ignorant political rants to the annoying intentionally cryptic cry for attention posts.  I find myself more and more just getting pissed off every time I log in.

I deleted quite a few friends (mainly old college people that I haven't talked to since freshman year) and unfollowed even more (friends or family members who I just can't listen to anymore).  I contemplated just deleting Facebook all together, but I'm worried I may miss out on adorable animal pictures. So, for the time being, I'll just see how my freshly cleaned news feed is.

I did a deep clean of Twitter as well.  That wasn't filled with so much rage inducing idiocy, but I found myself struggling to keep up with my feed throughout the course of the day and then being worried that I was missing something.  I've always prided myself on staying up today with current events and what is going on the world, but I find that these days trying to keep up with everything is too overwhelming. I don't need to follow 12 different news stations.  At the end of the day I'll have a good idea of what is going on one way or another.

It may just be confirmation bias, but in her session at the MA Conference for Women last week Dr. Julie Holland talked about the stress we put ourselves through every day that our bodies were not necessarily designed to handle.  The earliest humans may have dealt with an earthquake or a severe storm a couple of times in their lives, but today we're faced with a constant inundation of all the terrible things happening around the world. We may not feel the exact pain of someone who's child has just drown, or be able to truly understand what it feels like to have our home destroyed by a bomb, but our minds still feel some of that the stress reaction.  That just really hit home because I know it has been affecting me lately.

Perhaps it's just because I'm getting old, but I just don't think I can stay as immersed as I once was in everything that is going on the world.  There are many important subjects that I will continue to follow, but for my own mental well being I think I need to limit my exposure.

Hopefully by trimming and simplifying everything I'll find myself getting less frustrated and stressed over things I can't control and getting a better handle on those things I can.

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