November 11, 2016

November Goal: Books > Facebook

I haven’t been blogging much this month, because I’ve had a lot of personal stuff going on that I don’t really want to air publicly. Unfortunately, all of that was further exacerbated this Wednesday, when I started to see the full backlash of the election results. It feels like the whole country is up in arms, and it doesn’t seem like the instability will go away any time soon.

Over the past few days, I’ve realized that when I’ve been getting the most stressed is when I read the vitriol that fills up my Facebook newsfeed. I’ve never been much of a Facebook person anyway, but I’ve gotten in the bad habit over the last month or so of opening it up once a day and seeing what’s in the news feed. What a terrible waste of time! So much anger, so much name calling, and an end result where I feel like everybody hates everybody, rather than any kind of rational discussion or polite acknowledgement of differing opinions.

So for the rest of this month, I’m going to try something that’s not so much a challenge as just a simple rule: no browsing Facebook. It’s pretty much as basic as that. If someone tags me in a post, I’ll still click through to read it and respond – since most of those tags generally do require my response, or at least I think they do to be polite 🙂 But otherwise, I won’t be venturing onto the site and wasting my time reading all the anger and negativity. Even beyond the election, this probably isn’t a bad habit to get into, since I’ve never found much redeeming value in browsing Facebook, and usually regret having wasted time on it.

I think this pretty much sums it up.

I also just read today on one of my favorite blogs, A Life of Productivity, that disconnecting from social media can help minimize election-related stress. It seems that according to science, my plan is on the right track! But the study Chris Bailey quoted also found that stress is further reduced by disconnecting from the news as well. This is a tough pill to swallow, as I don’t want to be uninformed. But I’m going to try just keeping up with whatever headlines are in The Skimm, and not clicking on any full articles related to the election. I’m also going to give up cold turkey on listening to the NPR Politics podcast, at least until next month when I can catch back up if I really want to.

Rather than making this challenge a negative (“no Facebook or news”), I’ll try to make it a bit positive. In place of that time I would have spent worthlessly looking at Facebook, I’ll read some of the many library books that I’ve been piling up. In the last month or two, I’ve gotten pretty off track with my annual goal to read 100 books, and I’d like to catch back up if I can. I’m currently at 80 books read this year (follow me here on Goodreads), which means I’m six books behinds schedule, and would like to get to 90 books read by the end of the month to mostly catch up. Ten books in 2.5 weeks seems plenty doable if I prioritize, particularly since there are a lot of weekend/vacation days in there.

Finally, Theodora wrote a great post today on self-care rituals, which had a lot of easy-to-undertake ideas to help destress and recover from challenges. I never take baths, but the idea of a bubble bath and a book sounds amazingly relaxing. (I just don’t understand how you don’t get your book/Kindle wet??? Something to figure out.) I’m going to try to practice a few of these in an effort to bounce back – or at least recover in some manner from – the setbacks I’ve had lately.

Happy Friday – hope you all have a relaxing weekend!

(PS – I tried to write this post to be as neutral as possible, as I don’t really want to have political discussions in this space. Please refrain from making political remarks in the comments as well.)


16 thoughts on “November Goal: Books > Facebook”

  1. As a very experienced bathtub reader, the key is a folded towel next to the tub. You can use it to dry your hands as needed, and if you need to set the book/kindle down, you fold it inside of the towel for protection in all directions.

  2. Oh, you need a bath tray!

    I have this one, it’s great for reading in the tub and even has a wine glass holder. And I just keep my towel on the floor by the tub in case I need to dry my hands. Haha, my favorite thing to do after a long run is take a warm epsom salt bath with a beer and a book!

    1. That looks awesome! I am going to do a test run with a magazine to see if I even like taking baths, since I haven’t taken one in years… but if so, that tray looks perfect. Thanks so much for the rec!

  3. About 2 weeks before the election I had to do the same, for my own sanity. It was stressing me out! My only exceptions:

    Early morning before going to the gym, I’d look back onto “On this day” because let’s face it, my kids are adorable.

    (I did browse a little bit – my cousin had a baby you know!) The minute I caught a glimpse of anything political, I’d shut it down.

    After work: no Facebook. And no Cookie Jam. I’ve nearly completed a large afghan for a Christmas gift (3 rows a night = 45 minutes). I’ve finished off my 4.5 year old’s baby quilt. I’ve worked on another quilt a little bit. I’ve done a lot of reading. I’ve tried a few new recipes.

    1. I use an app called Timehop on my phone to see what happened in years past – I love it so much too!

      I figure that next month, I’ll probably start using Facebook a bit to read non-political posts, but for now I’m going cold turkey. (Outside of responding when people actually comment/tag me.) So far, it isn’t all that different from how I used to use Facebook, which I was happy with. Unfortunately, I think I’ve found some other time sucks so haven’t gotten as much reading done as I’d like thus far 🙁

  4. It bothers me when people say that “______________” is the cause of their distress (in this case Facebook). Let’s get it straight, you (personally) don’t bother me (I actually adore you in that you discuss these topics), but it is more how we (as a community) allow ourselves to even in-directly abscond personal responsibility for our actions so easily. That is, we say that something else (the FB platform) is the source of all our evils.

    I believe that Facebook takes way too much heat for supposedly being the cause of so much negative energy. FB has gone to great lengths to enable their users to personalize the experience that each individual can have with their own social network while utilizing the framework that the company Facebook, Inc provides.

    A user can systematically help teach the FB platform what types of posts to include in the news feed. A user can make lists of their friends/acquaintances and only have status updates go to certain lists. A user can directly control how easily others can contact him/her. A user can directly control what types of information/status updates/posts others can see on their own Wall. I can pare down my newsfeed to the bare essentials, slowly include a variety of different things if I feel my newsfeed is too narrow, send status updates to particular friend-sets that I haven’t interacted with recently.

    99.9% of FB users can be much more discerning customers of the platform than they are. And a little bit of discernment would probably make for a better user experience. I don’t want, nor expect, FB to do the filtering for me. That would not be appropriate. Then I would have to wonder “what are they leaving out that I should be seeing?” But if I AM in control of what I see or not see, I feel much better about that.

    And, I admit, some of my “friends” I have chosen to not see any of their updates pop up on my newsfeed. I am simply not interested in their stuff.

    One question for you: is the negative FB stuff related to your fan-page for your website? or your personal FB page?

    1. I would counter that by saying that while Facebook ALLOWS you to customize, they make it rather difficult to do so. For example, they keep changing the algorithm based on my behavior, whereas I would rather consciously input the parameters that I want to see. Sometimes when someone’s photo of their engagement/new baby/etc comes up, I “like” it because I’m happy for them – but I don’t necessarily want to now start seeing everything that person posts at the top of my feed. I like the old school Facebook format of just seeing the latest things at the top, regardless of algorithm/sorting. That view still exists in the desktop view (with a few extra clicks; I don’t think you can make it the default) but I don’t believe it exists in the mobile app. I completely agree with you that I don’t want Facebook to do the filtering for me, but I wish they would more easily allow an unfiltered view rather than assuming I want to pare it down.

      The negative comments are purely related to my personal Facebook. They aren’t specifically people posting on my wall, but rather they are personal status updates that I find to be very closed-minded and alienating.

    2. I don’t know exactly what you see on your newsfeed, but from what I see, what distresses me, is something that I coined the phrase “Liberal Intolerance”. Maybe what I see is different from what you see, but now whenever someone distresses me with a negative remark I just say ‘liberal intolerance’ in my head, quietly smile and just move along…..Not sure if that helps 🙂

    3. Hehe I like that you make a joke out of it 🙂 I’m finally starting to get to a point where I can just shake my head at some of the absurdities.

  5. Ha, I just read this today but a few days after the election, my depression was really bad and I quit the news and social media. It helped so much! I took about three weeks off and I feel much better. Also, going back in slowly

    1. I’m going back in slowly too, Joanne, and am pleasantly surprised to find that most people aren’t talking about politics anymore. Hooray!

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