As the Coronavirus pandemic has made its way around the world and into the US at large, I’ve felt like I’m watching it unfold in slow-motion. Someone likened it to watching for the tidal wave after an earthquake: it’s coming, it’ll be devastating, but there’s not a lot you can do to prevent it. You can only decide how you’ll act as it comes and then afterwards.
And for a while, I would read stories about it: where new cases were popping up, how quickly it spread in Italy, lockdowns in cities and entire countries, and (sadly) people ignoring pleas that we do our best to keep our distance from each other in an effort to #FlattenTheCurve.
Until very recently, I thought I could regulate and reduce my social media interactions and keep anxiety away, but I have hit a wall. Facebook was originally a bit more lighthearted, but soon my timeline was overtaken with death tolls and panic-inducing articles about how many people younger than me were dying from COVID-19. Twitter, too, has gone from a place where I can discuss things with like-minded people (I long ago culled my lists to get rid of feeds that raised my blood pressure) to a place where almost everything I see is about death and illness.
It’s just become too hard to expose myself to it any more.
After reading just one too many things about this pandemic, I had to make the decision that I must delete the apps from my phone and just stop looking. I can stay up to date without being inundated with non-stop tweets about the pandemic. I can know what I need to know without seeing another article on Facebook about how going out is going to kill us all. I know, I need to limit going out. But I work at a bank now, and that’s essential workers who leave their homes. I’m stuck heading out to work several times each week to handle money and checks from anyone who drives up. Money is filthy anyway. Now it’s got the added suspense of not knowing if someone who’s sick has been handling it.
The TL;DR of this is such:
I’m leaving my Facebook and Twitter accounts active, but I’m deleting the apps and avoiding the websites until things get better. Even if it isn’t for another year. Frankly, I probably spent too much time on social media, anyway.
Instead? Read more books. Pray more. Write more.
But I’m not going to keep exposing myself to the things that are giving me some very bad, sleep-disrupting anxiety. There’s nothing saying I have to do that.
What are you doing for self-care in this time of pandemic and isolation?