My decision to shift the focus of this new page from just supporting parents to supporting all of us was inspired by this text from my new friend, Dave, a self-described "news junkie":
“I'm not the same person I was before the election. My life has changed, my health has changed. I'm a little bit lost. The worst part about that is that I am a father, and a father of a daughter. I consider it my responsibility to teach my child what is acceptable and what is not. How can I possibly explain how f'd up this to a 14-year-old? I normally have a very focused compass. My compass is going freaking haywire! I want to put my fist through the TV."
Perhaps some of you can relate. Dave and I went out to dinner the other night, and we agreed not to discuss politics, though we usually do a lot of that. During dinner, his I-watch sounded a CNN alert. He automatically moved to check it. I reminded him of our conversation earlier that day about the self-care strategy of not responding to this kind of alert, but rather setting aside a time during the day to catch up on news. It was very hard for Dave not to read the alert. . . And I know that it will be hard for you, too, to make this kind of change, if you decide to do so to reduce your stress.
When I was growing up, my parents watched the 6:00 news and read the newspaper in the morning. These were the designated times for news. The rest of the day was devoted to work, family, etc. The constant availability, and even intrusion, of news was years away. We can’t go back, but we can take some control over how much we allow in, and when we keep it out. If we are parents, this is doubly important, because being distracted by our smartphones, whether for business or pleasure, makes us less available to be fully in relationship with our children. More on that in future posts. For now, I welcome your comments and ideas on strategies you think might be effective for moderating the constant information input that adds to our chronic stress.