Today is Groundhog Day. I see the sun, which... since it's going to be in the 50s, must mean 6 more weeks of.... political rhetoric.
I don't think I can take more hateful speech, overblown half-truths and finger pointing. I'm not an undecided voter. I know whom I support, and if you know me and know where I've spent about 20% of my life, you can guess. Some of you like me because of this, some of you like me in spite of my political opinions, and that may be how I feel about you, too. Growing up in a "mixed" household with parents who were members of different parties, I saw that you can love someone unconditionally even if you don't agree on politicians. Can you hear Mom's sarcasm, "George, your president is on TV."
Plus... And here's the surprise... Most of us have nuance to our opinions. Voter A can be against abortion but support the right to choose. Voter B can be hunter but want stronger controls of who can purchase weapons. And the list goes on.
A few weeks ago - out of the blue - a college friend whom I haven't seen in more than 5 years sent me a private message to check in with me, because by the tone of my Facebook postings, apparently I don't seem like myself.
She's right! I'm very stressed. Just thinking about a list of my stress factors in the most superficial way as I write this has me tearing up. Most items are out of my hands (which schools will accept my daughter, my father's aging and his increasing needs), but there are a few that I can influence or otherwise temper their impact on my stress level.
So I'm going to do that. I'm going to avoid stressful encounters, get more sleep and eat better.
One thing I'm going to do, which you may not like, is to change some of my social media settings. If I could, I would increase the pictures of friends and family sharing time with their loved ones. I would cut anything hateful or upsetting. Images, campaigns or advertising designed to produce a strong emotional response. Much of it is offensive anyway, so even if it supposedly supports someone on my side of the fence, it's just too much right now.
Anyway, in light of the fact that I'm feeling 90% capacity on my stress-meter, I'm taking charge. I'm unfollowing (not unfriending) anyone who posts hateful things. If it brings about the emotional response that the senior marketing strategist intended, I'm avoiding it.
If that means that I'll miss news I want (what my friends and their families are accomplishing) so be it. If you want me, pick up the phone. Drop me an email or stop by my house. In turn, I'll try not to "increase conversion" for my candidates online.
As with all of my resolutions, this might not work, but I have to do something to lower my stress and increase my happiness. I encourage you to do small things to improve your stress levels, too. And share your tips, especially over coffee. I could use it.