Too much crazy

Today, another person I respect and adore decided to take a hiatus from social media. This is something like the third or fourth person (that I know of) in the last 6 months.

There are a lot of reasons people take time off from social media. Some want to spend more time with family. Others realize it’s keeping them from doing what they love (reading books, painting, overthrowing governments, etc.). And one very special person claims quitting Facebook it has helped him learn to move 10 lbs objects with his mind. (He’s totally lying – he’s only managed 4 lbs, and that’s being generous.)

The most common reason I’ve heard lately, however, is that there is just too much crazy.

People can’t seem to be civil anymore. The 24/7 news cycle has turned every little thing into an “event.” And many wake up in dread over what may or may not have been tweeted overnight.

They might have a point. There are numerous studies suggesting that quitting Facebook – even for just one week – has benefits. Middle school students may be particularly susceptible to issues with social media, with online bullying becoming a real danger for kids as young as 10. They’ve even come up with a new term – bullycide – for when a child takes his/her own life because of bullying. It’s heartbreaking.

I’ve contemplated taking a break. I haven’t because most of the people I know I communicate with online (#introvert). But I have cut back. And I find myself avoiding crazy as much as possible – it’s too exhausting. Not everything needs to be an argument, and not every post needs a dissenting opinion.

I think the way people are interacting online right now is a mix of opportunity and motive. Online comments lend anonymity and distance and accountability is almost nonexistent. And as for motive? There are a lot of people out there who have either felt they never had a voice and then found it, or have always had a voice and think everyone needs to hear it.

It’s unfortunate – we’re like kids who broke the expensive toy because we couldn’t respect it. Or because we played with it too much and it fell apart. I worry because I see how we interact online bleeding over into our real world interactions, and it’s getting ugly. I also worry because all the noise can block out all the good that the internet can enable.

I hope the crazy calms down. I hope those who are struggling with memories and feelings that the relentless news cycle brings are able to find peace. I hope we find a way to talk instead of yell.

I hope we keep finding funny cat videos to share online. (Thug Cat is THE BEST.)

I hope we find ways to remind each other that the world is a beautiful place and that people are worth saving.

If you need a break, take it. But please come back.

We need you.


The power of downtime (or why it’s okay that I watched 3 hours of Chopped)

Feeling run down? Burned out? Too darn tired to think?

You’re not alone.

Americans work more hours than any other developed nation in the world. We take fewer vacations. We like to complain about how much we work…especially when we log in at night on our computers or smart phones to quickly check some emails so we can get a jump on our day tomorrow.

Oh, and those supposedly time-saving electronics? Those are seriously messing with our ability to get the rest we need. Which means when we get to work the next day, we will be too tired to focus, which may lead to feeling like we’re falling behind, thereby making us feel like we HAVE to check our emails right before we go to bed.

And so it goes.

It’s not just work that has us in its grip. We’re constantly pulled in several directions – family, pets, friends, church, grocery shopping (ugh) – it all erodes at our ability to feel centered and in some semblance of control. Even when you love what you are doing, it can wear on you.


Do you think it’s not impacting your performance at work? Do you think it’s not impacting your relationships outside of work?

Let me know when you come back to reality, you incredibly misguided (yet blissfully hopeful) soul.

That’s why I’m making the case for Couch Night / Binge Watching / Vegging Out. Sometimes it’s perfectly okay to sit like a lump and let your brain take a rest. There are those who would probably advocate more for an evening picnic, or a walk with the family around the block. That’s fine. If you want to be all active and one with nature, more power to you. (Actually, exercise is really good for reducing stress. Go do that. But don’t be all #humblebrag about it, okay?)

Me? I watch Chopped. Like…a LOT of Chopped*.

Zero demands on my brain, zero stress, no concerns about SPOILERS (I’m looking at you, Game of Thrones watchers), and I occasionally learn something about cooking. But that’s not important. What’s important is that it helps me decompress and step away from the day to day of work.

The 24/7 cycle of work, social media, and your “brand” puts so much pressure on people to be “on” all the time. We feel pressure to be perfect. We feel pressure to clever. We feel pressure to be productive.

We feel pressure.

I say screw that. Unplug. Watch too much TV for one night; eat some ice cream; build a Lego Death Star; whatever helps you chill out, renew, and refresh – and do it without feeling guilty.

You’ve earned that downtime, dammit.

Use it.

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
– Chinese Proverb

*I also have an unhealthy love of Air Disasters and Engineering Disasters. I’m weird, okay?