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Maintaining Mental Health

Mark's Daily Apple had a post today that ended with the author wondering about people who have done well in the pandemic. I think I've done pretty well--having my job and being an introvert have helped a lot. I'm also used to living far away from family, and I'm a homebody. Still, this year was pretty stressful  for me and I found some ways of dealing with it. 

Years ago, two wise older friends both recommended ignoring overtures from a depressed former friend who wanted to reconnect. It sounded insensitive to me at the time, but they were right. Like a drowning victim, negative, depressed people can take you down with them, and crazy people can make you crazy, too. I've applied their advice continually over the past several months.

Hitting unsubscribe to emails with black backgrounds. The self-flagellation will have to carry on without me.

Unfollowing people who refuse on principle to wear masks. Likewise, the fight to save our masks for Halloween will have to carry on without me.

Avoiding anyone who has come unglued. Today I logged off from a chat site I've belonged to for 14 years. I don't mind hearing opinions I don't agree with, but some of the moderators have been allowed to adopt a sneering attitude for some time. One of them became especially unglued over COVID, and another was rude to a member over an innocuous remark. They, too, can carry on without me.

Ending the steady diet of news about woke politics. In other words, I unsubscribed to the Indianapolis Star. 

So after cutting out the negativity, what's left?

Talking to reasonable friends. I talk on the phone to friends and relatives who aren't political junkies or drama queens.

Listening to music that makes you feel good, played by positive people. I looked up a live radio station in my home town--KEZW--that plays a lot of standards and has a pleasant DJ. I like WJJK here in Indianapolis, too. Pandora and YouTube are great for playing favorite songs, but I like the DJs on the radio stations. If you're listening to talk radio, think about taking a break from it. 

I get more of my news from the ABC affiliate here. I can't tell what their politics are, and that's how it should be. 

I follow only a few people on Twitter and visit the site once or twice a week. Most of the posts I see show beautiful architecture--that floats my boat. 

Fixing my thyroid and cortisol. With low thyroid, I felt apathetic; both high and low cortisol leave me with low energy. 

Reading Ayn Rand. You may or may not like her, but some of her work covers fights that were going on in the late 60s over the some of the same principles people are fighting about now. We survived, and that's comforting. 

Getting things done. Fixing my garage has been satisfying--a lot more so than arguing on Twitter. 

Going with the flow. My employer and my state have a mask mandate. I go along with it because I don't have anything to gain by fighting it. When my neighbors held a garage sale, they were wearing masks, so I wore one, too, when I went there. Statistics might show now that you're more likely to be shot in Indianapolis than die of COVID--but what the neighbors would have remembered if I'd insisted on not wearing one is that I'm a nut. And rude, which is even worse around here.

It's easy to get caught up in arguments and bad news. It's more important than ever to avoid everybody who's cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs and, as the song says, accentuate the positive.


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