Time for intermittent media fasting

Unending coronavirus anxietiesWaking up long before the rooster crows – yet again – with doom and gloom churned into my sheets, I realize something’s gotta give. The thoughts are non-specific. I’m covered in a blanket of angst. The darkness outside has pierced my soul. I’m on guard and alert to a pressing danger that’s shapeless but feels very real. All’s well in our small patch of earth today, we even have toilet paper! But taking comfort in our safe bubble almost seems naive. 

When daylight breaks, the interior darkness lifts as the household comes alive and cups of caffeine bring on a burst of optimism. The night demons are put to bed and I slip back into my comfy suit of positivity, that I inhabit during the day.

As I linger over my sleep stats in my FitBit app the recent gradual decline in my ‘sleep quality’ rating is undeniable. I need to fix this. I bet it’s due to my Lenten alcohol fast – maybe I should reconsider. I don’t care what the experts say, I definitely sleep longer after a glass of wine. Or maybe it’s time to ratchet down my caffeine consumption even further – that would be the worst, forget that. Or perhaps too much blue screen too close to bed-time. I’ve got many theories, but deep down I know what’s really going on.

It’s clearly an overdose of news feeds. I’ve been on a slippery slide into hyper vigilant media monitoring this past week. My smart phone has been glued to my body — constantly buzzing with breaking news. Borders are closed. The NYSE halts trading. All manner of closures are extended. Lock downs announced. This is not the stuff that makes for sweet dreams at night.

When I’m not checking the buzzing notifications, I’m plugged into podcasts and radio streaming with opinions and expert updates. I heard an interview with a Dr. in New Orleans saying that they were much better prepared for hurricane Katrina than they are for this virus. I’ve seen forecasts of rising numbers that shoot off the charts.  And watched stocks plunge at an equally alarming rate in the opposite direction. This is a train wreck I don’t know how to avoid. 

I’ve steeped myself in coronavirus information to the point where I’m close to becoming a case study for medical student syndrome (frequently reported psychological condition among medical trainees that experience the symptoms of the disease or diseases they are studying). None of this is helpful. I know it, but feel a responsibility to stay informed.

Nevertheless change is needed. With the principles of intermittent fasting in mind, the smartphone has been quarantined for most of the day. It’s parked downstairs out of harm’s way. It’s only been a couple of hours, but I’m already feeling some freedom in my new-found ignorance. The real test will be my sleep rating tonight. I’m optimistic!

Time to turn my attentions to other things. Is there anything else going on in the world?

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