Lin-Manuel Miranda is about as liberal as they come. As a major Broadway star, a rising Hollywood actor, and a frequent pop-up on all manner of late-night talk shows and channels, I guess that's the natural path for the poor dude to follow.
Despite his liberal tendencies, I personally think that Lin-Manuel’s twitter account is a national treasure. Out of our nation’s surplus of political contributors (both conservative and liberal) Miranda is one of the few who seem to have a healthy perspective when it comes to the news of the day.
A few weeks ago, Miranda tweeted his frustration with twitter users who mentally self-harm through pointless social media usage, saying,
I think what Miranda was trying to say here was that the news of the day, no matter how horrible or wonderful, is entirely optional to talk about on social media. If something triggers you, depresses you, or unhelpfully angers you on the internet, please remember that you don’t have to be there. The only person forcing you to digest and contribute to social media is yourself.
Practicing healthy intentionality in my social media intake has been a game changer for my mental health, mood, and productivity – so here’s a few tips on how you, too, can (at least partially) disengage from the internet insanity this Christmas season:
1. Unsubscribe from Fear-mongering Figures
If you really want a mental break, whittle down your social media subscriptions to only your personal friends. Of course, if there is a certain celebrity that doesn’t talk about politics (or perhaps does it in such way that doesn’t make you want to chug bleach), then great -- but anyone who has constantly kept the airhorn of, “WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE-…THE RUSSIANS AND COLLUSIONS AND STARVING CHILDREN AT THE BORDER…WAKE UP AMERICA…” should be gone yesterday.
2. Stop Fear-mongering Yourself
It’s really very simple: if you don’t want the fancy Christmas-depression that arises out of the fancy Christmas-guilt on social media, make sure you’re not one of the perpetrators. If you have a real legislative solution you’d like to share with your followers, that’s awesome, but don’t just morph into another airhorn. There are enough of those already, and my ears are bleeding.
3. Practice Intentionality
To begin with, and at least during the holiday season, social media should not be a news source. Period. Choose one or two true media sources you trust (it doesn’t really matter which – they’re all lying snakes anyway) and check up with those two sources once or twice a day. That should be all, and you should be very mindful of making sure that that’s really all.
Again, intentionality in taking in news has been a game-changer for me and my sanity. Little drips and drabs of bad news throughout the day (especially during a low-point, or when you’re least expecting it) will likely just bring you down. I know that, if there’s any news worth hearing, I will assuredly read it during my daily check-in with the headlines. Until then, my worrying about it will do absolutely no good.
In his book, The Screwtape Letters, C.S Lewis warns that unhealthy political obsessions not only block men from peace of mind, but also hinder them from building virtue or character, saying,
“Arguments, political gossip, and obsessing on the faults of people they have never met serves as an excellent distraction from personal virtue, character, or the things the patient [a common man] can control.”
This holiday season, disengage from toxic friends and celebrities, make sure you yourself are not part of the problem, and don’t allow bad news to worm its way into your sanity.
[Image Credit: Flickr-Nathan Hughes Hamilton CC BY 2.0]