Trade nourishment for stimulation with a News Fast

We have all been ACCELERATED.

We are all being buffeted by the news cycle.

For at least a few days, and honestly for as long as is feasible for you,

you would be wise to be take some time off from your usual pace and routines, including media consumption routines.


I know, they’re likely part of (y)our self-regulation repertoire. Exactly- we’re going to broaden our repertoire this week. You could be napping and (hopefully) sleeping more (bonus points for getting head to pillow by 10pm for these days before surgery), and listening to guided visualization recordings once or twice (even better) each day to enable a painless and accelerated healing process.

If you’re embraced the notion of a surgical sabbatical of days (or weeks for joint replacement), or even if you’re facing a minimal and working-from-home kind of recovery, you’ll some still have some time to “relax”, which more likely than not could easily look like catching up on emails, browsing the web, social media and finally catching up on Homeland or Game of Thrones or some other epic and stimulating media.

But this is one of those times where I’m suggesting you go against habit. In the spirit of making this time more restorative, getting our bodies– our Earth suits– into a parasympathetic neurological state and keeping ourselves there for as many hours of the day as we can. Laughter, feeling close to another human being, sharing affection with a pet, sipping a broth or stew, listening to a novel on Audible. These are what are going to make this experience go smoothly, with the good humor and resilience available were you ever to need it, but also just to make this experience a springboard for a healthier phase of life.

The world will continue spinning without (y)our attending to it!  And while your phone will be right there waiting for you after your surgery, with its addictive siren-song of emails and notifications, I suggest you take this time to shift to a different rhythm and let your nervous system recover from the intensity of this period.

Turn off all notifications.

Set your emails to “Fetch” manually instead of automatic retrieval (“Push”).

Lay off the social media and news and even email for the days before surgery and at least a week after.

Turn on an OOTO message if you can.

But why no social media?  Because research shows that social media increases social anxiety and especially in these politically troubled times, the web is full of incendiary and panic-inducing news. Let’s spare you the fight or flight amygdala response one gets from righteous rage, fear or panic. Instead, listen to your own rhythms and fill your day with activities which are nurturing rather than stimulating. I don’t mean boring. But we often reach for stimulation when really we’re overtired and need something else.

So, bottom line: fill your Netflix queue with content that is emotionally rich and inspiring, bonus points if it can make you laugh or even chuckle (studies show, blah blah) or cry. Perhaps it’s stand-up, music concerts, nature documentaries, or dramatic films. Crying during this period would be of great benefit in releasing tension and toxin (yes, literally). Feeling inspired about the world you will be reentering freed of your limitation, even better.

Even after that first week, if you feel like you need to know what’s happening in the world, consider visiting a site that features inspiring positive stories like these or these here. And consider getting at least some of your news from Stephen Colbert’s Late Night (available anytime on YouTube) where the outrage is titrated with laughter.

What about staying connected to friends and getting encouragement?

If you want to be efficient about keeping dear ones up to date, or if you will be coordinating support from a group of people, consider using a free service (website) like Caringbridge. You invite your friends and family and have one centralized place to post updates, ask for support, and receive lots of encouragement. A place that’s not overrun by hatebots and other behavioral modification experiments.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *