Saturation and Self-Care.

sat·u·ra·tion

saCHəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun
  1. the state or process that occurs when no more of something can be absorbed, combined with, or added.
    1. the degree or extent to which something is dissolved or absorbed compared with the maximum possible, usually expressed as a percentage.
    2. to a very full extent, especially beyond the point regarded as necessary or desirable.

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The morning after the Super Bowl, I logged into Facebook. I wanted to see what people thought of the game… and I wanted to see replays of Lady Gaga’s halftime show as well as the Hamilton ladies singing before the game.

Immediately, I wanted to log back out. The Patriot Nation memes and celebration here felt too much like gloating, the Brady and Belichick haters were still posting about how much they hated the Patriots, the pictures of Tom Brady with his family and sick mom both warmed and hurt my heart, and a friend of mine – an Atlanta fan – posted that the game felt like Election Night all over again – and the Pats fans were commenting things like LOL!

For the past few months now, I’ve felt the same way when I spend any amount of time on social media (which for me is Facebook, that’s my main social platform): irritated. Not in the sense of annoyed, but irritated in the sense of this definition: roughened, reddened, or inflamed by an irritant. I have come away from my social media time hurt and hopeless, wondering why people can’t seem to see that there are other people on the other side of their screen. Which, of course, leads into fear of the future and the question what is this world coming to?

And it completely flared up on Monday morning. Over a sports game.

I pride myself on being a person who can see an issue from someone else’s viewpoint and provide empathy and encouragement when they need it. I took this on as a responsibility after my cousin died more than two decades ago, when I had the shocking realization that my actions (and inaction) affect other people. Even a hopeful word or two can give someone who’s having a bad day a lift. It’s been the way I’ve approached my life since then; I believe we have a responsibility to listen and thoughtfully consider other people’s views as part of how we come to our own opinions and beliefs.

And until Monday, I thought I was doing a good job at it.

A good friend of mine has a theory about social media. She believes our brains haven’t evolved to be able to handle the pervasiveness of it. We, as a species, are wired for hunting and gathering and farming and DOING things with our hands, and therefore we can’t handle the barrage of messages and opinions being streamed at us at all times.

It’s just saturation, Karen, she told me.

That’s exactly what it is. I’m saturated and depleted, too likely to lose my footing and get swept away in what everyone is saying. And with Facebook right now, I feel like I’m being tossed around by everybody’s thoughts and opinions.

It’s time for self-care.

So I’m unplugging from Facebook and online news sources for a bit until I feel more grounded. It’s the best idea I can come up with – for now anyway.

How do you manage the barrage of messages through social media?

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