Getting Up To Speed . . . With a Bonus Reminder
Read With Us: Let's Talk About . . . Young Mungo

June is Bustin' Out All Over

Of all the months in the year, I think June is my favorite. I just love the weather and the vibe and the fact that everything is (finally) blooming and, well . . . bustin' out all over! 

Turning the calendar over to June also means it's time to . . . 

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On the first Monday of the month, I share random things that have recently caught my eye. Interesting articles, little factoids, and inspiring this-and-that, for the most part. Things that might help get your day started in a revved-up kind of way.

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Let's start things off with a quote . . . 

"It's not your responsibility to do everything. But it is your responsibility to do something."
--- Sharon McMahon

There is . . . a lot going wrong in the world. It's easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed by the All Of It. It's easy to become cynical and think that there is nothing to be done, nothing that we can do. (This would be me, on many days of late.)

Well.

Today's Start Your Engines post is my attempt to inject some . . . action and control . . . into your overwhelm. 

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First of all, let's turn off the news, okay?

Personally, the constant access to news updates really gets me into a spin. Years ago, Tom and I stopped watching any kind of TV news. Then, we stopped listening to NPR. It was just too much . . . all the time. I got rid of all the news apps on my phone.  I stopped subscribing to any news-related podcasts.

And, no. I don't live in a cave. I do pay attention to the news. I just pay attention on my terms. Now, I decide if and when I want to check in with the news. And when I do, I seek out headline updates from The New York Times or NPR. Sometimes I click in and read/listen further, but often . . . I don't. It really helps my state of mind. And . . . I'm not missing anything by not being constantly tuned in. 

So I'm just here to encourage you to . . . assess all the ways you get your news. Consider how you feel after reading or listening to the news. Think about how long it takes you to recover from exposure to depressing news. Then . . . make some little change that allows you to keep up with what's happening in the world without immersing yourself in the news cycle.

What works for me (mostly)? I like having a reliable source of headline news that I can skim quickly and then click in to articles of interest when I'm ready to do so. I have friends who swear by The Skimm (a daily morning headline news site), but I prefer The Morning (the daily newsletter for New York Times subscribers). I still get sucked in to the vortex of bad news sometimes, but having control of what I pay attention to - and when - has really helped my state of mind.

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Now, let's curate our social media accounts. 

Over the past couple of years, I've really changed the way I interact with social media. I've written before about how I got rid of Facebook (and don't miss it even a little bit). And I've drastically changed the way I interact with Instagram. First, I just don't go there very often anymore. But, more importantly, I've carefully curated "who I follow." I now only follow people who inspire me, people who make me feel better about my day or about the world. I encourage you to create a social media presence (if you even want one) that adds to your joy. Get rid of the stuff that makes you feel bad or "less than" or tired.

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Next, let's learn.

Sharon Says So (someone I do choose to follow on Instagram) hosts workshops -- or "deep dives" -- on relevant (or sometimes just interesting) topics related to American government or social issues. Back in 2021, Sharon put together a workshop about Gun Laws in the U.S. She explains the issue from a legal standpoint -- what the current laws are, how they evolved, what are the facts. Her "deep dives" are not debate workshops. They are not meant to convince participants that any "side" is right; they are simply fact-based and informative. As Sharon says, "whatever your beliefs are about guns in America - you are welcome here. No shame, only facts."

After the Uvalde shootings last month, Sharon made this workshop available for free for all who are interested in learning more about U.S. gun laws. (Her workshops are normally $12.99 to download.) Click here get free access to the workshop. (I'm not sure how long she's going to be offering it at no cost, but it is still an active link as of this morning.) Once I submitted the form (with my name and email address), I received an email with the link to access the workshop. I chose to download it and save it for later, so I can watch it when it's more convenient for me (it's an hour and 43 minutes long). Easy Peasy. I'm sure it will be very informative, and I'm looking forward to deepening my understanding of the issue -- and having the facts (so maybe I can more eloquently express how I feel).

(A great piece on Sharon McMahon of Sharon Says So fame came out in The Atlantic over the weekend, by the way. Click here to access the article.)

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And, on the lighter side . . . 

Here in our house,a favorite book to read when my kids were young was this one . . . 

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I was happy (okay, and shocked) to learn that the book is celebrating its 50th birthday this month! Read or listen to the interview with author Judith Viorst - now a very young 91 - and her real-life son, Alexander, here. The book is a true classic, and is such a wonderful description of . . . well . . . a really bad day. Which happen . . . even in Australia.

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And with that, we're OFF for another week; another month!

I hope my post today has given you some ideas for action and control.
We can't do everything, but we can do something!

Happy June, everyone.

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FINAL REMINDER . . . 

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Tomorrow - June 7 - is the Read With Us discussion day for Young Mungo. Our Zoom discussion will begin at 7:00 pm (Eastern Time). Please let me know if you're planning to join us for the Zoom -- either in the comments or by sending me an email (my email link is at the very top of the sidebar). 

I'll be sending out Zoom invitations later this afternoon. If you haven't received on by 5:00 Eastern time today - and you want to join us - please let me know.

(As always, we'll also include discussion questions on our blogs that day, in case you can't make it for the Zoom.)

 

Comments

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Sarah

I also enjoyed that piece about Alexander -- a favorite book from my youth! Thank you for the link to the workshop, which I've signed up for. I think being educated about these issues is the best way to advocate for changes. I'm a bit of a news junkie and can't give it up entirely (partly because getting more information is one way I assuage my anxiety), but I am careful to curate what sources I get my news from and limit my intake.

Vera

Like you and Tom, we stopped watching news years (decades) ago. Everything was ALWAYS so negative. Fletch will watch CNN now and again (specific shows), but as you know, I'm not much of a TV person at all. We do get the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal which I enjoy (particularly the section with books!). And, I don't do much social media at all. I look at my SILs posting on FB occasionally and Fletcher's cousin posts beautiful nature photos there. I look at a couple of IG accounts and that's it. I've too many other things I'd rather be doing!

kat

The only news I listen to is the NPR Up First podcast. I used to read the WaPo on my iPad before getting out of bed, but that has become too much. I agree... in the life of the 24-hour news cycle, it is easy to get overwhelmed (which leads to being numb about things we should not be, imo)

I read that Atlantic article last night! AND... thank you for the link to Sharon's workshop! I signed up! :)

Carolyn

Hi there! I'm catching up (kind of...) Fun to see news and pics of Erin's month (maybe more?), and those gorgeous garden glimpses.
As for news, I started listening to the BBC once/day after the 2016 election. I found US news to be simply Too Much. BBC felt better balanced. I felt fewer 'zings' while listening.
Thanks for the Sharon link.
And finally--I'd like to join you for book talk tomorrow night, if you could please add me to your list. Thx :)

Carolyn

P.S. Love that post title! It's one of my Dad's favorite 'announcements' to make...so, made me smile this morning :)

Bridget

I generally listen to local news, and read very few actual news items anymore. And no social media at all after 8 pm - even though I only follow people I truly want to interact with. Though I now have a phone, I must admit that I don't pay much attention to it, so that's in my favor.

Happy June!

Bonny

I've reached the same news consumption as you have. I'll read NPR headlines, click on articles that I want to know more about, and sometimes I'll check out the BBC online, but no more than 5-7 minutes total. It was all getting to be too much, but now I feel informed enough and much happier. (I doubt I could discuss the Depp/Heard trial but is that really news?)

Thank you for the link to Sharon's gun law workshop. This is something I'd like to be able to discuss intelligently, so this will be quite educational. We have fairly strict gun laws in NJ (background checks, waiting periods, etc.) and I had assumed many states were the same. I was shocked to find out how loosey-goosey some of them are.

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow for Young Mungo!

Dee

I really need to cut down on news consumption. I tend to get sucked into the 4PM-7PM news shows even though they repeat the same 4 stories at all the times.

Vicki

I love Sharon! She's so... reasonable. And golden retriever-like. HAHAHA!!

Carole

I read The Morning and I do get New York Times headlines on my phone. Sometimes I just look at the headline, sometimes I read the article. I also listen to NPR’s Up First while I’m getting ready for work. Dale is a news junkie and is particularly committed to the World News at 6:30pm. I watch sometimes but not always. Thanks for the link to the work shop on gun laws. I’m very familiar with the MA laws because I live with a gun owner but I don’t know much about the rest of the country and I’m interested in learning more. Oh, Judith Viorst. I can’t even say how many times I read that book to Hannah over the years! Happy June to you, it’s my favorite month, too!

Marilyn

June is a wonderful month for us Northerners, isn't it? So green and pretty!

I stopped watching the national news years ago. I listen to the local news mainly for the weather. It's so much better for my blood pressure!

I've thought of going off Facebook but so many local business and events are advertised on there that I can't see stopping completely. I have unfollowed a few super political friends and that also has helped my blood pressure. I have followed sites that have gardening, knitting and Christmas as their themes. That has made my feed much more enjoyable.

Mary

Here's to JUNE!! I love these monthly kick-off posts - thank you! and thank you for the tip about Sharon's course (downloaded!) Pantsuit Politics have offered a bunch of Five Things You Need to Know about xxx classes on their podcast, but Sharon's class is a lot more comprehensive. Sadly, my own state has gone in the wrong direction lately - and I can only hope we'll be able to turn that around starting next year.

Jane

I wish all of summer could be like June. I am with you, I don't read lots of news anymore. I prefer either the NYT's or our local newspaper. Somehow news printed in the local paper seems more measured than all of the streaming online news. I love the quote - very important advice to do something! I still have the copy of Alexander book I read to my children. It was a favorite. Have a good week.

Jeanne

Thank you for posting useful information about dealing with overwhelm, Kym. I immediately followed several of your suggestions and feel more in control already. Why didn’t I think of getting rid of incessant updates from WaPo ??
Really appreciate your posts!

sustainablemum

I hear you on reducing news reading/watching. I did that quite naturally when my children reached that age when I realised that they were listening in and it was not really appropriate from the to be doing so, all my news was from the radio then, from the BBC. I subscribe to a few news type podcasts but they are far from mainstream and tend to focus on things that never make it into other news. I might check the BBC website once a week or so, I am more interested in what one might call current affairs than news although it is still news in my book just far more interesting and a lot less negative. I also read a few news websites including one called Positive News, I keep up with these sites through Feedly so if I don't fancy reading in a given week I just mark them as read.

Our gun laws are very strict here, I cannot get my head round the US laws at all. not in the sense of understanding but the justification. I cannot help feeling that money is at the heart of it all. I listen to Shannon Watts from Moms Demand Action being interviewed on a Podcast recently which was most interesting.

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