Rachel Thompson on her blog, “The Reasons Social Media Breaks Can Help Our Mental Health”:

The camaraderie which drew me to Twitter, Facebook, other channels, and even blogging is now full of blowhards teeming with rage and vitriol about well, everything. From books to politics to #MeToo to even cats (always a safe choice), sharing our lived truths has now become filled with denials, gaslighting, and people thrusting their absolute right to judge with aggressive opinions on what others have lived and experienced — and I’m just super fucking over it.

[…] For visibility sake, I strongly recommend it [social media]. For your mental health sake? If it’s too much, take a break or hire someone to handle it all for you. An aside: I have one client who simply cannot focus on writing if she checks into social media, so she only handles Instagram (because she’s a photographer and she loves the photog community there). She has never once logged into her Twitter, Facebook, G+, LinkedIn, or Pinterest, and says she never will (and she’s got many, many bestsellers). She simply finds it too overwhelming and stressful.

I’ve been tweaking my own social media, because of how it’s been affecting me mentally. It used to drain me, make me feel bad about myself… and then it got better.

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I just returned from my retreat to Germany, but I wish I didn’t have to. I’ve been here a few times before, but every time I discover something new, and this trip wasn’t an exception.

Part 1 here

A nice, soothing sound

The place was never completely silent. Not just because of insects buzzing or wood cracking in the fire. For the first time, I noticed some sort of constant white noise somewhere in the background. Sea, a thought flashed in my mind. But there was no sea nearby as far as I knew. Wind? And then I went for a long walk, choosing a different direction than I have before, only to discover it was…a motorway.

The whole place is located in a nature reserve, so I was quite taken aback. In fact, I almost felt personally offended. You can’t place motorways in my private paradise! And then, as one of my friends phrased it, I realised that my glass wasn’t only half-full instead of half-empty. It was completely filled. The motorway’s soothing, constant noise…calmed me down. The thing was located just near enough to be convenient and just far enough for me to not really know it was there.

No pictures of the motorway, because I am almost certain you know what motorways look like.

 

Alone, but not lonely

I walked on. I saw cows and bulls. Horses. Dogs. More horses. In fact, during my entire stay, I’ve seen more horses than people. It’s been a long time since I felt so upset by my back injuries because there is nothing I would have loved to do more than to ride on horseback again. That desire became stronger even than my dream of returning to forging, and it also brought a realisation: I now prefer animals to people. Our apartment in Amsterdam is located on top of a bar, and our neighbours regularly arrange shouting matches, sometimes in the middle of the night. The nearest park is ten minutes away by bike. The Fairytale Garden in the middle of not-so-much-nowhere gives me everything I could possibly need.

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I am currently on a retreat, spending a week at a wooden cabin in Germany. The place is owned by friends of mine who are generous enough to allow me to stay here when I truly can’t take the big city life anymore. As mentioned in the previous post about a nature boy with terms and conditions applied, I am not quite as good at this living in the wild thing as I would like to be, which makes this cabin perfect. The only Internet I have is through my mobile’s rapidly shrinking data plan. There are no bars, no restaurants, no loud music or yelling people. When I want to get warm, I have to light a fire in the wood burner. When I want to eat, I have to go to a superm–

Oh. Yes. I said terms and conditions apply, right?

The king of the jungle that I am, I felt awfully worried before leaving Amsterdam. All the electronic devices I use require different chargers. I pack each of them, muttering to myself, crossing items off the list I made. Once all is packed I still have extra 30 minutes to kill, so I sit on the sofa with my laptop still connected to the charger so that I would have as much juice as possible for the duration of the trip. You can probably guess where this is heading…

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