I recently spent almost a week without access to the internet at home.
Almost two weeks ago a storm came through our area, and there was a lightning strike frighteningly close to our house. While we didn’t lose power, our router was destroyed. What was once a perfectly fine router wouldn’t even turn on. Since the lightning struck late on a Sunday night, Mr. Frugal Turtle decided to wait until the next morning to get a new router. That night, however, I spent a couple of hours playing games on the computer to help pass the time before I went to bed. I got pretty good at Spider Solitaire!
When I woke up the next morning I walked into the kitchen to find Mr. Frugal Turtle very frustrated. After work he had gone to Wal-Mart to buy a router. Unknowingly to Mr. Frugal Turtle our internet service provider only works with certain routers. When it came time to try to connect the router, it wouldn’t work with the router he bought. When he called our service provider to find out how much one would be, he was told it would cost around $115. Ever looking to save money where possible, Mr. Frugal Turtle was determined to find one cheaper. He did some research on his phone and was able to order a compatible router the next morning for about $50. Score!
Now we just had to wait for the router to get delivered.
While I do have a smart phone, it’s only smart-ish at this point. It’s an older phone that doesn’t support apps any more. I can’t even get Facebook on it anymore! I pretty much use it only for texting and calling. Mr. Frugal Turtle has a Galaxy S6 with Mobile Hotspot, so the one night that he had off when we were without internet I did use his Mobile Hotspot to catch up on Facebook and e-mails before I used up too much of his data.
The router finally showed up in the mail that Friday and by Saturday morning we were up and running with internet again. Yay!
The Low Information Diet
We lost internet the day after the mass shooting in Orlando. I’m almost glad that we lost internet when we did. Since cable and satellite television do not exist in our household either, I was starved of all media If we had internet then, I would have been reading news article after news article on the shooting. I would have been more saddened and shocked than I already was. Instead, I experienced a weird feeling. It almost seemed like I was less depressed. I wasn’t aware of all the horrible things that were happening in the world. I don’t consider myself depressed and I still don’t. I think it was calmness that I felt. Maybe sad news articles fill me with more anxiety than I thought.
The Guardian published an article in 2013 titled News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier. This is a paragraph from that article:
News is toxic to your body. It constantly triggers the limbic system. Panicky stories spur the release of cascades of glucocorticoid (cortisol). This deregulates your immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones. In other words, your body finds itself in a state of chronic stress. High glucocorticoid levels cause impaired digestion, lack of growth (cell, hair, bone), nervousness and susceptibility to infections. The other potential side-effects include fear, aggression, tunnel-vision and desensitisation.
I think I need a break from hearing about mass shootings, ISIS, politics, and every other heartbreaking, and maddening story that the media throws at us. I attempted this before, but failed. I never deleted the MSN and CNN and local newspaper bookmark from my computer. Every time I logged on, it was just so easy to click and see the news of the day.
I think I’ll start out small, maybe two weeks, and see if I actually do feel calmer and more relaxed when I avoid the news. If I do, I may consider turning the Low Information Diet into a permanent thing.
Would you ever avoid the news? Do you feel more anxious or depressed when you read the news?