Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Changing the Content I Consume

I went round and round when I was making my most recent 101 in 1001 goals list, spending a lot of time adding, deleting, and fine-tuning the goals. One that made it through every round though was 'change the content I consume.' I've known for awhile how much I needed to do that and the events of spring 2020 made that all the more clear.

Decluttering Content

You know that feeling when you watch a really scary movie and then need to watch something lighthearted before bed so that you can sleep and not have creepy dreams? That's the feeling I was getting from almost everything I was consuming. The news, of course, is constantly horrifying. To be honest, I've hated watching the news my entire life, so that wasn't something I needed to change. I needed to stop reading it, at least as often as I was doing. That actually wasn't too hard, I just put a time limit and source limit on it. It's important to be educated. The front page of Yahoo isn't where that's going to happen.

But it wasn't just the news. We've all always known that Facebook is a disaster and a complete danger zone when it comes to mental health. I had a Facebook back in college but deleted it many years ago. I never really had the same issues with other social media accounts until this year, though. I actually deleted Twitter early this year, just because it wasn't being useful, but I imagine it's just as big an issue. Instagram is probably the place I made the biggest change. For many reasons, I could not stand the content I was following it. It made me too anxious, too annoyed, frustrated, angry, etc etc and that is not what I have that particular account for. I have it to look at (and share) cute dog photos and pretty home interiors. I had a misplaced sense of loyalty to keep following accounts of bloggers I knew a long time and was muting everything so it wouldn't show in my feed but at that point, why bother even following? So I decluttered.

And then I did the same with blogs and YouTube accounts. Many people use their platforms for activism and political debates, but that's not what I want out of my time I spend there. I want recipes I'll use and pantry organization ideas and fluffy pups that make me smile. I wanted to, and still want to, limit the amount of time I spend in front of the screen so the time I do spend is important and I needed to consider how I wanted to feel when I was done viewing that media. And the answer is happy, peaceful, uplifted. If the content doesn't make me feel that way, it's got to go. I know some people weren't happy about that decision but that's the thing about my own mental health and my own stress levels and my own happiness - it's not for other people to dictate. I did what's right for me and feel very, very good about that decision.

Not only do I no longer feel like I'm wasting my time, but I can now look at Instagram before bed and still feel calm. No blog post in my feed is going to send me into a frustrated tirade in the comments. The mental and emotional clutter has dissipated. And although I don't have the same visceral reaction to books, movies, and TV shows, I still keep a mindful watch on this type of content too.

Finding Quality Content

Part of the goal was to consume less overall, certainly. I posted about wanting to produce more and consume less. Which involves a lot less screen time. But that doesn't mean that I want to totally cut those things out of my life. There are times in my day when I enjoy relaxing to a show or movie, times when I like listening to a YouTube video while I clean. And as a blogger, I do love reading other blogs. So once I cleared out all the noise (and negativity), I went on the hunt to add in various new things that add value to my life. Carefully added since I spent so much time decluttering my media! I wanted to share some of these great new entertainment sources, in case you are also looking for uplifting content, so I picked three in each category:

Back Road Bloom. 'Old Fashioned Homemaking.' Yep, that is everything I want in my content. Jayden is all about sharing tips and tricks related to homemaking and country living. Her content and life is seasonal and traditional, there's just something to romantic and graceful about it. I'm always excited when she has a new post.

Retro Housewife Goes Green. I don't want everything to come back from the 1950s but there are some vintage things that speak to me from this era. The homemaker routine, the less reliance on tech (since it didn't exist!), the house dresses and aprons, the more sustainable lifestyle. Which are all the things that Lisa posts about.

Minimal Domesticity. With a name like that, you knew I'd find it eventually. Lauren is the sweetest lover of homemaking and minimalism, we enjoy all the same things so I really enjoy her content on home decor, decluttering, and sustainability.

Inspired by Nikki. If you love simple living and homemaking, Nikki is going to be your perfect content creator. Her videos are so sweet and peaceful and all about homemaking and femininity. It's so soothing to watch and inspiring at the same time, since she often shares recipes and cleaning tips.

Fairyland Cottage. I've mentioned this channel before as one that I totally love. Niamh lives in Ireland and her home really is a fairyland cottage. Her videos are all about simple and natural living, and she shares so many recipes both for food and for DIY products, using what she finds on her own land. She has tons of information on sustainable living. It's the ultimate in slow living, every video makes you feel at peace.

Sweet and Simple Home. Rachel is a new find for me, and I'm very much enjoying her content so far. She also shares about homemaking and working on simple decluttering and DIY projects around her home. But she's unique in that she loves all things vintage and is skilled in finding beautiful pieces from thrift stores and making them her own. I love watching her share her home decor and teach vintage skills, like flower arranging and table setting. The ultimate in 'create' over 'consume.'

Tayler - joyinthewilderness. Fellow homemakers have been my favorite accounts to find, and Tayler was one of the first. She finds and shares joy in everything she does and posts (hence her account name!), including what people would consider the more mundane aspects of homemaking. Her husband's name is John too so basically I just love her.

Anna - missautumn.blog. Anna is a 'grow your own' kitchen whiz and is always sharing garden tips and then what you can use them for, like the great pesto recipe she recently posted. She shares about homemaking and frugal living, and her pretty pictures leave you feeling inspired.

Olivia - inlovewithallthingscozy. Olivia owns a sweet little farmhouse in Indiana, complete with farm and farm animals, so her feed is just as sweet as you'd expect. Especially now with all the baby cows and pigs and goats. She's also a slow living fan, and shares her thoughts on the matter as well as simple recipe inspiration and soothing nature shots.

TV Shows
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. You know I had to watch any show that the creators of Gilmore Girls made and Mrs. Maisel does not disappoint. I could not love Alex Borstein more. Mrs. Maisel is about the title character, a Jewish wife and mother living a seemingly perfect life on the Upper West Side in the 1950s. When her husband leaves her unexpectedly, she finds herself drunk and onstage telling jokes and as it turns out, she's a phenomenal standup comedian. The bartender of the comedy club (Alex Borstein's character) sets out to manage her and the show follows her career as a female comic in the 50s and 60s while she navigates being a mom, her crazy parents and in-laws, her ex-husband, and more. It's so funny, and similar in the speedy dialogue reminiscent of Gilmore Girls. You can definitely tell it's the same creators.

Grace and Frankie. This show makes me laugh every episode. It's on Netflix and it's about two women whose husbands left them ... for each other. Now that the ladies are on their own, navigating divorce and getting older and grown kids and maintaining friendships with their gay ex-husbands, they move in together and start a vibrator business together even though they've never gotten along and couldn't be more opposite. It's actually a really sweet show (obviously they come to be best friends!) with an all-star cast.

Lizzie McGuire. Yes this is on Disney+ and yes I watched it all over again and I still love it. You are too cute, Hilary Duff.

The Lifegiving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson. This mother and daughter team wrote a great book on making a house a home. If you struggle with feeling like your house is just a crash pad and you're not in love with it the way you should be, this is a great read to help encourage you to make your space something special. It's not at all about size of the home or how you decorate it - it's about creating traditions and memories for your family and making your home a place of refuge for all.

The Madame Chic Series by Jennifer L. Scott. I think most people are familiar with Jennifer, the Daily Connoisseur. She has three books about the things she learned living in France, particularly from her host family's matriarch, who was the epitome of chic Parisian life. I have no feelings towards Paris or the French, but I am very interested in classy, confident, feminine homemakers, so I enjoyed all three of these books immensely.

A Wilder Life by Celestine Maddy. I am very interested in living more seasonally, and this book was a fun place for me to start. It's all about connecting to nature throughout the seasons with different projects and skills. There's so many great things - recipes, a butterfly guide, making perfume and dry shampoo and more. I learned so much!

I hope you enjoy some of these as much as I do. If you have any to share that you think I might like, please let me know in the comments. Does the content you consume ever have a negative emotional effect on you? Have you considered changing it?
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