Stay informed, get confused 
“Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them.” 
Dion Boucicault 
Every day the news is a relentless forced feeding of an exceptionally large bag of sepsis rotten dicks. It’s a bit depressing after a while, and I'm not sure it's helping us to get a clear idea of what’s going on. 
From 2016 I have listened to Radio Four News most mornings, lunchtimes and evenings, it seemed like 90% of the coverage was Brexit, I even listened to question time and political podcast discussing Brexit. To get a balanced view I also listened to Sky news, LBC and read various opinion pieces in Private Eye and other publications. 
The thing is, after all that, I haven’t got a fucking clue what any of Brexit really means, I couldn’t tell you the pros, cons and despite having had it explained to me several times I still don’t get the Irish backstop. 
It’s felt much the same with Covid-19, one might as well give up work and patiently study research, Sage Minutes and spend countless hours trawling through Government policy in order to have even the faintest inkling of what in Christ on a bike giving a croggy to a caricature Muhammad is going on. 
A week before lockdown two, return of the sense vortex, I watched a BBC News presenter state that its absolutely fine to meet with up to six other people (it wasn't), politicians speaking from the same party that issued the guidelines also got it wrong when questioned and as a backdrop to all of this unofficial media outlets were calling all of this a big hoax set up by Bill Gates and related in some way to 5G. Which somewhat overshadowed some of the more legit criticisms surrounding the handling and measures of this Pandemic. 
Divisive opinions over whether we should have stricter or more relaxed measures are a cause of constant argument, but both sides seem to have legitimate concerns and probably have more in common than they realize. Taking an extreme position on this is missing the fact that it is a complicated situation with no easy answers or solutions. 
If you’re the parent of a child who’s been denied Chemotherapy you probably have a different opinion than a person who’s overweight and over seventy with various underlying health conditions. People who’s businesses have had to shut see things differently than people who feel forced to go into work. 
Tristan Harris, former Design Ethicist for Google and creator of the Centre for Humane Technology, who featured in the recent Netflix documentary "the social Dilemma " which I can’t recommend highly enough, makes an interesting point. 
He says that Western Governments spend billions each year on nuclear defence to prepare for attacks that are unlikely to ever come, and yet foreign countries can easily set up troll farms with fake but seemingly legitimate looking accounts to stir up anger on every news feed or opinion column. They can tear a country apart from the inside by dividing opinion and stirring up trouble. 
I am not even sure we need foreign trolls to do this, we seem quite capable of pointless arguments on Facebook ourselves without any help from the Kremlin. Arguments erupt and spiral out of control and in the end boil down to personal slants as parties blame each other and fight amongst themselves which forces more and more people to the extreme fringes. 
People who see complexity and take a position somewhere in the middle are mostly silent, as engaging in debate is a fruitless proposition, akin to the media trying to prevent panic buying by reporting on all media outlets that there is a current surge of panic buying on, you’d best take a high morale position and not do this, and then cry into your empty cupboards as you look for anything that can be used as toilet roll. 
Of course, it is important to keep engaged with what is happening, but it is probably even more important to be able to step back and look at what's happening in your own life, right now. This moment, and now this moment, now that moment is gone, but you have this moment. All we will ever have, are moments to……. moments, until we don't. This is a basic principle of mindfulness. 
So here are this week’s health tips for looking after your wellbeing in the midst of all this. I’ve listed them in varying degrees of commitment to make it easier for you. 
1. Redo last weeks Gratitude list, the research shows it needs to be done at least once a week for it to make any difference, try it for at least eight weeks before you tell me it’s bullshit. At the very least it might help you change your perspective and see the world in a different light.  
2. Take a break from constant distraction, this includes News, social media and even emails. The easy answer is to go cold turkey, cut out all ties, turn off your phone, stamp on it, throw it in a river and move out to a wooden cabin where you can learn to hunt, build fires and live a simple but fulfilling life or at least have the intention of doing that until your old C.O tracks you down and insist that your needed for just one more mission, it has to be you, nobody else can take down the insurgents. Fuck you Captain Rock Knuckles. 
I suggest for most people, just set some time limits on your distractions, maybe only check emails on a lunchtime, or at least stop checking them in downtime such as waiting at a checkout queue or when you’re the first one to arrive at an illegal orgy. I’d also cut back on any social media you use, and for mercies sake unfollow Karen, you don’t need to listen to her shit any more. 
3. A recent remembrance Sunday reminded me that we owe a huge debt to those no longer with us, in a year that has seen excess deaths across the Globe we must remind ourselves that those who are alive owe it to those who are dead to live hard.  
Make the most of each day, try this simple task, at the end of each day give yourself a score. A simple scale of one to five, with one being poor and five being excellent. 
This can be an overall score of everything, or you can break it down into things that are important to you, a score out of 5 for how attentive you were with family for example, or how productive you were at work. Perhaps a score for how healthy your day was. It’s up to you, stop boring me with your mindless options. 
4. Extra credit try mindfulness. Over the years I have only ever dabbled with mindfulness, it’s a practice which requires patience and consistent practice. It’s not enjoyable, it isn’t some kind of nirvana awakening. To some extent its an exercise for your mind and just like physical exercise it’s tough and hard to do properly and few people even bother. 
So why do it? Because it’s a kind of superpower, when you can observe emotions and learn how thoughts just think themselves then you are no longer a slave to them. When you get angry you can take a moment to observe that anger, which means your not getting involved and caught up in it. This can make you a better partner, parent, friend, work colleague and participator in illegal orgies. 
Mindfulness just teaches us to be more in the moment, instead of thinking about all the worries of tomorrow or concerns of yesterday, you can actually connect with people right now and hear what they have to say, which builds better relationships. You can use it with exercise too, it can help you tolerate the pain of running fast or pushing weights hard. It can even help you eat healthier, observe your relationship with food or with your own body. 
To get started I highly recommend the waking up app, they have a free trial for the first few weeks and there are additional videos with explanations of practice and understanding of principles. 
I also really enjoyed learning with Jon Kabbat Zinn, he has plenty of youtube vids you can try, he also has a great book called Mindfullness for beginners which helped me get into this whole thing in the first place. I listened to on Audible. 
5. Do what your doing when your doing it, even if you are not going to bother with mindfulness, anybody can try this simple task. Throughout your day, what ever you are doing, try to focus on doing just that thing. If your brushing the floor, focus on that task, as thoughts of those other things you have to do pop up, or conversations you wish you’d had, or as you replay that film you enjoyed, observe these as thoughts and return to focus on that task. Do this to the best of your ability, it’ll make you more graceful, less clumsy, and give your mind a temp break from it’s usual troubles. 
Bonus: Try this Bell Icon on your desktop, when it rings try taking a moment to breath, observe, and enjoy life.  
I hope your enjoying this series of articles. I’m actually writing these with myself in mind, the things I write about are often the things I need to work on, from experience I know that they beneficial to me, and when I stop doing them for a while, as I have done recently, I become swept up in stress and gloom and lose many of the health benefits I’ve worked so hard for. 
If you are enjoying these articles please share them with someone you think may benefit from them, it'd mean a lot for a small business like mine which has seen a big drop in clients this year.  
Consistency and Frequency are key factors in success, this is as true for exercise as it is for the task I have set out in these articles. 
Please contact me with any feedback, or to let me know if I can help you in any way. Take care of yourself and ideally someone else.  
END NOTE: it's useful to dig a little and discover what else is happening around the World. Covid isn't the only thing happening. Ethiopia is currently engaging in war with their Tigray region, this is made all the more interesting by the fact that prime minister Abiy Ahmed won a Nobel Peace Prize in recent years. Meanwhile Armenia and Azerbaijan are battling it out with Russian Interest looking on and manipulating the conflict. Events in Hong Kong have escalated the one nation two systems conflict as pro democracy law makers are dismissed. 
The point is, there is a lot happening right now, the World is a big place.  
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