When I woke up this morning, I decided against turning on the news, which is what I usually do. It was a nice, quiet morning, I’d had a good night’s sleep, and I had also remembered that the whole mess with General McChrystal would be all over the news, and I didn’t feel like exposing myself to all that negativity.
In fact, I swore off all news for the day.
I am a news junkie, so this is very different behavior. I didn’t want to hear the McChrystal drama, and didn’t want to see any more pictures of oil-covered birds. It’s not that I don’t care; it’s that it’s impossible for me not to care. It’s tiring, all this caring. Let’s just call it empathy fatigue.
So the TV stayed off while I rolled out of bed, checked my email, got dressed and penned a note for the kiddies that would no doubt answer their two, most burning questions of the morning: “Gone to the gym. Yes, you can have some croissants. Love, Mom.”
In the car, I didn’t even turn the radio on, and when I got to the gym, the multiple flat screens were tuned to just two different channels – one showing live coverage of the World Cup, the other, music videos.
I was in a great mood when I got on the elliptical. I plugged my earphones into the TV thingie and quickly flipped past all the news shows before settling on “The Doctors,” a show I never watch, but hey, there was an Iraq War vet getting a custom fake eye. Kinda gross, but great for the vet, because it changed his whole outlook (pun definitely intended) for the better.
I was working my (alleged) triceps when I heard a sudden, loud roar from a guy over by the treadmills. Was he hurt? No. Team USA had just scored against Algeria, which was great for me, because I thought they’d been playing Argentina the whole time.
It was a completely stress- and worry-free workout. I refused to let any bummy thoughts enter my mind, and I left energized and peppy. So I think I’ve developed a new habit, and will enforce a “news embargo” every morning before heading to the gym.
Several hours later, I was forced to check a local TV news site after receiving an automated “weather call” issuing a thunderstorm warning for my area. How fitting that all the lightning and thunder hit when I was reading all the doom-and-gloom headlines about McChrystal being sacked, more gushing oil, unemployment and McDonald’s being sued because by putting toys in Happy Meals, it’s causing childhood obesity.
There went my peace, and I still have the evening news to get through. I am convinced, then, that had I heard all this on the way to the gym, I wouldn’t have had as productive a time.
Nothing lifts me out of a bad mood better than a hard workout on my treadmill. It never fails. To us, exercise is nothing short of a miracle. ~ Cher
Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.