1. I stopped listening to the news two and a half weeks ago. Quit cold turkey. More on that below.
2. I've reinstated my Facebook Survival Protocol, which I had in place for a quite a while, but which I had gotten lazy about in the last few months. I have also remembered to "unfollow notifications" on many threads which I've commented on but don't have any great need to know what other people say after me.
3. I've gotten more writing done in the last twenty days than I have in the last twenty months and that's even with 6 of those 20 days spent at my parents' house, where I did no writing at all.
4. I don't think #3 is unrelated to #1 and #2.
I've always thought I was a "needs background noise" sort of person. But I think maybe it's not good for me. It doesn't let my mind wander. It seems I need mind-wandering time to write. I need to not have my head stuffed with clutter, and especially, not with other people's clutter. I need to remember that I am not running "ABC Your Problems Mental & Emotional Mini Storage" (I have a small attic, where I will happily store some of the problems of people close to me, though.) And I most definitely need to not hear about every. possible. crisis. (and everything is a crisis these days) that a) I can't do anything about, b) is silly and frivolous, c) is misrepresented or lied about, or d) will be gone in three days. Which, if we're honest, makes up about two thirds of domestic news coverage, right? The other third of the news is legitimate crisis or concern.
The hardest bit so far has been learning to be ok with silence. I had been accustomed to listening to a big AM radio station while I sew early in the morning. I had been used to having a podcast to listen to every time I did work around the house; dishes, ironing, cleaning, yard work, all were accompanied by talk of some kind. And I was definitely used to having something on the radio while driving.
The second-hardest bit has been feeling like I'm missing the party, a bit, not being super up to the minute up to date with news. I'm gradually working out how to solve this, as I obviously do want to keep up with current events, in some way. I relax my "no (talk/news)" a bit on Fridays, after my work-at-home week is done, and will browse a few news and culture commentary blogs that are well-reasoned and intelligently put together. After the initial week with no podcasts at all, I've added podcasts back occasionally for longer, more annoying housework, like ironing or cleaning the house. I've dumped some of the podcasts I used to listen to, keeping the ones that are particularly funny, well done, or thoughtful.
But I feel better. A lot better. Less random annoyance. Less thinking about disturbing societal problems that there is no easy solution for. More creative. More peaceful. INFJs are emotional sponge-chameleons, and I think that this personality type has to take more care than most to be careful what we swim around in, since we simply don't shake stuff off the way other personality types can.
The biggest change has been in my "switching ability." Switching ability is the ability to turn on the focus and mode of thinking needed to write creatively. I have always had trouble shutting things out and getting going writing at the beginning of a writing session. Usually it would take me most of the hour or two I had available to write to "get my head back into it" and get moving. But that's getting better now. I can much more easily sit down and work for 20 minutes and actually get something done than I could before. I am guessing that is because I don't have to Hoover my mental space first before I can think.