Everything is going to be just fine. Ten days into 2018 and I feel more hopeful and optimistic than I have in ages. 2017 was a rough year for our country. It felt as if we were in a constant state of turmoil. It was really affecting my daily life and mood. And I think a lot of folks were in the same sad boat with me. For those of you who may still be stuck on that depressing ship, I thought I might share a few small things I have done in my own life that may help you abandon it. (Except for number 5. I never did that in the first place, but it is still a good rule to live by.)

1. Social media is for pictures of food, kids doing cute stuff, funny memes and good-natured sports smack talking.

If someone is posting something political, deliberately trying to stir the pot or irritating you in any way, unfriend or hide them. Life’s too short to read that crap. Avoid the comment sections on controversial news stories like the plague. Watching strangers call each other every name in the book via their keyboard can crush the soul. Who cares what they think? They probably live in their mom’s basement in Sheboygan, for heaven’s sake. Clear all of this clutter from your mind.

2. Silence the talking heads.

Whether you obsessively watch Fox News or MSNBC, just turn it off. Listening to commentators hyperventilate over absolutely everything on a daily basis is enough to drive anyone absolutely mad. Turn on your iTunes and jam out. You’ll walk into work with a smile on your face.

3. Talk about things that bring us together, not tear us apart.

My husband and I went to the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1. Before the game, we went to a bar near the Superdome. Alabama and Clemson fans from all walks of life — young, old, gay, straight, black, white, rich, poor — were watching the Georgia and Oklahoma game and talking joyously and respectfully about it and how great they thought Saban and Swinney were and their team’s chances.

Strangers all chatting and being nice to each other? What is this craziness you speak of? It was so refreshingly bizarre! No one cared how the other one felt about the man in the White House or if Roy Moore’s accusers were credible. It felt like the good ol’ days when our politics didn’t define us. Whether it’s football or our views on the latest Star Wars movie or the new Thai place down the street, there are way more things that unite us than divide us.

Remember when people kept their thoughts to themselves and you just had to guess how someone may have voted? And either way, you didn’t hate them for it. Not to be too snowflakey, but we need way more of that in our lives. Let’s make America nice again!

4. Pay attention, but let what happens in Washington stay in Washington.

Sure, we all need to be aware of what our leaders are up to in D.C., Montgomery and down at Government Plaza. But don’t obsess over it. What those clowns are doing should be secondary to doing everything in your power to extract every drop of goodness out of your own life. No one is guaranteed they will get another day on this planet. Would you really want to waste one minute of your precious life worrying about Russian collusion or if Fred Richardson will ever be council president?

Walk your dog, play with your child or grandchild, call your mother, go to lunch with a friend, tell your spouse he or she looks hot (even if you are lying!). These are the things that really matter in life. Don’t lose sight of that.

5. Do not have sex with animals.

This should go without saying, but since yet another man in Mobile County has been charged with sexually assaulting a horse, I guess it has to be. So here goes: Don’t have sex with a horse or a cow or anything that barks or says meow! Don’t have sex with a deer, a goat or yak or really anything that can’t talk back. Don’t have sex with a ram or a lamb or a sow named Pam. Please. Just. Don’t. Do. It.

First, a Wilmer man sexually assaulted a miniature horse named Ebony Ice in 2010. Now, this week, another “gentleman” from Irvington has been arrested for assaulting a 20-year-old mare named Polly. The owners fear he did this repeatedly.

EWWWWWWW! How does this even happen? Was this dude just sitting around his house on a Saturday night watching “Secretariat” when he said, “Damn. Them there horses sure are fine. I’m going to go get me some of that.”

Being from Alabama, we already have to deal with jokes about marrying our cousins. Please, fellow Alabamians, do not make us horse f-ers too! Might I suggest trying match.com or eHarmony first. Or maybe try to pick up some ladies at the mall instead of heading to a stall.