When life gives you overripe pineapple, make piña coladas. pic.twitter.com/EilCJjDKLY
— Bea (@BeaDeeH) July 11, 2018
The patio sunset yes, the giant frozen cocktail for dinner, no. Even if it was a good idea, how often does a girl have all the ingredients around and all the kids asleep?
Usually for me a break means a delightfully cheesy novel, but everything I’ve picked up this month has felt trite and quickly lost my attention. (Also, I’ve run out of princess books on the TBR. Boo.) The sun sets at 9pm, so by the time the kids are asleep I’m too tired to sit through an entire movie. This means my reliable cheer-ups, Funny Face and Pitch Perfect, are out. Here’s what I’ve been doing instead:
When I need 13 seconds of joy:
Nick Offerman laughing will always bring me glee. Can’t watch without a smile taking over my face.
No matter how bad things might seem right now, at least we still have Nick Offerman’s insane giggle: pic.twitter.com/FPy37tBjAm
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) June 21, 2018
When I need 5-10 minutes of complete calm:
Meditation and/or prayer are obviously good for mental health in a season like this. When I can’t quiet my brain enough to start, the solution is watching Mr. Rogers talk about how things are made. My dad always says watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is like watching a fish tank. He’s totally right, but its not the insult he thinks it is. Fred Rogers always makes me happy, but the factory visits are especially mesmerizing. The crayons are the most famous, but my favorite is the construction paper:
Protip: Show these to your kids who are too many weeks away from starting school back up and watch them settle right down.
When tunes can make it feel like a normal summer:
I’m “I keep up with pop music… but via NPR” years old. NPR Music has made a tradition of excellent summer playlists, including one with all this year’s “Song of the Summer” contenders and last year’s “Rosewave” that’s eased me out of the newspaper and into Saturday a few times lately. The right soundtrack tricks my brain nicely. But for carefree summer music that lets me pretend for an afternoon that its a carefree summer, I fall back on the motherlode: “The Songs of Summer, 1962-2018”.
When I have an hour of chores to do:
Sometimes chores or long drives give me the right amount of quiet space to sort through my thoughts… and sometimes it’s too much brooding space. The library waiting list for audiobooks can get long in the summer, so it’s podcasts for me right now. Pop Culture Happy Hour only lasts so long, and Pod Save America isn’t helping me with the rage exhaustion these days. Enter Fanatical Fics and Where to Find Them, in which two girlfriends invite you to hang out with them while they read the craziest old Harry Potter fics they can find and laugh until they cry. I listened to a huge pile of Potter podcasts marking Nineteen Years Later and this is the only one I’ve kept listening to all year. If you enjoy TN’s loving fandom snark and are a Potterhead, you will be giggling into that laundry pile. If your boss, mom or kids are around, get your headphones because… fanfic.
As Sequoia says about a story Kim reads in another episode, “So… I am upset. And also… really happy.”
Do what you can:
If an hour of giggling fandom friends is too silly for how you’re feeling, I get it. Start small, with the Nick Offerman video. Or extend the calm hopefulness from five minutes of Mister Rogers to an hour of Great British Baking Show. The superhuman feats on World of Dance are giving me joy again this summer too.
Work up to some Lip Sync Battle clips. (My old reliable cheer-up video, John Krasinski’s introduction of the game, has been mostly scrubbed from the internet, but Beth’s gifs live on.) Melissa McCarthy’s Colors of the Wind always makes me laugh, and from there you can move on to the delight that is Tom Holland.
See, now you fell down a Tom Holland YouTube hole going all the way back to his childhood role in Billy Elliot and have become a somehow become a Zomdaya shipper. Alternately, you just let YouTube autoplay you into Paul McCartney on Car Pool Karaoke and have had ten minutes of wonderful catharsis, laughing and crying. Either way, you haven’t ground your teeth or checked Twitter for fifteen minutes. That’s good both for you and for the world. We make prettier protest signs when we remember joy.
— Bea (@BeaDeeH) June 30, 2018