It’s not all in your head, this is a very stressful planet and sometimes we need to take a break from it. Here’s some lovely, gentle content for when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
One of the bastions of good mental health is supposed to be concentrating on the things you can control in a seemingly uncontrollable world and wow, have the past few years really delivered on that front. And by delivered, I mean give us month after month of challenges that were all, mostly, outside of our control. Plagues! Floods! Locusts! (does the fly infestation we’re living through count as that?)
While it is very important to be educated, informed, and helpful when you can, there are some days where the best thing you can personally do is put on your own oxygen mask and disengage to a safe space. Here are some calming things you can distract yourself with.
1. Yoga with Adriene
Adriene is a delightful human who has a wide range of YouTube yoga videos, where she calmly and cosily talks you through beautiful, calming flows. Bonus, her dog Benji sometimes naps and stretches alongside her. Adriene also has very relatable yoga mixes for whatever (terrible) mood you might be in during this hellscape of a year. Think Yoga for Vulnerability, Yoga for Suffering, Cozy Yoga and my personal favourite, Yoga for When You Feel Dead Inside.
2. Watch Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix
You could track my emotional progress through the past few years by how I reacted to this happy man eating his way around the world. Early on in lockdown, I enjoyed seeing the different cities and the yum food but found Phil’s general optimism, well, a little much. “Bring back Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations,” I would grumble at the TV, watching this man whose face is as warm as the open sun. Well, jokes on me because when the latest season came out, I was so happy to watch Phil’s enthusiasm I cried three times, including through the theme song, which I actually hate so much!
3. Re-read Michelle Obama’s Becoming.
First step, turn off your phone, hide your television remote, make sure no-one will disturb you with news updates. Wrap yourself in a blanket and either re-read Michelle’s wonderful book or listen to one of her many podcast interviews.
4. Watch Nigella Lawson clips on YouTube
When my dad was in the Christchurch earthquake in 2011 and couldn’t get home for a week, my mum and I made the soul-saving decision to stop watching the absolutely heartbreaking news and only watch Nigella Lawson cooking videos. She’s very practical and warm and that’s the strong maternal energy we need now.
5. Go for a walk
Did you know that it’s actually very hard for your body to be anxious AND go on a walk? It’s true! It’s science! So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, listen to a relaxing album or an inspirational podcast and go for a walk. This Brene Brown podcast on burnout is a stunner (if you did a Bingo game about how often Capsule refers to Brene Brown, you would win quickly).
6. Absorb this Lucille Clifton poem
“Come celebrate with me that every day something has tried to kill me, and has failed,” is a very good war cry. Listen to her beautiful reading of it here:
7. Be very, very grateful that we are in Aotearoa
We have had a hard few years, we are by no means perfect and we have miles to go in order to live up to our promise. But all it takes is one look at the overseas headlines to help us realise we are still very, very, very, very, very lucky.