|Smokey, the comforter|
The events of last week were harrowing for the people of Boston and West, Texas. Those of us following the news from the security of our homes or workplaces had nothing to complain about, but our stress levels jumped anyway.
When the news is ugly, work becomes solace. I hope you were able to put your head down and lose yourself in writing, laying tile, caring for patients, drawing up plans, whatever. What, though, do we do with the non-work hours we're tempted to pack with CNN? Even a news junkie like me needs a break.
The following gave me a breather and offered perspective--and hope:
Pets – Dogs and cats across America are wondering what they did to deserve all the extra walks, cuddles, and treats they got last week. They kept us tethered to routine and, in the case of dogs, got us out of the house to watch the sun rise and see the night sky.
Children at play -- The family that moved in two doors to the right of me has two kids close in age to the little girl who lives on my left. Three children at play create a synergy that's irresistible to the brother and sister from the end of the block. Now, a fivesome gathers in the cul de sac in the early evening. Catch and kickball are still popular as are bike riding and teetering on skateboards. If I close my eyes once, I recall the sights and sounds of my own, now grown, kids at play. If I close them twice, I remember myself at that age. The continuum reminds us life goes on.
Romantic comedies and mysteries -- When the outside world is confusing and unpredictable, romantic comedies offer escape and the promise of a happy ending. I've got lots of go-to authors for tough times, but Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Kristen Higgins head the list. Mysteries, too, prove the ideal reads for stressful times because we know the truth will come out and wrong-doers will be punished. Looking for heart-warming, escapist, but thoughtful television? Try Call the Midwife, a series in its second season on PBS. It follows nurses who deliver babies in London's East End in the 1950's. The era is far enough removed that we can watch what unfolds with a little detachment. Plus babies! There are babies!
What helped you catch your breath and put things in perspective last week? Please share.