Sweet Distractions


My brain is weary and I am sure many of you also feel my pain. It’s not easy juggling work, family, Pinterest, city traffic, calling my state senators every day and trying to keep abreast of the ever developing political updates. It has taken me roughly three weeks to find balance in it all. Knowing when to turn my concerned constituent side on and when to turn social media off isn’t a skill that has come easy. For a moment there I’d forgotten the things that bring me peace and joy, and was knee deep in news from the Atlantic and NPR. But then… I remembered a trick I learned in college. After every challenging semester. After reading Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in its original version. After plowing through Yates and e.e. cummings and Frost. After diving deep into advanced grammar and syntax… I would sell my textbooks back to the university bookstore and use the measly proceeds to purchase junk food  and the latest People magazine. Yes you read that correctly – PEOPLE MAGAZINE. I had forgotten the joys of what I like to call BRAIN CANDY.

You, like me, may have lost your way and forgotten how mindless drivel is a part of self-care. We have to recommit ourselves to embracing just a little bit of fluff and nonsense to keep us sane. It’s time for us all to revel in the time-sucks!

This weekend, the Lou Rawls song “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” popped into my head and remained a brainworm until I went to download it from iTunes. There I discovered the song was a part of their Pop Hits: 1976 playlist. Curious about what else I might find there I clicked on it and saw it included:

More Than a Feeling – Boston
Dancing Queen – ABBA
Don’t Leave Me This Way – Georgia Benson & Thelma Houston
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – Elton John & Kiki Dee
Magic Man – Heart
Dream Weaver – Gary Wright
50 Ways to Leave Your Lover – Paul Simon
She’s Gone – Hall & Oats
Rubberband Man – The Spinners
Turn the Beat Around – Vicki Sue Robinson
Love Rollercoaster – The Ohio Players
Fly Like and Eagle – Steve Miller Band
The Boys Are Back in Town – Thin Lizzy
and the theme From Mahogany by Diana Ross

Needless to say I lost my mind and have been jamming off of these bi-centennial good vibration hits ever since. In 1976 I was five years old and just beginning to build my own personal music appreciation library. I suggest you find a music playlist from a year you look back on with fondness, and discover the happiness that comes from listening to that music.

I’ve asked friends and coworkers for some of their favorite things to do when they need to turn their brains off. Below is my list of some of their most fabulous pieces of brain candy suggestions, and a few that I stumbled upon on my own.

  • Take a day (or five) to binge watch Mad Men, House of Cards, Santa Clarita Diet, Sense 8, Master of None, or any other show you’ve heard people talk on and on about but know nothing about.
  • Read this article from Goop on 6 ways to reinvent your winter look.
  • Google “bad eyebrows.”
  • Dig into Prince Harry’s girlfriend’s website The Tig.
  • Binge watch The New Edition Story then spend hours listening to all of their old hits!
  • Download Monument Valley. Play Monument Valley. Love Monument Valley.
  • Google “baby animals.”
  • Take the Myers-Briggs Personality Test. I’m an ENFJ.
  • Buy a durian and try to eat it. Let me know how that goes…
  • As it is now February, all of the New Year Resolution folks are gone from the gym. Take a spin or yoga or barre class there that you’ve always been curious about.
  • Purge the closets in your house and reorganize using the Marie Kondo method.
  • Chose any episode of the Beautiful Anonymous podcast and listen to it.
  • Try completing the New York Times crossword puzzle (in pencil of course.)
  • Go to your local animal shelter and say hello to the pups and cats.
  • Learn how to solve a Rubik’s Cube.
  • Try a new style of beer. I highly recommend Belgian-Style Saison.
  • Take a nap.

Try to relax!!


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