My Recipe for De-Stressing

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Nancy, how are you doing?

Hmmmm, is this a casual greeting or a real question in the time of Election 2020 and COVID-19?

“I was just in the grocery store going, ‘no, no, no’ in every aisle,” I tell my friend via text.

No to the muffin, the scone, the mac and cheese in the prepared foods section. No to the Milano cookies, the loaf of cinnamon raisin bread that would make slammin’ French toast. No to the sodium-laden tortilla chips. No to the rich Talenti Southern Butter Pecan gelato.

Just no.

Keep walking, you and your Ezekiel bread, your salad fixings, your boneless chicken breasts, and your big box of Kashi fiber.

There are better alternatives than stress eating for this 58-year-old with challenging blood pressure.

The first one is TwinsthenewTrend on YouTube.

Have you watched Tim and Fred Williams react to music ranging from hip hop to country to rock to easy listening? They melt away my stress. I can’t watch just one video. Once I venture over to their channel, I know I’m making at least a 30-minute commitment.

There is something so joyful about watching 22-year-olds react to music I grew up with and love. Commenters consistently marvel at the variety of genres, how positive and open they are, and how it feels like you’re getting to experience the songs all over again.

Tim was blown away by my favorite band, Boston, when he listened to More Than a Feeling, Peace of Mind, Long Time. He wiped away a tear the first time he heard Frank Sinatra — Under My Skin — and has reacted to a bunch of his best. He expresses a passion for the instruments in the “old school” music. And in the process I’ve learned that “cold” means good and if a song is a “banger” that is high praise.

I’ve gone down the rabbit hole on all the classic rock, fun dance stuff like the BeeGees and Earth, Wind and Fire, and even some Carpenters and Luciano Pavarotti. See what I mean? Genres galore.

I see they’re now inviting fans on and that’s been enjoyable to watch as well. Not to mention their call to get out the vote. Yes to these guys.

When it’s not Tim and Fred and I need to de-stress, I settle into the couch for some of Samantha Brown’s Places to Love on PBS’ Create channel.

Yes, Sam, take me to some quirky spot or to meet an interesting local so I can live through you vicariously in Switzerland or Montreal or Hill Country, Texas (fields of flowers, wineries, apple strudel — I mean, come on) while I’m grounded in my apartment. She’s easy to watch, she seeks out fascinating stories and activities, and she’s game to try things.

Perfection.

If it’s not the Twins and not Samantha Brown, it’s … oh, God, am I admitting this out loud again … Hallmark Christmas movies. What can I say?

Packaged two-hour flicks. Sure-fire happy ending. Sometimes there’s three minutes to go and you wonder, how in the heck are they going to wrap this up with a bow? And then they do, usually with a chaste kiss, but sometimes, if you’re lucky, a passionate one that’s actually moving.

There’s always a town that loves Christmas, something in peril like a festival or a quaint inn, and the main characters meet while rescuing said thing, usually breaking for hot chocolate or to pick out a tree in between. The comfort is in the predictability and the weird Americana vibe. I mean, there are even a few where royalty is involved. Oh, and urban people are typically workaholics who’ve lost their souls while small towns are idyllic and the only place to find true happiness.

What’s not to love?

Seriously, I keep chiding myself for watching these, but on and on it goes. It’s time to just acknowledge the truth and go with anything that keeps me distracted these days. They’re junk food in their own way, but I did watch the other night while eating a Golden Delicious apple.

So that’s how I’m doing.

And you?

Originally published at http://unfetteredexpression.com on November 2, 2020.

Written by

Columnist, Blogger, Author, Coach in the Greater NYC area. Six-word bio: Zen chick with a Jersey edge. Favorite topics: gender, politics, race, meaning of life.

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