PART FOUR of our four-part blog series focussing on the good things and gift ideas from 2018.
Over the final four Mondays in 2018, the Apparition Lit editors will take turns sharing our favorite things we discovered this year, including everything from books to video games to Youtube channels. You can click on the names here and check out the earlier blogs in the series, the first from our Northern-most editor, Rebecca Bennett, the second by our Managing Editor, Tacoma Tomilson, and the third offering from the inimitable Clarke Doty. We round off the year with some suggestions from the West Coast editor, Amy Robinson.
You guys, 2018 was the equivalent to a swift kick to the ponies. (Except October. October was a pretty good month.) In addition to personal throat-punches to family, health, and finances, this year repeatedly challenged societal morality on a local, regional, national, and global scale. So HELL YEAH we need to self-soothe with stuff and things. Here are a few items that helped me survive, that might bring some sunshiney joy to your world as well.
Because of “the health thing” I couldn’t really tolerate the sensory input of reading or movies/music/tv for the first 3-4 months of the year. During this time I took to meditation. After using Apps like Calm and Headspace, I finally fell in love with the Insight Timer. It has zen talks, all kinds of meditations and teachers, timers you can customize for your own needs, or just straight up soothing music. They’re searchable by type or length of time. With thousands of meditations and a full stable of teachers, you can find something that works for you. I have a couple that I return to again and again and again, but am always up for new offerings. Also, it’s FREE, granted a few perks (like fast forwarding and offline downloading) are behind a very reasonable paywall.
Another find for my delicate demeanor was the Yoga with Adriene channel on YouTube. She offers a bajillion classes, very down to earth (several with her dog Benji in the video), and low pressure. Even on days I didn’t think I could move much, a simple search found gentle stretching and thoughtful guidance. If you want to start a home practice, I highly recommend her free vids. If you want to commit further, she offers a paid subscriber series too.
When my mind decided it could start processing sensory input again, the first book I grabbed was What The Hell Did I Just Read, the third in the John Dies At The End trilogy. Definitely recommend all 3, and other David Wong books, as weird, funny, escapism.
This next one is something pretty much everybody is on board with: The Good Place was a tonic I turned to repeatedly this year. I loved it so much that I listened to the accompanying podcast as well. As I re-binged the first two seasons on Netflix, my husband commented that it’s weird that someone with mortality issues (me) would be so happy watching a show about the afterlife. But it is so damn charming, and thoughtful, and smart, and weird. I guess I like it because it’s basically the TV show version of me.
I have one last recommendation for you. We’re all hoping that 2019 is better than the last 3 years. So, fingers crossed, but nothing is for certain. What is guaranteed is the cuteness of kitties and doggos (or bats or owls or opposums or baby skunks or whatever floats your adorable boat). I recommend you add a few “cute” feeds to your social media. Sometimes you just need a breather that only a fluffy smol can provide.