My Top Favorite YouTube Relaxation Channels

I’ve only recently appreciated the fact that there is a lot of awesome stuff on Youtube for relaxation. I’m not even talking about the hours and hours and hours of music and meditation, both guided and musical. But there are a lot of things I thought wouldn’t be relaxing that makes me let go of anxiety and tension. Some of them may sound weird — my list includes ASMR, and there are many that believe that ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is not actually a thing, that it is anecdotal at best.

I tend to react to this the way I do to most self-care: what works for one person may not work for another. So long as it isn’t dangerous, hurtful or illegal, you don’t owe anyone an explanation.

So here we have some of my top five channels I watch to relax.

1. Maqaroon

This handcrafter does a lot of needle-felting (which I love to do), creates stuffed animals, and there are frequently links to places where you can buy the kits she uses. A lot of videos also have really pleasant music.

2. Funkypinkgal

This is another craft channel, but this one is more based on polymer clay charms. Really cute stuff. Again, really relaxing music.

3. Nameless (don’t be alarmed on this one — the person creating the videos had their name stolen, and to protect themselves and others, it was changed)

In Japan, there are these candy-making kits where you mix together water and dry ingredients before “preparing them” in really cool ways. I’ve never tried one of these personally, because I’ve heard they can taste a little odd (sweets across the world are interpreted very differently) but the videos are really cool.

4. K Werner Design

That’s right. It’s another craft one. This one centers around papercrafts – calligraphy, cardmaking,stamps, coloring. The pieces she makes are beautiful, and she has a ton of links and tutorials if you are inspired by her creations.

5. Grav3yardgirl

So this one is going to probably come off very “one of these things is not like the others” and I’m not really sure how to explain it but Bunny’s channel is really relaxing to me. Her biggest focus is on makeup, but she also reviews As Seen on TV products, takes the viewer on shopping trips, and does monthly favorites. Sometimes, it’s very high-energy, but her makeup reviews especially are very informative and make me feel very chilled out.

So how about it, guys? What channels do you watch when you’re trying to destress? I want to know! Tell me. I dare you.

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Don’t be a Lemming

I bet when you started reading this post, you were thinking, “Ah yes. Here we go. A diatribe about being yourself and not going with the crowd, yadda yadda yadda.” Although those are great things you should already know, this is much more mind-blowing.

Did you know that the popularized “fact” that lemmings will commit mass suicides is a complete farce? Although many will remember seeing the depictions of this “behavior” in Disney’s “White Wilderness” (which won an Academy Award, people) it was a fabrication.

Let that sink in for a second.

And thus, I want you to heed a more true lesson from these cute little fuzzballs: don’t let anyone tell your story for you. Do you think right now those lemmings are losing sleep, pondering over the fact that people believe they are getting ready to fling themselves out into the void? Do you think they are looking into their little lemming mirrors, saying, “Why do people think I’m such a conformist?” No. They are way too busy living life to the fullest. And sure, that life may basically be “eat, sleep, run around, repeat” but it’s not one that’s being wasted concerning one’s self over the misconceptions of others.

Defy expectation. Break every standard and stereotype. You do you. Follow the crowd if you want. Make your mark every day. And question every single documentary. I dare you.

Guilty Pleasures are for Weenies

There. I said it.

Tonight, I went to the gym for the first time in…a while. We’ll just round up and say “a big, long while.” And it kicked my butt. On my way home, as I’m trying to ignore the sweat soaking into my carseat and the shakiness in my muscles, “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten came on the radio.

Here it is if you haven’t heard it:

I had a few feels in those moments: there was the feel of “Glad I turned on this radio station at this time.” There was the feel of tears running down my face, because I can’t listen to the whole thing without choking up. And there was one feel I’m not proud of. It was the feel of “I’m so glad that no one is around – ie my husband, some of my friends, coworkers, etc – to see me listening to this song.” And as soon as I realized the voice in my head saying that, I got really mad.

And you know what? Fuck that feel.

Guilty pleasures are pointless. Guilty pleasures are, by their definition, based on the idea that you owe some explanation for things that give you pleasure. Guilty pleasures make the things that you like, that touch your heart, something that others can scrutinize and judge you on. And we’re not talking about anything huge or that affects others. We’re looking at music and food and books and movies.

You do not have to defend things you like. They are not guilty pleasures. They are just pleasures. And anybody who attacks you or talks down to you about your pleasures is just insecure about themselves.

The next time someone tries to say something disparaging about something you enjoy, take one of the following actions:

a) Walk away. Screw that guy.
b) Tell them all the reasons you like that thing. At length. In detail.
c) Ask them what they like. Not in a snarky away – no matter how much you may want to – but just like, “Oh, okay, Well, what’s a comedy/musician/performance artist you like?” And then talk about how that thing relates to your thing. BOOM. Connection.

Go live life and don’t feel bad about it. I dare you.

Self Dare [An Anthem]

There are a lot of days when you will wake up and say,
“I think I’m really awesome, and I’ll love myself today.”

But there are just as many nights when you’re lying on your back,
Determined you’re a waste of space and a super-duper sad sack.

These are the times when you have to make a list
Of all the things your inner critic overlooked and missed.

Like how good your hair looks when you blow it dry,
Or how easy it is to bake a cake, like you don’t even have to try.
Then there’s your awesome penmanship, the way you write your name,
Or your collection of books or trinkets – no two are the same!
How about the way your dog looks when you get home from work?
Or how when you meow at her, your cat’s ears always perk?
Don’t forget all the kudos and compliments people give you,
Refer back to them frequently — see, there are more than a few.

You are really awesome, you deserve your own love and care.
Take it out of your day right now. Come on, that’s a dare!

Things You Can Do in 5 Minutes to be Happier

Sometimes you don’t have a lot of time to take care of yourself. But everyone has 5 minutes they can spare. You can:

Doodle
Post something inspirational on your social media of choice
Create an Inspiration board on Pinterest and add something to it
Look at cute animals
Write a blog post
Call or text a friend to tell them you are thinking of them
Say ‘thank you’ to someone who has been supportive
Clear off your desk
Put something back where it belongs
Get a cold drink
Do nothing — allow yourself to indulge in the stillness of inaction
Write down a cheerful message and put it somewhere – look for it the next time you’re having a bad day
Make a sandwich
Play a puzzle game online
Start a one-sentence journal
Sing, dance, or yell into a pillow

It’s easy to say you don’t have time. But is it true?

Self Dare

Looking for some tips on how to get up and get going? Feeling like you’ve been spending more energy than you’ve allowed yourself to soak up?

Well. Have I got a blog for you.

Self Dare is the new age-y younger sister of bohemian.on.rye, and she’d love to meet you. Head over and check out the introductory post. Self Dare will focus on personal improvement, wellness and better living through taking care of YOU. Fans of How to Have a Day Job will dig it – and so will you! We’ll still be partying over here just as hard, though, so don’t you worry.

garden

Hello!

gardenI’ve been struggling with how to go about starting this.

Like, should I go dramatic? “I have always been a person of substantial girth.” Mehh. Too heavy. Ooh, pun!

Bubbly and optimistic? “I’m Katie! I’m awesome and you can be, too!” Pretty good, but if I try to keep up that energy I’m going to fizzle.

Jump in the deep end? “Here are 10 ways you can love yourself more in the next 10 minutes! Aaaaand GO!” A little intense.

So. I’m going to go back to one of my beloved standards: the fictional FAQ!

1. Who are you?

I’m Katie Pugh. I’m an author living and working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I live with my husband and three rats, and I love having adventures. You can read more about my writing on my second home on the ‘net, bohemian.on.rye. There, I focus on creativity, inspiration, and dealing with those things and having a day job.

2. Why is this site called “Self Dare”?

A few years ago, I realized I had a very bad problem: I could not relax. If I was not working or getting something done or trying to focus on a piece of writing, I was stewing in anxiety. It made me constantly tense, and the thought of doing anything that was just for myself seemed arrogant, a waste of time, and just plain selfish. It brought a degree of stress to my marriage, and I was just generally in a constant funk.

Slowly, I started giving myself permission to unwind. It wasn’t something that came naturally. Nope, I had to say to myself, “Okay, Katie. You’re going to go to the mall and buy some chocolate and you’re going to have a good time. Because you will feel awesome afterward.” Little by little, I found the things that I loved and that worked for me so that I could soothe my constantly irritated self. It has made all the difference.

Self care is great. But sometimes, it has to be a challenge to overcome. It takes courage to say that you are worth a half hour of quiet, a spa day, or just a lunch outside. Dare to do it.

3. So are you on the happy end? And you’re going to be talking from the awesome afterlife?

Nope. The inspiration for this website came from my coming back to tackling my personal wellness. I wanted to improve myself physically, mentally, and spiritually. I also wanted a degree of accountability, and I realized that I had a lot to share on this topic. So while you may just be getting started, I am also at a jumping off point. It’s just a different rock.

Ready to go swimming?