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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Japan, or How to be Away From Home

Write about the first time you went away from home alone — The Autobiography Box by Brian Bouldrey

japanThe first time I truly left home was in 2002. I had been picked to represent my school on a trip to Neyagawa, Japan. That was a trip of so many firsts: first time away from home, first time my parents wouldn’t be a phone call away, first trip out of the country, first trip on an airplane.

It was a crash course in air travel, that. Norfolk, VA, to Newark, NJ. Then, Norita/Tokyo. Then, Osaka. 24 hours, with layovers, and yet the same day? The same afternoon? Or was it the next one? I sat in the Tokyo airport and watched blankly at the windows, wondering over the blue sky, bright sunshine. It was supposed to be night time, right? If I got on the plane at 5am, it should be the middle of the night. Yes. No.

The next morning after that trip, my homestay mother laid out a spread fit for a king. A king not suffering from jetlag. There was sticky white rice, eggs, sausage, a seaweed salad. Then, a bowl of cereal. And yogurt.

One of the first things we were taught getting ready for the trip was that we should never turn anything down that our families made us to eat. We should at least try everything. I picked at each piece of food gingerly. It was more than I ever ate for breakfast, and I could only imagine the dishonor that awaited me if I ended up yacking it into their robo-toilet (I wish I was making this up, but it had controls and temperature settings and a padded seat). And God, the dehydration. My throat was a dried sponge, and I was in a country that didn’t have water bottle at every table.

Once the jet lag eased off, though, there was so much to see. We toured the major spots of Osaka, including the Panasonic Technical Center, the Osaka Historical Museum, the Mint and Osaka Castle (which was surprisingly very modern inside, despite the beautiful ancient architecture outside). We attended classes at the local school. We practiced zazen (a form of meditation) in Uji and visited Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. Then, there was Nara and its bazillion wild yet tame deer, that would eat right from your hand.

Then, our last journey was to Hiroshima. That could be an entire post unto itself. I’ve never been in a place that made me so very, very aware of myself. The atomic bomb landing on this city in Japan had always been like the Civil War or the French Revolution, in my schools — something that had happened that I knew the scope of in numbers and dates but little more. But to see it so clearly documented, told in photographs and dioramas and in the few things left behind…it all became very real. New and raw.

I want to go back to Japan someday, at a time where I can move at my own pace, where I’m not hauling the baggage of teenage despondency. I want to see that world that can be equal parts joy and peace and the other metropolitan buzz — want to see it without that nagging homesickness, that awareness of being in an alien place and longing for familiar.

I want to take my time. I want it to take its time with me.

One day, I’ll see Tokyo once more.

40 Days: When Life Gets in the Way

40 Days: When Life Gets in the Way

5 Things That Have Happened Since Thursday

1. Observed Valentine’s Day on Saturday with my husband. We were going to get super fancy chocolates from Godiva at the mall, but unfortunately there was an obscene amount of traffic due to President’s Day sales. But we went to see “Warm Bodies” (and if you haven’t seen it, you should) and had a special dinner: an oil-based fondue with Filet Mignon, spinach and vegetable dip (pro-tip: use a round loaf of hawaiian bread and add parmesan to the mix), wine and almond cake for dessert.

2. Scraped a lady’s car in the Target parking lot. Ugghh. I left a note, contacted my insurance, did all the responsible grown up things and all the while my inner child was throwing a tantrum.

“This is one of those things that happens to everyone. It was bound to happen sooner or later.”

“Uh, yeah, but did it have to happen the same month as the speeding ticket? The other thing that ‘happens to everyone sooner or later’?”

3. Cut my husband’s hair. It was terrifying. It looks super.

4. Rediscovered an anime from high school: Kare Kano (His and Her Circumstances). Watching it always fills me with a warm nostalgia for Japan, which I was chosen to visit in Summer 2002 for a Sister City visit.

Random trailer is random!

5. Scrubbed the tub. Not every day can be full of excitement.

On an ending note, have this. It’s not mine. A friend of mine shared it on Facebook. Normally I skip over these sorts of things, but there’s an Animorph’s reference and that gave me…feels. Also, it is true, so yeah.

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