St. Lucy's Day isn't the shortest day of the year any more (because science, and maybe John Donne knew better even back then), but it feels like the shortest right now because of all that we're all doing.
We're working from fairly inflexible lists at home and at work, and the "self-care" guidance dispensed in the popular press--eat more kale! get more exercise!--somehow isn't cutting it right now, at least for me. It's the Sheryl Sandberg broccoli approach to self care. With apologies to the original cartoon in the New Yorker, I say it's spinach, and I say the hell with it.
And let's just say this: getting ready for Christmas or other holidays is not helping with the stress levels.
So what does or has helped? Well, television, including The Good Place and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I knew that MMM might be for me when Emily Nussbaum said she hated it. Nussbaum hates shows that don't wallow in cruelty, horror, and violence and where nice things occasionally happen. By the transitive hate property, I therefore thought that there might be something in MMM for me. For an hour every night, I get to live in a gorgeous technicolor 1950s fantasy where problems are mild and solvable, not like the horror comedy of watching the posturing fool in the White House energize his base."Cloying fantasia," I am there for you.
What else helps? Saying no to the things you can. Making cookies. Looking up new recipes for scones. (Food is big in the "what else helps?" department.)
And remembering that this will turn around eventually or on December 22, when we start getting more light again.
A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy's Day
By John Donne
'Tis the year's midnight, and it is the day's,
Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
The world's whole sap is sunk;
The general balm th' hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed's feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr'd; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compar'd with me, who am their epitaph.
Not news to you all, of course; but today I remembered this from a long-ago course I took in metaphysical poetry.