I woke up this morning chanting a little mantra to myself: It’s just a regular Wednesday, it’s just a regular Wednesday, it’s just a regular Wednesday. Apparently my body couldn’t be tricked, though, because it remained in a heightened state of anxiety — even beyond what it’s normally capable of, which is saying something. So I went on a hunt for soothing videos to calm my nerves, and I asked my Lifehacker colleagues to join me on this quest.
So come along with us on our video journey, as we try not to think too hard about … things. It’s an eclectic collection, as we are an eclectic group. So get ready.
This is as good a place as any to start, courtesy of Lifehacker’s managing editor Joel Cunningham:
These Japanese capybaras aren’t stressing about the election results. They are chilling in a hot spring bath like they’ve got nowhere else to be. Because they don’t; they’re capybaras. Be like the capybaras and master the art of ultimate relaxation (but feel free to sub in your own soundtrack if the accompanying “vaporwave” isn’t doing it for you).
As long as we’re enjoying animals, the next suggestion comes from senior technology editor David Murphy, who nominated not one video but an entire YouTube channel:
Watch this Korean woman’s weekly adventures with her 10 cats, who receive probably the best care (and funniest challenges) of any internet cats I’ve ever seen. I especially love watching them try to figure out a plastic-wrap wall.
This nonsensical song
And now it’s time for something totally different, which could only have come from senior food editor Claire Lower:
Adriano Celentano’s “Prisencolinensinainciusol” — This song was written by an Italian Man who wanted to write a song that sounded like it was written in English (Bob Dylan-y English, at that) but was, in fact, written in gibberish. The not-quite-words are great brain distractors; your mind really tries to decipher the nonsense! That, coupled with Calentano’s gyrating and flailing, all the bright colours, and the pretty women — you can’t help but be distracted!
(My suggestion: Get right to the main event at minute 1:37.)
Let’s all calm down from that excitement with this extra-soothing gem from senior health editor Beth Skwarecki:
I first encountered Callen Schaub’s swinging paint buckets late one night on Instagram and was just transfixed. I don’t care how much it costs or whether it’s “real” art, I just really enjoy watching it being made. So many colours and techniques, never predictable, but always beautiful.
That transitions nicely into this one, from Joel:
Jellyfish don’t stress. They all float on OK. Hang with them under the ocean and feel your stress drift away. And if anyone gets too close or tries to disrupt your flow, sting the shit out of them.
This adorable rescue pup
This soother comes right from the top, from Lifehacker’s (mostly) fearless leader, Alice Bradley:
In times of stress, I turn to animal-rescue videos. In times of extreme stress, I have to exercise caution in my choice of animal-rescue videos. Is this dog so ill or injured that the rescue itself is too harrowing to watch? Is there a possibility of a sad ending? I can’t risk it. That’s why, in these troubling times, I’ve come to depend on the Dodo’s collection of safe, comforting tales. If there’s a blind kitten whose best friend is a tortoise or a pit bull pup about to find his forever home, the Dodo is on it. And they pretty much tell you the ending in the video title, so there aren’t any big surprises.
“All Men Are Liars”
Oh, look, Claire’s back:
The combination of Nick Lowe’s flowing silver hair, the little dancing flowers, the tiny Rick Astley (who Nick murders), and farm fashion bring a smile to my face.
It’s time for me to interject with one of my own because I’m getting concerned that no one has mentioned Bob Ross yet. No soothing video compilation is complete without Mr. Ross conjuring up some happy little trees for us. “These little son-of-a-guns hide in your brush, and you just have to push ‘em out.”
Here’s Joel again, this time with three hours’ worth of Japanese nature:
Forest bathing is a Japanese relaxation technique that seeks to reconnect you with the earth and nature. It would be in my best interests to depart the city to spend the next four days in a tent in the woods, but this lengthy recording of lush leaves and nature sounds will have to do.
Silent movie trains crashing into things
Here’s another one from Beth, who says, “This may not be soothing exactly but it’s where my mind is today”:
Silent movies did some pretty wild things with trains pic.twitter.com/Njs2qK044p
— Silent Movie GIFs (@silentmoviegifs) November 3, 2020
In which you are Tom Petty’s girlfriend
I’m sure you have no idea who sent me this one, but her name rhymes with “flair”:
The official music video for Tom Petty’s “Refugee.” It’s basically a POV video where you’re Tom Petty’s girlfriend. His bandmates nod at you with respect and one alerts Tom to your presence. You and Tom then have a serious talk about your feral behaviour. He twirls around and makes faces. I can get lost in a face with a lot features, so this is very soothing to me.
A bird’s-eye view of NYC
Joel keeps sending me more, too, but this time he managed to leave nature and re-embrace city life:
Cities can be beautiful places, but I’d rarely describe them as calming ones. Yet this drone footage on New York City fills me with feelings of peace and serenity. I haven’t headed across the river into Manhattan since the pandemic started, but this is my favourite way to visit it right now.
Virtual amusement park rides are good and fun
Actually, Joel’s drone video reminded me of a thing I love to do, which is watch videos taken by people on Disney World rides. I chose this one because it’s one of my favourite rides, but if you also enjoy ride videos, I have more suggestions here.
This one seems like it might be from Joel, but it’s actually from Mike Winters, Lifehacker’s finance writer, who likes to mellow out in a very Joel-like fashion:
I’m a fan of what’s known as “slow TV,” popularised in the 2000s by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), which aired POV-videos of hours-long journeys by train or barge. As a genre, it’s caught on with YouTube, where there’s plenty of videos to watch. I just let these videos play in the background for hours on my TV, sort of like the yule log cable channel you might see during the holidays, but for me it’s all year round. Finding videos with only ambient sound is crucial, as the sounds are soothing, like a white noise machine.
He sure is “jumpin’”
This video — from Claire, but you already knew that — is one you will watch over and over:
If I’m really in a state, I turn to Jumpin’ Jeff Farmer’s wrestling promo for a small wrestling league called IPW. Jumpin’ Jeff represents my last, fatigued brain cell, struggling to assert itself when it should just give up and go home. But Jumpin’ Jeff never gives up! That is the beauty of him and his screwed up little face! (If you really want to go to a PLACE, watch the other three Jumpin’ Jeff promos and the Motley Cruz response promos.)
More Bob Ross
Listen, I didn’t set out to give you two Bob Ross videos, but his message here was just too good to pass up. It’s like the Bob Ross of nearly 30 years ago is speaking to the beaten-down us of today in the softest, gentlest, most soothing voice any human has ever had:
You’ve gotta have opposites; dark and light, light and dark, continually in painting. If you have light on light, you have nothing. If you have dark on dark, you basically have nothing … It’s like in life; you’ve gotta have a little sadness once in a while so you know when the good times come. I’m waiting on the good times now.
So are we, Bob. So are we.