Letters to Summer

View in browser  💌  View archive

Letter 76

Letters to Summer is a newsletter written by two best friends living on opposite sides of the country. Every other Friday, we share the things we're reading, watching, listening to, and enjoying. We hope you like it.

On stress

I think there is a particular kind of stress that you don’t really notice until you’re surrounded by it—less like plunging into cold water and more like sitting in a bath for hours and hours while it gradually gets colder, until you’re shivering. This is the kind of stress I feel when I’m in the middle of a task, working at my desk for a couple of hours past when I should be, because all I can think about is finishing. As soon as I finish what I’m doing, the stress settles into my body in the worst way. On a small scale, it just means I need to spend the evening laying on my couch doing absolutely nothing until I feel better. On a large scale, over time, it leads to burnout. I’m always working on….not doing that. Always working on setting boundaries, checking in with myself, etc. etc. Sometimes stress is pretty unavoidable, but sometimes all I need to do is take a second to be like, am I feeling okay right now? Do I need a break? Do I need to cuddle my cat right now instead of doing whatever I’m doing? (Probably yes.)


Sometimes choosing these letter topics is like looking around a room and combining objects together to make a fake name, panicked while I’m on the phone with someone I shouldn’t be. Jill asks, what should we write about? and I think: how am I feeling, what have I been doing, am I super into anything lately—and today, the running theme is: stress! Stress goes hand-in-hand with my anxiety, aggravated by my depression, the vicious cycle of mental-illness-and-overwhelm. There’s nothing particularly happening right now, except for the pandemic I guess, but it’s been really hard to feel like I have enough time the past few weeks. I’ve been trying to wake up and just go, but then I’m worried I’m not having enough fun and I’m young so I deserve to, and then I feel bad about wasting time, and then I stare at the ceiling for 45 minutes and forget to answer an e-mail from three weeks ago. Again, it’s a cycle! But I’m doing my best.


We recommend

📺 Love Life S2

I did not really care for Love Life S1—there were parts of it that made me feel insane, actually—but oh my GOD, what an incredible departure. S2 stars William Jackson Harper and I cannot wait for his ascent into romcom hunk for the foreseeable future. This season made me cry? Somehow? So, so, so good. Watch it on HBO Max.


🎶 Red (Taylor’s Version)

Red has always been one of my favorite Taylor Swift albums—it basically singlehandedly got me through high school and college, has seen me through multiple crushes and relationships (and subsequent breakups), and is a great fall soundtrack imho. I love the rerecorded version so much, especially new tracks like Nothing New and Message In A Bottle. And that’s without even getting into the 10-minute version of All Too Well, a song that has always had an extra-special place in my heart. Every year, I think: this is the year Taylor Swift will finally not be the number one artist in my Spotify Wrapped—and every year I am wrong.


📽️ The Green Knight

When A24 first dropped the trailer for this movie, I was like “oh, something that’s almost perfect for me!” because I thought it was a horror Arthurian retelling starring Dev Patel; turns it, out WAS perfect for me because it was not, in fact, horror, just really weird! I loved this vibrant and slow movie so much and Dev Patel really is one of the most beautiful men acting right now.


💡 Baths

The other day, I walked into my bathroom to take a quick shower before dinner, and I was like, what’s stopping me from taking a bath right now? Nothing! So I did. I broke out a bottle of Dr Teal’s from under my sink, lit a candle, and let myself soak in the warm water for an hour to avoid having to watch it get dark outside way too early—and it was great. I don’t know why I don’t take baths more often. If you have a usable bathtub (if you’re in New York, good luck) I very much recommend just…taking a bath every once in a while. It doesn’t need to be a special occasion. It doesn’t need to take very long. You don’t need any special products. Just let yourself sit in some warm water and ignore your responsibilities for a little bit.