The HuffPost Canada’s LIFE team has made kindness a routine with weekly celebrations of the little things making our hearts sing throughout this surreal time. Key word being “little”: none of us have won the lottery or can brag about making a medical breakthrough at the moment.
But we can sing praises about the everyday items we’re obsessed with, the online content that puts smiles on our faces, the facts of life we remember, and the media that transports us into better, kinder worlds.
We rounded up all the little things helping us emotionally survive right now. Some of them come from online humour and others whisk us into cherished sweaty summer memories. If our recommendations pique your interests, maybe they’re worth bringing into your joy routine too.
All product choices are made independently by our editors. HuffPost Canada may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.
A dog (and a kid) howling to Frank Ocean's "Self Control"
Here: watch this — then thank me later. It’s a video of a dog earning an impromptu feature on Frank Ocean’s “Self Control,” one of the most beautiful songs ever written. I've watched it more times than I can count. You should, too. — Connor Garel, associate editor, LIFE
The Perfect Floppy Hat
Why is it so much easier to find a bad hat than a good hat? It’s a category of retail where the decks are stacked precipitously against the consumer: for every handsome, elongated bucket, there are hundreds of unappealing bowler caps. For every classic floppy wide-brim, there are legions of cheap-looking fedoras. My enormous floppy hat — courtesy of Amazon — is a great way to tell people to a) get out of my face, b) physically distance without actually having to make eye contact, and c) makes me feel like a celebrity hiding from paparazzi. Hat trick. -Alisha Sawhney, associate editor
Linen Eye Pillow With Lavender
Lost + Found
For the past few months I've been falling asleep watching YouTube videos (ASMR soothes me, OK?), but my eyes are paying for it. Enter: Half Moon's Linen Eye Pillow infused with lavender. Throw it in the microwave for 30 seconds, lie down, close your eyes, and place the pillow over them. Now, I'm not an essential oils gal, but the lavender scent, combined with the warm, soft pillow, carried me off into dreamland. My eyes feel soothed, and I feel calm and relaxed every time I use it. And then I watch more ASMR videos. — Chloe Tejada, Senior LIFE Editor
"Which _____ Are You?" Instagram accounts
I have no idea why this became a thing, but I'm so glad it did. Instagram accounts devoted to one theme — say, Guy Fieri, or frogs, or screenshots from SpongeBob — with names attached to each to determine "which one you are" are extremely dumb but also one of the best ways to waste time on the internet. While I have yet to find a "Maija," as someone who could never find a keychain with my name, I'm more than happy to accept the "Maia" or "Maya"s out there. I feel confident that these three together express some kind of higher truth about me. — Maija Kappler, associate Life editor
Phoebe Bridgers' album, "Punisher"
Phoebe Bridgers / Dead Oceans
In a year that will be remembered for its bleakness, this album will stand out to me as one of 2020's very few highlights. I'm always impressed by articulations of incredibly specific kinds of sadness, and Phoebe Bridgers is a master at getting to the heart of why something hurts with heartbreaking precision. But "Punisher" isn't depressing — it's incredibly accessible, and often funny in its wry frankness. The music is complex and pretty and often moving, the lyrics meticulous and self-aware. I haven't stopped listening since it came out last month. — Maija Kappler, associate Life editor
Dr. Bronner's Lavender Organic Hand Sanitizer
Never thought I'd use the term "holy grail" for a hand sanitizer, but that's 2020 for you. This Dr. Bronner's spray adds a touch of glamour to the daily disinfection. It smells like dreamy lavender and spritzing it on feels more like a beauty regimen step than an antiviral measure. I carry it with me everywhere and refill religiously; an easy task, since it's a common fixture in health stores and grocery markets. — Al Donato, associate editor, LIFE.
A Sunday morning 'decompression session' at the beach
When we discovered that the ferry to the Toronto Islands was running again, my bestie and I knew we needed to go. But ugh, crowds! Our solution was to go in the early morning before the masses descended on the ferry docks, and let me tell you, it's been so worth it. Whether you hit up Ward's Island, shown here, Gibraltar Point or Hanlan's Point, the key is to get into the water — any clean, moving body of water will do. Instant joy! Doesn't matter if it's a little cold, just get in there and let all those negative ions wash over you. I mean who knows really if that's even a thing, but my happy place has always been in the water, and not even a pandemic can change that. — Lisa Yeung, managing editor, LIFE and Perspectives
The soundtrack for "The Eddy," a Netflix miniseries
“The Eddy” is an excellent miniseries on Netflix about a jazz club in Paris’s thirteenth arrondissement—it’s a thriller, really, but one disguised as a bebop jazz musical—and if the performances of Andre Holland (!) and Joanna Kulig (!) aren’t persuasive enough to seduce you, then surely the soundtrack alone is. I’ve been listening to it for weeks on end, allowing it to carry me off to someplace else, which is to say anywhere that isn’t here. We can’t all catch flights, but we can listen to music, which, under the circumstances, may as well be the same thing. The soundtrack begins and suddenly it’s dusk, and we’re in Paris, and everyone has filed into whatever damp, dingy bar for the night, where a lively band is improvising on stage, feeding off the crowd’s euphoria, then paying it back, and the air smells of cigars and heady cocktails and togetherness. The soundtrack ends; you've forgotten where you are. — Connor Garel, associate editor, LIFE
A Handed-Down Eufy Robovac 11
Nicholas Mizera/HuffPost Canada
I received a used Eufy Robovac 11 from my brother. This isn’t some fancy-pants smart vacuum. When it was still sold, it was among the least expensive Roomba knock-offs. Its key feature is “randomly bouncing around until the battery dies,” at which point it either miraculously finds its charging dock or conks out under the couch. There’s no WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity. But to a parent already stretched thin by the pandemic, one less chore to do is a relief. A week later, I find its cheerful hum enjoyable, even comforting, like the presence of a family pet. Our kid breaks down in hysterical laughter every time she sees it, therapeutic in its own right. Sometimes, I even follow the robot from room to room, allowing my mind to wander. If that’s not worth throwing a couple thank-you beers at your self-described evil twin, I don’t know what is. — Nicholas Mizera, editor, Perspectives.
"Sweat," by Sonikku ft. Liz (Sophie remix)
As someone who cut their teeth in many a sweaty club in my long-lost youth, I can tell you there's nothing more therapeutic or effective than dancing off whatever stress you've logged from the week, pandemic or no pandemic. These days, of course, it's mostly kitchen dancing while I make dinner or tidy up, but this track by Sonikku, featuring vocals by Liz and remixed by powerhouse producer Sophie, brings me back to those heady days when we were packed like sardines on the dance floor, sweating and throwing our hands up in unison into the lasers and clouds of smoke-machine haze. When the bass dropped deep into your chest, you never felt as free as you did in that moment, and all your worries just melted away. — Lisa Yeung, managing editor, LIFE and Perspectives
Like many people and all cats, I am always in a state of preventable dehydration. "HAVE YOU DRANK WATER" has become my all-caps pandemic mantra, as taking a sip usually dissolves whatever imaginary catastrophe my brain cooks up. I've started drinking from this ridiculously oversized water bottle from Dollarama and it's significantly improved my hydration levels. Maybe it's because I'm less likely to forget to refill or its enormity feels like a personal challenge. If you too are looking for an H2O incentive, miniature water coolers like these are available on Amazon. — Al Donato, associate editor, LIFE.
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