Cancel all of your plans and turn off your phone. Don’t even think about turning it back on, not even if you find out that Obama endorsed marriage equality again. Stay away from your computer; forget about your Facebook, your Pinterest, the MySpace and Xanga you haven’t looked at in ten years and don’t even think about going on Tumblr. Forget that your most recent ex is dating someone new; that your Most Significant Ex just had a baby or a commitment ceremony in the mountains of the Himalayas and plans to adopt seventeen genetically-engineered children from a lab in Abu Dhabi; that you can’t seem to stop stalking them on Facebook, and you can’t seem to stop stalking everyone else’s lives. Tonight is about you.
Before you get home, go buy some cheeses from the nice part of the store and purchase at least one that smells like a diaper. Buy a wine that doesn’t say Carlo Rossi, Yellow Tail, Cooper’s Crossing, Boone’s Farm, Cisco, Wild Irish Rose, Flip Flop or Franzia on the side and stay away from the Francis Ford Coppola wine. It doesn’t taste like it was made by the guy who made The Godfather and The Godfather Part II. It tastes like it was made by the director of The Godfather Part III. Then go grab a bunch of pita and one of the really weird flavors of pre-made hummus, like Peaches and Herb, Frankincense and Myrrh or Scary Spice and your favorite ice cream flavor, even though the contents of the carton contain your entire daily calorie count. Don’t think of how Chunky that Monkey is. Think about how good it tastes.
Go to RedBox and rent a bunch of movies that aren’t even that good, like the new Katherine Heigl romcom or that movie where Zooey Deschanel and Mark Wahlberg try to outrun the wind. Don’t watch anything you would watch sober on a plane. If you have to watch something worth your money, make sure it has Ryan Gosling in it or just watch the penis scenes in Shame. Don’t pay attention to absolutely anything that’s going on in the movie, if you hope to retain your sanity. Just watch the Fassbender goods. If you like, you can even pretend they aren’t attached to a person. Or watch Mad Men on Netflix and bask in everything Christina Hendricks, but if you don’t want to watch January Jones try to show emotion and fail, cut out the middle man and Google pictures of Christina instead. Easiest way to kill seven hours on the internet ever. But whatever you do, don’t watch Young Adult, Breaking Bad, Fox News or absolutely anything directed by Darren Aronofsky.
Clear out everything in your TiVo, like all of those episodes of Bones you can’t quite remember recording in the first place or the shows you always wanted to watch but kept forgetting existed, like The Good Wife, Revenge and Up All Night. Grab a box of tissues and finally get caught up on the election storyline of Parks and Recreation or rewatch Friday Night Lights and remember why life is good. Have a WB Night and revisit Dawson’s Creek, Gilmore Girls and Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but make sure to check out before you watch any of the last season of Felicity, when it unexpectedly turns into the bad episodes of Lost.
Start to turn down by pouring yourself one of those bubble baths with real silk or fake blood diamonds in it and do all of those stereotypical things people do when they want to relax. Pretend you’re in a latter day Gwen Stefani video. Buy the most fragrant candles you can find from Bed Bath and Bedlam or Olfactory Works, something you didn’t even think that candles could smell like, like Stride of Pride, Chocolate Reciprocation, Jasmine Feelings or Lavender and Consent. Get a good loofah, the kind with the wand on it, for the really hard to reach places, and buy some of the really expensive, pretentious body crèmes that you are pretty sure don’t do anything more than the off-brand stuff does. Take the time to just linger in the tub and really rub your body in the ways that it needs to be rubbed or play in the bubbles of the bubble bath. Make yourself a Santa beard or try to build cone boobs on yourself and see how far you get before they cave in like a poorly built sandcastle or Madonna’s career.
Then pile your bed with as many blankets as you can find and turn down with something that always makes you feel good, like a John Hughes movie, Purple Rain or The Colbert Report. Listen to Schubert or Vivaldi or something that helps you get the deep sleep your doctor is always telling you to get and forget to set your alarm for the next morning. Don’t worry about going to brunch or having a productive morning. Stay in bed and enjoy the silence for as long as you can, and then call your mother, your best friend or that person you haven’t talked to in years and tell them how much you care about them. Catch up. Talk about what happened on The Voice and how unlikely it is that people are still talking about Maroon 5 but how weirdly good that makes you feel. Sometimes, the best pleasure you can get is the kind you give to others. Go out and share your self-care.