Newsflash: the world is a stressful place. Okay, so it’s not exactly news. Living life in the 21st century means living with and learning to deal with stressors coming at us from all directions.  According to a Stress in America study published by the American Psychological Association in 2013, stress levels are above “acceptably healthy” for every age group from Millennials to Baby Boomers and beyond.

I know that part of my problem is the technology that’s ostensibly designed to make our lives easier, but has come to make us feel that we must be connected and available 24/7.  (Just as a for instance, I spend part of every day that I’m not physically in my office dealing with work-related email.)

Then there is the 24 hour news cycle itself.  Turn on the television and you’ll be assaulted with bad news and images of war, poverty, death and destruction. Whether it’s due to some despotic world leader or the random act of an unhinged mind, we see it all.  It’s supposedly meant to keep us informed, but often only succeeds in making us feel helpless in the face of it.

Wish we could turn back time, to the good old days
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out

-Twenty One Pilots

All of this is not conducive to any sort of inner peace, especially for someone like me. I already worry about everything, whether it be the people around me, the events happening in my own life, or those happening half-way around the globe.  I’m a sponge. I take it all in where it lives in a ball in my stomach or at the base of my spine, until I find some way to release the pressure.


A glass of wine will usually go a long way, but they frown on drinking at one’s desk here at Boston College.  And I do know I’m not alone in my quest for more work-friendly stress deflectors. More than one million people saw April the giraffe give birth, after months of waiting and watching, on a live web cam.   I missed that one, but I’ve seen more than one baby panda come into this world.

The ubiquity of cat videos has become its own internet meme. Watching cats (even jerk cats) being cats has come to symbolize our internet-driven society’s need for a little daily diversion.

Enter the Kitten Academy (“Where cats learn to cat”) and its live stream, started by Illinois animal adoption agency, On Angels’ Wings.   The premise is simple: watch cats going about their daily routine. They may be asleep, they be eating, they may be in another room. Watch for as long as you want, but I must warn you it’s addictive. Even if they aren’t doing anything at this moment, they might the next, so it’s nearly impossible to look away from the potential for cute.  The adult cats, referred to as “the faculty”, as well as the kittens, on the feed are all available for adoption.

Watching a few minutes of Kitten Academy will usually do the trick, if only for the short term. For when it gets really bad, there are always baby pandas.

What works for you? Do you have a “go-to” stress reliever, especially when wine is not an option?

I wish you a stress free week until we meet again!