What’s the best way to manage stress? Some people say yoga, others suggest baths, or visualization exercises. I am here to tell you that’s all garbage. There is only one proven (by me) way of relieving stress, and that is by reading this profile of Willem Dafoe in The Hollywood Reporter.
The story is full of beautiful pictures of a ruggedly handsome Dafoe, and fun, soothing tidbits that, when repeated silently in a comfortable, seated position, make all of the small, accumulated anxieties of the day melt away. Like these opening lines:
Here is a typical day in the life of Willem Dafoe: He wakes up early, usually around 5 or 6. He meditates, has a cup of coffee and writes in his journal for a while. Then he checks his email, does some yoga and makes breakfast.
Is that not the most relaxing thing you’ve ever read?
If it’s not, let Dafoe tell you about his extremely chill hobby — laundry:
“It’s one of my great pleasures,” he says, dead serious. “I love it so much, I have to resist the urge to do a lot of hand washing when I’m in hotels. Sometimes, when I’m in a strange city, I go to laundromats. I did that in France recently — I was shooting a movie there — and it was a beautiful experience. For some reason, people are really nice to me in laundromats and I have these great encounters. Talk about fun and sexy …”
That sounds both fun and sexy, Willem.
At this point, most of you are probably feeling a sense of profound calm, but also an intense presence, like you’re seeing the world as it is for the very first time and, maybe, seeing Willem as he is for the first time …
For starters, his real name is not Willem. It’s William.
What?! Surprising and a little unsettling, I know! But that’s why you practice reading this profile, so you know how to cope with unexpected stresses when they pop up. Once you’re able to recenter yourself — maybe by picturing Willem quietly journaling, or transferring a load of laundry into the dryer — open your mind to this enlightening piece of information.
As a teenager in Appleton, Wisconsin, he was called Bill, or sometimes Billy, and there was a period during his early childhood when his older brothers teased him with the nickname “Bleeblob” (for reasons no family member will reveal but which they hint are hugely embarrassing).
So the next time you feel yourself getting overwhelmed or anxious, just find a nice, quiet space, close your eyes, and whisper, “Bleeblob. Bleeblob. Bleeblob. Bleeblob.”