When possible, go to the Coast.
The Oregon Coast is, no lie, one of my favorite places in the world. (I've been going there since the Seventies; I'd better like it.) It feels like a place where I can reset, and, at minimum, feel more relaxed.
Back in April 1999, before I flew to Philadelphia for my brother's wedding, I first drove from my home in the semi-desert town of Hermiston, Oregon to Portland, then drove more to be at Lincoln City in time for a sunset. (I flew the next day.) I did that to leave behind the residual stress of the newspaper job and refocus towards the cool event that was the upcoming wedding -- which was a good wedding, resulting in a good marriage (plus my nephews! More win!), and I was more ready to enjoy it thanks to the Coast. I got to the beach, felt the wind, and soaked in the view. Good views can be soaked in, didn't you know that?
Another time in late 2003, when I was feeling a little sad, I spent time at the coast to help myself get over that. Our family at the time still owned a small house in the Coast Range hills about 10 miles inland from Lincoln City; we called it Slick Rock, after the creek that ran past it and into the Salmon River. Small, basic double-wide, but very comfortable, in a comfortable setting. It's a former house of ours that I still dream about. (Though, honestly, I've dreamed about all but a couple of our former houses, and as I've been a Navy brat and moved around a lot, that's a lot of homes I've dreamed about. I still think it's a good sign that I dream about my former places to live. They're worth revisiting.)
Various times at the coast come back to me easily: the week-long family get-together summer 1990, one of the times my family rented a beach house, during an especially spectacular run of weather (plus maybe the most satisfying plate of chees-covered potato skins I've ever eaten, at the late and lamented Dory's Cove Restaurant); the hike up (and up and up) Cape Perpetua, the highest point on the Oregon Coast; camping with Alicia when we were a couple, where we jury-rigged a successful way to boil over a fire using less-than-optimal equipment after the main thing we'd brought to cook food hadn't worked; my long weekend in a hotel in Lincoln City in 2007 when I really needed a break from my crazy-making hospital office at OHSU. Heck, now that I've thought more about the coast, I'm thinking back to a summer 1985 visit there where, as a commemoration of the then-40th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, someone in Lincoln City had painted fake white shadows on many sidewalks -- echoing the white shadows left in the aftermath of the nuclear explosion. Whoa. Heavier memory than I was expecting, but I can handle it. The Coast's always worth remembering, no matter what.
And thinking about the Coast right now was the right decision.
Think about soothing things tonight, people. Always a good idea. Could be soothing objects; could be soothing places; could be soothing people.