You’ve got to love Netflix for holiday couchsurfing. Unless of course you are a fan of Amazon Prime. Or Hulu. Or a movie channel.

I’m sure ours was not the only household where binge-watching TV in baggy pants and slippers was a major activity over the holiday break.

For us it was Netflix and The Great British Baking Show (The Great British Bake Off in England Andrea and I watched episode after episode. We are not talking about favorite cookies for the neighborhood exchange here. This is more on the order of high tea with the queen. Victorian classics. High-end patisserie. Chocolate sculpture. The competitors are 12 amateurs, and each week they face a fresh challenge to prove their creative and technical skills in order to advance until only one remains. It all happens under a very fancy tent in the charming, picturesque English countryside.

Netflix has four seasons. We watched a lot of baking.

For us it was fun to go back in time and be playful, revisiting experiences we used to do. I was never much good at disco dancing, so that leaves me with baking.

My first job was in a bakery when I was very young. I didn’t last long, now that I think about it. I mixed up the salt and the sugar. People get thrown off of baking shows for doing that, and I certainly got thrown out of the bakery.

But that’s not the point, so don’t get distracted. The point is I always thought it was fun to bake with Andrea, even though we never had a proper mixer. As a consequence of binge-watching The Great British Baking Show, we bought one. Not the Cadillac Kitchen Aid variety, but something that does very nicely.

And we made a lamb and mince pie. We are British, after all. Ellie thought the crust was too thick and it had too much mince. Ever the critic.

Never mind the little critic at my house. The point is, why don’t we drag out more often the things that brought us fun? We all have those things, whether in the recent past or distant past. Someone asks what our hobbies or interests are outside of work, or what we do for fun, and we feel that momentary hitch that says, I used to have hobbies. They were fun. So we name the things we don’t do so often anymore.

Those things are good for our mental health, and what’s good for our mental health is good for our whole-person health.

We have a new mixer, and we know how to make a lamb and mince pie together. We’ll learn something else, and we’ll get the crust right. It’s fun, and it makes us happy. What about you? What can you reach back in time and grab hold of and be playful with once again for better health?

Antony Signature