Neal (unbeknownst to me) snapped this photo through the window this morning.
The sun is out here in Chicago (a rare occurrence lately!) and it’s a BEAUTIFUL day! (I hope it’s lovely where you are too!)
I took a half-hour to enjoy my coffee on our balcony while reading my Kindle this morning and I feel like it was the perfect way to ease into the week.
Speaking of easing into the week, Kendall came up with the best idea, and that is to create a new series that would kick our weeks off on a high note–a lighthearted roundup with fun things to look forward to all week–from content that can make you smile, new recipes to try, things to listen to, to tips that can be immensely helpful during this time. We’ll be sharing what has caught our eye––from what to do, read, make, listen to, play, watch, and more!
Let’s kick off our first edition, shall we?
TIGER KING!! 🐅
Pandemic? What Pandemic? HAVE YOU SEEN THE ABSURDITY THAT IS TIGER KING!?!?
At the risk of repeating what everyone else is talking about on the internet right now, I couldn’t not give you MY personal take on Tiger King: It REALLY is the best POSSIBLE thing to watch right now. There could never be a better distraction. It’s truly outrageous in every way. Every night last week we looked forward to it ALL DAY!!
I even dressed in theme in a “big cat” turtleneck and matching earrings Carole Baskin style. (Which I highly recommend). Don’t make that mistake of refusing to watch something with so much hype––it would be a travesty to miss out on this crazy. 😂(FYI: It’s on Netflix!)
I had heard of this podcast before, but never tuned in, until I was scrolling my Apple Podcasts home feed and stumbled upon their “Bonus” episodes where they dive into topics that are immensely helpful during, this, ahem, phase of our lives. I think they are not only incredibly helpful in giving you some simple tools that can make a big difference in processing what is happening in the world right now, but also––they are incredibly interesting if you are at all interested in psychology!
Here’s the description of the podcast:
In “The Happiness Lab” podcast, Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos will take you through the latest scientific research and share some surprising and inspiring stories that will forever alter the way you think about happiness. She’s changed the lives of thousands of people through her class “Psychology and the Good Life,” and she’ll change yours, too.
Quick-reference each bonus episode below. I recommend putting them on while on a walk, while you fold laundry, clean, etc. You’ll breeze through them quickly!
Episode one: Beat your loneliness:
Being physically isolated from the world doesn’t mean you have to suffer loneliness too.
Episode two: How to coach yourself through crisis
We all need to keep a clear head at times of crisis – but that’s not always easy. So when strong emotions of fear and anxiety start to cloud your judgement, turn to an effective and reassuring voice of reason… you. Ethan Kross of the University of Michigan Emotion and Self-Control Laboratory gives us concrete strategies on how to coach yourself so you can approach upsetting problems in a calmer and more reasoned way.
Episode three: Rising to a challenge
We always face problems and setbacks – but the virus has dramatically upended many of our lives in a few short weeks. Allowing sadness, anger or fear to dominate us does little to help. We should instead learn from the Greek Stoics – philosophers who embraced challenges with humor, grace and perspective. Bill Irvine (author of The Stoic Challenge: A Philosopher’s Guide to Becoming Tougher, Calmer, and More Resilient) explains some simple ways that you can train yourself to reduce negative emotions and put on your “game face” when you find obstacles in your path.
Episode four: Calm can be contagious
In normal times our minds can be filled with unhelpful thoughts, but during this crisis you might be finding it even harder to calm your anxious internal monologue. Meditation could be helpful. Dan Harris (host of the Ten Percent Happier podcast) had a panic attack while reading the news live on ABC – and found that meditating brought him a calm he’d never previously known. He tells Dr. Laurie Santos how we can all use simple meditations to help us and our families during the pandemic. The show includes a guided meditation from Dr. Santos.
If you haven’t been following along the Shedd’s Penguins during quarantine, you are in for a treat. Their account documents their penguins taking “field trips” around the museum, checking out the other exhibits, now that there are no people around!
Start a Gratitude journal
If you think the concept of a gratitude journal sounds mushy and woo woo, believe me, I get it. However, this is maybe the EASIEST way you can drastically improve your mindset right now. As my mom always told me growing up, “If you can’t change your situation, change your attitude” and it’s never been more true than right now. It’s easy to think life sucks and is unfair at the moment, but the truth is––there is so, so much to be grateful for.
An easy way to start being more grateful for what you have, vs. focusing on what you don’t, is with a gratitude journal. The Five Minute Journal is the one Neal and I both have! We write in it when we get up in the morning and before we go to bed. I notice a difference immediately upon writing in it in the morning. It re-frames my mood for the whole day.
But you don’t need a specific kind of journal to start practicing gratitude right now. This article lists a bunch of gratitude exercises that you can get started with today, and implement as part of your routine!
Half-baked Harvest’s Garlic Butter Ramen Noodles
I mean, talk about making over a pantry staple! As soon as I saw this recipe I knew we had to make it this week. Neal and I are both Top Ramen fanatics, so the idea of “fancy” Top Ramen was right up our alley. A comfort food and an easy 15 minute meal all wrapped up into one! Halfbaked Harvest is always a great resource for delicious recipes!
Going on a “complaint cleanse”
The Everygirl is one website that I love purposely getting lost in. I came across this old article that has never been more relevant than now! It’s an opinion piece on the concept of a “complaint cleanse”––AKA––not complaining––for one week. To quote the author’s learnings after her own “complaint cleanse”…
“The main thing I learned from a complaint cleanse was the difference between what’s worth it to voice and what wasn’t. If something can be fixed, like your spouse leaving dirty dishes in the sink, asking for a change or explaining what you don’t appreciate can actually make the situation better. But if traffic was bad that morning, there is no reason to complain about it to my coworkers. There’s nothing I can do to fix it, and it just takes up space that I could be thinking, “what a beautiful day it is outside,” or asking how their mornings were (oh yeah, other people have lives too!).”
The full article is definitely worth a read! Should we all do a complaint cleanse this week? What do you think?
This Bon Appetit piece celebrating tacky coffee mugs
Want a good, lighthearted chuckle? I read this ode to tacky coffee mugs in Bon Appetit this past week (Hooray!! Time to read magazines again!!) and I had to share. Want to know one of my favorite things about staying at someone else’s house? Seeing their selection of funny coffee mugs. You too?