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My friends, I hope you are well. Now that we’re firmly into Week 6 of social distancing, isolation, and/or quarantine, you may be feeling the cracks start to show in your motivation or mental wellness. I shared here more of my thoughts about using this time to be productive and develop new skill sets (spoiler: I don’t necessarily think it’s the right time to be putting additional pressure on yourself, if doing your best right now simply looks like surviving), but I do feel strongly that it’s more essential than ever to focus on your own personal wellness.

Tons of companies are offering resources for communities who are in quarantine and struggling because of the current Coronavirus-inflicted reality – some free, some discounted – and I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite free options that are meant to encourage and support health of mind, body, and spirit. I hope you’ll take advantage of any that may benefit you during this time, and if there are others that you want to share with the rest of the Femme-Brain community, please drop them in the comments below!

  • Audible Stories for Kids and Families – a great resource for kids and families during this time to stay engaged with one another through story telling (if you’re looking for an option to keep your kids away from screens, this could be a great option for creating Library Story Time at home).
  • The Science of Well-Being, offered by Yale – a free online course on the Science of Well-Being, “designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits”, according to Coursera, the hosting service. I’ve had several friends complete the course and loved the easy to follow and apply guidance.
  • MUSE scholarly content – tons of notable academic institutions have made their journals available to the public at no cost to help support teaching, learning, and knowledge discovery. Even if you’re not looking for any heavy academia at this time, there are some incredible articles on anything from Mediterranean cooking to Advertising to Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Worth a perusal!
  • Headspace for NY-ers – if you’re a NYC local, Headspace is offering free service for mental health and wellness support during this uncertain time.
  • Free Yoga & Pilates through Down Dog Yoga and Yoga by Adriene – two really great options for yoga and pilates that you can stream for free anytime, anywhere.

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Want to know a random fact? During this quarantine period, the open internet has seen a greater than 35% spike in traffic across all of the different screens that you can access internet by (think: cell phone, laptop/desktop, internet connected TV/gaming console, tablet, etc.) – we’re reading more articles, watching more videos, and surfing more sites than ever before. But, there’s one medium that has actually seen less user traffic than before the shelter-in-place orders – Audio! Fewer people are commuting, which means that we’re not tuning in to as many of our playlists and podcasts as we normally would. The good news for us is that content creators are NOT taking a break and there is a ton of incredible content still being produced. I’m a huge fan of podcasts – motivational, news/opinion, true crime, humor, all of it – and have rounded up 5 of the best episodes I’ve listened to recently that have helped me to keep perspective, hope, gratitude, and an energy of positivity in the current climate.

  1. The Art of Possibility (The Entreleadership Podcast)- this is one of my most favorite podcast episodes ever. The message is so beautiful and listening to Benjamin Zander’s correlation between music and life gently and artfully provokes deep and meaningful reflection on the world of possibility around us.
  2. Brené on Anxiety, Calm + Over/Under-Functioning (Unlocking Us with Brené Brown) – if you are struggling with anxiety during this uncertain time, you are not alone. Brené addresses “day-to-day” anxiety and helps unpack the patterns and habits we employ to deal with anxiety and how to cultivate a calm practice. I could listen to Brené’s calming voice all day and the message in this episode, in particular, is so powerful in times of anxiety.
  3. Grateful Expectations (The Happiness Lab) – everything about this episode I loved. It’s relatively quick and to the point but offers really interesting data points into how the practice of gratitude manifests itself in positive ways, the ripple effect of gratitude, and ideas for how to create a culture of gratitude at work or at home. I also loved the concept of “Resume Virtues” vs. “Eulogy Virtues” they discuss – listen to learn more!
  4. How to Make Meetings Less Terrible (Freakonomics Radio) – whether you’re working from an office or remotely, this episode offers a great conversation on how to create a culture of impactful meetings that respect the stakeholders’ time and elicit ownership and buy-in over the meeting agenda and take-aways. Every person who works on or with a team that holds meetings should listen!
  5. What Success Really Means with John Maxwell (Rise Podcast with Rachel Hollis) – John Maxwell isn’t one of the best selling authors of all time on the topics of self-growth and leadership for no reason. This episode is filled with amazing little nuggets of wisdom and perspectives on how to orient yourself toward true success – spoiler alert, that may not look like what you think it does. I found myself taking notes throughout the episode.

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