These five aromas will perk you up in a pinch.
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As the weather warms up and our energy levels increase, it can be a great time to reevaluate our intentions for the year. My favorite way to press the reset button? Podcasts. By creating an atmosphere of growth and learning, I can tune into some added wellness inspiration to boost my happiness in a big way.
Start your mental spring cleaning with these six inspiring podcasts, each of which explores different components of wellness. The best part? You can listen to them while doing other good-for-you activities, like finding your zen in yoga, going for a walk, meal prepping, or during your evening skincare routine.
Launched last year, this newer podcast already has me hooked. Hurry Slowly tackles the great struggle around having enough time. Host Jocelyn K. Glei offers thoughtful advice on how to boost productivity, concentration, and creativity while reducing stress. The secret? Slowing down, occasionally unplugging from our devices, getting outside, and paying attention to our surroundings. Paired with insightful interviews with psychologists, researchers, and other thought leaders, Glei’s astute observations are definitely worth a listen.
A self-described “happiness bully,” best-selling author Gretchen Rubin and her co-host/sister, Elizabeth Craft, discuss happiness hacks for everyday life. From creating weekly phone dates with your best friend to setting aside a “power hour” to get all your errands done ASAP, these ladies will have you rethinking your routine. Each episode contains easy, try-this-at-home tips to create lasting healthy habits, how-to’s for habit change, and ways to tackle difficult problems based on your personality type. When you need a little motivation to get more sleep, eat better, procrastinate less, or make time for fun (who doesn’t?), this one’s for you!
Another star newcomer is Well Now, by natural wellness brand Saje and hosted by Meghann Shantz. Focused on empowering listeners to take control of their health and advocate for themselves, Well Now is opening the dialogue between traditional and alternative medicine. With personal stories as well as conversations with doctors, wellness practitioners, and integrative medicine experts, Well Now explores root causes, treatment options, and alternative perspectives on a variety of health-related topics, from anxiety to antibiotics. This podcast highlights the undeniable connection between mental health and physical well-being.
After suffering a panic attack on live TV, ABC news anchor Dan Harris turned to meditation to help heal the underlying causes of his anxiety. Initially a skeptic, his experience was transformative and led him to write a book, create this podcast, and develop an app, all called 10% Happier. Determined to bring meditation into the mainstream, Harris’ conversations with everyone from the Dalai Lama to RuPaul provide relatable advice and useful tools for how to reap the benefits of mindfulness and to create a meditation practice for yourself—even if it’s just one minute a day.
This one tugs at your emotional heartstrings and really makes you think. Before the success of her memoir Wild, Cheryl Strayed was “Sugar,” the anonymous author of an advice column in which she answered letters from readers struggling with issues, from heartbreak and family drama to gender identity and financial problems. Strayed and co-host Steve Almond read select letters aloud, offering heartfelt, non-judgmental, and deeply insightful advice with an incredible sense of humor. When you need a little perspective on your own obstacles, Dear Sugar is the antidote.
Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat Pray Love fame) adapted her most recent book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, into this inspiring podcast. If you’ve ever started a creative project and gotten stuck halfway—or maybe have been too scared to get started at all—Magic Lessons is your answer. Each episode, Gilbert speaks with a listener who is struggling with their creativity, offers her wisdom, and then calls on fellow writers, artists, and musicians for further insight into the creative process. She gives her protégées “homework assignments” to help them get unstuck and move past their fears, all with her signature wit and nurturing encouragement.
Whether you want a little pick-me-up or need some healthy habit hacks, there’s a wellness podcast for that. Plug in your headphones and turn the volume up on some inspirational (and realistic) insight!
I’m celebrating week 21 of pregnancy. Baby is the size of a banana or bell pepper. I don’t know why it’s so fun to compare a growing fetus to a fruit or veggie, but it gives me a much-needed laugh while I make note to avoid consuming bananas for the week. This is also ultrasound week. I’m no longer able to bring my husband and daughter to the appointment, but we understand that these restrictions are put in place to protect us. Like so many pregnant women and mothers across the world, I’m doing my best to adapt to the new norm and changes that COVID-19 has introduced to my already stressful life.
Pregnant women across various metro cities are beginning to face fears of delivering their baby without a birthing partner by their side for the duration of the hospital stay. Family members and friends may not be able to meet baby in-person for quite some time, so those special first meetings happen over FaceTime. New mommy groups switch to virtual meetups. I’m feeling the weight of it all (and I’m not referring to the extra weight I’ve gained from WFH snacking), the heaviness of the unknown that we all carry as we navigate through all of this change.
Tuning into nightly news or googling the latest COVID-19 death tolls is a surefire way to lose sleep, but we do it anyway because we want to stay informed as we wrap our heads around how much this pandemic will change our world. Maybe your anxiety and personal despair grow as you hear from a friend who recently lost their job or read about your favorite restaurant unable to keep its doors open. Canceled events, long-anticipated vacations, and temporarily closed fitness studios are not only inconvenient, but force us to reframe our attitudes.
I can hear my mother’s voice telling me to relax. She tells me that the baby can feel my stress, and that isn’t good for anyone. I begin to feel guilty about my inability to quiet the negative feelings and decide that something needs to change. We can’t change what the media reports, the pressure at work, or predict how long it will take for the economy to recover. But what if we reminded ourselves to do the best with what we have and keep moving forward—one day at a time. Amidst the chaos, we’re becoming a stronger, kinder community, and that is truly a beautiful thing to see.
The journey to my second trimester wasn’t an easy one. I suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage a few years ago. I made time for my body and mind to heal after the loss. Float tank sessions, meditation, vinyasa power flow, and frequent facials helped me connect with my body. I can’t say self-care alone healed my depression, but it certainly helped me discover the importance of self-love and repaired my self-confidence.
After many pregnancy tests and negative results, I was at peace with accepting that having another child may not be in the cards for me. Fast forward to age 37. I was shocked to see a + symbol on three pregnancy stick tests. Although I’m medically referred to as a geriatric pregnancy, my OB/Gyn said there was no reason for me to go into this pregnancy with a negative mindset. Eat healthy, stay active, and focus on being POSITIVE. Maybe the pursuit of happiness and path to personal wellness was really that simple.
On my 38th birthday, I celebrated my 20th week of pregnancy—I’ll refer to it as the “Pregnant in a Pandemic Party.” I blew out a candle on a warm chocolate chip cookie that my husband and daughter baked together. They were my only party guests, but I didn’t need a room full of people at a fancy restaurant to feel pure gratitude. People across the world continue to test positive for COVID-19. I was safe in my home with my family. I was right where I needed to be.
Although the past few weeks have brought a wide range of emotions for all of us, I’m choosing to use this extra time to self-reflect and bond with family. I’m mentally recording my five-year-old daughter as she whispers to my stomach and tells her baby sister that August couldn’t come soon enough. This is life. So perfectly imperfect at times, but beautiful in more ways than we know. We may be housebound, down to the last few rolls of toilet paper, and our hair hasn’t seen a salon in over a month. The loss of control and routine over our daily lives can make us feel like failures. Trust me; we’re not. We were never meant to get through this alone. Together, we will get through this—one day at a time.