By the end of 2017 — a year that included a cross-country move, a career switch, and the purchase of my first house, sight unseen — I finally learned that an important part of wellness (at least for me) is figuring out how to stay organized. In line with that revelation, my best purchase of 2018 so far, other than a pair of insulated gloves and Trader Joe’s Cheese Puffs, has been a simple, 6-by-8 planner. My new planner has monthly and weekly calendars, lined pages for notes, and all sorts of cheesy surprises, like a sheet of stickers that say things like “Yes!” and “You Got This!” While I don’t foresee myself becoming a Marie Kondo-esque guru, I do find myself falling in love with the simple act of putting things on a to-do list — and then crossing that shit off with gusto.
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Re-stock TJ’s Cheese Puffs? One bag in my hand, three more in the pantry.
Find some great wellness-related writing for my column? “You Got This!”
Here are this week’s links:
Stress Relief Is In The Stars
I know very little about astrology; I’m as skeptical about it as I am about healing crystals. Yet, in these strange times, when Black Mirror episodes feel all too possible, young people are turning to things they would have previously shunned. As reported here, one such thing experiencing a revival is the practice of astrology. Do Millennials truly believe Mercury retrograde is responsible for their stress acne? Probably not, but there’s something comforting in accepting that the universe is ultimately in charge — especially when it feels like the world is run by rich guys and smartphone apps. [The Atlantic]
The Physical Toll Of Being Lonely
This piece is an overview of the loneliness epidemic affecting millions of people in Western cultures. At first glance, the term “epidemic” might seem a bit strong; admittedly, the paragraph about how the UK recently introduced a “Minister of Loneliness” made me wonder if someone has been reading too much Harry Potter. But it turns out that people who spend too much time by themselves are prone to more serious problems than overdoing it on sad-face emojis; loneliness is also associated with the onset of physical health issues including high blood pressure, insomnia, and inflammation. [Science of Us]
When Everything Sucks, Start Pedaling
In this lovely essay, writer Elaisha Stokes revisits a bleak time in her life: Her husband wanted a separation, her house renovation almost became a demolition, and the number on her bathroom kept climbing. So what do you do when things get shitty? Well, Stokes made a commitment to bike every single day. And, little by little, her circumstances started to change. The lesson here, though, is more universal: Find that one thing that gets you moving forward. [New York Times]
How To Get Your Muscles Back
“Where did all my muscles go?” is a question that I, personally, have never uttered. I suppose that’s because you can only lose muscles if you have them to begin with. But for those of you dealing with this conundrum — perhaps due to an injury or just a lapse in motivation — Esquire’s here to help you restore your body to its muscly glory. The good news? It’s a lot easier to re-strengthen muscle fibers than it is to bulk them up in the first place. So, go forth and get re-ripped. [Esquire]
An Unconventional Fix For Chronic Pain
Here’s an essay that explores how, in some cases, being open-minded can help improve a terrible situation. The writer, a former dancer, had chronic pain that even physical therapy, acupuncture, and cortisone injections couldn’t alleviate. It wasn’t until a friend recommended the services of an elderly woman in France — who happened to be missing most of her teeth and prone to shouting incoherent directions about pelvis positions — that the pain started to lessen its grip on her body. This is an inspiring and strangely relatable read. [Lenny Letter]