Issue #317 - May 12, 2023
A weekly dose of comfort for your inbox with musings on and recommendations for downtime.
Stay close. Image source: @hana.katoba

Happy Friday,

Last week, we asked a question: What is something useful/life-changing you learned in therapy? Your responses were heartfelt, heartwarming, and seriously inspiring. We’re sharing a few below, plus Mother’s Day brunch staples, new tunes, and more goodness to inspire your weekend. Hope you get to enjoy some beautiful spring weather. xoxo— Aliza Abarbanel, executive editor

This cake is breakfast-approved. Image source: Bon Appetit

This Week's Picks

Curated this week by Aliza Abarbanel

BAKE: Devouring this creamy, custardy rhubarb cake from baking queen Claire Saffitz is one of my favorite spring traditions. It would be a great centerpiece for a Mother’s Day brunch, but equally welcome for an everyday treat.

READ: My latest library acquisition is A Recipe for More: Ingredients for a Life of Abundance and Ease by “pleasure doula” Sara Elise. In the spirit of adrienne maree brown, it’s a guide to dismantling systems of scarcity and cultivating joy, presence, and play.

DANCE: Lately, my entire life has been soundtracked by Avalon Emerson’s new album & The Charm. It’s sweet electro-pop, perfect for getting ready in the morning or grooving while cooking dinner.

SIP: We’re living in the golden age of canned cocktails, and these new ones from Talkhouse, a long-time family-owned music venue in the Hamptons, taste like they’ve been mixed right at a bar—no weird sugars or aluminum aftertaste. 10/10, would sip a grapefruit tequila soda on my stoop again.

LISTEN: Meditative Story is a podcast blending mindfulness, music, and immersive storytelling for exceedingly calm results. Faves include: Morgan Harper Nichols on exploring the unknown and Robin Arzón on moments of transformation.

CLICK: Peek inside GNI founder Alisha Ramos’s wellness bag—think: staples for busting insomnia and sweet, sweet allergy relief—via her feature on wellness publication The Nessie.

GIFT: Between graduation season, Mother’s Day, and Taurus season, I’m deep in gifting mode. Everyone is getting custom matchbooks, a very cute idea I scored via Tremont Home, because why should restaurants be the only places with personalized merch? (Her own templates for custom designs are very chic.) Bonus: I get to collect one from everyone I gift ‘em to.

This week's Sponsor:

The Great Outdoors, Even Greater

From towering trees in Yosemite to the dreamy, red caverns in Utah’s Zion National Park, our summer bucket list is full of destinations that make the most of Mother Nature. But wanting to build a deeper connection with nature doesn’t mean you need to sleep on the ground. 

If you’re more of a glamper than a camper, AutoCamp offers ultra cute cabins, Airstream trailers, and luxe tents in coveted destinations like Joshua Tree, the Catskills, the Russian River, and Cape Cod. It’s kinda like a cross between a campground and a boutique hotel, and very much a good vibe. Each location is aimed at cultivating community (a.k.a. making new friends), centered around communal fire pits, lounge areas, and activities. There’s a well-stocked general store for grill kits and snacks, a full bar, and even wifi. Plus: Special summer events like outdoor movies, morning yoga, and nighttime live music. Think of it like summer camp, but for adults. Use code "GNI20" for 20% off your booking.

Take a deep breath. Image source: @rooovie

The Best Things We Learned in Therapy

May is Mental Health Awareness month, and while we’re always thinking about taking care of ourselves and our loved ones, it’s an extra-good opportunity for reflection. We’re grateful that so many of you took the time to email us with your learnings from therapy! Read on for a selection of advice, ruminations, and more.—Aliza

I'm my own worst critic, and often judge myself and hold myself to a much higher (unreasonable) standard than others. My therapist asked me if I would ever think or say those things to or about my best friend—and no, I wouldn't. Extending that same kindness and compassion to myself still takes work, but it helps to think of it as being a good friend to myself.—Cass C

The most useful/life-changing thing I learned in therapy is doing the "gratitude ABCs" to help with falling asleep. Lay in bed with the lights off and start saying the ABCs in your mind, but for each letter, think of something that you are truly grateful for. These don't need to be big things. Mine usually goes like this: "A is for air, B is for bacon, C is for cats, D is for dogs..." It focuses your brain just enough that it stops ruminating BUT it's not so focused that you get sucked into it. I'm usually out by the letter H.—Bobbi-Sue DH

You deserve someone who didn’t have to lose you to realize how amazing you are 💗—Katie S

The most mind-blowing lesson I learned when first starting: Emotions are not good or bad—they just are. Once I wrapped my head around that concept, it was a lot easier to focus on my actions instead of feeling guilty because I was angry, sad, or scared.—Renu K

"What are you doing to contribute to your own unhappiness?" My best friend quotes this line from her therapist nearly every week. Are you drinking enough water? Getting in some movement every day? Eating a vegetable? Are you getting enough sleep? Have you been isolating yourself because it sounds easier than socializing? A lot of times we let the basics slip even though we know they help improve our mental state and hopefully let us tackle life with a bit more energy.—Issa N

Thank yourself every week for things that you did well. Recognize it and write it down!—Jennifer H

Recently, my therapist explained to me that burnout occurs when we don’t properly process and release the emotions that come with daily stress. To combat this, my therapist recommended finishing emotional cycles of stress at the end of the day by doing something like taking a walk, exercising, engaging in creative outlets, or spending time with loved ones. These activities signal to the body that it's safe to relax and can help reduce the impact of long-term stress.—Jess T

"I can't stop the waves, but I can learn how to surf." My therapist explained it like this: You can't stop anxious feelings from coming, but you can learn how to live with them. To me, this quote means that my anxiety isn't going to stop anything bad from happening, but I can trust myself that I will be strong enough to get through things that do end up coming my way.—Lauren M

Here are the 3 best pieces of advice I learned from my experience receiving cognitive behavior therapy as a subject in a research study on general social anxiety:

1) Literally no one cares as much about the way you look/sound/act/etc. as much as you do.
2) Pretty much nothing is as bad as you imagine it will be.
3) Every single time you face your fears and anxieties, they get easier and less scary.

I'm sure this doesn't all apply to everyone, but as a person that felt very uncomfortable in my own skin for a long time, especially around others, this advice changed my life.—Eliza L

It's okay to admit you need help. You aren't less of a person because you need therapy, and you don’t have to be severely depressed. Sometimes you just need to talk to or get advice from someone who can offer you some outsider perspective. Therapy is for everyone.—Kaitlyn D

Tea time. Image source: @charlottebland

This Week's Reads

Behind the Scenes at the Westminster Dog Show (New York Times *gift link*). Just a bunch of adorable dog photos.

Liz Holmes Wants You to Forget About Elizabeth (New York Times *gift link). A can’t-look-away profile of the disgraced Theranos founder’s latest pivot into motherhood.

Color, Culture, and Celia D. Luna (The Bitter Southerner). Riveting photos and interviews with a photographer documenting the “Cholitas Bravas,” Indigenous women killing it in Bolivia as skaters, luchadoras, and more.

I Learned to Talk Less and Listen More (Shondaland). Advice on slowing down and practicing active listening to build better relationships.

Craft Beer’s “Drink Me If You Dare” Aesthetic Is Over (PUNCH). A fun, design-focused meditation on how metal-inspired beer can graphics channeling exclusivity have been replaced by sleek, minimalist cans. 

Please note: Some of these reads may be under paywalls depending on your reading habits! We believe quality journalism is worth paying for, and strive to offer gifted links when available.

This newsletter may contain affiliate links, which means when you buy through the link, we might get a cut. We only recommend products we believe in or are thinking about a lot. Sponsored content is clearly marked as "Sponsor." Thank you so much for your support!

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