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Joy for the Week Ahead 30 March 2020


This new weekly “Joy for the Week Ahead” newsletter presents me with a challenge…how to keep it short and sweet so that I can make sure I get it out to you each week during this time of world crisis. Thank you for your kind emails of support. I feel you are all cheering me on so that I can do this one small thing! May it make a difference for someone, anyone, even a single person out there.

Here's my list for this week:

  • Free mental health support: stress, anxiety, depression. Sanvello is an app for your phone that uses proven techniques (such as cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation) to help walk people through difficult times. There are mood trackers, tools to develop skills for coping, various types of assessments, etc. Sanvello is actually covered by a lot of health plans, which is terrific! But right now during the pandemic, Sanvello's premium access is free. From their website: “The COVID-19 pandemic has us all grappling with how to navigate this difficult time and manage our mental health. There is much beyond our control, but there is one thing we can do at Sanvello—and that’s provide on-demand help with reducing stress and anxiety. To that end, premium access to Sanvello—all content, coping tools, and peer support—is completely free during the COVID-19 crisis. It’s effective immediately (no action required).”
  • Free yoga and workout apps. My yoga app of choice is Down Dog. It's customizable (I almost said flexible!) and works for those of us who aren't trying to win the world competitive yoga championship (I'm sure that's a thing, but NOT my thing!), but just want a kind, gentle stretch that pinpoints problem areas. Down Dog also has a few other apps that are more exercise-oriented. Right now they are all free.
  • The Austin 100. I feel terrible for all the musicians out there who have had to cancel and postpone shows due to the current situation. South by Southwest (SXSW), a huge festival that takes place in Austin, Texas every year, is a hugely influential global celebration of up-and-coming musicians. Pop Culture Happy Hour releases a 6-hour-long playlist every year of songs they feel represent the best of the best of SXSW. Even though SXSW '20 was cancelled, the playlist is here! Give it a listen and feel proud of how hip you are! You can find the playlist on both Spotify and Apple Music.
  • Live shows online. National Public Radio constantly updates a list of live musical performances online. With all the concerts being cancelled, this is our only way to watch live music right now.
  • A ridiculous selection of books for borrowing. This gem is courtesy of the English teacher who has taught all four of my kids and represents the very finest example of the teaching profession. Please check out the National Emergency Library. It was started by the Internet Archive, a vast database of books available for borrowing by anyone in the world. Just sign up for an account here. You can check out up to ten books at a time. The lending period is two weeks, but they've suspended the wait lists, so if you aren't finished with your book, just check it out again. I can't emphasize enough what a big deal this is. Students don't have to suffer. Teachers don't have to panic. And all of you wonderful people on my list can find something to read for free.
  • Regular dance parties on Instagram. Read here for a great article on DJ D-Nice's Instagram “Club Quarantine” dance parties. They're still going on, but you have to catch him live! You might end up joining Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah…they've all stopped by to try to dance away the stress! His playlist is also available on Spotify, a feel-good blend of dance, soul, and R&B. I've got it on right now, and it's great to have a playlist that's specifically curated for joy.

That is all for now! I have so many more things I can send out, but at this time of international panic, I want to give you a tightly curated list so that I don't just add random things to all the stuff you are getting in your inbox. Please have a safe, healthy week, and feel free to reach out any time. I'll talk to you again on Friday!

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