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Joy for the Week Ahead 4 May 2020


It's May! Here in New England, the news is still grim. In some of the less populated areas, it never got that bad, but my friends in the Boston area are still struggling. My heart goes out to everyone out there who has been knocked off their footing by the pandemic. If you are feeling sad, anxious, and wondering when this will end, I hope that I can help by providing some useful information and distraction every Monday.

Here are a few tidbits from all over the internet over the past few days.

  • Free masks. Dhvani is an athletic wear company that decided to use its production capacity to produce hundreds of millions of masks. If you sign up, they'll send you one for free. The mask initiative is funded by donations, so they ask for donations if you are able to give, but no donation is required. They have an explanatory video on their free mask initiative page. Note, if you are a healthcare worker, they will send you a medical grade mask!
  • Massive yoga resource. I've recommended a few workout and yoga apps and YouTube channels, but I hadn't heard of this one: Do Yoga With Me. It's a huge site, with a membership option if you want access to premium content, but also a lot of free material. The members-only videos are designated by a “+” sign in the corner. Right now, they are offering two months free if you want to try them out and see if the membership is worth it. They also offer guided meditations and challenges to spice things up. My favorite (maybe because I'm such a beginner!) remains Yoga With Adriene, which is free on YouTube and organized under categories such as “Yoga Practices by Length,” “Yoga for Beginners,” “Yoga for Back Pain,” etc. But if you're an experienced yogi, then you might want something with more variety and with built-in community. If so, try the Do Yoga With Me site.
  • My first Dr. Becky YouTube channel recommendation. If you are interested in space, stars, planets, and anything to do with astronomy or astrophysics, this is the channel for you! It's also a great channel for precocious science-oriented kids. Dr. Becky Smethurst is an Oxford astrophysicist with a fascinating and busy YouTube channel, on subjects like black holes, stars, and the meaning of Brian May's doctoral dissertation (yes, Brian May of the group Queen!). Science professionals who are also fantastic educators are so hard to find. We have a couple of powerful telescopes and have always loved star-gazing, so I'll be bookmarking this channel.
  • My second Dr. Becky YouTube channel recommendation. This YouTube channel is completely different from the previous Dr. Becky channel! This one is from Dr. Becky Gillaspy, whose specialty is diet, health, and weight loss, especially for people after the age of fifty. Are you feeling the physical effects of lockdown as weight gain, snacking, or unhealthy eating in general? Dr. Becky has videos on stress eating, boosting the immune system, and how to use tools such as low-carb eating and intermittent fasting to train your body to burn fat.
  • Drawing as therapy. I've always wanted to learn to draw better. My mind is very visual, and I often feel that if I drew my thoughts I would be able to make better sense of them. I'm a photographer, but using photos as note-taking is cumbersome. Ingrid Lill is a business consultant who uses illustration to help her clients brainstorm and create visual branding; she also runs weekly open drawing classes on Zoom, and offers a free drawing mini-course.
  • Live streams and virtual concerts to watch. Brought to you by Billboard Magazine, this list is updated frequently. Check out the May 15 Instagram/Facebook live concert for 2020 graduates who have had their graduations canceled. Oprah Winfrey is the commencement speaker!
  • Last but not least. If you are looking for something amazing to watch for a couple of hours straight, try this: Take Me to the World, a Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration. All the greats are performing from their lockdown locations…Neil Patrick Harris, Sutton Foster, Lin Manuel Miranda, and the list goes on. Donate if you can, relax and enjoy the amazing talent of these performing professionals even if you can't.

I'm sorry that this list comes out so late in the day on Mondays. I work really hard on it all day Monday and I'd love to have it available earlier in the day for you so that it is truly a positive start to your week, but this is what I can manage! Please send me your suggestions–have you seen something amazing recently anywhere on the ‘net? This is the best way for all of us to connect right now, so if you've found a joyful internet gem, please share!

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