Finding a Happy Place


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Hi Friends,

So…. things are scary out there. I don’t know about you but I keep oscillating between bookmarking articles on how to be “SO.MUCH.MORE.PRODUCTIVE!!!” and being a lazy blob who wants nothing more than to finish the entire packet of family sized oreos that mysteriously made it into our shopping cart. It’s been fascinating to watch my emotional range go from scared to mad to depressed to laughing to tired to hungry and back again. I’m at a point where I’ve had to limit my news and social media consumption because I couldn’t deal with all the information.

For those of you who may be joining me for the first time, I started this blog as a way to share some stories during my study abroad adventure. Now It’s a hodge podge of travel diaries, internet memes or whatever strikes my fancy at the moment. It’s not consistent or spell checked, but it’s a fun distraction for work & other life obligations. I have tried to stay away from anything to serious or political- I save those discussions for real life *aka FaceTime” with my most trusted friends and family.

While this pandemic continues, I want to emphasize in that now more than every we need to protect our mental health. I feel so guilty knowing that I’m incredibly lucky. I’m quarantined with my loving parents and husband. We all have our jobs and know when our next pay check is coming in. This is not the reality for so many. More than that, so many people have to go to work to fight the virus head on or support the infrastructure that allows so many of us to stay inside safely. I feel incredibly overwhelmed because I don’t feel like I can do anything, and that powerlessness is deafening.

I wanted to write this post in a small attempt to bring some light and silliness into the world. For the next week, I’m going to exclusively focus on good, distracting things BECAUSE I know you’re already getting daily dose of seriousness every time you turn on the phone or TV. Please no matter what take time for yourself. Like they say on airplanes, “put your oxygen mask on first.”

Stay safe as they say in every email I’ve gotten for the last two weeks, – A

Some Things to Keep Your Mind Occupied

My friend Monika wrote a great piece on spending a Sunday at home without any screen time. It’s a powerful and well-written piece on dealing with the virus.

One of my biggest bucket list destinations is Casa Azul (Frida Kahlo’s house in Mexico City. Vogue released a post with gorgeous pictures here.

Speaking of wanderlust, did you know that you can use Google Earth to take virtual “tours” of the different national parks? Here are the links to 33 National Parks. I loved the Arcardia, Bryce and Zion the most.

While I haven’t jumped on the optimized productivity schedule, I did love finding this post on the well-known children’s stories read in Spanish. It’s definitely helped my Spanish listening skills. But don’t worry anyone will enjoy hearing Los Tres Creditos (Three little pigs). If Spanish readings aren’t your thing, check out Christopher Walken reading Where the Wild Things Are. It just makes sense.

If childrens’ stories aren’t your thing, Condé Nast Travel put together a list of online Museum exhibits, symphonies and operas you can enjoy from home. I’ve personally have been streaming Carmen on in the background via Opera Vision.

If games are more your thing, Buzzfeed released a 21 games from your childhood that you can still play online. I’ll be honest, I don’t actually know many of these games, but it’s still been a good resource.

One small benefit of this crisis (looking for the silver linings here), is we’ve begun taking daily walks (in our deserted, rural neighborhood). If you can’t make it outside, I’ve used Blogilates – free pilates YouTube videos- in the past, as well as a lot of the Pop Sugar workouts. Both are free and a LOT of fun.

My favorite yoga instructor Jooin has been offering live yoga classes via Zoom. Jooin is the most incredible teacher. I have a problem with the white-washing of yoga – specifically how yoga as it’s often taught in the US is separated from its Indian roots. Jooin is an authentic practitioner, whose gentle yet simultaneously rigorous practice is my perfect antipode to stress release. She offers a donation based class, and you can find her schedule via her instagram at @themvmntbyjooin.

My all time favorite distraction is the Bon Appétit YouTube channel. The videos run from 10-40 minutes. They have episodes on “reverse engineering pop-tarts” to recreating a recipe just from taste to actual instructional videos, like how to make garlic ginger chicken. You don’t have to be a chef, or even want to cook to watch these videos. It’s an easy and light distraction, with honest, quirky chefs.

Have the number of Zoom meetings picked up for you? Here’s some tips to hide your background or apply that instagram filter.

My last fun, but semi-serious, is a link on how to make masks for medical professionals. The one piece of news that I’ve heard from my medical friends and families is that there are no more masks. I’m honestly not sure on the effectiveness of the DIY masks, but I’m currently in the mindset of “anything is better than nothing.”

That’s it for now. I hope this is helpful and a little comforting.

About Aheli Wanders

Aheli is the founder of Aheli Wanders, a blog she started in 2007. In addition to blogging (& dreaming about food), she is the Director of Product Management for tech startup. Aheli has traveled to over 37 different countries, and what feels like a million different restaurants. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband. She hopes to add “and dog” to her bio one day.

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