Relaxing

Three Shows You Should Be Watching

Relaxing

Need to unwind after a long day at the office?

If you haven’t been watching any of these must-see television shows, now is the time to start. I’ve seriously curtailed my TV viewing habits over the years, so only programs deemed worthy are making this list. While I have been a loyal fan of some shows for years, others are new to my line-up this season…and so far, I can’t get enough.

Scandal: I started watching this one from the very beginning (and we are now in Season 6). As a long-time follower of Grey’s Anatomy, I have been a huge Shonda Rhimes fan for years (the producer of both shows, in case you don’t know). Add in that the show is set in Washington, DC—my home during college—and I was hooked. Each week I tune in to watch Olivia Pope’s character (Kerry Washington) be the ultimate #Girlboss, as she seamlessly navigates the scandalous world of DC politics—all while looking impeccable.

Imposters: This new scripted Bravo feature quickly grabbed my attention and hasn’t let go since. Although it requires a fair degree of artistic license on the viewer’s part, there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you glued to your couch…and coming back week after week. The central theme revolves around a con artist named Maddie who marries her “marks” and steals all of their money. Unfortunately for Maddie, we are starting to see the tables turn as her last three marks have found one another and are determined to track her down based on the limited things they learned about her from their brief marriages. The plot is getting more sophisticated, so if you haven’t watched, now is a good time to catch up.

Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce: This is another Bravo scripted show, and while it has been on the air for a few seasons, it has recently piqued my interest with the addition of new characters. Abby McCarthy is a writer living in Los Angeles who is trying to balance various activities—navigating life as a divorced woman, single parenting, dating after divorce, and managing an unstable career. Abbie and her group of girlfriends give life to the term “girl squad.” This is a great show to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and binge-watch!

*Image via PicLab Studio

Monday Mantra: Take Care

Long Island Sunset

The last few weeks have felt endless. Despite being busy at work—my looming thyroid testing next month has been weighing heavily on me. Since my antithyroglobulin levels began rising in November, the last three months of “watchful waiting” have been especially difficult. It has taken all of my energy to prevent my mind from wandering to worst-case scenario situations. But I finally built up the courage to schedule the appointments for the neck ultrasound and blood work. So now I have to endure these next two weeks before learning my fate.

I’ve tried my best to keep my mind occupied with writing and my body active with kickboxing. But I’ve also felt myself craving more down time—to relax, rest, and recharge. I find myself feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day for “me”. By the time I get home from work, eat something, peruse social media, and take a shower, it’s usually about midnight. But those late nights have caught up with me in the form of a nasty caffeine dependency (caffeine withdrawal is no joke, ya’ll) and just overall exhaustion—irrespective of how much I try to catch up on sleep over the weekend.

While I may not know what the future holds for my health, I do know that I need to slow down in the present. That might mean declining offers I would normally say yes to or skipping a workout here and there. But just like we make schedules for the things we need to get done in our lives, we also need to schedule timeouts for our lives.

How do you take time out of your busy week for yourself?

30 Days of Mindful Meditation

30 Days of Mindful Meditation

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I’ve taken up meditation. I’ve never tried meditation on its own — but rather as part of yoga classes. Like most people, I have a lot on my daily to-do list…and also on my mind. While I’m normally good at compartmentalization and breaking things down into smaller more digestible tasks, sometimes I feel like my mind is at capacity.

That was certainly the case last week. My mind struggled to cope with the pace I had set for it, and as a result it took a toll on my body. In thinking of ways to calm my mind and body down, I grabbed my iPhone and downloaded a meditation app. Calm offers a free seven day daily meditation practice, which has really helped me connect to my breath.

Since I am a novice at meditation, I often find my mind wandering during the practice and returning to things that happened earlier in the day. Meditation has taught me that it’s okay to let your mind wander — it’s what the mind naturally does. Through meditation, I hope to learn how to quiet my mind when necessary (like right before bed), and how to handle stressful situations better without having them affect my whole body. So far, I’ve enjoyed doing my practice right before bed and have found that it has helped me get to sleep faster while sleeping sounder through the night.

I’m looking forward to continuing my meditation practice and trying some other apps. Next month, look for another post documenting my 30-day journey!

I’d love to hear any tips or suggestions you have for me, and feel free to join me on this journey. Have you ever tried meditation? Are there any apps you recommend?

Counting the Clouds

Clouds

Over Memorial Day weekend, I did something I haven’t done in years. No, I’m not talking about returning all of my recent purchases, skipping the trip to get ice cream, or beginning to tackle my lengthy to-do list that I swore to myself I would start. What I did was simple — it involved no money or material things.

While catching up with a friend and spending some time in the good old outdoors with her dog, I laid in the grass and just looked up at the sky. It may sound silly, but it is something I used to do as a child. Remember those days? When life was easier and the highlight was getting to play tag with your friends after school? I miss those days. And while sitting on the beach comes close to evoking the same feelings, there was something about laying on the grass and watching the sparse cloud pattern that brought back a certain peace for me. I could have stayed there for hours — my face under the warm, bright sun and my hands gliding over the sharp blades of grass. In those moments under the sky, I let my mind go blank and my thoughts wander. It was probably one of the most relaxing things I have done, and yet I never would have thought to do it as an adult.

So, now that another weekend is upon us, how will you choose to unwind from the week? Even if it is only a few minutes, do one thing that brings you joy. See an old friend you’ve been meaning to call, spend some time reading that book you’ve been reaching for, or do nothing but watch the clouds pass.

Whatever you do, I hope you have a great weekend!