Photo credit: Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall in Barbados by Wally McNamee
How are you doing out there? Given the current circumstances, I’ve been doing alright for the most part. That’s in no small part due to (1) journaling on the daily and (2) seeking out “brain food.” If I am consuming, processing and experiencing new information, I’m less likely to be gnawing on the bone of concern. And no, I am not talking about going down the rabbit hole of obsessing over the news or endless scrolling (though admittedly I find myself doing both of those occasionally, too.)
One of my tried-and-true antidotes for simmering anxiety is to find a diversion - not to be confused with distractions, which just pile on more static. I’m not promising a full reboot, but a good diversion can shift perspective and get you focused on something (anything!) different. A small reset is a big win.
For this installment of “AllSwell Reads” I’ve provided a list of some of my recent finds, things that brought me pleasure and gave my mind something interesting to focus on that was new. This particular newsletter should really be called “AllSwell Read-Watch-Do-Taste-Listen” because this is definitely a multidisciplinary round-up. All are available for you to enjoy from the comfort of your couch - though I hope some may inspire you to get up and out there.
Learn a little and you might just think differently. Read on, be diverted and enjoy...
Photo credit: Jennifer Chase
From public housing to Per Se, this is a highly readable story of personal transformation and creative achievement. It will also probably make you very hungry.
Photo credit: ANL/REX/Shutterstock
Before they were pop they were punk. The Go-Go’s wrote all their own music and partied like the big boys. They also smashed music industry taboos and set new records while racking up hit after hit. It almost made us want to cut bangs (we didn’t).
Photo Credit: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas film still, director Colin Higgins
Whether or not you’re a Dolly fan, there’s a lot to appreciate and enjoy in this 6-part podcast series. And it’s remarkably timely, touching on current “ism” topics from a uniquely Dolly perspective, including feminism (episode 2), patriotism (episode 5) and even transcendentalism (our favorite, episode 4).
Photo credit: Malike Sidibe
Okay, so we don’t have access to all of our usual outlets for happiness. Time to get creative and find your joy/s where you can, how you can. Like this guy who converted the stretch of avenue in front of his New York City apartment building into a perch for fly casting.
Photo credit: Bettmann/Getty Images
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: pleasure is underrated. And now we have the Swiss (of all people) to thank for empirically proving the benefits of hedonism. So you can enjoy your diversions guilt-free. They’re good for you.
Photo credit: Unknown
Speaking of hedonism, we’ve been mixing up cocktails on the regular over here at AllSwell HQ (AKA Laura’s pad in Malibu) as creative inspiration for our “Stirred Sessions” series of :30 journaling workshops on IGTV. If tequila and mezcal are in regular rotation in your home bar, you’ll particularly appreciate Ivy Mix’s beautiful book, which provides an engaging deep dive into the cultural background of the spirits. Know what you drink. You’ll appreciate those delicious beverages that much more for it.
Photo Credit: Badlands film still, director Terrence Malick
Brain feeling mushy? You’re not alone. When in doubt go for a walk. The particular cadence of walking, this article educates, facilitates a creative boost. Moreover, “Walking on a regular basis also promotes new connections between brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that both stimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them.” Bring on the new neurons, because we’re sure we’ve lost a bunch of them this year.