After forcing us to spend the last (almost) two years in some form of socially distanced lockdown, the pandemic has changed the way we live forever — from our work environment to our social lives to the way we wind down and take care of ourselves. More than ever before, people understand the importance of slowing down and of doing things for them.
If you ask us, this holiday season is the perfect time to practice a little self-love — because there’s no better way to end the year than by doing (or buying) things that makes us feel good and that ease our feelings of stress and anxiety. And if you’re anything like us, you have found some sort of comfort (and escape) in media and self-care. We’re talking TV shows, podcasts, books, newsletters and — yessss — self-indulging treats.
From binge-worthy series that will make you feel all the feels to podcast titles that will guide you through the toughest moments of parenting to the comfiest slippers ever, here’s a list of things that will help your mind flee, even if just for an hour, and help you hit the reset button right before 2022.
Going There, by Katie Couric ~ $19
Salacious and sweet, this Katie Couric tell-all is a true page-turner. Listen to it on Audible to hear her narrate it herself — even better! ~ Marissa
You Were Born for This, Chani Nicholas ~ $16
This book is a great primer for astrology newbies who’d like to know a little bit more about themselves and their potentials. Going over our sun, moon and rising signs (and how they all interact with one another), Chani Nicholas’s book offers a portal to self-discovery and self-acceptance. ~ Charlene
The One and Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate ~ $6
This book has been out for more than a decade, but I just discovered it — I recently finished reading this out loud with my kindergartener and it was so fun to enjoy together. It’s beautifully written, introspective, and overall such a touching story. ~ Brit
A Podcast with no goals and soooo many jokes. In SmartLess, Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett make us feel like we’re just hanging out with them to chat about everything and anything. Surprise: each podcast features a mystery guest that only one of the hosts knows about (!). ~ Charlene
We Can Do Hard Things podcast
I’m a bit obsessed with author Glennon Doyle (if you haven’t read Untamed, do yourself a favor and get it!). She hosts this podcast with her wife, Abby Wambach, and sister, Amanda. Each episode is like having intimate conversations with your best friends about HARD THINGS, sprinkled with a serious dose of humor, humility and a whole lot of “feel-good” vibes. ~ Marissa & Readers
Dr. Becky’s podcast (one of her many guidance offerings) is one of the most impactful podcasts for parents who are after tangible and effective tools to raise strong, confident children with compassion. Quick and to the point, Good Inside provides practical tips and tricks that will help you navigate the most challenging parts of parenthood. Dr. Becky also provides workshops on various topics and a weekly newsletter, and her IG page is filled with practical strategies in video format.
The ultimate feel good show of 2021 — Ted Lasso is warm and hilarious and charming and filled with optimism and real emotions. If you’re not familiar with the premise yet: a small football team coach from Kansas, played brilliantly by Jason Sudeikis, is hired to coach a professional soccer team in England… despite knowing absolutely nothing about soccer. ~ Charlene & Readers
Based on a true story, this limited series tackles emotional domestic abuse and the hardships of female poverty — and in doing so, it is both powerful and, many times, not easy to watch. Real-life mom-and-daughter duo, Andy McDowell and Margaret Qualley, are phenomenal. ~ Charlene & Readers
Only Murders in The Building
Are you obsessed with true crime series? If so, you will enjoy this show, which follows three strangers who share a love for true crime and find themselves wrapped up in one. The character dynamic between Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez is unique, and the humor pitch-perfect. ~ Charlene
Following the sexual (mis)adventures of a group of teenagers from all walks of life, Sex Education is honest, non-judgmental and colorful. It does not treat sex with kids gloves and takes on toxic masculinity by making room for its male protagonists to show their vulnerabilities fully and without stigma. The series, which has 3 seasons, gets better and better, and you’ll undoubtedly get attached to the characters (all of them). ~ Charlene
A newsletter crafted by Kaity Velez and Jessica Pallay (“two gestationally geriatric friends learning how to get older”), About Time talks about all things hormones, aging, relationships, and all the awesome, not-so awesome and weird things that happen once you turn 40 (including missing periods and the impossible quest of finding underwear made for the 40-and-over ladies among us). ~ Charlene
Can’t quite keep up with all the news out there? Tangle summarizes the best arguments from across the political spectrum, all packaged nicely in an independent, non-partisan email. Readers say it is “reflective, nuanced and self-aware.” ~ Meg
Not Safe For Mom Groups
A stigma-free community where moms can express their rawest thoughts and ask their most pressing questions, without judgment. You’ll get to be part of conversations that push the boundaries usually attributed with motherhood — right in your inbox. ~ Charlene
What The Elle, by Ellevest
A newsletter dedicated to money and career for women? YES, PLEASE!! What The Elle by Ellevest will send you everything you need to manage your money and career — from tips and advice from experts to the latest news in the financial world and so much more. ~ Charlene
Self-Care and Self-Gifts
Beautycounter Think Big All-in-One Mascara ~ $27
No exaggeration — this is THE best mascara I have ever tried. It actually does what every other mascara claims: thickens and lengthens lashes. Bonus: it’s ingredients are clean and nourishing. ~ Marissa
Colorfulkoala Leggings ~ $29
Better than Lululemon – although I love them too 😉 – Colorfulkoala makes an AMAZING legging! At $29, you’ll want to buy all the prints! Just make sure to get their 75% polyester/25% spandex blend (stay away from nylon, in my opinion that style doesn’t feel as nice). ~ Melissa
Target Suede Sleepers ~ $20
I’ve been buying these slippers for years. They are a serious dupe for the Ugg slipper ($89). And at $19, they are a great value… and in my opinion a better quality build. ~ Melissa
Madewell Threader Bar Earrings ~ $28
These earrings are so awesome — they can look the part for any kind of outfit. I like that they add a bit of flare while still being light as a feather. ~ Brit
Hannacure All-in-One Facial Set ~ $110
This mask will give you the wildest skincare experience of your life (you really have to go through it to understand — but if you need visuals, google “Hanacure and Drew Barrimore”). Plus, it will instantly give you glowing, brighter, tighter skin. ~ Charlene
What are you doing to wind down this holiday season? Tell us in the comments below.
We see you out there, parents. Take good care!!