Our team speaks often about consuming screens and digital media more intentionally (in fact, we even have a screen time challenge of sorts, which you can join anytime if you want or feel like you need a bit of a reset).
But that doesn’t mean we don’t actually watch TV, play video games or avoid media altogether. No. Rather, we choose the entertainment we consume — what we watch, play or listen to — with care.
What’s our criteria, you ask? We go after shows, books and podcasts that make us laugh, cry, feel all the feels; games that make us think and move and that have the potential to bring people together; books that teach us or help us escape the mundane (and the mounting pile of laundry waiting for us in the next room).
Below is a selection of entertainment media — both new releases and oldies but goodies — we are loving right now. We hope you find something you and your family enjoy!
Parenthood ~ Hulu or Peacock
Don’t laugh, but I had never watched Parenthood until I caught COVID over the holiday break, and not only did it save me from sheer isolation boredom, I got obsessed! I watched all 6 seasons in 2 weeks (24 episodes per season… yes, I’m bragging). Parenthood is the OG “This Is Us” — a heartfelt depiction of parenthood and family in all their beauty and complexities. It also was ahead of its time in showing what having a kid on the spectrum could look and feel like. ~ Charlene
Shrinking ~ Apple TV+
If you enjoy Ted Lasso, you’ll love Shrinking. The show, which explores what it means to tackle grief with a mix of pain and humor, may be a good replacement for therapy… I kid, I kid. But it’s definitely given me a few cathartic cries. Jason Segel and Harrison Ford make a fantastic duo. ~ Charlene
Firefly Lane ~ Netflix
Back in January when I was recovering from surgery, I stumbled across this show on Netflix. It’s a touching story that follows a set of best friends, Kate and Tully, through their early teen years when they first meet, all the way through adulthood. Heartwarming, hilarious and everything in between, Firefly Lane made my recovery time fly by. Now if only I were friends with this pair in real life… ~ Marissa
The Vow ~ HBO
The Vow is a two-season docuseries on HBO detailing the lives and experiences of several former members of the cult, NXIVM. If you’re a true-crime junkie like me, you’ll find this series fascinating. I was completely awestruck at how leader Keith Raniere gained total control (physically, sexually, mentally and emotionally) of his followers, eventually culiminating in several of the female members being branded with his initials. Eye-opening and chilling, The Vow helped me gain insight into cult culture, and the psychology behind how cult victims and leaders come to be. ~ Marissa
Baptiste Power Yoga Podcast
I have recently started doing yoga again regularly and am obsessed with this podcast — it’s the perfect mix of challenging, athletic, and mindful at just the right tempo. Since the classes are “real” studio classes, you truly get the full experience at home. ~ Brit
The Mel Robbins Podcast
Words cannot describe how impactful this podcast has been on my life. She covers heavy hitting, big picture topics that help you understand your past and how it impacts the person you’ve become. Start here, with “Why are Adult Friendships So Hard“. ~ Meg
The Chalene Show
The Chalene Show is a mixed bag of lifestyle, self-help, fitness and really, just everything. It’s what I turn to when I’m in the mood for something light, but interesting.
Start here, with “Becoming Epic with Aprille Franks“. All I can say is that I’ve listened to this ep 3 times. ~ Meg
Honestly, I love playing Mario Kart with my kiddos. It’s great fun for everyone; you can adjust the difficulty settings to cater to your children’s ages; it’s a nice opportunity to introduce some friendly (and healthy) competition; and if you were a gamer back in the day (in the words of Taylor Swift, “hi, it’s me, I’m the problem it’s me”), it’s a seriously fun dose of nostalgia. You can even can play online, remotely, with others — allowing you to connect and have some long-distance fun with cousins, grandparents and friends who live far away. ~ Charlene
The NYT Daily Mini
The Daily Mini has become part of my morning ritual. My alarm goes off; I hit snooze; I open the NYT Games App; solve the Daily Mini Crossword puzzle; check out the Leaderboard to see how my friends did; and kick myself for not putting on my glasses before solving said puzzle. The Mini keeps me sharp (or at least it makes me feel sharp) and is another great way to connect with friends. Oh, and it’s actually more exhilarating to tie than it is to win… ~ Charlene
Attention Span, by Gloria Mark
I listened to this book while I was participating in our team’s 10-day screen time reset, and it is incredibly eye-opening. A deep dive in how the digital information economy has been and is affecting our attention from every angle, this book is for anyone interested in reclaiming some “personal space.” FYI, if you’re not as interested in all the science (it’s fascinating!), Part 3 of the book is the tactical section with tips for improving your attention (without asking that you move to the woods, drown your smartphone, or live in the 19th century). ~ Brit
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, by Oliver Burkeman
Smartly described by one reviewer as “a much-needed reality check on our culture’s crazy assumptions around work, productivity, and living a meaningful life,” this book is a refreshing, wry, and highly philosophical addition to the stacks of books that purportedly claim to help us “do it all.” I willl 100% be revisiting this book, it’s a keeper. ~ Brit
Raising Antiracist Children – A Practical Parenting Guide, by Britt Hawthorne
As a white mother raising two white boys, I want to start having deeper conversations about race, racism and inclusivity. In this practical book, Britt Hawthorne put together an impressive collection of resources — jam-packed with anecdotes, tips, tools and interactive activities — for anyone (especially parents and educators) who wants to help build a more just and sustainable world for the generations to come. ~ Charlene
The Body Keeps Score, by Bessel van Der Kolk
This book was a game-changer for me. I now understand that the body and the mind are FULLY connected – not what we are taught in western culture/medicine. It’s so good to finally understand how trauma you’ve suffered has damaged your body and your health, and how to move forward from it. The author uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. ~ Meg
Fellowship Point, by Alice Elliot Dark
This is one of those you’re-so-sad-when-it’s-over books. An epic story of friendship, feminism, art, aging, community, and nature (among other things…), there’s a good reason critics called this brick of a book an “utterly engrossing, stunning masterpiece.” I honestly can’t wait to read it again. ~ Brit
I am late to the party here, but Bookshop.org allows you to purchase books online and support your local bookstore — it’s a wonderful alternative for anyone looking to move away from Amazon. ~ Brit
We hope you find something on this love list to help get you through the doldrums of winter. Brighter days are on their way!