Winter is coming. Are you ready for it?
Chuck Feeney, the billionaire co-founder of airport retailer Duty Free Shoppers, has been called the James Bond of Philanthropy. Feeney has given $8 billion to causes ranging from improving health care in Vietnam to building a technology hub on New York City's Roosevelt Island. “It's a lot more fun to give while you live than give while you're dead,” he says. Although we may not have $8 billion to give, we can still experience the fun of giving using Chuck Feeney's philosophy of looking for opportunities where giving our time or our money can make a significant positive impact. As a pandemic winter approaches, the mission of The 5-Minute Recharge is to make a significant positive impact on our readers, helping you navigate the months ahead. Let's get started! ONE QUOTE “Care centers, hospitals, stores, and any places where music could be played publicly should consider the positive effects of playing nostalgic music as a response to the adverse effects of the pandemic.” – Dr. Timothy Yu-Cheong Yeung ONE IMAGE
The Zen Work Pod offers you a satellite office that's only a few steps from home, a private place to focus on the job at hand or strum a guitar. Some assembly is required. THREE IDEAS #1 WINTER IS COMING A pandemic winter looms and the time to start preparing is now. Atlantic staff writer James Hamblin spoke with dozens of experts and distilled their recommendations into these action items: 1. Accept reality 2. Plan for more shutdowns 3. Live like you're contagious. “There will be no parades, only a slow march onward,” writes Hamblin. Rachel Miller of Vice encourages us to reflect on our day-to-day habits and and identify pain points. What can you do right now to lessen the pain come January? It may be something as simple as buying outerwear that makes venturing outdoors not quite so daunting, or string lights to brighten up your living space. Arthur Brooks of The Art of Happiness podcast invites you to lean into this transitional period and use the winter months as an opportunity for learning and growth. “You have two choices: resist or grow. Anything that is not trying to learn is resisting.” – Arthur Brooks #2 A REFLECTION ON HABITS Clearerthinking.org, a non-profit devoted to putting psychological theory into to life-enhancing practice, tested nearly two dozen habit-forming strategies on hundreds of people. The strategy that “crushed” all the others in helping people form good habits is habit reflection. With habit reflection, you: 1. Think about a daily habit you successfully formed in the past 2. Write down what you did to form that habit 3. Think about how you can apply what you've learned to the new situation. You can use a free online tool from Clearerthinking to try out habit reflection along with four other (optional) habit-formation strategies. We've test driven the online tool and found it to be extremely helpful in identifying the how, when, and most importantly, the why behind whatever new habit you'd like to establish. “The habits we keep can have a big impact on our lives over time. We hope that these tools can help you effect some positive change in your life through easier habit formation. Give the process a go and see how it works for you. Happy habiting!” – Gregory Lopez, Clearerthinking #3 SWEAT + REFLECTION Hillary Cauthen, a sports psychologist and board member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, calls exercise a form of consistent coping. Movement should be a key element of your winter wellness plan, but you can fine tune your workout to support your mental health in two ways. One, be mindful of your emotions and choose an activity that restores your emotional equilibrium. For example, if you're feeling anxious, yoga, Pilates, a meditative walk, or any exercise with a focus on breathing can help calm you. If you need high-intensity cardio to get away from turbulent emotions, consider journaling afterwards to get at the root of your need for escape. Second, Dr. Cauthen advises you to switch up your workout routine to avoid monotony and strengthen your mental health. An exercise rut can reinforce an emotional rut. “Any movement is wonderful for your natural boost. But when you dive a little bit deeper into where you hold tension or what you're struggling with, you can adapt those workouts, and that increases your motivation.” – Hillary Cauthen *********************************** THE FAST FIVE 1. The Happiness Lessons of the Ancients: Aristotle - The Happiness Lab (28 minutes) (2,500 years ago, the ancient Greeks had it all figured out.) 2. Guitars are back, Baby - The New York Times (When you feel bummed, start strumming.) 3.Want to study better? Just two minutes of exercise beforehand could help - CNN (Our habitual Exercise-is-a-Miracle-Drug article.) 4.The surprising traits of good remote leaders - BBC Worklife (When work goes remote, the loudest leaders no longer have an edge.) 5. Spencer Greenberg: Effective Altruism, Mental Health, and Habit Change - The Psychology Podcast (47 minutes) (The source for Idea #2 and a whole lot more.) *********************************** YOUR 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE YOUR NOSTALGIC SONG It seems that many of us are longing for the soothing rains in Africa because, as we entered into a pandemic reality from March onward, Toto's soft-rock song Africa from 1982 has repeatedly found its way onto Spotify's charts. As suggested in our opening quote, you can use music nostalgia as an active coping strategy. We hope that you'll follow through on our gentle suggestion in Idea #2 to seek out Clearerthinking's free online habit-formation tool that will take you about fifteen minutes to complete, so will take it easy on you for this week's 5-Minute Recharge Challenge. Simply play a favorite song from your past that conjures up positive emotions. The first person to share their go-to nostalgic song with us at email@example.com receives a free copy of The 5-Minute Recharge or Acts of Friendship (your choice). Last week's six-word memoir winner has an uplifting message... “Startling resilience, writing songs, knowing myself.” – T.B. from Kitchener, Ontario Wishing you startling resilience in the week ahead and beyond, The 5-Minute Recharge