The Best Meditation Apps (That Aren’t Headspace)

the best meditation apps for working womenFun questions for today: have you tried different meditation apps or different forms of meditation? What are you liking right now? Have you found meditation and mindfulness to help with stress, focus, and productivity?

There’s a lot of noise about the benefits of meditation these days — managing stress and anxiety!  increased focus! neuroplasticity! closing your tabs! — but working women who need all of those things don’t necessarily have time to go on a weeklong meditation retreat. So everyone and their sister seems to have tried Headspace, one of the top apps for guided meditation and mindfulness — and people tend to have strong opinions about it. Some people love it — the lilting British voice in your ear, the easy way he walks you through body checks and things like that — as well as all of the different guided meditations you can do within the plan for extra money. (I have a paid plan that I bought during one of their 40% off sales, so I’m not sure how many of these guided meditation packs are free — but just on the “Work & Performance” section they have separate packs for things like Prioritization, Productivity, Finding Focus, Creativity, and Balance.)

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Arts and Crafts for Stress Relief: Subversive Cross Stitch

cross stitch for stress relief

We haven’t had a Hobby Wednesday in a while — today, Rebecca Berfanger is sharing with us her love of cross stitch for stress relief! (Check out other discussions in our series, including how to learn a new language, adult coloring books, and more!) Thank you, Rebecca! – Kat

Do you have crafts and hobbies for stress relief that don’t require leaving the house, such as knitting, crocheting, coloring books for adults, or cross stitch? Or maybe you do leave the house — to nerd out with other people about knitting needles or a certain brand of yarn or different colors of floss you use for cross stitch.

In addition to providing a creative outlet and stress relief, many crafts and hobbies are fairly easy to learn (hello, YouTube), and you may even have a friend who’s been posting her (or his) work on Instagram who can give you advice. Crafting can be relatively inexpensive and can even save money (homemade holiday gifts, anyone?), and it pairs well with a glass of wine or a Netflix binge — just don’t accidentally spill anything on your creations.

(Pictured: “Wu-Tang is for the children” pattern, $4 from basicstitches design / “#@%&!!” kit, $14 from Subversive Cross Stitch / “And he disrespected the Wu-Tang Clan” pattern (context), $5 from SchroederSheWrote

This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!

Here’s how I got started with cross stitch — and here are a few helpful resources if you want to try it out:

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Books, Binge TV, Movies, and More

Ladies, it’s been far too long since we’ve had a check-in to see what you’re reading, what TV you’re bingeing on, what movies you’ve loved, and more (games?). What would you recommend? For my $.02, my television habits are probably more erudite than most of my other habits at this point. Right now, my husband and I love to watch great TV — anything mediocre seems like a letdown. (No judgment here, though — I’ve enjoyed plenty of not-as-great TV, too.) I’m talking about shows like Fargo, Big Little Lies, Game of Thrones … the usual heavy-hitters for awards. I’d recommend binge-watching Fortitude (Amazon), and I finally watched House of Cards (Netflix; not sure I’d recommend the last season).

When it comes to reading, I’ve been enjoying a ton of brain candy, romance-type books lately — a friend joked that it was similar to the “grief reading” she did when her father passed, and I suppose that’s true (no one died in our family; we’re just going through some slightly stressful family issues and general “2017 stinks” issues.) I can’t wait to read Big Little Lies, though, and Crazy Rich Asians is also on my list. (Trust me, this counts as “literature” compared to the other stuff I’ve been reading.)

Kate offered to share her current faves, too:

Reading: I have to admit that my reading habits of late have mostly brought me to online outlets rather than anything on paper, as well as shorter things vs. books: for example, articles in The Washington Post (especially because I have a free digital subscription for six months through Amazon Prime) and stories linked from Longform that have ranged from “Losing It in the Anti-Dieting Age” from The New York Times to “The Story of the DuckTales Theme, History’s Catchiest Single Minute of Music” from Vanity Fair.

Watching: I don’t watch a lot of TV on the actual television, mostly because we don’t have cable — so everything I’ll mention here is streaming on Netflix. As a Marvel fan, I’m currently enjoying Daredevil, and I’ll start The Defenders once I finish (skipping Iron Fist, which was universally panned). I’d also recommend Jessica Jones (as a loyal David Tennant fangirl), which is now filming its second season, and Luke Cage (which features some great music, including Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings). I’ve also recently binge-watched Jane the Virgin (perfect escapist TV!) and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (yes, Marvel again). I’ve become reacquainted with Portlandia, which is a lot of fun, and I finally watched Black Mirror, which is equally entertaining and disturbing. I’m looking forward to the next season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend — Rebecca Bloom is a musical and comedic genius!

So, ladies: What did you find and devour on your summer vacation that you would heartily recommend? And looking ahead: What are you eagerly awaiting? What fall TV are you looking forward to the most — are there any fall premieres you’ve made sure to add to your calendar? 

Image source: Pixabay

Open Thread: The Best Podcasts for Professionals

the best podcasts for professionalsReaders, which are your favorite podcasts? What do you think are the best podcasts for professionals — the ones you recommend to friends, bosses, and colleagues? Do you think there are any particularly great podcasts for professional women?

It’s been a while since we discussed podcasts for working women (it was the year after Serial‘s first season, in fact!), and because new ones are being created all the time, we thought it was time to post an open thread! And here’s a side topic for our general discussion: Have you noticed that it can be hard to find women-hosted and/or women-centered podcasts? Do you actively seek them out? Do you have some to recommend to other readers? Here’s an interesting (but not surprising) statistic from The Economist: “In America, men host 63 of the top 100 podcasts on their own, while only 13 are hosted by women and the rest by mixed teams. In Britain, 58 of the top 100 podcasts were hosted by men, compared to 12 hosted by women.” By the way, are there any readers out there who make their own podcasts?

Last time we talked about this, these were some of the readers’ favorites:

So, tell us: What are your favorite podcasts lately? Which do you think are the best podcasts for professionals? Do you prefer to listen to podcasts for fun and entertainment, to learn something, to hear political or social commentary or keep up with the news, to get career advice/inspiration, or something else? Which podcasts do you think are underrated or overrated? Do you tend to listen to podcasts while exercising, commuting, cleaning the house, or (if you’re an expert multitasker) while working?

Picture via Stencil.the best podcasts for professionals - picture of a woman with pink headphones

Six Great Board Games for Grown-Ups

great board games for grown-ups!With summer almost here, we thought we’d revisit a subject readers have talked about through the years: great board games for grown-ups! They’re the perfect antidote to too much screentime (both for kids AND adults), a great stress reliever (well, unless Monopoly ends up getting too heated!), and a way to distract your mind from, say, what’s in the news… Today we’re rounding up six reader recommendations for board games for grownups. Readers have suggested many board games in the comments over the years, but these six have earned multiple mentions (and have hundreds or even thousands of Amazon reviews, too):

(Psst: we’ve also talked about Kat’s favorite board games to play with the littles, over on CorporetteMoms (as well as the best first board game for your kiddo). Looking to pick up a solo hobby during your time outside work? We’ve also talked about coloring books for adults and how to learn a language.)

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Resources for Women Running for Office

Resources for Women Running for Office2018 Update: We still think this is a great list of resources for women running for office (go go ladies!) — but if you’re looking for small political actions to take weekly, check out this roundup of resources.

Have you ever considered running for office? Maybe you were spurred into action by the outcome of last November’s election (NPR says it’s created what seems to be “a level of intense interest not seen in at least a quarter century”), or maybe you’ve always wanted to get involved in politics. It can seem overwhelming, but there’s actually a lot of guidance out there — including a bunch of organizations that teach women how to run for office. So today, we thought we’d round some up of the best resources for women running for office.

(Psst: In the past, we’ve talked about what to wear while canvassing (and how to dress like Selina Meyer in Veep!), as well as discussed the business etiquette surrounding political talk at the office and feeling pressured (or pressuring coworkers) to contribute to charitable causes at the office — but we’ve never discussed resources for women running for office, whether it’s the school board, city council, Congress … or the presidency.)

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