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Issue #23  // Survival of the Friendliest 👭

via @lizandmollie

From Gill:

Melia posted this graphic on Instagram earlier this week, asking, “What’s the first self-care essential you tend to sacrifice when life gets busy? Mine are down time and sleep.”

While I tend to sacrifice a little bit of everything when I feel overstretched – exercise, sleep, eating well, down time – what usually gets the axe first is social plans. It feels indulgent to meet up with friends when I have a lot on my plate.

The voice in my head says: Oh, you’re going to go have fun instead of doing everything else on your list? Must be nice to live a life of leisure!

But it’s not a luxury to make time for people who love and support and energize you. It’s a necessity. We’ve talked many times on the podcast about the importance of strong relationships in cultivating health and happiness. Science writer Lydia Denworth has a new book out called Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond that I can’t wait to read. She says in an interview with NPR:

Very few people understand that your social relationships can actually change your health. They can change your cardiovascular system, your immune system, how you sleep, your cognitive health…

We thought of loneliness as this difficult emotion, but just an emotion. And we think of friends as this lovely thing — but it is actually a matter of life and death. And there's this evolutionary drive to connect. People think all the time about competition and survival of the fittest, but really it's survival of the friendliest.

Well, when you put it like that!

This past week for me was full of quality time with dear friends: a happy hour hangout, a birthday celebration, a visit from a high school friend, a girls’ trip with my college roomie. Not every week will be so social, and that’s OK. But I feel grateful for those moments of connection.

Do you also tend to cut social plans when life gets busy? Think about one quick way you can connect with a friend in the next week: a lunch or coffee catch-up, a neighborhood walk, a kids’ playdate, even a short “thinking of you” text.

Give yourself permission to make your friends a priority – for your well-being and theirs.

🎙 Latest Episode: #32 - Training Your Brain to Expect the Good

Do you tend to expect that good things will happen, or worry that bad ones will? Do you zoom in on the good things in your life, or magnify the bad ones?

Whether you naturally lean toward optimism or pessimism, you can train your brain to focus on the good and expect more of it. We follow up on Episode 15: Choosing Optimism, sharing research-backed tips on how to train your brain for optimism – even if it doesn’t come easily to you.

👉 Steal This Tip: Tell yourself a better story.

Practice reframing the situation more optimistically. When you react negatively to something, ask, “What is the story I’m telling myself right now?” Your mind might go to, “Bad things always happen to me.” Let your wiser self answer back with, “Suffering happens to everyone. It’s a part of life. This is hard, but this, too, shall pass.”


Episode #15: Choosing Optimism🎙

Check out our first episode on optimism. Your genes and your environment are only part of what makes you an optimist or a pessimist. We share research-based small daily practices that can rewire your brain for a more optimistic worldview.

Listen to the episode.

😄 Things We Text Each Other

From Melia: Gill finds mayo revolting, so I enjoy sending news of all mayo-related travesties, like this tweet about sliced and packaged mayonnaise (Gill’s reply: "People are responsible for so much ugliness in this world"). We had a thread with the dudes about this little gem that Darren found at the supermarket.

😍 Stuff We Love Right Now

On the Interwebs  🖥

From Melia: 

  • Outfitting Women Who Are Ready to Run
    Women’s clothing company M.M. LeFleur announced this month that they’ll lend their clothes to any woman who is running for public office, for the duration of her campaign. Female candidates have a whole other layer of appearance concerns that male candidates don’t (and don’t get me started on how unjust this is), and this is a wonderful way to help level the playing field when it comes to both gender and income.

From Gill: 

  • Creative Collaboration
    I loved Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women, and this interview with her and Saoirse Ronan about their creative partnership is a delight. Gerwig says, “I hope we get to be old ladies together making movies about old ladies.” I hope so, too!

On Our Screens & In Our Ears  📺  🎧

From Melia: 

  • Love Is Blind
    Darren knows what I like, and when he sent me the trailer for the new Netflix show Love Is Blind, he got the intended reaction of “Eeeeee, I want to watch it NOW!” From the description: “Nick and Vanessa Lachey host this social experiment where single men and women look for love and get engaged, all before meeting in person.”

    We’ve been bingeing the show, as have Gill and Brian, and it’s a fascinating social experiment. The most interesting part to me is when the matches leave together. We see whether they can navigate the real world and go through with the weddings that are just a few weeks away.

On Our Plates   🍽 

From Melia: 

  • Banana Muffins 
    The kids both love the packaged banana muffins served at school that are full of preservatives, and I was excited to introduce them to the homemade version. It’s a great way to use overripe bananas, and this recipe is quick and easy enough for kids to help. Evan and I had fun making 24 oversized mini muffins, which are good for breakfast and dessert. Try them warmed in the microwave with cream cheese on top.

From Gill: 

  • Fish en Papillote
    I’ve been cooking more fish at home, and “en papillote” – oven-steaming it in a parchment pouch – is my new favorite method. Place a fish filet on one side of a sheet of parchment paper. Add a bit of olive oil or butter, salt and pepper, aromatics (like lemon, garlic, and parsley, or ginger, soy sauce, and honey), and fresh veggies if you have them. Fold the paper over and crimp the edges to seal the packet, and bake for 10-12 minutes at 450°F/232°C.

If you like the Semi-Together podcast, why not share the pod with a friend who would enjoy it? You can also become a patron here.  

Until next time! 


Melia & Gill 😘😘

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