5 Must-Read Books to Kickstart 2021

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Many of us here on Medium have two common goals in 2021: reading more books and investing in self-care. Luckily, reading is one of the perfect ways to unplug, breathe, escape, and invest in ourselves as people, and as writers.

Did you know that reading books can put you into a state comparable to meditation? Reading helps people relax, sleep better, and reduces levels of stress. Consistent bookworms even have lower rates of depression and anxiety than those who don’t read. Overwhelming evidence shows that reading improves our mental health.

I began my old habit of reading every night when quarantine started. It worked wonders when it came to quieting the never-ending list of worries in my head.

Many people live in…


Mental Health Tips to Try Right Now

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“..there wasn’t anything one could do except wait and hope, wait and start being careful, be careful, and hope.” - Susan Sontag

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing to crimson reds and brilliant yellows, the air is getting crisper, and we’re all starting to wonder what life will be like this winter.

The pandemic isn’t even close to over; how do we keep hope alive this winter? For most people on this planet, last winter was traumatic. For some, it was as lonely as being Tom Hanks on a deserted…


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This past weekend, I took a road trip with my mini-adventurer to meet a friend and her two-year-old. We didn’t want to risk taking them out to eat much. Taking two-year-olds out to eat without COVID is a lot on its own. So we decided to meal plan in advance.

This Mediterranean crustless quiche is one of the quick and easy recipes I whipped up for us. I hope you like it.

Ingredients:

6 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups fresh spinach

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped

1/3 cup chopped roasted red peppers…


COVID-19 Has Shown Us the World’s Future Depends on it

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It’s no coincidence that the countries with women leaders have been far more successful at fighting COVID-19.

Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, has been praised for her leadership during this tragic pandemic. With just 1,514 COVID-19 cases and 25 deaths, Ardern proved that her immediate lockdown to save lives worked. For a population of 5 million, those are impressive statistics.

Germany’s COVID-19 death rate has been far lower than many of its neighboring countries, like France. Germany’s leader, Angela Merkel, took a similar approach as Ardern. She approached her nation with the facts while showing compassion. …


Advice on female friendships based on Hulu series “Doll Face”

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Everyone has a friend who fell hard for a guy and then dropped off the face of the earth. You usually don’t see them again until they’re in a bad break up or divorce and all of a sudden, they want to be besties again. They apologize and make it clear they need you to get through this difficult time.

The question is, do you take them back?

If you’re facing this situation, or you’re the one who ignored your best female friends for a dude, the perfect show for you to watch is, “Doll Face.” A Hulu Original Series…


No Wi-Fi and No Expectations

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On long flights alone I find myself staring at the clouds relishing in the fact that there is nothing in my reach except a book, a drink, unlimited tv shows, and an optional conversation with a stranger. There are no expectations. I have no service and I answer to no one. My husband cannot text me and ask what he can feed our kid for lunch or where the extra diapers are.

The unproductive options are limitless; I can’t even muster a guilty feeling for wasting time. I am in the air until I get…


And 40% of women under age 30 want to leave too

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A shocking percentage of women report wanting to leave the United States since Trump took office. According to a Gallup poll released in early 2019, a shocking 40% of women under 30 reported wanting to leave the country, versus 20% of men in the same age group.

There are so many days that I sit here contemplating what I am still doing here. My family could have a good life abroad and I’m fully aware of that. My ability to write and teach online gives me the benefit of being able to work wherever I am. …


Photo Cred: Mr. Purple

When winter is here and the air smells like snow, there are few places as magical as New York City to spend a romantic night with your partner. If you’re lucky enough to live close by it’s the perfect place for a date night or a weekend getaway. Life gets so busy, especially around the holidays, that many of us don’t have time to embrace one of the most romantic times of the year. Instead of hibernating throughout the winter, January and February is the ideal time to take advantage of the opportunity to get cozy on a cold, winter…


The Most Gratifying Way to Kick off 2020 and Resist the Patriarchy

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Five years ago I was introduced to the concept of the feminist book club. Reading has always been one of my greatest loves but I had always envisioned a book club as a group of retired white women sitting around reading classics over lemonade and little sandwiches. It’s funny how the stereotypical ideas in our minds are often so wrong.

Although feminism has been at the forefront of my life for as long as I can remember, I never thought of hosting a book club as a subtle…


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1. You can hold onto your idealism for a bit longer upon exiting college.

The world is a harsh place and sometimes corporate atmospheres are too. When I graduated I was riding on a high of idealism that only college and adolescence could bring. I wanted to fight for the people, stick it to the man, empower women, and flat out change the world. I literally walked around with t-shirts that read, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Going right into nonprofit work after…

Erica Velander

Freelance writer and mama to a wild one. I cover intriguing places, lifestyle, parenting, food, and feminism. “Writing is a form of personal freedom.”

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