An awkward portmanteau of calm and entertainment, “Calmtainment” made the Wunderman Thompson Agency’s list of trends that will define 2021, which means mindful play is on the rise and brands are beginning to take note. None other than LEGO released an adult line they describe as therapeutic, immersive, and relaxing. There’s a flower bouquet and a bonsai set that are meant to help you focus mindfully as you play, experiment, and decompress. There’s even a relaxing Spotify playlist featuring white-noise soundscapes made using LEGO bricks. LEGO wants you to toss the instruction book and “enjoy the sheer pleasure of creation, just like the kid you used to be.”
Staff at Bon Appétit and the home-cooking website Epicurious spoke out about racism in the workplace after a photo of then editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport in brownface circulated online. As a result, Epicurious launched the Repair Project, auditing 35,000 recipes dating back to 1965. They’re addressing issues relating to authorship, appropriation, and racial insensitivity, editing words like “exotic” and bringing honesty to the history of certain dishes.
Hug a Cow
While many spent quarantine in too close proximity to family members (taxing patience and internet connections), others experienced severe loneliness due to a lack of connection. In response to this, researchers at the Cambridge School of Medicine reviewed the literature on loneliness and found that mindfulness-based therapy, laughter therapy, and talking about art can all help people feel less lonely. One study even found that robot puppies given to people
in long-term care facilities can help take the bite out of loneliness. Meanwhile, people in the US are paying $75 an hour to cuddle with real farm cows. One farm owner, Suzanne Vullers, says her cows are booked months in advance. “When people couldn’t hug their friends, or hug their grandkids,” she told NPR, they could still hug her cows Bella and Bonnie.
People tend to act with less kindness and civility in the beginning of the week than they do as Friday approaches, according to a recent study in the Journal of Applied Psychology. They also found mindfulness can help you have a smooth and stable ride through the work week. People who exhibited mindful traits were less likely to act in an uncivil way, and exhibited less variability in their behavior over the course of the week than their less mindful counterparts.
Sibling (City) Harmony
When harsh February storms stranded millions of Texas residents, the city of Houston got help from its sister city, Karachi, Pakistan. President Dwight D. Eisenhower founded Sister Cities International in 1956, and 65 years later, sister cities around the world support each other in very real ways. For example, in Houston, the Pakistani-American community groups launched a collaborative called Texas Storm Relief Efforts to coordinate flood relief. Volunteers distributed food, water, blankets, and PPE to at least 1,000 families. This was just their most recent action—Texas Congressman, Al Green noted that this sister city community collaborative also helped support Houston residents during Hurricanes Harvey and Katrina.