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Happy belated New Year, everyone!
Welcome to the first edition of The Good Oil for 2023. If this is the first time you’re receiving this newsletter, my name’s Adrian Crawford and I’m a content strategist here at CBDistillery® as well as a native Australian, the father of a 2-year-old girl and an enthusiast of all things hemp-derived.
To kick off the new calendar year, this episode of The Good Oil features a conversation with a sleep coach about, well, sleep, as well as some great choices for those cold January nights where all you wanna do is cozy up on the couch and watch some TV.
Let’s dive in!
Last month I introduced you to Laura Stuart, a nationally certified counselor and licensed clinical psychologist to discuss the concept of self-care. As many of us bring fresh focus to our health and wellness to start the year, I spoke with Chicago-based certified pediatric and adult sleep consultant Kelly Murray to discuss one of the foundations of wellbeing: sleep.
Adrian Crawford: First things first. Can you give me an idea of what being a certified sleep coach entails?
Kelly Murray: As a Sleep Coach, my job is to help my clients optimize their sleep hygiene, stress resilience, and functional health, which will translate into optimized sleep.
AC: Next up, the origin story. What made you want to pursue a career in health care and, in particular, the sleep-related disciplines you ended up in?
KM: I have never been a great sleeper, so when my second child had issues sleeping, it took a toll on me. After teaching him to become an independent sleeper, he started sleeping like a champ, which was life-changing. That inspired me to become a certified Pediatric Sleep Coach. I wanted to help support other moms through the process, especially those with a hard time hearing their baby cry, like me.
Our conversation continues here.
I know the past few editions of The Good Oil have shared ideas for things you can do outdoors that may or may not get the heart rate up a little, or at least gets you out of the house. But folks, it’s January, and sometimes it’s too nasty out to want to do anything but curl up with some thought-provoking (or, alternatively, mind-numbing) TV.
In fact, in a customer relaxation study we performed in 2022, 18% or almost one in five participants said that watching a movie or TV show was a key part of their nightly wind-down routine. (CBD was the relaxation method of choice for 17% of respondents.) With that in mind, I decided that data was good enough reason to compile a list of great TV for you to while away the winter months with.
The Last Of Us (HBO)
Usually one saves the best for last, but I’m so jazzed about this one that I couldn’t wait. The Last of Us is a direct adaptation of the video game series that centers around the aftermath of an infection that takes over the world and leaves the human race in tatters. While I know this sounds like your average zombie show, this is by no means The Walking Dead. Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) and Bella Ramsay (Game of Thrones) star as Joel and Ellie, an unlikely pair tasked with traversing a post-apocalyptic United States searching for a cure and more. It’s tense, thrilling, a little scary and absolutely beautiful to behold. Don’t miss it.
Severance (Apple TV+)
Let’s get weird. Severance casts Adam Scott, the earnest and squeaky-clean Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation, in a less wholesome role as a corporate drone with a twist. Mark S. works at Lumon Industries, a biotech company which offers a program called “severance,” where participants consent to a chip implanted in their brain that siloes work and non-work memories. Sounds strange, right? You don’t know the half of it. Mark and his coworkers do a type of data entry whose purpose is entirely undiscernible, while his "outie" tries to figure out what’s going on inside the building. You’ll be hooked trying to work it out yourself.
Are you in the mood for a heist drama? Kaleidoscope delivers that, with the venerable Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) playing a master thief looking to pull off a huge score in New York City. What makes this eight-part limited series a little more unique is that you can watch the first seven episodes in any order, making for 5,040 possible combinations (!) of consuming the non-linear series before the finale. Kinda makes Pulp Fiction look easy to follow by comparison.
The Bear (Hulu)
If you’ve never worked in a restaurant before, The Bear is about the most accurate depiction of the service industry I’ve ever seen on TV. If you do have food service on your resume, this show will probably stress you the hell out. Maybe pop an Unwind Synergy+ gummy before you turn it on. Set at an iconic neighborhood joint in Chicago selling Italian beef sandwiches, Jeremy Allen White plays a fine dining chef who returns from California to run his family’s restaurant after the death of his brother (the terrific Jon Bernthal). My partner and I both have long service industry backgrounds and watched some parts through our fingers as it took us back to those busy restaurant days and nights on the floor. It’s got plenty of dark comedy throughout, too.
Upload (Amazon Prime)
Okay let’s lighten the mood a little bit. Upload comes from Greg Daniels, the creator of The Office and Parks and Rec. It’s set in a near-future timeline where, once you shuffle off this mortal coil, you’re given the option of uploading your consciousness to the cloud, allowing you to live on forever. Your afterlifestyle (I just made that word up, I oughta sell it to the producers) is dependent on your net worth, of course, which is how main character Nathan (Robbie Amell) finds himself in both luxury digs and the low-bandwidth basement as he navigates the great beyond and falls in love with a concierge who’s still alive and kicking. It’s funny, easy viewing that’ll tug on your heartstrings at points.
The White Lotus (HBO)
The White Lotus is the opposite of those things. Awkward and almost uncomfortable to watch at points, the two seasons of this HBO drama feature an ensemble cast (including Aubrey Plaza, Michael Imperioli and the tremendous Jennifer Coolidge) of characters you’ll roundly dislike. I assume this is meant to lampoon or satirize the lifestyles of the ultra-wealthy in its respective settings at luxury resorts in Hawaii and Sicily, but you may find yourself asking “is anything happening in this show?” Regardless it’s intriguing enough to want to stick with it and see what fates these often-insufferable characters meet. This doesn’t sound like a good sell, but it’s worth your time.
When we moved into our house last April, the previous tenants asked if we wanted to keep the comfy, well-worn sectional couch that took up much of the finished basement. Sensing a good deal (and the convenience of not having to go furniture shopping), we gladly accepted. When we saw it, we were taken aback by how big the couch was. To make it truly ours, we were gonna need the right blanket to go along with it. But where do you get such a product?
Honestly I didn’t have to look far, because searching “big blanket” on Google brings up The Big Blanket Co. as the first hit. I was immediately overwhelmed by the myriad choices, as has been the case many times since I immigrated to the U.S. almost a decade ago. My partner helped me narrow down color and construction choices, and sure enough within three days it was at our new doorstep.
I run pretty warm and rarely need an extra layer in the house outside of the dead of winter, but our Big Blanket Co. premium plush is just what the doctor ordered, if a doctor were to write those kinds of prescriptions. The thing is 10’ x 10’ and could easily cover our whole family. Thrown over the ottoman and both angles of the couch it makes a terrific tunnel for the toddler to crawl through. The basement couch has become the video gamer’s location of choice in our house, and I have zero shame in admitting that some nights, after an Unwind gummy, I’ve been known to fall asleep wrapped up in our big blanket.
Before this newsletter edition was published, I reached out to the company to see if they wanted to join forces, but I didn’t hear back. That definitely didn’t deter me from a recommendation though. It’s the perfect companion to any of the shows listed above (and the aforementioned CBD/THC edible, as well.)
I couldn’t let my conversation with sleep coach Kelly Murray end without picking her brain for a rest-related tip. Here’s a suggestion she recommends that anyone can try at home.
"Engage in deep breathing exercises before bed. It helps to lower your cortisol levels which promotes better sleep.”
Just like that, our January 2023 edition is done! Thanks for joining me once again, and I hope you stay warm until next we meet!