Podcast 65: Enjoy Your Home’s Special Features, Arianna Huffington Talks About Sleep, and the Pleasure of Children’s Literature.

It’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page about the podcast. I talk to viewers about questions, comments, suggestions. Any episode; don’t worry if you’re not caught up. You can watch the most recent one here or my video with our producer Henry, look here. If you want to join the conversation live, I’m doing them on Tuesdays at 1:00 pm Eastern. Join in! It’s so fun to have a chance to talk to listeners and viewers.

MugObligerHappierUpdate: Elizabeth and I have our new mugs for sale, one for each of the Four Tendencies. Order here. I sent Elizabeth an Obliger mug for her birthday.

Try This at Home: Enjoy your home’s special features. I wrote about this issue in my book Happier at Home.

Interview: We talk to author and entrepreneur Arianna Huffington, who just wrote a terrific book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time.

 Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth had two friends who recently had health issues (fortunately, both are fine now), and she regrets that she didn’t do more to support them.

Gretchen’s Gold Star: I give a gold star to my three — yes, three — children’s literature reading groups. They make me so happy! I wrote about starting these groups in The Happiness Project. If you’d like to get back into reading children’s literature, here’s a reading list to get you started.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

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1pixHappier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #65

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Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen toHappier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much.

HAPPIER listening!

  • Mimi Gregor

    I can vouch for many of the things Ariana mentioned as segues into sleep. I find that showering in the evening instead of the morning “washes off the day” and seems to release a lot of negativity that just goes down the drain. I feel so much more relaxed after a nice warm shower, shampoo, and blow-dry. Plus, it saves a lot of time getting ready in the morning. Since I get up really early by choice, and I don’t want to poop out really early at night, I take a nap at my least productive time of the day: right after lunch. I invariably get sleepy then, so I just go with it. I feel so much better able to get on with my day after that. I also highly recommend reading in bed. No matter how interesting the book, I usually find myself nodding off after a few pages. It’s like a signal to my brain: book + bed = time to sleep.

  • Malin

    Love your work ladies!

    Thank you for being my happiness bullies on a weekly basis.
    New episodes are one of my weekly highlights and as a questioner, I’m loving all the new information!

    Regarding your YA reading groups, perhaps name them after different worlds you have read about, matching your groups energies?
    For example: Narnia, Hogwarts and Wonderland.

    Or Houses of Hogwarts? I’m sure all YA lovers love Harry right?

    Love your work ladies!

  • Jodie

    I’m so disappointed, I used to download your podcast to my phone and then listen on the way to work but recently a downloading option is no longer made available on the podcast. I live in Canada and have a limited data plan so can’t stream it while driving. Why has the downloading option been removed?

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks for letting me know! I’ll try to get this fixed.

      How were you downloading it exactly, when it worked?

      • Ffwl

        On the podcast page the links large Soundcloud link/picture used to have a download button in the top right hand corner. In recent podcasts it has not been there, though it still is for the old podcasts

        • gretchenrubin

          Thanks, everyone, for letting me know about this problem. Tech wizards are fixing it now. It should be restored to usual by next week. I so appreciate the support!

    • Paula

      I had the same problem with an episode in the last couple of weeks. There is still no download link for it on Soundcloud, but it’s back for this week’s episode.

      • gretchenrubin

        We’re working on it! Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  • Allyssa

    I was moved to tears (literally) by Arianna talking about reviving the romance of sleep and how that relates to taking our children to lands of imagination and fantasy through story telling. Such a beautiful way to put it. It has inspired me to do better with my transition to sleep.

  • Kaytee Cobb

    Can I please get an obliger shirt? or maybe a notebook The mug is great, of course, but I’m totally overrun with mugs!

  • Britt

    I loved this episode. I’ve been transitioning from being an “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” type of person to being convinced that I need to “put the oxygen mask on myself first” and get a good night sleep in order to be the best, healhtiest and most productive friend/employee/family member/etc. that I can be. But it’s definitely a tough transition and I still find myself wanting to shirk sleep when I have a lot on my plate. I particularly like Arianna’s suggestion about pj’s. I often sleep in the same clothes that I workout clothes or weekend lounge in, or the same tank tops I had on under whatever sweater I wore that day. I think I’ll go treat myself to some cozy, sleep specific lounge clothes soon 🙂

  • Linda Sue Brown

    Sleep but first Gretchen love your Children Literature groups. You have opened my world to books I have never read when I was younger. Tuck Everlasting was awesome. Thank You! Before I leave to sleep I love these podcast. Your sister and you bring so much in life. Now I shall go to sleep!

    • gretchenrubin


  • Rachel Stansberry

    Elizabeth, forgive yourself for not making contact. When something big happens in someone’s life it is somewhat overwhelming to get so much attention. The people you love know you and know you love them. Also, it is okay to say the wrong thing, friends forgive each other.

  • chelsea

    I’ve wanted to ask Gretchen and Elizabeth this question for months- how can you get the sleep you need if your husband snores? I’m a light sleeper and usually need lots of sleep. I also have a toddler who wakes up a bit early each morning. We don’t have a guest bedroom, I’ve tried earplugs, sleep machines… I’m definitely not a happy person with a lack of sleep!

  • Cindy May

    In your podcast you asked what special features of our house do we not fully utilize. In my house, one of those features is not one, but two (back to back on two different floors) wood burning fireplaces. As you know since you have a gas fireplace, wood burning fireplaces suck all the hot air out of the room, and they’re a hassle to maintain. Hence, someday (another job for another day), we’re going to convert them to gas since we already have gas hook-ups.

    I also have a lovely window seat in my library. I think my cat uses it more than we do since it looks out over our back garden. I used to bring my laptop in and sit down there while sending documents to our big, heavy printer there (we don’t always have good wireless communication in our tri-level house). I’ve found the window seat too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer to stretch out on since the window isn’t a great heat/cold barrier.

    We also used to have a hot tub, which I thought was a great perk when we bought out house, but once we learned how high maintenance they were, we gave up using it and only just got rid of it after having it for 8 or 9 years.

    Thanks for mentioning this issue in your podcast. Maybe (someday?) we’ll finally give these things the attention they deserve.

  • Julie Coffin

    I’m the Julie from this week’s episode that uses The Great Courses at the county jail where I teach. Each Friday I look forward to listening to the current episode of Happier while I walk my dog. Imagine my shock and joy at hearing my name during the “word from a sponsor”!

    Yes, I do use The Great Courses every day with my students and they are fantastic. They raise the bar for all of my students, from those working on basic literacy to those studying for high school equivalency to those with multiple college degrees. It makes me so happy to be able to share a wide variety of intellectual topics and current research with my students in a convenient and low tech way.

    I am a true fan of Happier and The Great Courses.
    Thanks for the shout-out!

    • gretchenrubin

      I’m so HAPPY that you heard your story! It’s so thrilling to know how The Great Courses have played such a helpful role in the lives of your students. Wonderful!

  • Kate

    My mom is a spiritual director and writer and recently wrote a great blog post on how to be a supportive friend: http://clearingthespace.blogspot.com/2016/05/being-helpful-and-supportive-tuesdays.html And a thought I had for Elizabeth regarding her demerit is to plan now for what to do when someone could use some support. For example, choose an recipe for something that is easy to make and stock up on the plastic containers to use when you deliver it. Or easier yet, think of a couple of restaurants or food delivery services you could get gift cards too. Or buy a few simple gifts (a candle, a favorite devotion book) and some cards and keep them on hand for when you need them. Because the thing is, this will happen again. A little prep (maybe during a Power Hour?) can help you be the kind of friend you want to be.

  • Meg

    My home’s special feature is the bathtub. It was my one requirement when my partner was househunting, but I’ve used it so rarely. We don’t have heat or AC or good insulation, so the house runs 10-15 degrees hotter than outside in the summer and 10-15 degrees colder than outside in the winter. There are very few days of the year when the house is a good temperature for baths.

  • Imogen_Jericho

    Gretchen, what IS going on with those later Anne of Green Gables books? Wish I could have been a fly on the wall at that discussion …

  • Julia M

    I have recently started listening to this podcast, and have been enjoying it immensely! You talk about so many great tips and ideas, and I keep writing down things to try. Having so much fun catching up, and love your sister style. In my home I need to use the backyard more – today I took some time to sit in the sun and smell the lilacs.

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! thanks for listening.

  • Darcy Levy

    It’s never too late to tell someone you are thinking of them, rooting for them, or to show some kindness. From my personal experience with loss, it meant so very much to me when people reached out, even if what they said was “I’m sorry for what happened and I don’t know what to say.” If you want to send a meal but don’t cook, you can always pick up prepared food at Whole Foods or send a gift card to a good place that does take out. But really, you should just say something to acknowledge what they are going through. And I really do not think it is ever too late.

    I continue to love the podcast – keep it up!

  • Lily

    The Jacuzzi is the unused item in our home. Not that we bought the house because of it, but we liked the idea of using it. Twelve years later I doubt if it has been used twelve times!

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  • Susan

    When does Gretchen have to get a demerit, and Elizabeth get to have a gold star? Elizabeth needs some gold stars!

    • gretchenrubin

      We take turns each week.

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  • Kate Valiente

    I fell in love with the wine rack above the refrigerator in my first apartment with my husband and envisioned the bottles I would collect, girls’ nights I would host, etc. 6 months in, it was mostly empty and I was wishing I had the little cupboard that is usually above the fridge. My husband still teases me about it, 6 years later.