Podcast 272: Make a “Power Hour After” List, a Conversation about Parenting with Dr. Elizabeth Schwarz, and Elizabeth Talks About “Alcohol-Free April.”

Try This at Home

Make a “Power Hour After” list.

Back in episode 6, we talked about why you might try doing a “Power Hour.”

These days, there are so many tasks we simply can’t do. By keeping a “Power Hour After” list, we’ll find it easier to take care of all these delayed chores once things start to get back to normal.

It’s one of my favorite aphorisms: Things that can be done at any time are often done at no time.

Happiness Hack

A listener suggests using the “Contacts” app on a smartphone to keep track of useful details about the people in our lives.

Elizabeth mentions the interview with Channing Dungey in episode 69 of Happier in Hollywood.


Dr. Elizabeth Schwarz is a psychiatrist who specializes in child and adolescent psychiatry in New York City—and an old friend. Because of everything that’s going on these days, we wanted to talk to her about some common parenting challenges.

She suggests using the framing question: “What are the important things that we, as a family, are trying to do today?” We talk about issues such as:

  • how much do we worry about enforcing limits, homework, routines, etc? What should we maintain, what can we let go of?
  • how do we deal with our own anxiety that our children will lose progress or miss out—such as with their social skills?
  • how to help our children manage the uncertainty of the future (Elizabeth suggests making a flow chart of possible futures, to get more clarity on how different scenarios might play out)
  • why to refrain from talking too much about the pandemic in front of your kids
  • how to talk to children about serious financial issues, such as a job loss
  • what are some benefits that families might be gaining from this time

Elizabeth’s Try This at Home: Have pen pals! Write letters to friends and grandparents. And take action to support frontline workers. When we feel like we’re contributing, we feel a greater sense of control. When Elizabeth launches her new blog about parenting, I’ll post a link.

Gretchen’s Demerit: I blew up at Jamie when he said, “When everything goes back to normal, we need to deal with this apartment, it’s looking terrible.” Ummm…we?

I mention the advice my mother gave me. You can listen to me tell that story in this two-minute episode of “A Little Happier”: Reframing helped me feel lucky instead of resentful.

Elizabeth’s Gold star: Elizabeth gave herself a gold star for observing “Alcohol-Free April.”

Let us know: Should we do a Deep Dive into this subject? Ever since I wrote my book about habit change, Better Than Before, I’m fascinated by people’s experiences with this kind of challenge.


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