In addition to the below, AARP offers a wide range of fascinating YouTube channels. Find out more here.
I have a love-hate relationship with social media. It seems my social media preferences change regularly, and as much as I would like to just scrap it altogether … I never do! I love Twitter and I hate Facebook. I love Instagram but, oh my God, Snapchat is a deliberate invasion of privacy that has me spying on my kids at all hours. (I need to stop it already!)
Since I have not been able to disconnect altogether, I have made the effort to be more intentional with my habits. I am spending less and less time scrolling through posts that leave me the same as they found me and, instead, looking for quality. I know it’s out there.
I don’t normally think about YouTube as social media per se, but it has become one of my go-to stops for top-notch online content. As I find myself spending more time on YouTube, I’m reaping the benefits. And now I’m sharing some of my favorites with you, girlfriends.
Michael Sealey just may be my favorite man ever! He has single-handedly changed my relationship with sleep and taught me how to quiet my own overactive mind. He offers free online hypnosis and guided meditations, and — I kid you not — has soothed me to sleep every night for four years.
Each night, I open up YouTube on my phone, navigate to Sealey’s channel and choose the guided mediation or sleep hypnosis that suits me best for that given day. Each of his guided meditations has a theme, such as “Detachment from Overthinking,” “Calming an Overactive Mind” or — my personal favorite — “Lucid Dreams.” My kids can hear his voice down the hallway and love to tease me about this habit, but I think they secretly enjoy it too. He starts each meditation by introducing himself and reminding the listener not to listen while operating heavy machinery (because it really does work), and then works his magic with his soothing voice. I encourage you to try him: Likely you will be asleep long before the meditation ends, and you will be looking forward to drifting away with Michael night after night.
Bob and Brad
I feel old typing this, but these guys offer quick and effective exercises for all my unpredictable ailments — and yes, I have many. It started with a little wrist pain (Bob and Brad cleared that up with some thumb-strengthening exercises!). Next was hip pain (turns out I had to foam roll my quad!), and most recently they helped me get through a painful shoulder injury with the help of a good ole broom. They are the self-proclaimed “most famous physical therapists on the internet” for a reason and have a combined 60 years of experience in physical therapy. Their content is fresh and regularly updated, the exercises they suggest are all easily completed at home, and they have yet to fail me and my aged body. I am looking forward to watching their video on how to reverse fallen arches in the near future. (Is this what my life has come to?) Bookmark them and next time you are hurting, let them work their magic.
Hindz and I have tea together every so often, and I can’t help but think of him as a Mr. Rogers with dreadlocks. He has the same calm, soothing, love-everyone vibe as Mr. Rogers, and I most definitely want to be his neighbor. His videos start with him pouring a cup of tea for you (or the camera) and always deliver wisdom and insight to help you be your best self. He simplifies life itself into the basic principles of love (he’s big on cultivating self-love), compassion, staying present, and being aware of the power of your own energy. He will teach you how to care less about what other people think — I need this every day — and letting people judge you because they can’t see what is in your heart. Affirmations, quick check-ins and truly gentle reminders to love yourself and others (no matter what) are all a part of the Hindz experience, and I love it so much!
The Parenting Junkie
The Parenting Junkie, aka Avital, is a mindset coach for parents, and I didn’t know I needed one of these until I stumbled upon her channel. She herself is the mother of five and is refreshingly honest about the struggles of parenting. She addresses topics like how to love parenting again, as if to suggest not loving parenting (all of the time) is not only OK but the norm (and sometimes it is, isn’t it?). She is full of creative, easy-to-execute self-care tips in a way that makes you wonder why you aren’t putting yourself first more. For example, she says it’s important to say no to your kids in the morning (as long as it isn’t an emergency) in order to make your bed, brush your teeth and shower — so that you are showing up refreshed, ready and prepared. The alternative — rolling out of bed, staying in pajamas and not taking care of hygiene or looks — leaves moms feeling resentful, which in turn leads to us not being our best selves. You know … the whole “you can’t pour from an empty cup”? When she suggested that her audience of moms play music that they love (not just that the kids love), I felt heard, friends. There are so many parenting gems on her channel, you simply must subscribe. Oh, I almost forgot my favorite! She compares being full of anger to being drunk — because both have similar effects on the frontal lobe of the brain. Beware of actions while under the influence of anger …
Fit Men Cook
Let’s just get the awkward stuff out of the way on this one: I have a crush on Fit Man Kevin. OK. Now, beyond the looks and charm: He wears statement T-shirts that read “heavy on self-love” or — my personal favorite — “Reece’s.” His videos are full of delicious, healthy recipes all shared with an energy that is captivatingly contagious. I have yet to make one of his dishes, but I like to watch, pretending that maybe I will whip up some salmon in lemon caper sauce and learn about how I could improve my diet if I ever choose to. Kevin is fun and knowledgeable, and covers everything from keto to veganism. He also has posts that are product reviews (air fryer shopping, anyone?) and helpful tips (how to consume less sugar). He makes sweet potato waffles that (I imagine) are to die for — they sure look like it!
A to Zen Life
Marissa Zheng is a minimalist — although she hasn’t always been. She shares on her channel that she decluttered her home after 30 years of emotional hoarding and has been living the life of a minimalist ever since. Clutter is my middle name, so I am especially enthralled by her lifestyle and tips, and I truly appreciate her honesty about life before and after clutter. She credits Marie Kondo with helping her immensely during her initial purge, but she also offers some areas where she believes Kondo maybe got it wrong. For one (and I have always had this problem ), she says it is very hard to discern what exactly sparks joy and what doesn’t. There are items, for example, that will spark joy because of an emotional attachment, but sometimes we need to let go of said items. Tune in to her video “10 Things Marie Kondo Got Wrong” to hear more on this topic. Other videos include playlists for cleaning and the top 5 questions to ask yourself (instead of “Does this spark joy?”) when decluttering.
Empowering Women in Midlife
Hélène T. Stelian is a certified life coach whose goal is “to help introspective, curious, action-oriented women 40+ deepen their journeys of self-discovery and growth — and create their next chapter with courage and intention.” Her YouTube channel does just that, and sometimes I can’t help but wonder if she has taken up residence in my mind! She covers the most relevant topics, from how to write an outstanding dating profile to caring for aging parents Ever consider living a nomadic life? Me either. But her conversation with Melissa Peterson on the topic just may change your mind.
Tara Brach is a leading western teacher of Buddhist meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening, and she pretty much embodies all of my life goals. She is the most calm, self-aware, live-in-the-moment woman, who speaks with the softest, most soothing voice. Her videos will change you if you let them. After a few sessions of video therapy, you will find yourself asking, What would Tara do (or say)? She reminds you of the dangers and powers of fear — and teaches you exactly how to battle those fears. She delivers the messages to “come into your vulnerability” and always “remember love” in a way that makes you really want to do these things. Watch a little or a lot — and sit back while she lovingly takes you on a journey that will create a pathway from your head to heart.
Brach will definitely leave you better than she found you, as will any of the other talented individuals I describe above. Before you give up on social media for good, try scrolling with intention. It may take a little extra work to find the quality content, but it is worth it.