Dying To Ask
5 Ways To Fight Pandemic Brain With Dr. Hillary Van Horn-Gatlin

5 Ways To Fight Pandemic Brain With Dr. Hillary Van Horn-Gatlin

January 13, 2022

Feel like you're losing your mind?

So do I.

It's time to do something about a new phenomenon called pandemic brain.

"Pandemic brain" isn't an official disorder. But it's a real thing, according to Dr. Hillary Van Horn-Gatlin, a Kaiser Permanente psychologist.

Her office is filled with patients complaining of feeling foggy ever since the pandemic started and their work and home lives were turned upside down.

An article in Glamour Magazine went viral with the headline "Pandemic Brain is Real- And it Explains Why You Can't Focus."

The article predicted relief was right around the corner as vaccines were about to end the pandemic. That article was published in March of 2021 and you know what happened, or didn't happen, next.

Bottom line, pandemic brain is worse.

Van Horn-Gatlin said, "You know I can't tell you the number of patients I've talked to you recently that will say I will forget what I'm talking about in mid-sentence and I don't even know what I'm doing. We're seeing those behaviors and issues related to the pandemic."

Harvard medical researchers are studying the impact the pandemic is having on our brains as we reach its two-year mark.

It's not good.

They're noticing a neural inflammation caused by stress that's likely leading to what we're calling pandemic brain.

The bad news?

The pandemic isn't ending soon.

The good news?

Van Horn-Gatlin said there are five things we can do right now that could lead to a sense of relief (however small) in as soon as a week.

On this Dying to Ask:

  • The science behind why you can't focus
  • 5 things you can try to regain mental clarity
  • And KCRA 3 anchor Edie Lambert joins me to talk about our shared experience of pandemic brain and what we're doing about it
How To Be More Hopeful With Author Annette Roberts-Murray

How To Be More Hopeful With Author Annette Roberts-Murray

January 6, 2022

Finding clarity through pandemonium — that's what a school principal did in a new kids' book about the pandemic.

Annette Roberts-Murray is an elementary school principal.

She is one of the most positive, hopeful people I've interviewed on this show.

In this episode, she'll share her hacks for hopefulness.

One of those hacks is to be of service to people who need help.

A Zoom call with her nephew about his experiences of pandemic life mirrored frustrations Annette was already seeing in her school.

Annette wrote Pandemonium to make kids feel seen and heard and also to let them know they are not alone in how they feel.

The reality is that adults draw on decades of life experience to get through hard times.

Kids don't have that luxury and skyrocketing rates of pediatric depression and anxiety prove they're struggling to process two years of pandemic life.

Feeling a little down these days? Struggling as a parent? Annette Roberts-Murray will get you back on track.

On this Dying to Ask:

  • How Annette decided to write her book and her goals for Pandemonium
  • A reality check on what she's seeing in schools and her hacks for staying hopeful.
  • And what Annette does in her free time helps her mental health and might make her the coolest principal ever.
Why People Are So Socially Awkward Right Now With Diane Gottsman

Why People Are So Socially Awkward Right Now With Diane Gottsman

December 20, 2021

It's not you, it's me. Oh wait, it's me too.

People are really weird these days and there's a good reason for our social awkwardness.

Diane Gottsman is a modern etiquette expert and the founder of the Protocol School of Texas.

She specializes in corporate communication strategies. She helps employers and employees interact in productive, meaningful ways and helps identify behaviors that typically lead to conflict at the water cooler.

Diane says nothing has changed modern etiquette quicker than the pandemic.

Normal work-home boundaries are non-existent. Zoom is great until it's not. And The Great Resignation is exposing big obstacles in building culture for companies hiring people who may never step foot in an office.

Collaboration? Don't get her started.

That's why Diane and her expertise are in high demand as companies try to avoid conflict and business interruptions because people no longer know how to behave with each other.

Maybe you've noticed the weirdness in your personal life as you've reconnected socially with people you haven't seen since the pandemic started?

There's a social awkwardness in get-togethers. Diane explains the science fueling our interactions and provides a few hacks to help you and those around you feel at ease.

On this Dying to Ask:

  • Find out why so many people find it difficult to be in groups again
  • How to handle toxic personalities that didn't improve during the pandemic
  • Why we all need a "word of the year"
Why You Should Gamify Gratitude

Why You Should Gamify Gratitude

December 9, 2021

Want to get your kids to be more grateful? Turn it into a competitive sport.

That's what I did during the pandemic with my boys and it's turned into my ultimate #parentinghack.

There's no disputing the science behind a gratitude practice. Expressing thanks and recognizing the good things in your life can boost mood and improve physical health.

The UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center studied gratitude extensively and confirmed results that suggest gratitude is a game-changer for most people.

A recent Rolling Stone article called gratitude the ultimate door opener in a conversation.

But telling your kids to be more "grateful" is a conversation non-starter in most households.

That's why I gamified gratitude during the pandemic.

Hear me out.

I'm a #boymom. My kids absorb life lessons through movement and quite often, competition and making a mess in the kitchen.

So, I started the "gratitude game" during the pandemic.

Yes, I gamified gratitude.

We play it in the car. It's a rapid-fire, round-robin declaration of all things good.

It takes just a few minutes and it's changed our family dynamic during some of the most challenging days of the pandemic.

My guest this week is my 12-year-old son who happened to be home sick from school on the day I was recording this episode.

Buckle up. He's a handful.

On this Dying to Ask:

  • The science behind gratitude and the impact it has on mood and health
  • How to play the gratitude game
  • And what my younger son says he gets out of our family gratitude practice
How To Reinvent Yourself With Amy Schmidt

How To Reinvent Yourself With Amy Schmidt

December 2, 2021

Amy Schmidt is a reinvention specialist and her own guinea pig.

Schmidt's journey for her next big thing started five months before her 50th birthday. Her kids were heading to college, she'd recently lost a parent and she had just moved back to the United States after living in Germany for six years.

Answering the questions "who am I now?" and "what do I want to do next?" are daunting at any age.

However, there's something about midlife that forces a hard look at how you want to spend your time.

Her path of self-reflection and personal reinvention resulted in a book, "Cannonball: Fearlessly Facing Midlife and Beyond."

She gave a Ted Talk, created a podcast and is about to host a new TV show.

That feeling of being "stuck" is a familiar one, regardless of age, for many people in this lingering pandemic.

Schmidt's simple strategy for reinvention will resonate with anyone craving personal and professional change and it starts with six words.

Schmidt said, "Get up, get dressed and get going. There's power in those things, every day, get up get dressed and get going it's about that momentum again."

On this Dying to Ask:

  • Why procrastination and perfectionism are a toxic combo
  • How to create a personal highlight reel and what to do with it to find your next thing
  • And why everyone needs a compliment jar
How To Constantly Pivot With Tamron Hall

How To Constantly Pivot With Tamron Hall

November 11, 2021

Tamron Hall is the ultimate utility player, a brand new author and the master of the pivot.

It's not easy to transition between serious breaking news and lifestyle segments on a TV show. But Tamron found a new niche in daytime TV after a nearly 30-year career in news.

Tamron got her start working in local news in Dallas and Chicago.

Then she spent 20 years at NBC News hosting the third hour of the "Today" show and anchoring "MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall."

She has also hosted "Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall" on Investigation Discovery since September 2013.

Tamron left NBC News to launch the "Tamron Hall Show" in 2019.

Then came the pandemic, working from home and a near-daily pivot to create daytime television relevant for an ever-changing audience.

Season 3 of the "Tamron Hall Show" is underway and this season's guests are a reflection of the challenges the host and her viewers are facing in the fall of 2021.

Also, Tamron wrote her first fiction book during lockdown. "As the Wicked Watch: The First Jordan Manning Novel" is inspired by real-life crimes she covered early in her career that never left her mind.

On this Dying to Ask:

  • What Tamron figured out during the pandemic while working from home that changed how she approached Season 3
  • How to use your personal life experience to navigate changes at work because of the pandemic
  • And the real-life inspiration behind Tamron's first work of fiction
WebMD‘s Dr. John Whyte On Taking Control Of Your Cancer Risk

WebMD‘s Dr. John Whyte On Taking Control Of Your Cancer Risk

November 4, 2021

Can you prevent cancer?

WebMD's top doc says the answer is "yes" in many cases.

Dr. John Whyte is the Chief Medical Officer of WebMD.

His new book is called "Take Control of Your Cancer Risk."

Whyte wrote the book during quarantine in between home-schooling his kids and working from home.

He says 1 million Americans get a cancer diagnosis each year. Whyte says it doesn't have to be that way.

"The reality is only about 30% of cancer is due to genetics, the rest or 70% is influenced by lifestyle," he says. "What you eat, how you sleep, your level of stress level of physical activity, and that means you have the control to take control of your cancer."

On this Dying to Ask:

  • What you should and shouldn't be eating to stay healthy
  • Why adding spice to your life is a good thing in many ways
  • And Whyte has a reality check on what it's going to take to get out of pandemic life
College Advising Experts Jenn Curtis And Cindy Muchnick On Why The Kids Aren‘t All Right

College Advising Experts Jenn Curtis And Cindy Muchnick On Why The Kids Aren‘t All Right

October 28, 2021

Are the kids all right?

The answer is yes and no as kids have returned to in-person learning after virtual learning in the pandemic.

Cindy Muchnick and Jenn Curtis are college advisers and the authors of "The Parent Compass."

Both say they're seeing some concerning trends in high schools.

Some kids quickly adjusted to in-person school. But many others are struggling to make social connections and get their education back on track.

Body clocks are out of whack after 18 months of pandemic life.

"Kids and parents are saying, 'You know, the kids were vampires during COVID and now they're trying to just reset that clock.' It's almost like they forgot the energy that it does take to interact and go to school and be face to face. But that energy is sort of what's normal, that's what kids should be doing, and they used to have the stamina and it seems like that's gone way down," Muchnick says.

On this Dying to Ask:

  • A reality check on how in-person school is going for teenagers.
  • The social disconnect many of them feel after a year on screens.
  • The impact sleep deprivation is again having on mood, anxiety and happiness for families.
How Four Words Changed Mike Reilly‘s Life

How Four Words Changed Mike Reilly‘s Life

October 21, 2021

"You are an Ironman."

One of sports' most iconic phrases will be heard thousands of times at the inaugural Ironman California in Sacramento.

Legendary race announcer Mike Reilly coined that signature phrase 30 years ago.

That simple declaration is what finishers crave hearing after what's known as the toughest one-day race on the planet.

The Ironman Triathlon is 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling and a full marathon. Athletes have 17 hours to finish the 140.6-mile race.

It's Mike's job to welcome them to the finish line.

You could say it's his calling. He is equal parts cheerleader, hype man and finish line friend. He has the unique ability to make the last finisher feel like they won the race.

"I say their name and the you (part of the phrase) comes out and you see them straighten up, no matter how much they're hurting," he said. "They look up almost to the sky because they know it's coming and it's that exclamation point on who they are, what they did."

On this Dying to Ask:

  • What Mike has learned about life and human nature in 30 years of announcing Ironman
  • How Mike practices the names of thousands of athletes
  • Why so many people are drawn to events like Ironman coming out of the pandemic


TikTok Star Mrs. Space Cadet On How To Care Less About What Others Think

TikTok Star Mrs. Space Cadet On How To Care Less About What Others Think

October 14, 2021

How does a middle-aged mom go viral on TikTok?



The more interesting question is: What does she do with that viral opportunity?

If you're Erin Azar, you keep on posting and keep on going viral.

Erin Azar, aka Mrs. Space Cadet on TikTok, has more than 670,000 followers on the video-sharing site. She started posting videos two years ago after she started running following the birth of her third child.

The raw, candid and very funny videos found an audience overnight. Her first video got 1 million views.

And that's how "Mrs. Space Cadet" became a "thing."

She's appeared in The New York Times and on the "Today" show. She has a Cameo account and even runs webinars to inspire runners and content creators.

Two years later, Azar is the exact opposite of what most people think of as a running influencer.

Her pictures are perfectly imperfect. She's equal parts self-deprecating and inspirational. And she's making money with her alter ego.

In fact, she recently left her marketing job to do Mrs. Space Cadet full-time.

On this Dying to Ask:

  • What happens when a middle-aged person goes viral on TikTok
  • What you consider before going "all in" and capitalizing on a viral moment
  • What it's like to have that much attention when you're used to a normal life
  • How to care less about what people think of you online and in real life
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