PSA: Your inbox can be a source of joy. Don’t worry, I’m well aware of the sheer ridiculousness of that statement. After all, we live, work, and exist in an always-on world, where the expectation is an immediate, if not simultaneous response (don’t ask me how this happens, but the pressure is there). As someone who feels email unease (re: dread) on the reg, I was desperate for anything that would assuage the anxiety. Enter, the 12 best newsletters to subscribe to for calm, inspiration, and inbox bliss.
If the goal is Inbox Zero™, you’re probably thinking, Why the heck would I want another unread email? But we’re focusing on quality here, folks—not quantity. Yes, I also revel in the gratifying absence of unread messages when I open up my Gmail. But truth is, after signing up for all (yes, all) of the most idea-inducing newsletters to subscribe to, I started to reconsider this productivity milestone.
Featured image by Michelle Nash.
12 Newsletters to Subscribe to For a Happier, Healthier Inbox
The idea of being able to plow through a million messages in the morning and sign off with no unread emails at night has long been the pinnacle of work-related success. But honestly, I’m a bit tired of thinking of my life and work in this way. Instead, I want to associate my tasks, goals, and yes—my inbox—with connection and growth. And as soon as I started viewing my 9ish to 5ish weekdays in that light, everything shifted for the better. Because after all, in this challenging world, I’m after all the joy I can get.
I’m kicking things off with a shameless plug for the most uplifting newsletter in the game. Of course, I’m a bit biased, but associations aside, this newsletter’s been informing and inspiring my everyday for years. Whereas some correspondences cue the email angst, the Camille Styles newsletter is exactly the opposite. Camille’s messages pair introspective words with energizing ideas, and the articles are carefully curated and just what I need to read that day (and return to in the days after). I didn’t know it was possible to feel both relaxed and rejuvenated by my email, but this newsletter has me convinced.
So Many Thoughts comes from the brilliant, New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Holmes. A lover of all things British Royals (particularly as it relates to their impeccable style), Holmes shares all the tips, tricks, and funny quips about what it takes to live your best royal life. While the content covers fashion and travel, it also dives deeply into thought-provoking, personal growth-oriented reflections. Essentially, when you subscribe to So Many Thoughts, you get a little of it all.
The Good Trade is on my list of sites and blogs I visit each morning before diving into work for a healthy dose of motivating content. If you’re interested in personal growth, expanding your creativity, and becoming a better (kinder, gentler) human each day, I can’t recommend it enough. But if your mornings are a little more hectic—as all of ours can be—The Daily Good is exactly what your inbox needs.
An abbreviated version of the site’s long-form articles and content, The Daily Good compiles playlists, recipes, sustainability and self-care tips, and so much more. I love that each send starts with a brief, but eloquent thought that often sets the positive tone for the rest of my day. Spend 30 seconds (thoughtfully) skimming through. It’s worth the pause.
Sunday Brain Food is not about cure-all quick fixes or gaining attention through buzzy headlines. Instead, the team behind Farnam Street intentionally designed a newsletter centered on advice that can be easily applied and effectively woven into your work and life. Every time I (excitedly, impatiently) open a new issue, I’m blown away by the innovative insights and timeless wisdom.
Not only has my productivity benefited, but my endless, insatiable curiosity is satisfied (well, for a moment at least). Sunday Brain Food is for the life-long learners and students at heart. But really, it’s a newsletter that’ll improve any inbox in need of a little next-level knowledge.
Maybe you know Olivia Noceda from the aesthetics-driven, but authentic (like, *actually* authentic) content she serves up on Instagram. I take any and all of the mental health, design, self-love, wellness, and recipe inspo she has to share. Truly, when her profile is highlighted in my stories line-up or one of her Reels drops in my newsfeed, my entire person has been known to visibly shift for the better.
If those three sentences weren’t enough to convince you, Olivia is serious about writing and sharing imagery and videos that call you to think differently and deeper about your personal experience and the world around you. Her newsletter, On The Rocks, is an extension of all of that.
Centered around a different theme with each biweekly send, Olivia’s written reflections read both incredibly relevant and entirely revolutionary. While it’s clear that she spends ample thoughtful hours using just the right words to beautifully convey and craft her insights, she also writes in a way that makes you feel like you’re talking to a friend. Because in a way, you are.
If you’re one to check your emails on the weekends, Olivia’s newsletter is just the surprise (and smile) your Sunday needs.
It probably goes without saying, but we are BIG James Clear fans around here. And, of course, we’re not alone. His New York Times bestseller, Atomic Habits, has sold over seven million copies. So yes, I’d say we’re in good company. His 3-2-1 Newsletter is unsurprisingly popular as well, with over a million subscribers. It’s full of the same insights and wisdom you’d expect from the behavior science expert who has completely transformed how we think about habits—and what it actually takes to stay committed to the practices that help us feel our best.
Each newsletter is formatted with three short ideas from Clear himself paired with two inspiring quotes by other thought leaders and a question that’s yours to reflect upon. 3-2-1, indeed.
Even if you think you haven’t heard of Intelligent Change, it’s likely that you’ve seen their Five-Minute Journal in just about every wellness influencer’s Reels. Across all their products and content, Intelligent Change is shifting the script when it comes to instilling positive change in your life. They’re making the practice of journaling easy to commit to on a daily basis, and their newsletter, Intelligent Weekly is no less influential and motivating. Expect a weekly dose of inspiration, encouraging you to practice gratitude, cultivate emotional intelligence, and engage in self-reflection. Yes, your inbox is capable of wonders.
Atlas Obscura shares courses, stories, city guides, and curated tours of the world’s most fascinating, and often undiscovered, places. Consider it your definitive go-to for all things not only travel, but culture, arts, and awe-inspiring experiences. They offer a range of newsletter options, with everything from daily and weekly digests to food-focused and travel-centric inbox glow-ups. I’ve personally subscribed to the daily send, because I’m always up for indulging in a little morning wanderlust.
Ann Friedman is a journalist, essayist, and co-author of the best-selling book Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close. Her newsletter acts as a survey of all the best writing and content the internet serves up for us on any given week. Given the power and perspective of her work, it makes sense that she also distributes a newsletter that’s equally as potent in the world of culture. Every Friday, expect to receive a deeply curated email composed of articles and engrossing commentary. It’s one of those special newsletters that’ll make you feel smarter just having opened it.
With books like Steal Like An Artist, Keep Going, and Show Your Work!, Austin Kleon is fully responsible for completely shifting how I view creativity. Whereas I may have once berated myself for the years of writing to an audience of one (okay, my parents skimmed my blog every so often), his work has helped me see the value in continuing to push myself to grow and develop as a creative. All of the brilliance you’ve come to expect of Kleon is woven throughout every single one of his newsletter sends. Your inner artist will thank you for subscribing.
Gosh, I’ve been reading Cup of Jo since… forever? Since launching the site in 2007, Cup of Jo has grown into one of the closest-knit internet communities out there. Posts range from the absolutely hilarious (“Vacation Threats”) to heartbreaking (“What My Son Taught Me About Grief”) to transformative (“My Year of Selfies”). What they all have in common is an empowering connective thread that brings readers together from across the world. Each week, the team behind the site pops into your inbox with their favorite reads and a nice little note checking in. It’s perhaps one of the most wholesome emails I’ll ever receive.
Like many, my love and appreciation for all the good that NPR does and offers knows no bounds—and their Life Kit newsletter only furthers that truth. Created with the premise that “everyone needs a little help being a human,” each newsletter is grounded by a different topic with tips and hacks (I don’t love the word, but it works here) that’ll shift how you approach just about everything you do in your life. From parenting, to saving money, to working out, and getting a good night’s sleep—Life Kit covers it all. Plus, if newsletters aren’t your thing, they have a podcast, too.
This post was originally published on May 27, 2022, and has since been updated.