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Intro by Nneka McGuire. Illustrations by María Alconada Brooks.
It’s an eerie time to be alive. In the age of covid-19, people are scared, panic is high, and good luck trying to find a roll of toilet paper in the grocery store.
No one can predict when or how this pandemic will end, but we can help you manage the uncertainty. From staying calm to keeping active, we have tips for you.
Welcome to your coronavirus coping kit.
Find reasons to laugh. Call your funniest friend. Watch a comedy or stand-up special. Commit to “Schitt’s Creek” and marvel at all the ways Alexis Rose can say “David.” Swap stupid jokes with your significant other. (I keep saying “strange times at Ridgemont High” to my partner and he has stopped correcting me.) Whatever you do, try to find a little levity. Laughing helps soothe our souls. And if you’re thinking it’s inappropriate to chuckle during a global crisis, just listen to Mark Twain. He wrote,
Give yourself permission to check out. While it’s important to keep tabs on what’s happening in the world, there’s no need to be plugged in 24/7. If you get news alerts on your phone, turn them off when you’re feeling distressed. Decide to check the headlines once or twice a day instead. If your anxiety is rising, step away from social media and your computer screen. Literally. Take a short walk. Trust us, both the news and Twitter will be there when you get back.
Control what you can; release what you can’t. Sometimes, it helps to acknowledge our powerlessness. There are so many things in life we can’t control. But there are a few things we can. You can control your breathing; try a meditation app like Headspace or Insight Timer. You can control the look and feel of your personal space; open a window, experiment with the arrangement of your furniture, organize a pantry or play some soothing music. And you can control your coziness; wrap yourself in a favorite sweater, brew a cup of tea or get lost in a good book.
— Nneka McGuire, Lily multiplatform editor
Make a “to be cleaned” list of all the frequently touched surfaces in your house. Doorknobs, cellphones, keyboards, rails, desks, sinks, soap dispensers, book spines, remotes, keys: Think about all the things your fingers touch on the regular and clean them with sanitizing wipes or cleaning spray at least once a day. Post the list of must-clean items on your fridge as a reminder.
Don’t go to the gym, but still work out. Gyms and yoga studios are not good places to be right now — too many people in an enclosed space, touching the same equipment. Many have already closed. But especially now that so many people are working from home, it’s important to keep moving. Exercise videos are a great solution. Some free Team Lily favorites are: Yoga with Adriene, The Down Dog yoga app and MadFit. If you can invest $120, I highly recommend ordering the DVDs for P90X or Insanity.
Remember: Coronavirus probably likes your phone. When you’re out and about, you’ll probably touch at least a few new surfaces, which may or may not be infected with the virus. It’s easy enough to sanitize your hands or wash with soap and water once you get home — but you might forget about your phone. I’ve been trying to avoid touching my phone when I’m out. If I have to, I make sure to wipe it down once I’m home.
— Caroline Kitchener, Lily staff writer
The telephone is your friend. When a loved one pops in your head, give them a ring. Schedule phone or FaceTime dates with friends you’ve been meaning to catch up with. Call your older relatives and listen to stories about their lives. (I regularly regret not asking my late grandfather to share more tales about his time at war, his decades of marriage to my grandma, or his years growing up black in the South.) Oh, and another way to use your phone: Play your old voice mails. It’s often a nice walk down memory lane.
Write a letter. When’s the last time you put pen to paper? Now is the perfect opportunity. You could write a love letter to a partner or an encouraging note to a friend going through a rough time. Or send a thank-you card to someone who aided you in the past or regularly adds joy to your days.
Become a podcast person. If you miss the daily chatter of an office, podcasts can help you feel a little less alone. Consider playing them in the background while you work, clean or cook. Whether you have an appetite for pop culture or true crime, history or high jinks, there’s a podcast for you. Here are 15 of our favorites.
— Nneka McGuire
Have a dance party by yourself. Here’s an uplifting playlist curated by our team to get you on your feet. (Bonus: All the artists are women.)
— Lena Felton, Lily multiplatform editor
Follow the rules. First and foremost, it’s important to follow local and national guidelines. Right now, that means significant social distancing: President Trump has urged against gatherings with more than 10 people. Here’s a graphic that explains why social distancing is so important, and tips on how to talk to others about it.
Tap into networks. Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t offer a helping hand. Many people have been using the neighborhood social network Nextdoor to offer to run errands for neighbors — even strangers. For older or immunocompromised folks, picking up groceries and leaving them outside their door is an effective way to help.
Donate. If you have the means, donate money or supplies to your local food bank. They’re seeing stock and volunteers disappear during the crisis.
— Lena Felton