Relationships

What Weird Things Do You Do to Feel Better?

I was standing in front of the stove the other night…

…cooking garbage. It was late — somewhere between 10:30 and dawn. I don’t know what time exactly, because I never really know what time it is anymore. All I know is I should have been in bed, but instead I was barefoot and itchy-eyed, staring into a pot full of water and vegetable scraps: Ginger peels, onion skins, rubbery carrots and whatever else was loitering in the crisper, waiting to be tossed.

“I’m making vegetable stock!” I called to my husband, Harry, in the bathroom. I could hear the nail clippers as he tidied up his ragged fingertips, nipping scraggly cuticles and rubbing ointment into knuckles chapped from endless hand—washing. Good, I thought. He’s keeping up with hygiene and self-care. But not really. Really, he was grabbing a few brief minutes of alone time by hiding in the bathroom. We both knew it, just as we both knew that the pot of wilted lettuce and lemon rinds on the stove was not “stock” so much as compost water. It didn’t matter. Both of us were doing the same thing: Trying to feel better.

Like everyone, we’re living in the tiny world of our apartment, while the real world is in freefall. For the first three weeks of “lockdown,” Harry was still going into his Manhattan office (he works in broadcast news — one of many designated essential services that’s hard or impossible to do remotely). I stayed home with our five-month-old baby, who just learned how to shriek. In the old days, six weeks ago, we’d just begun to figure out our new normal as parents, balancing our careers with a carefully constructed division of labor at home — something we felt was really important for our wellbeing and our daughter’s. Then the pandemic hit, and everything changed all over again, along with our definition of “really important.” Checking in on sick relatives, disinfecting door knobs, staying financially afloat — that’s important. And as for wellbeing, our only real concern is not getting sick at the same time. In the new new normal, we just don’t have the mental space or energy for much else.

Yet somehow I always have energy to stay up making terrible vegetable stock. Do we need it? No! Our fridge is already full of brackish water that tastes like cabbage lemonade. But I need it. It doesn’t make sense, but it makes me feel better. There’s something about putting food scraps in a pot that makes me feel like I have my shit together, even when I know I don’t — even when I know that nobody does.

We all have our weird little comforts — those things we do to trick ourselves into feeling a sense of control. We organize junk drawers or defrost the freezer; we scrub the toilet and feel awash in bleach-y peace. According to my Instagram feed, we bake banana bread. When my friend Jocelyn is going through a tough time, she wears lipstick every day. “It’s something my sister always told me to do when I was feeling down,” she told me. “Now, it always boosts my mood.” My friend Connie organizes her inbox: “I’m neurotic about keeping my email at zero and get incredibly soothed by that maintenance: setting up special inboxes, creating shortcuts that automatically mark certain emails as read, and unsubscribing from listservs.”

I don’t relate, but I totally get. Everyone has their drug of choice, but we all know the delicious high of Everything Is Fine. I get it from flossing my teeth, or making the bed — the gateway coping mechanism. Oh man, nothing like that made-bed feeling, right? It fills me with a (completely unjustified) sense of calm and might: Behold, I have made order in the universe. I’ll take that feeling wherever I can get it. We could all use a big hit of Everything Is Fine right now.

The fact remains though that it’s not, and while lots of us are cooped up struggling to cope with this horror, there are many out there in the thick of it. I think of that each time another ambulance screams past my window, knowing that, relatively speaking, I am more than fine. That’s why I chafe at the idea that all of us should be stressed about optimizing our quarantines: starting novels, learning German, not just maintaining normal life but living our best ones. The sick and those fighting to keep them alive — they don’t have the privilege of coping in the comfort of their homes. Nor do those essential workers keeping our own homes stocked with groceries and maintaining the gas lines that heat our ovens so we can self-soothe with banana bread. I don’t say that to be preachy — I baked a loaf myself! I’m just saying, if you’re lucky enough to be at home and fine-ish? There’s nothing you should be doing other than whatever it is you have to in order to stay that way.

For me, that means learning to work with a five-month-old officemate. It means flossing like crazy, and playing along when Harry’s been “clipping his nails” for half an hour. Tonight, we’ll put the baby down a few minutes early, then hurry over to the living room windows where we’ll clap and shout and bang pots and pans at 7 p.m., cheering along with the rest of our block. It doesn’t make sense, but it makes us feel better. That’s just what we do in the new, new normal. And when we’re done I’ll go back to the kitchen, look for some garbage to cook, and wonder what the next new normal will bring.

Do you have any weird coping mechanisms? I’d love to hear.

P.S. What it’s like to have a baby during Coronavirus and what are you wearing at home?

(Illustration by Leah Reena Goren for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Anne says...

    This is all wonderful!
    I’m an elementary public school music teacher and my work has now transformed into video making. I am basically a production company creating hours and hours content for all the grades and I LOVE it. I’ve needed a new challenge and Final Cut Pro is definitely that. (I recently switched from iMovie to final cut because you know, I wanted that extra challenge). I have taken this head on and love it and feel incredibly proud of the lessons I have made. It is also wonderfully distracting.
    Otherwise my ongoing love for cleaning out my closet and newly also sewing dresses have been calming.

    • Jenny says...

      I love hearing your positivity and delight in the face of the challenge of learning a new teaching platform and reaching your students in a new way. They are lucky to have you working hard for their learning. The way you’ve met these new demands head on, seemingly without it being daunting is so inspiring. I want to harbor that optimism in tackling new goals such as planting a big garden, and… not being worried as I go to work as a hospital nurse. It’s all perspective!

  2. M says...

    I’m listening to the entire catalog of David Sedaris audiobooks (read by the author) while going on my boring neighborhood walks before my kids wake up. It’s so, so good.

    • Sarz says...

      Another fan! ? You’ve met him, I hope? I did at one of his readings, back when people gathered together. He didn’t disappoint. His sister Amy is pretty wonderful, too.

    • RM says...

      I started Theft By Finding a few days ago, and it was wonderful to laugh out loud. (I had started it in the past and struggled, so I started in the middle this time.).
      One of my favorites entries about his sister, Amy: “Because of the radio, the New York Times is doing a profile on me. Yesterday the reporter called Amy, who said, “I’m not telling you shit about that son of a bitch until he pays for that abortion he made me have.”

  3. Vanessa says...

    Hi from Singapore;

    Before corona, I had back-to-back schedules of being outside. Runs in the forest, yoga, pottery classes, brunches with friends, and not to mention, the monthly travels across the world. Typical type A.

    And while my life seems to have come to a halt. It is a nice pause. I’ve learn to love the quiet and stillness. I’m enjoying every minute of learning how to cook better, bring trying one new recipe a day. I’ve learn how to discipline myself to do yoga for 75 minutes, and still wake up at 6am to go for my runs. I’m also learning how to code my own website, and have been toying with the idea to buy a pottery wheel so i can practice during this circuit breaker. Omg, not to mention, naps… NAPS!! Everyday!!

    I’ve never felt more at peace, rested, my skin is better, I fall asleep faster.

    On days i feel like i’m suffocating, I remind myself that, in another world, there are people fighting for their lives, fighting it alone in the hospital, so many died, so many died without goodbyes. And then i remember, to be grateful for this wonderful pause.

  4. Sam says...

    I have been practicing healthy eating. The first week of quarantine, I ate junk food every day and drank wine by myself after work, which scared me into Whole 30. I couldn’t wait for Whole 30 to be done but two days later, I am looking at the next healthy eating challenge ahead of me. It is my way of coping while also making the best of a difficult situation, as my pre-quarantine life involved many happy hours and dinners out with friends.

  5. jillian bedell says...

    My brilliant 8-year-old was having a tough night recently. She misses her friends and teacher and school and everything. I hugged her while she cried and said, “this stinks, baby, I am so sorry. No, you know what, it sucks.” – a word that is absolutely anathema in our house, And then, I took her outside on the deck and gave her permission, just this once, to shout “THIS SUUUUCKS!!!!!” into the darkness. She could barely bring herself to do it – she is such a good girl. We ended up watching tv way too late and then reading Harry Potter and giggling together until we could sleep. Wild times call for wild measures.

    • Alice says...

      Oh this is the sweetest thing, Jillian!!!

  6. Sarah says...

    I ‘m reading Cup of Joe and Dinner, A L ove Story every single night before bed. It is my closure for the day, so thank you. I get so excited to cozy up under the duvet and see what awaits. I rarely cook (all my husband) but have taken such pleasure in making new things for my girls…crepes, pancakes, pies, new smoothies, muffins….on and on. Somehow, prepping their little breakfast and lunch plates is a calming break in our work/school/play day.

  7. CJ says...

    I say hi and talk to my veggies growing in my greenhouse. I’ve grown a large garden for several years but this time felt different. I’m rooting for them more than ever! (Pun intended, I’m a dork) it’s also nice to get out of the house my husband and I are both working in full time. It’s exciting to see daily change and fantasize about a healthy future with abundant fresh food.

    • Ashley says...

      Gardening is my solace too.

  8. Claire says...

    Hmmmm. I love to just browse online clothing retailers. I never buy anything, I just love to look and daydream about outfits and fashion. I find it oddly comforting.

    I also found a vacuum and a slow cooker in our building’s basement because I was bored one day, and those two have been getting a lot of mileage! Nice to vacuum my apartment and putter around knowing there’s a pot of beans or soup or stock bubbling away.

  9. Stasha says...

    I’ve made my bed every. single. day. since this all began. That little bit of order and comfort is so nice!

  10. Kamina says...

    I take a few moments to still my anxiety by watching simple recipe videos from sites like Bosh or Tasty. You know – super bright colours, super simple steps, and it’s always like “3-ingredient caramel desserts” or “5 amazing one-bowl meals” or something. I find these so incredibly soothing. Ditto cake decorating videos.

  11. Helen says...

    I have always been big into lists, the act of writing everything I need to do down calms me. Lately, I have been writing not just work and around the house to-dos down, but things I want to do and things some people might not categorize as productive. Today, I wrote pizza and Schitt’s Creek down because that is how I was looking forward to spending my lunch break. At 1:00pm, I crossed it out with the same sense of accomplishment as cleaning the bathroom or sending out a final presentation.

    • Jen Mpls says...

      This is totally me. I laughed with familiar recognition on the pizza and Schitts Creek note! I truly have this same note in my daily work spiral binder. Each day I turn a new page at 6 am after pouring a cup of coffee, write the date, list all the meetings I have (noting free time when I might? Shower and get out of jammies) and then all the random thoughts and ideas get noted as well. It’s soothing and somewhat absurd and I love it.

    • Shauna says...

      I have never related to a statement so much in my life~

    • Katha says...

      Yes! Lists! Just what I wanted to say. I rewrite and rearrange my todo lists a lot these days.

  12. Becky says...

    Digitally organized sizing. I had 10k photos on my phone and 15k on my desktop. I am obsessed with taking photos, hobby photographer. But I am embarrassingly bad at backing up my work consistently. So now I am obsessively backing up all my files. It one extreme or the other apparently, but these are extreme times. Once I’m done with photos I’m curious what will be next haha

    • Nykole says...

      I’m so bad at this too! I have about 10k photos on my phone. What do you use for backup? We have two hard drives but, inevitably, something goes wrong and the transfer stops. Ahh!

    • Breanna says...

      I recently did this as well! Felt great! I used the cloud on Amazon – it’s free if you’re a subscriber of Prime.

  13. Rebecca says...

    Late night, no lights on kitchen dance parties for one are giving me life. I close my eyes and imagine my friends dancing with me like before times.

    Also finding it fun to switch up where I sit in my house. I normally sit in the same chair at the dining table, same spot on the couch. I have many chairs, beds, tables and desks in this house why not use them?!? I’ve been moving my work spot, my face time spot, lunch spot each day and it brings me a little joy each time.

    • Katha says...

      You switching up places is such a cool idea.

  14. I’m seeing my doctor weekly at the moment (undiagnosable dizziness which all the medical tests have showed nothing so every week its a different medication) and for those appointments I get dressed nicely and take care in my appearance. I’m also baking quite a bit at the moment so I bring him some cookies or whatever I have baked that week which he happily accepts. Despite the virus slowly reducing here in Australia, I know doctors feel the pressure with the unknown so I want to show my appreciation somehow.
    I’ve never been one to stay in my PJs all day as it makes me feel mentally sluggish, (even when I am sick I will still throw on some leggings/track pants and a comfy tshirt) so I still get dressed in my regular clothes which at the moment is jeans, flats and a top. It just makes me feel human and more productive even if I spend the rest of the day doing nothing.

    • Oma McLaughlin says...

      Unsolicited medical advice (the best kind!): Have you looked into vestibular migraines? I had dizziness for months and this is what I was finally diagnosed with. Good luck and take care.

    • Heather says...

      Yes! I was dizzy for years and ended up with the same diagnosis as Oma. I started taking a daily migraine medication (Topomax), and it has changed my life. Sending you good thoughts in the meantime! It is a very debilitating condition to have that is invisible to everyone else.

  15. Megan Lec says...

    This post and all the comments with it are making me smile. Like others, the first few weeks of quarantine were full of little projects and lots of baking. At around the 3 week mark I was making dough to send home to just about everyone I know. These days though my pace has slowed. Each day is a tug of war between feeling low and sorry for myself and then feeling guilty about those thoughts since there are so many others suffering much more than I. My coping mechanism these days is long solo walks in the evening after my son has fallen asleep. I typically call my sister or my mom and spend a good hour lamenting or catching up. My husband and I also just binged the John Wick series. While certainly not my usual cup of tea (I hid my eyes for significant chunks of the action) it did provide a dose of needed escapism.

    • Belén says...

      “Each day is a tug of war between feeling low and sorry for myself and then feeling guilty about those thoughts since there are so many others suffering much more than I.”
      This is me too. I’m watching Harry Potter and Gossip Girl and taking walks around the house while I chat with my sister on the phone.

  16. Lane says...

    My husband and I have been painting our nails every week. He’s an elementary school teacher in a conservative southern town, so a male teacher with painted nails would never fly during ‘normal’ times, but he loves it! So every week we sit out on our back deck, file our nails, trim our cuticles, soak our hands, and then take turns painting each other’s nails.

    • Elena says...

      @Lane… Dear god, I love this. I hope he keeps up the painted nails at least during the summer time. :)

    • Emily says...

      This makes my heart so happy!

    • S says...

      That is so cute! This brightens my day

    • Joy says...

      I love this.

    • Beth says...

      ❤️

    • Anna says...

      This should be accepted and welcomed each and every time he feels like doing so :)
      Also: What a great way to care of each other.
      Greetings from Germany and take care.

    • Tabby says...

      This is so sweet. I wish he could wear his colourful nails every week of the year <3

    • Meredith says...

      I LOVE this, Lane! Sounds like your husband is a great teacher and influencer for those kiddos to learn acceptance <3

    • Sarz says...

      That’s so romantic! ?

    • Nicole says...

      Lane this is the best, reading this and imagining it made my day.

  17. VLS says...

    I’ve not changed much to make myself feel better. Except that going places and seeing people always made me feel better (because I’m an extrovert! and people renew my energy!) and now going places gives me high anxiety and seeing people is off limits. So my new, new, new normal is staying in and seeing no one, and it’s what makes me feel in control and comforted.
    I am a full-time single mama to a kindergarten boy and a 3rd grade girl. Luckily my job swiftly transitioned me to work from home (and I still have a job!) and we truly have no need to leave the house. I administer distance learning and the children’s school conference calls between my own back-to-back work calls, and decide on, serve, receive the feedback on, and clean up what seems like 67 meals each day.
    Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

  18. Jamie says...

    I write a list of all the things that are making me anxious. You’d think it would make me feel worse. But it feels way more manageable (now it’s a list!) and articulates all the little anxieties that aren’t quite fully formed in my mind. Which helps shrink them to an appropriate size, much smaller than seem in my head. It’s actually pretty soothing.

    • M says...

      Hmm this sounds interesting for my list-loving self. I think I’ll try it. Thank you!

  19. Midge says...

    Whatever I want. I honestly can’t remember a time when I just let myself do whatever came to mind for an extended period of time. I have projects in every room and it’s a mess, but I keep picking things up and idly tending to them bit by bit. The only problem is, I’m inhabiting such a live-in-the-moment state that I keep forgetting when I have Zoom appointments!

  20. Andrea says...

    Since the 2016 election, I have been having enormous bouts of anxiety when reading the news. How to cope? Reading ungodly amounts of Japanese anime fanfiction. I am not proud that my literary intake has gone to hell, but frankly, reading crappy fantasy beats reading awful reality.

  21. I have to listen to a podcast at night to unwind. My go-to’s are Ask me Another, This American Life, and Desert Island Discs. It makes me feel at ease and I fall asleep within minutes of starting a podcast. Every time. My poor partner, on the other hand, gets invested in the story and cannot sleep until it’s over. He light-heartedly complains that I don’t stay awake for it so why do we need it, but I just do! The next morning he’ll ask what I remember of the podcast and then always offers up a fair sigh that I missed the best part. I then re-listen (or begin to listen depending on how quickly I fell asleep) to the podcast midday when I can stay awake. It’s the best.

  22. Andria says...

    I scroll promotional emails, especially ones from the website Jane.
    I make pillowcases out of old shirts- by hand.
    I rearrange furniture.
    I have recently decided to redecorate my entire house- everything on any wall or surface must be changed to something DIFFERENT. I love the effect. Makes me so happy every time I see some new, small change that I can control. I think we all need a change of scenery.

  23. Yuna says...

    Love how absurd and relatable this is! It’s these little moments to ourselves where we just… do. We act and don’t speak yet feel comfort. We feel comfort in the doing. I find myself walking my dog about 10 times a day and looking UP when I walk outside. Staring at my box of paints (finding joy in just the possibilities). Actually looking through those pretty-coffee-table-like-books I have on my desk (who knew they were more than just a pretty cover!).

  24. I am amazed, impressed, and empowered by the amount of groceries that I can cram into our teeny-tiny city kitchen. I recently realize that our little broken dishwasher can be used for additional storage and it was like one of those dreams where you find an extra room in your house came true. When I’m done stuffing another few bags of stuff from Peapod into the cabinets, I have been known to leap out of the kitchen and do one of those gymnast salutes.

    • Meghan says...

      I thought I was the only one to ever have those dreams about finding another room/wing in the house! Those are the best ever!! Until I realize it was all just fiction! Lol

  25. Hannah Miller says...

    I write cards! To anyone! About anything! I’ve had a routine for 26 years straight and now it’s like living on a 24 hour roller coaster and I’m a little nauseous. ? So when it’s all ~TOO MUCH~ I write “happy mail” ? to friends, family. I have no children but I break out the crayons that I keep in a berry basket, use every card I have then make more cards, and I mail a few temporary tattoos too. To other adults without children. And to children. Oh to get mail when you’re a child! What a better feeling?? I’m cheery for them when I can’t be for myself and that consequently makes me feel better, always. ♥️

    • Tina, NYC says...

      Hannah Miller you sound fabulous and I absolutely adore you at this moment!

    • Sarah says...

      Same here! :-)

  26. Catherine says...

    1. Making my teens “Sunday Brunch” every day – it’s the easiest way to get them out of bed.
    2. Re-reading “The Diary of Anne Frank”- talk about perspective!
    3. Obsessively cleaning- sweeping the floor every day has become very satisfying.
    4. Listening to Heather Lilleston’s dharma talks on her IG live every day.
    5. Running, hiking, walking or yoga- moving my body every day HELPS.
    6. Meditating while I wait for my coffee to brew.
    7. Journaling- it’s helping me to sort out my feelings and also just to bear witness to these surreal times.
    8. Dancing- My husband and I had a dance party the night Bill Withers died- we listened to all his records which morphed into a “dead legends” dance party where we took turns playing records by artists that have passed.
    9. Gardening- checking on my roses every day seems like a hopeful pursuit.
    10. So much snuggling with my dog.

  27. Sarah says...

    I’ve been reading Cup of Jo for years now but have never commented until today. Not so “weird”, but definitely a step in acknowledging how much I love this little corner of the internet, and how much I’m craving community and positive vibes right now. Predictably, I’ve succumbed to the “let’s use this time to optimize!” pressure, and fallen down a goop-y rabbit hole: Should I do juice cleanse? What does dry brushing really do anyway? Is this $185 “elixir” going to cure all of my skincare woes? Can I afford an $185 elixir? (Answer, no.) Do I have a parasite, and will goat milk get rid of it? Should I start adding sex dust to my smoothies, or should I go with the Ho Shou Wu? What exactly is Ho Shou Wu?

    …all things I’ve probably thought or googled at some point the past six weeks. But then my sweet, loving inner voice kicks in and says “Sarah, it’s okay to just be.” And I settle into my couch for another episode of 90 Day Fiance.

    • Sam says...

      It absolutely is. This is a time for self care and easy love for yourself. The $185 elixir can wait :)

    • Kate says...

      This is me. Thank you for describing it so perfectly! The sex dust! Hahahaha.

  28. Jeanette says...

    This is going to be reallll weird and I’m feeling very vulnerable to share. Maybe the weirdest comfort I have is watching acne popping videos on YouTube while simultaneously listening to an audiobook. Something about it is so satisfying and shuts my brain off entirely. Maybe the 4.2M views on YouTube tell me I’m not the only one ??‍♀️

    • J says...

      lol! this is awesome.

    • Mon says...

      You are not alone! Watching blackhead removal videos on YouTube while listening to Phoebe Judge’s soothing voice on the Criminal podcast is my version of meditation.

    • Jade says...

      Yeah, I do this too but without the audiobook. I feel so soothed by watching spots being popped. Or even the more grim cyst being removed in an operating theatre type thing. They make it better and then it’s all clean and sorted. Feels good.

  29. Bonnie says...

    Thanks for this post. Some days are so hard and others miraculously breeze by without anyone in my house losing their sh$!t. Today to make ourselves feel better, we packed our 4 year old and 1 year old kids in the car and drove 30 minutes out to a town we’d never been before. The kids napped and my husband and I looked at pretty mansions we will never afford and when everyone woke up I threw on a mask and bought French pastries for us to eat in the car overlooking the Hudson. I came home feeling like I’d been on a vacation! Sometimes you just need butter and a drive.

    • Tara says...

      This!

  30. Emma says...

    When I’m feeling down or just blaaah, I light some candles in the bathroom, turn off the overhead lights, put on a good playlist, and take a really long shower. Something about belting out songs in the shower (with candlelight) is such a stress reliever for me. Just makes me feel renewed. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have a glass of red wine on hand. ;)

    • Ellie says...

      ohhh going to have to try this! :)

    • Ashley says...

      I do this too! I don’t have a bath in my apartment and really miss it so I do this as a compromise. I call them ‘fake baths’ and sometimes sit down in the shower tray too :)

  31. Emily says...

    there are so many strange things I do to make myself feel better that I’m leaning extra hard into these days… but the one that I swear by and recommend to shocked friends is … listening to an audiobook to fall asleep. The key is to pick a book you’re very familiar with. For the last 4 or 5 years my husband and I rotate through the Harry Potter Series, Hobbit + Lord of the Rings, most of the Jane Austen novels (but not Mansfield Park) and the Anne of Green Gables Series. Audible has a sleep timer function, and I just nod off… it’s fine if my husband stays up a little later or if I start it again the next night not exactly where I left off, because I already know the stories so well. If I wake up in the middle of the night and my brain starts going, I restart the audio book. This is the only thing that turns off my brain.

    • Sue says...

      Totally not strange! During one recent stressful period, I fell asleep every night to Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals. I’d started listening to it not realizing that it would become my nighttime sleep aid, but something about the narrator’s voice and the fact that it was meandering and episodic meant that I would fall asleep within 5 to 10 (usually 5) minutes of starting. (I used the Audible sleep timer to determine this, since I would then go back to what I last remembered hearing.) More recently, I went to sleep to Jennifer Ehle reading Pride and Prejudice. (She’s doing this on Instagram but they’re all up on a YouTube channel so you can listen in order without having to scroll back too many posts.) I listen to something else with a plot during the day, but the night book has to be something that I don’t have to think or worry about what happens next!

    • Louise says...

      Ha, I love Mansfield Park! It is so relaxing to revisit familiar stories. I’m rereading “Emma,” and Frank Churchill just went to London for his haircut!

    • Capucine says...

      Thanks for sharing this. As a kid my mom read us to sleep every night so I suddenly wonder: This could work for me! Better than reading to myself even! Heavy blanket and Pride and Prejudice, trying it.

    • Christine Hart says...

      Me too…every night. Usually cozy mysteries.

    • Kelly says...

      Yes! About two weeks ago I think the Libby app made Harry Potter available in an unlimited way, and I’ve been sleeping SO soundly. The one downside — I’ve been listening to it with my airpods and falling asleep, and now I have pain inside my ears…. I think I need to ask my partner if he’s okay with me listening to it aloud…

  32. melissa says...

    I’ve given myself a manicure every week that I’ve stayed home, which is now week 6. For no real reason other than it feels like happier times.

    • jules says...

      So funny. I’ve starting painting my fingernails for the first time in 10 years. The bottle was there from my DIY pedi and while I was on a conference call I just picked it up and did it a couple of weeks ago. Kept it up. It’s cheerful.

  33. Amy says...

    I researched how to hand wash clothes and I hand washed a load in the bath tub and then I hung out everything to dry on our patio. I will never do it again because I prefer machine washed and dried clothes, but it made me feel better at the time, like I have control over something. We live in a condo and don’t have an in-unit washer or dryer. We do have a washer & dryer in the warehouse of our self-owned business, so we don’t have to use the communal laundry room in our condo complex. There was just something about the idea of hand washing and hang drying our laundry that made me feel like I had much more control over things.

  34. Gilly says...

    LEGOS. I am done with “hobbies” that feel like chores. Baking and knitting are like that for me. But I was looking for something to do with my hands while I watched TV or listened to a webinar, and I heard somewhere that Daniel Radcliff’s quarantine thing is building Lego sets. I found the NYC skyline and the London Eye at Target and you guys, I am obsessed. I stay up way too late finishing them. It’s just easy enough that it doesn’t feel like work, but challenging enough that I don’t get bored, which is the problem with 2D legos. aka jigsaw puzzles. Guys. Go get yourself some Legos.

  35. Gaby says...

    I’m able to work from home during the week. Weekends, I use good daylight sitting by the window and plucking out leg hairs – one by one. I thought they’d grow back smooth. Nope! They usually come back ingrown and bumpy. Eek!

  36. Meghan says...

    Making my bed, even if it’s literally 30 seconds before I go to sleep. Getting into a bed with rumpled sheets just feels like I’ve given up on life. And taking naps on the other side of the bed than I usually go to sleep at night on. Why? Again, because then it doesn’t feel quite so bad when I go back to sleep five hours after I’ve gotten up.

    Also rereading books that I’ve read a thousand times before. Nothing new; I don’t have any mental energy to predict plot points or get attached to characters who may die in tragic, sob-inducing ways (I have news stories about lonely old people for that, thank you very much). Instead I pick up an old chestnut, the longer the better . Sometimes I start from the beginning and go all the way through, other times I pick the most dog-eared pages and wonder why I picked that scene to go back to again and again.

  37. Amanda says...

    There are plenty of things my husband and I have done to try to convince ourselves that everything is ok, but today we had an outburst at each other that resulted in both of us sobbing in the closet while our three young children played in a different room. If felt so refreshing to admit to each other that this shit is hard. In the last two months, we’ve moved into a temporary place, sold our house, lost our family’s only income, and lost all certainty about the international move we’re supposed to make in a few months. It’s a lot, and sometimes acknowledgement of the fact goes a long way.

    • In a few years you will look back on this time and feel both amused and bemused, knowing that you survived and thrived such a difficult set of circumstances. Because you will — I promise!

    • Amanda says...

      Thank you, Elle. This is the best community.

  38. AC says...

    Home projects that may or may not be useful, like creating beautiful colorful little rocks that I put in my front yard. Re-painting the old rusty patio set that I stare at from my WFH office. Organizing my “office armoire” (an old cabinet in which I toss all the receipt and other paperwork, and which gets organized once a year or maybe a little more often …) The last almost five weeks working from home were kind of okay, aside from the many dishes, the slightly depressed unemployed husband and the lovely fighting offspring that wants to have even more screen time. Today though, I hit rock bottom for some reason, and I cried in my office, ate too much candy and purchased a sunflower-yellow umbrella … be well, you lovely ladies, I love all the comments, and they make me feel more normal and less guilty of being a luxury whiner who has a cozy little home office, a well-paid job and food in the fridge. Sometimes it’s still tough. Tonight, I will write cards (snail mail!) to dear friends and family members , just to make someone smile.

  39. Emily says...

    I’ve been a runner for over a decade, but always very causally, I don’t even have a fancy GPS watch or anything. I just run a few miles a few times a week because it makes me feel good. But, as it’s one of the only things I can control or even derive a little novelty from, ive become obsessed to a level I never would have expected from myself! I’m not over doing the exercise, don’t worry, but everyday I need something new- a new route, a burst of speed in the middle, alternating paces, long and slow, short and fast. I’m such a creature of habit in normal circumstances, running the same two or three routes and distances over and over. Not anymore! And then, nearly everyday my sister and I call each other and ask, “wanna hear about my workout?”

  40. caroline says...

    in my fam, we use the term “rummaging” to describe the endless tidying of or fidgeting with household items (really just moving things from 1 place to another). unproductive but quite soothing

    • Emmeline Young says...

      We call it “churning” :)

    • Reba says...

      “pouching,” in my family!

    • Mandy says...

      I call it puttering and it’s my FAVORITE. Sometimes it is productive but sometimes it’s just wandering around messing with whatever catches my attention.

  41. Elspeth says...

    This. Oh man. Makes me so thankful again for the Cup of Jo community! Glad to not be alone in doing very random things to get through this period ?

  42. Bridget says...

    I enjoy making my bed every morning – decorative pillows and all. It’s really quite inviting to come crawl into later to watch my current Netflix show or to video call a friend. Also, emptying the dishwasher. There is something so mysteriously thrilling about wondering how each mug goes back in the cabinet when you KNOW they’ve all fit just fine before!

    • Courtney says...

      It’s fun to read that someone loves the thing you detest. Every time my husband says he’s going to run the dishwasher, I cringe since I know I will be the one to find it full and need to empty it. There’s just too many opportunities for this very clumsy person to break something!

    • Laura says...

      Emptying the dishwasher might be my least favorite chore! I try so hard not to make noise but the inevitable clanking of dishes sets my teeth on edge. One of the reasons I’ve been able to stick to my morning yoga routine is that I know my husband will do the dishwasher while I exercise!

  43. So well written and hilarious! Love the interesting sides of humanity the Big Q is bringing out in all of us. I can just see here and her husband in quarantine and the quirky habits and though process. Me? Ive gone all in on essential oils and can’t stop diffusing, knee deep in mixology (ah- mazing glow serum, toner, soft scrub, body balm, sugar lip scrub all.the. things.) but my passion for EOs, purging, cleaning, organizing, consolidating and going non-toxic is beyond my own recognition. : ) If you want to follow along for a happy pill that makes your home smell like a spa- feel free @seaportcottagecollective.

  44. Eliza says...

    Cup of Jo, you are SO my treat right now! Excellent essay. Thank you!

  45. Emily says...

    What a great essay. I loved it. I’m resisting the pressure to be the same ‘me’ as normal– things are different, and if I don’t feel like reading a novel right now (weird, but true), and need to watch as much trashy reality tv as netflix can produce, I’m going to let myself do that.

  46. Meredith says...

    I had to laugh because my husband is in the next room practicing German as I read this :P That’s not a new quarantine pastime, just him still being the same nerd he’s always been. But the timing was perfect for a smile! :)

  47. Robin says...

    I feel better when I start noticing what I call “moments of joy”. I had one today when I watched a bear cub hide between it’s mom’s legs. But less spectacular things also count – smelling the spring blossoms in the air, my first sip of coffee, sitting outside in the sun. These things happen throughout even the worst days, and noticing them helps me get through.

  48. SM says...

    The most satisfying things have been washing my pillows, conditioning my leather couches and cleaning makeup and hair brushes. The things that we didn’t have time to even think about before.

  49. Sara says...

    I am now working from home (with epic 10-12 hour days) and my husband is still working out of the home (essential services) and we have 15 year old twins. I LOVE this essay, though I started making vegetable broth before pandemic (early adopter, lol). However, in the last 5 weeks I find myself obsessively doing laundry (we never run out of underwear), and buying plants. And my bit of weird normalcy each day is using the mismatched cutlery I would normally use at the office for lunch, even though I’m at home with no risk forgetting our matching stuff at work.

  50. RB says...

    I’m 30 weeks pregnant and recently diagnosed with gestational diabetes. So now I’m trying to figure out WTF I can eat while annoyedly eying all of the pandemic foods I’d frantically picked up: rice is out, crackers are out, frozen fruits are almost entirely out. I’m thankful that we can afford to buy foods that are keeping my blood sugar within the required range, but I’d also just really love to gnaw on some of the chocolate we have stored for stress eating.

    What’s keeping me sane right now is finding meals that keep my blood sugar where it needs to be – it feels like a victory and I am starting to get a meal formula. And obsessively budgeting. I’m switching budgeting software right now. Oh, and online window shopping.

    • Elena says...

      Oh RB, I feel you on the gestational diabetes. I had it too, though this was before the pandemic. You are a hero in your own category for making it work when all everyone wants to do is stress eat! It’s temporary and you’ll find the foods that work for you. Good luck!

    • A says...

      Solidarity with the Gestational Diabetes. I had it too (pre-pandemic). It’s hard!!! I know you’ll figure out what works for your body, but it feels like a whole new language to learn! I remember sobbing because I couldn’t just randomly walk in to a coffee shop and get a muffin. Or have a snack until after I ate a meal and waited to test my blood sugar. It was a lot. I ended up having to use insulin. Which was also …. a lot. Now my son is 2.5, the issues with GD are long over, and I have kept up with some of the healthy habits ! Like less snacking between meals and waking after I eat and eating more veggies and fewer carbs. Anyway. Just want to acknowledge that having to completely change how you approach eating is HARD having any extra worry during pregnancy is HARD and feeling thrown for a loop during this pandemic is extra hard.

    • M says...

      Rb- I feel you. I had GD and it was not fun. But as Elena mentioned, you get the hang of it eventually. And if nothing works, walking (a lot) helped keeping those numbers down. Also, I kept a food diary alongside my sugar numbers, so once we identified a few meals that worked, we could use them often and more. I lived on chipotle (with a teeny-tiny amount of brownrice, and tons of sourcream and gauc) during my last trimester!!

      All the best, you’ve got it!

      Hugs!

    • Laura says...

      Agreed with what everyone has said. Meal planning, prepping, and blood sugar testing felt like another full time job. I also ended up needing insulin at night and sometimes at lunch. It sucked, but once you figure out some things that work, it helped to eat them over and over. And now my daughter is 5 1/2 months old and it’s already a faint memory.

  51. Carrie says...

    Cleaning has always been my coping mechanism. I need visual order in order to relax. I do something small every single day to keep my house tidy so cleaning is very easy and never overwhelming and my house is always spotless. Feels damn good!

    • m says...

      Me too! I egg myself on by saying, just do this little present for yourself. and then i’m like hmm hmm coffee in the compost/sheets in the washer/a little tiny sink clean cuz it’s my present. !

  52. Sarah says...

    I’ve taken to making myself a little to-do list each day: shower, floss, walk dog, work, workout, and watercolor. Most days, I don’t do it all. But I’ve realized that flossing and walking the dog are the low-effort, high-reward ones. I could let literally every ball in my life drop, but if I’ve flossed, I’ll feel like that was a net win for the day.

    • Tovah says...

      Because I am a HUGE nerd, I have to point out that if you changed “shower” to “wash” and “floss” to “whittle” (a stretch, I know), you’d have an alliterative list— all Ws!!!
      I’ll see myself out.

    • Elena says...

      Cabbage water, I’m laughing so hard! Thank you for this essay, it was perfect. I’m right there with you with the five month old. It’s so strange teaching him about the world from the confines of our apartment. And I’m optimistic that life will go back to regular normal and we’ll throw the term ‘new normal’ out the window. It might just take a little time!

  53. Lindsay Garrod says...

    I feel this so deeply. More often than not aided by a glass of wine and a DJ D-Nice Instagram live set, I’ve been cooking ridiculously elaborate meals to give me some semblance of control over my world. It reminds me of the scene from Julie and Julia where Julie comes home from work and while cooking says, “You know what I love about cooking? I love that after a day when nothing is sure and when I say nothing, I mean nothing, you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. That’s such a comfort.” It feels like the only way to settle into this new normal is to find something that’s a comfort, and while we all have our individual remedies, I’m continually reminded that perhaps the biggest comfort is knowing we’re all struggling together.

    • Din says...

      I love that quote. I’ve rewatched my favourite scenes from the movie, Julie and Julia for comfort and cooking inspiration during the quarantine.

  54. Allie says...

    Thank you SO much for this. I rarely comment but I loved this post so much. I live alone and had (as in, five minutes before reading this!) been feeling so lonely and sad about all of the suffering right now–just reading this helps me to feel more connected. I second wearing lipstick and doing various organizing projects. And I’ve been writing a ton of actual mail to people. It helps me to feel connected and grounded during this enormously difficult time.

  55. Reba says...

    Online house tours! I used to read a book or two a week and I currently have no fewer than seven partially finished books from my To Be read shelf scattered. But somehow, these days, I cannot get through more than a chapter in a sitting. I barely have the concentration to plow through the emails and documents I need to get through to WFH. Nevertheless, I lose at least an hour a day to UK House and Garden (they have a category called “Houses Belonging to Interesting People”) or the back catalog of home tours on this blog or Home52 or the like. Now, I’m not planning to redecorate, or move, or even buy any of the furnishings I’m admiring. I just…look at the pictures and read the captions and then move on. This is not at all a usual coping mechanism for me; I think it must have something to do with being cooped up in *my* house for so long. I wish it were as productive a compulsion as making stock, or even making my bed, but at any rate, it’s mine. And maybe better for my mental health than refreshing cnn.com for the millionth time, so…?

    • Inid says...

      I get you. I’ve devoured each house tour on cupofjo. And I also look at apartment therapy, Elle decor, vogue living for inspiration on a regular basis. Pictures of clean well designed spaces brimming with house plants provide such comfort.

  56. NH says...

    Love this!
    -having sex
    -vacuuming
    -looooong walks listening to audiobooks

  57. Cece says...

    I feel like the ultimate lockdown cliche, but I’ve become obsessed with my sourdough starter and with baking bread. Partly it’s learning a new skill, which takes proper concentration and distracts me from my anxiety (and gives me a great sense of pride). Partly it’s reassuring that as long as I can get my hands on enough bread flour, I won’t need to leave the house and go shopping just because we’ve run out of bread. It makes me feel resourceful!

    • Meghan says...

      Ohhhhh I started a sourdough starter tonight! I’m determined for it to work and it feels nice to take care of and cultivate something other than my two kids!

  58. Katie says...

    Patric Stewart’s voice has comforted me as well. I follow him on Facebook where he reads a sonnet each day.

    • Robin Kelly says...

      A sonnet a day?? Thank you for this!

  59. Hali says...

    I get up in the morning, slide my feet into slippers, and sweep our entire tiny house while the kettle heats up water for coffee. It’s a quiet, comforting, and timeless chore. There’s always more dust. I could definitely keep up the morning sweep after the pandemic but I know I wont. The second we’re back to a normal pace of life, I won’t need to, I just know it.

    • ks says...

      hali – I have also taken up sweeping each evening before dinner and before we shut down for the night. it’s quiet and soothing and allows me freedom to move without purpose. i also agree that the chances of this continuing are zero. xx

    • Angela says...

      I took a long, peaceful sigh reading your comment. Sweeping is so lovely. I hope the sweeping stays and the rushing stays away.

    • I don’t know if there was something so beautiful ever written about sweeping. <3

  60. Robin in NoCo says...

    Where have you been all my… pandemic?? I love, love, love this essay. I’m on the other end of the parenting spectrum busily trying to make sense of the abyss for my 16-21 year old trio of kids, gazing at my 35 lbs of black beans and 10 lbs of rice wishing for some garbage water to amp up the flavor. I have been sick, so there have been no hints of that hyper productive quarantine. I have found solace in Patrick Stewart’s voice, watching endless hours of Star Trek: The Next Generation. My husband takes long strolls out to the chicken coop to thank Buffy, Connie, and Pearl for feeding the family. He has been coping through perfecting the egg sandwich (and a fanatical adherence to his Zwift routine).

    • Samantha Blair says...

      Making sense of the abyss! This is exactly what I have been trying to do for my 31-year-old self. How do we even begin to make sense of this abyss!? Eggs sound good and I’ve jumped on the banana bread bandwagon, but it doesn’t illuminate the abyss. There’s just so many unknowns for everyone. Sending good vibes to you and your clan!

  61. H says...

    love this post and all the comments, as always. i’m new mom of an 8 week old boy and mine mostly revolve around him:
    -organizing breast milk in the freezer (by date, standing up in old lacroix containers)
    -constant online shopping for him – why is growing up so fast already?!
    -texting my sister all day/night usually about the baby/most recent pics
    -looking at photos and video of baby when he’s sleeping
    -seeing how long i can push a shirt or nursing bra before they smell TOO much of spit up… answer: too long

  62. Does napping count? Or dropping all my normal routines in favour of just getting by?

    • hali says...

      um hell yeah it does!!
      you described my weekend.
      I was never able to nap before, boy has that changed! Pandemic naps are glorious. On Sunday I dreamed of dolphins (?) swimming in the waters (?) off my front porch (?) and it was way better use of time than wondering around the house waiting for my spirits to lift.

  63. Amy says...

    Stephanie – my heart goes out to you! As someone who used to be married to an alcoholic, I get it. My 2 cents is to check out the community forums at soberrecovery.com (and it’s thankfully safe to due during quarantine!). They have forums/community boards for both alcoholics and friends/families of them. It brought me to a wonderful community of people who know and understand what you’re going through. Take care and hang in there!

  64. Ginger says...

    Lots of cooking. Lots of baking. (We’re doing that thing where you basically eat one meal a day, so that meal can be hugely indulgent.) Lots of reading. I work from home generally, but I find that I’m being more productive now bc I can’t invent excuses about errands I need to run; before this, I didn’t even realize how many of them were invented rather than real. So I guess I’m low-key optimizing my quarantine? Not performing miracles, but getting along well.

  65. Genevieve Martin says...

    Walking round the patio and checking in on all the plants.
    I’m growing herbs and lettuces and the progress is fast enough to be noticeable, or at least it would be of I didn’t do it 4 times a day :)

    • Kimberley says...

      Yes! So many laps checking the plants. I think they all want to be left alone now as they’re very much fed, watered, re-potted, misted, dusted, pruned, supported, in the sun, out of the sun. Blissful for me though :)

  66. Holly says...

    READING!

    Tons and tons of reading. It’s funny because I usually fly through 3-4 books during my one week summer vacation at the beach. Since being quarantined for 40+ days, taking my little books to bed with me for an hour before falling asleep has been such a lovely escape. To jump into a book, in different times, in different lives is so nice. Almost like a breath of fresh air.

    I am currently reading The Authenticity Project and it is ADORABLE.

    Hoping everyone is staying safe, happy and healthy!

    • Alexis C. says...

      I read The Authenticity Project at the start of quarantine and LOVED it! It’s the perfect, cheerful read for times like these.

  67. Mary Katherine says...

    I have a small yard. After living in cities in tiny apartments for years, it’s my favorite part about living just across the bridge from DC. It’s the right amount of space to putter. There’s always something to do — sweep, edge, mow, weed, pick up sticks. Any time I’ve done something to pretty up the garden, I feel like I have won the day. I also meditate outside mostly, on walks or during my yard activities. I’ve been practicing how to more efficiently trigger the relaxation response. Like anything, I’ve been getting better with practice.

  68. celeste says...

    OMG I am a 40 year old who just started watching Riverdale. Those kids have so many problems to resolve they are never in class.

    • Lindsey says...

      This made me laugh so hard! I said the same thing when watching it: WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS? ?

  69. j says...

    I’ve been fortunate enough to have a bathtub and/or a hammock and so lounging in those places and scrolling through instagram or texting with my lover has been my coping mechanism. I’ve made the banana bread, obsessively cleaned as well.

    I’ve thus far avoided the excel reconciliation, but it’s been on my list.

    I started a “what brings joy” list in my 2020 planner earlier in the year and going back to that helps remind me of more (e.g. baths, flowers and candles)

  70. Flic says...

    I love this. Not optimising quarantine? GOOD FOR YOU!

    So… Bagging up old clothes (donate/ebay/recycle). Hoovering (vacuuming in the US?). Lining up food in my cupboard so it’s parallel and organised ready for the next food delivery (that’s on really bad days). Reorganising my 9 month old daughter’s playpen while she naps. Maintaining inbox zero. To do lists. Browsing Etsy for a lovely notebook for my to do lists. Walking for an hour daily.

  71. hanh says...

    it’s not weird. id ont think. but these days the things that help me stay sane is sewing and taking showers.

  72. Kimberly says...

    I used to find comfort in hitting refresh, refresh, refresh all day long on my laptop to read about the virus. I “researched” from Google, analyzed graphs, statistics, compared numbers from city to state and country to country.

    Now, since my family has forbidden me from this “research”, I’ve changed from a night owl to a morning person. In a surreal sort of way, I now enjoy waking up early, drinking tea, and watching the early sun through my living room window. It’s an act of renewal, that this will all become better, that there is hope with the sun rising.

    That and eating all carbs.

  73. Meg says...

    Ridding my lawn of dandilions.

    • Jess says...

      I’ve been doing the same! Pulling up the complete root is thee best! (I got a near 2ft long root from a fairly unassuming dandy – you can imagine how exhilarating that was, lol)

    • Sarah says...

      Noooo! Bees love dandelions, they are a great source of pollen for our bees. A weed is just a flower in the wrong place.

  74. I call and/or facetime my mom multiple times a day. “Back in the day” we would talk a few times a week but now the urge to call and just say hello is overwhelming. Sometimes there is nothing more to talk about other than, “what did you cook for dinner,” but there’s nothing like a chat with someone who loves you unconditionally that brings comfort, no matter your age (I’m 41!)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      aww, i love this, stephanie!

    • I do this with my sister! I call her with no specific thought in mind, and we usually have completely pointless conversations. Sometimes these calls are literally less than a minute long and it’s just to hear each other’s voice. And yet they bring me so much happiness.

    • Carole says...

      I do this with my sister too…..

    • cg says...

      I’ve seen these! I can’t help but keep wondering how much preproduction goes into making each video to make it look so serene.

    • Ash says...

      Well, now I’m obsessed with this! I love that there’s no talking. Thank you sharing.

    • Melinda says...

      OMG! They play these videos at my nail salon and I love them so much. It is absolutely delightful to watch them while getting a pedicure (a luxury I’ve missed while at home, and hoping the salon owners and staff are ok).

      Related: I have myself a pedicure last week and having cheerful coral toes has been a happy thing to notice as I look down at my bare feet several dozen times a day.

    • L says...

      Thank you for sharing these!

    • Cheryl says...

      My great aunt turned me on to these six months ago! Even my 7 year old daughter watches it. It’s like a massage for your brain.

    • Abbie says...

      Oh my goodness! As always, Cup of Jo comments are gold. These videos are so wonderful. One just brought me much needed zen to handle kids’ bedtime routine ? Can’t wait to watch more.

  75. Ann says...

    I make chicken stock too. I was doing it last night. I save all the chicken bones, carrot peels, ends of onions, celery leaves in the freezer over time then when I run out of space I make stock!

  76. Katie says...

    Organizing my closets! If nothing else I’m coming out of this with a much more organized apartment. My roommate doesn’t seem to mind my home improvement streak ?

  77. andrea says...

    I’ve been going deep on therapy and self-reflection the past two months. Not from a place of “needing to better myself during quarantine” but more like, I needed something intense to distract me from what’s happening in the world. So I just went all-in on exploring childhood trauma, confronting my coping mechanisms, sitting with weird feelings. I’m doing video therapy and a lot of reflecting and journaling and it’s been a bizarre but productive form of escapism. It feels like these are things that were just under the surface of my mind for years but with life being so busy, I never made time for them. And now with so much stillness around me, now I have the time and space for them.

    I’m not sure if this is normal/healthy or if I’d recommend it to others, but it’s where I’m at! My therapist is like, ok yeah let’s do this! :P

    • Flic says...

      May the light find you!

    • Lindsay says...

      How wonderful! Besides online therapy and journaling, have you used any available tools like books or websites to help guide you through this process? I’d love to do this for myself but am intimidated by the process of finding an online therapist. Just curious! Thank you!!

    • I’m doing the exact same thing!

    • Andrea says...

      Clara- I love knowing I’m not the only one doing this right now! Good luck to you <3

      Lindsay- I've been with my therapist for 6 months, pre-virus we met in person and now we meet online. I honestly can't recommend therapy enough, it's changed my life and I just don't think it would be possible through books/websites or just self-reflection. I like the analogy that a therapist acts like a mirror which allows you to see yourself in a way you couldn't otherwise. If you're thinking about starting it – do it! I think most therapists are doing online sessions right now and you could start online then switch to in-person when it's safe. If you can get over the hump of intimidation I think you'll be so happy you did. I found mine by browsing psychologytoday.com, you can filter for insurance/location etc and I just browsed there until I found someone whose page resonated with me.

  78. Just one day after NYC public schools closed down, my husband was hospitalized due to pneumonia, which of course seemed to be COVID related (he subsequently tested negative but who knows for sure). My husband is an alcoholic. The silver lining of his 4-day hospital stay was that he was simply unable to drink, and so took it as an opportunity to get sober. 5 weeks later he’s struggling but staying strong. Meanwhile, there’s me: at home with 4 year old and 5 month old, a depressed husband, the stress of the unknown, homeschooling, suddenly becoming a zero income household… drinking is ALL I want to do. And so I have taken to hiding wine bottles and plastic cups around the house – in my purse, in shoe boxes in my closet, under the sink… In my mind it’s me being supportive of my husband’s struggle, but in my heart I can’t help but wonder if it’s time I examine my own relationship with alcohol.

    • cg says...

      Wow. This is so powerful, I’m rooting for you and your family. There are help/therapists via online and on the phone. I wonder if that would be beneficial to you and your husband. Please consider, and please remember you do not have to navigate this by yourself.

    • . says...

      In your own time and at your own pace… acceptance is the first step. You’re doing great (you really, truly are).

    • Mercy says...

      I can’t think of what I want to say, but I want to send hugs, strength, and good feelings your way.

    • Laura says...

      I just want to acknowledge what a brave and vulnerable comment this is. It sounds like you’re dealing with a tough time on top of a global tough time here, and yet I feel like the fact that you can write this stuff out so honestly means you’re on your way to taking whatever next step it is that will get you to the step after that. I see your bravery and your clear-eyed ability to assess the situation. I send you lots of strength and persistence, and the time to focus on yourself a little too. See if you can do some video sessions with a therapist or al anon just for some extra support? Sending you love, fellow reader!

    • Sophie says...

      Congratulations on drinking less! Keep it up, this internet stranger believes in you and your husband. I am proud of you both.

      If you think you might have to reexamine your relationship with alcohol, you probably do. Be honest with yourself and be brave.

    • C. says...

      Stephanie, I am sending you all of mu strength. You can do that!

    • JB says...

      Stephanie, I wanted to say that I see you. Your situation sounds unfathomly hard. I wish for you peace of mind and strength and hope and joy. I’ll be thinking you today.

    • Tara says...

      Stephanie, I just wanted to say I am in awe of all you are juggling. I hope you are able to stay strong with whatever strength you need at any given time. You conveyed so much in such a succinct comment.

    • mims says...

      oh Stephanie, sending you virtual hugs for what sounds like a really difficult situation. have you shared your struggle with your partner? Maybe exploring that path with him will help you both find a healthier balance.

    • M says...

      I have struggled with “am I an alcoholic?” on and off over the past year. From my brief stint in AA, I suspect that people who don’t have an alcohol problem don’t constantly wonder if they do. I’ve given myself even more of a free pass on drinking since this all started. I know this is a terrible way to deal with my feelings, being cooped up with 3 preschoolers, lost income, etc. etc. but honestly I don’t have any other coping mechanisms, even in good times.

      All of this to say… I feel for you and your very difficult situation. You have so much going on. Hang in there, mama!

    • Emily says...

      Oh gosh, that is so hard. I have a complicated relationship with alcohol myself and I think the wondering is sometimes the worst part. There’s a really great book called This Naked Mind that I read and it helped me reset my relationship with drinking. I also really like the principles behind the Tempest Sobriety school. They are all about helping you find healthy copy mechanisms outside of alcohol and creating a life you don’t need to escape from. They have a lot of free resources and I think they also offer scholarships. It might be nice to join their school and not feel so alone. It sounds like you are carrying a lot on your shoulders right now and I hope it gets better. Whatever happens, sending big love your way. https://www.jointempest.com/

    • Eva says...

      Wow. That is an extremely difficult situation that you are in Stephanie. I just wanted to write that I will pray for you right now and I hope everything works out for you and your family. I know it’s a strange time right now but try to seek some help both for your husband and for yourself. Lots of love!

    • Megan says...

      This sounds so incredibly challenging, Stephanie. Hang in there, I hope you can take solace in knowing that things WILL get better.

    • L says...

      My spouse is a few years into recovery and those first months are were so hard for both of us- my heart goes out to you completely. I also hid wine bottles in boots to sneak when they weren’t looking, and was also curious at how I was the one now hiding the booze. Know that any habit changes are hard, and lots of partners of alcoholics experience what it sounds like you are. Keep exploring yourself, and know people are rooting for you and your partner from the background. Its not impossible, and it sounds like you’re both on track! All my love to you both.

    • Catherine says...

      Sending you a lot of love Stephanie. That sounds incredibly difficult. As a person who has struggled with my own relationship with alcohol, I can say that if you are asking whether or not you need to examine your relationship with alcohol then you most probably do. People like my mother-in-law who never has more than one glass of wine a week for example, has never asked herself this question- I asked her! There are so many wonderful online resources these days but my favorite is thetemper.com and jointempest.com. They have articles right now about getting through this time without alcohol and a program for quitting. Take good care and thanks for sharing.

    • Anon says...

      M says: “I suspect that people who don’t have an alcohol problem don’t constantly wonder if they do”. She is right. Wishing you the help and support that you need to get through such a difficult time.

    • Also Stephanie :) says...

      You can shoot me an email at stephanieg09@gmail.com and I’ll send you my phone # if you’d like to chat with a stranger who has been through it all–I grew up with a mom who did what we called “squirreling” with a bottle under the sink, in the closet, in her office, the trunk of the car, and as an adult I found myself doing the same thing, until I finally got some help–plus a dad who wound up in the hospital when he got drunk and fell down a flight of stairs backwards, and got sober, with many relapses and re-commitments. Unhealthy relationships with alcohol are my expertise! I lost the ability to judge anyone for anything many years ago. I’d love to listen if you need someone to talk to.

    • jules says...

      My partner quit just before COVID hit and is on day 50-something with the help of near-beer. I quit 16 months ago. Neither of us did any sort of program and neither swore it would be forever. Just an ongoing experiment. This makes it easier in my opinion vs the idea that I can NEVER have a glass of champagne or margarita again and if I choose to. Now I’m simply way more interested in keeping up my streak and don’t really miss drinking. (i DID miss it Covid week 1 a bit though, I can’t deny it. I def fantasized about an old fashioned. ). Go easy on yourself and don’t rush it. We were habitual, committed overdrinkers for many, many years. I never thought either of us could do this.

      I say don’t pressure yourself to stop hiding the wine yet. Let it sit there and see if you can let it be for a day or two. then maybe 3. You’ll have a lot to deal with when he’s home and maybe adding that judgment and pressure is not a must -doright this second. I say it could work against you. When you’re ready, decide to leave the wine out of the house for a weekend, a week, a month… see what happens. And if you have a glass in your closet after the kids go down or after everyone’s asleep, so be it. You have a lot going on.

    • RRN says...

      Sending love. It is so hard, but you and your husband can make changes in your life. You can do it.

    • Kim says...

      Thank you for sharing something so honest. You are seen by all of us here reading your words. Sending you so much love. Also, reading through all of these replies to your post fills me with so much love and awe for this community.

    • S says...

      I’m late on chiming in here but I’m the wife of an alcoholic with two very young kids as well. We have been through hell but have begun to sort through it all. My husband is currently sober and I marvel at how he is maintaining that through this time because many people are leaning on alcohol to cope. I get it -even as someone who hasn’t ever struggled with drinking (and have given it up to support my husband’s sobriety) I have found myself wanting a drink lately to deal with the anxiety and tedium and extra childcare and the exhausting vigilance this time demands. Al Anon has been one of the biggest elements in my life that has saved my sanity. They have online meetings – I’d encourage you to check one out and see if you can find some light there. It’s so hard. You are not alone through this (and that’s where I discovered others who knew my pain).

  79. Kate says...

    It’s my birthday today. I’ve always loved to bake… worked at a bakery in Philadelphia in my early 20’s when I wasn’t working in a research lab, and always thought I’d open my own bakery but honestly (rumination is part of my coping) I was probably too afraid to fail to ever pursue it. Anyway, all these years later, I still love baking… so 2 days ago, I started to make my birthday cake. I bought Christina Tosi’s “Milk Bar” cookbook when it first came out and was too intimidated to make the birthday cake from it, but this year, I finally did it. Then I scrubbed my kitchen. Feeling like I’m in control (I have a 5 and 7 year old at home with me) in any way is important. So today, we’ll have delicious dinner, delicious cake, and I’ll go to bed with clean kitchen counters. It will be a great day. <3

    • Mary Katherine says...

      Happy Birthday!!!!!

    • Mercy says...

      Happy birthday! I love Milk Bar’s birthday cake, enjoy! :)

    • Jill says...

      Happy Birthday To You, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Ka ate, happy birthday to you! And many more!!

    • Daniela says...

      Happy Birthday!! Keep baking :)

    • mims says...

      happy, happy, merry, merry birthday to you dear Kate! Delicious food and clean counters are thrilling. you have won the bonus round in my eyes.

    • Deb in Oklahoma says...

      Oh, Kate–Happy Birthday! I’ve never met you, but you are a person after my own heart. I love to bake a good birthday cake, especially for friends and coworkers. Everybody should have a great treat for their birthday, and if you bake your own, you get to chose all the flavors. I hope you have a wonderful day!

    • Jessica says...

      Happy happy birthday!! I always make her Malted Chocolate Marshmallow cake for my birthday and spend several days doing. It is the most intensely rich cake in the world and I LOOOOOVE it. I love doing it just for me and taking as many tastes along the way as I bake without feeling guilty about it (or sharing with my kids ;)). I hope you enjoy it!

  80. R says...

    So many things! Among them, drinking and smoking weed on the weekends, adding to my spring playlist on Spotify, organizing random areas of my house (spice shelf, tupperware drawer, etc.), sexting with my FWB, cooking in general (especially slow, methodical things like risotto and caramelized onions), making lists, putting on eyeliner before any Zoom interaction (an Indian woman needs her eyeliner!), occasionally treating myself to random sh*t I don’t need (Madewell jeans, gourmet condiments, perhaps a new cookbook or two), watching ‘The Big Family Cooking Showdown’ with my son…the list goes on!

    • JB says...

      I want to be your friend.

    • Daniela says...

      I second wanting to be your friend. I identify with quite a bit on your list!

    • Jules says...

      Which is the weird one?

  81. Pomme says...

    After a week of being confined with my two toddlers and husband, I binged watched Korean Drama (Crash Landing On You) in the middle of the nights after everyone fell asleep. I didn’t want to cry in front of my husband and get asked to explain, I didn’t want him to hug/ comfort me. Alone, I squeezed out every single tears and some more. I mopped for days and blamed it on the drama, but in hindsight, I cried due to the situation, of feeling helpless, of having my choices taken away and so many other emotions that I still don’t know how to name it. The drama just helped turn on the tap. But that purge of tears and emotion was how I dusted myself off the ground and came to acceptance that this is how it’s going to be for now.

    • yj says...

      the beauty of k-dramas!

    • cg says...

      I have been “escaping” the last four years through Korean variety shows, and a couple of dramas (hello, Sky Castle!). I might just have to do Crash Landing On You… and also considering Itaewon Class (or something like that).

    • Elizabeth says...

      So nice to know someone else has this urge to escape in the middle of the night. My husband doesn’t understand why. If I’m so tired after teaching online all day and taking care fo our toddler in the evening, why don’t I just want to go to bed immediately? But I feel like, even if I’m exhausted, I still need some time to myself–to process emotions on my own and not be working to make sure everyone else is okay. This is true during normal times as well, but the emotional labor of both teaching and parenting is really amped up right now.

    • Hannah says...

      Love K-dramas! Lovely, unrealistic, frothy escapism. If you’re looking for more Healer is my favorite, along with Oh My Ghostess, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, Descendants of the Sun, Fight My Way, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo, What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, and Her Private Life.

  82. M says...

    Walking. Maybe it’s pacing? No, walking.

  83. Sadie says...

    I’ve been abandoning very full online shopping carts.

    • Laura says...

      Haha. SAME!

    • Allie says...

      Yup!

    • Hilary says...

      My sister’s friend calls that “soft-stuffing her basket”

    • alison says...

      LOVE THIS!

  84. Melisa says...

    I’m cycling through different things, I guess trying to find something calming enough that it’ll stick?! I have an 18mo toddler, am 6 months pregnant and we just bought a house a few months ago so I’m trying to distract myself from all the catastrophic thoughts about the future (what kind of world am I bringing children into, etc., etc.) by:
    – painting murals throughout the house and doing random crafts that are not useful in any way, but make things more beautiful
    – stress baking (yup, like everyone else)
    – making lists (old faithful)
    – filling online carts with stuff and then not buying them
    – walking exercise videos on YouTube (weirdly awesome?!)
    – obsessively preparing for the baby

    Weirdly enough, as someone with a lifelong anxiety disorder I used to work really hard at practicing gratitude (it did not come easily and just made me feel guilty about my privilege), but the last 6 weeks of lockdown I spontaneously feel grateful all day long for the incredible luck and privilege that I do have, and that has been the strangest, loveliest part of this – and then trying to figure out how to be a helper when I feel like I barely have enough energy to cope with working, parenting and being pregnant in the midst of all this.

  85. Ellen says...

    I put on my ballet slippers, blast Swan Lake and flit, prance and kick about the house. (I was 2 classes into a Ballet for Adult Beginner’s workshop before Shelter-in-Place began, and I still have the bug!).

    • J says...

      BalletX on Instagram has free beginner ballet classes :)

  86. Katie says...

    I cleaned out my kids’ gross toothpaste/toothbrush drawer and added new contact paper. Things are getting wild and crazy over here! :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha i secretly LOVE cleaning out drawers during stressful times! there’s such a calming feeling that comes with it.

    • Erin says...

      I find dusting the baseboards (or scrubbing, if they’re really gross) to be my preferred mode of stress-cleaning. But really, attacking any grimy location can be a stress reliever. I am a spotty housekeeper in normal times so I have no shortage of these chores to pick from right now! ;)

  87. Mary says...

    I reconcile my checking account with my excel budget. Its been a coping mechanism for years!

  88. Andrea says...

    Forensic Files and 90 Day Fiance

  89. Kristina says...

    So well written! You certainly helped me put a name to my behavior.

    I have been painting my nails like a maniac, something I don’t always have time for (esp with two little 3yos). I’ve done my fingers twice and my toes once already this week! I guess I think that if I have time to paint and let them dry and visualize something new then everything must be fine. The methodical fine motor skills help me tune things out for a bit.

    Also, making endless cups of tea…

    • Gilly says...

      Me too! and with excessive cleaning/bleaching of everything as my other coping mechanism, the mani’s are lasting 48 hours at most. So I just do em all over again :)

  90. EM says...

    I’ve always appreciated nature, but have become OBSESSED over the course of 5 weeks. I watch hummingbirds and quail outside my window while working, spend long stretches of time on the front porch observing a family of ground squirrels forage and fight, and take long (socially distanced) walks. I’ve seen a bald eagle, golden eagle, rosy-faced love bird, cardinal, and several birds I’ve yet to identify… in the middle of a major metropolis no less! Oh, and the stars are the brightest they’ve been in 20+ years due to the reduced traffic pollution. There’s something deeply comforting about earth and its creatures carrying on as usual, and it’s humbling to recognize all of the beauty I never took the time to notice before.

    • Molly says...

      Oh my goodness, YES. I have watched so many spring flowers bloom in our yard and on our walks, and I eagerly anticipate the next round of spring flowers. First it www the daffodils and the cherry blossoms, now the tulips and lilacs, and I can’t wait for the irises to come! I’ve watched all of the trees in our yard explode with leaves over the last 6 weeks and, while I always love the flowers and plants in our neighborhood, I don’t think they’d bring me so much joy and anticipation if I wasn’t watching them every single day.

    • Robin says...

      ooh, love this. i’ve seen sandhill cranes, meadowlarks, robins, juncos, kestrels, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, canvasbacks, and buffleheads. i’m in a northern climate, so for me this has been a way to check in on spring (will it still come?) birdwatching isn’t a new thing for me, but something that has become part of my day during quarantine.

  91. Ray says...

    Yes to this!

  92. Maywyn says...

    I thought full lids of eye shadow will perk me up. It did, for 2 days until I began thinking about mica mining/child labor. Finding dust havens to eradicate seems to be soothing.

    • L says...

      Kelsey, I can totally relate to feeling like you were just getting your feet on the ground as new parents and then the pandemic hit. We have a six month old and had 3 weeks of daycare and now he is back home with is while we both try to work our full time jobs. Not sure that we will ever have a true routine again! We also know how lucky we are in the scheme of things, and I love the extra time with my baby but it is a rough transition! Sending a hug!

  93. Ivy says...

    For some reason, painting my nails has been a sanity saver. Now, I don’t even typically go to the salon to get my nails done – I almost *always* do them at home! But making time to do it now, weekly, has been helpful in keeping me cheerful. I have lots of colors to choose from, so it’s almost like a mood ring for my finger tips. This week’s color? A quiet, calculated beige. But last week for my birthday it was a bright purple pink! Never underestimate the power of a little color at the end of your hands.

  94. Tara says...

    I love this post. Not only did I stay up making (unnecessary) stock the other night, but I long for anything that makes me feel calm and in control. And I appreciate stolen moments, or when my partner steals some for himself (away from me). We’re in this together.

  95. Nectar says...

    I make myself happy cry watching videos such as the first time a deaf baby can hear, or blind baby see for the first time, or when soldiers come back to surprise family. It gets me everytime.

  96. Kaylie says...

    Suddenly I can’t go to bed without cleaning the kitchen! It’s become part of my night time routine, practically. I feel so much better waking up in the morning to clean counters. I’m also listening to (and cleaning!) every record my roommate and I own, which is a lot. My best friend and I are writing e-mails to each other in this time and we almost always list some of our routines and pleasures. It’s a good distraction from all of the other news of the day.

    • Same here! I feel so happy when I’m done.

  97. Joy says...

    I feel this so much. I’m a doctor, but I’m not on the front lines (yet). The waiting, the “I’m not out there helping right now” guilt/anxiety is so real, and the only thing that helps it is sewing scrub caps – it makes me feel like I am doing something to help. Choosing the colors and pinning the pleats and carefully following the edges with the sewing machine foot is so soothing.

  98. allison says...

    I have made two pots of mediocre vegetable stock in the last three weeks, then reduce it way down so it fits in ice cube trays in the freezer, allowing me to use weirdly flavored water in dishes for weeks to come. :)

    Every morning, I get up at 7 (which used to be late for me but with how badly I have been sleeping, feels very, very early). I take the dog out, then open the blinds on the main floor and lay down on the couch, wrap myself in a blanket, and wait for the rays to hit my face and the leaves of my nearby jade plant. I get an hour and a half of quiet with my dog, appreciating the sun, before my husband wakes up. It’s a beautiful way to start the day and I’m grateful for every sunny morning.

  99. Cristyn says...

    I “make the couch” lol. This is the term my boyfriend has developed for when I walk into the living room for the hundredth time and make him get up so I can straighten the slip cover on our sagging couch and fluff the pillows and rearrange the blankets so that he and I can sit back down and slowly let it all slide out of place again. I will do this several times a day but every time I do I let out a deep sigh of relief and feel a bit more put together myself, able to continue on with my day know that I have at least some modicum of control in the current chaos.

    • Emma says...

      I do exactly the same! That and rearrange all the candles on my Coffee table!

    • Abbe says...

      Omg Cristyn ME TOO. I’ve been obsessively plumping our pillows at least once a day. Something about straightening up my living room makes me feel like I’m less of a mess.

    • Carole says...

      Oh my god I thought I was the only one who did this!! I love it when the pillows look fluffy and well-placed!

  100. Barb says...

    I go for a run, purge things from my closet (or house in general – not a minimalist here, but part of me seemingly wants to be), and make jam. I bake too, of course, too many cakes and fresh bread, but when it’s a stressful time, it’s jam that I go to. Something about hearing those lid pops and knowing that it’s been done right.

    • Ole says...

      I started cooking staff I never thought I would – cinnamon rolls, savory and sweet pies, cakes, something I never had time for before. And it really brings me in to peace seeing my family enjoying the food. We live n Barcelona and the quarantine terms here have been extremely tough – kids are not allowed outside for 6(!) weeks, no running, no exercise outside, not being able to go outside of your town, really stressful. Cooking, playing with kids and reading have been great help. And wine of course. It is still Spain after all.

  101. Allie says...

    Sweeping the patio and washing the duvet. SO MUCH PEACE.

  102. Molly says...

    I know this is so NOT the point, and I love the term cabbage lemonade, but I bet you’re well on your way to making actually delicious stock. Just gotta be a bit more discerning about what you chuck into your compost water! I recommend Tamar Adler’s “An Everlasting Meal”, not only for useful advice on what not to add to your stock, but beautiful writing and an overall sentiment and mentality about food and food waste I wish I could have written myself.

    • Anna says...

      I love that book too! More of a way of thinking than another recipe book.

  103. Dee says...

    – disappear into Etsy without judgement. So many linen nightdresses and neutral cushion covers
    – buy British groceries online because I absolutely need proper Cadbury’s milk chocolate and five kinds of cereal I can’t get where I live
    – blitzing the entire house and not pulling my hair out when it’s a wreck again shortly after
    – throwing a party for two with my dear, he grills the meet, I take care of music and cocktails
    – enough skin care to cover several years

    I don’t mind being home, I do mind the illusion it’s possible to raise a child in the same space as performing a full time job, running a small cafe and being your own cleaning lady, all without losing your damn mind).

    • Angela says...

      Dear Dee,
      I love you! Sending you all the high fives in solidarity.

      “I don’t mind being home, I do mind the illusion it’s possible to raise a child in the same space as performing a full time job, running a small cafe and being your own cleaning lady, all without losing your damn mind.”

    • Emma Armstrong says...

      I fully resonate with your last paragraph!

    • Kelly says...

      Yesssss Dee, so much yessssss to this final comment! :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      love the linen nightdresses and cadbury’s chocolate!

    • Steph says...

      I hear you Dee. To cope with working from home (and having to provide daily metrics of what I’ve done) while supervising my 8 y old’s distance learning, making all the food and cleaning, my usually frugal self has been indulging in ordering make up, a new bathing suit, and buying Estonian Gouda. The feelings of self-soothing this way are short lived, but, hey.

    • Elizabeth says...

      When our time of quarantine began, I started ordering British sweets and biscuits online. I live in Arkansas. I have no idea why it seemed so necessary, but at least I’m not alone!

    • Dee says...

      Love you all right back!!

  104. cilla says...

    a day before quarantine started in my country 6 weeks ago, I went grocery shopping, then empty all of my pantry, divide things in different categories, put different categories in different bags, for each bag write a list of things that are inside, and order all of the bags in the pantry. Then I did the same thing with freezer.
    This gave me an incredible feeling of control of my house. I knew exactly which food and how much of it we have.

  105. Jennie says...

    I am COVID-19 recovered and while I do not feel guilty about that I do feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to contribute to society however I can as an immune person. I have volunteered my blood and plasma. I am participating in research studies, when I can safely leave the house I will try to volunteer at our food bank and make grocery runs for neighbors. I would love to hear any other ideas.

    • MG says...

      Has it been determined that once you recover from Covid-19 you are truly immune?

    • Kat O says...

      Maybe immune – please continue to be careful for both yourself and others, as they’re not sure what immunity actually looks like yet. Plus there was a case in Singapore where a recovered patient, who no longer had any symptoms, was still testing positive for the virus (not antibodies) 34 days later. I’m so glad that you recovered, though!!

  106. Natalie says...

    Beautifully written piece Kelsey.

  107. Colleen says...

    Cleaning my hair brushes. LOL

    I didn’t realize a connection to it until after one stressful day sometime ago. I was standing in the bathroom around bedtime for like 30 minutes. My boyfriend peaked in and was like, “Uh babe, what are you doing?” My response, “oh! I’m cleaning my hair brush! I guess it soothes me…”

  108. Daniela says...

    My husband and I have gotten really into watching YouTube videos. We do it every Sunday morning now, our one day off together – pretty much just food videos but it’s a great break from all the negativity and a great way to connect amidst our essential work schedules. We also love ordering Boba tea when we’re off together. Seeing the owner come deliver it and say hi from his car makes me happy. Great read!

  109. HMB says...

    The biggest comfort for me lately is having snuggle time. I turn on a movie as an excuse and then cajole an unsuspecting little into some snuggle time that usually lasts the length of the movie. It comforts and soothes me beyond measure. I am sure they need some too, but it’s my failsafe when the cleaning, organizing and general to do list items aren’t helping.

    • Olivia says...

      My ten-month-old daughter out of nowhere grasper the concept of “in” and not just “out” yesterday. She has this little set of clear containers with lids, a clear cylinder, and a little ball. She moves the ball from one tiny container to the next and puts it through the cylinder again and again.

      I love both the tidy order and witnessing this huge (though seemingly mundane) new skill. My little baby, who just last week would only take things apart, throw the little basket of balls everywhere, and totally ignore the container set is now similarly reveling in the joy of sinking the ball in them one by one.

      That is my comfort!

    • Olivia says...

      Oops. The above was not meant as a reply

  110. Autumn says...

    My house is pretty cold, so I wear a big, slouchy, handknitted hat for WFH on the days I don’t wash my hair. I wasn’t a hat person until now. When I do leave, I’m even wearing a baseball cap I bought on vacation. I need a hat at all times. There’s something about having the top of my head covered that makes me feel secure.

    I also “pet the money.” Right before this whole COVID-19 thing started, I was in the middle of buying a house. The pandemic has thrown everything sideways, and now I doubt I’ll be able to buy it.

    • Sarah says...

      Oh man, offering solidarity here. We were in the middle of buying a house when this started and it all went sideways. I lost my job, my husband lost a big part of his income, and we eventually lost the house. I hope that doesn’t happen to you, but if it does, I wanted you to know there are other people out there walking that same crappy path.

  111. cg says...

    It’s not that it’s a weird or strange habit that i’ve picked up… rather, it’s, I’m not really sure what to call it. But here’s the deal, I am a known plant killer. My mom usually takes care of my houseplants because she takes my daughter to school every morning. Now that we are SIP, I feel this strange responsibility to make sure these plants don’t die. Not because it’s my watch now, or even that they are my plants, no, it’s because I realize I’ve come to see them as my MOM’S plants who happen to be living with me. So now I’m keeping a very close eye on all 12 of them, and trying hard to be diligent about watering, turning, and talking to them.

    Also, I’ve been baking… from scratch. I loathe to bake from scratch. As in, I abhor having to measure exacting amounts, I have no patience to be sure to get something to room temp, or to sift this and together and then measure lightly. Ugh! Yet, so far I’ve made two batches of orange pound cake, and a couple things soda bread, and about to make some banana bread pretty soon. Who am I?!!?!?!

  112. I hate having to prepare dinner every night, but I find so much comfort in making bagels. My partner and I looked up a recipe and perfected our method in January, before most shelter-at-home orders started. I usually get out of bed early, around 6 AM, and read the paper with coffee. Some mornings I’ll intend to read but realize I’ve been blankly staring off at nothing for 15 minutes. Once I’ve had a few bad days in a row, I make the dough in the evening and let it rise overnight. The next morning I don’t have to have this kind of empty time to fill–I have bagels to make! Plus I think the reason I enjoy it (and why bread-making in general has become popular) is that it’s so nice to follow instructions in order to make something. I can’t let my mind wander, I have ingredients to measure!

    (This is the recipe we’ve liked best. Just keep scrolling on the page, you’ll find it eventually https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/homemade-bagels/)

    • SherryinChicago says...

      Love Sally’s website and have the bagels on my to try list. I have made the lemon bars, hot cross buns, mini M & M cookies, pretzels and cranberry walnut bread in the last two weeks and there are only two of us. #stressbakingforthewin

  113. A says...

    I’m a grad student and our first week of “shelter in place” coincided with my winter quarter finals so all of a sudden I was spending every moment at our kitchen table (aka my desk), writing papers and taking exams. I tried to take walks each day, but the greatest thing I did to make myself feel better was an impromptu dance party. In the midst of a term paper, I got up, opened the front door to let fresh air in, blared “Get Me Bodied” by Beyoncé and danced like I was up in the club, not in my small one-bedroom apartment. I also highly recommend “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn and “Grown Woman” by Beyoncé for at-home dance parties :)

    • Anna says...

      YES to dance parties! Please, please, stop what you are doing and find John Jannuzzi’s YouTube mashup of movie scenes set to “Dancing On My Own.” It is amazing and makes me laugh, cry, and dance in just a few minutes.

    • A says...

      Anna, yes, thank you!! What a joyful video :)

  114. Dawn says...

    Two days ago, I caught myself subconsciously singing a Christmas Carol at the table while my husband did the dishes. I mentioned to him that I didn’t know why I was singing Christmas songs when I usually scoff at Christmas in July or even Christmas before Thanksgiving. It was oddly comforting though…

  115. Frankie says...

    Watching old David Spade interviews. Always makes me laugh.

    • Sonia says...

      Yes!! Frankie, I do this too! He’s such a good talk show guest. Thanks for sharing.

    • Christina says...

      OMG. This is so specifically something I do too. He is just so hilarious. His Adele story is my favourite. Or the one where he smoked too much weed at Ellen’s birthday party.

    • Maclean Nash says...

      Yes, Frankie! Spot on! Have you seen his Insta feed? It’s hilarious and my sister Kelsey told me to check it out ages ago! So glad she did because he’s been putting a smile on my face amidst all the current craziness.

  116. Katy says...

    Even before this weird time (and I’m a doctor, so life at home hasn’t changed too much…life in the hospital is another story), my favorite calming activity is when I plan meals for the week and make a shopping list. It’s so crazy, but it feels good to pick old stand-by recipes and newfound ones, take everyone’s instagram quarantine advice and hoarding and put it into a weekly ritual. Ah! I look forward to planning on Saturday and shopping on Sunday and feeling a little normal…

    • I do the same kind of meal-planning and associated grocery list prepping on the weekend as you, but I HATE doing it lol! I(‘ve learned my lesson that dinners go much smoother and grocery shopping is so much easier when I do it so I force myself, but gosh I have to really kick myself in the butt to do it.) Found it funny to read that you find it to be comforting!

  117. Sarah says...

    This really hit home for me. I’m essential staff so I leave the house and go to work every day. My husband is staying home with our daughter and working some. Making my bed, picking up toys, having a clean kitchen and a tidy living room are so important to me right now. I need the high of Everything is Fine, bad.

  118. Amy Hughes says...

    I planned a vacation to Maine in July before news of the coronavirus hit. The longer we are in this pandemic, the less confident I am of being able to go on my trip. Recently, I’ve been Google-mapping (street view) the places I want to visit. The Maine coast. The Badlands in South Dakota. A random little village in Scotland. It brings me comfort that these places are out there, that I can see them virtually, and imagine driving down their roads some day…hopefully in the not too distant future.

    • Jessica says...

      This is genius. I just “revisited” the place I went for my honeymoon via google maps and it was so calming. Went for one of the many “walks” we took while there. Thank you for the idea.

  119. Kristin says...

    Getting dressed, and not just like, in the jeans and a sweater that I would wear for the past almost two years as a stay at home mom, but in my old business casual work clothes. Dresses, etc. I think feeling polished every day is helping me remember that someday, things will be back to normal.

  120. Julie says...

    -folding towels. They’re easy to fold, unline my nemesis the fitted sheet, I find this soothing.
    -going through my freezer and organizing by type-meat, vegetables, random stuff like chipotles in adobo and various nuts
    -experimenting with my makeup. Electric blue-rimmed eyes with purple matte lipstick? SURE, no one can see me except for my husband and apparently his turn-on is “Oh look, it’s garish!”

    • Karin says...

      The first thing I did in quarantine was learn to fold fitted sheets, because I finally had time to care!

      Other things comforting me:
      Checking off lists
      Making lists
      Organizing closets, cupboards, etc.
      General puttering and dawdling. Everything seems to take twice as long and I’m fine with it.

  121. Madeleine says...

    Showering, washing my hair and straightening it, all within 12 hours. I don’t always get the opportunity to tick all 3 off the list but when I do, I feel like everything is going to be fine.

  122. Blair says...

    I don’t think I have any weird habits that have formed from this pandemic. My work has amped up incredibly (I work in research) but tending to three littles, a full-time career, a husband and being pregnant have been incredibly busy. Laundry, cooking and cleaning have been increased with everyone home all the time. I have been obsessive about keeping the house perfectly tidy. The laundry is never caught up, everyone is always hungry and my work piles up quickly. I am not sure what it will feel like to have some spare minutes again, but I sure am looking forward to them! I will say, I do nap now and never have before., my sleep schedules are all wonky, I wake up at 4am and go to bed at 1am. Those naps are life savers.

  123. Emi says...

    I make a rough itinerary for the day (at least during the week), and I started drawing each activity in my bullet journal. Even if it’s a mundane thing (like brushing my teeth) the act of drawing makes it kind of fun and I look forward to each activity for the upcoming day.

  124. Amy says...

    Essential oil diffuser

    Scones with clotted cream and jam

    White terry cloth bathrobe

    Netflix

    • SONJA says...

      I realize there is no “right” at the moment but damn, Amy – that’s gotta be close. Excuse me while I dig out an essential oil diffuser and make some scones.

  125. I like washing the dirty dishes. The feeling of the warm water running through your fingers is very calming.

  126. JML says...

    SWEAT! I have to do some kind of sweat session every day. I was part of an awesome gym community before and I miss my workout buddies desperately. I think about all of them each morning when I’m doing something to move and SWEAT in my tiny living room. I always feel better afterwards.

    and puzzles. I hate them – but working on a puzzle during the endless conference calls helps me to concentrate and seeing my progress feels like an accomplishment during this weird time.

  127. Charlotte says...

    Thank you for this Kelsey, so true and so beautifully written.

    As for me, I’ve been reading fiendishly, partly because it’s escapism but largely because I have been keeping track of every book I’ve finished for the last three years in a note on my phone. At the end of each year I do a tally: how many pages I’ve read per day, how many books of fiction vs non-fiction, female authors and male authors, those from POC and LGBTQ communities. It started as a new years resolution three years ago and is still the only one I’ve ever kept. Now my “bookkeeping of book keeping” helps me feel comforted and normal when everything else feels completely out of whack.

    Atul Gawande said something in his book Better (highly recommend!) about how important it is to count something–anything!–in your life. How many trees you pass on your walk every morning, how many birds land on your bird feeder, etc. He says it helps you notice patterns and make discoveries you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. After counting my books for so long I would also add that it’s provides a sense of comfort and stability to your day to day life as well. I would be curious to know what other kinds of things people keep track of and count in their own lives!

    • Lee says...

      I started counting runners on my morning walk the other day! I have never done that before but found it oddly soothing.

    • Sarah says...

      For the last few years, I have been using a habit tracker (just a single piece of paper from Elise Joy) to record how many days of the year I make music for at least ten minutes. I grew up playing a stringed instruments in orchestras, got my undergrad degree in classical voice, and taught myself beginner guitar in my twenties, but I’m not a professional musician–it’s just a beloved hobby. It’s fun to track and count how it all adds up at the end of the year!

  128. Lorraine says...

    Cleaning. Not sure how many times a day I am using the dustbuster to clean up my kids’ crumbs. I take such pride in it – yesterday I did a great number on our tub and was seeking praise from everyone – husband, 3-year-old, 7-year-old – “DID YOU SEE THE TUB?! AND THE SHOWER CURTAIN IS IN THE DRYER RIGHT NOW!” All this during my work breaks.

  129. b says...

    Reorganizing my book collection is giving me great comfort right now. Although I’m quarantining with three other people, they don’t quite get what I’m up against personally, so I’m feeling very alone in all of this. There are so many unknowns for everyone and everyone copes differently. I’m not sure that reorganizing the books is the best coping mechanism, but it’s working for right now.

    • Agnès says...

      How do you organize your books? I think that’s great! (I organize mine depending on how the authors would or did get along): Herman Hesse and Thomas Mann, side by side.

    • b says...

      Agnes, they’re by genre and then alphabetical by author last name within the genre. Before that, they were alphabetical by author last name. Who knows what’s next?

  130. Gill F says...

    I’ve taken to laying flat on the carpet while my cats nuzzle me to make sure I’m alive and listening to old episodes of Welcome to Nightvale. It’s the perfect balance of weird calmness in these times

  131. Jenn says...

    Someone said they fiddle with their budget, and my daily ritual is what my husband calls “petting the money”. Basically, while I drink my coffee, I log into our accounts to take a quick look at things and “pet the money”.

    • Charlotte says...

      Haha Jenn I love this! Made me laugh :)

    • My husband does this! 7 am without fail checks our budgets and accounts. I both hate it and find it comforting that he’s so on top of things.

    • Colette says...

      I do this too, and it will forever be know as petting the money. May we all have enough, amen.

  132. alison says...

    I flat iron my hair —

    I have been wearing it natural/curly for the last year or two more often than not, and I really miss the calming ritual. My hair is super long now (thanks pandemic! and, let’s be honest, I hadn’t had a haircut since 2018 anyhow…) so it takes a full hour-long episode of bad TV. I think the warmth and repetition of the whole thing is just super calming.

  133. Siobhan says...

    I am feeling a great sense of accomplishment by eating things that have been in our freezer, fridge or pantry forever. Last night I had frozen hot dogs and sour kraut that were in the freezer for almost 2 years. I made a sauce for duck out of apricot preserves and mustard (both opened and almost 4 years old). I actually don’t have any problem getting groceries (my boyfriend works at a store) and I did one of the recipe chain emails and some of the recipes sound soooo good. But I am a little obsessed mining the back of my pantry and forcing myself to come up with meals out of that odd jar of enchilada sauce (where’d that come from?), random dried and canned beans, hot sauce I got as a gift and never really liked and the boil in bag rice we bought years ago when our dog had an upset stomach. I guess it is decluttering and cooking at the same time plus a bit of entertainment a la Chopped. Freeing up space in my freezer just makes me feel good. Like I am ready to start filling it again when life gets back to normal.

    • Sara C. says...

      Yes, me too! I just feels so *productive* to find ways to eat these weird things. So many cans of just expired tuna, often with bread ends or other things from the back of the freezer. I like the idea that we’re making space for when things go back to normal, whatever that may mean.

    • Emma says...

      Yes! I love nothing more than using up little odds and ends. I kind of get a tiny thrill out of rationing. I’m trying to keep grocery store trips to once every 2-3 weeks. I’m a farmer so we can get fresh stuff easily and there’s no need to get pantry staples more often than that anyway. It does mean running low on chocolate sometimes though!

  134. MK says...

    I love that illustration! So good.
    Weird things I’ve been doing- chewing gum until my jaw is sore, and sucking on ice cubes. It just feels SO GOOD.
    I am also 7 months pregnant, which could very well have something to do with it.

    • CW says...

      Your ice cube thing might be a sign of low iron!

    • Bee says...

      Check for pica…especially with wanting to eat ice.

    • MK says...

      CW, it definitely IS low iron, good call. I found out at my last appointment, plan to start iron supplements tonight.
      But for now- GIVE ME ICE CUBES.

  135. Courtney Hedeman says...

    Painting my nails with clear ploish helps me feel put together and In Control. I never normally have the time or the want to do it, but now it’s a little thing that goes a long way that lasts for weeks!

  136. Amy says...

    I take a socially distanced walk every day and I keeps me sane.

  137. Calla Martyn says...

    Omigosh Kelsey I always love your writing! “Compost water” and “cabbage lemonade” made me laugh out loud.

    I recently noticed I’ve been doing this thing where I watch my plants. Yes watch. Like waiting for them to grow. At least three times a day this feeling pulls me out to my patio where I examine each and every plant to see if there are new leaves or flowers forming. A few days ago I stopped an aphid infestation by picking off each bug individually, like some psychotic combination of extreme mindfulness and pest control.

    It doesn’t even feel like something I can control, my body just does it of its own accord. So if baking and Animal Crossing are not doing it for you, I highly recommend plant-watching.

    • Simone says...

      I have been plant watching too! I have seedlings (tomatoes, peppers, etc.) growing inside with limited sunlight, so every couple of hours I move them to the new sunny spot. But even in between I find myself crouched down looking at which leaves are bigger today than yesterday, and how they lean towards the sun. It is the most calming thing, and there’s something reassuring about watching things grow.

      I also planted extra tomato plants and am planning to put the seedlings out on the sidewalk for neighbors walking by to take and keep growing at home!

    • Haley says...

      I am right here with you on this. Yes.

    • Michaela says...

      My partner does this! Until reading this article I thought maybe he was losing it a tiny bit, but now it makes sense… for me, it’s obsessively knitting. The feeling of the sweater growing under my fingers is so soothing, as is the repetitive motion I can do while watching Grey’s Anatomy. I’m also sorting- we are moving in almost a month, so I’m sorting things into “store” “toss” and “bring” piles… and then just leaving them in those piles. Very soothing, not so good for actually walking around a tiny apartment.

    • Calla says...

      Omigosh it makes me so happy to know there are other plant watchers out there! I live alone so I have no one to check my weird habits and am glad other people share this one.

  138. Jess says...

    I fiddle with our budget (yay YNAB!).
    I bake bread.
    I re-create baby pictures of my 3-year-old with my 3-month-old, and post them side-by-side.
    I lift my toddler up in the air and fly him around, a la “Dirty Dancing”
    I rearrange the pantry & the garage.

    This is such a weird time.

  139. Annie K. says...

    I love this, and also feel like I’ve been waiting for someone to ask me about my weird things so I can talk about them. Ha.

    At night I do two things that bring me peace. I cherish these moments to myself:
    Every night I take candle – lit extra long showers even when I don’t need to wash my hair.
    Some nights, I clean the house from one end to the other (it’s about 600 sq ft without the bedrooms, occupied by two tiny children at night), while listening to a podcast using my wireless ear phones. My favorites during this time have been Monica and Jess Love Boys (Armchair Expert) and Esther Perel.

    I’ve noticed that I’ve regressed a bit into online shopping and buying things to help with the anxiety, but classically feel worse after I actually do, so I’m trying to stop that.

    I appreciate anyone reminding us that we don’t have to “perform” or upgrade ourselves during this time. It’s okay to just be, and also to be uncomfortable and sad, and also to try to feel better with our little ways of feeling better.

    • Calla says...

      I’ve also been online shopping beyond my means. Such a hard habit to break

    • Evelyn says...

      Showers have always been my go to when I’m stressed but I’ve somehow never thought to do it by candlelight. Can’t wait to try it!

    • Amy says...

      May I ask what you are buying online? Genuinely curious. I love clothes and am sad I haven’t been able to wear my cute work clothes.

    • Calla says...

      @Amy cute lounge clothes! candles! skincare! organization solutions! patio furniture! the list is literally endless, I wish I could stop myself. But every day it seems like there is a new 40% sale somewhere!

      also you should just wear your cute work clothes (unless they are very uncomfortable)

    • Annie K. says...

      Calls, follow @thelaminimalist on Instagram. She has helped me so much dig into the reasons we buy and what it means to stop (in short: you have to find other ways to address what you’re trying to alleviate by shopping. She also pictures being in the board meeting with the people designing those sales, talking about how suckers- ie us- will react to them ). She’s great. Good luck to us all!

    • Calla says...

      @Annie thank you I will check that out!

  140. Denise says...

    Kelsey, you are a fantastic writer. You have such a way of bringing the reader right into your story. My experience with this whole thing has been very different yet I find I’m in your apartment with a baby and a hidden husband, cooking stinky veg for my sanity. Awesome. Thanks for taking me there.

    • Stacy says...

      Agreed. I kept nodding along and even having those meta “wow, I love her writing!” moments throughout. I feel so understood, even though my experience is also very different!

  141. Em says...

    -Cuddling my dog and obsessing over every cute thing he does
    -Smoking weed, putting chill music on my headphones, and getting lost in the music with my eyes closed
    -Making a small extra payment on my student loans (makes me feel like even though the world is going to shit, at least I can take a small step towards my goal of paying them down)
    -Looong walks around the neighborhood (I’m talking like 6 miles)
    -Fake plan future trips (pick a hotel, comb through restaurant reviews, design an itinerary)

    • Colette says...

      I may have to plan a fake trip tonight, great call!

  142. Holly says...

    I swear by floor time. Sometimes a chair is too much, so I get on the floor. If I’m at home, I get to do this in my underwear. Podcasts on the floor. Snacks on the floor. Phone calls and emails on the floor. Staring at the underside of my houseplants’ leaves on the floor. Letting gravity pull me all the way down is a soothing magic.

    • Meg says...

      oh I like this. about to try this right now!

    • Calla says...

      ooh I love this, I’m going to try it. Kind of like the end of a yoga class without all the work

    • liz says...

      I’ve been doing this too! My desk is quite small so I’ve gotten over it and have been having my meals and laptop on the floor, under the window on a rug next to my dog and space heater lol

    • Taylor says...

      Same! Especially for phone calls – laying on the carpet, adjacent to a perfectly comfortable bed, at a level in which my cat decides to make my belly her bed, the catch-ups seem to linger.

    • Caitlin says...

      Me too!! Kitchen floor forever. My boyfriend finds it mystifying, but the kids and I are most at ease huddled on the floor with projects or a very slowly done crossword (only half way done with last weekend’s, probably will still be chilling away this weekend).

  143. liz says...

    Laundry! It’s easy enough and feels like a productive thing I can cross off my list. Plus, sleeping in the freshest sheets and always having fresh towels has been a nice comfort.

    I’ve also been making a half batch of cookies from scratch almost every single day for my two person household to share (makes about 6 cookies instead of 12, so we can’t go out of control and eat more than 3 each a day lol)

  144. Samantha says...

    I stress bake (highly recommend Dessert For Two’s small batch chocolate banana muffins) and make lists. So many lists- grocery lists, meal planning lists, lists of every ingredient in my pantry, lists of shows to watch, lists of what we need to buy for a new house, etc. etc. etc.

    • Caitlin says...

      Yes to the lists!! Are they necessary for me? Nope! Do they give me a weird sense of feeling together? Totally. Man I have made some useless lists.

    • Now to accompany my lists I’m also filling online shopping carts with various notebooks in which I could keep said lists. I find I’m liking a reporter’s style notebook best these days–just for an actual simple list, no week-at-a-glance or any of that nonsense.

    • Malika Browne says...

      I’ve been calling up one girlfriend every day for a old fashioned conversation- a chat like before we discovered texting. A call in which you explore and discuss everything and the word “busy” or “manic” isn’t used once. We will never have this time or so much time again so I have been focusing on time-marking activities – growing mushrooms,
      Pea shoots (all quick and easy), sourdough starters, photo albums…. I half-do most things but if I make a List then the day goes better than if I don’t!

    • Samantha says...

      Yes to fellow list makers! and Malika I totally agree with you about the measurable “time marking” activities- I’ve been re-growing green onions in my kitchen for the first time in my life for no other reason than it is so satisfying to change their water daily and watch them shoot up!

  145. agnès says...

    Your water compost is hilarious! For me it’s making all the beds first thing in the morning and opening windows. Then at meal time it’s never use a pan to serve the food, always a dish. I like a beautiful table, though the food in our home is always very simple. I can’t have chips out of a bag. My 6 year old gets it, which is hilarious, he’s totally a grand-mother.

    Can’t wait to hear those rituals! (I’m pretty sure the bed-maiking comes from a post from here, years ago).

    I would love to know how each memeber of the team is doing. where are you? or at least how are you feeling?

    • MJT says...

      You and I could be soul sisters, Agnes! I always make the beds – this combined with open windows makes me feel like our house is at least marginally civilised even if the floor is still covered in LEGO! I can never eat chips from the bag either…?
      Every night we now eat by candlelight. Makes even the simplest dinner feel like a celebration of the day and like a glamorous special ritual. Our children (5 & 6) have absolutely embraced this ‘new tradition’ as the nights get colder here in New Zealand.

  146. Sarah says...

    Two things. Random acts of kindness and watching TV guilt free while I pump breast-milk. Could I use my pumping time more productively? Sure. But I use it to indulge in TV, something I can’t seem to find time for at any other point in the day. And it’s kept me sane. Random acts of kindness are small things that make me feel like maybe, I helped someone else feel a little less alone/sad/bad today and that helps ME feel better. It’s not altruistic really, because it makes me feel so good. I’ve been doing a lot more of those since the pandemic started. Lots of cards! Other random gifts. All small, inexpensive things.

    • Kara says...

      I used to watch TV or read a book while pumping (not during pandemic)- no shame! It was a much needed break at the time.

    • Feel-good TV is the best for pumping!! We are productive all day long… I take the time to catch up on light-hearted shows (Schitt’s Creek! Gilmore Girls!) and relax (as much as possible) while pumping.

  147. Jenny says...

    My neighborhood howls at the moon together every night at 8pm! Its weird and I don’t always participate, but it brings me such great comfort hearing it every night at 8pm, on the dot.

    • KAH says...

      That’s weird and amazing. I love it.

    • liz says...

      this is so strange, but I sincerely now want to find a way to make this happen in DC!

    • Audrey says...

      Where you do live, Jenny?! Same exact thing here in Boulder, CO at 8pm on the dot :)

    • Cici says...

      I want to do this. Can you share how it started? Just one person? Like a wolf pack? Was there a story I read where something like this happened (in a non-covid context, between a bunch of guys)…? Or is this a weird deja vu thing? So many qts?

    • Rebecca says...

      I am so intrigued by this. I would love to know more!

      I work at a boarding school, and we still have students on campus. This has me thinking about adding a new nightly ritual…

    • L says...

      This is now all I want and all I’m committed to in small town Virginia.

    • Emily says...

      Do you live in the North Bay of California? I live in Mill Valley and our whole town does this at 8pm every night! I felt strangely emotional hearing all the howls and knowing we were all in this together. And I always laugh when I’ve been in bed for a bit before I hear the howls but it’s just so nice to get in bed early these days. Ha!

  148. l.s. says...

    The imagery in this essay is amazing. The “brackish water that tastes like cabbage lemonade” killed me! ?

    • Calla says...

      right? that made me laugh so hard

    • Tara says...

      Lol cabbage lemonade stuck out for me too! Didn’t sound unappetizing though ?

    • same!!! laughed out loud while I was sweeping up crumbs, labeling the shelves in the freezer and cleaning the kitchen sink (all of which I never ever do!)