To put it lightly, sh*t’s been weird these past eight months. If you think back to a year or two ago, we would leave our houses with a terrible cold without a second thought. (TBH, we’d even go out to the bar on antibiotics because “alcohol kills the germs”.) Now, you probably look back at your past self and wonder how you ever went through the day without washing your hands after every surface you touched, or ever stood less than six feet apart from a stranger.
Wellness has had a big year, to say the least. A lot of the changes we’ve seen have been good (i.e. hand washing, virtual workouts—more of that, please!), but some have been just plain bizarre. Let’s take a look at some of the weirder wellness trends that have popped up while we ask ourselves, “Who is actually doing this?!”
1. Bee-Venom Therapy
One of the weirdest things to gain popularity in 2020 is bee-venom therapy, which claims that being stung by bees heals old or current injuries. Interesting; if I knew that, I wouldn’t have spent so much time running away from bees, screaming. BTER Foundation says that, “Bee Venom Therapy (BVT) is the therapeutic use of honey bee venom, either injected by stings from live bees or injected by needles.” It’s a practice that has been used for ages, but has recently become a topic of conversation and up for consideration for some since watching Netflix’s (Un)Well. Getting stung by bees sounds more like a form of torture than therapy to me, but sure, let’s go with it. Beyond this form of therapy, bee venom itself can be found in the ingredients in skin care and other topical products. IDK, I thought the point was to save the bees, not to slather their venom on our skin.
2. CBD Everywhere
There is literally CBD everywhere now. You can find CBD in drinks, snacks, lotions, bath bombs… the list goes on and on. Although CBD has been around for a while, we’re seeing it in more random sh*t than ever before as of late, and I gotta be honest, some of this stuff feels like a reach.
Like, there are activewear brands that sell CBD-infused leggings and sports bras. The infused fabrics are strategically placed throughout the garments to align with your major muscle groups. As you workout, the micro-capsules open to release CBD. Yes, CBD does help with muscle pain, but are you really going to feel it from your leggings? No studies have been done on the effectiveness of CBD clothing, so we can’t say for sure. Worst-case scenario, you get some cute leggings, I guess.
But it doesn’t stop at leggings; CBD has even made its way into our toilet paper. And you thought the wildest 2020 toilet paper craze would be about the hoarding. I see your toilet paper hoarding of 2020, and I raise you: CBD-infused toilet paper. This TP says it “may relieve feelings of anxiety or improve quality of sleep.” I’ll stick with my gummies, thanks.
3. Ice Baths
Voluntarily freezing oneself in a body of water or shower is a wellness trend that’s having a resurgence we haven’t seen since the Ice Bucket Challenge. Although ice baths have been used in many different forms for years, they have grown in popularity during a time where most of us are concerned about their immune systems, thanks to Wim Hof, aka “The Iceman.” Gwyneth Paltrow featured Wim Hof’s methods on her Netflix series, The Goop Lab With Gwyneth Paltrow.
The ice baths have been credited with everything from optimizing athletic performance, to improving immunity, to managing symptoms of chronic disease and more.
“Your vessels constrict because of the cold and open back up when your body warms up after the ice bath. This process helps to flush metabolic waste from your body, while also getting oxygen and nutrients to your muscles,” Hof’s website says. If you can’t give up your hot showers, the good news is that there hasn’t been a ton of research done on this particular method, and there are many other ways to improve immunity.
4. Ear Seeds
If your eyes are the window to your soul, your ears are apparently the gateway to wellness. They have pressure points that can help with issues such as chronic pain, migraines, and anxiety. (Anyone who’s gotten acupuncture in their ears can relate.) There are also pressure points that assist in quitting smoking and weight loss. Since 2020 has been the year of bettering ourselves in the health and wellness aspects, ear seeds are a godsend.
I know what you’re thinking: WTF are ear seeds? They’re not just a tiny addition of sparkle you add to your ear. They’re literally small seeds used to stimulate pressure points in your ear. It’s like a type of acupuncture, but without the needles. Basically, you stick them on your ears, wear them for a few days, and, depending on the location you place them, they can help with all sorts of physical and mental issues. Whether for actual wellness needs or for a trendy accessory, wellness gurus and influencers alike have been sporting this cute accessory all throughout this past year.
5. Celery Juice
Celery juice is quite simple to understand. It’s literally just juiced celery, though some people add lemon or other fruit to get the dirt and grass taste out of it. This juice cleanse is supposed to help improve the function of the digestive tract, working as a natural laxative (sounds like a nightmare, yet intriguing ). It’s a cleanse many use daily, but according to Parsley Health, although there’s no harm in downing celery juice daily, it does not have much scientific backing yet—just a sh*t load of praise from celery juice addicts.
Image: rukxstockphoto / Shutterstock.com
It’s hard out here these days, obviously, and we’re all probably coping in less-than-healthy ways. Whether you’re spending half of your work day on TikTok, can’t remember the last time you wore real pants, or haven’t eaten a vegetable in weeks, you might not be taking the best care of yourself. With all of the additional, unprecedented stressors in our lives right now, it is especially important to watch out for your mental health. Instead of airing out your frustration on Twitter or switching from cream to bourbon in your morning coffee, there are healthy steps you can take to make your wellbeing a priority. We consulted a few wellness experts about common unhealthy coping habits, and better ways to deal with your stress.
Binging. On. Everything.
You know the feeling when you blink, then suddenly you’ve been on Twitter for an hour, finished half a season of Schitt’s Creek, and eaten an entire bag of Skinny Pop? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there, especially recently. These habits make perfect sense right now, says Yael Shy of meditation distribution platform Pause + Purpose, since when you’re stuck inside, “you may want to consume whatever there is to consume so that you don’t have to think about the uncertainty, difficulty, anxiety, and other difficult emotions swirling in the air right now.” RT. While binging on your vice of choice can bring temporary comfort, though, it won’t bring you lasting relief. Shy suggests that when you feel the urge to binge, first, “SLOW DOWN. Pause. Take a breath,” as she explains, “Addiction feeds off mindless behavior.” Even if you do eventually decide to binge, she says, “taking a pause before you do just reminds you that you have agency over your body, your decisions, and your time.”
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Additionally, Shy recommends getting to the root of your impulse to binge: is it loneliness? Anxiety? Grief? Since, she explains, “we make behavior changes not by berating ourselves, but by accepting and loving our underlying impulses,” recognizing what sparks you to binge in the first place is a necessary step. If you can’t beat your urges, that’s okay, but try to go in with open eyes. If you’re about to embark on a social media binge, Shy recommends setting a timer so you won’t be scrolling forever, and to actually stop when the timer goes off. Or, if you’re eating, she says, “eat really slowly and mindfully, tasting each bite. Try to remove the ‘mindless’ nature of the activity and replace it with some ‘mindfulness.’ It will undoubtedly transform your experience.” Getting a handle on the behaviors that make you feel out of control can be extremely helpful in adjusting to the changing times.
This is a hard one. When you feel as though someone has ~wronged~ you, it can be difficult to simply forgive and forget. However, holding onto feelings of resentment does not serve anyone in the long run. Getting over a grudge, Paula Pavlova, a yoga teacher and wellness educator and founder of Pavlova Wellness, says, “often starts with authentic conversations, apologies, and true forgiveness, no matter how challenging it might be.” While grinning and bearing it can suck, “Once resolved and released, you will notice the difference. You might never agree, but you can forgive. And forgiveness is not for the other person, it’s for you to remember your peace and self-worth,” she reflects. If you’re as stubborn as me, this is easier said than done. Pavlova suggests saying to yourself, “‘I am feeling (fill in the emotion) about x, y, z AND I am okay. I can handle this.’” If you need to cry, scream, laugh, write, or dance? Do it, as long as the discussion—whether it’s with yourself or the person you are having issues with—remains constructive rather than destructive. TL;DR: as RHONY’s Dorinda Medley says (and often forgets, but we’ll forgive her), “say what you mean but don’t say it mean.”
It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere
We’ve been in quarantine for nearly six months, so you’re probably making way more Drizly orders than you used to. While the “Five O’Clock Somewhere” rule may be fine for the occasional brunch mimosa or drink by the pool, it can be a harmful mentality when you’re stuck at home 24/7. According to Dr. Cassie Majestic of Dr. Majestic, a blog where she writes about wellness and her work as an Emergency Physician, those who have significantly increased their alcohol consumption recently are likely doing so “due to boredom, depression, or as a coping mechanism.” Like, duh.
But she says that while drinking may make you “feel more relaxed and happy initially,” Majestic recommends keeping the drinks to a minimum, because those upping effects are only temporary. She also advises limiting the amount of alcohol that you keep in your home, so there is a barrier to drinking in excess. Kind of a buzzkill, but she’s probably right. Instead of turning to your trusty glass of red, Majestic suggests “keeping yourself busy with other projects, goals, or interactions.” For instance, you could redesign your room, plan a socially distanced outing with friends, or craft an itinerary for your first trip post-quarantine. Plus, we all know the hangover hits way worse in quarantine.
While the occasional b*tch session is perfectly natural, at a certain point, complaining too much about something just makes you more aggravated than you were to begin with. Instead of focusing on any unwanted parts of your life, “manifest the things that you do want or like by talking MORE about them,” advises Juliet Okonkwo of Pure Skin & Scalp, a salon that provides therapeutic hair and scalp treatments. This will help you become more in control of your emotions, and it allows you to reframe your outlook on life in a healthier way and “celebrate the amazing things that you used to not give the time of day,” says Okonkwo, like “nature, sounds of birds chirping, plants and trees, a simple smile or hug from a loved one…These are BIG things that are worth celebrating, but we tend to take them for granted.” In the words of Hamilton’s Aaron Burr, “Talk less. Smile more.”
Too Much Introversion
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Lockdown is a great excuse to cancel plans, and with so much information and controversy swirling around in the world right now, it’s reasonable that you might feel like cutting out social interaction altogether, says Majestic. However, too much isolation can lead to depression and anxiety, so it’s important to recharge your social interaction battery every so often. Yes, that means getting off the couch every once in a while! Majestic recommends keeping your loved ones close, as ”they can really help you forget about some of the negativity in the world by bringing other topics into your conversation and life. I like to recommend keeping a friend circle small these days. It helps to avoid controversy and anxiety.” And don’t let social distancing measures let you forget about therapy—many therapists are currently holding virtual sessions. If you’ve never been to therapy but have been considering trying it, now is a great time to start. Opening up about your feelings is obviously never easy, but doing so from the comfort of your own home can help the start of your mental health journey feel safer and more secure.
Lack Of Structure
If you’re WFH, going about your daily tasks can feel a bit like freestyling these days. Having a more flexible schedule and to-do list, along with limited human interaction, “can prove challenging for your mind and body,” Majestic says. If you’re in charge, she suggests scheduling a regular Zoom lunch meeting with your team. You never thought you’d miss the weekly Bachelor chat you had with Brenda over mid-morning coffee, but here you are missing her opinions on Pilot Pete. As Majestic says, “Those little daily human interactions in an office or work space have huge positive effects,” so any way you can connect with your team will be beneficial, even if you’re not face-to-face. Additionally, Majestic recommends making yourself a schedule to structure your work day. “Consider using an old school planner since everything involves technology these days,” she says, “and get out of those sweats! Then you can look forward to putting them back on when your work day is finished.” (Ok, call me out.)
people who post their at-home desk setups need to chill. like I lie in bed all day with my laptop on my chest, what about it?
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) August 19, 2020
Another way to add more structure into your day is creating a set workout routine. Just because most gyms are closed does not mean that you have to give up on exercise. “Even if you don’t have a Peloton or weights at home,” Majestic says, “there are SO many workouts to choose from on YouTube or Instagram. HIIT workouts are my favorite and you often don’t need any equipment.” And, if nothing else, she suggests that you “get outside for a walk and keep your body moving throughout the day in short intervals.”
The past few months have not been easy, and it is super important to give yourself some grace if you’ve fallen out of your normal routines or behaviors. By identifying things you want to change and making steps to do so, you can pull a Rachael Leigh Cook in She’s All That and come out of quarantine even better than before!
Images: mariakray / Shutterstock; lexniko, dietstartstomorrow / Instagram; betchesluvthis / Twitter
In a world where beauty bloggers act like they have a medical degree and influencers promote facial cleansing brushes on their Insta stories, basically anyone can call themselves a skin care expert. While it’s great that we can learn everything we need to know about toners and exfoliators from just a quick Google search, it also means that a lot of us have based our skin care routine on information that might not be accurate. Don’t panic and throw out all of your favorite beauty products just yet, though! Take a look at these busted skin care myths to get all of the facts on how to achieve the glowing skin you’ve always dreamed of.
Myth #1: Anti-Aging Products Are Only For People With Wrinkles
You might think that anti-aging products are for “older” people who have wrinkled skin. What many of those people will tell you is that they’ve had no luck getting their skin to look baby-smooth again like it once did. The truth is, once your skin has wrinkles, there’s no magic cream that can take them away permanently. The most effective way to be wrinkle-free is to start taking preventative measures when you’re young (in your 20s and 30s). That means using moisturizer and sunscreen or another SPF face lotion every day to prevent the development of dark spots and/or other signs of premature aging.
Myth #2: You Only Need Sunscreen If You’re Going To Be In Direct Sunlight
This brings us to our next point: it seems that the only time most of us remember to put on sunscreen is when we are going to the beach, or doing some kind of outdoor activity in the sunny summer months. While it is incredibly important that you use sun protection regularly when you plan to go out in direct sunlight, it’s equally as important to wear sunscreen on a daily basis, regardless of how sunny or cloudy it may seem. Especially when it comes to preserving and protecting your complexion, a daily broad-spectrum SPF is essential. Whether you realize it or not, even the smallest amount of sun exposure—whether that be through a window, sitting outside, or even through cloud cover—puts your skin at risk for negative effects from sun exposure. We know that getting a sunburn is very bad for your skin, but the sun can also penetrate the layers of your skin and cause damage deeper down, potentially leading to skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States.
Myth #3: A Set Skin Care Routine Will Work For Everyone
You may be thinking, “everyone with perfect skin is following the same skin care routine, and I need to use exactly what they use if I want to have great skin too.” Yeah, that just isn’t the case. Each person has unique skin needs based on their skin type. A person with oily skin will need to use different products to cater to their needs as opposed to someone with dry skin. The same goes for people with mature skin, or sensitive skin, and so on. Just because one product worked amazingly for one person, doesn’t mean it will have the same effects for you. Take the time to research your skin type, or visit a dermatologist to find out what your skin type is, and the best way to care for it. The good news is there are so many products available that you’re bound to find the right ones for you.
Myth #4: Once Your Skin Reaches Maturity You’ll No Longer Break Out
You’d think that once you make it past your teens, you’ll never have to deal with acne again. Sorry, but we have some bad news. As it turns out, acne doesn’t seem to magically remove itself from your existence once you turn 20. Actually, your skin doesn’t fully mature until you’re about 30 to 35 years old, and even once you’ve reached that age range, you may still find yourself dealing with those pesky zits. But why? The most probable cause of your adult acne is your hormones. Your hormones change a lot over the course of your life, but factors like birth control, menopause, and even just your menstrual cycle can cause your hormones to fluctuate and create acne on your skin. Ughhh, we can’t have any nice things.
Myth #5: A Skin Care Routine Is Only For Your Face
Finally, you’ve perfected your skin care routine and your complexion looks the best it ever has. While achieving that sought-after facial glow does qualify for a well-deserved pat on the back, you may be forgetting about the big picture: the rest of the skin on your body!
You can’t forget to invest just as much time and energy into the skin on your body as you do for your face. Though your routine won’t be the same—our body skin is much thicker, which is why you wouldn’t use the same products on your face that you would on your body (and vice versa). TG, because facial products are expensive.
When it comes to skin care on your body, keep it simple. Wash your skin well with a soap or shower gel to remove the daily dirt, sweat, and other sh*t that collect on your skin. Next, exfoliate your clean skin. Whether you use a dry brush or a scrub to exfoliate while in the shower, it’s important to remove dead skin cells from your body to reveal the healthy skin underneath. Finally, moisturize. Once you’ve finished cleansing and exfoliating your skin, finishing off with a moisturizer is arguably one of the most important steps, as moisturizing serves to replenish your skin barrier, helping to improve its overall tone and texture.
Myth #6: A Skin Care Routine Is Only Effective If You Use A Multitude Of Targeted Products
With the thousands of skin care products available on the market, you may think that your routine will need to consist of 10 products minimum. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that complicated (or expensive). If you want to create a perfectly effective skin care regimen, keep it limited to these three steps: cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize. Cleaning your skin of makeup and dirt, exfoliating off the dead skin cells built up on your face, and moisturizing the new and healthy skin underneath is the simplest way to care for your skin on a daily basis and maintain a clean, clear, and healthy complexion.
However, if you have any unique skin concerns—like acne, for example—you may want to consider incorporating a specialized treatment product into your skin care regimen, as this will work to effectively target and address these areas. An acne cream containing tretinoin, for instance, is great for increasing skin cell renewal, which helps to prevent acne from the inside-out. On the other hand, if you’re concerned about dryness or wrinkles, applying a serum for overnight recovery can help penetrate the skin at a deeper level for better results.
At the most basic level, keep your skin care routine short and simple, and only incorporate more targeted treatments if and when necessary. Make sure to apply these treatments only to the particular areas of your skin that need some additional TLC.
Myth #7: “A Little Dab Will Do Ya”
Most skin care products will say to only apply a pea-sized amount of the product to your face, and this is true when using a product like an eye cream, where a little can go a long way. In reality, however, the suggested amount of product for proper use with most skin care products isn’t enough to give complete results for your skin. If you’re going to cleanse, exfoliate, or moisturize, don’t be afraid to apply a little bit extra. The lighter products like a cleanser or moisturizer can’t really hurt your skin, so if you want to get your complexion extra clean and smooth, you can add a little more than the bottle suggests.
If you do choose to use more of a product than suggested, keep your skin type in mind. For instance, those with dry skin shouldn’t over-cleanse, as their skin will dry out easily, and for those with oily skin, there’s no need to go overboard on the moisturizer or facial oils.
For products like a serum, a chemical exfoliator, or a targeted treatment, you’ll want to stick to the directions on the label, as these products are stronger and can cause damage to your skin if not used improperly or too frequently.
Images: Retha Ferguson / Pexels
Apparently, I had no idea what being “stir-crazy” actually meant until we entered this indefinite solitary confinement they call quarantine. Even as a proud introvert, it feels like the universe is shoving all the plans I’ve ever canceled in my face and screaming, “IS THIS WHAT YOU WANTED?” This is absolutely not what any of us wanted—as any introvert will tell you, part of the thrill is canceling plans. With no plans to cancel, this endless abyss of plans that could have been (canceled) feels like a discount version of Groundhog Day. Not only are we mourning the closures of our favorite restaurants, stores, and bars, but many of the activities that kept us sane are no longer an option. One of the most difficult aspects of my quarantine has been the closure of my gym, and not only because of the sense of community it provided. Physical activity has been one of the only things I’ve found in over a decade of pretty severe anxiety that actually helped keep it in check. According to the CDC, reduced anxiety isn’t the only noticeable benefit of regular physical activity. Just 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week (that’s like 7 episodes of Schitt’s Creek which, realistically, you’ve done in one day) can improve both your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Regular exercise can also reduce your risk of certain cancers and cardiovascular disease. So yeah, TL;DR, exercise is good for you and I’m sorry for all the times I pretended I had cramps to get out of gym in high school.
During this time of incredible stress and uncertainty, the anxiety-reducing aspects of physical activity are more important than ever. Being trapped inside a small space with no end in sight is stressful, to say the least. Exercise is definitely helpful, and nothing makes me feel quite as calm as the aftermath of a heart-pounding sweat session. There are plenty of workouts that can be done from the comfort of your own home, but when running is your go-to, working out while quarantined can be a little more complicated (unless you have your own treadmill, you lucky b*tch).
At the beginning of quarantine I was running four miles a day ….. Now I’m proud because I did a single squat
— Donese (@donese22) July 9, 2020
It’s SO tempting—outside is literally right there. You can see it and hear it screaming at you to lace up and get out there. So what’s stopping you? If your neighborhood is anything like mine, you’ve seen countless people jog by, headphones in, totally oblivious to the fact that we’re in the middle of a freaking pandemic. If they can do it, why not the rest of us? Well, because we both know we’re smarter than that. Yes, it’s tempting to squeeze in a quick 3-miler and be back inside before the coronavirus even has a chance to notice we left our bubble. Unfortunately, this isn’t some high-risk game of tag and we really can’t afford to take any chances. Here’s the great news, though—experts say that it is fairly safe to run outside, as long as we take the proper precautions. Family Medicine Physician Doctor Mike Varshavski—or as he’s known on Instagram, Dr. Mike—tells Betches that running “is considered a low to moderate-low risk activity based on the new chart put out by the Texas Medical Association” and notes that “throughout this pandemic, almost all shelter at home orders have continued to allow and encourage solo exercise like hiking, walking, and running.”
So that’s the good news! And as long as you follow these pretty easy guidelines, you can rest easy knowing that you put your safety and the safety of others first.
1. Jog Alone Or In Small Groups, But Make Sure You Maintain A Safe Distance
I get it, running with your best friend or your running group like you’ve done for years is a blast. However, just because you have been extremely cautious about protecting yourself from the coronavirus doesn’t necessarily mean your running partners have done the same. Make sure whoever you’re running with is also taking the proper precautions, and continue to practice social distancing even when running outside. Dr. Mike tells Betches, “any time you are exposing yourself to other individuals, it raises the risk of catching the virus,” reminding us, “those who look healthy can still be spreading COVID-19. If you have to go with a group (for safety reasons, perhaps), try and be with the smallest group possible.”
Brian Labus, Ph.D., MPH, assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada Las Vegas told Runners World, “If you deem running with a small group is something you’re comfortable with, you’ll want to ensure that these few people have been properly careful over the past few months, same as if you’re running with one other person. Additionally, your small group should run somewhere you know you won’t come in close contact with others.”
Labus also emphasizes that if you live with someone in the at-risk age group (over 65) or someone who is immunocompromised, extra precautions are necessary, and running with a partner may not be the best idea. He explains, “There have been over 182,000 cases (as of June 10) and over 77,000 COVID-19 deaths (as of June 6) in those age 65 and over since February 1, according to provisional data from the CDC. It is safer to run solo until disease transmission is low in your community.”
2. Bring A Mask With You When You Run
It’s probably not necessary to wear a mask while you run outdoors (and realistically, it would be really tough to wear a mask during any exercise that leaves you gasping for air) as long as you maintain the proper distance between you and anyone you encounter outside. Indeed, Dr. Mike tells Betches that “a mask should not be worn while running as sweat will make the mask wet and create other problems.” He advises, “The best protection is to wear the mask until you’re ready to exercise, take it off, and stay at least six feet away from others as best as possible.”
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That said, it’s probably not a bad idea to bring a mask with you when you run just in case. You may end up lost and needing to grab an Uber back, you could desperately need to run into Walgreens for a drink of water, or you might end up running into your ex and needing a disguise. Point is, there are a lot of reasons you may need a mask when leaving your house, so make sure you have one with you at all times.
Donald Milton, a professor of environmental health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health explained to the New York Times, “Outdoors is relatively safe, and masks would only be important if you are exercising in crowded areas or indoors in space shared with other people.” According to Milton, as long as you’re keeping your distance, you should be pretty fine running outside with your mask at the ready in case of an emergency.
3. Scope Out Your Street During Different Times Throughout The Day, Or Find A Different Street Altogether
Please withhold all “duh”s, because from what I’ve seen firsthand it apparently needs to be said—the easiest way to keep your distance when running outside is to run in a less crowded area. Now, this doesn’t mean driving 38 miles to the middle of the forest to knock out your run. This honestly may be as simple as spending a few days looking out your window every hour or two to see how many people are out and about. Peak hours in your neighborhood may also vary between weekdays and weekends, so also take that into account when planning your run. Ideally, you want to find both a time when not too many people are out, and a place where you have plenty of “escape routes.” This means not running next to a busy street that you can’t cross if you see a group of people on the sidewalk. If you’re running on a forest path, it means being able to step way off to the side if someone else is approaching (and, see #2, don’t forget your mask in case this isn’t an option).
Dr. Benjamin D. Levine, a professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas, explained to NPR the importance of keeping an even greater distance when exercising outside. He advises, “The greater volume and rate of breathing that occurs during exercise has the risk of spreading droplets farther. I think it’s reasonable based on the known changes in breathing during exercise.”
I don’t know how many times I’ve been out walking and out of absolutely nowhere, a jogger runs by me so close that I feel a small gust of potential plague-wind as they pass. This isn’t okay, guys. First and foremost, if we can’t be considerate to other people who have just as much of a right to use the sidewalk as we do, we shouldn’t be out running in the first place.
That said, if you’ve been keeping an eye on your street and it really doesn’t seem like there’s much of a break in the constant stream of people passing by, check out some other side streets nearby. Chances are, within a mile or so of where you live, there are some quieter residential streets that will be far less congested.
4. Make Sure That It’s Actually Okay To Run Outside In Your Area
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As we’ve discussed, it is more than tempting to grab your shoes and just GTFO. But even if you’ve thoroughly read through these important tips and feel confident in your ability to run outside safely, please hit pause for just a hot second. Because of the constantly evolving nature of how we’re handling this pandemic, running outside without a mask may not even be allowed in your area. Make sure you’re constantly checking mandates from your state health departments to ensure you’re adhering to your area’s current requirements. These mandates are changing fairly regularly in some areas, so it’s a good idea to check them daily before your planned run. Your state will most likely have a dedicated coronavirus page with all of the latest information, from things like the number of confirmed cases to reopening guidelines.
Dr. Mike emphasizes, “Know that there is no such thing as absolute safety when outdoors. The guidelines of wearing a mask, physical distancing, and washing hands will certainly reduce risk but not eliminate it. Know what is an acceptable risk for you.”
If you’re still hyped up to go for an outdoor run, more power to you. Just remember the four M’s, and you should be good to go. Maintain your distance, Mask (in your pocket/bra/around your neck/whatever), find tiMes of the day that are less crowded (ok that was a stretch, who cares), and Mandates (check your local mandates to see what rules are in place in your area). Happy running!
Images: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels; donese22 / Twitter; notskinnybutnotfat, dietstartstomorrow / Instagram
After 95694845 days of quarantine (I lost count), our collective #QuarantineClub efforts have not been in vain. And now I’m actually seeing other humans IRL (yay!) out and about. We’re getting our lives back in this so-called “new normal” and cautiously doing all right in Phase 3 with non-essential businesses opening up. Parts of New York are allegedly even entering Phase 4, but that seems too good to be true.
The light at the end of the tunnel seems to be within our reach, but remember—it’s a marathon, not a sprint. All things considered, we can keep up our momentum so long as a few bad apples don’t f*ck over the entire cart. Unfortunately, parts of the U.S. are experiencing just that—sheer amounts of stupidity (i.e. COVID-19 parties… seriously, WTF Alabama??).
Extreme cases aside, I understand that at this point, you’re saying to yourself “omg, I’m so over COVID-19. O-VeR. IT.” And I get it. 2020 is canceled. The pandemic was not exactly what we wanted for summer. But think about how the frontline workers must feel? My close friend Mira MacLeod, a Registered Nurse who works in the COVID-19 ward of a major Toronto hospital (which was also the same converted facility used to treat the first SARS patients) said, “hell (lol) I’M OVeR IT. If anyone has COVID fatigue, it’s me, girl.”
So for her sake and for every one of these caregiving heroes, when it comes to our collective health, reckless behavior is inexcusable. In fact, it’s NOT okay when you decide to be a d*ck by not wearing a mask in a shared public space and jeopardize the lives of others. Additionally, I honestly feel like the warm weather must be frying off some of the common sense in some people’s brains. I guess when you throw sunny skies and balmy weather into the mix, it’s like everyone suddenly forgot that there’s still a deadly pandemic in our presence which, may I remind you, still has the power to come back to bite us again (like it did to South Korea and their second wave) and force us back into our homes.
Do the people begging for stuff to reopen not realize that means having to wear a bra on a regular basis?
— The Salty Mamas (@saltymamas) May 17, 2020
In light of people filling up their social calendars once again and taking to the city streets, the Department of Health released some guidelines on how we can all be safe when gathering together and dining out. However, what these documents neglect to state or inform us about is how the heck these rules will be consistently enforced. Mayor Bill de Blasio is essentially telling us all of this is based on “trust” and calling people out when you see them breaking the rules. Basically like “if you see something, say something.” While that’s definitely one way of approaching it, despite reporting the situation, the damage will have already been done.
Dr. Sidney Chiu, an emergency doctor at North York General Hospital, reminds us that we must each do our part and continue to take initiatives in safeguarding our community. Furthermore, we made it this far in flattening the curve—let’s not f*ck it up folks! Here are useful guidelines to keep in mind:
When In Doubt, Wear A Mask
MacLeod says that if you want to be safe, you should wear a mask indoors—even if the business doesn’t state that it’s mandatory. “You should be wearing one in confined spaces like at the grocery store, on the transit system, or at a retail store—places where you’re touching a lot of things.” You should be wearing disposable rubber and/or plastic gloves for this as well (think clothing items, transit railing, etc).
Wear A Mask When Walking On The Sidewalk
MacLeod says her major pet peeve is when people don’t walk around each other on the sidewalk: “It irks me that some just don’t care and/or take liberties. They walk by you in close proximity, and this is particularly troublesome when there are small children nearby.” As a mom of two kids, this is especially triggering for her. So she advises that when you see someone approaching, go around them, if you can. Remember, social distancing means you should be six feet apart, which is further than you think.
There Is Still NO Vaccine
“Just based on how I’m seeing some people behave, I think many believe that the pandemic has mostly passed—and that’s certainly not the situation. The reality is that although we’ve passed the first wave, we are constantly at risk of new cases,” MacLeod says. She adds that precautionary measures should be as routine as checking for your wallet, phone and keys before leaving the house. “A mask, disposable gloves, hand sanitizer (making sure that it contains 60-95 percent alcohol), and disinfecting wipes should all be a part of your ‘toolkit,’” which means that these items should be considered part of your “new normal” for the foreseeable future. If you’re forgetful, a good strategy is to set up a daily pop-up alert on your phone to remind yourself of these essential items. Or consider keeping it all in a stylish bag near your door.
No Hugging Or Shaking Hands
“This is tough, understandably, because we are by nature, social creatures,” explains Dr. Chiu. He adds that “in lieu of physical touching, air hugs/air high fives, or toe tapping is better than exposing any part of your body to someone else. You just don’t want to run the risk.” As a friendly reminder, he says that COVID-19 is spread through droplets and/or physical contact. “Just think that when you’re embracing someone and that close face-to-face, any number of things could happen: coughing, sneezing—even talking and breathing could aid in transmission.” He adds that what could then theoretically occur is that even though it appears that “nothing happened” during the hug, since you effectively touched that person, you could then absentmindedly touch your mouth, nose and eyes, thereby spreading the virus.
Just Because They “Look Healthy” Doesn’t Mean They Are
“We always assume there are obvious visual cues to someone being ill. However this is certainly not the case when someone is asymptomatic and can transmit the virus to you,” says Dr. Chiu, who adds that these individuals may not even be aware they have COVID-19. “So for your sake, it’s better to err on the side of caution and to wear a mask whatever the social situation may be.” Another scary and not-so-fun fact from him: “the chance of a test detecting COVID-19 is very low if you are asymptomatic, and it is unlikely to be helpful in determining if you have COVID-19 if you have zero symptoms.”
Invest In Anti-Technology For Your Sunnies
Dr. Chiu says that “I’ve heard some people complain about their sun/glasses getting fogged up due to the mask wearing.” To remedy this, he says to do the following: “mold your mask to the bridge of your nose, tighten the mask, or simply invest in some anti-fog spray or wipes which will do the trick nicely (and you should be prepping all of this before you leave your home).” This is an overlooked issue but an important one, and he explains that “you want to minimize the amount of time touching your face. If your glasses are fogged/smudged, etc and you’re constantly readjusting them, you’re increasing your chances of exposure.”
Invest In An Automatic Soap Dispenser
When returning home, immediately wash your hands with hot soapy water before doing anything else (the CDC advises you do this within 20 seconds of entering your home.). To avoid contamination, MacLeod advises people to get one of those automated hand soap dispensers.” Additionally, she says that bar soaps are a big no-no because bacteria and germs CAN survive on them (ewwww).
And in terms of venturing out in the world à la Oh, The Places You’ll Go Post-Pandemic (!), here are a few tips and best practices to be mindful of in the following social scenarios:
If available to you, always opt to use the restaurant’s QR code, which allows you to see the menu on your smartphone rather than touching paper. An exception to this is if you have a visual impairment and require a hard copy.
Wearing a mask while dining in a patio/restaurant space isn’t required (cuz um, how else can you eat that food if your mouth is covered?!); however, you should absolutely wear one when walking to your table and using well-ventilated washroom facilities (which are 99% of the time located inside of a confined restaurant space).
Another food-related issue is regarding pick-up and take-out: you just grab the order and go. Don’t linger and/or congregate on the sidewalks.
The CDC recommends that if you’re welcoming people into your home for, say, a BBQ cookout (specifically an outdoor space like the backyard) to consider keeping a guestbook of attendees for contact tracing needs. Disposable but recycle-friendly cutlery, plates, and cups should be used in lieu of the silverware you have at home.
Both Dr. Chiu and MacLeod say that if you can, visit these spaces on a weekday when it’s less crowded. “Because it’s an outdoor setting, it’s technically safer than, say, a shopping mall because these types of places are conducive to offering more room and fresh air.” For any communal seating (such as park benches and beach chairs), use hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes prior to use.
Individual Appointments (Including, But Not Limited To, Dental And Medical Offices, Nail Salons, And Hair Salons)
Ensure that it’s not a walk-in situation, and whenever possible, book your appointment in advance. If you’re feeling uncertain, ask what sorts of protocols the business or service has implemented, such as adequate HEPA filters/ventilation, PPEs, and plexiglass barriers to minimize the risk of exposure. When you do arrive for your appointment, wait outside and arrange for the staff to text or give you a call when they’re ready for you. Lastly, if you know you have to fill out any documentation, bring your own pen—don’t use the communal ones supplied at the office/salon.
With all the news and Karen-shaming, I’d like to think that the majority of us are better than that. However, we’re all human and can still be prone to slipping up once in a while. So I recommend screenshotting this handy color-coded infographic to act as your “pocket guide” if you are ever uncertain about venturing into a specific social situation. It’s nice that we can FINALLY see our loved ones IRL again, so let’s not take any of it for granted and remember to be considerate of each other by adhering to these practical and safe protocols.
Images: Gustavo Fring / Pexels; Giphy (2); Twitter / @saltymamas
From alkaline water to celery water to not drinking any water at all, it seems like the wellness industry is obsessed with H2O as of late. I mean, I know it’s the essence of wetness and wetness is the essence of beauty and everything, but why do we need to keep reinventing the wheel? And will it ever end? The answer to that final question, at least for the time being, is no, and that’s because there’s yet another type of water on the market that’s making a whole lot of bold claims. Enter Chlorophyll Water, the green water drink that looks like a weird concoction I might have made in 6th grade biology, but that actually tastes amazing and is attracting celebs like Kourtney Kardashian, Mandy Moore, and VS Model Shanina Shaik. I’m listening…
While I wouldn’t intentionally read, let alone try to learn anything from the POOSH website even if my life depended on it, I can’t deny that I’d like to look like Kourtney K. So, I’d like to know: what’s the deal with the latest chlorophyll wellness craze that she and these other hot people are getting behind?
What Is Chlorophyll Water?
Chlorophyll is simply “a green, plant-based pigment that holds the power to translate light into oxygen and energy for plants,” explains Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, Registered Dietitian at Betches. Remember from your middle school science class? She adds, “People are adding it with hopes of obtaining these similar energetic powers simply from drinking water.”
What Are The Potential Benefits?
Besides making you appear up with the trends, studies have shown chlorophyll to:
Have antioxidant properties: Beckerman explains that “chlorophyll has helpful antioxidant properties which will help combat negative cellular damage in the body.”
Work as an internal deodorizer: According to this study administered on 62 geriatric patients, chlorophyll tablets were found to be helpful in “controlling body and fecal odors.”
Detox the body: The study cited above also found chlorophyll to “aid in easing chronic constipation;” while other studies conducted on animals have shown chlorophyll to “promote the elimination of potentially harmful toxins and carcinogens from the body.”
Clear up acne: Chlorophyll-a photodynamic therapy (a treatment that uses drugs and light and in this case, chlorophyll) was used to treat 24 Asian subjects’ acne, in which there were significant reductions.
As you might have already gathered, these studies are quite limited. Testing on animals or on subjects strictly of Asian descent like the studies cited above does not give us the science-backed results we need to feel confident that chlorophyll is a magical cure-all. Beckerman echoes this sentiment by explaining, “until I see long-term, large, randomized, double-blind, clinically controlled trials, I’d be skeptical that chlorophyll is the answer everyone is looking for.”
Did My Experience Line Up?
Nutrition and science and Kourtney K. aside, I wanted to try out Chlorophyll Water in the first place simply in hopes of supporting a sustainable, earth-friendly brand. The water bottles are biodegradable and every case sold plants a tree—which might make you feel better about the $3.33 price tag for a bottle (and $39.99 for a case of 12).
I was definitely weirded out when I realized that the green color was coming not from the water bottle, but from the actual water itself. However, my initial weirded-outness was replaced by a pleasant surprise at the fresh/crisp taste of the water, which I later learned can be attributed to the purification process it goes through. I was honestly pumped to have found a thirst-quenching drink that doesn’t have any hidden sugars and whatever other chemicals MUST be in those weird flavored CVS drinks I’m always buying when I’m hungover. I found myself drinking about two bottles a day for one week.
Despite being tasty and making me look like an intimidating yoga betch (a long-lived aspiration of mine), I can’t say that I was magically more energized or that my skin was suddenly glowing. I suppose I was going to the bathroom a good amount (aka I was not constipated for the Jerry in the back), but as a vegan, this isn’t usually a problem (wow we’re getting personal here), so I’m not necessarily the best guinea pig.
One week isn’t long enough to test much of anything, but the current science doesn’t give us much confidence in chlorophyll as the be-all and end-all health answer, either.
Despite chlorophyll having antioxidant properties, Beckerman is instead urging us to stick to the ol’—wait for it—fruits and veggies concept (it sounds so simple on paper, dammit! *bites into chip*). She explains that the antioxidant properties found in chlorophyll “are also found in blueberries or broccoli, and we know these foods provide the body with anti-inflammatory and disease fighting properties. Why can’t we all agree to eat more colorful foods instead of buying chlorophyll-infused water?” Okay, you got us there.
So eat your damn veggies, and until we have more research, if you’re going to drink Chlorophyll Water, do it for its taste, prestige, and added vitamins (A, B12, C and D).
Images: Vista Photo / Shutterstock.com