Tips For Working From Home With Kids Without Going Insane
Quarantine, social distancing, and “working” from home are the new normal. For those without kids, it’s a magical time, filled with naps, eating whatever, sleeping till whenever, and just generally living life. For those of us with kids and babies, though, trying to work from the house while entertaining small children is proving to be, um, difficult. Maybe your childcare shut down in keeping with state guidelines. Maybe you had a nanny making your life a literal dream before all this and have had to temporarily suspend them because of the pandemic. Whatever the case, you’re now stuck inside with tiny people that demand constant attention, food, and entertainment. It’s like being marooned with your very drunk friend who can’t speak and only screams, cries, and whines when she wants attention or more cold pizza.
In an effort to not pull our hair out, we chatted with Lauren Benbassat, co-founder of mēle shake, a fully-balanced smoothie made from real food, about how you can work from home with your kids without completely losing it. She’s a mom and entrepreneur, and she’s got tips for staying focused, productive, and sane even with kids running around.

Organize Your Hours

Obviously, my go-to when I need to actually write a story (hi) or get some work done is making the most of nap time (or other times when my kid is distracted), and times when my partner is available to help too. Benbassat takes that a step further with some time management tools. If you think you’re organized, Benbassat, a self-proclaimed “Google addict”, keeps a detailed Google calendar that she shares with family members and the people she works with.
“I have multiple calendars which I share with various teams/parties,” she explains. “I have a personal, a husband/wife schedule, my work calendar is open and shared with team, and additionally, I have a shared ‘childcare’ calendar so my family and co-founders can see my availability for each day.”
Creating a schedule and routine not only helps you stay organized, it can also help you feel better, and therefore, more sane. If this were me, I’d add a tab for snacking time, trash TV time, and pretending to exercise time, but you also can (and should) pencil in date time, me time (more on that in a sec), meeting times, and the like.

Make Time For You

It seems really contrived to even mention self-care these days, but when you have a child, it’s so f*cking important. You’re responsible for a tiny human for what feels like every second, so being able to steal an hour to take a bath, read a book, or just watch some crappy TV will help you feel refreshed.
Benbassat knows very well that your me time as a working mom is extremely limited, and admits, “the life of a WFH mother and entrepreneur doesn’t leave much time for self-care, honestly.” So she carves out time for herself when she can, in what she calls “small moments.” For instance, “a morning walk with baby in stroller and coffee in hand!”
She adds, “If you don’t have the ability to walk outside right now, put on some music and have a family dance party. I love @amandakloots Musical Morning Playlist on Spotify.” She will also swipe on “a quick mascara and lip” when her baby goes down for a nap so she can feel like a real person for a second, and of course is a fan of “a long, hot shower once baby is in bed for the night… add a glass of wine if you want to be really extra.”
Personally, I’ve got the wine part down, and I think I still have mascara on my lashes from three days ago, so I guess I’m pretty much killing this whole self-care thing.
The momtrepreneur (sorry, but it’s accurate) also mentions that, aside from self-care, giving yourself some mental breaks can help with productivity later. “From 5am to 10pm, my day is non-stop. While I used to make time for journaling and meditation pre-baby, I’ve had to find new ways for mental health breaks. I find that classical music in the morning while I check my email and get priorities in line is what soothes me the most.” You’re not a robot; give yourself some breathers throughout the day to avoid burnout and help you stay productive.

Define Your Space

If you’re working from home, defining the space where you do your work can help with productivity. Having been working remotely on and off for the past 8 years, Benbassat says, “having a designated space for your office is KEY.” Obviously, having a separate office is ideal, but since that’s not possible for everyone, just make sure you’re changing up your environment and blocking off some area to do work in (sadly, this means no longer calling your bed “the office”). “That way,” she explains, “when you ‘go to work’ you are physically relocating to a new space and shifting mentally to work-mode.” She adds, “For me, I need three things to add to my work space: a plant, a bit of sunlight, and my water bottle.”
In other words, maybe don’t sit on the couch in front of the TV to do that project. And leave your bedroom as a retreat—no laptops, spreadsheets, or conference calls allowed.

Eat, And Make Time For Eating

It may sound crazy to anyone without kids, but when you have a baby or small child, making time to actually sit, breathe, and f*cking eat is a luxury. But when you’re working, you need food to keep that brain going, so having a good breakfast and lunch is super important.

Benbassat’s number one tip for making sitting down, eating, and actually enjoying your food easier and more time efficient is to meal prep. She obviously swears by mēle shakes as a quick breakfast or snack, but also keeps a number of easy-grab items in the fridge that can be thrown together for a quick dish. For instance, some washed and chopped veggies, fruits, and lettuce that she can quickly add to salads, bowls, or sides. She also swears by quinoa with lentils: “I prep a big batch on Sunday, cooked with chicken broth and ghee. I use throughout the week for quick bowls (with chopped veggies) and dinner sides.” She also mixes up a quick and protein-rich 3-bean salad with chickpeas, black beans, and green beans (you can sub for whatever beans you like). “Toss with red wine vinegar, olive oil, and Italian dressing seasoning, marinate in fridge,” she instructs. “It’s great with crackers, added to salad, or as a side.”

If you had told me a year or two ago that I would become one of those people who forgets to eat, I would have laughed in your face. But as a mom, this sh*t is real.

Look, working from home isn’t easy. Working from home during quarantine as a result of a worldwide pandemic is hard. Add kids to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for a breakdown. Stop, breathe, and tell yourself the work will get done, the kids will be fine, and someday we’ll all go to brunch again.

Images: Charles Deluvio, Unsplash; Giphy (3); @lauren.benbassat

Should I Just Like, Become A Sugar Baby Right Now?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or maybe your weighted blanket, you know that there’s a pandemic happening. And this pandemic is forcing companies all around the nation to make pay cuts and/or lay off their employees, myself unfortunately included.

With the due date for my rent quickly approaching, I naturally began to brainstorm different ways to make good money, and make it fast. And then I remembered an Instagram DM I received a few weeks ago from a kind man who bluntly offered to be my sugar daddy (though he spelt it “sugga daddii”). For those who don’t know, a sugar daddy is a “rich older man who lavishes gifts on a young woman in return for her company or sexual favors,” according to Lexico.com

I’m not above admitting that in the midst of all of this, I thought about taking him up on it. Maybe negotiate a deal where I get paid for a virtual date, and he’ll order takeout to be delivered to me—specifically, an overpriced vegan milkshake from By Chloeand I’ll laugh at my own jokes while he sits there and offers to continue ordering me food for the rest of this quarantine. But then I snapped back to reality and realized I wasn’t starring in my own socially distant rom-com, and responding to one Instagram DM on a whim and just being my ~charming~ self would probably not magically get my rent paid. As a 28-year-old stripper to whom I spoke for this article put it, it’s not as easy as it may seem to make money as a sugar baby, or any other type of sex worker: “You have to be personable, witty, charming, intuitive, good at negotiating, assertive without being too emasculating (unless they want you to dom, obv), sexy, sensual, able to make a quick impression, willing to be sexual in front of people/a screen.” At most other jobs, you just have to show up and be awake.

And just like other industries, sex work is being affected by the pandemic. “In-person sex workers (strippers, sugar babies, full service workers, street workers) have lost their jobs as they know it, unless they want to expose themselves to COVID-19, which isn’t even an option for sex workers whose place of employment has closed down,” such as strip clubs, she explains. “Plus, some of our clients have lost work too and are unable to spend. So, even if we do want to move our work online, our clients might not be as able to buy our services.”

So why not just acquire new clients online? Because, according to the stripper, moving your work online to platforms like OnlyFans—a social media service that gives subscribers exclusive porn content—is, again, not easy. “Building a following online is extremely difficult and takes time and an understanding of the online world,” she explains. I mean, makes sense considering it takes time and effort to build a following on any other online platform. Nobody’s even asking for my nudes for free now, what makes me think I could just set up an OnlyFans and immediately start raking it in? “It’s tedious, time-consuming work that often doesn’t pay off for a while.” 

Despite these strains, I had to think that there are still many people out there attempting to find a sugar daddy given the sudden need to make fast money. So, I decided to test my hypothesis out: is the sugar daddy business booming right now thanks to COVID-19? Are women cashing out on the chance to virtually date? Or are people reluctant to spend money, rich older men included?

I interviewed three sugar babies to see how their business has been affected, if at all, by the virus. Here’s what I found.

Sugar Baby #1

Sugar baby #1, a 25-year-old model in NYC who has no upcoming work right now, is in a pretty unique situation. Her sugar daddy is around her age and they’ve been friends for a while. He initiated the arrangement, asking her to send him selfies (just of her face) and text with him in exchange for money. Pretty jealous of this considering I take selfies of my face for free. 

Since the coronavirus outbreak, her sugar daddy has asked her to visit and kiss him (weirdly PG, I know) for $1,000—clearly not abiding by social distancing rules. But that’s another story (or two, or three). He’ll usually only pay her $300-$400 at a time, so this was a sharp change, to say the least. (Catch me in a few more weeks of quarantine and I might be willing to drop a grand for human touch, too.) She says she has yet to follow through with the $1,000 kiss, but she also received a random deposit of $400 from him, which she described as a “security deposit so that I don’t leave him even though I moved home and so much has changed.” 

Sugar Baby #2

The next sugar baby is a clinical research coordinator in Massachusetts. She met her sugar daddy on Seeking Arrangement, a website that “delivers a new way for relationships to form and grow” by connecting sugar babies to sugar daddies. She is 33 years old, while her sugar daddy is 42. She hooks up and attends bougie events with him in exchange for expensive gifts.

Sugar baby #2 decided to move out of her apartment complex into a home largely due to the coronavirus—she said it felt more safe to be by herself versus in a building with many other people. She expressed feeling anxious about moving and now being quarantined; as a response, her sugar daddy offered to pay her rent for the month (something he’s never done before). She also recently switched jobs (her previous job was changing rapidly because of COVID-19 and she wanted out), which means she’s no longer commuting into Boston, where her sugar daddy lives. Now that the convenience factor is gone, she knows she’ll have to end the relationship soon. 

Sugar Baby #3

Sugar Baby #3 is 27 years old, lives in Boston and works in an admin role at a hospital, but will be starting nursing school in May. She also met her sugar daddy, who is 35, on Seeking Arrangement. They have the most “traditional” SD/SB relationship out of the bunch, where he pays her $800 or more for a date and a hookup with her. 

Since the coronavirus outbreak, they mutually stopped talking to each other. Her sugar daddy has a wife, which as we can all imagine during a quarantine might make communication with his sugar baby tough. 

Findings Concluded

While the digital sugar daddy space isn’t popping off as much as I’d expected, or in the ways I’d expected, the pandemic is still affecting the way sugar daddies and babies conduct business. Whether it’s upping the price one would be willing to pay for human contact, having your rent paid for you for the first time, or not being able to see your sugar daddy because he’s quarantined with his (poor, poor) wife, one thing has been made clear: this virus is changing how the world operates, sugar daddies, sugar babies, and general sex workers included. 

Images: antoniodiaz / Shutterstock.com

The Scientific Reason We Can’t Stop Making COVID-19 Memes

I don’t know about you all, but the only thing keeping me in relatively good spirits these past few days has been the high quality of memes being churned out on the internet. It might have something to do with the fact that this is one of those rare times when the entire word is experiencing the same thing at the same time, and there is a tremendous amount of solidarity online. But apart from providing a much-needed distraction from the news, these memes serve a more crucial role in maintaining our sanity than we might realize. (Take that, every parent who’s ever said creating memes is not a real job.)

Is a symptom of corona virus having thick luscious juicy ass cheeks cos I’m scared guys

— chris (@Chrissyinglis) March 16, 2020

Laughter has been considered an effective form of therapy for years, and we’ve all heard sayings like “laughter is the best medicine.” But how does this work exactly? I spoke with Ugur Üngör, a professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies and someone who has studied the functions of humor during and after genocide, to get to the bottom of why humor really can help people cope with dark times.

The key objectives of humor in a crisis involving death(s) are criticism, community, and coping. The latter is very important for people to get through a crisis. Ask anyone who’s been through a war or genocide and they’ll confirm that a certain friend with a good sense of humor is what kept them alive at times,” said Professor Üngör. Now, the coronavirus is no World War, technically speaking, but the lasting socioeconomic damage this pandemic has caused on a global scale is already being compared to the recession of World War II

1920: Alcohol is prohibited

2020: Liquor stores are an essential business during a national health crisis

— RubMor (@QBruby) March 28, 2020

Also similar to a war is the grim fact that thousands of people across the globe are dying. So is it really okay to make jokes about the virus that is killing so many people? I spoke with Dr. Thomas Ford, Editor In Chief of the International Journal of Humor Research about the benefits of using humor in stressful situations. He conducted an experiment in which participants completed a role-play exercise in which they imagined they were about to take a stressful, difficult SAT-like math test. Participants in the first condition read four cartoons and four jokes that poked fun at math tests and math in general. Participants in the second situation saw cartoons that poked fun at their own math ability. And finally, participants in the last group did not read any jokes or cartoons while anticipating taking the math test. They found that participants whose cartoons poked fun at the math test reported lower feelings of anxiety compared to participants in the other two conditions. 

These findings suggest that engaging in not just any humor, but humor that trivializes the immediate stressor, is particularly effective at mitigating the negative effects of that stressor on anxiety. This is perhaps the reason why social media is flooded with memes that explicitly talk about coronavirus, as opposed to shying away from joking about the virus directly.

“I think it’s very healthy to joke about the coronavirus,” said Dr. Ford. “Stressful events such as the coronavirus can adversely affect our mental health, producing anxiety and depression. Humor invites us to reframe those stressors playfully and non-seriously, providing a way for us to see them as less threatening and scary, which consequently mitigates, at least momentarily, the experience of emotional distress.”

HOW TO AVOID CORONAVIRUS‼️

– Don’t let them in
– Don’t let them see
– Be the good girl you always have to be
– Conceal
– Don’t feel
– Put on a show
– Make one wrong move and everyone will know

— eca (@WlDOWBYTE) March 16, 2020

At first, I was surprised, even annoyed to see the amount of Coronavirus content that was there online. But eventually, I started feeling solace knowing that other people were also feeling the same way. And with no end in sight, the uncertainty of the situation adds to our anxieties, leading to the creation of some truly entertaining content that is bound to stay for a long time. So don’t delete that COVID-19 meme folder on your phone—it’s called documenting history for future generations, look it up. 

Images: Charles Deluvio / Unsplash; @WlDOWBYTE, @QBruby, @Chrissyinglis / Twitter

WTF Do We Do Now?: Weekly Horoscopes March 30th-April 3rd

Mars moves into Aquarius this week as we all move into the “I’m gonna get into embroidery” phase of our quarantine. How fitting. Despite the global pandemic, Mars in Aquarius is bringing some can-do energy to this “oh sh*t” world and leaving us a lot more optimistic about what is to come. Well, some of us. For like, one second. In the morning. Before we are hit with the crushing realization of what’s going on in the world. Anyway.

Aries

With Mars in Aquarius this week, you’ll be finding lots of new ways to connect, even while maintaining a six foot distance. In the days of quarantine, it seems like there’s a new virtual hangout app everywhere you turn, and this is the perfect week to download and try all of them. Then come back here and explain to me what Marco Polo is and how it is different from Snapchat.

Taurus

Mars in Aquarius has turned you eager to start an exciting new project, but that’s kind of difficult considering the entire world is working from home right now. So why not channel your energy into helping those around you? Do a virtual charity drive, offer to run a grocery pickup for an at-risk person, or send care packages to doctors and nurses. There are plenty of ways to help out and all of them are a lot better than scheduling your 15th unnecessary Zoom meeting of the day.

Gemini

You’re in the mood for a new adventure, Gemini. The challenge will be finding out how to do that from within the confines of your home. Now is the time for you to dive into a new hobby, whether it be something impressive like becoming a sous chef or something slightly less impressive like becoming a sous chef on The Sims. Anything that takes your mind off daily life will work fine.

Cancer

Mars in Aquarius has you wanting to pull deep into your shell, which is actually kind of perfect given the circumstances. This is a week for deep introspection for you, Cancer, and luckily you can do it without all the distractions of having a “life” and “things” to “do.” Count it as a blessing, and for the love of God, don’t go live on Instagram until the soul-searching is through.

Leo

Good news for those Leos who are quarantining with a partner right now: things are about to get spicy for you and your Quarantine (like valentine, get it?). Which is helpful since you’re not getting much exercise in any other part of your life. For those lions not lucky enough to be shacked up with a significant other, you may see your nude production increase by 200% this week. Even if you just end up keeping all of them to yourself.

Virgo

Will you be one of those psychos who gets fit during quarantine? The stars are aligned for it to be so. Mars in Aquarius has electrified your desire for healthy living, and while quarantine has made it 300% easier to snack all f*cking day, it’s also a whole lot easier to meal plan. It’s also a lot easier to make a fitness class when it takes place in your living room. Just sayin’…

Libra

You’re feeling flirty right now, Libra. The question is, how do you express that while maintaining a six foot distance from all other humans? The answer? Thirst traps. Lots of them. Fly free with the thirsty posts on Insta story this week, safe in the knowledge that it’ll all go away within 24 hours. And if someone chooses to screenshot your sexiness, that’s on them.

Scorpio

Mars in Aquarius is really putting the “shelter” in “shelter in place” for you this week, Scorpio. Now is the time to set yourself up for domestic bliss, especially since that’s the only kind of bliss we’ll be allowed for the next month. Take time to get your quarantine quarters exactly how you want them. That way it’ll almost be like you’re staying inside all day by choice.

Sagittarius

The effects of social distancing might be hitting you particularly hard this week, Sagittarius, so why not get some Zoom hangouts on the books now? From Zoom happy hours to Zoom game nights to Zoom karaoke, the whole world is your oyster when you download Zoom! (This post not sponsored by Zoom.)

Capricorn

Your steady grounded energy is kind of needed right now, Capricorn, so don’t be surprised if this week you’re called upon to be a stabilizing force for loved ones in your life. Keep in mind that the stuff that may come natural to you (putting on real clothes every day, making your bed, note looking at your phone every second) might be literally revolutionary advice to someone else. You can’t help that you have your sh*t together.

Aquarius

With Mars in your sign, there’s nothing you can’t do! Except go outside. Don’t do that. Mars is bringing a ton of enthusiasm into your sign right now, so it’ll be up to you to figure out where to direct your energy. There’s no right or wrong answer, just know that whatever you choose will become your complete obsession until whenever the f*ck we’re allowed to go to the bar again.

Pisces

Your only mission this week is to recharge, Pisces. The emotional drain of a global pandemic has taken its toll, and this week it is time for you to scale it way, way back. No, you are not available to spend three hours every night convincing your mom you can’t come home. No, you do not need to spend every morning reading articles about what will happen if everyone on Earth dies. Take some time for yourself this week and resume the panic another day.

Images: Anthony Tran / Unsplash; Giphy (10)

4 Coronavirus Myths You’ve Been Seeing All Over The Internet, Debunked

Living in the age of the internet often feels like double-edged sword. Yes, there’s more information accessible to us, literally at our fingertips, than ever before. That also means that misinformation is just as readily available. From the guy who hung around your local high school who “sees through the media hysteria” to your aunt on Facebook sharing well-meaning but misguided posts about how stomach acids kill coronavirus, there is a ton of bullsh*t floating around. And look, we’re all scared enough as it is (I feel confident speaking for all of us when I say that). The last thing any of us need is some fake rumor that’s basically the 2020 equivalent of a chain email going around to terrify the sh*t out of all of us. So to cut through the B.S. and get to the bottom of what’s real and what’s not regarding coronavirus concerns, we spoke to Dr. Mikhail Varshavski—or as you may know him on Instagram, Dr. Mike.

Myth 1: If You Can Hold Your Breath For 10 Seconds, You Don’t Have Coronavirus

This one seems legit, because it uses a bunch of medical terms. The original copypasta goes something like this: “Take a deep breath and hold your breath for more than 10 seconds. If you complete it successfully without coughing, without discomfort, stiffness or tightness, etc., it proves there is no (COVID-19 caused) Fibrosis in the lungs, basically indicates no infection.” Though it sounds like it’s based in science, Dr. Mike says this test is “completely untrue.” While COVID-19 is a respiratory infection, pulmonary fibrosis is, according to Mayo Clinic, “a lung disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred. This thickened, stiff tissue makes it more difficult for your lungs to work properly.” The problem? Fibrosis can take months if not years to develop, and doctors don’t know if COVID-19 causes fibrosis at all yet.

Myth 2: Gargling With Salt Water Will Kill The Virus

Coronavirus Salt Water Myth

The crazy thing about this myth is that I saw it passed around a WhatsApp group I’m in, with the person who sent it claiming to have gotten it from their sister who is a chemist at Stanford. (Yeah, sorry, I just called you out.) In the group chat, I brought up that there is basically no way this can be true (think about it: would countries be shutting down over a virus that could be killed with a little salt water?) but nobody seemed to back me up. Well, you don’t have to take my word for it, because according to Dr. Mike, this so-called cure is absolutely “not true”.

Myth 3: Drinking Water Regularly Will Push The Virus Into Your Stomach And Kill The Virus

The logic here is that your stomach acids kill coronavirus, which again, is just not the case. Really think if a global pandemic would be happening and whole countries would be on lockdown if the solution was to just drink more water. Dr. Mike says, “Look, staying well hydrated is important to your health, but every 15 minutes is not a rule that anyone has recommended.” University Of Maryland’s Dr. Faheem Younus similarly debunked this myth on Twitter, saying the “Virus may gain entry via throat but it penetrates into the host cells. You can’t wash it away. Excessive water will make you run to the toilet.” So, drink water because it may make you feel less sluggish, improve your skin, and you should just be doing it anyway, but not because you think it will cure coronavirus.

Myth #5: Coronavirus lives in the throat. So drink lots of water so the virus is pushed into the stomach where the acid will kill it.

Virus may gain entry via throat but it penetrates into the host cells. You can’t wash it away. Excessive water will make you run to the toilet.

— Faheem Younus, MD (@FaheemYounus) March 17, 2020

Myth 4: Ibuprofen Makes Coronavirus Worse

This one is tough because it came from an actual health organization and not some random dude on Facebook. Dr. Mike explains, “The French ministry of health recently came out and mentioned something about not taking ibuprofen and they said we shouldn’t be taking this because it actually makes the virus symptoms worse.” The French health minister, Olivier Véran, had tweeted that people should not take NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), a category of pain reliever/fever reducers that includes ibuprofen, because some French patients had experienced serious side effects.

🏥 #COVID2019 Les #pharmacies sont et resteront ouvertes tout au long de la crise sanitaire.
💊 Il n’y a pas de pénurie de #paracetamol.
L’ANSM rappelle les règles de bon usage. Inutile et dangereux pour la santé de faire des stocks chez soi !

— Olivier Véran (@olivierveran) March 17, 2020

The problem, though, as Dr. Mike says, “that has not been proven to be the case in good quality controlled studies. The WHO said that they’re not telling people to stop taking it, meaning that they’re saying, if you need to take this medicine, if your doctor prescribed it, you can still safely take it.” As of March 18, the WHO was not recommending against taking ibuprofen.

Q: Could #ibuprofen worsen disease for people with #COVID19?

A: Based on currently available information, WHO does not recommend against the use of of ibuprofen. pic.twitter.com/n39DFt2amF

— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) March 18, 2020

Dr. Mike adds that the tricky part with this is that “we don’t know yet if by taking ibuprofen you develop worse symptoms or because you happen to have worse symptoms, you’re taking more ibuprofen. So, if your doctor recommends taking ibuprofen, please do take it. If you’re able to take Tylenol, that’s always an option.”

And as a final takeaway, Dr. Mike warns, “there are some marketing companies that are out there trying to tout immune boosting products of vitamins, minerals that will essentially cure, prevent treat COVID- 19; none of that exists.” Don’t waste your money; if there was really a cure for COVID-19, the WHO and CDC would be the ones to break the news (and not, say, the girl from your high school who sells essential oils on Facebook). 

We’re sure you have a lot more questions about COVID-19, and we asked Dr. Mike pretty much all of them. Watch our entire video with him below.

Images: WHO, olivierveran, FaheemYounus / Twitter

How To Not Slack Off While You’re Working From Home

For millennials and Gen-Zers, the COVID-19 pandemic is the most intense economic and social crisis we have faced in our lifetime. At first not everyone was taking it seriously (and some spring breakers in Florida still aren’t) but as things have gotten exponentially worse in such a short time, we are all faced with a new reality. And that reality looks a hell of lot like working from home for an undefined time period, if you are lucky enough to be able to do so.

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11am is the new 5pm, just start drinking whenever you want. By @whenshappyhr ⭐️: @pandalise

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Working from home for a couple days here or there is completely different from WFH indefinitely, which is sadly what the future holds right now. That fact in and of itself can be demotivating, so here are a few tips of how to stay motivated and productive when you’re stuck working from home.

Overly Communicate

Since you can’t go over to someone’s desk to talk to them like in the good old days, chances are you’re relying on a chat service like Slack to interact with your coworkers, or at a bare minimum, email. Think of all those little convos you have at work that aren’t necessarily meetings, but still are about projects you’re working on, like the quick unplanned touch base you and your work wife have as you make avocado toast in the office kitchen. Keep those convos alive—emails or Slack messages don’t all have to be super formal requests. Letting people know what you are working on and just providing status updates also helps motivate others because let’s be real, even in the office we can’t help but to think sometimes “WTF is that person even doing?” is they’re not Slacking you back immediately. But don’t just limit this to some people—keep your team and your manager informed.

Be Empathetic To Your Coworkers

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I’ll never yell at any of you again 😭

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If there was a time to be good f*cking coworker, this is it. Everyone deals with stress and anxiety differently, and this is a highly stressful time. There also tons of different work from home situations that make things even stressful, like parents who are now home with their children, someone who lives alone and is struggling, or those people who now find themselves trying to have a conference call at the same time as their S.O. Now more than ever, you don’t know what people are dealing with, so before you send that aggressive Slack, think for an extra second.

Encourage Non-Working Ways Of Staying Connected

If you’re lucky enough to consider (some of) your coworkers your friends, that means you just went from seeing them all day every day to literally not at all. In the time of WFH, not everything has to be strictly business—get a virtual happy hour going through programs like Airtime, Zoom, or House Party, because let’s be real, you’re all looking for an excuse to start drinking at 4:30pm anyway.

Conduct Business As Usual

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Shocked and appalled my frozen pizza diet isn’t working out for me. by @disco_infern0 Follow @dietstartstomorrow for more relatable af content about food and (not) working out.

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Don’t operate under the assumption that projects or conversations can wait until you’re back at work, since we legit have no idea when that will be. You don’t want to be the one person slacking off only to realize your entire team is operating status quo. Stay on top of your sh*t, create and maintain deadlines, and keep projects flowing. Despite this being a beyond hectic time, business as usual must continue to keep operations carrying on as seamlessly as possible.

Create Structure Around Your Day

If you used to work out before work, keep it up. If you used to work out after work, don’t stop just because you’ve spent all day inside. We all know it’s a hell of lot less motivating working out in the same space you’re spending all of your time in, so encourage yourself by taking an at-home workout class. We put together a list of 16 fitness apps and studios that are offering their home workout services online for free—check them out here. You’re welcome.

Take A Damn Shower & Change Out Of Your Pajamas

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We’re not saying to take this as far as wearing jeans, but take a shower and put on some real clothes (and by real clothes we mean leggings and maybe a bra). We’ll take whatever hack we can to stay focused and feel like a real person during this extended WFH period and we guarantee the better you feel, the better you’re going to do at your job.

Images: Sincerely Media / Unsplash; @betches (2), @fatcarriebradshaw, @sarafcarter / Instagram

How To Stay Connected (And Not Bored AF) While Social Distancing

So, here we are. The past week has been nothing short of a horror movie, and what most people assumed was an exaggerated story on the news became an unimaginable reality across the globe. Hate to start this piece off so heavy, but I’m terrified over here!!! To say my anxiety has been through the roof is an understatement, and I will never take a group hug, long day in the office, or subway ride for granted again.

With that very dramatic introduction being said, I’ve found myself scouring the internet for ways to calm down during this time, and stay connected with my friends while simultaneously socially distancing.

It turns out there are a million and one things to do, but here are the ones that stuck out most:

 DIY Paint + Sip Night

I saw a friend share on her story that she did this activity while quarantined with her boyfriend, and I honestly thought it was genius. There are tons of YouTube videos that walk you through the painting, the same way an instructor would at a live class. You’ll have to provide the wine, of course, but I trust you can handle that. I myself recently signed up for the Lede Family Wines “Debut” Club. One, because they come from the Cliff Lede Vineyards in Napa (yum), and two, because being quarantined means a bottle of wine lasts a day instead of a week. Desperate times call for wine club measures, am I right? 

P.S. You can buy your canvas here, paint here, brushes here, and easel here!

P.P.S. If paint + sip feels like too much, and you’re not quite ready to channel your inner Bob Ross, adult coloring books are also a great, significantly easier outlet. The Mindfulness Coloring Book from Emma Farrarons is a personal favorite, along with the Floral Adult Coloring Journal from Harper Collins. They’re best paired with a set of iBayam Colored Pens that make everything feel more precise and flawless.

Virtual Wine Night

While on the topic of wine (and I do promise, not all of these activities NEED wine, but I can also promise, they all allow for it), staying connected to friends while the madness unfolds is extremely important. Whether your friends are sick, healthy, happy, stressed, near, or far, a FaceTime a day keeps the scaries away! 

Set one (or more) night(s) a week to eat dinner (and drink wine) “together”. Sip, catch up, chat about all the insane things that happened that week while being trapped in a shoebox Manhattan apartment. These are the nights that we’ll value most in the current state of being, and the nights we’ll cherish the most when we look back at this time.

Learn To Cook

There is no time like the present, so if you’ve been living on your own for a few years now, but the fanciest thing you can cook is pasta with butter (guilty as charged), it’s time to pick up a cookbook and get crafty. I turned to our queen, Chrissy Teigen, because I knew her recipes would actually be enjoyable, unlike my mom’s cabinet of 1920s cookbooks (no offense, mom). The good news is everything is delicious, the bad news? Nothing is healthy. But, are we really worried about being skinny at a time like this? If the answer to that question is yes, CAN’T RELATE. But, with that being said I would recommend Healthy Gut, Flat Stomach by Danielle Capalino, because I’m at least trying to come out of this quarantine with the same size stomach I came into it with. (Whether or not I will succeed is another story entirely.)

Game Night

If you are so lucky (or unlucky) to be trapped inside with a roommate or roommates, a game night is the way to go. Fun sober? Yes. Fun while drinking? Absolutely, yes. My boyfriend and I have taken up Rummy 500 (I swear we’re 26, not 96) but beating him 100 times in a row is only thrilling for so many rounds, so I decided we needed to add some new games into the routine. Personally, I’m a Yahtzee gal, but he prefers Sequence. If you’re feeling wild, break out some old classics like Mancala and Guess Who. If you’re trapped with more than two people, Scattegories is a no-brainer. If you have days, months, years to kill, Monopoly or Life are also good old timers.

Don’t have the space in your shoebox apartment for a full-on board game? No problem. Pick up a fun card game like Please Don’t Ask (where you ask participants raunchy icebreaker-type questions), Red Flag or Dealbreaker (where you decide which hypothetical habits would be dating no-nos), or What Do You Meme? (basically Cards Against Humanity, but with memes).

If you’re all by yourself, you can still play games with your friends, just virtually. You can buy the Clue app (the same murder mystery board game you grew up with, now for your phone) for $4 in the App Store. If one of your friends has Jackbox, you can have them share their screen in a Google Hangout or Zoom call, and you can all join in remotely to play. Basically, just get creative with the games you already have and your video conferencing platform of choice.

Get A (New) Hobby

With too much time on our hands, it’s only fate that we’ll all stumble upon our hidden talents. I am bullet journaling like a MF, which has resulted in my desk looking like a child’s arts and crafts studio, but hey, I’m happy. Brit + Co. has made all of their online classes free, which is a MAJOR win and really freakin nice of them. 

My doodling efforts have turned into a longing to perfect my nail art skills (which currently do not exist). I’ll be attempting to create some spring ombre nails this weekend with the Zoya Spring Treatment Color Box (the colors are pretty and it’s WAY more affordable than Essie). Stay tuned for the results.

Embracing The Alone 

If you’re one of those people who embraces their alone time and feels like “SoCiAl DiStAnCiNg Is My DrEaM” then hey, you’re in luck. Check back with me in a month, though. 

But, if you’re alone and feeling… lonely, now is the perfect time to order some new books. I myself having the reading level of a third grader, so I turned to my bff Alex for some good recs. Currently sitting on my shelf we have the stacked lineup of The Woman in the Window (which is being made into a movie, so that right there is some motivation to read it), Verity, and The Silent Patient. If all else fails, have a Harry Potter reading marathon and find the magic in the situation.

If reading isn’t your thing, but you want to stimulate the mind, order some puzzles!!! Amazon has a ton of cute ones, and it’s a healthy way to distract yourself, rather than scrolling through social media for hours on end (guilty).

All in all, it’s important to practice healthy habits and find the good in each day. It sounds corny, but, it’s survival 101. Feel free to drop comments below and share how you’ve been passing the time!

Images: Charles Deluvio / Unsplash

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What Pregnant Women Need To Know About Coronavirus

There’s no way around it: the coronavirus pandemic is sweeping the globe and it’s scary. And when people get scared, they tend to panic and seek answers on the cesspool that is their aunt’s Facebook page wherever they can. Pregnant women may be feeling especially vulnerable right now. So in an effort to dispel some of the misinformation out there, I consulted Dr. Daniel Roshan, MD, an OB/GYN practicing at Rosh Maternal & Fetal Medicine, to break down how the virus may impact pregnant women.

Are Pregnant Women More At Risk Of Contracting Coronavirus? 

The short answer is it doesn’t seem so. According to Dr. Roshan, pregnant women have so far not been found to be more susceptible to the coronavirus than the general population. That being said, “in general pregnant women are at higher risk to get infections,” so it’s important to take precautions, even if there’s no heightened risk of contracting coronavirus per se. There’s also nothing indicating that a pregnant woman who has contracted the virus will necessarily pass it on to her fetus, as Dr. Roshan notes that “coronavirus hasn’t been shown to cross the placenta and so far no congenital cases reported.” In other words, there haven’t been any cases reported at birth. Thank goodness for small miracles, human and otherwise!

OK, But Could There Be Other Risks To The Fetus If A Pregnant Woman Has Coronavirus?

So while a fetus likely can’t contract coronavirus from an infected mother, Dr. Roshan did note some potential risks associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome, otherwise known as ARDS, which occurs when fluid builds up in the air sacs of the lungs. Because a severe case of coronavirus can lead to respiratory complications, Dr. Roshan mentioned that “f a pregnant patient gets really sick with coronavirus and develops ARDS, the fetus will be at risk of premature labor and delivery.” These may not be the only complications, however, so check with your doctor to make sure they don’t have any other concerns.

I’m Pregnant And Think I May Have Coronavirus. What Should I Do?

While the best course of action is to take all relevant precautions to avoid infection, it’s inevitable that some of us are going to get infected. If you think you’re one of the unlucky ones, don’t panic just yet. Dr. Roshan recommends following the current guideline of self-isolation and monitoring for symptoms. If your symptoms are mild and don’t include fever and shortness of breath, you may be able to stay home and recover from there. However, if you’re experiencing high fever and shortness of breath, you should go to the hospital to be more carefully monitored.

 What Precautions Should Pregnant Women Take Right Now?

There are a number of precautions pregnant women can take to avoid coronavirus, and the good news is they are the precautions that all of us should be taking. Dr. Roshan recommends the following:

And, of course, you should consult your doctor as needed, especially if you are experiencing symptoms.

Is There Anything Else Pregnant Women Should Know?

 

Other than taking the above precautions, Dr. Roshan’s main piece of advice is to take this pandemic seriously and not wait until it’s too late: “any in the US took it lightly until they heard someone they know or been in contact with has it and then they panic.” Instead of being reactive, we can all do our part to stop the spread by taking the relevant precautions now while we wait for a resolution and, hopefully, an eventual vaccine. At the risk of sounding like an extra in High School Musical, we’re all in this together.

So there you have it. While there’s no denying that this pandemic is showing no signs of slowing down yet, pregnant women can take comfort in the fact that they’re no more at risk than the rest of us. They have enough to worry about, after all.

Images: Fallon Michael / Unsplash