If you didn’t already think time was a social construct, the last six months have probably changed your mind. The movie you said you watched last weekend? That was two months ago. And the tweet you thought you saw last week? It was posted today. Since we’re all online literally all day and have nothing better to do than run a new meme into the ground hours after it’s created, new trends come and go faster than ever before. While the banana bread and sourdough baking phase is probably seared so permanently into your memory that you’ll be telling your grandkids about it when they ask about 2020, there are probably a few trends and moments that have already been erased.
The Carrot Challenge
Approximately two days into quarantine, everyone was apparently already so bored that they resorted to an Instagram challenge where they tagged their friends to draw a carrot on their story. It is truly remarkable to look back at this moment in time and realize how naïve we were that we could have possibly thought that was the worst it was going to get.
This feels like something from an entirely different time, back when there was still hope (aka mid March). Thanks to one of the first TikTok trends to pop up in quarantine, people everywhere were using the 20 minutes that they’d usually spend commuting to the office to whisk coffee into a froth. Given that I haven’t heard anything about this in a few months, it seems like people have now realized that time is better spent sleeping in.
this quarantine is really testing the limits of what photos make the cut for a throwback post on instagram
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) May 8, 2020
Another long-forgotten trend is the “Until Tomorrow” era, a time when you couldn’t open Instagram without seeing a feed full of embarrassing photos, bad selfies, and baby pictures (that would be taken down the next day to avoid total humiliation). Personally I think taking your photo down is a weak move, since true Instagram baddies have had embarrassing photos up since 2010 and never took them down no matter how bad (and over-filtered) they were.
“First Photo” Challenge
As I’m sure all the other single people quarantining alone would agree, this challenge felt like a personal attack. Seriously, couples posting their first pics together? Like, did I ask for every other Insta story to remind me that I’ll be riding out a pandemic alone and getting dressed up for FaceTime dates for the foreseeable future?
Remember that week (or was it a month? Who knows) where you got a notification every five minutes that someone was going live on Instagram? Including the girls from high school “running their own businesses” showing you how to use their essential oils? My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who accidentally joined someone’s live where there were only two other people watching. Leaving one of those is almost as uncomfortable as the split second of eye-contact you make with your boss every time you exit a Zoom meeting.
“See 10, do 10?” Yeah, I’m good thanks. I haven’t done a push-up since I was forced to for the fitness test in elementary school, and I won’t be picking those back up because someone tagged me in an Instagram story.
The memory of Tiger King feels like a fever dream. Like, we were really so desperate for entertainment at that point that we just ate that sh*t up and said “NEXT, PLEASE.” It’s kind of incredible that we got desensitized to the absurdity of every single event that happened in that series so quickly. But given how f*cked up everything has become since then, it was good preparation for coping with the rest of the year.
Zoom Happy Hours
if you're still scheduling 14 zoom happy hours every weekend you can chill, we all just want to sleep
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) April 24, 2020
Realizing that having a Zoom happy hour every night of the week does not make up for real-life interaction was a breakthrough that took longer than it should have. Playing drinking games at home is fun when you have somewhere to go afterward, not when you’ll just be sitting in your childhood bedroom, totally wasted, after you shut your laptop.
The “One New Thing A Day” Phase
I’ve been thinking a lot about the people who started quarantine by saying “I’ll be making one new cocktail a day!” or “Every day I’m going to make one new piece of art!” Where’d they go? Last I heard from them it was day 14 I think. Are they okay?
Instagram challenges and TikTok trends will come and go, but you know what will never go out of style? Wearing a f*cking mask.
Images: Mollie Sivaram / Unsplash; bigkidproblems / Instagram; betchesluvthis / Twitter
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
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.)
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
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.