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
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
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
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