A Few Good Things: What We’re Reading & Watching to Stay Positive During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Everything in life doesn’t have to revolve around coronavirus
Photo courtesy of Kyle Glenn
Like employees at many other companies, the entire InHerSight team is working from home right now because of coronavirus. We count ourselves lucky to have this option.
Still, watching the world catch on fire, even from the comfort of your home, can be overwhelming. There are a lot of uncertaintainties, and we’re all doing what seems impossible at a time like this: waiting, for who knows how long. It’s enough to make you eat all of your self-quarantine Pop-Tarts in one go.
I wish I had something useful to say — something comforting, good. But as this is my first pandemic, I’m grasping for comfort just as much as you are, and where I’ve found it hasn’t been in my own thoughts. (Oh no, turn those way down.) It’s been what other people are putting into the universe. These are a few of the brilliant and uplifting things my coworkers and I have either seen or been engaging with to stay positive amid the COVID-19 chaos. Hopefully they’ll bring you some joy.
From writer Rainesford Stauffer comes this piece about not creating productivity “goals” for social distancing or quarantine. This quote made me close my laptop: “In times of uncertainty, there’s productivity in pausing — in setting work aside to check in with your friends, your family, yourself. In tending to your feelings instead of your output. In remembering that you’re human, and that being human still matters.”
This old article from The Guardian has never been more timely. It’s the story of Lupe Hernandez, the woman who invented hand sanitizer when she was a student nurse. As someone who writes for a platform about women and for women, the fact that one of our simplest and most protective measures right now was invented by a woman is so moving. Superhero.
You don’t really need to read the article — just know that the technology exists. For some reason.
From The New Yorker comes the reason you’ll order a caftan online during this pandemic.
In this essay, writer Olga Mecking points to research by Sandi Mann, a psychologist at the University of Central Lancashire, which finds that idleness begets creativity.
In this Q&A, David Kessler, the world’s most foremost expert on grief, explains why the coronavirus outbreak is causing so much emotional turmoil and the expectations you can set for yourself to navigate that grief. As far as “uplifting,” it’s comforting in an I’m-glad-I named-that-feeling kind of way.
Read more: 9 Essays All Working Women Should Read
All the animals
If your personal kingdom isn’t doing it for you, find comfort in the animal one. The San Diego Zoo, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium have plenty of live streams to entertain you and, if you have them, your kids. I’ve personally been watching for updates from the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and living for updates like this one. If penguins can walk down steps, I can do anything.
Billboard has been updating this list of live streams every day since so many performances have been canceled; Vulture has been following live streams, too. You can also sign up for Pitchfork’s email newsletter to receive their Isolation Check-In, which curates upcoming live streams alongside other music news. One of the recurring streams on Instagram right now is John Legend’s #TogetherAtHome, which is “a series of online concert performances hosted on artists’ social media platforms to fight coronavirus and promote social distancing.” Love concerts with a cause.
Read more: 8 Tiny Desk Concerts By Women
I’ve been taking epically long walks lately, but there are plenty of at-home exercise options popping up right now. Planet Fitness is doing live streams of workout classes, and many workout influencers on Instagram have been, too. Here’s a good list of other gyms and studios to start with if you’re looking for all of that information in one place.
Yes, learning is fun. If you have kids at home, check out Cassie Stephens’ live-streamed art classes, which air every day on Instagram and Facebook, or access Scholastic’s curriculum-based Learn at Home for grade level-based activities. Adults, check out Class Central, which has a list of more than 400 classes that are available right now. These are all free, free, free.
Books and binges
Book and binge-worthy show recommendations vary widely and could go on forever, so I asked our team to give some recommendations of things they’re reading to take their minds off everything. Here are a few things they suggested.
Our customer success manager, Amanda, is reading La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman, the author of the Golden Compass trilogy. She says you don’t need to have read the previous books to read this one. Just jump right in.
Ashley, one of our software engineers, recommends reading Locke & Key by Joe Hill, which is one of her favorite graphic novels. It’s also now a Netflix show, which she says is great if you like “horror lite.”
Emily, our content strategist, is reading two books: Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey by Isabel Fonseca and My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul. The second, a love letter to books and reading by the editor of The New York Times Book Review, is the more light-hearted of the two. She says it’s lovely.
I’m rereading Persuasion by Jane Austen because although there was typhoid fever in the Regency Period, there was no coronavirus, and that’s where I’m at right now.
Here are a few more book ideas:
- 10 Fiction Books We Can’t Put Down
- 7 Inspirational Books for Working Women
- Books to Read if You’re Working in a Boys’ Club
- 11 Motivational Books for Working Women, by Working Women
- 12 Female Leadership Books to Pump You Up
- 4 Books You’ll Love as a Working Mom (or Mom-to-Be)
Reality TV is a strange and transportative world. Emily and I have both binged Love Is Blind (if you’re into that, follow its parody Love Is Quarantine on Instagram) on Netflix and Love Island, which is on Hulu. Sunny, our junior product manager, recommends The Circle, a Netflix show about creating the best and most believable influencer brand. Seems relevant to our very digital lives right now.
Amanda and Sunny are excited for Westworld, which just released a new season on HBO. Also on HBO is Yesterday, a movie about the Beatles that made Sunny laugh, and Game of Thrones, which is not new, obviously, but you finally have the time to watch it and understand why we love Sansa Stark so much.
On the documentary front, Daniel, our chief creative officer, is watching Netflix’s Tiger King, which is from the same folks who made the Fyre Festival documentary, and a few of our team members just finished Hulu’s Hillary. We also think all of these documentaries about women are worth streaming.
Beyond our recommendations, The New York Times has an excellent list of comforting shows to watch right now — old ones, new ones, middle-aged ones. Find comfort in the happy place that is The Great British Baking Show and those jolly, jolly Brits.
Just one last thing
One of the themes of this pandemic has been the importance of staying connected while in isolation. Jenn, our director of strategic accounts, has been scheduling virtual meetups and happy hours with friends and she says “seeing and hearing from loved ones is really energizing.”
Our team is doing that too as a way to keep company culture intact and avoid cabin fever while working from home. Schedule coffee dates to catch up with your coworkers, or call that friend you always miss because they live on the other side of the country. Quarantine means you’re, yes, physically alone, but you don’t have to be lonely. We’re all in this together.