Less than a month ago, I was living a reality better than my dreams in Puerto Rico. The dreamy turquoise waters and vivid sunsets were a feast for sore eyes that had been anxiously bouncing from one screen to another all semester. While saying goodbye to our wonderful Airbnb host, she asked if I was worried about the spreading coronavirus. I shrugged my shoulders and told her not really. At the time, it was in distant lands that were oceans away, and my mind was preoccupied with enjoying the last day of island life and preparing for the upcoming semester.

Looking back, balmy beach days seem like a lifetime ago. We had only been back a few days still on a vacation induced high when it was announced that we were transitioning to online classes for the foreseeable future. Every day since has felt like waking up to a dystopian society. Leaving one’s home is generally frowned upon, critical resources are scarce, and people are full of fear and distrust. News, misinformation, and memes regarding COVID-19 saturate media and conversations everywhere I turn.

The current state of the world has put me in a strange headspace. The stock market is headed towards turmoil, but I’m still studying for an upcoming exam. Many are stressed about their living situation, but I’m taking quizzes on the brainstem. It’s been difficult to wrap my head around it all, especially when some aspects of life are to continue as (mostly) normal.

For those who are also feeling a little overwhelmed, try:⁣
Staying informed without being overloaded⁣ by only trusting credible sources
Removing yourself from exhausting conversations
Muting group chats
Curating social media to hide misinformation and unnecessary noise⁣
Tuning in to live streams on social media for performances, art workshops, interviews, etc
Tagging friends in memes⁣, the love language of millennials
FaceTiming/calling loved ones⁣
Writing letters to mail to loved ones

Shopping online
Making playlists of feel good songs⁣
Participating in online fitness classes
Exploring virtual museums (also here)
Decluttering the desktop and phone

Enjoying the outdoors at a safe distance from others⁣
Supporting small businesses where possible by purchasing gift cards for a later date or ordering take-out
Getting groceries and supplies for others who can’t
Volunteering with a school’s food distribution program

Catching up on books that have been pushed off
Trying new recipes on Bon Appetit and The Feed Feed
Tending to plants⁣ and maybe even propagating them
Completing DIY and home improvement projects
Deep cleaning your living space
Sorting through items for donation at a later time
Fostering a shelter pet (more on this soon)
Walking the pup and teaching it new tricks⁣
Using the 20 seconds of handwashing to think of 3 things you’re grateful for⁣

Hearing the phrases “social distancing” and “flattening the curve” is like hearing the Billboard top 100 on an infinite loop, but it’s important to emphasize and needs to be done. If we all follow social distancing guidelines that were put in place for everyone’s safety, we’ll be able to see our relatives, hang out with friends, hug one another, hold hands, have picnics and potlucks, sing loudly at concerts, go on spontaneous road trips, eat at restaurants, work out at the gym, cheer on our favorite sports teams, and celebrate all the good things in life a little sooner.

For now, let’s keep calm and wash our hands (in addition to any or all of these suggestions). #factsnotfear #patiencenotpanic

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