Upgrade your mask. Eat healthy. Sleep. Laugh.
You could say round one of the pandemic is over.
We didn’t do very well.
Plus, round two has already started. The good news is that science has a plan for us. I’m not a scientist, but I listen to science.
I got an A in AP biology and a B+ in chemistry, which already makes me more qualified than most of our politicians. Smart people have been taking this thing very seriously. We always do our homework. So here’s a list of practical things you can do to actually make it through this winter:
Upgrade your mask.
The health experts say the point of wearing a mask is to protect other people. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of idiots out there who think it’s a terrible assault on their personal freedom.
So you’re going to have to level up your facegear.
Everyone in the world is selling masks right now. Kylie Jenner probably has one. Hold on. Let me check.
Yep. She’s got one. Take a look:
Wow. That looks safe…
Try this instead:
Get a nanofiber mask.
You need a mask that filters down to .3 microns. These are called N95 filters. Earlier this year they were hard to come by, and you’d probably go to hell for buying them, because that would’ve meant depriving hospitals of PPE. Good news, a lot’s changed since then.
A few months ago, startup companies like Filti started making high quality masks and replaceable filters with nanofiber materials. They’re not medical grade, but they’re lab tested. There’s also HALO Mask, which makes the same kinds of products, using nanofiber manufactured in New Zealand. I did my homework. They’re both legit. (And they’re not paying me anything to plug them. They barely know I exist.)
This means you can go run errands without freaking out whenever some covidiot crosses your path without a mask.
Same goes if you can’t work from home.
Your mask actually protects you. How much? A helluva lot more than your standard generic face mask at most stores.
I’ll take it.
You’re skeptical. That’s cool.
Researching masks turned into a summer project. I spent weeks digging through articles and websites. Finally, a reliable newspaper published this piece explaining how mask filtration works.
Yes, the coronavirus is smaller than .3 microns. (.1 micron, to be exact.) But that doesn’t mean anything by itself, for two reasons:
- Viruses always attach to larger particles. Nobody inhales free-floating virus. They inhale droplets, which are always 1.0 micron or bigger. You’re filtering the droplets with virus attached to them, not the naked virus particles themselves.
- Masks with .3 micron filtration can capture particles smaller than that because of a phenomenon called “Brownian motion.” That means very small particles move in a jagged zig-zag pattern, which increases the chances they’ll get snagged.
So you’ve got a plan for a decent mask.
Start taking Vitamin D
You should be taking a multivitamin. On top of that, the experts are starting to learn that if you’re topped off on Vitamin D, you probably have a lesser risk of dying from the coronavirus.
Hey, you might as well try.
You can take a supplement. You can drink milk and orange juice. You can eat salmon. You can make sure you spend half an hour outside.
Yes, every day.
No, you can’t just sit by your window and read.
I’m lazy. I checked.
Glass blocks the specific spectrum of light your body needs.
Start eating your veggies.
Your immune system likes healthy food.
Dark greens: Kale. Spinach. Broccoli. Asparagus. Plus onions and tomatoes. Even my 2-year-old eats kale now.
I mix up a bunch of vegetables and kale in a giant batch and pour balsamic and lemon juice all over it. Add some pepper and feta cheese, and some olive oil. I can eat that all day.
Start making elderberry syrup.
Some studies show it helps reduce the duration and severity of the flu and other viruses. Buying elderberry syrup in a bottle is expensive. So you can make your own. Just buy some elderberries in bulk. You can find all kinds of recipes for syrup online.
Stop drinking so much.
You’re going to need your liver.
Alcohol is bad for it, and basically everything else in your body. New studies have killed that cozy idea that drinking in moderation might improve your health. Basically, the downsides of boozing far outweigh the benefits. Alcohol might lower the risk of heart disease, but it increases the risk of cancer and liver disease. I know. This sucks.
We’ve all been using health as an excuse to justify drinking a helluva lot more than usual this year.
You’re gonna have to reel it in.
You get to drink once a week now, if that. And you get to have one or two drinks maximum. It’s almost, like, not even worth it.
Did you know the number one reason people drink is boredom? So I guess you’ll need to find a hobby.
Let’s move on to your mental and emotional health.
Learn to be okay with a mess.
For the first six months, I was all about chores. They relaxed me. Seeing a perfectly clean sink brought me peace. Folding laundry calmed me down. Then something changed.
Work got busy again. My toddler developed advanced mess-making skills. Keeping the house clean morphed into a set of expectations I was placing on myself. I sacrificed sleep to keep everything tidy.
This had to stop.
Upon reflection, I figured out what I was doing.
I was stress cleaning.
Chores were a way for me to feel like I had control.
Learn how to do nothing.
The answer to stress cleaning was learning to let go of control, as in literally just stop my brain and do nothing for ten or fifteen minutes. It was easier than I thought. I was ready for a break.
I just had to give myself one.
Now I’m cured. A handful of dirty dishes in the sink doesn’t stress me out anymore. I can’t afford to let it.
Doing nothing is the most relaxing thing in the world right now. It beats just about everything else.
Stop trying to relax.
Relaxing is overrated now. In the pandemic era, it doesn’t work. I finally realized that everything I was trying to do to “chill out” was just overstimulating or triggering me.
After a while, my favorite shows just made me think too much about the future, or too much about the past.
So just do nothing.
Stop your revenge bedtime procrastination.
We already weren’t getting enough sleep before the pandemic. Part of the problem is that we convince ourselves to stay up too late. We do that because we’re trying to steal back a part of our day.
The Japanese call this, “Revenge bedtime procrastination.”
They have the best names for everything.
Sleep is more important than ever. So when you’re tired, do what Samuel L. Jackson says. Just go the f*ck to sleep, man.
It’s almost winter.
You’re a mammal. Your body wants to hibernate.
That doesn’t mean sleeping the next six months in a cave. But it does mean going to bed when you feel tired, regardless of what time it is. I’ve been going down around 10 pm some nights, about two or three hours early for my taste. But it’s giving me a lot more energy.
I wake up at 5 or 6 am, ready to go.
Finally become a morning person.
If you’re stuck in quarantine with family, then super early mornings are basically the only way you can work in peace now. Back in June, I could work under distraction and disruption. Sometimes I still can. But making that the norm was wearing me out.
So if I actually want to be productive, I’ll wake up at 4 am and work for a few hours before the kid arises.
It helps. It makes the rest of the day more relaxing.
Stop trying to not talk about the news.
You know what happens when you try to not talk about the news?
You think about it.
Then you talk about it anyway.
Then you feel guilty.
What a vicious cycle. If you want to gleefully speculate about when Trump’s going to have a relapse, then just do it.
Get it out of your system.
Remember to laugh.
Take the world seriously. But not that seriously.
We were all freaking out about the first presidential debate. The top Google search the next day was “move to New Zealand.”
Then Jim Carey and Alec Baldwin saved us. They reminded us how comically absurd that entire debate was.
Don’t forget to laugh.
It provides perspective. It also boosts your immune system.
So watch comedy. Tell jokes. Be sarcastic.
Find happiness where you can.
It surprises me how often I’m actually happy when I follow all this advice. It almost feels like the world isn’t falling apart.
I feel prepared for worst case scenarios.
I’m not scared of the bottom anymore. I know what we’ll be doing for the next six months, and I know what’s going to happen.
Now it’s just a matter of getting through it.
So upgrade your mask. Take your vitamins. Eat your veggies. Cool it with the alcohol. Go to sleep when you’re tired. Stop stress cleaning your house. Remind yourself how to just do nothing. Stop trying so hard to not be in a pandemic. Just be in it.
Source : Medium