I think it’s safe to say that this year has been … a lot. Personally, having major surgery in the middle of a global pandemic was not on my list of things to do in 2020, but hey. Here we are. Through many, many therapy sessions, I’ve learned that I can’t control anything that’s going on. No amount of doom scrolling on Twitter and Instagram will change the fact that I haven’t eaten at a restaurant (inside OR outside) since March, or that I’ve had to learn how to do my eyebrows myself, that I haven’t had my nails professionally done in six months, that I haven’t seen my family and my pregnant sister since last year, or any of my friends, for that matter.
But what I can control is making sure that I find the small pockets of happiness in the day-to-day, that I cultivate a quarantine life at home that makes me feel protected and cared for. And honestly, this mindset has made a world of difference and has shifted my viewpoint considerably.
Finding the small pockets of happiness in the day-to-day has made a world of difference and has shifted my viewpoint considerably.
I’ve dipped my toe into most of the quarantine habits and rituals people have picked up this year. I’ve baked the banana bread, I’ve made the dalgona coffee (honestly, not my fave, and I don’t see the hype). I’ve bought (too) many plants. But there are a few things that I have embraced in 2020 that have truly made this time infinitely more bearable.
1. Nintendo Switch + Animal Crossing
I’m not a “gamer,” but I LOVE playing video games. As soon as quarantine hit and I saw people playing Animal Crossing, I knew that a) this was a game designed for quarantining and b) I needed to buy a Switch immediately. They were sold out for weeks, but I set up an alert through Best Buy to get an email when they were back in stock and made sure to get mine as soon as I could. Animal Crossing is SO cute, calm, and soothing. There are no explicit goals—no bosses to fight or tricky paths to comb through or lives to lose. You just talk to your villagers and design your island the way you want. It’s helped me tap into my creative side while providing a soothing, calm gaming experience. I still play it every day!
2. Who? Weekly Podcast
Bobby Finger and Lindsey Weber, the hosts of Who? Weekly podcast have single-handedly gotten me through the roughest parts of quarantine. If you miss celebrity gossip and want to learn more about the most obscure, yet relevant B- through D-list celebrities, influencers, and artists, then you’ll love this podcast. I’m also subscribed to their Patreon, where they have two to three episodes extra per week.
3. Bath & Body Works
Yes. Bath & Body Works. I have an obsession with smelling good at all times, but I don’t want to use all of my good perfume just laying around the house all day. That’s where Bath & Body Works comes in. They’ve grown up a lot in the last few years—not all of the scents smell like cake and candy, and there’s quite a few that are the “grown-up,” sophisticated scents that I love. My current favorites are Dahlia, which smells like “a beautiful blend of dahlia petals, crisp pear & praline” according to the website, and Into the Night, which is a pretty much a direct dupe for the OG Dior Miss Cherie perfume that I LOVED when I was back in college.
4. Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System Coffee Maker
Going to work out of a cafe or coffee shop is one of the things I miss the most about the Before Times. I supplemented with going through the Starbucks drive-through a few times a week and working on my balcony, but after a while, I got tired of burning through money for coffee. And that’s where my beloved Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System coffee maker comes in. Yes, it’s expensive, but it literally does EVERYTHING. I seriously have not been to Starbucks since I got it, and that’s saying something. I can make hot and iced coffee (it even has a cold brew function that honestly tastes like the real thing) as well as hot and iced tea. There’s even a foamer on the side of the machine to make my beloved oat milk cold foam (something that Starbucks doesn’t even have in my area) and hot foam for makeshift cappuccinos.
5. A Good Romance Novel
I was never the biggest romance novel lover until a few years ago, when I discovered the modern romance genre—none of the bodice-ripping, Fabio-esque stuff I’d shunned in the past (FYI, nothing wrong with that!). Modern romance novels, like the ones by Jasmine Guillory, Alisha Rai, or Talia Hibbert, have shined much-needed light, happiness, and a ton of steaminess when I needed it the most. Plus, reading means that I’m not attached to my screen, constantly refreshing the COVID-19 numbers for Georgia. My faves have been Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert, The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (which is SO heartwarming and special, omg), and The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory.
What are some things that have gotten you through These Times? Let me know in the comments!