How to stay upbeat on rainy days, even in a pandemic
Editor's Note: This is a preview of USA TODAY's newsletter Staying Apart, Together, a guide to help us all cope with a world changed by coronavirus. If you would like it in your inbox on Tuesdays and Saturdays, subscribe here.
Rain, rain go away. And take the pandemic with you, if you can.
If you're on the East Coast, today you're likely experiencing a downpour (or worse inclement weather, please be careful) due to Tropical Storm Isaias. Outside my new "office" window (it's a spare bedroom at my in-laws' house) in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, the world is gloomy, dark and wet – the 2020 mood reflected by Mother Nature herself.
Rainy days are never fun, but in the coronavirus era, every one of life's little miseries hurts just a little more. But this isn't a newsletter where I stew in a bad mood. This is about finding ways to cope through a long crisis, even on rainy Tuesdays.
So for you guys, and for myself, on days when even my dog doesn't want to go outside, I will try my best to make an extra effort to keep myself bucked up. That maybe means a special treat for lunch, a movie night on a weeknight (maybe "Singin' in the Rain"?), an extra cup of coffee without feeling guilty, rewatching favorite TV shows, extra cuddles with that dog and turning in early to catch up on sleep. It might be cloudy outside but there are small ways to make it sunny in quarantine. I hope each of you can find a little personal sunshine today.
Today's moving advice
Thanks to so many of you who sent me well wishes for my move last week. It went as well as can be expected. I'm still exhausted, physically and emotionally. I wrote about my experience, with some practical tips (buy extra packing material so you don't have to make unnecessary trips to Home Depot!) and some self-care advice. I thought all of you would appreciate that section:
Getting up in the morning, cooking breakfast, getting the kids to bed, working from home or on the front lines – every task is just a little bit harder during the pandemic.
I moved half a dozen times in my early 20s, and so I consider myself particularly adept at the process. I set about tackling this move just like my others: I took a week off work for packing, got out my Sharpie and masking tape for labeling and set to work.
But every stage felt more emotionally and physically draining than before. Sorting through makeup I no longer wear was depressing. Packing winter clothes made me wonder what kind of Christmas we can possibly have. Wrapping up photos with family and friends I haven't seen in months made me wistful.
I spent a lot of time angry that the process wasn't going faster or easier. I wish I had offered myself a little compassion, taken more breaks and asked for more help. The job got done, but it was probably a bit more stressful than it needed to be.
You can see my whole story here. I wish any of you going through this the best of luck.
- If you are in the path of Tropical Storm Isaias, please stay safe. We will have constantly updated news about the storm here.
- Too rainy for an outside barbecue? Enjoy this indoor-cooking friendly Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Grain Bowl recipe from Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman.
- My colleague Hannah Yasharoff wrote a wonderful story about how trans "Harry Potter" fans are grappling with J.K. Rowling's legacy.
- Your questions about the $600 unemployment assistance and other pandemic financial concerns, answered.
- Some good news: "Fixer Upper" will return on Chip and Joanna Gaines' new TV network! Could they, perhaps, fix up the world? Thanks, that'd be great.
You hate Zoom. I hate Zoom. You know who doesn't hate Zoom? This little fluffer.
"Our daughter and her friends were brainstorming via Zoom on a project to make and donate masks in our area and our dog, Rooney (who suffers from terrible FOMO aka fear of missing out), had to get in on the action," says Michele Ripton Zoutte. "He LOVES to FaceTime. He commandeered the meeting and took over! Our son is a sophomore in college and frequently 'chats' with his pup, too."
Rooney, you are a hero among dogs and men.