By Anne T. Donahue
On a scale of one to who-knows-when-this-will-all-be-over, acknowledging the most insignificant-feeling accomplishments are key to keeping our hearts and brains functional. So, because I’ve been re-watching Cheer over the last few days (mat talk!) and because I absolutely believe in gold stars for everything, here are the pep talks I have for you, a person who is just trying to get on with it amidst, well, everything that’s happening right now. Let’s do this.
Are you kidding? You need coffee. I need coffee. To function on a normal day, most of us require all the coffee in the world, and here you are, in the middle of this absolute gong show, making it beautifully. Did you know how important this was? Do you realize that without it, you’d be dealing with a caffeine headache atop from the stress headache you now have from clenching your jaw? Celebrate this. Make more coffee. Pour one of those delicious flavoured creamers in there. Toss in a little liquor if that’s the name of your game. Today, I made instant coffee with lactose-free milk and chocolate syrup. We’re both heroes.
Doing anything remotely productive (and I mean remotely – like, if you’re staying hydrated, this is incredible)
Because I mean anything. Did you make your bed? Wash the dishes? Stand at the window, looking outside longingly? Did you check the weather app? Summon the courage to look at your bank account? (I did, and reader: woof.) Make instant mac and cheese? Nap? Write something? Process an invoice? Bitch, you’re doing it! You! I love this for you and I love this for me, and honestly every time I finish listening to a podcast I think about the way I’m knocking things off the to-do list, even if the only thing on my to-do list is “Catch up on those podcasts and then freak out for a bit.” Done and done.
Making jokes/making anyone laugh
You know that part in The Simpsons where Krusty wants to jump off the speeding monorail? And Leonard Nimoy grabs him and says, “No! The world needs laughter!” Well, guess what: this is correct. The stupidest jokes have made the last almost-two-weeks bearable, and if you made even one, then I love you and thank you and I probably shared whatever you said to my friends. You know what we do not need or want? Weird, preachy shit that makes everybody feel bad. Honestly, even if you’re merely not making people feel actively terrible, you’re doing the Lorde’s work. Then for every meme you add to the mix, makes you even more of a treasure.
Feeding yourself! Hell yes! I love this for you! For me! For everyone! Does it matter what you’ve made or are eating? Absolutely not! Unwrapping a granola bar means that you’ve made it. And if anyone’s DIY dinner videos make you feel like you’re not stepping up, mute those people because absolutely not. I might eat frozen Fruitopia out of the can later and I cannot tell you how excited I am about it.
Expressing your damn feelings (without hurting other people, obviously)
I hate feelings, and before the situation began I was just learning how to navigate having them and not bury them in the spirit of literally every ancestor I have. But alas, here we are now, and my go-to mode of expression is to wait until nighttime and then silently panic while watching reruns of whatever-show-I’m-streaming. So are you emoting? Are you not? Are you letting yourself have a second of panic or are telling yourself to put that panic away for a second because a new episode of Top Chef is on? Either way, keep it up. Who am I to tell you how to have feelings or to process them? There’s only one hard and fast rule right now: don’t be a dick and hurt other people. None of us has time for that, and we need each other – or we at least need to not be total ghouls to each other. So make some coffee, or don’t. I’m going to drink some juice. Which I see a massive achievement.