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Arielle Estoria shares her 10 self-care tips to find joy during quarantine.

Poet, speaker and creative Arielle Estoria was nannying for a family friend when the reality of the pandemic really hit her.

Arielle Estoria shares her 10 self-care tips to find joy during quarantine.
Arielle Estoria
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The shelter-in-place orders had been just issued, she says, and "I received email after email of conference and performance cancellations. A single tear fell down my cheek as I held a sleeping baby."

Suddenly, it really hit home that the world was changing permanently, and like many of us, she started thinking about how she was going to survive all of this change.

"I remember feeling defeated, unprepared and overall just sad," she says.

Since March of 2020, our lives have changed dramatically because of the coronavirus pandemic.


Countries, states and cities all over the world have instituted lockdowns and issued shelter-in-place orders. Non-essential businesses have shut down, concerts and performances have been cancelled. Millions of us self-quarantined in our homes, often while trying to work from home and raise children with no daycare. Our day-to-day lives don't look the same anymore and it's easy to feel defeated, just like Arielle did that day.

"We are such tender beings, us humans," Arielle says, "and considering we are in a global pandemic, there are a lot of traumas and mental stresses that come with that reality, whether or not we realize it."

"Because of that," she continues, "I think it's so vital that we take care of ourselves mentally, spiritually and physically because our bodies are probably taking in more than we realize."

In other words, self-care has never been more important. Here are some of her self-care tips for these uncertain times:

1. Remember, it's okay to take time to do things for yourself.

"Finding moments to go on a walk, bake something that feels like comfort, dance in your kitchen, finding books that inspire your creativity is so important right now," she says.

"We all have time [for self-care], it's just about making it," she continues. "Pass the baton to your spouse if you have kids and take turns making sure you're not only taking care of others, but also yourself."

2. Find what brings you joy.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Arielle has stopped asking "how are you?" because it's a difficult question to answer with everything going on right now.

"I noticed that whenever I was asked," she says, "I never fully knew how to respond to the question and do so authentically."

So instead, she's starting to ask "What brings you joy?"

"While we were in this space where a lot has been taken away, disrupted, and paused, there was even more of a reason to find joy in life, especially in the smallest and most mundane aspects of life," she says.

"Currently what brings me joy is trips to home goods stores and finding trinkets for my home that my husband and I are physically building." She also loves doing face masks, painting her nails — "It's become a form of self care and therapy," she says — and finding new plants for her home.

3. Make your self-care routine consistent and intentional.

It's easy in the day-to-day of quarantine, with so much time spent at home, to put off taking care of yourself. That's why, Arielle says, "I have been very intentional about adopting self-care routines, not just weekly, but daily."

For example, she has decided to make working-out part of her self-care routine and while working out every day may vary in length or intensity, she fits it in no matter what.

"Some days, [self-care] looks like an online class of some sort, a dance video on YouTube, or a walk around the block at sunset."

4. Listen to your body and your own needs.

"If [your body] needs rest then rest," she says. "If you need to put down the phone and turn off the electronics and read a good book. then do so."

"But also listen for when it needs a whole season of Gilmore Girls and a glass of wine," she adds. "That's okay too."

5. Don't forget about your skin.

"The SK-II Pitera Essence is magical for me right now," Arielle says. "I felt like my skin was really needing something to boost its glow."

She says that it has helped boost her skin's natural moisture without making it too oily or causing build-up in her pores.

"It also feels amazing to apply and leaves my skin feeling refreshed and super soft," she continues. It has definitely been included in my skin care routines both in the morning and right before bed, to keep my skin feeling refreshed and nourished all day long."

Arielle Estoria

6. Drink lots of water.

7. Find creative ways to adapt so you can still do the things you love.

"Find what brings you joy and do whatever it takes to engage with that joy as much as you can," Arielle says.

Before the pandemic, for example, she loved going to hot yoga. "When the pandemic started, I tried to work out with my floor heater instead to get the same vibe," she says. "Didn't really work, but that's okay!"

8. Make sure you go outside.

"As much as you can,go outside, be with nature," she says. "Get out of your house for a moment if you can. Read on your front lawn, loop around your block, walk to ice cream, find moments to get your body active, moving and in nature."

Don't know what to read while you're outside? Arielle recommends "All Along You Were Blooming" by Morgan Harper Nichols and "I'm still here" by Austin Channing.

9. It's okay to take a break from social media and your phone.

"Take "time outs" from social media when you need to," she says.

Put away the phone. It will help you find more time for yourself.

"I dare you to look at your screen time," she says. "I bet that's where you'd find a lot of your time is going. That [time] could be used otherwise."

Arielle Estoria

10. Remember, self-care doesn't have to take a lot of time.

Taking time for yourself doesn't have to be a whole day thing. It doesn't even need to take several hours. "Just small increments of 5, 10, 15 minutes could make a difference!"


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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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