Best Coping and Self Care

It would be difficult to identify two words more in use this year than “coping” and “self-care.” Some UHA members travel the Norwegian route embracing hygge interior design to attain some level of “coziness,” though 2020 conventional wisdom says Danish Hygge is tired but Swedish Hygge is wired. Others, pound Ben and Jerry’s. In the end, we are all just squirrels trying to get an acorn in year filled with predators but not many acorns. I’m going to practice some self-care now, for myself and you dear readers, by simply introducing our editors’ various coping mechanisms for dealing with the horrible 12 months that was 2020.

Best Thing Bought to Cope

Angela Stiefbold: Bluetooth ear buds. Facilitates listening to my favorite podcasts while doing self-care activities.

Dylan Gottlieb: Incredible whole-wheat and rye flours from Bluebird Grain Farms, which really upped my sourdough bread game. 

Matt Guariglia: A water bottle so I could learn to drink water for the first time in my life.

Troy Hallsell: Stuff for a home gym: kettlebell, Bosu Ball, medicine ball, etc. It’s not much, but has allowed me to maintain some semblance of normalcy by going to the “gym” in my garage.

Avigail Oren: Peloton digital membership. Peloton’s yoga instructors are excellent.

Eric Michael Rhodes: Many pints of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked.

Charlotte Rosen: Embarrassing but my milk frother has added a delightful layer of decadence to my day. Embarrassing that I need to recreate the experience of getting an overpriced latte at a cafe to be productive! Brain worms. 

Ryan: Who says I’ve been coping at all? I bought Madonna’s greatest hits and perform each one in my living room EVERY NIGHT!

Federal Theatre Project, “Help your-self” A 3-act comedy, Inglewood, California, 1937. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Best Self Care

Avigail Oren: I’ve taken up a daily habit of playing solitaire with actual cards. After hours of staring at a screen every workday, I need something analog to look at. I put on music, plunk down on the floor, and begin the meditative shuffling and setting up of the cards. My husband jokes about “my opponent,” commending them for their skill when I lose and their ineptitude when I win. I know it’s randomness (and sometimes lazy shuffling) but when I win I really do feel like I’m saying a big f*** you to some invisible chump. 

Troy Hallsell: Hiking anywhere in Montana.

Ian Toller-Clark: I am very fortunate that I live close to several hiking trails and so I take 30-45 minute walks every day. They have been a great source of relaxation!

Charlotte Rosen: I don’t know Her… but okay in all seriousness, I got roller blades, and going for a long ‘blade along Lake Michigan was a blissful experience over the summer. I also spiral-bought a ton of materials to get into cake decorating, have been slower to take this up but am trying to get into it!

Matt Guariglia: Eating way too many doughnuts. 

Angela Stiefbold: I have been doing a lot of running in my neighborhood. There are a number of people I see and wave to as I pass them several times a week on our mutually intersecting paths – but I don’t even know their names! Also, I’ve enjoyed pulling out my quilting/stitching supplies and projects (some of which had lingered unfinished for years–grad school!) and having a physical finished product to show for my work.  

Ryan: I run a @#$! ton, drink too much and keep re-watching that Fleetwood Mac/skateboarding video by Dogface.


Featured Image (at top): George Overbury Hart, “Happy Days Self-Portrait,” 1925. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

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