I’ve been stress-cooking. Cooking brings me joy, and since eating out is limited, I just make what I like at home. —Mary E., 26, queer, Washington, D.C.
I’ve been cooking and finding ways to be luxurious to myself by feeding myself for my joy and not just my basic existence. —Joseph R.
7. Collecting and creating Black art
I have decided to surround myself with shades of Black creativity. I bought my first huge piece of art from a colleague who got it from an artist in Nigeria, and I am filling my walls with other handmade and unique pieces from Black shops on Etsy. I even framed two T-shirts I bought from Black-woman-owned businesses. This is helping me remember that through it all, we still are able to make beautiful things. —Naomi W.-L., queer, 38, Philadelphia
I write poems. I am an avid writer, and I love to explore myself through art. I use the poems to reflect my thoughts and feelings, and issues in the world. Essentially I am using art as my self-expression. Most recently I’ve written pieces about school, abusive relationships, and my rocky relationship with my father. Each poem is a separate piece in the collage that creates who I am. —Josiah A.
Another coping tool I’ve been using is designing. Currently I have my own custom sneaker company, but my dream is to design shoes and clothes from the ground up. As a curator of culture and looks, I find creating has allowed me the space to release all that I’m feeling. To be able to take all of my anxiety, anger, and sadness and create something beautiful has allowed me to instill a spirit of persistence within myself during this tough time. —Shanequa D.
8. Cleaning and organizing spaces and places
Most times when I find myself overthinking, I tend to relax my mind by cleaning my environment or my body. I like to wash dishes, clean dirt and dust, and sometimes DIY foot soaks for an at-home pedicure. While doing so, I listen to music so my mind is not on my thoughts but is focused on cleaning instead. They say sometimes clutter in your mind reflects your environment. Maintaining a clean environment and a clean body helps me focus on what’s important and calms my nerves. —Anne N. queer, 22, Alexandria, Virginia
9. Gaming as an escape
Animal Crossing! I think it came out at the perfect time. It allows me to see friends and socialize—the game also allows for an escape. I don’t have to think about the virus or safety preconditions. Instead I can engross myself in the game by focusing on my villagers and island. —Adrienne H., bisexual, 22, Wichita Falls, Texas
10. Using genealogy tracking to find ancestral roots
As an advocate working to create a country that lives into its promise of liberty and justice for all, I am grounded by the knowledge of how deep my roots go back in this country. My self-care includes genealogical research on Ancestry.com and Familysearch.com (which is free). When I can’t sleep at night, I try to work on gaps in my family trees by looking up historical data and records that help me connect the pieces. Remembering that the blood, sweat, and tears of my ancestors built this country’s foundation and economy is a reminder that I have a deep stake in this country’s success and the ongoing battle toward liberation for my child and my potential descendants to come. This reminder calms me on days I want to give up, it keeps me from reading painful comments from ignorant people who should know better, and it also gives me hope that we have come a long way in the centuries since my people were stolen from Africa and brought here—and that change that feels like it may be a long way off may actually be right around the corner. —Victoria K.Y., lesbian, nonbinary (androgynous) femme/demi woman, 36, Fort Washington, Maryland
11. Getting closer to nature
I have become a plant mom! My wife is very much the gardener in our house, but during the quarantine I decided to order an indoor plant online to add some green to my home office space. I’m now five plants in, and I love watching them grow and transform. I feel patient and gentle when I’m taking care of them. They are changing me and helping me cope with being chronically pissed and heartbroken. —Naomi W/-L.
12. Saving money to calm financial anxiety
I have used the money I am saving from the forbearance on my public student loans and cost savings from not going out to increase my savings. As someone who grew up poor, I am always generally afraid that I will lose my job and fall back into poverty. The economic fallout from the pandemic has intensified my concerns. Having more in my savings helps ease my anxiety. —Tyrone H., gay/queer, 38, Washington, D.C.
13. Fulfilling goals and setting intentions for the future
I’ve taken this time to explore and fulfill goals that I had been neglecting because of time. I applied to grad school and was accepted! I’ve already completed two graduate classes online about social media use in education. —AJ A.*, asexual, 32, Alexandria, Virginia
*Name has been changed.
Quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.
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