We've officially spent a year in quarantine, and what a year it has been. While everyone's struggles in the pandemic were not the same, it's true that we've all had to adapt to uncertainty, change, and a new way of living. And with all of that change, you've probably felt a wide range of emotions during this time. Maybe you've had moments of depression, joy, frustration, anxiety, gratitude, peace, and hopelessness. I know I've had a lot of ups and downs.
Everyone had different ways of coping with those changes and stressors. Some people turned to activities like baking or crafting to relieve some stress. Others found new forms of self-care. Some used exercise as an outlet. Others rethought how they take care of their mental health. And those are just some of the coping strategies people have employed during the pandemic.
But after chatting with co-workers about the little things we bought during quarantine that have brought us so much joy (one said a salad spinner was her favorite), I wanted to see what other discoveries my colleagues have come across that really helped them. It was interesting to see what have been game changers for them—and I've even been inspired by some of their recs. Take a look below. And I'd love to know what things have kept you happy during the pandemic. Send us a DM or comment at @thethirty.
"I feel so lucky to have had the time and the physical space to pursue outdoor fitness activities during this insane year of quarantine. Although I've lived in NYC for over 10 years, I never hopped on a Citi Bike until last spring. Now, I am hooked. I try to go for a ride in Prospect Park a few times a week. It's a safe, socially distanced way to get outside and burn off some steam. Just don't forget a helmet!" — Drew Elovitz, Director of Content Strategy & Senior Managing Editor
"One of my favorite things that have brought joy to me this year is my very own high-quality face steamer. I've been using a Conair facial steamer since high school, so I'm no stranger to the perks of facial steaming. Hello, glowy skin! That's why I was so excited to upgrade my skincare routine this year with the new addition of the Dr. Dennis Gross face steamer. It's clearly a professional-level machine, which helps ease the fact that getting an in-person facial treatment right now is pretty much not an option. Since using it, I've found it improves the effectiveness of my serums and creams. It's like they're supercharged because the steaming helps clear my pores and ready them to receive the product. Not to mention it's a very peaceful form of self-care. There's no sputtering of hot water, which happens sometimes with more inexpensive machines. Just nine minutes of steamy bliss. Something we could all use at this time!" — Kat Collings, Who What Wear Editor in Chief
"While listening to what my therapist has to say and reading different advice works wonders, using a workbook to actually sit with and work through my mental health has been extremely beneficial. It's like doing homework but for your mind—and I promise it's better than I'm making it sound. They have different prompts and guides to navigate different types of feelings, and it really helps me understand myself more!" — Yusra Siddiqui, Who What Wear Assistant Market Editor
"Last spring, I took up running as a simple (and free!) way to just get outside and get my steps up, but now, a year later, it's fully become a staple in my routine. With workouts, it's so easy to place the emphasis on your body to look a certain way, so I've been refocusing my attention on hitting certain mileage goals instead, and I've been finding a lot of satisfaction in that. Plus, a little fresh air never fails to help clear my head and make my day that much brighter." — Anna LaPlaca, Who What Wear Associate Editor
"I can't say enough good things about CBD. While it might not be the sole reason I survived 2020, it has definitely helped me on those particularly taxing days. I love these slow-release soft gels from Equilibria because they're preventative. I take one or two each morning with my breakfast to avoid letting stress get the best of me throughout the day." — Michaela Bushkin, Senior Fashion Editor, Branded Content
"I have become so dependent on my Apple AirPods. Even though I live alone and can blast my music whenever I want, I love using my AirPods while I'm doing chores around the house, listening to a guided meditation, exercising, working from home, and just lounging. The noise-cancelling feature helps me focus and stay present." — Sarah Yang, Managing Editor
"Also, after several years on the injured reserve list, I was able to pick up tennis again. This was particularly special because it allowed me to safely spend time outdoors with my dad and sister, who are both tennis fanatics. Although my serve could still use some work, I am looking forward to a rematch when we are all vaccinated this summer!" — Elovitz
"I'm the kind of person who used to love going to the gym a few times a week, so getting the motivation to work out at home this past year has been challenging. But I downloaded the Alive app almost a year ago, and it's been my favorite way to workout thus far. I love it because it offers at-home programs that I can do with minimal equipment and are easy to follow. I love how you can play a workout, and it times each move for you, along with a video of her so you can get the formation right. Even when it's 100% safe to go to gyms again, I'm going to be using this app to upgrade my fitness routine." — Siddiqui
"Adding more plants to my apartment during quarantine has made me feel so happy. They add some cheerful décor to my space, and taking care of them gives me something to do!" — Yang
"I got this on the rec of THE/THIRTY's co-founder, Katherine Power, and I'm so glad I did. I've never been able to stick to journaling, but this is different because I actually look forward to this ritual that starts and ends my day. Plus it's so quick and easy, so it fits seamlessly into my routine. At the beginning of the day, (first thing before you check your phone!), you list out what you're grateful for and an intention, and at the end of the day, you list the amazing things that happened that day (sometimes I really have to reach for them!) as well as what you could have done better. I have found that this gratitude practice really lifts my happiness levels. Sometimes I'll even list something I'm manifesting and don't yet have in the 'things I'm grateful for' section. I feel like pretending I already have it helps attract it to me." — Collings
"People are always shocked to find out that I'm not much of a TV person. In the past, I've instead preferred to cozy up to a good book before bed, but I've also gotten really into doing puzzles lately. I like to put on a relaxing playlist or podcast while I'm working on one. Highly recommend!" — Bushkin
"Finally, shout-out to my fanny pack. I never leave the apartment without it. I purchased it years ago for a family vacation and dug the super-roomy Lululemon fanny pack out of my closet shortly after quarantine began last March. Now, it is always stocked with hand sanitizer, a face mask, a phone charger, chapstick, sunscreen, an extra tote bag, and a water bottle. Plus, of course, my phone, wallet, headphones, and keys. Just ask any gal running errands around Brooklyn: Hands-free is the way to be!" — Elovitz
"As someone who loves a group fitness class, I got bored of at-home Pilates and yoga workouts after only a few months in quarantine. I missed the therapeutic feeling of getting in a good sweat in a high-energy setting, so I decided to splurge on a Peloton bike. I use it so often because the classes are the perfect balance between being fun (shout-out to Cody Rigsby) and challenging. It's also worth the price, considering one class at my former cycling studio rang in at over $30." — Bushkin
Our readers have also told us that they've been really into their fitness trackers, like a FitBit, during quarantine, helping them get moving and off the couch.
Both readers and editors have been taking advantage of the healing powers of baths. Everyone recommended soothing bath salts to calm the mind and relieve any stress or tension in the body.