The Unwind: How we're finding calm, from foam rolling to curated book deliveries

Staying at home is a small sacrifice during the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s not without its challenges. How does one ward off loneliness in the absence of community? What can we do to keep anxiety at bay during such an emotionally fraught time? How do we fill the hours stretching out before us, and use this time to make connections, pursue long-neglected hobbies and discover new ones, and inject a little positivity and calm into our everyday lives?

Introducing The Unwind, a new, recurring feature in which Yahoo staffers share the ways we’re finding moments of peace, levity and inspiration during these trying times. From adopting soothing strategies that boost our mental health, to losing ourselves in virtual social calls, newfound passions and other joyous diversions, these are the things getting us through the quarantine. The days may feel uncertain, but beauty and bright spots abound.

For more, check out past editions of The Unwind.

Marissa Muñoz is getting crafty, making custom cards for friends. (Photo: Marissa Munoz)
Marissa Muñoz is getting crafty, making custom cards for friends. (Photo: Marissa Munoz)

Creating handmade cards

I’ve always been a creative person and started making cards a while ago. Creativity helps me focus my energy into something positive while also calming my spirit. As the pandemic has led us all to be working from home for the last four months, I’ve leaned into the creative aspects of myself as a tool to have some fun but also send some cheer to friends and family. Making a handmade card without the recipient expecting it, while also using traditional USPS to mail it out, seems quite small in context, but I feel adds some social good to this world. In a world where we are constantly connected to devices and computers, it’s nice to do something completely different. Each card is hand-stamped with stamps from various small businesses, colored in and then arranged. I tend to focus on fandoms and things people can relate to — like The Golden Girls, I Love Lucy and Guardians of the Galaxy — as it adds an element of delight and entertainment. — Marissa Muñoz, senior manager of Business Strategy & Operations

Raechal Shewfelt is getting her literary fix thanks to specially curated book deliveries. (Photo: Raechal Shewfelt)
Raechal Shewfelt is getting her literary fix thanks to specially curated book deliveries. (Photo: Raechal Shewfelt)

A handpicked carton of books

For as long as I can remember, wandering around a public library or a bookstore has been my happy place. COVID-19 shut that down, but, luckily, The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles offered a curated carton of books to help tide me over. I just told them some of my preferences — mostly non-fiction, especially about the entertainment industry and feminism — and their expert staff pulled some titles. Of course, it wasn’t the same as browsing the shelves, but it was the next best thing. It was also a great way for me to make sure the store stays around past the pandemic. Plus, the day the box arrived at my doorstep truly was like Christmas, or at least the pandemic equivalent of it. — Raechal Shewfelt, Yahoo Entertainment writer

Foam rolling

Foam rolling is my new jam before going to bed. Between sitting longer hours at my desk, which isn't ergonomic like the ones in the office, and massages being a no-go at the moment, this rolling have been life-saving for my back. It also helps me sleep better. — Nathalie Cruz, multimedia designer

A board game for space nerds

Recently, I discovered one of my husband’s favorite board games as a kid was “Solar Quest,” which bills itself as a “space-age real estate game.” Think of it as a nerdy Monopoly, only, instead of Boardwalk and Reading Railroad, you’re buying Saturn’s moons; instead of hotels you’re buying rocket fuel stations;  instead of cash, you’re paying with “Federons.”  I found a 1987 vintage version of the game on eBay and surprised him with it. We have played it consistently throughout the pandemic, firing lasers at each other and demanding the other pay up in Federons. We are basking in space nerd glory. — Kristyn Martin, Yahoo News senior producer

YouTube Yoga

If you've yet to try the free YouTube channel Yoga With Adriene, welcome to your new best friend. Led by Austin native Adriene Mishler — and often featuring her dog Benji — the nearly 8-million-subscriber channel is full of free yoga videos for every mood. Those who want to buckle down can try out a 30-day challenge, or simply Google Adriene's name with whatever ails you (back pain, PMSdepression and much more). As the New Yorker put it in March, "If you've forgotten, under quarantine's spatial restrictions, what it feels like to be a body," Adriene is here to remind you. — Abby Haglage, Yahoo Life senior editor

Pool time

After months of construction and a pesky pandemic — which has prompted a flurry of restrictions on capacity and access — my building’s pool has finally reopened. While I was initially hesitant about using it, the need to cool off in this summer heat and get my toddler out of the house ultimately led me to literally dip my toe in the water. Ever since, we’ve been taking advantage of otherwise-empty early morning swims and splashes in the four-inch-deep shallow end. It’s thrilling to see my little guy have such a blast and gain confidence in the water, but also therapeutic (and refreshing) for me to work in a few laps and feel a much-needed buoyancy that’s been absent in these last few dark, heavy months. — Erin Donnelly, Yahoo Life news editor and writer

Keeping fit on Instagram

During the pandemic, I’ve switched to live stream workouts (mainly on Instagram) so I can do it in real-time with the instructor. I also Zoom with my friends at the same time, so it feels like a class and you have extra motivation! My favorites are Booty by Brabrants for fun and hard choreographed cardio, Rachael Devaux's for an array of strengthening workouts, Aubre Winters for cardio dance parties or sculpting, and Isaac Boots for sculpting bootcamps. I also always look out for Ashley Graham's Instagram Live workouts with Kira Stokes. — Kerry Justich, Yahoo Life writer

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