Alison Maxwell, USA TODAY
Published 2:16 p.m. ET May 26, 2020 | Updated 11:14 a.m. ET May 27, 2020
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“I’m beside myself. Horribly sad.”
My sister, a third grade teacher in Richmond, Virginia, sent that to me via text on March 23. Officials had just canceled school for the remainder of the year because of the pandemic.
The relationships she worked so hard to build with her students felt like they were evaporating. There was still so much to teach them, and so much for them to teach her. So many more heart-to-hearts to have. So many more math problems to solve. So many more new words to learn.
Ever the protective older sister, I went into brainstorm mode. How could we help the students and give my sister the closure she needed? Care packages!
When COVID cases began to slow in Richmond and it was safe to venture out, my sister hand-delivered bags of joy to each of her students. “It made me happy and extremely sad at the same time. I cried all the way home,” she texted me the day she made the deliveries.
It doesn’t have to be as grand as care packages. It can be as simple as a handwritten note to say hi. A bottle of wine for a stressed neighbor. An offer of a dog walk for a cooped-up family. A coffee for your mail carrier. But doing something kind for another human (or animal) will ultimately be a boost for you.
I’m Alison Maxwell, a managing editor at USA TODAY, and I’m filling in this Tuesday for Kelly Lawler, who has the day off. Let’s jump right in.
Today’s self help
Sometimes it can be difficult to feel grateful during this time. The Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C., hopes to alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty by offering free online workshops. I’m looking forward to this Friday’s, “Gratitude Changes Everything.” Led by CMBM executive director Dr. James S. Gordon, a clinical professor at Georgetown Medical School, the class will “explore self care paths to trauma-healing gratitude.” Plus, you’ll learn how to keep a gratitude journal.
I work out as much for my mental health as I do for my physical health, so one of the things I miss most right now is exercising at the gym. During quarantine, I’ve been keeping up with the free Orangetheory Fitness at-at-home workouts via Instagram, but after awhile I wanted to add some more spice to my workouts. That’s where my fitness spirit animal and aviation reporter extraordinaire Dawn Gilbertson came in with a winning tip. Who knew you could be a Peloton-er without the $2K bike? Yes, the Peloton app ($12.99 a month, with a 30-day free trial) offers a deep catalog of at-home workouts from HIIT to strength to meditation. Another option – if you’re looking for a fun workout that will have you thinking you just signed up for “Dancing with the Stars” – Sensa Zao dance fitness ($19.99 a month with seven-day free trial). I’ve been doing this Latin-inspired class for about 10 years now, and I think it’s safe to say they encourage you to dance like no one’s watching. ;-
- This artist from Duluth, Minnesota, perfectly captures the plight of essential workers during the pandemic.
- Wondering if virtual summer camp is worth the cost? USA TODAY’s Money team explores.
- This celebrity chef is eating canned sardines for breakfast and has a dog that snores “like Winston Churchill”!
- Just try to read this story about the power of Tic-tac-toe without smiling.
- Wait?! There’s a chance the NBA will finish its season?
Today’s virtual viewing
President John F. Kennedy’s 103rd birthday is Friday, and you have to wonder what the 35th president would’ve thought of today’s political climate and the pandemic gripping the world. In celebration of his birthday, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will for the first time digitally release “An American Pageant of the Arts,” from a 1962 fundraiser for what would become the Washington cultural institution, that includes performances by Leonard Bernstein, Harry Belafonte, Van Cliburn and a 7-year-old Yo-Yo Ma. Plus, the president gives an iconic speech about the importance of the arts. All birthday events are on the Kennedy Center website.
Country star Carrie Underwood and her former NHL hockey pro husband Mike Fisher explore their faith in a new four-part digital series on iamsecond.com starting Wednesday. “Mike and Carrie: God & Country” provides an “unfiltered glimpse” into their life and relationship, according to the announcement.
More homeless animals are finding forever homes as a result of the pandemic, but there are still animals in need. Enter Best Friends Animal Society’s Virtual Super Adoption event, Wednesday through May 31. Adoptable animals from around the country will be featured in a central venue where potential adopters can browse, meet and complete the adoption process. (Best Friends runs the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals.)
That’s all for this holiday week. Stay safe, stay well, and look for the next newsletter in your inboxes Saturday morning, with Kelly Lawler back at the helm. Do you have tips for getting through quarantine? Thoughts about our new normal? Questions about the newsletter? Other musings? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading,
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