This is our first NextList, a monthly feature we’re launching to inform you of some of the coolest products and services out there. As normalcy slides down the drain with the hot water from your 100th hand washing of the day, I want to focus this NextList on ideas for keeping yourself sane during the weeks ahead when we’re self-quarantining. A couple help others in need too.
Kick-Ass Immune Activator
I’ve always relied on immune boosters to help me escape germs that threaten to disrupt my family’s lives. Echinachea has stopped plenty of colds in their tracks when I’ve done major dosing at the earliest symptoms. I always travel with Airborne, since it tastes way better than echinachea, which my kids wouldn’t let near their mouths. But for the past few years, my go-to infection fighter has been Kick-Ass Immune Activator, which I like because it contains a whole arsenal of active herbs, from echinachea and goldenseal to yerba santa and elder flower. It’s like having the whole cast of the Avengers on your side, rather than just Iron Man. Plus, it doesn’t scorch your taste buds.
I’ve become an audiobook maniac, listening to Tara Westover and Elena Ferrante as I wash dishes, fold laundry, and go on long bike rides. But it’s always irked me to know I was feeding the Amazon beast by buying through Audible, which Amazon now owns. Then I heard from my niece, who just opened an independent book store in Baltimore, that if I use Libro.fm I can name an independent bookseller to receive half the proceeds on the audiobook. So, get on Libro instead of Audible, and name your local bookseller, which could surely use the help. (If you don’t have a local bookseller to name you can use my niece’s store: Charm City Books.)
Also, I just got a notice from Libro that for a limited time if you buy a $15 one-month gift membership, 100 percent will go to an independent bookseller.
Our family has long loved Patagonia clothing for its rabid commitment to protecting the environment. Now, when you’re stocking up your house for a long run, I suggest you consider products from Patagonia Provisions, which aims to offer great food and at the same time “inspire solutions to the environmental crisis.” The company seems to have had this current situation in mind when it came up with healthy soups, seafood, and staples that taste good (we’ve tried them) and are meant to last in your pantry. At least through the current crisis…uh, unless it goes on a lot longer than we expect. Banish the thought!!
Bonus idea: Why not be a good fairy: buy some extra and put a package of smoked salmon in the mailbox of a neighbor, especially if that neighbor is trying to manage on his or her own.
Insight Timer Meditation App
Janet Siroto has written about meditation apps before, and I recently picked one to help me get to sleep. (The eternal battle!) Insight Timer has a slew of meditation programs for different purposes—work angst, sleep problems, grief. It sure has come in handy in the last couple of weeks when the pit in my stomach has been growing into a seedling, then a whole tree. (Do you think they’ll be adding a category for pandemic paranoia?) I like this app because it shows you how many people are using the app at the same time you are, and we all need to feel part of a community right now. The world map with black dots for user clusters is such a refreshing change from those maps showing the coronavirus spread.
Gift Cards to Your Favorite Restaurant
It’s a safe bet that where ever you are in the country, your local restaurants are either closed or hurting for business. I received this idea from one of my favorite casual restaurants in NYC, the Grey Dog: “We’re going to have a tough road ahead of us, but we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure we come out of this. If you’re able at this time to purchase a gift certificate on our website, please do so—all the money from gift card purchases from now until we reopen will be put into an emergency relief fund for our hourly employees most in need of financial support.”
I don’t know how many restaurants will be doing an emergency relief fund for their employees, but you may want to talk to your local restaurants about such an idea, AND starting a campaign for buying gift cards. This will help tide over these establishments, which exist on a razor-thin margin anyhow. Plus, you KNOW you’ll be using the gift cards when it’s safe to go out again.