5 min read

Issue #1: Post-vax summer, psychedelics, sex toys, and preparing for the loneliness emergency

Hi nessties,

People are actually talking about post-COVID life in a way that feels less abstract and pretty surreal, with Instagram feeds filled with smiling loved ones holding their vaccine cards. (There’s even a growing market on Etsy for cute cases.)

After a year of unimaginable loss and isolation, it seems like we might be able to go hang out with vaccinated friends and family again. Maybe catch a movie, host a dinner party, go to a restaurant with people outside of your pod, locking eyes and clinking glasses. For many, though, even the promise of rubbing elbows with your best friend in a dark theater sharing a popcorn conjures up some feelings of unease.

You’re not alone. Mental health experts say it’s normal to feel anxious about your return to society. Embrace it—it’s been a traumatic year, feeling some hesitation over going from population one (plus your cat and Netflix queue) to adding a social event to your Google Calendar that’s not hosted on Zoom is an adjustment.

It can be as simple as telling the group chat that you’re not ready yet for a party, and suggesting an activity, location, and date that feels comfortable for you. Ease in, be gentle with yourself and with others. In a post-vaccine world, it’s still okay to spend your Friday night in pants without buttons or zippers, baking a loaf of bread and bingeing the Great Pottery Throw Down. And for some ways to take care of yourself as you continue to process life out of the bubble, read on. You can get to them at your leisure.  

Melanie, editor at The Nessie

A baker's dozen

The English translation of the Chinese word for bedtime procrastination is “revenge bedtime procrastination,” and why you might need a power down hour. Cultural institutions seek out artists with chronic illnesses and disabilities in a climate where the fragility of our bodies has taken center stage. The diary of a Peloton delivery driver. On managing migraines. And not overthinking. And foam rollers that are good for the planet. How therapists are experimenting with psychedelics as a way to work through racial trauma. Playing Fire Emblem: Three Houses between breakfast and work as a daily mental “commute.” Whole Foods and Headspace walk into a grocery store… Working on your pandemic brain and vocal cords. The case for chiller workouts. And the chillest garden.

Wellness, pocket-sized

#SelfCare is an experimental app from Tru Luv, a company that wants to build caring tech. In this digital space, you’re under the covers in a room designed around self-care rituals. There’s a snuggly cat, a duvet cover, books, laundry, paper flowers, a candle, bedroom walls you can change the color of. The team said that it’s added “new and deepened rituals” into this year. It’s all about capturing an intended energy, at most. At the least, you can vicariously live through someone who doesn’t ever have to get out of bed.

In the wild

Sex toys and PlayStation 5

E-commerce company Pattern found that the two products that saw the biggest week-over-week demand from March 10th to March 17th was the latest PlayStation gaming console and a sex toy (specifically, a rose toy), with a 511% and 334% increase, respectively. It’s important to acknowledge that wellness isn’t a one-size-fits-all toolbox—video games have been proven to help with mental health, and sexual satisfaction is important when it comes to sexual wellness. If you want to know what makes people feel good, just follow the money.

Loneliness and our public spaces

We’ve been navigating the world less over the last year, but the physical infrastructures in our neighborhoods play an important role when it comes to healthy and social communities. A poll from the British Red Cross found that a meaningful amount of people don’t think they will feel connected to their community once lockdowns lift. Elected officials are calling it a “loneliness emergency”, and want to make sure there are more benches, public toilets, street lighting, and quiet and accessible facilities.

“A lack of a good bus service, free public toilets, parks and gardens, baby-changing facilities or accessibility adaptations can put up barriers that prevent people from connecting with others in person,” Zoë Abrams, the British Red Cross’s executive director of communications and advocacy, told the Guardian.

Even in this transitory period, outside spaces have been essential for many to safely see loved ones from a distance. It’s a reminder that city planning and the spaces we inhabit can be designed in a way that intentionally fosters healthy dynamics and a greater wellbeing. The humble park bench is not so humble.

Skincare, but make it affordable (and eco-conscious)

Conscious beauty company cocokind announced the first phase of its work toward improving their carbon footprint: putting “sustainability facts” panels on its packaging and on the products on their website. They’re like the nutritional facts labels you’d find on your food packaging, only for the carbon footprint of each product.

Cocokind’s products have been endorsed by the likes of New York Mag, Vogue, the New York Times, NYLON, Peloton instructor Ally Love, sustainable lifestyle Instagrammer Jazmine Rogers, and celebrity flight attendant Tennille Jenkins. You can add these into your skincare rotation feeling a little better about consuming sustainably and with a little education on the package. And… it’s reasonably priced.

"I had so many people tell me in year one that I should charge way more for these products and that people aren't going to believe us at this price point," cocokind founder Priscilla Tsai told InStyle. "I knew that the clean category was going to grow very quickly, and that there was a place for more affordable options. I wanted to be able to reach more people."

The cool down

Each issue, we’ll sign off with a cool down. (Feel free to stretch as you read, but it’s not that kind of cool down.) This is where we call out someone (or something) for doing something cool. It can be as huge as making a breakthrough scientific discovery, or something a bit more under-the-radar, but still important, like going for a walk every day for a week straight. We invite you to send us notes on people that have inspired you to share in our next newsletter. We’ll go first.

Researchers found that many of us have gained weight during the pandemic. There’s a lot of talk from people who want to reenter society looking hot as heck. Maybe you spent the better half of quarantine racking up Peloton hours or going on daily runs. But not everyone had the motivation or the ability or the access to do that. This is just a gentle reminder that your body got you through a global pandemic. It did that! This Cool Down shout out is to all your beautiful bodies that pulled you through. You’re doing amazing.

How are you communicating your post-vaccine needs to others?