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Easing the Journey Through Shadow & Light

  • Dawn

Life In the COVID Era: Resources and a Few Funnies

Anti-Anxiety Tool of the Week

Laugh and smile (from the first Toolkit). Way back in the 1980s, Saturday Review editor and activist Norman Cousins wrote about his use of laughter to heal himself of an autoimmune disease, in his book, Anatomy of an Illness. There's been a lot of research since then that supports that concept. Here’s a link to an article about recent research on how smiling--even "fake" smiling--can help you feel better.

So download some funny movies, read humorous books, look at comic strips and cartoons, or just start smiling. I bet you'll feel better.

I wrote a blog post on smiling and laughing back in February if you want to read a little more on the topic.

Here's a link to the Index of all toolkits.

Life in the COVID Era: Resources and a Few Funnies

This week I thought I'd share a few resources I've come across for dealing with various aspects of the pandemic. Like how to make safe decisions about whether to go out to a restaurant, fly on an airplane, etc. If this is the second time I have shared some of them, that's because I see them as particularly useful and/or important. That includes the one about masks. I still see so many people wearing them incorrectly (i.e., unsafely, either for themselves and/or the people around them). I do (usually) keep my mouth shut about it, but the latent/retired nurse in me gets so frustrated. (I know, I know--I need to use one of the tools I've shared to help me relax!)

I've scattered a few cartoons and memes around the blog and included some at the end. We gotta laugh at this craziness sometimes!

I've also included a couple of sites that offer tools and ways to determine whether the information you are seeing (about the pandemic, the election, etc.) is valid.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a very limited list--there are probably millions of COVID resources out there, as I'm sure you know. I'd love to hear about your favorites.

Multitasking with the Kids

Biology study finds silk offers more protection than cotton or synthetics.

Check out the link--it's brief and simple, with great visuals for each no-no. A good resource to share with employees, co-workers, friends and family. Though it's a pain in the neck, wearing a mask correctly is one of the simplest ways to keep the virus from spreading, if practiced along with social distancing and hand-washing. We can do this!

Here's a summary.


- don't wear it under your nose

- don't leave your chin exposed

- don't wear it loosely, with gaps at the sides

- don't wear it just covering the tip of your nose


- wear it all the way up, close to the bridge of your nose


- all the way down under your chin

- Do your best to tighten the loops/ties so the mask is:

- snug around your face

- without gaps.

And finally, don't pull it down or up,

on or off your face, once it is on.

This can spread around any virus particles

that may have accumulated on the inside (if you are a carrier)

and/or on the outside of the mask (if you have encountered a carrier), contaminating your hands, face and/or neck.

This is a daily blog by Betsy Brown, MD, a Seattle doctor specializing in the treatment of viral diseases who now works with COVID patients. Her blog offers very helpful, timely information about various aspects of the pandemic. I consider this my best source of pandemic information--a lot of the resources I share here I first encountered on Betsy's blog. This link takes you to a page where you can check out some of her posts and/or sign up to receive emails alerting you to new posts.

I don't know how she does it with her very busy schedule, but she somehow manages to review many sources of information about the pandemic, including but not limited to the most recent scientific research, then condenses it into short and very readable blog posts, always including the links to where she got the information. That's why it is so important to me. She also occasionally shares something from her personal life which humanizes, and sometimes humorizes, the blog. She is also the longtime friend of a longtime friend of mine.

(this link is to the original article)

An excellent and clear chart you can use for decision-making. It's from a journal article in the British Medical Journal by some MIT researchers.

"Risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from asymptomatic people in different settings and for different occupation times, venting, and crowding levels (ignoring variation in susceptibility and viral shedding rates). Face covering refers to those for the general population and not high grade respirators. The grades are indicative of qualitative relative risk and do not represent a quantitative measure. Other factors not presented in these tables may also need to be taken into account when considering transmission risk, including viral load of an infected person and people’s susceptibility to infection. Coughing or sneezing, even if these are due to irritation or allergies while asymptomatic, would exacerbate risk of exposure across an indoor space, regardless of ventilation."

Research using the "Gesundheit machine"

from the University of Maryland School

of Public Health.

This is a real picture of a real machine! Clever name, isn't it? The idea of the machine is a little gross but I'm glad there are people doing this kind of research!

1. What you need to know about aerosols

2. Is staying 6 feet apart enough?

3. Airborne particles and superspreaders

4. What airborne virus means for reopening

5. The problem with school buses

This is a poster full of corny puns with a The Sound of Music theme! But it's fun and does offer lots of good information about why some activities are more risky than others during the pandemic. Could be good for kids--if they know the movie.

My thinking is, why risk it? Especially if you or loved ones have risk factors (like age, etc.)

Just something I stumbled across the other day. Oops--no pun intended!

A bunch of cool tools developed by some folks at Indiana University, where they have been doing research on this kind of thing. You can use them to help you decide whether pandemic-related information is true or if it is misinformation. The concepts and tools will work for information/misinformation related to the upcoming elections as well.

Plus an easy-to-use tool for checking your voter registration status. This is from my web browser, Firefox


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