Issue #3: Be Your Own Light

Hi! I’m Brittanie Shey, and this is Eat Your Makeup, a newsletter of weird and wonderful recommendations. This week’s issue is focused on the coronavirus pandemic — specifically, ways to mitigate the anxiety and boredom you might be feeling as you practice social distancing. I’m glad you’re here.

How is everyone doing? Times are strange, huh? I’ve spent a good part of the last several days thinking about all the ways things have changed and will change as a result of the challenges we now face. Sometimes I feel a lot of optimism. Other times it’s a lot of dread. Mostly I am just trying to take things one day and one moment at a time, and to only worry about what is in my control.

This weekend, Catherine Andrews’ Sunday Soother newsletter landed in my inbox, and a couple of things she shared there really resonated with me. Like Catherine, I have a real hard time with ambiguity and uncertainty. One thing she asked of herself was “In the absence of leadership from others, what does leadership mean to me?”

I discovered that for me, leadership looks like leading by example — that is, staying home, social distancing, magnifying the voices of people who are trying to help, and sharing what resources I can to those who are struggling.

On Monday morning, I woke up and canceled all of my appointments for the next few weeks. I canceled my personal training sessions, but I am still paying for my gym membership, because my gym is a brand new business and the owners are my friends and I want to see them succeed. I canceled a visit from my house cleaner, but I am still paying her for the cleaning since I had already budgeted for it and I know I am likely not the only cancellation. I’ve been keeping tabs on friends who work in public service, friends who are currently in quarantine, and friends who are having to make really hard decisions in the next few days. Everything sucks for everyone right now, but I know this: we are ALL in this together. And if Covid-19 doesn’t radicalize you to the lie of capitalism and the power of community, I don’t know what the hell will.

A note on the news

I am a journalist by trade and a news junkie, and even I am overwhelmed and anxious by the constantly-changing news. I want to tell you this: you CAN close Twitter and log off of Facebook. 

There is such a thing as too much information. You do not need to be connected all day long. If anything truly important happens, you will be notified directly either by friends or loved ones or the Emergency Broadcast System (make sure these alerts are turned on on your phone). You can also sign up for text alerts or email alerts from your local government (Houstonians can sign up here).

I use Freedom.to to block internet distractions while I’m working, and I’m thinking about logging off of Twitter altogether for a while. Remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health right now, and be mindful of what you consume and share online.

Here are some uplifting and helpful things right now.


What Can You Do Right Now? 👏🏻

Other than Catherine’s newsletter this weekend, there are two subscriptions that have been giving me peace of mind the last few weeks. The first is Girls Night In, a newsletter that was already dedicated to the idea of “staying in.” It is full of ideas for self-care, great reads and other ways to enjoy some downtime. Check the archives!

The second is ActionNow, which is a newsletter of suggested ways to act local, act on your values, help the world, and make a difference. Mikki Halpin has been writing ActionNow for a while, but the most recent issue is specifically about Covid-19 and ways to cope as a community. If, like me, you’re asking yourself what leadership looks like in these times, you might find the answer there.

Be Your Own Light🌞

Right after the 2016 election, Sarah Kendzior wrote an article titled “We’re heading into dark times. This is how to be your own light in the Age of Trump”. Her advice was extremely helpful for me then, and I’m finding myself revisiting it now. 

I want you to write about who you are, what you have experienced, and what you have endured. Write down what you value; what standards you hold for yourself and for others. Write about your dreams for the future and your hopes for your children. Write about the struggle of your ancestors and how the hardship they overcame shaped the person you are today. Write your biography, write down your memories. Because if you do not do it now, you may forget.

It is possible that things will get worse before they get better. Writing down what you value and what you know to be true can help you in the future in the event that you need to make a difficult decision. Right now, it is important to know exactly who you are and what you stand for.

Gratitude🙏🏻

If writing an essay of your life and values feels like a lot right now, a gratitude journal might be an easier undertaking. Intelligent Change, a mindfulness and productivity company, had released a free PDF version of their Five-Minute Journal, a daily gratitude-writing process, complete with guidelines and a template. If you have kids at home this might be a nice activity to do as a family.

Make Some Sauerkraut🥒

Y’all know I love a pickle. A good way to make sure you have flavorful veggies on hand and spice up boring pantry food is to ferment or pickle something. Sauerkraut is dead-easy and only takes two ingredients — sea salt and cabbage (the bacteria that cause the fermentation are already naturally-occurring on the cabbage). I’ve used several recipes, but this one, from a now-defunct blog, is the simplest. Enlist the help of some antsy kids to squeeze the cabbage.

And Finally, A Message From Matthew McConaughey🚦


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