Gretchen Rubin joins us this week to talk about how she and her family are staying happy in their home during the pandemic—and how we all can, too. Hear her talk about the rules, routines and philosophies that are helping her maintain a sense of inner calm despite the chaotic state of the world.
Following our chat with Rubin, hear Lifehacker’s Senior Health Editor Beth Skwarecki talk with epidemiologist René Najera about how to effectively limit the spread of COVID-19 and what we can expect as life slowly begins to return to “normal”.
Highlights from this week’s episode
From the Gretchen Rubin Interview
On a strategy that has helped maintain family civility during quarantine:
We did this thing, which we haven’t actually [invoked], but the threat of it has been very useful, which is the two strikes policy. Each person is given two strikes, and that means you can singlehandedly tell somebody that they can’t do something. So like I wear shoes all the time. Now I do wear indoor shoes and outdoor shoes, but I wear [them] and I put my shoes on a bed, on a bed, under the blankets. You know, on the couch, everywhere. And so my daughter’s like, “I may have to use my strike against you.” Or my husband sometimes has been caught drinking straight from the milk carton. So nobody’s ever actually invoked it, but people threaten all the time. And it’s kind of a lighthearted way to say, “you know what, you’re really getting on my nerves, and quit it,” in a kind of joking way. And then we all laugh.
On the way she has shaped her thinking about this unprecedented moment in history:
[T]he way I talk about it now to myself and other people is it’s public catastrophe, private calamity, and personal loss. So public catastrophe is like Wuhan is shut down for a month or, you know, New York City is heading to the apex. That’s a public catastrophe. Private calamity is like the restaurant around the corner we think is gonna go out of business and we feel very sad about this business going out of business and the people who are going to lose their jobs…And that is, you know, that’s a terrible problem. And then there’s personal loss, which is my daughter didn’t get to finish her junior year of college. Is that the same thing as the stock market crashing? No. Does she feel it? Yes. And so I feel like understanding that these three levels are happening for all of us all the time, let me sort of [comprehend] it.
Catch more of Gretchen’s tips for maintaining wellbeing while practicing physical distancing by listening to the full episode!