Last week marked the one-year anniversary of when the United States effectively went into a “lockdown” because of Covid-19’s explosion in New York City. It was a preview of what would happen to the rest of the country in the following months.
Now, though, vaccines are rising at a rapid rate, and, thankfully, it seems — knock on wood! — there is light at the end of the tunnel, with President Joe Biden going as far as to say it is likely small barbecues could take place around July 4. It’s a wonderful thing to consider after a tough year that has seen more than 540,000 people die of Covid-19. Funerals missed, weddings postponed, jobs lost; all of it is very monumentally stressful for people who otherwise were unaffected by the disease itself.
Which brings us to today’s big idea: how to apply coping mechanisms. These adopted behaviors are ones we take up in times of stress to manage that brain-rattling anxiety and mental trauma. It’s heavy stuff — but we can get through it. Inverse Daily readers (that’s you!) shared with us how they got through it.
What’s critical is that there’s an “echo pandemic” on the horizon in terms of the stress that will come with millions of people attempting to return to public, “normal” life in the months ahead.
Those coping behaviors picked up during the Covid-19 pandemic — cycling, baking, playing an instrument, coding, running, video games, sewing, investing — will be vital to deal with that stress, too.
It’s a great story, and I hope a positive step to get your week started. I’m Nick Lucchesi, editor-in-chief at Inverse. Let’s get into it.
Use these handy coping mechanisms to help you return to normal life — What new behaviors did you adopt to get through the worst months of the pandemic? Senior science editor Sarah Sloat’s latest story is about those — and what comes next.
Sloat polled readers of Sunday Scaries — an Inverse Daily weekend supplement — asking them about the coping behaviors they used to get through the monumental stress of the Covid-19 pandemic. Those new hobbies are going to come in handy, psychologists tell Sloat.
More on Covid-19:
- The Covid-19 info hub from Inverse
- How a Settlers of Catan-style game grew by 1,200% during Covid-19 lockdown
- Relieve Zoom stress with one easy change to your work routine
“Following the trail blazed by Dalgona coffee, cloud bread, hot cocoa bombs, and baked feta pasta, two-ingredient vegan ‘chicken’ combines a relatively simple process with familiar ingredients to create something — ostensibly — better than the sum of its parts,” Putka writes. She continues:
“Texture is perhaps the most nuanced — and often overlooked — element of what makes a certain food appealing or disgusting, regardless of how much hot sauce you throw on it. And the fibrous, chewy texture of meat is not an easy one to replicate using items found in your pantry.”
More on the science of food:
- Scientists debunk long-held theory about spicy food
- Scientists tackle a curious food mystery — why so many people hate cheese
- 10 diet tips for 2021 backed by scientific research
A social experiment could make the four-day week a reality — Can we do this already?
This story by contributing writer Stephen Bronner for our Strategy series (science-backed insights and recommendations for your life, career, and finances) addresses how this four-day week could happen after a huge social experiment in Spain.
(Here at Inverse, we kept Summer Fridays going through the fall, winter, and now spring. For us, the 4.5-day work week hasn’t slowed our productivity and has been a boon for everybody. If you're in a position to establish or advocate for it, I can’t recommend it enough.)
More from the Strategy series:
- Can’t stop procrastinating? Disrupt the cycle with one question
- Beware the dark triad: 15 signs there’s one in your office
- Should you tell people about your goals or keep them a secret?
Yes, “dawn storms on Jupiter.” It’s just as epic as it sounds.
Here on Earth, we had views of Beijing that made the Chinese city of 22 million look like it was actually on Mars, all due to a major sandstorm that overcame the city’s prevention infrastructure.
More science card stories from Inverse:
- 4 foods that are bad for your brain
- A virtual tour of the scientifically best place on Earth for rainbows
- 5 ways cephalopods challenge our understanding of evolution
Netflix’s best sci-fi series of 2021 shows a crisis in America — Science writer Tara Yarlagadda looks at the popular TV series Tribes of Europa through the lens of a science journalist and comes away with a few thoughts that have taken root in her mind.
Here’s a snippet from Tara:
“The post-apocalyptic series Tribes of Europa premiered on Netflix in February and is still available for streaming. At first glance, it might seem like the fever-dream nightmare of a doomsday prepper. But is it really so far-fetched?”
More stories about the intersection of science and entertainment:
- WandaVision’s powerful exploration of grief, according to a therapist
- 5 Netflix documentaries that will get you through to spring
- Could The Wandering Earth actually happen? We asked a NASA engineer
One more thing... happy birthday to William Shatner. The actor who played Captain James T. Kirk on TV and in a series of movies, before moving on to other roles that saw him build on that Star Trek persona, turns 90 today. We’ve had the privilege of speaking with Shatner a few times over the years, most recently just last month.
“That subject is long gone for me,” he said of a larger return to Star Trek. However, the actor would consider a cameo similar to Mark Hamill's surprise appearance in The Mandalorian — with one big condition.
“If they wrote an interesting role and they could explain the 55-year difference, I might consider it,” Shatner says. “But at the moment, I'm really busy and Star Trek is in my past.”
Three years ago this month, Shatner gave his first interview to Inverse and was as prickly and charming as ever:
“Well I’m very busy, but I thought I’d make a difference in your case,” Shatner told our interviewer then.
Shatner followed this unprompted sarcastic non-sequitur with: “My day was going pretty good up until now.”
Make no mistake, Captain Kirk was negging our interviewer at the top of the conversation. Did our writer still feel honored to be talking to him?
“It’s awesome to hear his voice coming out of my cell phone,” writer Ryan Britt observed in that 2018 article. “But Captain Kirk is in my head. I’m briefly thrown off my game.”
HBD, William Shatner. You are a national treasure.