These are scary times – disease, financial stress and isolation can be a toxic mix.  My friends in social work and mental health fields remind us that, much as we want to help those in tougher situations,  “you can’t pour from an empty pitcher”.  Self-care is a critical part of  our response to Coronovirus.  Here are  10 practices that are helping me, and I hope you’ll share the things that are keeping you on an even keel too …

  1. Gratitude journal.  When I was raising 3  teens on less than a shoestring , we maintained positive outlook by sharing – every night before bed – 3 things each of us was grateful for.  Last fall I bought a  hand-bound notebook w/matching pen and re-instituted the practice.  It’s become a sanity saver.  What’s on your Gratefuls list?
  2. Fragrance.  I hoard fragrant candles, but never light them.  Until now.  Between the  aroma and the soft glow, they are reliably calming.
  3. Music.  I listened  in on the pre-music to my daughter’s church service last week.  A medley of the Quaker hymn How Can I Keep From Singing, Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World reduced me to cathartic tears.  Likewise this video of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy with all the performers in their own homes, yet playing together. What music touches your heart?
  4. Blossoms.  Mr. Wonderful makes more (masked) trips to the grocery than I’d like, due to the voracious appetite of his 97-yr-old dad.  On the plus side, he regularly brings home $5 bouquets  to brighten our home.  Both the flowers and the fella make my  list!
  5. Lotion.  My bedside drawer is full of lotions I rarely used.  Now I’ve learned that rich cream at night +  footies to keep in in place = heels that don’t resemble sand paper.
  6. MacGyver’d meals. Remember that TV detective who always saved the day with some gizmo made of paper clips and chewing gum?  I’m no gourmet cook, but it’s become a game designing meals from ingredients on hand.  BONUS; I’ve dropped 6-7 pounds just by avoiding the temptations of restaurant dinners.
  7. Mug Messages.  Each day I drink coffee from a different mug with an emotional connection.  From lighthearted (trip to FIT to autograph my books) to heavy but inspiring (Bryan Stevenson’s memorial to lynching victims) to this cheeky message from a social justice buddy who obviously knows me too well.
  8. Engeldark artwork.  It’s a pun, get it? The renowned illustrator Mary Engelbreit lives in the next suburb over.  She’s moved beyond bowls of cherries  into more activist art with a slightly snarky twist that delights my soul.
  9. Impact shopping.  I don’t do much online shopping, but now it’s a satisfying way to support small businesses I believe in.  PLUS: it brings a UPS guy to the door to wave thru the glass. From my solitary abode I’ve ordered a gorgeous tote woven of Peruvian leather,  and a T-shirt proclaiming “I am Fam-ALLY” to wear when ZOOM-ing with LGBTQ loved ones.  Confession: I bought taupe pumps too, but not sure DSW counts as a small biz.
  10. Inspirational reading.  This book is an in-depth look at the triumphant human stories and the occasional societal shifts toward equity that arise  out of major disasters. How apropos, right?  And I got a double-dose of feel-good by purchasing it from a local bookseller with curbside pickup. They even enclosed a thank-you note.!What soothing mental health practices would you add to this survival list?  I’ll bet you have some good ideas to share … and we can all use as many as we can get.

About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.


  1. Lonnie on April 15, 2020 at 1:29 pm

    Lovely post Nancy. And thank you for my fabrics & your book. Need something creative to turn to to balance my daily morning meetings about Covid19 for work. Aloha

    • Nancy Nix Rice on April 15, 2020 at 7:17 pm

      Wow, Lonnie. I’m sure you do need a distraction in these difficult times. Happy I could contribute. Take care and be healthy. Hugs and thanks for the work you do.

  2. Peggy on April 15, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    What a wonderful list!

    After a few days of pandemic-related anxiety, I made a list of things I expected to accomplish each day. This has helped me tremendously, but I think I should add a “What I am thankful for…” to the list!

    During this time, I have taught my son-in-law to sew (at his request) and he, his mother, my daughter, and I have made dozens of masks for friends, family, and frontline workers. This positive activity has helped us to have focus and purpose.

    Here’s my daily list:

    Make my bed
    Make myself presentable
    Take vitamins
    Do something creative
    Go for a walk (weather permitting)
    Work on a household project (cleaning, organizing, painting, etc.)
    Do a load of laundry
    Socialize (virtually or safely in person)

    • Nancy Nix Rice on April 16, 2020 at 8:26 am

      Amazing how the littlest things help us feel more normal (whatever that is). Like making the bed. I’m a fiend about that every day – always have been – because it somehow represents structure and discipline to me – in a positive way. My dresser top can have dust you could write in, but if the bed is made, all feels right with the world.

  3. Katrina B on April 21, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    I was just thinking I should stop by your blog today, and all of a sudden your email pops up! This is a wonderful list. It’s funny how many things we have in common. Due to a) shortages and b) not wanting to go to the store, I am left with the weirdest ingredients for cooking. Some very unusual soups have been concocted recently! I follow Mary Englebreit on IG, and oh how she brightens my day! Hilarious, compassionate, and politically aligned to boot. I loved that Ode to Joy concert and after that I started seeing SO MANY great musical videos. My current favorite is Chris Mann, who has rewritten popular songs to reflect life in the time of COVID-19. Best of all is our extended spring this year – I’ve had flowers and mild temperatures for two months – so I can spend a lot of time outside, safely staying on my own property. I feel very fortunate to have all these privileges and Incredibly thankful to all those who are working and risking their lives to keep us safe.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on April 21, 2020 at 3:25 pm

      Sounds a lot like my life indeed – except for the extended Spring. Our weather has been all over the place, but at least I find myself more aware of the Spring days we do have. A huge benefit of being forced to slow down!

  4. Louise C on April 21, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    I found you through Craftsy/Bluprint and was inspired by you then. I’m even more inspired after this last post.
    I’m making masks. My 30 year old grandson and I just celebrated our mutual birthday yesterday with the whole family on zoom, and even my grand-daughter in Sweden was able to join in.
    Most days I’m positive, but some days I feel overwhelmed. Fortunately no one in my immediate family has become ill, but we had a scare with our youngest grand-son, a month ago, and I cried and couldn’t sleep for 2 nights until his fever was gone and the MD was pretty sure it wasn’t COVID19. He’s been well since then, but it hit me at that time that many families are experiencing anguish and deep sorrow.
    I see all the funny memes on fb and often shared them in the past, but now I don’t. I’ve become more sensitive to the feelings of my friends working the front lines and those who are fearing for the lives of their family and friends at the moment, or grieving their loss.
    I love your idea of the gratitude journal the most.
    It’s odd that in the worst of times, we’re given insight to see the best in things and people. We need to write our inspirational feelings down and refer to them often.
    Thank you

    • Nancy Nix Rice on April 21, 2020 at 3:23 pm

      Good to meet you Louise. So glad to hear (1) that your grandson is OK, and (2) that you are helping with the mask-making effort and (3) about your shift of heart. Maybe the next step is to politely share your new views with others on social media. I have a friend whose mom – in a small town – nearly died from COVID while the neighbors were still joking about it being a hoax – ouch!

  5. Marilyn on April 21, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    Thank you for this list, Nancy. One musical video that I found to be both beautiful and uplifting is this. I listen to it every day:

    • Nancy Nix Rice on April 21, 2020 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks Marilyn – I never stop being amazed at how music touches the heart. Whether I’m singing, playing or just listening it is always an emotional connection. Thanks for the link.

  6. Paula Jarvis on April 21, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    Wonderful post. And I have loved Mary Engelbreit’s artwork forever. I have lots of her stuff that I have kept over the years. How cool that you know her!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on April 21, 2020 at 6:57 pm

      I don’t know her personally; she doesn’t seem to circulate a lot. I’ve tried a couple of times – without success – to book her as a speaker for various women’s groups. But I still adore her work – especially the new, more socially aware stuff.

  7. Another Louise C. on April 22, 2020 at 12:39 am

    Thank you for the uplifting ideas. My husband and I have picked up two additions to our days. At noon PDT we join Fr. Jim Martin S.J.’s sharing of the day’s Gospel reading followed by some exegesis and then communal comments and inspiration on his Facebook page. Especially with the Easter season, it is food for thought. His room is right next to one of the big hospitals in NYC so comments are often tied to how the readings relate to our communal experiences these days. I have also been joining my husband on his daily walks. We walk briskly for somewhere between 1.5 to 2.5 miles which usually includes about a mile of the rail trail that is a block from our home. Not only are we losing a little weight, but we are also seeing and greeting neighbors at a safe distance.
    At home, I continue to work at reducing my excessive clutter which often means using up some of my fabric. etc. stash and/or repairing or finishing an old project. Not new is connecting with our children and grandchildren all over the country online. They keep checking up on us as if they think we are old or something!!!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on April 22, 2020 at 12:23 pm

      Faith, footwork and fashion – a trifecta for surviving a pandemic.

  8. Stephanie Cummins on April 22, 2020 at 8:08 am

    Oh Nancy ~ This was a great read all the way around! And I spit out my coffee on accident due to an immediate laugh when I saw the mug! That is SO US!!! LOL! Love you just the way you are. Also, I loved all of the little things that brighten your day during this time. Mr. Wonderful, flowers, candles, etc. This made my day!!!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on April 22, 2020 at 12:19 pm

      Obviously another person who knows me too well. Hope you and your Mr Wonderful are safe and healthy.

  9. Sherry on April 22, 2020 at 11:21 am

    Nancy Nix Rice,
    This may seem like a strange post, but it does reflect the way that I feel during this pandemic. I am by nature an introvert, so this period of stay-at-home time has provided a happy sense of free time to get long delayed chores accomplished that have been on the back burner for a very long time ! My husband likes to be “ on the go” far more than I do, so I have been very grateful for this time to catch up and have not suffered any of the depression that some other people have felt . While I don’t mean to minimize the frustration of others at the restrictions, nor of the financial hardships, I have found these restrictions much easier to bear than perhaps some others. Meanwhile, I am “ playing” in my closet, trying different color combinations to put some otherwise “ orphans” to work , and wearing my “ at home “ garments, which consist of a more limited number of garments as well as more worn out ones, so I am transferring some of my extra “ leave the house” garments into more home wear . Formerly, I have had way more “ leave the house garments “ , but my lifestyle has obviously changed and so far more of my seasonally stored clothes have remained in storage , and I am having to take a fresh look at what I now wear on a daily basis that still make me feel good . When this pandemic is behind us, I may have a whole new perspective of just how many total garments that I actually want and need to have in my closet at a given time , based upon the realities of life and lifestyle . There are lessons in all of this life hiatus !
    On another topic — you have a wonderful way of speaking when demonstrating various concepts — well modulated !

    • Sherry on April 22, 2020 at 11:38 am

      Nancy Nix Rice,
      I realize that my above post may seem “ me -centric” , but it is just a perspective on one individual’s experience during this challenging time period . By no means do I mean to take away the deep gratitude that I feel for all of those heroes on the front lines in all of this mess , nor minimize the compassion that I feel for those who have lost, or stand on the verge of losing loved ones as a result of this monster that is circulating amongst us . Somehow though, I have been blessed to maintain a certain sense of a hopeful calm trust in all of our tomorrows. In my 75 years on this earth, I have learned that eventually we get through things, and that it brings out the best in many people, a beautiful thing to see ! Obviously, the opposite is also true with the clueless that we see on the news ! We just need to keep on keeping on, use safety precautions to protect ourselves and others, and look forward to brighter tomorrows once again . Maybe not the same as before, but much better than right now . Keep the faith , and stay well !

      • Nancy Nix Rice on April 22, 2020 at 12:18 pm

        We do all have our unique experiences of this pandemic, and can use a reminder to focus on what we can have control over and not freak out about the rest – which would do no good for anyone and possibly cause real harm instead.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on April 22, 2020 at 12:16 pm

      Thanks for the lovely complement. And I think/hope you are right that this is a time for many of us to develop a ne perspective on what we really need in every area of life.

  10. KarenD on April 28, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    Congratulations on Mr Wonderful’s father who still has a voracious appetite at age 97! Something else to be grateful for!

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