When things get uncertain, we crave stability and certainty—whether that’s something we can do, something we can buy, or something we can depend on. Shopping is a way to pretend to have certainty. We engage in buying something to feel better. And, to some extent, it works.
When I look back at my past purchases, it’s somewhat funny to see the list. I’m really curious: What have you bought recently that’s made your life at home a little easier?
I tried Febreze. I tried Ms Meyers. I just—I’m stuck in a tiny New York City apartment with SO MANY POOPING PEOPLE. I don’t want to smell all of this poop. I am good with poop. I am over the poop. I wipe poop from too many buttholes while changing diapers and potty training and having a preschooler and a toddler and I WOULD NOT LIKE THE BATHROOM POOP SMELL TO SLOWLY TAKE OVER OUR ENTIRE HOUSE. Poo-pouri actually works quite well. I’m training my kiddos to spray it in the toilet.
Apparently when stressed, I want to eat everything in sight. This makes sense. “In the short term, stress can shut down appetite,” Harvard’s Health website says about stress and eating, “But if stress persists, it’s a different story. The adrenal glands release another hormone called cortisol, and cortisol increases appetite and may also ramp up motivation in general, including the motivation to eat. Once a stressful episode is over, cortisol levels should fall, but if the stress doesn’t go away — or if a person’s stress response gets stuck in the “on” position — cortisol may stay elevated.”
Not only that, but we crave high-fat and sweet foods when we’re under duress. “Stress also seems to affect food preferences. Numerous studies — granted, many of them in animals — have shown that physical or emotional distress increases the intake of food high in fat, sugar, or both.”
I cannot figure out how to stop chewing right now, so instead of trying to box myself in and stop these bad habits (HAHAHAHAHA)—I bought gum. A lot of it. I’ll tell you how it works.
Backup reading glasses
I’m the kind of person who has far sighted vision, so can’t see the words on my computer without my thick frames. I NEED TO SEE. I NEED READING. I love reading and writing. If my glasses broke, it would be equal to the computer being smashed in front of me—I couldn’t use it.
After the fourth episode of my children stretching and bending my glasses and pretending to wear them, I realized I needed a fresh pair of backup glasses. I used Zenni, which is wonderful if you know your prescription and pupillary distance (you can learn how to measure it online here).
Re-usable ice cubes
My freezer is so crammed full right now with things, I finally removed the ice trays from the freezer to have enough room. We don’t have a basement or a pantry—or really any extra space—otherwise I’d think of getting a deep freezer.
For now, I bought some reusable ice cubes which take up way less space and let me keep the freezer full of frozen chili, stew, veggies, and all the things I need (pizza supplies are in there, of course).
What strange things have you ordered in the midst of a pandemic? What silly things are keeping you sane right now?
I’d love to know what’s making your life at home a little easier. Send me a note on Twitter.
PS: Other things that didn’t make the list, but I’m considering or have already done: at-home hair removal devices, better desk lighting and ergonomic set-ups, a backup computer or a new iPad, cozy sweatpants (because my jeans do NOT fit right now), an Instapot for faster batch cooking, and, yes, lots of flour for bread and baking projects.
I write a newsletter about personal development, psychology, and leadership. Recent essays cover how to make better decisions, designing your schedule and life, rethinking the structure of work to fit a more human body, and the intersection of parenting and work. If you're curious, seeking the spark of new and interesting ideas, and want some groundedness within the flurry of modern life, you will probably enjoy my newsletter. Don't see the form below? Head here to subscribe instead.