Coronavirus has changed everything. These are the essentials you need for this new 'normal.'

Mashable 02 Apr 2020 09:00
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Note: 100% of the affiliate commission we earn from this post will be donated to NY Presbyterian and Feeding America to support those most affected by coronavirus.

Forget the lamb — March went in like a lion and out like a raging, toilet paper-hoarding chimera as the spread of the novel coronavirus reshaped life as we know it. In just the past month, we've seen offices, schools, and businesses shuttered; concerts, weddings, festivals, and major sporting events postponed; and sweeping stay-at-home orders enacted, turning major cities into veritable ghost towns. (Has it really only been a month? It feels like a few decades.)

Given these developments, it should come as no surprise that everyone's starting to feel shaken up: In a new Pew Research Center survey published March 30, nearly nine out of ten U.S. adults say their personal life has changed at least a little because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 44 percent saying it's changed the way they live "in a major way."

There's been no better time to tackle your entire queue (or start that series you've been meaning to watch forever) than when you're stuck at home social distancing. If you haven't already, be sure to take advantage of popular streaming services' free trials: CBS All Access recently extended its trial period from seven days to 60 when you use the codes GIFT and ENJOY at checkout, while Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, and Amazon Prime Video will all let you watch for free for 30 days (no codes required). Sling TV, meanwhile, is free for your first two weeks, and Disney+, HBO Now, and Apple TV+ won't charge you for your first week of watching.

If you're fortunate enough to be working from home amid the spread of COVID-19, you'll need a few things to stay productive. 

Social distancing is turning a lot of people into gamers as we look for new ways to keep ourselves entertained at home. The Nintendo Switch is still sold out everywhere, unfortunately — everyone and their grandma wants to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons — but Xbox One and Playstation 4 consoles, bundles, and games remain aplenty at Best Buy. You can also download The Sims 4 to your computer for just $5 right now, so there's that.

Along those same lines, being forced to stay at home because of a global pandemic means we've got *plenty* of time on our hands to learn something new, whether for personal or professional development. Udemy, SkillShare, and Coursera are three great options for traditional online learning, whereas MasterClass features some fun celebrity-taught courses that might inspire you to pick up a new hobby. (Ever wanted to take cooking lessons from Gordon Ramsay? Now's your chance.) 

Health anxiety is a real bitch — but what if your therapist's office is closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus? Luckily, you can always reach out for (virtual) help: Online mental health support from licensed professionals is available via apps like BetterHelp ($160 to $280 per week) and Talkspace ($260 to $396 per month), the latter of which now has a dedicated COVID-19 anxiety management program. 

Grocery stores are essential businesses, meaning they can stay open during stay-at-home orders, but proper social distancing means you should try to limit your errand runs as much as possible. 

Bars and some liquor stores may be closed for the foreseeable future, but all is not lost: Alcohol delivery services like Saucey, Drizly, WSJWine, Boxed, Maivino, and Winc are still up and running. Click here to find out how you can save on select orders.

Since most gyms are shuttered, too, and since laying on the couch all day is an invitation for crippling lower back pain, at-home workouts have become the move lately. If you've got the space for cardio equipment, you can save hundreds of dollars on a ProForm treadmill, a ProForm elliptical, or a NordicTrack exercise bike right now at Best Buy. Otherwise, services like Aaptiv, ClassPass, BodyBoss, and Crunch Live are all offering free trials or access to video and audio exercise content so you can stay in shape while stuck at home. (Click here to learn more.)

Take it from the City of New York itself: "You are your safest sex partner" right now.

Unless you're putting on a business-casual top for a Zoom meeting with your boss, your social distancing dress code is likely all athleisure, all the time. (As it should be — anyone who puts on jeans to sit at home on the couch all day *cannot* be trusted.) If you need to add some new pieces to your rotation, take a gander at Champion, REI, Lululemon, Calvin Klein, and American Eagle/aeriethey're all having sales right now

Whether we like it or not, social distancing has turned us all into home chefs. If some of the gear in your kitchen could use an upgrade now that they're seeing regular use, be sure to check out Best Buy for deals on multicookers, coffee makers, blenders, waffle makers, air fryers, and other kitchen appliances. (Just don't hold your breath for any bread makers — they're sold out everywhere thanks to a recent rise in stress-baking.) You can also pop over to KitchenAid's website to save 25% on select stand mixers, or peruse Ninja's inventory and save $40 on certain gadgets by entering the code SPRING40 at checkout. 

For healthy doses of escapism and entertainment, now's the time to tackle that reading list you so ambitiously made at the beginning of the year. Independent bookstores are hurting big time right now, so consider shopping local or through Bookshop if at all possible. (Some are offering free/extremely cheap shipping or curbside pickup on online purchases.) Otherwise, you can fill up an e-reader with titles from the Kindle Store or download audiobooks to your smartphone/tablet via Audible

If you can't go outside, you might as well bring the outside in. You can liven up your quarantine den with 20% off select plants from, or — if you don't mind getting your hands a little dirty — you can grow herbs and veggies on your kitchen countertop with an indoor garden from AeroGarden. Shop the brand's website and apply the code FRESH20 during checkout to save 20% on select models and seed kits.

When walks and jaunts to the dog park are limited and you're all tied up in Zoom calls, times like these can be ruff on pets, too. To keep them physically and mentally active, consider signing up your furry family member for a monthly subscription box like BarkBox, Bullymake Box, meowbox, KitNipBox, RescueBox, or Chewy's Goody Box for a fresh supply of exciting toys and treats every couple of weeks. (Be sure to also check out Chewy's website for daily deals on pet gear.)

What's the best way to support bars, restaurants, cafés, salons, spas, theaters, gyms, and other establishments impacted by COVID-19, you might ask? Two words: gift cards. Even if you can't redeem them right now, that immediate cash flow helps businesses stay afloat amid shutdowns. You don't even have to buy them in person — digital gift certificates are readily available on Amazon,, and (Pro tip: Send one to an essential worker in your life to show them some much-needed appreciation.) 

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