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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Isolation

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Your local Facebook group is more than a way to score half a bag of cat litter

Photo: Halfpoint Images / Getty Images

Recently I nipped my online shopping habit in the bud, and here’s my secret: Instead of buying new stuff, I post the stuff I no longer need on my local Buy Nothing Facebook page. Somehow, it scratches the same itch for small-scale change — and watching the tote bags full of old duvet covers and too-small sweaters get picked up off my porch is far more satisfying than waiting for something new to arrive in the mail.

There are currently thousands of Buy Nothing groups around the world, some on Facebook, others in person or on different email lists, and…


Healthy relationships are as essential as vaccines and ventilators for our global recovery

Curtisha Bell and her aunt Vicky Blake show progress of their festive surgical masks to friends and family on video chat.
Curtisha Bell and her aunt Vicky Blake show progress of their festive surgical masks to friends and family on video chat.
Photo: Santiago Mejia/The San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images

You may have heard of America’s “loneliness epidemic.” I’m the doctor responsible for coining that phrase.

After observing isolation as a rising public health calamity during my term as the Surgeon General of the United States, appointed by President Barack Obama, I wrote a book about the importance of human connection, the hidden impact of loneliness on our health, and the social power of community. What I could not anticipate, however, was the unprecedented test that our global community would face, just as this book was going to press.

The Covid-19 pandemic has turned physical human contact into a potentially…


How to work from home with the same people for a long, long time

Rear view of woman looking out at the city through a window.
Rear view of woman looking out at the city through a window.
Photo: d3sign/Moment/Getty Images

Like many people around the world, I am currently in a state of self-quarantine.

This is stressful on several levels. My wife and I both work full time, our three-year-old daughter insists, rather greedily, on routine care and feeding, and ceaseless domestic and professional demands, coupled with an inability to ever go outside our long, narrow apartment, itself coupled with the knowledge of the silent nightmare coursing through the city just beyond our walls… well, it’s taking a toll.

Hoping to gain some useful tips staying sane while confined inside a dim, pressurized space for days on end, while stressed…


Conversation starters that don’t trigger coronavirus anxiety

A couple smiles and waves at the camera on their laptop.
A couple smiles and waves at the camera on their laptop.
Photo: AleksandarGeorgiev/E+/Getty Images

There’s a spontaneity to social life in quarantine. Just a few weeks ago, before the coronavirus forced us all inside, trying to pin down a dinner with friends could sometimes feel like playing Tetris — and everyone involved knew it would be rescheduled at least twice anyway. But now, hunkered down at home, calling a friend on a whim feels normal.

There’s just one hitch: Whenever I get a friend on the line these days, the first question is nearly always, “How are you holding up?” Or, “How is quarantine treating you?” …


Because we’re in for a journey, y’all

Credit: Ashley Fairbanks

There are about a gazillion articles on the internet right now listing facts, statistics, and recommendations regarding the threat we are facing with COVID-19. I’m glad those exist, but what I couldn’t find was one that simply told me how to not freak the fuck out.

So I wrote one. Who am I? Not the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization (though I urge everyone to follow their websites for the latest updates). I am a 33-year-old woman currently living alone in San Antonio, Texas — 1,000 miles away from my partner, pets, and lifelong…

Forge

A publication from Medium on personal development.

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