Ina Garten's Coping Strategy Is the Only Thing That Makes Sense to Me

The Barefoot Contessa has given us permission to stay in bed.

Ina Garten, Sudoku, Cosmopolitans
Photo: NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal / Getty Images

We are approaching the two-year anniversary of when the coronavirus pandemic first shut down the country—two long years of loss, fear, and anguish. To get through it, many of us have been in an endless loop of striving to adopt new, "healthier" habits, like forcing ourselves to read when what we want to do is watch TikToks, only to drop them and feel worse about our lives than before. The pressure I have put on myself to adopt healthy little routines during a global catastrophe has actually contributed to my suffering, putting the sole burden on me and me alone to hoist myself out of gloom, by way of internet yoga and overnight oats. The reality is, for many of us, there is still no escape from gloom, even though we are trying our best. The trying or not trying isn't the issue.

There are, however, large Cosmos. Ina Garten, my personal hero, has given us permission to take it easy on ourselves, to find enjoyment where we can. Yes, you should probably, like, drink water and sleep, but you can also "stay in bed in the morning playing Sudoku instead of reading a good book," Garten commented on Reese Witherspoon's recent Instagram post about her healthy habit goals. To be clear: I commend Witherspoon for finding habits that make her feel good and sharing them! Reading is great. So is going outside. So are early bedtimes. But Garten's words found me exactly where I am: tired.

"To quote @Reesewitherspoon - that sounds great but I'm probably not doing any of those things! LOL!!" Garten commented. "My formula is easier to follow: 1. Drink more large cosmos. 2. Stay up late watching addictive streaming series. 3. Stay in bed in the morning playing Sudoku instead of reading a good book. 4. Spend more time (safely) with people you love. In a pandemic, I do what I can!"

If you don't recall, in the spring of 2020, Garten famously made a gigantic Cosmopolitan. ("I like to make a lot of Cosmos," she said during that first lockdown. "You never know who's going to stop by. Wait a minute—nobody's stopping by.") I'm glad she's still enjoying them.

As the crisis drags on, joy can still feel so elusive. After two years of being hard on myself for my imperfect routines, after two years of surviving, I'm committed to finding levity where I can, even if that's staying up way past my bedtime to watch TikToks or drinking a milkshake for breakfast. To borrow Garten's words: In a pandemic, I do what I can.

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