Thank you for subscribing to Lily Lines. You may notice our newsletter feels and looks a little different today. A lot has changed in the nearly three years since we launched The Lily, so we set out to create a newsletter experience that shares everything we do across platforms with you, our loyal readers. I hope you enjoy this new Lily Lines.
Each Monday, we'll send you a story we love, designed specifically with our newsletter audience in mind, along with tidbits from The Lily’s social media and recommendations from our team. And each Thursday, you’ll get a curated list of the top stories about women from The Lily and The Washington Post.
I′ve been a part of Team Lily from the start — first as deputy editor, and now as editor. So I can tell you from experience that each week, our team thinks a lot about what goes in our newsletters, picking stories that will inform, surprise and delight you. I hope you look forward to opening it each week.
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On behalf of Team Lily, I hope you’re safe and well during this challenging time.
Neema Roshania Patel Editor, The Lily
In March, we started a new recurring series with Andrea Bonior, a licensed clinical psychologist and advice columnist. Every other week, she answers questions about relationships, work-life balance, family dynamics and more. Of course, shortly after we launched her column, Ask Dr. Andrea, the world changed. Since then, she’s been fielding an onslaught of questions about the challenges of adjusting to life under the coronavirus.
Below, she answers a question from a person struggling with not feeling productive enough while self-quarantined.
Dear Dr. Andrea,
I am a month into working from home and social-distancing, and while of course I am grateful I have a job and am healthy, I am getting so down on myself that I am not accomplishing much. If you had told me last winter that things would be shut down and I’d be under house arrest for weeks, with no commute and my social obligations wiped clean, I would have imagined that I’d spend time getting my life in order. I don’t have children, and I’m dating someone who right now is across the country, so I really have no obligations to anyone but myself, and yet I don’t do anything. I have fitness goals, professional development goals, home projects to do — and I haven’t used this time at all. I can’t even bring myself to do my taxes. Some days I feel like I should give myself a break, and other times I just know that when we come out of this I am going to hate myself for not using the time better. I need a pep talk here.
(Courtesy of Andrea Bonior)
Here’s the start of my pep talk:
You are coping with each day as you go through something exceedingly stressful and strange. Something that there’s no road map for. And that’s an accomplishment worthy of the biggest check mark of all in your day planner.
Seriously. It’s admirable that you want to use your time in a “productive” way — and we’re about to talk about ways to feel more like you’re doing that. But let’s not limit the meaning of productivity to meeting the goals that seemed so shiny before this crisis started. We are in the middle of a pandemic. Your brain has been taxed in ways that it was never expecting, even as you remain grateful for your job and your health.
Add in the fact that there’s no clear end date in sight, and it’s a situation that’s not exactly conducive to tackling that list of home projects or putting on a smile while you storm to the top of the professional ladder.
That said, I don’t want to indulge in all-or-none thinking. You express a tinge of it yourself — saying you haven’t used this time “at all” — which will only make you feel worse. So, the answer is to dig yourself out of the inertia-built hole by getting just a little bit of momentum on your side.
Small, specific goals are where to begin here. What’s the home project that will give you the biggest bang for your buck in terms of time spent? When can you commit just 15 minutes to getting started on your taxes? Is there one document or email you can work on that, at the end of the week, will make you feel a little more on the path you want professionally?
As college decision day looms, the coronavirus has created a whole new set of factors and fears for high school seniors like Mariah Barrera. In seventh grade, Mariah made a pact to herself that she would be the first in her family to graduate from college. Now, she’s completely rethinking what her dream school is. The New Normal is a video series from The Lily that lends advice to teens about how to adjust to the pandemic, hosted by Nicole Ellis. Watch this week’s episode here.
A figure to know
Rachel Carson (1907—1964)
Last week, Earth Day turned 50. But well before the inaugural celebration took shape in 1970, Rachel Carson ignited widespread awareness of environmental issues. Many credit her as the catalyst behind the modern-day environmental movement. Carson, a biologist and writer, wrote several books about nature, most notably “Silent Spring,” which warned of the environmental dangers and health risks of pesticides. The book sparked fierce pushback from the chemical industry and ultimately led to a national ban on the pesticide DDT. Before the publication of “Silent Spring,” Carson worked as an aquatic biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries (which later came to be known as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). She was only the second woman hired by the bureau. Carson died in 1964 of breast cancer. Years later, in 1980, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Three need-to know stories
Female academics seem to be submitting fewer papers during the coronavirus pandemic, which some experts say threatens to derail their careers.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s brother died of covid-19; in a statement, Warren (D-Mass.) said, “I’m grateful to the nurses and other front-line staff who took care of my brother, but it is hard to know that there was no family to hold his hand or to say ‘I love you’ one more time.”