As millions of people stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19, we’re collectively redefining our idea of what “normal” looks like. For Rose Inc., that means pausing our Go-See features for the moment and introducing The Distancing Diaries: a series that explores how our favorite people are adapting to life in the age of coronavirus. Our hope is to encourage readers to take social distancing seriously—and to showcase the myriad ways people are coping and connecting with each other while physically separate.
If you’ve ever double-tapped one of Rose Inc.’s Instagram photos, that’s due to Jordan Santos. Our resident social media guru has a discerning eye, an innate ability to spot the next big thing, and an on-point sense of style. Flawless taste? You know it.
But what we admire most about her is her awareness and advocacy. Along with snaps of her enviable bag collection, she regularly shares thought-provoking book excerpts, under-the-radar news stories worthy of your attention, stories of hope, and ideas for helping others. No surprise, then, that she’s modeling a healthy balance between self-care and caring for others during this strange and challenging time. Get to know Jordan below, and you’ll likely admire her as much as we do.
How are your spirits?
It changes daily, hourly even. Sometimes I’m happy and hopeful, seeing how serious a lot of my friends are taking social distancing and hearing about random acts of kindness and all of the donating and volunteering happening all around the world. I’m always grateful - grateful to be able to work from home, that my family and friends are healthy, that I don’t have to worry about food or shelter. But to be honest, I’m often angry or sad or both. Angry that we don’t have a proper leader doing what is best for our country and that so many still think this whole thing is a hoax or overreaction. Sad that there are people out there losing their jobs or their loved ones, that there are people being discriminated against for being Asian or looking Chinese. I don’t know… I feel helpless.
What does your stay-at-home life look like? Where are you, and is anyone with you?
I’m in LA with my husband. My stay-at-home life consists of working from home (I manage social media accounts - Rose Inc. being one of them!- and my own being another), spending too much time on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr… you name it), reading, journaling, going for walks on empty streets…
I’ve also been trying to be more intentional with the free time I now have. I’ve signed up with Swing Left to write letters to potential voters in swing states for the November election and I’ve enrolled in a free online course about race and racism in the United States to educate myself more on the injustices in this country.
How are you staying informed on what’s going on? And how are you balancing the need to stay informed with the need to take a break?
I’ve been reading online news articles and I’ve begun watching Mayor Garcetti’s press conferences. I also listen to a few podcasts that keep me up-to-date on what’s going on with the pandemic and just news in general. I also see news on Twitter and Instagram stories from people I follow. It’s hard to take a break from it all, but I’m trying… Or at least I should be as it can be pretty exhausting. I’m trying to stop consuming the news as it comes, as it can easily send me down a rabbit hole or make me upset so I’ve been saving videos or articles to watch or read later when I’m more in the mood.
How are you looking out for the well-being of others?
I’ve been checking in with loved ones and asking how they are really doing. My dad’s been stressed about it so we’ve been having frequent hour-long calls, which I’m grateful for. Texting, calling, FaceTiming. While social distancing can feel lonely, it’s nice to be able to communicate with our friends and family so easily.
My friend is a nurse in California and she’s been texting me about how work has been an emotional rollercoaster. She told me how there aren’t enough PPE (personal protective equipment) for the healthcare workers, especially N95 masks, and that they should be wearing them for every case or patient but there aren’t enough. And they’re sold out everywhere. Some nurses bring their own, some have to rewash them… Some are using trash bags as medical gowns.
After I spoke with her, I did some more research and I was shocked to learn how hospitals around the country are experiencing the same thing. If our doctors and nurses aren’t healthy, then they won’t be able to help those who fall ill with COVID-19.
I found an organization called Direct Relief, which coordinates with public health authorities to provide personal protective equipment and other essential medical items to health workers responding to the virus. I started a fundraiser to support their efforts because I felt like I had to channel all my anger and sadness over the situation into something positive and productive. We’ve raised almost $3000 in less than 24 hours and I’m so grateful to everyone who contributed, especially at a time when many are financially strained.
I’m also trying to support smaller businesses. I don’t usually order takeout, but I’ve made a list of local restaurants that need the help during this time. I’ve also been keeping a few protein bars in my car so I can hand them out when I see someone in need. There were a couple of guys near my apartment so my husband and I brought them some food, water, tissues, and a blanket. At the end of the day, I’m just doing the best that I can, you know?
Have you introduced any new routines or rituals since staying home?
I’ve been journaling, reading, and turning on my diffuser every night before going to bed. I journal and read regularly, but I haven’t turned on my diffuser in a while. I find that diffusing certain oils does calm me down before going to sleep. I usually journal monthly, but now I find that I have so many more feelings and thoughts because of the current situation so I like to let it all out each night and just document this weird period in our lives. I also now read every night, no matter how late it is, as I find it to be a nice and necessary distraction.
How are you staying socially connected?
Instagram, Twitter… per usual. More people are online and communicating that way so there’s a lot of connecting there. Also phone calls, FaceTiming. I just downloaded House Party to play games with a couple friends.
If you’re working from home, what’s your best advice for productivity?
I wish I had the answer! Change out of your pajamas, even if it’s to sweats, haha. Find a space to work from. I was working from my dining room and couch and realized how unproductive I was being so I moved my vanity table from my bedroom to the living room, where there’s more natural light, to use as a desk. Having a dedicated work space is helpful. I also make a to-do list every day.
Any advice for battling cabin fever?
Get out if you can, while always maintaining at least 6 feet from anyone else. I’ve been walking around the neighborhood at off hours when there are less people on the streets to just get fresh air and move my legs. Stretch or exercise indoors to good music that will help get your mind off of your worries or stresses. Read a book that will transport you to another world, another place, another time.
What (or whom!) is inspiring you right now?
Anyone and everyone who is involved in fighting this virus or helping other people. Of course everyone working in healthcare, and also the people working in grocery stores, delivering our packages, cooking food… I’m also inspired by anyone using their voice or platform to inform other people about the pandemic. Chiara Ferragni raised over 3 million for new hospital beds in Italy. Companies all around the world are using their resources to make more hand sanitizer, hospital gowns and masks. I also appreciate friends like Neada (@neadajane) and Kanya (@kanyaiwana), who use their platforms to keep their audiences informed by sharing articles. I know many are hesitant about speaking about stuff like this, but we all have to remember this is a non-partisan issue and all of us benefit by learning the facts and credible information that’s out there.
Which self-care practices are helping you cope with stress and/or anxiety?
Walking outdoors, journaling, reading, and turning on my Vitruvi diffuser.
What does your home fitness routine look like?
It doesn’t look like much! I’m used to working out at a gym and using all of their exercise machines and weights. I have a mat and 5 pound weights and a medicine ball that I’ve used here and there. It’s been so hard to get motivated to workout, but I’ve been trying to at least go for a 30-minute walk and taking the time to stretch.
What do you do when you need a mood boost?
Go for a walk outside. Listen to Respect by Aretha Franklin radio on Spotify. Make an iced matcha latte. Put in a delicious food order at a local restaurant (we’ve been reserving this for Fridays!).
What are you watching?
Little Fires Everywhere starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon just came out - I’m 4 episodes in. I just finished reading the book by Celeste Ng, which made me so excited to watch the show.
What are you reading?
I recently finished Call Me By Your Name, Little Fires Everywhere, and Trick Mirror. I’m currently reading Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, a beautiful story about Chinese-American women and their relationships with their immigrant mothers.
What are you listening to?
Mostly The Daily and The Daily Show podcasts. They have similar names, but they’re different! The Daily keeps me up-to-date on general news in the country and The Daily Show is a humorous take on the news. Trevor Noah is the host and he’s so funny and informative at the same time. I definitely recommend it if you want to get the news, but don’t want to be in a bad mood afterwards. I’ve also been listening to The Weeknd’s new album.
What are you cooking?
Nothing to write home about, haha. Cooking is a necessity, not a joy for me!
What’s your hand soap of choice?
Which social media accounts brighten your day?
What is your hope for the future?
I hope that we learn from this. I hope we realize we are more similar to one another than we think and have the same vulnerabilities. I hope we appreciate one another a lot more - not just those we love. I hope we recognize success as health and happiness and everything else comes after that. I hope we learn the importance of taking care of each other, even if it sometimes means sacrifice and inconvenience.
Jordan Santos photographed by Jordan Santos in Los Angeles.