COVID-19 is a serious issue, there’s no argument about that, but hearing, reading, and watching about it can be mentally draining.

To that effect, here are some things to help make you smile or brighten your day while we’re dealing with something basically no one in living memory has had to deal with.

1. Penguins at the zoo: On March 13, after the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago closed its doors to the public for two weeks, a video was released of Wellington, the crested tip penguin, being given a tour of the Amazon Rising area. Wellington seemed to be fascinated by the exotic fish swimming throughout the tank. A second clip released a few days later featured Edward and Annie, a pair of bonded rockhopper penguins, checking out the museum’s rotundra, their heads moving this way and that as they took in their surroundings.

2. A dinosaur named Sue: If fossils are more your thing, Chicago’s Field Museum might be something to catch your fancy. After hearing about what the Shedd Museum did for its penguins, the Field Museum decided to do something for one of its most famous residents, Sue the T. Rex. Clips from the Field Museum’s twitter account feature a Sue look-a-like wandering through, excitedly waving at her avian descendents and running through the empty halls.

3. Christmas lights: Most people would have their Christmas lights in storage by this point but in an effort to spread a bit of cheer, people have been putting those lights back up to both literally and metaphorically brighten things up while maintaining social distance/self-isolation. Some social media posts show houses that have gone full on Clark Griswold, with almost every available outdoor space taken up by lights, definitely something to behold.

4. Music: On PEI, the Pitre family of Christopher Cross has brought music back to the area, though instead of Christopher Cross Requests, it’s Christopher Cross Music At Home. People can request for someone to perform a song from the comfort of their own home. While people might not be able to physically connect right now, they’re able to connect online through music.

5. Museums: Once museums started closing their doors to the public, the announcements started coming in that free virtual tours were available online. This includes tours for the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, National Portrait Gallery in London, the Frick Art Museum in Pittsburgh, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the São Paulo Museum of Art, and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. A lot of people will never actually have the chance to visit these places in person, so this is a wonderful opportunity.

And, if all that fails to spark joy, there are always cat videos aplenty.

Jillian Trainor


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