Why this editor is throwing her normal Sunday routine out the window in the name of Animal Crossing

Sundays are a day to recharge and reset by hanging with friends, turning off your phone, bathing for hours on end, or doing whatever else works for you. In this column (in conjunction with our Instagram Self-Care Sunday series), we ask editors, experts, influencers, writers, and more what a perfect self-care Sunday means to them, from tending to their mental and physical health to connecting with their community to indulging in personal joys. We want to know why Sundays are important and how people enjoy them, from morning to night.

Before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shook up her weekend routine, HelloGiggles Features Editor Kristin Magaldi had a go-to Sunday ritual with her boyfriend that involved grabbing bagels and coffee, taking walks around Astoria Park, and prepping meals for the rest of the week. However, now that Sundays melt into the work week, she admits that her regular habits have gone out the window.

“Sundays are a bit of a free-for-all,” Magaldi says. “My policy lately has been to do what feels good in the moment, without putting too much pressure on myself to form some sort of schedule to feel productive.” These days, she adds, she tries “not to define too much of a routine, because assigning an activity lately with the word ‘should’ has made it harder to actually do it.”

For the 26-year-old, that means Sundays now consist of playing video games such as Animal Crossing and Just Dance, watching Westworld on HBO, cooking, and having a nice glass of wine. And since Magaldi knows the world isn’t returning to its old ways anytime soon, she’s also utilizing her Sundays to do new rituals—like meditating—that help her keep calm, cool, and collected.

For this week’s Self-Care Sunday, we spoke to Magaldi to find out more about her new routine. Here, in her own words, are her go-to practices, plus tips for other people who may be having trouble maintaining their norms during this difficult time.

Mental Health:

Go-to mental health practices

Just Dance has been a bit of a lifesaver for me, because it offers a physical activity that prevents me from feeling so lethargic while also not really feeling like exercise. I try to meditate, but I’m not always successful at keeping up with it. I’ve also been taking a lot of baths lately with Himalayan sea salt. But if I want to turn my brain off completely, I sit down on my couch with a glass of wine and plan how I’m going to better my deserted island on Animal Crossing.


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Physical Practices:

Sometimes it’s been cleaning or going to the laundromat to get my laundry done. But, honestly, my life has been pretty sedentary. Taking walks outside doesn’t feel safe because I live in such a busy neighborhood. Workouts beyond yoga or Just Dance are hard, too, because my apartment is very small.

Physical health tips

If you look at my desk, there’s an excessive amount of vitamins lined up, ready for me to take after breakfast. I’ve been taking Vitamin C, B12, and probiotics. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll pepper in some echinacea or turmeric and ginger supplements. I hate kombucha, but I’ve started drinking it religiously.

Other than that, I’ve just been trying to wash my hands and disinfect surfaces often. My boyfriend and I have a Disinfect Zone in the apartment, so whenever we [come home], we spray ourselves and everything with Lysol, and try to keep anything that’s possibly been contaminated in that area.

At-home upgrades

[I’ve been] cleaning to declutter the space and opening windows for some fresh air. I have a few candles I like to light when I’m taking a bath, and my boyfriend loves turning on our diffuser and adding some lavender essential oils.

Community Care:

Staying connected

Funnily enough, I’ve been connecting with a lot of my friends through Animal Crossing, where I have the option to visit their island and play along with them. All of my college friends and I have also been making a point of doing Zoom calls on Sundays to check in and laugh about old memories. It reinvigorates some of the energy I’ve been losing throughout the week, and it helps me feel a bit more refreshed. Other than that, I text those I’m closest with. My best friend and I don’t go more than three hours without talking to each other.

Quarantine life lessons

If I thought I had a typical extroverted personality before, it has become even more apparent now that I’m in isolation. Being around people drives my energy. Whether that means seeing colleagues in an office, going to happy hour with friends, or [eating at] my favorite restaurant with my boyfriend, I feel most alive when I’m surrounded by bustling, busy environments.

That’s why I love living in New York City. Right now, I see one human a day—and he’s a great human, who I love immensely and am incredibly grateful for—but I’m definitely deprived of energy because I haven’t been socializing. I don’t think I’m ever going to say no to anyone asking me to go out after work again, no matter how tired I am.

Personal Joys:

Self-care routine

There are definitely a few products that have been helping with my mental health right now. If my boyfriend didn’t invest in a Nintendo Switch before quarantine, we wouldn’t have had anything fun, mindless, and simple to do. I also love my Nespresso machine more than George Clooney could ever love his. There’s something incredibly comforting about drinking coffee in the morning. It helps me feel grounded and offers a sense of normalcy. And Nespresso coffee is absolutely delicious.

Also, going food shopping and finding ingredients has been extremely challenging, but I’ve been trying to make a lot of Italian comfort food at home because it reminds me of my family. I need to eat good food or else the day doesn’t really feel worth it. I make a nice cup of coffee and fluffy pancakes with Nutella every Sunday. Then, for dinner, I make an Italian-American classic. I’ve done eggplant parmesan, chicken parmesan, and this weekend I’m doing lasagna. If I can get my hands on a bottle of Chianti Classico, then I’m as close to content as I can be in quarantine.


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Advice for people who are unable to set up a routine

For the first time in a while, I’m trying to make peace with not being okay. I’m trying to wake up in the morning, evaluate what I’m feeling, and address it. Sometimes that means riding the wave of whatever it is I’m feeling, and sometimes that means finding something to distract myself with.

We can’t do more than try to deal with things in the moment, because everything is so unpredictable. If you had the best of intentions to do a workout class every day or take up a hobby and it isn’t working out, that’s okay. Finding a way to be kind to yourself—even if it’s not habitual, or in the form of a routine—is enough for now.

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