These are trying times for everyone. But as the global coronavirus pandemic spreads fear and anxiety, it’s never been more important to keep the hope alive. Cliché though it may sound, no one gets any points for diverting the truth just to be artful right now.

We need to keep hope, humor, and sanity intact if we hope to maintain our health. And we’ll need to maintain our health if we’re to rise to the many challenges we, as humans, currently face.

Distanced, isolated, and even quarantined though we may be, unity and basic human kindness are our best frontline defense as we navigate this unprecedented event, friends. Since the news sure are heavy right now, watching video content that helps us feel lighter, uplifted and connected is a total must to keep our spirits up.

As part of your self-quarantine survival guide, I offer you a carefully curated viewing list for you and yours. 

Movies that will lift up your spirits

1. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

This classic follows the entire Hoover clan on their road trip to California to support their daughter in her efforts to win the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. Masterfully navigating relatable themes of family dysfunctionality, but in a tender, compassionate and outrageously quirky way, LMS is another great watch for anyone suddenly forced to spend lots of time in close proximity to their family.

2. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)

Chiwetel Ejiofor wrote, directed, and stars in this British drama—his feature directorial debut. The story follows a self-taught 13-year-old Malawian boy who teaches himself to build a windmill to save his village from starvation. At a time when kindness and resourcefulness are the most we can offer, this film offers an ample dose of much-needed heart. 

3. The Kids Are Alright (2010)

Family is pretty much never straight forward, and it can be downright dysfunctional, as many of us know. As some of us find ourselves suddenly separated from family, why not watch quality films that navigate family and dysfunction in its many forms?

In TKAA, Lesbian couple Nic and Jules, have brought up two children thanks to an anonymous sperm donor. Said children get curious about their bio father, and the rest is a chain reaction.

4. Mississippi Masala (1991)

This refreshing political love story directed by Indian-American filmmaker Mira Nair is arguably the most romantic movie ever—and its cast is 100% people of colour (including the one-and-only Denzel Washington). Can love win in a climate of spite of political upheaval and racial tension spanning both 1970s Uganda and 1990s Mississippi? This is a story of love against the odds, an inspiration to those of us trying to connect romantically during this time.

Uplifting TV Series for a continuous boost

1. Schitt’s Creek, CBC and Netflix, (2015-present)

This Canadian television gem surprised the whole world with the incredible chemistry of its cast and the perfect balance of humor and touching moments. The Rose family went from being wealthy to losing all their assets and having to live in a motel in a town in the middle of nowhere. The experience forces them to get to know each other, despite their differences, while overcoming the obstacles of their new life.

2. Parks and Rec (2009-2015)

In the fictional town of Pawnee, Leslie Knope, a deputy director of the Parks and Recreation Department with high ambitions and a big heart tried to do her best for her community. With charming and hilarious characters, Parks and Rec reinforces our faith in the power of individuals coming together for the greater good. It’s definitely a good and laugh-inducing way to recharge our faith in our collective power.

3. Master of None, Netflix (2015-2017)

This slice-of-life comedy inspired by the life of comedian Indian-American actor Aziz Ansari is about life, work, and dating in NYC. We’re talking brilliantly layered stories exploring sexual faux pas, race, identity and family obligation (and all the places they overlap and create tension). It’s insightful, funny, emotionally intelligent, and perfect for a covid-19 quarantine devoted to reflection.

4. The Golden Girls, NBC, (1985-1992)

Another timeless oldie goldie for your consideration, The Golden Girls is a show about women who cohabit—for better or worse (two of which are mother and daughter). Featuring the iconic Betty White, they’re constantly insulting each other, but love one another fiercely. They face serious crises by being supportive and empathetic—with unexpectedly delicious edge (thing Grace & Frankie from an earlier time). Prepare to have your anxious mind soothed with its goofiness and unflinching sincerity.

The Internet’s golden treasure: uplifting videos

1. Deshauna Barber’s incredible tale of resillience

In 2016, after 6 years of competing and losing, Deshauna Barber was the first US soldier ever to win the Miss USA title. In her inspiring speech about becoming the best version of oneself, Barber says, “Do not fear failure, but please be terrified of regret.” There’s no better video to watch if you need to be reminded that adversity is part of the path and that not giving up will get you everywhere. 

2. Australian Zookeeper

The Melbourne Zoo began live-streaming some of its animals online so people can still tune in throughout covid-19. Succumbing to temptation, one zookeeper decided to seize the opportunity and put on a dancing display for online viewers which quickly went viral. I’m confident you’ll understand why. Never lose your sense of humor! It brings much needed perspective. 

3. Tom Hanks’ story

Tom Hanks and his wife were recently added to the growing list of celebrity cases of coronavirus. Anyone struggling with the loneliness that often accompanies isolation should give this recent conversation with Hanks a watch. Clearly using his time in isolation to dig deep, Hanks details his lifelong struggle with loneliness, offering hope in introspection and a helpful distinction between loneliness and conscious solitude.

2. Yoga With Adriene

Even if you’re a yoga naysayer, I’m telling you, I’ve found endless inspiration, rejuvenation, and peace of mind thanks to the Yoga With Adriene youtube channel. She’s real, she’s raw, she’s funny, down to earth, and even crass—all the qualities you want in a yoga teacher, especially when you’ve got a bad case of cabin fever. Whether it’s compassion, self-love, movement medicine, or hope for the future you seek, she’s got you covered.

A good attitude is always the best start

Bottom line: times are tough, and that’s the truth. The best we can do is help ourselves, help each other, try not to internalize too much stress, and sustain our collective sense of humour. I believe the above list can help inspire much of this. To all my fellow humans: we got this. Together, we have more power than we know. So enjoy the show.

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