Moments of Joy—Finding Happiness During the Pandemic

10 Sep 2020

Don’t let the pandemic keep you down, even if it’s keeping you (mostly) at home.

By Christine Mahoney

With everyone spending more time at (or near) home these days, it’s essential to find bright spots in everyday activities. Whether it’s changing up your morning exercise routine, finding a way to clear your Zoom-induced brain fog or just having more fun washing up, these tips will help you add moments of joy to your life.


Keep Your Hands Clean, Beautifully

We’re all washing our hands more these days, but that doesn’t mean we have to use a boring bar of soap or a generic squirt of liquid—Every. Single. Time. Boulder-based Courageous Soap’s Lisa Gillespie created river rock soaps that not only clean the germs off your digits, they also look beautiful and feel great in your hands. Gillespie feels being an indie soap artisan during a pandemic is particularly fortunate. “The creative focus helps me get through the daily news dump, and soap is an ideal product, what with all of the requisite hand-washing.” A new soap subscription service launches this fall at, or locals can still order online for contactless pickup.


Keep Your Minds (and Bodies) Active

Here’s a vintage twist on the coronavirus puzzle craze: Cavallini, known for its luxurious, decorative sheets of paper sold at Two Hands Paperie, launched its new puzzle series right before COVID-19 hit. Featuring vintage illustrations of wildflowers, constellations and gemstones—to name a few—the pieces come in cloth bags ensconced in a tube. Two Hands co-owner Mia Semingson says puzzles “give you an active focus to help take your mind off your troubles.”


Rubik’s Cubes are also having a moment. Two Boulder teens found a way to incorporate “cubing” with their other passions. At, you can find Rubik’s-type cubes made with Legos for an extra-sensory punch. They’re the brainchild of 15-year-old Elan Rubin.

Need help learning to solve the cube? Check out free lessons at, where 14-year old Evan Blecher not only offers step-by-step tips (“There are 43-quintillion combinations and only one solution,” he says), he throws down an extra challenge: try to cube while on a pogo stick. In July, he set the world record for the fastest time to solve a Rubik’s cube on a pogo stick: 16.710 seconds.


Boulder County Staples, Socially Distanced

Local yogini Kate Jonuska had just started teaching at a local yoga studio when COVID-19 hit. The yoga veteran quickly pivoted from in-person classes to teaching online, offering short, simple flows set to her favorite rock-and-roll songs. Until there’s a vaccine, you can find her on the Patreon platform:, with music that attracts a non-traditional yoga audience. “Men dig rock music, and younger folks are learning yoga flows like they learn Tik-Tok dances.” Bonus: You don’t even have to leave your home to join the fun.

Boulder County’s ever-popular bike scene is as active as ever, but road bike enthusiasts aren’t necessarily riding Peloton-style these days. Want to social distance while on two wheels? Try a sunrise spin. There won’t be much traffic, and you’ll get to bask in the day’s first rays reflecting off the Flatirons. Check the sunrise time, and just be sure you’re cycling west about 10 minutes later.

Paddleboarding on calm waters is a great way to reduce stress, but not if you feel your fellow paddlers are too close for comfort. Try Longmont’s McIntosh Lake, where you can float one full hour before sunrise or one hour after sunset to avoid crowds. In addition to paddleboarding and kayaking, visitors can hike the lake’s 3.5 miles of trails while taking in the view of Longs Peak and Mount Meeker.  


Morning Coffee, Reimagined

After your sunrise pedal (or paddle), don’t just caffeinate—turn your morning Zoom coffee chat into a work of art. Heat-sensing pop culture mugs, like a Bob Ross vessel that starts out black but morphs into one of his classic landscapes, is sure to coax smiles from your Zoommates. Also find Prince, Stevie Nicks, Mr. Rogers and Frida Kahlo on mugs at Little Piece of My Heart on The Hill in Boulder. Cheers!

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