In this age of caution, many of us are finally taking long-held wisdom about staying healthy to heart. Especially if our hearts don’t pump as pink and peppy as they used to.

In this age of caution beyond caution, we’re learning the inside of the fingers are a forgotten island of germy grime that deserve a bit of scrub, almost like sliding a sheath off a knife. Don’t cut yourself.

In this age, we’re learning to sing while sanitizing, to memorize snappy lyrics so we don’t go mad humming for 20 seconds 20 times a day. No umm-ing either.

In this age of singing while sanitizing with caution beyond caution, I started with “Here Comes the Sun” partly because it made me cheery and partly because I was delirious with “Happy Birthday,” which the CDC originally recommended before creating the new song “Wash hands well each day/ to keep germs away.” Really, how catchy is that?

Unless that’s the whole point.

In this age of cautiously craving fresh air, it’s time to ramp up that individual playlist to not only sing while scrubbing, but sing while walking since gyms are closed. To keep our immune systems humming along with us, we need to hike and bike and run and stretch -- along with resting of course, if we possibly can.

But it’s difficult to sleep when we’re worried so we need to resort to other bold measures to stay well like eating fruits and vegetables.

But the perishables don’t last. So in this age of courage beyond courage, let’s get past frozen string beans and broccoli and dig into super-packed greens like chard, throw a couple of Brussels sprouts our way. They were the only frozen veggies I could find so I know you’re not buying them. I’m being bold, you may have to be too.

If, like me, you have a voice that rips the shutters off the roof, it might be best in this cautious, courageous age of being trapped with your loved ones, if you sing to yourself when you wash and workout to spare these poor people, especially if you go big with your song.

One friend has laid down the gauntlet at the virus with Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive: Go on, now go/walk out the door/ just turn around now/ ‘cause you’re not welcome anymore.”

Another is singing The Beatles: “Let it be/let it be/let it be/let it be/whisper words of wisdom/let it be.”

Let the virus be far away from me.

I’m stuck on Rupert Holmes’s “If you like pina coladas . . .” Because I do.

I wondered if this was the perfect moment for my pandemic partner and me to bake hearty bread from scratch, since I never have. Then I thought . . . Is this the time to risk making a sad lump of dough?

Or the time to clean the basement? To organize the photos? To discard old, faded clothes? Or instead, to throw bawdy courage at caution by having dance hours, painting our nails blue, watching the dumbest, nuttiest, wackiest movies we can?

“Does it make you crazy, frustrated, anxious?” Maybe this is the question we need to ask when deciding what to do with ourselves at home. If the answer is yes, maybe -- if possible -- this is not the time. Aren’t we crazy enough?

More than a hundred years ago, the Father of American Psychology, William James, said “You don’t laugh because you’re happy, you’re happy because you laugh.”

No, we might not be happy right now. Not at all. But at least we can do things that invite a smile, even a little one, to keep ourselves in the best mood for managing the moment with not just a hedge on health but one on humor.

Got a better idea?

Donna Debs is a longtime freelance writer, a former KYW radio news reporter, and a certified Iyengar yoga teacher. She lives in Tredyffrin. She’d love to hear from you at

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