Welcome. A couple of newsletters ago I asked you to tell us how you were doing, and how we might help. That’s a central tenet of our world here At Home, where we seek to make life a little more bearable, a little fuller, a little more interesting, even as the pandemic continues to swirl and we find ourselves at home more than perhaps ever before.

The responses were revealing: We’re not having much fun, any of us, and we’re worried for the fall. We have a lot of questions about that. I thought I’d take on one today and more in the coming ones:

What we struggle with is excessive screen time for online learning and work calls. When we need a mental escape, we watch movies. It’s getting to the point that we don’t want to conference call with friends and family because we are burned out. What is the refresher-reset for this? A book? Staring at a wall?

It might be a book, but I find at the end of a day of screen time that sometimes books are hard to read. The letters swim around. I find myself trying to click on words. It’s easier to stare at the wall. (Staring at a wall can be an interesting practice. Concentrate on your breathing. It’s meditation.) In truth, though, the best reset I’ve found is to use your telephone to make an actual telephone call. This removes the weird technological newness of video technology (“You’re on mute!”) and returns you to high school, when you could easily talk with a friend for an hour. I emerge from those calls refreshed and ready for another day of screens.

More good advice for living a good life at home right now is below. Please let us know what you’d like to know: athome@nytimes.com.


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Credit…Max-o-matic

BILLY CRUDUP Cameron told me afterward, “Robert Plant said, ‘Yeah, I liked it a lot. That Russell character, I know that guy.’” And Cameron was like, “You know Billy?” And he goes, “No, no, no, I know Russell.”

  • Manohla Dargis is keeping the “Viewing Party!” going even if A.O. Scott is on vacation, and she has “Love & Basketball” queued up for this weekend. Watch it with her and let her know what you think.

  • And Margaret Lyons has an eye on the clock for you. If you have an hour, and crave some excitement, she suggests you give “Wynonna Earp” a chance.


Credit…Brenna Hernandez/Shedd Aquarium
  • While some zoos and aquariums are opening up for the summer — at least in a limited capacity — the pandemic has created a huge resource of virtual options for visiting with animals you may never have seen otherwise. We did a dive into the options available, many of which are free of charge.

  • Our culture writers were asked to come up with eight things you should do this weekend. One of their suggestions is to check out the work of the sketch group Model Majority that imagined what it would look like if networks retrieved old hits from their archives and recast them with Asian-American actors.

  • This week’s playlist has a new track from Taylor Swift — who, at 30, appears to have officially grown up. If you’d rather laugh than dance, we picked out seven podcasts that can lighten the mood.


Credit…Trisha Krauss
  • Ronda Kaysen realizes her home is not what it used to be in terms of tidiness, but with no one coming over any time soon, she openly wondered if that matters. One option to getting things in order, of course, is to move, and Hannah Wise answered questions about the realities of such a decision. And we checked in with five New Yorkers who escaped the city, asking them the big question: Was it worth it?

  • Facing what they see as a crisis in the education system, and unsatisfactory answers from their schools, some parents have formed pandemic pods to educate kids at home. One benefit of virtual learning? A chance to reset and reduce tween and teen drama.

  • And in good news for large bags of chips that have so often been vilified, a study has shown that all of the sitting involved in a couch potato lifestyle may actually be tricking our bodies into thinking they need to gain weight. Could the chips be innocent?!


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