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21 Best-Selling Essential Oil Diffusers to Help You Unwind 

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For moments when you’re feeling overwhelmed, or just in the mood to smell something delightful, the scent of an uplifting or soothing essential oil—like peppermint, lavender, or lemongrass—can be a much-needed stress reliever. And you don’t have to use a roll-on to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy: Essential oil diffusers provide continuous scent dispersion, and can transition any living room, bedroom, or bathroom into an oasis of sorts.

Some even double as humidifiers, which can quite literally help you breathe easier—a potential source of comfort for the many people who are finding themselves cooped up indoors a lot more than usual. Plus, since most diffusers are made to be streamlined and compact, they won’t take up too much precious real estate in a cramped space. Below, we’ve rounded up 21 best-selling aromatherapy diffusers from retailers like Amazon and Nordstrom that might help you find calm in these anxious times.

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Lifestyle

How the myths surrounding bat soup came to represent our collective fear and confusion over COVID-19

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Object Lessons of a Pandemic is a new series looking at the COVID-19 pandemic through the history and meaning of the objects that surround it — all the strange, ordinary and essential things that the rise of coronavirus has made us think about in new and unexpected ways. From everyday household items to inventions that have become indispensable, these are the objects COVID-19 will be remembered by. 


The myth that bat soup caused the coronavirus was debunked quickly.

Illustration by Miranda McGuire

At the very end of the movie Contagion, a flash-back to “day zero” reveals the origin of the deadly disease that becomes a catastrophic global pandemic: An infected bat inadvertently shared its food with a pig, which is slaughtered and served at a casino in Macau, whose head chef shakes hands with Gwyneth Paltrow. For a long time, in the early days of its inception and spread, it seemed that the novel coronavirus had emerged under similar circumstances.

We heard about live animals in “wet markets” in Wuhan. We heard about Chinese food safety standards and market conditions that bred disease. And we heard about “bat soup,” a delicacy apparently responsible for causing COVID-19.

The myth that bat soup caused the coronavirus was debunked quickly. In January, when the virus still largely seemed to be a Chinese problem, Foreign Policy ran an article under the title “Bat Soup Didn’t Cause the Wuhan Virus.” The story criticized a fake viral video showing a Chinese woman eating a bat whole with chopsticks in Wuhan, and which pointed out that, although bats may have had something to do with COVID-19, there’s no reason to believe that “chowing down on the creatures of the night was involved” in its creation or spread at all.

The earliest victims had no contact with the Wuhan market previously assumed to be the epicentre of the disease. Bat doesn’t even tend to be eaten in Wuhan; the viral video was actually set in Palau. As Dr. Syra Madad told Business Insider, the idea that COVID came from bat soup “is absolutely not correct.”

And yet, the “bat soup” misconception proved strangely tenacious, and as late as the end of March, references to Chinese culinary habits were still rampant in the news and among public figures, including Republican senator John Cornyn, of Texas, who said in a press conference that “China is to blame” for the coronavirus pandemic because of “the culture where people eat bats and snakes and dogs and things like that.” The American president, meanwhile, continues to refer to COVID as “the Chinese virus,” obstinately refusing to ditch the rhetoric despite exhortations from the World Health Organization and others. WHO advises against referring to diseases by nationality, in an effort “to minimize unnecessary negative effects” on a country and its people. In a recent address, Donald Trump maintained to reporters that, simply, “it’s not racist at all.”

In many ways, the bat soup myth represents the collective fear, confusion and panic that have surrounded the coronavirus pandemic since it first emerged late last year. The outbreak of the disease was shrouded in mystery and disinformation from the beginning, making it difficult to appreciate the scale of the threat and all too easy to look elsewhere to assign blame.

One of the latent dangers of COVID-19 is that we’ll come out on the other side of this crisis more frightened of and hostile toward other countries, and that “foreign disease” will become the watchword for a new populist movement built around isolationism. When all of this is over, will we remember that bat soup was nothing more than a myth without truth? Or will the lie become a symbol that infects the popular imagination?

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Lifestyle

COVID-19: John Fluevog creates the Dr. Bonnie Henry shoe to honour B.C. health officer

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Fans of B.C’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, will soon be able to step into her shoes. Literally.

Henry has teamed up with Vancouver shoemaker John Fluevog to create a pair of heels — suitably dubbed The Dr. Henry. The limited-edition shoe design will go on presale later this month in a cheery cherry-pink hue, with full pre-sale profits going to help support Food Banks B.C. in the fight against COVID-19.


The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.

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“That’s like the most exciting thing, in my whole life, that’s ever happened to me,” Henry told a Postmedia News reporter Rob Shaw after news broke about the collaboration on Wednesday afternoon. “I just think he makes beautiful shoes.”

Henry says the Fluevog team called her about a month ago to let her know that the designer was thinking of “doing something.” She first saw a picture of the shoes he’d designed with her in mind last week.

“I said ‘wow’,” she recalls. “They are quite beautiful. They are shiny pink. Perfect.”

The Mary Jane-style heeled shoe features accent stitching and a patent leather toe cap. The design will be familiar to Fluevog fans as part of the continuing Operetta Family of designs.

A few of Dr. Henry’s “wise words” will also be featured on the creation, reminding all those who wear them to “be kind, be calm, and be safe.”

“At times like these, we’re so fortunate to have someone who is calm and comforting but direct, and positive but realistic, informing and educating us day to day.

“We always like to find ways to help, and to highlight those who are doing good in our world. To hear about and see that our admiration for Dr. Henry was mutual was just a beautiful cherry on top of an already great idea sundae,” Fluevog said.

Dr. Henry’s fashion choices have been the subject of much online discussion in recent weeks, with a growing number of admirers regularly commenting on her impressive collection of John Fluevog Shoes (the brand referred to the medical professional as an “avid Fluevoger” in the news release) as well as her artsy statement necklaces.

“Apparently I don’t have the most of anybody, but I have a few,” Henry admits of the company’s footwear.

The price and pre-sale release date for the limited-edition shoes have not been released yet. To learn more visit, fluevog.com.

Aharris@postmedia.com

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Food and Drink

73 Savory Cooking Projects for People Who Just Can’t Make Another Loaf of Bread

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Maybe you don’t like baking. Maybe you’re tired of trying to get your sourdough starter to activate. Maybe you really, truly can’t eat another slice of cake for dinner. It’s time to think of a savory cooking project.

Below, find 73 of our favorites, including pastas where each layer—the pasta, sauce (marinara), second sauce (béchamel), and fillings—is made from scratch, or dumpling wrappers, fillings, and dipping sauces, too. Each of these recipes will get you in that meditative cooking mode. And in the end: man, are they delicious.

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