The coronavirus pandemic has hit every single continent, so we asked women on each one how they’re getting through.

By Omenaa Boakye
Updated Apr 15, 2020 @ 9:00 am
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Coronavirus has become a global pandemic, upending daily life in every corner of the world. On every continent, governments are enforcing lockdowns and quarantines in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Unprecedented numbers of people are out of work, or simply staying home as businesses shutter and events are called off. In a grim, backhanded upside, there is some unity in this: Across the world, we are all facing similar challenges.

People the world over are having to find new routines as we work from home, homeschool our kids, and try to make our grocery budgets stretch further; we are missing our family members and friends but staying home to protect them. We are losing some. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), since China reported its first case of COVID-19 in December 2019, authorities in 213 countries and territories have reported more than 1,848,439 cases and 117,217 deaths worldwide. Currently, the United States is the hardest hit with more than 553,822 confirmed cases and 21,972 deaths so far. Italy follows with 159,516 reported cases which have led to 20,465 deaths.

It can be difficult not to feel overwhelmed in the midst of a crisis on this scale, but that doesn’t mean we can’t handle it. COVID-19 has brought a global opportunity for solidarity in what is now a shared struggle. According to New York based psychologist Dr. Sarton Weinraub, “Maintaining a self-created routine or schedule is the most important self-care approach that we can enact at this time. This routine might be unique to you and your lifestyle, but whatever it is it needs to be maintained.” In other words: Whatever self-care looks like to you, try to fit it in.

Here, 11 women around the world share what self-care practices they are putting in to place and how they are facing each day.

VIDEO: Women Around the World Discuss Life During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Asia

The first case of coronavirus was reported in Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019. The government enacted a widespread lockdown in the weeks following, and similar procedures were then put in place across Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. After nearly three months, the number of newly reported cases across Asia have decreased and, in China, places of work are reopening as life begins returning to normal.

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Guangzhou, China

Chloe Ho, Restaurant Owner, Age 30

I was quarantined for around three weeks, as I had to reopen my restaurant. I got through the day by doing things I enjoyed. I read a lot more and tried out some new recipes. I also used the time to focus on my skincare routine. I wear a mask to cover my mouth whenever I go outside, so I spend a lot less time on my makeup. There’s a new makeup trend here called “makeup with the mask,” basically, you only put makeup on the upper part of your face that is not covered by the mask. I concentrate on my eye makeup and eyebrows. I’m a makeupaholic so this is a real pain to me, but now I make sure that I give extra attention to my skincare. I love using Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Eye Rescue Cream, Erno Laszlo Active Phelityl Intensive Cream, and Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser.

My advice for others around the world in isolation:
This virus outbreak has taught me that life is more fragile than we think. I think it is important to use this opportunity to spend more time with our families and our pets. My dogs were so excited that I was home and had more time to play with them.

North America

The United States is currently the worst hit country with 553,822 confirmed cases of COVID-19, which have led to 21,972 deaths, so far. Now, 48 States have declared a national state of emergency, as the virus continues to spread. Roughly 95% of all Americans are under lockdown, the directives to keep people at home, which began in California in mid-March, and have quickly swept the nation. Masks are now recommended in public, and only essential workers should be on duty.

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New York City, New York

Kylee Kaetzel, PR Manager, Age 25

I have started doing puzzles and recently picked up cross-stitching and knitting. We are all spending hours and hours with screen time and it’s important to give your eyes and brain a break. This is a very unique opportunity, one that we probably won’t get again in our lifetime. I’m trying to relax, reflect, and take this time to come out better on the other side.

My advice for others around the world in isolation:

Let this time of isolation and solidarity bring to light what is truly most important to you. We are inundated in our day-to-day lives with pressure and stress from the world. Grow closer to your family and friends, spend time with people you truly care about and reflect inwardly on ways you can be a part of the positive change from this virus.

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Los Angeles, California

Maria DiDomenico, Actress, Age 37

Every day I take the top of the morning to pray and meditate. I give thanks for the health in my body and the privilege to live out another day. Another thing I recently started doing is putting on a bit of lipstick and some mascara at least once or twice a week; I love CoverGirl Lash Blast Volume Mascara. I have found that getting up, doing my hair and putting on my makeup helps me not to feel down, it changes my mood.

My advice for others around the world in isolation:

Life should be experienced with gratitude in our hearts and a thirst to live out each day being present in the moment. It can be overwhelming to try and forecast what will transpire in the coming months. At best, the advice I can offer others and myself is to take all of this day by day, moment by moment and minute by minute. I encourage us all, to the best of our ability, to focus on what we do have and shift our perspective towards gratitude. Gratitude can set a powerful tone in our lives that can lead towards helping others who are in greater need.

Europe

At the end of January 2020, France became the first European country to confirm a coronavirus case. In mid-February, Italy identified its first case, and the illness swept the continent as Fashion Week bounced from city to city (editors returning to New York marked some of the first Americans under quarantine orders). Now, Europe is the most affected continent, with 943,272 confirmed cases, and lockdown orders across several countries.

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Napoli, Italy

Angela Filippi, Designer, Age 30

I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is a prayer of gratitude for my dad, family, and friends who are fine and free from COVID-19. It helps me start the day off on a positive step. Then, I have a nice warm shower and finish off with a mask; my favorites are Dr Jart and Garnier Skin Active Moisture Bomb.

I also like to put a natural mask on my hair as I don’t know when I’ll be seeing my hairdresser again! I love to take care of my hair; I do a massage and mask with olive oil and aloe vera, once every two weeks. My hair always comes out feeling soft and shiny once I rinse it. I find this relaxing; it helps me to look good, and that extra me time ensures that I don’t go mad whilst in quarantine.

My advice for others around the world in isolation:

Remember that there are many less fortunate, be grateful [if] you and your loved ones are healthy. If you feel sad or miserable, my best advice is to press pause and think about the situation; people are in the hospital fighting for their lives.

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London, England

MaameYaa Kwafo-Akoto, Senior Associate Lawyer, Age 37

My faith is key to my daily routine. Uncertainty can be scary, and reading my Bible has kept me sane these past few weeks. I have also set myself a few goals. I have a treadmill at home which I run on at least once a day; this helps me break up my routine, so I am not constantly working. When you are working from home, it’s easy for the line between work and home life to become blurred so it’s good to break up the day and strike a balance.

My advice for others around the world in isolation:

Take every day as it comes and cling on to what matters most. Prioritize yourself and your family and make sure you take time for you, even if it’s once a week.

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Vienna, Austria

Sanja Bauer, Policy Officer, Age 31

I wake up more or less around the same time as when I went to work. Although I am not going to the office, I like to keep that routine. I’m really enjoying not wearing makeup and using this time to try out all my beauty products. I like to try products from around the world as I think there are beauty secrets that different women have in every country. I love this oil I found in Finland called, Lumene Arctic Valo Light Arctic Berry Cocktail Hydra Oil, it has wild arctic cloudberry and cranberry seed oils, it helps my skin feel rejuvenated.

Before lunch, I do my daily workout routine in a nearby park which includes running and different exercises. I love to get outside even if it’s just for a walk. This is one of the moments when I feel like life is back to normal again. Oh, and lipstick is a must! I like to put on my lipstick if I am going for a walk, I love Sensai lipstick. I put a bit on even if we’re going to the grocery store.

My advice for others around the world in isolation:

If you are in quarantine, my best piece of advice is to think about how you want to look and feel after the quarantine ends. Following that, make a plan which includes activities and doing things you enjoy. Then, set yourself daily goals. Also, try and stay physically active, even if you are indoors. Treat your body well, your outer beauty and general well-being will thank you!

South America

The first coronavirus patient in South America was reported on February 26, 2020, in São Paulo, Brazil. The number of confirmed cases in Brazil has since surged to 22,169 and 1,124 deaths. The virus has now spread through all 12 countries on the continent, as many impose shelter-in-place measures, close schools, restrict travel, and prohibit large public gatherings.

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São Paulo, Brazil

Jessica Pauletto, Model, Age 29

I know this is a very hard time, but I think it’s important not to constantly watch the news; it will only make you anxious. I do things that make me feel good, like cooking a good healthy meal and yoga. I used to work out in a boulder gym as I love climbing, but as we are quarantined, I use the Nike Training Club and Asana Rebel apps to work out at home.

My advice for others around the world in isolation:

Do things that you love. Cook, work out, do your skincare routine, read a book, watch that show you love, or just take this time to rest, because that’s really important too. Try to keep positive; this will pass. And of course, if you can, stay home.

Australia

Australia, with a population of 25 million, has had approximately 6,322 coronavirus infections, and 61 deaths. The first case to be recorded was on January 25, 2020. March 20, the government closed its borders to all non-citizens and limited domestic travel. Currently, it is unlawful to be outside without a “reasonable excuse” of essential shopping, medical care, exercise, or compassionate grounds.

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Brisbane, Australia

Sharon Robson, Business Manager, Age 33

I have been dancing in the privacy of my apartment; it’s me, and a whole lot of space on the dance floor. This helps me to zone out and burn calories at the same time. I love going to the gym but now that the gyms are closed, I’m getting my 45 minutes of cardio done in other ways. I want to make sure that I still keep a fitness routine.

My skincare routine is another thing that I am religious about. How I wash my face will never change — a good scrub in the morning and at night. I love my Tatcha Deep Cleanse Exfoliating Cleanser followed by my Drunk Elephant eye cream.

My advice for others around the world in isolation:
Take one day at a time, this is only temporary. It is going to pass and when it does it will only make you realize how strong of a person you really are.

Middle East

There are over 100,000 reported cases of the virus across the Middle East, with the vast majority in the hard-hit nation of Iran. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the first country in the region to register a case on January 29. The virus quickly spread to other neighboring countries. Restrictions on religious practices have been put in place; shutting down prayers, pilgrimages, and travel. Schools have been closed since March 5, with most educating being done online. Restaurants, beaches and bars are all closed.

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Rima Zahran, Entrepreneur, Age 36
In the morning I wake up, pray and meditate, then I take a shower and get dressed before my children wake up. I feel like I can take on the day when I’ve taken care of myself. I don’t need hours, I just need one hour alone in the morning, then, I’m ready for everything. I’ve tried to keep my beauty routine pretty much the same. I still put on makeup and take care of my skin. The only thing that has changed is that I have more time to do DIY face masks and scrubs. This week, I mixed honey, olive oil and Himalayan salt; it’s an amazing cleansing scrub. I love homemade masks. When I’m on my regular schedule I never have time to make them; now, I have all the time in the world.

My advice for others around the world in isolation:
What we see and who we choose to listen to is so important, as energy is contagious. I’ve chosen to only watch one news channel and not 15. Don’t watch too much news; watch funny things. I’ve also unfollowed people on social media who constantly complain or post negative messages, as I want positive energy in my life. One thing I know for sure is that we are going to look back and say, “It wasn’t so bad, we were able to do so much with that free time.

Africa

The first coronavirus patient was detected in Africa on February 27, in Nigeria. There are now 10,787 reported cases across the continent. South Africa recently confirmed 2,272 cases, which have led to 27 deaths. Algeria has more than 1,983 cases that have led to 313 deaths, the most within the nation. Different countries are putting prevention methods in place; Ghana and Nigeria both closed their borders and are enforcing a partial lockdown.

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Accra, Ghana

Afua Rida, Influencer and Style Consultant, Age 32

I realized that I have to be intentional about everything I do. Being slowed down by the need to social distance and stay at home allows time for self-reflection and to plan for the future. A lot of great things can come out of this quiet time. I plan out the day: workouts, work, leisure time, meals and naps. I stick to my skincare routine and still repeat it twice a day. I use Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanse, Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream, Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil, and Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen.

My advice for others around the world in isolation:
The first thing is to allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you are feeling; whether you are scared or panicked or just enjoying being home all day: No emotion is irrelevant. Acknowledge how you feel, discuss it with others, read about ways to manage the anxiety, or share your good mood with others who might need a dose of positivity.

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Lagos, Nigeria

Omoyemi Akerele, Fashion Consultant (Founder of Lagos Fashion Week and Style House Files), Age 41

I think an important part of my self-care is family time. Whilst we’ve been stuck at home, I’ve been enjoying doing more activities with my daughters [10, 14 and 15 years old] I have become their Tik Tok producer and videographer! Last Sunday, I suggested that we all get dressed up for Sunday lunch. I wore the brightest colored boubou (caftan) I could find and although it was just at home, it was a great mood lifter, I definitely recommend it.

My advice for others around the world in isolation:

I recently remembered something Reverend Will Van Der Hart said, "We are isolating but we don't need to be isolated." It's become very important to me to be the light, to reach out to people I know, stay connected and stay grateful with an understanding that no matter what happens, we have to be hopeful.

I saw a quote by [psychologist and happiness expert] Dr. Rebecca Ray on @lipstickafricatv and it resonates, "She decided to rename uncertainty as possibility and the world opened up." It might be a bit difficult, but I think it's important to take each day as it comes and hold onto the possibilities that tomorrow can bring.