This will be a difficult post for me to write. I can usually draw a clear line between my Android Police work and my other job as a pharmacist, and call upon a (slightly) more objective and professional tone while relaying news, but today is different. Everything has been different for a while. So in lieu of a regular introduction, I'll just say that I'm very thankful to companies that appreciate the effort and stress our healthcare professionals are going through while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and are doing their best to offer them some relief. Headspace is one of them.

The meditation company is making its Headspace Plus subscription free for healthcare professionals in the US through 2020. To redeem it, all you have to do is go to this page, choose your state, enter your National Provider Identifier and email address, and you should be good.

The service comprises guided meditations including sleep-focused ones and super short ones for busy schedules, mindfulness exercises, sleep sounds, and expert guidance. For anyone else interested in trying it out in these highly stressful times, Headspace is free for a week, then the subscription costs $13/mo or $70/yr. Students can get a yearly subscription for $10, while families of up to six people can get it for $100.

If you're a healthcare professional, please take care of yourself, whether it's by using this freebie or with any other suitable method. If you're not but know someone who is, send them this tip. Also, talk to them and help them however you can. You can't begin to imagine what the past month has been like for them, and what the next months will be like.

Speaking from my very restricted experience (I'm just a pharmacist in a small community), I'll say that the stress level doesn't drop for a single second. I have to offer the same advice, answer the same questions, and provide some emotional support to seemingly 'healthy' people all day long. I have to be wary of any money I receive or give back, any contact with any person, all the drug reps, all the drug deliveries and the persons delivering them, and then disinfect the points of contact repeatedly, the newly received medicine boxes once, and wash my hands after I touch anything. As long as I am inside the pharmacy, I am ON. (And even when I'm out for an essential errand, it doesn't relent.) Every fiber of me is wired up because this level of caution isn't ingrained in me yet, and because I can't afford to be forgetful or make a mistake. I know I can't control everything, but I'm doing all I can so I don't bring this invisible, deadly virus home to my husband or spread it to my patients and community.

I've only been working a limited schedule of one day out of two, six hours daily instead of my regular ten, and yet, every time I come home, I am absolutely depleted. My neck and back ache, my knees and soles hurt, I have a headache, I'm sleepy, exhausted, unable to string two sentences together or focus on anything. Even writing this now, while at home, is making me queasy. And that, that is nothing compared to what any doctor, nurse, lab technician, or emergency response worker who is in direct contact with sick people is going through. Be nice and helpful to them, if you know one. And for the love of anything and everything, stay home.

A free year for the unemployed

Headspace is extending its offer to unemployed people in the US until June 30. Based on an honor system (you just have to say you've been furloughed or kicked out, there's nothing to do to verify that, but supplies are limited so don't be an asshole and apply if you don't need it), you can get a free year of Headspace's premium subscription. This is only available for new users and existing free subscribers, i.e. if you've already paid for a membership, you can't get it extended for one year. You can sign up here.