The actress and activist is one of PEOPLE's Beauties of the Year in the 2020 Beautiful Issue, on newsstands Friday
Jennifer Garner
Credit: Phillip Faraone/WireImage

Jennifer Garner has been doing her part to help others during the coronavirus crisis.

From co-launching the #savewithstories initiative to support Save the Children and No Kid Hungry to showcasing videos of her Instagram followers’ talents, last year’s Beautiful Issue cover star has been most impressed with “how quickly we all adjusted in a way,” Garner tells PEOPLE in this year’s issue.

But the actress, 48, still looks forward to “seeing my kids hug their friends,” she says of son Samuel, 8, plus daughters Seraphina, 11, and Violet, 14: “I have a deep need to see my girlfriends, but I can’t wait to see my kids have a big, old germy sleepover and just be kids.”

She’s also using their time at home to teach her young children the basics when it comes to cleaning. “When I was coming up through the ranks, I scrubbed bathrooms in theaters from one side of this country to the other,” Garner recalls. “I always somehow ended up on bathroom-scrubbing duty.”

“So it’s nice to see my kids learn these things,” she adds. “I’m so proud of kids everywhere and how flexible they’re all having to be and how they’re all rising to the challenge.”

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Jennifer Garner
Jennifer Garner
| Credit: David Fisher/Shutterstock

The biggest challenge for Garner has actually been finding a little time for her own self-care.

“Last night I finally gave myself some kind of halfhearted manicure,” she tells PEOPLE. “I can’t say that I’ve showered every day but all the facial and hair masks that are in the drawer are finally coming out and being put to use.”

To get ready for a few on-camera appearances while at home, the 13 Going on 30 actress enlisted the help of her friend and hairstylist, Adir Abergel.

“Like really, even in real life, I famously do not know how to do my hair and makeup,” she says, laughing. “We FaceTimed and he was like, ‘Okay. Take your Virtue 6-in-1 Styler, put it in your palm … ‘ And then he talked me through it. I had no idea I could do it. So now I feel like a pro.”

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Garner has also been inspired by the acts of kindness she has witnessed during the crisis and finds hope in “just the enormous love that people have for each other.”

“All the people who are giving us the luxury of being able to stay home, because they are stocking grocery stores and cooking in restaurants, and working in hospitals,” she says. “All of these jobs that are so important, are truly the fabric of society. And they’re doing them. It’s just so brave and generous.”

If everyone “can do that for each other,” adds Garner “then we have to be okay.”

For more from Jennifer Garner, pick the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

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