Styling and photo credit: Jacqueline Wladis

Today we have an extra special guest author, Jacqueline Wladis, who is sheltering at home with her parents, Mark and Diane Wladis, and brothers Harrison, Andrew and Tyler. Jackie normally makes her home in Manhattan, where she works for Conde Nast. We’re super big fans and we think you will be too. – JG

Alexa…play “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen:

Feeling Lonely? So are the other six billion people on planet earth self isolating from this crazy thing called Coronavirus that has been striking without warning or discrimination against race, gender, country, the list goes on. Admitting you are lonely right now is not a sign of weakness, it’s a natural human reaction that nearly every one of the 752 “influencers” I follow on Instagram seems to be feeling right now. Whether you’re in a safe warm home surrounded by the 5 people you love the most or trapped alone in your big city apartment for the past 4 weeks you’ve probably experienced a feeling of loneliness and/or sadness since the world shut down mid-March. Here are 5 steps for beating down those feelings, picking yourself back up, and moving on with your day. Let’s call it, The CLAPS Method (patent pending).

1) CALL YOUR MOTHER: Okay, maybe not your actual mother, but pick up that cell phone I know you have and call someone once a day. Your mother, your father, your grandparent, an aunt, uncle, child, grandchild, anyone! Remember when you were little and you rode the big ride at Epcot in Disney World in the giant golf ball? Planet Earth anyone? At the end of the ride you saw the future where instead of dialing that rotary you’d actually be able to see the other person on the end of the line like you did on VHS tapes. Technology amirite??? Well we are living in that future so take advantage and Facetime/Zoom/Skype someone. There are also likely local groups in your area matching senior citizens who are feeling the loneliness to volunteers willing to call them once a day and check in. Call up your local nursing home or senior citizen center and I’m sure they can match you with a buddy. Just call someone!

2) Listen to your heaa—music: There’s a reason Meredith and Cristina had nearly weekly dance parties on Grey’s Anatomy in the early seasons when they felt the “dark and twisties.” Music has been proven to have therapeutic effects on the soul and brain, combine those BOPS (Insert Lizzo’s “Good As Hell” here) with a dance party because exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy and if you can’t finish that sentence go watch Legally Blonde.

 3) Activities: Distract yourself with activities. You don’t have to invest in a new expensive hobby or learn a new language. Calm down over achievers. For literally $8 you can pick up this coloring book from Barnes and Noble filled with templates designed by a licensed art therapist to distract you, empower you, and calm you down. Other distractify activities include: Watching a favorite movie, listening to a new podcast (recommendations include “The Armchair Expert” and “This Podcast Will Kill You”), or reading a good book. and are both shipping faster than expected and have tons of distractifying activity options for any age.

4) PAUSE: Take a step back. Download a meditation app. Breathe. Just breathe. Take a pause each day and count 5 things you are grateful for. Today I’m grateful for Coffee, Lacy Mucklow’s coloring books, Crayola colored pencils, my family, and my grandparents. Meditation apps like Calm and Headspace are offering free trials and classes right now to help you through this pandemic. Personally I’m a fan of the 2-1-4 method. Breathe deep for 2 seconds, hold for 1 second, exhale for 4 seconds. Try this repeatedly until your head is clear. Experts say that you should be able to exhale for 7 seconds for maximum therapeutic relief, but 1) who has the time for that? And 2) unless you’re a Julliard trained opera singer, who is breathing that deeply into their diaphragm? Seriously DM me I want your tips.

5) Survive: Congrats! You did it! You made it another 5 minutes of isolation/self-quarantine just by reading this blog post. You survived and you can survive another 5 minutes and then another until this weird reality is over. Now CLAP FOR YOURSELF! The fifth and final step of the CLAPS method is CLAPPING FOR YOURSELF! Because you did it. You’re a star and you SURVIVED.

As Victor Hugo wrote in his 1862 classic Les Miserables, “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” I absolutely promise that the sun will rise on a new world where restaurants and shops reopen and we go back to daily life.