How unexpected items are fuelling YOUR junk food cravings

The ‘unexpected’ foods sabotaging your healthy eating goals: Nutritionist reveals how staples like sliced bread and soup contain hidden sugar, salt and fat that fuel cravings – and shares her tips on how to resist

  • Cravings for junk food often result  in people failing their healthy diet plans 
  • Surprisingly, it’s not just the obvious items that contribute to junk food cravings 
  • Nutritionist Tamara Willner reveals unexpected food fueling your bad habits
  • These includes sauces, dressings, bread, dips, cereal bars and even soups

Cravings for junk food can be the biggest obstacle when trying to lose weight and are often the reason for people failing their healthy diet plans.

It’s no accident that these products are so hard to resist –  as manufacturers ensure the foods taste the best they possibly can with the goal of overriding our internal ‘stop’ signals and encouraging us to buy and eat more.

But surprisingly, it’s not just the obvious foods – such as cakes, chocolate and sweets – that make junk food cravings continue. 

Here, Second Nature nutritionist Tamara Willner, of London, tells FEMAIL the unexpected food fuelling your bad habits – including sauces, cereal bars and even soups – and offers the top five tips for kicking your junk food cravings. 

She explains how many of the surprising products contain a longed-for trio of salt, sugar, and fat that keeps us coming back for more.

Why we keep coming back for more

Cravings for junk food can be the biggest obstacle when trying to lose weight and are often the reason for people failing their healthy diet plans. Surprisingly, it’s not just the obvious items that contribute to junk food cravings, as even soup (pictured) can encourage the habit

As we consume more of a particular flavour, our taste buds slowly get more tired of it, and we usually stop eating it – but our taste system can be tricked when salt, fat, and sugar are carefully combined in expertly measured amounts to be ‘just right’.

At this point, we keep coming back for more, even when our bodies are trying to tell us to stop, because we keep experiencing pleasure.

This is called the ‘bliss point’ – the exact measures of fat, sugar, and salt that overrides the brain’s natural ‘stop’ signals and makes us crave that pleasure.

Even in the most strong-willed individuals, these cravings can seem impossible to resist.

Second Nature nutritionist Tamara Willner  has revealed the unexpected food fueling your bad habits – including sauces (pictured left) and even bread (pictured right)

Which foods can increase junk cravings?

The more obvious bliss-point items include cakes, biscuits, doughnuts, ice cream, crisps, muffins, chocolate and sweets.

The ‘unexpected’ food that increase cravings 

  • Sauces, like tomato ketchup
  • Dips like hummus and guacamole 
  • Soup
  • Sliced white bread
  • Cereal bars

However, it’s more than just the expected foods.

Next time you pick up a jar of tomato sauce, a can of soup, or some white sliced bread at the supermarket, stop to take a look at the ingredients and check how much sugar and salt are hidden inside.

Less obvious bliss-point foods include sauces, dressings, dips, soups, bread and cereal bars as surprisingly, many of these products can contain that longed-for trio of salt, sugar, and fat that keeps us coming back for more and promote cravings for junk food.

Unexpected triggers for junk food cravings

Our brain remembers what actions make us feel good, such as eating foods that hit the ‘bliss point’, like chocolate or cakes.

Then, when we feel bad for whatever reason, our brain says ‘eating chocolate might help’, and we’re driven to do exactly that.

After we repeat this process enough, it becomes an automatic habit – that means that the smallest emotional trigger can almost subconsciously drive us to crave particular junk foods. 

Given the current environment with the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are likely to be experiencing heightened emotions of stress or anxiety.

This can mean we’re more likely to turn to food as a source of comfort. This is why it’s so important to think about how and why we eat, rather than just what we eat. 

Nutritionist reveals her top five tips to reduce junk food cravings 

Nutritionist Tamara Willner (pictured) reveals her top tips to reduce junk food cravings

1) Eat mindfully

When you really want some junk food, have it, enjoy it and eat it mindfully. Removing distractions (e.g. mobiles, TV), eating slowly, and engaging all of your senses is the best way to do so.

2) Be prepared

Write down a plan to prevent certain scenarios from happening. For example, ‘If I’m bored at home and crave chocolate, then I’ll listen to a podcast, so my mind has something else to focus on.’

3) Build balanced meals

Building balanced dishes can help us feel satisfied and reduce the risk of junk food cravings in between meals. Opt for fresh vegetables, (e.g. spinach and peppers), minimally-processed meat, fish, or vegetarian alternatives and wholegrain carb options.

4) Be aware of bliss-point foods

Try to be aware of unexpected foods that we use every day (e.g. tomato sauce) which has been engineered to have a bliss-point. The bliss-point refers to when our taste system is tricked with salt, fat, and sugar, carefully combined in expertly measured amounts to be ‘just right’ and encourage us to come back for more. Try experimenting with making your food to replace shop-bought ones with added sugars and salts.

5) Sleep

The more sleep-deprived we are, the more hungry we feel and the more we crave energy-dense, sugar, and fat-filled foods as opposed to healthy snacks. Getting 8-9 hours of sleep, compared to 6-7 hours, can massively reduce the risk of junk food cravings.

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How a protester helped saved Memorial Day for New Yorkers

Linda Bouferguen may have single-handedly saved the holiday weekend in New York.

The young Brooklyn nursing student was twice arrested this month outside City Hall for violating the state’s lockdown on nonessential gatherings during small, socially distanced demonstrations against New York’s shutdown.

But the pandemic-induced ban violated her First Amendment rights, insisted Bouferguen, who watched Gov. Andrew Cuomo make exceptions this week to the “no gathering” rules for Memorial Day and religious events — but not protests.

She sought official permission to hold another demonstration and when she was ignored, Bouferguen went to court.

With the help of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Bouferguen filed a federal lawsuit against Cuomo Friday. Hours later, the gov abruptly reversed course on lockdown rules forbidding non-essential gatherings and protests.

Of course, the change also means traditional Memorial Day events like barbecues, house parties and other get togethers now have a green light, provided the events have less than 10 people and abide by social distancing rules.

“I don’t consider myself a hero,” said Bouferguen, 32. “Any American would have done what I did.”

Bouferguen, who was born in the former Soviet Union, was surrounded by 24 police officers as she stood outside City Hall May 8 waving an American flag with a handful of other demonstrators, including her 52-year-old mom, Elena.

“This should never happen in America,” she said, describing how she was handcuffed, forced into a police van and issued a summons. When she returned to protest the following day, she was arrested again, Bouferguen said.

For Bouferguen, who used to work at a small accounting firm that saw 20 of their clients shutter their businesses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the legal victory is bittersweet.

“I know people who committed suicide because they lost everything, nurses who lost their jobs and others who suffered heart attacks because hospitals wouldn’t care for them,” she told The Post. “This just has to stop.”

Bouferguen moved to the US with her parents 20 years ago after her father, a native of Algeria who had fled to Russia during the Cold War, was “constantly harassed” by police and the military when the Chechen War began, during the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“He was dark-skinned, and I guess they thought he was a terrorist,” she said. “We never protested in Russia because we were not allowed, but when the Soviet Union collapsed, my mother went out into the streets,” she said, adding her mother is “very proud” of her determination to protest outside City Hall.


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Who was rapper Mota Jr and how did he die? – The Sun

RAPPER Mota Jr was found dead in mysterious circumstances after he was reported missing over two months ago.

The Portuguese musician, aged just 28, regularly updated fans by sharing snaps of his 'billionaire lifestyle' online.

Who was Mota Jr?

The rap artist was born in Portugal under the name David Mota.

Mota Jr was renowned for posting images of gold jewellery, luxury cars and wads of cash on social media.

The rapper found fame after featuring on the hit Ca Bu Fla Ma Nau with fellow hip-hop artist Piruka which has been viewed over 21 million times on YouTube.

How did he die?

The Portuguese musician went missing on March 15, when it is believed he was kidnapped outside of his family home in the municipality of Sintra.

The rapper's mother, Filomena Mota, said he had received a phone call in the middle of the night to go down to the door of the building.

It is believed he was then abducted by two armed men in hoods.

Speaking to TVI in April, Filomena said she received a call from a neighbour at 2am asking if her son was okay – and she then realised he was not in his room.

She also said she found her son's hat and slippers at the entrance to the building, as well as splashes of blood in the elevator, suspecting that Mota Jr had been abducted.

Filomena also revealed that on the night of the abduction she answered a call made to Mota Jr’s phone, from a girl who claimed she was going to enter the building with him when instead two men pointed a gun at the young man and sent her away.

Police believe Mota Jr was tortured by his kidnappers as they demanded information on the whereabouts of his hidden wealth and luxury items.

It is alleged he was then killed by his kidnappers – who came back the next day when the house was empty and used Mota Jr’s keys to get inside and rob the family home.

Despite bragging of a billionaire lifestyle on social media and in his music videos, it has since been revealed the rapper was not a billionaire at all.

More than two months after he was reported missing, the 28-year-old’s body was found in a wooded area some 50 kilometres from his home.

According to TVI24, Mota Jr’s body was found on Monday, however it took until Tuesday to identify the body due to a high state of decomposition.

The country's Judiciary Police have launched an investigation.

Authorities have treated the case as a possible abduction and murder since the investigation began.

The body has been taken to the Institute of Legal Medicine for an autopsy, the results of which have not been released.


Mota Jr reportedly claimed that Piruka owed him money from the song but Piruka denies this.

The investigation is ongoing.

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How reality stars Lauren Goodger & Mark Wright’s ill-fated romance really compares to Brad Pitt & Jennifer Aniston – The Sun

IN their heyday, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were Hollywood's golden couple – married in a luxurious £800k Malibu wedding, living in a swanky Beverly Hills mansion, with Jen alone earning hundreds of thousands per Friends episode.

So it's perhaps unsurprising eyebrows were raised earlier this week, when The Only Way Is Essex reality star Lauren Goodger compared her ill-fated romance with ex Mark Wright to the American A-listers' relationship.

The reality star, 33, claimed just like the American golden couple, "people will always be interested" in her and Mark, telling Closer Magazine: “It’s annoying getting dragged into my ex’s life, but I understand it’s a massive part of where we started…

“It’s like other people in the public eye, like Brad and Jennifer. I get it, but it goes over my head now.”

But just how much do the two couples have in common.

The first date

Brad and Jen: The genetically-blessed duo knew they were meant to be right from their very first date back in 1998, after they were set up by their managers.

They soon became Hollywood's golden couple, making their red carpet debut the following year at the Emmys.

Recalling their first date, Jen said in a rare interview with Diane Sawyer: "It was weird…That was a really easy evening. It was really fun."

Lauren and Mark: Similarly, Lauren and Mark were also pretty sure their relationship would go the distance, after meeting aged just 15.

In fact, Lauren was so sure, she got Mark's name tattooed just above her crotch – an inking which was shown in episode one of Towie when she was getting a spray tan.

Bizarrely, Jennifer Aniston actually also reportedly has a male name tattooed on her – but it's not Brad. Instead, it's in homage to her late dog, Norman, and it's on her foot.

Similarly to Brad and Jen but on the other side of the Atlantic, Lauren and Mark also regularly strutted their stuff on the red carpet, attending all the biggest UK TV awards ceremonies together, and Towie wrap parties.

The engagement

Brad and Jen: Despite keeping their whirlwind relationship immensely private, Brad and Jen gave their fans what they wanted, and announced their engagement in 2000 in true glitzy celeb style – with Jen on stage at a Sting concert flashing a £400,000 diamond and platinum engagement ring.

Lauren and Mark: Meanwhile, Mark popped the question with a diamond dazzler outside infamous Essex night spot The Sugar Hut in 2011, with the special moment shared with fans too – screened on the reality show.

Lauren had just been shown having her 'Mark' tattoo removed before he asked her to be his wife – and despite clearly being quite adamant she wanted to literally erase him from her life just hours before, she still said yes.

While viewers were quick to brand their relationship as a 'faux-mance' at the time, Mark insisted it was real.

He said: "I proposed on camera because I had to. The thing is, our show’s real life. Everything’s on camera. That’s the point. It’s in the contract."

The wedding

Brad and Jen: In true Hollywood style, Brad and Jen went on in 2000 to have a private £800,000 Malibu wedding fit for royalty, complete with 200 guests, 50,000 flowers, four bands, a gospel choir at an exclusive five acre cliff top estate.

The couple opted to keep the day private, but tastefully released a single black and white shot from the day, giving fans a glimpse of Jennifer's £32,000 beaded satin gown by designer Lawrence Steele.

Lauren and Mark: Sadly, Lauren and Mark didn't make it to their big day, but their engagement party – which was of course filmed for Towie – was a taster of the type of bash they favoured.

Lauren wore a one shoulder sequinned bridal-style gown from America, which she later put up for sale on Depop for £800. 

Mark arrived at the four star Essex hotel on horseback, and Lauren followed behind in a Rolls Royce.

In an emotional speech, Mark declared to their gathered family and friends: “I want you to support us all the way to the wedding… if we make it.”

He then wept as he uttered the the immortal, romantic words: “I might have been to Miami and been with a top model out there, but let me tell ya, still when I wake up in the morning it doesn’t feel as good at what it does with this girl. This is the girl I love.”

The pair also looked at wedding dresses together on the show, with Mark commenting: "If you don't stop eating, your laces won't even do up at the back."

Home sweet home

Brad and Jen: The couple's former LA home hit the market with a whopping £36million price tag earlier this year, giving fans an insight into their luxurious newly-wed home that they shared before their split.

The couple bought the mansion for $13m in 2001, and spent three years renovating it, so that it boasted a private screening room, pool, four beds and its own pub.

Located in exclusive neighbourhood Beverly Hills, the area boasts iconic designer shopping street Rodeo Drive, and has some of Jennifer's favourite restaurants – including the Palm and the Ivy – nearby.

Lauren and Mark: Meanwhile Lauren and Mark also lived together, in Essex, and Lauren is also known for her love of the finer things in life.

Brentwood became famous following the rise of Towie, and boasts night hot spot The Sugar Hut and several cast members including salon boss Lauren have owned businesses on the high street over the years.

She often proudly shows off her pad on Instagram, and is pictured going about her daily life in the area.

Cheating rumours 

Brad and Jen: There's no denying both relationships came to a dramatic end, with unfortunate cheating rumours blighting both romances.

There was unfounded speculation around when Brad and his second wife Angelina Jolie became an item, with Angelina admitting she fell for the heartthrob while he was still with Jen, when they met on the set of blockbuster Mr and Mrs Smith.

However they have always insisted nothing happened until after their separation, and Brad and Jen ensured their split was carefully managed.

The pair released a joint statement in 2005, saying: "We would like to announce that after seven years together we have decided to formally separate.

"… We happily remain committed and caring friends with great love and admiration for one another. We ask in advance for your kindness and sensitivity in the coming months."

In later interviews, Jennifer would admit feeling hurt, but for the most part played down her heartache.

In 2008, once the dust had settled, she told Vogue: "There was stuff printed there that was definitely from a time when I was unaware that it was happening," she says. "I felt those details were a little inappropriate to discuss. That stuff about how she couldn't wait to get to work every day? That was really uncool."

Lauren and Mark: However, while Jen and Brad were able to keep things at least publicly civil, Lauren and Mark's split was a little less low-key.

At the time, pretty much every argument they had would be played out on TV, and at one point Lauren even pushed Mark into a pool.

They eventually split for good amid rumours Lauren had cheated – claims she denied.

Reconciliation rumours and VERY public spats 

Brad and Jen: Thankfully, despite Jen admitting she was hurt in the past, the former couple have managed to maintain an air of dignity, and delighted fans recently when they put on an amorous display at the SAG Awards earlier this year – prompting a wave of reconciliation rumours.

Last year Brad also sneaked into Jen's 50th birthday party, held at West Hollywood's Sunset Tower, staying there all evening to celebrate with his ex, proving they've well and truly moved on.

Lauren and Mark: However, the same can't be said for Mark and Lauren unfortunately, who've had some very public fallings-out over the nine years since they split.

A couple of years after the end of their relationship while publicising her tell-all book, Secrets of an Essex Girl, Lauren said: "I made myself a doormat and he wiped his feet on me every single day."

In 2015 Mark went on a Twitter rant, and branded Lauren "embarrassing" for speaking about him and his wife, Michelle Keegan.

He has also claimed over the years Lauren uses his name to make money, while Lauren claims she only speaks about Mark to defend herself.

In 2017 she also claimed Mark was still dating her at the same time as now-wife Michelle Keegan, a claim which Mark vehemently denied.


If their recent meet-ups are anything to go by, it seems like Brad and Jen have been able to bury the hatchet and move on from their 2005 split.

Hopefully Lauren and Mark will be able to follow suit – and 15 years after splitting maybe they'll be on civil, speaking terms again.

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'90 Day Fiancé': How Many Times Did Big Ed File for Bankruptcy?

90 Day Fiancé star Big Ed has been in hot water with fans recently following his behavior towards Rose Vega on the show. And it turns out there’s more to Ed than fans thought at first. A co-worker of Ed’s from his past recently came forward to levy allegations of sexual harassment and assult against the reality star. What’s more, it’s come to light that Ed has declared bankruptcy more than once in the past. 

Why ‘90 Day Fiancé’ fans feel Big Ed mistreated Rose Vega

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RELATED: ’90 Day Fiancé’ Fans Feel Big Ed Treats Rose Like a Child

90 Day Fiancé star Big Ed faced criticism from many fans of the show after his interactions with Rose Vega. Ed was accused of being insensitive and selfish. 

One of the first indications of Ed’s personality and behavior cropped up when he asked Vega to shave her legs. After a night spent together at a hotel, during which Ed gives Rose a kiss she clearly doesn’t want, Ed made his request. 

“Um, don’t be mad at me, but um, I noticed your legs were kind of like mine, they were hairy. Would you shave your legs?” he asked Vega, while nodding his own head up and down.

Things got worse later when he told Vega she had bad breath. He gifted her a bikini, a teddy bear, and then mouthwash and a toothbrush. 

“I got you a couple more things. This is going to be less romantic. So, this is mouthwash. And I got you a cute toothbrush because your breath is not pretty,” Ed said at the time. Vega revealed that she brushes every day, and suffers from a stomach ulcer that can cause bad breath.

Big Ed accused of sexual assault

Recently, one of Big Ed’s past coworkers came forward to claim that the 90 Day Fiancé star sexually harassed and abused her. 

The woman, who goes by Lordakeet on Tik Tok, posted several videos about Ed. Her first video featured the text, “The moment of finding out the guy who sexually harassed me for 9 months has moved to his next victim…in front of all of America. I want to speak up but signed a nondisclosure agreement. But 9 months and years of therapy. I don’t know what to do. Supporting other women! Obviously he’s still a predator.”

Lordakeet later made an additional video in which she opened up further about what went down. “On the first day that Ed and I met, one of the first things that came out of his mouth was, ‘Wow, I’m so happy that you’re hot, because I wouldn’t want to look at someone who is ugly all day long while I was working.’ Later that day he had put me in an armlock and put me to the ground. If I had been taught these skills earlier, I would have been able to save myself months of harassment and assault. I’m sharing this with you because I hope that it will help you prevent going through a traumatic experience like I went through,” explained Lordakeet. 

Big Ed declared bankruptcy twice

It seems as though Big Ed has more skeletons in his closet than fans might have expected. The controversial 90 Day Fiancé star has filed for bankruptcy twice. 

@celebtm on Instagram broke the news of Ed’s financial mistakes first, and Starcasm soon came in with additional details. It looks like Ed filed twice, once in 2004, and again in 2017. 

In 2004, his filing claimed that he had only $20 cash on his person, and $63 in his checking account. He exempted himself from an additional $4,383 of additional personal property, with a total personal debt of $133,827.30. 

Ed’s debt ballooned again in 2017, bringing him to a whopping $185,704 owed. All of this leaves 90 Day Fiancé fans wondering whether or not Big Ed actually sent Rose Vega any of the gifts he claims he did, and whether or not he simply appeared on the show for cash.

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How Did Filmmaker Lynn Shelton Meet Marc Maron? He Says 'My Connection With Her Was Almost Seamless'

Director Lynn Shelton passed away on May 16, 2020. In the wake of her sudden death is her partner, Marc Maron. On a new episode of his podcast, he reveals details about the first time they met.

Lynn Shelton is known as a writer, director, and producer

Shelton got her start as an editor. She then moved into writing and directing, as well as producing her own work. Shelton often worked with actors like Mark Duplass and Rosemarie DeWitt. Her films were often partly improvised. She also made small appearances in some of them.

Shelton may be better known for her directing work on the small screen. Her first TV directorial credit is for the episode of Mad Men when Joan gets an abortion. From there, she went on to direct on shows such as New Girl, Fresh Off the Boat, and the miniseries Little Fires Everywhere.

She was in a relationship with actor Marc Maron at the time of her death

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Shelton was married to former actor Kevin Seal. Together, they have a son, Milo. The couple divorced, and for the year or so prior to her death, she was in a relationship with Maron, and actor and comedian.

Before they became partners, Maron and Shelton worked together numerous times. She directed the two episodes of his comedy series, Maron. She then directed his 2017 standup special, Marc Maron: Too Real, and several episodes of GLOW. Prior to her death, he starred in her last film, Swords of Trust, and she directed another standup special for him, Marc Maron: End Times Fun.

Maron pays tribute to her on his podcast ‘WTF with Marc Maron’

In addition to his acting and comedy special, Maron is also known for hosting a podcast. WTF with Marc Maron. He has diligently released episodes (more than 1000 of them to date) every few days since Sept. 1, 2009. Nearly every famous person you can think of, from Brad Pitt to Barack Obama, has been on the podcast.

Maron opened up the latest episode of his podcast speaking about Shelton, calling her his “partner,” “girlfriend,” and “friend,” and telling listeners how much he loved her. “I’m not really that comfortable, emotionally or otherwise, but I was — I was able to exist in a state of self-acceptance, because of her love for me,” he said.

They first met on the podcast

The tribute acted as an intro to the 2015 episode in which Shelton was his guest. This is something Maron does when anyone who has been on the show dies, as “a portrait of the person.” “This is the first time I met her,” he said, adding, “I needed to talk to her… I was curious about her.”

Though both were in relationships at the time, Maron says it was “undeniable that we connected. My connection with her was almost seamless.” He added, “I was definitely a better person when I was engaged with her. As a comic, as a guitar player, as a human, as a lover, as everything. I was better in Lynn Shelton’s gaze.”

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Mum reveals how coronavirus affects life on a remote island in Papua New Guinea

A German mother-of-three living on a remote island off the coast of Papua New Guinea has revealed that life there has been ‘going on as normal’ while the rest of the world grapples with managing the coronavirus pandemic.

Barbara Goodyear, 42, ended up living on the little-known volcanic isle called Karkar, which measures just 24km (15 miles) long and 19km (11.8 miles) wide, after volunteering as a teacher there in 2002 and falling in love with a local man Paul, who she went on to marry.

There are around 70,000 inhabitants and two main tribes on Karkar with their own languages, Takia and Waskia, which are completely different.

There is no mains electricity or water on the teardrop-shaped outcrop (rainwater and river water is collected instead) and there is just one pothole-riddled road to get around with a 4×4 required to navigate the other steep muddy tracks.

Visit our live blog for the latest updates: Coronavirus news live

Barbara, who runs several shops and a cocoa and coconut plantation with her husband on Karkar, told ‘Here on the island there have been no coronavirus cases, we are all fine here and life is pretty much normal. 

‘But on the mainland, the situation is a little different – although there have still only been eight positive coronavirus cases in the whole of Papua New Guinea, I think, with these confined to the Highlands, Port Moresby, Rabaul and the Western province.’

Despite the low number of cases, the country has extended the nationwide state of emergency through to 1 June.

Barbara says that the small numbers could be down to the fact that there are ‘not enough tests’, adding, ‘so if there are more people dying because of the virus or with symptoms nobody would really know this’.

She said the locals on Karkar panicked initially when news of the coronavirus spread in February and March and ‘there was not enough information and awareness given that we’re so cut off from things’.

The business owner adds: ‘When people hear heard about the eight positive cases, the people though eight people had died.

‘The locals didn’t understand that positive does not mean dead. These people actually survived the virus.

‘They then started to worry if our stores, which sell food and household goods, would stay open but we have kept running things. Social distancing hasn’t been done here on Karkar.’

There are currently around 20 schools on Karkar serving the various villages and these started to close in mid-March.

Barbara notes that they ‘haven’t really reopened yet’ but ‘some schools are better organised and they are rotating the classes and the high school has been issuing students in classes nine and ten with work they can do at home.’

While the schools have been shut, Barbara has been homeschooling her three children. Her youngest, Christopher, nine, and Sophie, 11, do their schooling online anyway, but her eldest Hanna, 14, had to return home from a boarding school in Cairns, Australia, as the travel restrictions started to be enforced.

‘We were relieved when she finally returned safely,’ says Barbara. ‘Our nearest airport is Madang on the mainland, which is around a four-to-five hour boat ride away on one of our cargo ships. The actual distance is around 30km (18.6 miles).’

With travel restrictions in place, locals on Karkar were forbidden to journey to the mainland for more than four weeks.

Barbara and her family were not allowed to run their cargo ships, which are the only commercial passenger ships operating to and from the isle.

On the medical side of the things the hospital on Karkar, which was built by a Lutheran missionary and his wife in the 1930s, closed for ‘some days because of no PPE’ but now it has reopened and visitors wash their hands at the gate before going into the hospital area.

Asked if she ever gets homesick, Barbara says thanks to a fairly good internet connection at her island home, she is able to keep up-to-date with her parents and sisters back in Germany.

She notes: ‘We are really well connected via Whatsapp. My parents are always busy with meetings here and there, but with the total lockdown in Germany, they have had to stay at home.

‘I think to be honest it’s been good for my parents to slow down a little and do work on their house and garden.’

Barbara is hoping to spend Christmas with her family back in Europe but she will wait to see how the situation evolves. For now, she is happy on the remote island where she ventured to teach in her 20s and never ended up leaving.

‘Life is good here on Karkar,’ she tells us. ‘Things here are basic, tranquil and the most unexpected things can happen. It’s certainly an adventure.’

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How Long Is 'The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart' Finale On Tonight?

Get ready, Bachelor Nation fans. The Listen to Your Heart finale airs tonight, May 18. The final three couples — Chris and Bri, Jamie and Trevor, and Matt and Rudi — are set to perform in Nashville, Tennessee, for the grand prize. But as always, there’s plenty of drama before it all ends. So how long is The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart finale tonight? Buckle up. The sixth week is going to be an emotional ride.

What time does ‘The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart’ finale start tonight, May 18?

RELATED: Did Sheridan and Julia Get Back Together After ‘The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart’?

Bachelor Nation fans may be used to finales that run a little long — ahem, Peter Weber’s four-hour, two-night ending. However, The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart Season 1 finale will not extend its usual time slot. According to ABC’s schedule, the final episode on May 18 will start at 8 p.m. ET and end at 10 p.m. ET, per usual. This means the finale will be 2 hours long. 

Now, it seems the performance portion of the Listen to Your Heart finale will not take up the entire episode. Per the ABC press release, the final three couples will receive Fantasy Suite dates “to decide whether to take their relationship to the next level and if they can see a future together.” The release also revealed how each one will go. However, it didn’t name any names.

“The three couples react totally differently to the offer of a fantasy suite date,” the synopsis reads. “The news is devastating to one, welcomed by another, and declined by the other duo. Will they regret their decisions?”

Meanwhile, the competition heats up as the remaining Listen to Your Heart contestants perform in front of Kaitlyn Bristowe, Jason Tartick, Taye Diggs, Rita Wilson, and Jewel. And of course, the last rose ceremony will crown the season’s winner. But who will it be? Fans can tune in at 8 p.m. to find out.

[Spoiler alert: The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart Season 1 finale and winner.]

Which couple wins ‘The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart’ in the finale?

If you don’t want to wait and see who wins The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart, the finale has been spoiled by Reality Steve. The franchise blogger revealed the last episode was filmed on Feb. 12, and there were only two couples who performed in Music City — Jamie and Trevor as well as Chris and Bri. 

According to Reality Steve, Trevor and Jamie performed “Speechless” by Dan + Shay. Then Chris and Bri sang Ed Sheeran’s “Give Me Love.” But in the end, Chris and Bri won. 

“After deliberation, judges determined Chris and Bri were the winners,” Reality Steve wrote on Twitter. “They won the opportunity to write and record some original music and make at least one music video. They will also be going on tour once the finale airs.”

Nevertheless, host Chris Harrison recently spoke with Entertainment Tonight and shared there will be some changes to the grand prize due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

“Obviously when we made that prize package, getting out and touring and concerts were a thing. So [I’m] not sure [what will happen],” Harrison said. “Clearly that is still part of it. As soon as they can do it safely, we’ll do that. Creating music, working with a music producer, [making a] music video, going on tour is all something that we definitely want to do as soon as we can safely do it.”

Meanwhile, Reality Steve explained Jamie and Trevor said they would stay together after Listen to Your Heart wrapped since they claimed to be falling in love. However, by April 13, the spoiler king shared Jamie and Trevor broke up. But even so, it’s likely viewers will have to hold on to find out what all the reality stars are up to now. So stay tuned.

RELATED: Did Natascha and Ryan Stay Together After ‘The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart’?

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How American life carried on as normal during the lethal 1968 pandemic

How a ‘filthy’ Woodstock still went ahead during 1968 Hong Kong flu pandemic that killed 100,000 Americans and infected everyone from President Lyndon Johnson to the the Apollo 8 crew – and even Shamu the killer whale

  • The 1968 Hong Kong flu pandemic (caused by the H3N2 virus) killed 100,000 Americans and 1 million people worldwide virus was spread in the US by troops returning home from Vietnam War 
  • More Americans died from the Hong Kong flu pandemic than the combined number of US causalities in the Vietnam and Korean Wars-  it also killed so many people in Berlin that corpses were stored in subway tunnels
  • As of today, H3N2 was deadlier than COVID-19 which has a current death toll of 315,000, though it is expected to surpass the number of those killed during the 1968 pandemic 
  • Both Tallulah Bankhead and CIA Director, Allen Dulles died of Hong Kong Flu and the virus also infected President Lyndon Johnson as well as SeaWorld’s famous killer whale, Shamu 
  • The Hong Kong flu pandemic raged on through early 1970 without any government mandated closures, stay-at-home orders and restrictions on public gatherings 
  • NYC declared a state of emergency but kept schools and businesses open – 400,000 people attended Woodstock in 1969 and festival organizer Joel Rosenman said ‘there were no containment measures to defy’  
  • Amid growing outrage over state closures – some experts say that that the 1968 pandemic puts the current COVID-19 shutdowns into perspective  
  • The H3N2 virus still exists today and re-surfaces during flu season every year 

No small amount of literature is dedicated to covering the seismic happenings of 1969 – the Vietnam War, the inauguration of Richard Nixon, civil rights protests, the Stonewall Riots, the moon landing and the Mansion family murders have all been told, retold and scrutinized across countless platforms in multitudes. 

1969 was also signal year for music. Over one rainy weekend in August – 400,000 people turned a muddy, manure filled cow pasture in Bethel, NY into a small nation of love, peace and rock and roll music at the legendary Woodstock Festival. The music was just as memorable to the attendees as were the filthy campgrounds with no running toilets and fresh water. 

Two months later, a wall-to-wall crowd of a half million descending upon Washington D.C. for the ‘Moratorium March;’ to this day it’s the largest anti-war protest in US history. 

Curiously, what often goes unmentioned is that all of these watershed moments happened during a global pandemic – one that killed 100,000 Americans and 1 million people worldwide, according to the CDC. Given the current statewide closures, the 1968 pandemic causes historians and public health experts to reflect on social distancing rules in the case of two pandemics.

Woodstock took place between two waves of the Hong Kong flu pandemic in August 1969. The first surge hit the US hard in December 1968, but a delay in mass vaccine production caused it to flare up a second time in November 1969. Festival-goer Nancy Eisenstein said that she was cold and wet the entire weekend from the torrential rainfall which turned the cow manure filled field into mud ‘so dark it looked like chocolate syrup’

‘It wasn’t until the next flu season, several months after Woodstock, that we all found ourselves in a horrifying déjà flu.’    Festival organizer, Joel Rosenman insists that Woodstock was not defying and pandemic containment measures when it came to the shoulder-to- shoulder crowd of 400,000 people. He told Reuters: ‘As far as the nation was concerned, the pandemic was in the rear-view mirror’

A couple stays dry under the heavy rainfall that plagued Woodstock. Social distancing rules are a new strategy in managing the spread of a pandemic. ‘The social distancing protocol was only developed in 2006/2007 when we were worried about an avian influenza outbreak. That strategy didn’t exist before that. There were always just playing it by ear,’ said Dr. Arnold Monto a professor of epidemiology

Within two weeks of the initial outbreak in July 1968, 500,000 people in Hong Kong came down with the flu which caused upper respiratory infection, chills, fever, muscle pain and weakness. It was brought to the US via returning soldiers coming home from the Vietnam War and by December all 50 states were infected with the H3N2 virus

It was July of 1968 when scientists sounded the alarm over a novel virus (formally known as H3N2) that emerged in Hong Kong with deadly consequences. The new influenza strain had mutated into a deadlier version of the virus that killed 1 million people during the 1957 Asian flu pandemic. 

The highly contagious germ swept through Southeast Asia and made its way to California in September via soldiers returning home from the Vietnam War. By December 1968, the ‘Hong Kong flu’ had turned into a full blown pandemic with Europe and all fifty states infected. ‘Wherever it occurs, flu strikes quickly, it spreads as rapidly as man travels,’ reported the New York Times.

Now, amid growing public outrage over extending closures; historians, economists and public health experts reflect on the 1968/ 69 Hong Kong flu pandemic. Some argue that comparing the H3N2 with the COVID-19 crises is like ‘comparing apples and oranges’ while others hold it up as the golden standard for herd  immunity in the growing pandemic. 

Between 1968-1970, the Hong Kong flu pandemic killed 1 million people worldwide, making it far more deadly than coronavirus, which as of today has a current death toll of 315,000 – though it’s too soon to compare numbers and experts predict coronavirus fatalities to surge well passed the H3N2 pandemic. 

By and large, the H3N2 virus raged on without government intervention until a vaccine was developed. Dr. Arnold Monto a professor of epidemiology told that it would be ‘of grave danger’ if countries were to pursue a similar path with coronavirus and that ‘we’d have dead bodies stacking up.’  

Two scientists at the virus laboratory of Ontario Department of Health where Hong Kong flu (H3N2) virus was first identified hold up a photograph of the germ that killed 1 million people worldwide between 1968-1970. H3N2 had mutated from the earlier H2N2 virus that also killed 1 million people in 1957. Epidemiologist, Arnold Monto said that Hong Kong flu might have been more deadly if some of the population hadn’t carried over over residual immunity from the previous pandemic

Custom officers gargle and wash their hands as Hong Kong flu pandemic at Haneda Airport in Tokyo. Very few measures were taken to curb the H3N2 pandemic, mostly people were asked to wash their hands more and keep surfaces clean. Jeffrey Tucker of the American Institute for Economic Research to the NY Post: ‘Life continued as normal. But as with now, no one knew for certain how deadly [the pandemic] would turn out to be. Regardless, people went on with their lives’

Much like COVID-19, the the lethal H3N2 virus plunged New York City into a declared ‘state of peril’ as it ripped through the most vulnerable populations – people over the age of 65, young children and the immune compromised with a noxious cocktail of symptoms: upper respiratory infection, chills, fever, muscle pain and weakness. 

The New York Times said the flu was ‘one of the worst in the nation’s history’ and as it neared its peak in December 1968, the City Health Commissioner estimated that one in every five New Yorkers would end up contracting the illness. ‘This is just the beginning, the worst is yet to come,’ said a doctor for the city health department. 

Hospitals were overrun and those who were infected were sent home and told to rest. ‘In the meantime, they can take aspirin, tea, lemon drinks, whisky or brandy according to taste,’ said a Hong Kong official to journalists. 

Severely ill patients were put on ventilators, often without any improvement. New York City’s blood bank was depleted, which forced hospitals to cancel both elective and life-saving surgeries. Absenteeism in the workplace was up 50% in the United States, garbage collectors in West Germany had to bury bodies because the undertakers couldn’t keep up with the demand, while corpses in Berlin had to be stored in subway tunnels.  

Though unlike the restrictive measures taken today, there were no stay-at-home orders, harsh lockdown rules and state-wide closures. People still went to work, students attended school, Broadway theaters stayed open and 75,000 spectators watched the New York Jets play in Super Bowl III. 

Preventative initiatives in the NFL were taken casually, players were asked to wash their hands and isolate in separate motel rooms if one felt ill. Desperate to avoid what befell other teams, the Jets cancelled all practices in the cold rain to avoid the possibility of contracting the flu. ‘Other than that, [coach] Snedeker uses the same preventative formula that mothers use with small children: Don’t get wet and above all, keep your feet dry,’ reported the New York Times. 

The conditions at Woodstock were a breeding ground for disease. Festival-goer Carl Porter recalled the ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ crowds as far as the eye could see. ‘If you moved your leg, an arm would take its place and that spot was gone.’ But festival organizer, Joel Rosenman said:  ‘By mid-‘69, any preoccupation with the virus had given way to widespread unconcern’

A team of doctors were on hand  to address ‘the eventual threat of virus cold or pneumonia epidemic among such a large gathering’ said Michael Lang, a co-organizer of Woodstock to the New York Times in 1969

Currently, New York Broadway shows are cancelled through Labor Day in what will be the longest blackout period in the history of the city’s theater district. But in 1968/ 69 the rule was simple: ‘Temperature of 100 and you go on, 101 and you can stay out.’  

‘Life continued as normal,’ said Jeffrey Tucker, the editorial director for the American Institute for Economic Research to the New York Post. ‘But as with now, no one knew for certain how deadly [the pandemic] would turn out to be. Regardless, people went on with their lives. 

Woodstock took place in August 1969 – just in the shadow of the virus’ deadly first wave that ended in March and a only a few months before a second wave struck again in November. 

‘As far as the nation was concerned, the pandemic was in the rear-view mirror,’ said Joel Rosenman, one of Woodstock’s original organizers to Reuters. ‘It wasn’t until the next flu season, several months after Woodstock, that we all found ourselves in a horrifying déjà flu.’ 

400,000 youths descended upon Max Yasger’s dairy farm in Upstate New York for ‘three days of peace and music.’ The celebrated concert with performances by Jimmi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, Santana and Jefferson Airplane became a touchstone of the American counter-culture movement. But experts find it unimaginable when comparing the event to the current COVID-19 crises which has resulted in blanket closures of large gatherings across the globe.

The conditions at Woodstock were a breeding ground for disease. Festival-goer Carl Porter recalled the ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ crowds as far as the eye could see. ‘If you moved your leg, an arm would take its place and that spot was gone.’ 

22-year-old Nancy Eisenstein had no recourse but to take refuge in her sleeping bag after it began raining on Friday night. She woke up cold and wet the next morning – unable to dry off for the next three days. By Sunday afternoon, the rain turned into a torrential downpour, Eisenstein said: ‘It sucked your shoes off. It was not only mud, but cow manure and it was so dark it looked like chocolate syrup.’ 

No measure was taken to control large gatherings during the Hong Kong flu pandemic, above, President Lyndon B. Johnson stands at the center of a crowd to watch the Apollo 11 spaceship launch in 1969. He spent the last last few weeks in office, recovering from the virus in December 1968

NASA astronaut and Apollo 8 Commander, Frank Borman was struck down with H3N2 while in orbit, halfway to the moon in December 1968. He caught the illness from President Lyndon B. Johnson with whom the astronauts met before embarking on their mission

Allen Dulles (left), the first director of the CIA died in January 1969 from the Hong Kong flu. So did Hollywood actress and Hitchcock star, Tallulah Bankhead (right) who succumbed to double pneumonia as a complication from the Hong Kong flu in December 1968, at the height of the pandemic. Her last words were: ‘codeine…bourbon’

‘Woodstock was not partying in defiance of pandemic containment measures, because at the time of Woodstock, there was no pandemic, and there were no containment measures to defy,’ said Rosenman to Reuters. 

Backing up Rosenman’s claim is Dr. Arnold Monto, professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health who told that today’s social lockdowns are a relatively new concept in pandemic management. ‘The social distancing protocol was only developed in 2006/2007 when we were worried about an avian influenza outbreak. That strategy didn’t exist before that. There were always just playing it by ear.’ 

Nevertheless, a dozen doctors were on hand at Woodstock and it’s clear that event organizers were somewhat aware of its potential for spreading illness. Michael Lang, a co-producer of the event was quoted in a New York Times story on August 17, 1969, saying that ‘medical help was summoned not because of any widespread illnesses, but because of the eventual threat of virus cold or pneumonia epidemic among such a large gathering.’ 

Marilyn Brown of Los Angeles recalled to Travel Weekly how her three-month old son, Steven was hospitalized for a week when he came down with the Hong Kong flu in December 1968. ‘It was jam-packed,’ she said. ‘I’ve never been in a hospital since then where I had seen so many people. We had to sit on the floor with this sick baby…’ Because he was an infant, ‘They put the IV in his forehead, in the top of his head, so he couldn’t thrash and knock it out.’

Like many people, Brown merely regarded the tribulation as a particularly bad flu and she returned to work after her son recovered. ‘Other than my coworkers bringing their own alcohol to wipe down their desks and wipe down pencils and not use pencils that clients had used, we didn’t do anything.’     

‘That generation approached viruses with calm, rationality and intelligence,’ said Jeffrey Tucker in the New York Post. ‘We left disease mitigation to medical professionals, individuals and families, rather than politics, politicians and government.’ 

Philip Snashall’s two-year-old daughter was Europe’s patient zero for the Hong Kong flu. The now retired professor of medicine wrote in the British Medical Journal, ‘How things change. The stock market did not plummet, we were not besieged by the press, men in breathing apparatus did not invade my daughter’s play group.’  

Economic analysis shows that Americans self-regulated during the 1968 pandemic. Retailers in crowded downtown areas that depended on public transportation reported that business was significantly down during the Christmas season, while suburban stores that could be reached by cars fared much better. 

For many Americans that year, Christmas was a sad occasion. Linda Bullar, 60, from Chattanooga, Tennessee said that her 33-year-old mother was too ill to celebrate her 9th birthday in early December, 1968. She eventually was taken to the ER and diagnosed with the Hong Kong flu just days before Christmas Eve. ‘I remember my father coming home and saying, ‘momma wont be back,” recalled Bullar. ‘I thought that meant she was at the hospital and she won’t be back for a while. But I learned that it meant that my mother would not be back period.”

The virulent virus also claimed the lives of Allen Dulles, the CIA’s first director and silver-screen legend, Tallulah Bankhead, who’s last words were ‘codeine…bourbon.’

Animals were not immune either, three orcas at SeaWorld in San Diego came down with a bad case of Hong Kong flu and Shamu, the theme park’s most famous killer whale had to be administered decongestant through her blow hole, and was fed 375 antibiotic pills per day, stuffed in mackerel.  

Waitresses in the restaurant of Moscow’s National Hotel wear gauze facemasks as a precaution against the Hong Kong flu Jan. 17. By and large, Europe was affected more by the second wave of the pandemic which hit in November 1969

A lab technician inoculates fertile eggs with Hong Kong flu pandemic while creating a vaccine for the H3N2 virus. A vaccine was developed quickly, but mass production and distribution was slow which caused a second wave of the virus to hit in the Fall of 1969. Developing a vaccine was difficult because of the flu virus’s ‘remarkable ability to change itself bio-chemically’ and defy man’s efforts to control it

Dr. John J. Arnold administers Hong Kong flu vaccine to an 81-year-old resident at a New York nursing home. Much like coronavirus, the Hong Kong flu affected people over the age of 65, infants and the immune compromised

In December 1968, Apollo 8 commander, Frank Borman was struck down with H3N2 while in orbit, halfway to the moon. He caught the illness from President Lyndon B. Johnson with whom the astronauts met before embarking on their mission. Johnson, as well as Vice President Hubert Humphrey spent their final weeks in the White House fighting off the disease.     

Unlike today’s pandemic, the H3N2 outbreak hardly loomed large in the daily American psyche. One reason for this could be that it was often buried in the press amid a fast and volatile news cycle that was dominated by the Vietnam War, Apollo 11 and the Nixon Administration. 

Not only was pandemic coverage small, but the reporting was remarkably blithe: ‘Leo Blum, who plays the barber in ‘Man of La Mancha,’ was so sick at yesterday’s matinee that he fell off the stage. His understudy was also ill and the stage manager had to finish playing the part,’ announced the New York Times on December 5, 1968, right as the virus began to reach critical mass. 

But according to Nathaniel Moir, a historian at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government; the H3N2 virus killed more Americans than the combined total of U.S. causalities in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

That being said, Moir finds it shocking that the 1968/69 pandemic is barely a footnote in most history books and almost completely forgotten today. The Hong Kong flu is so often overlooked that one well respected doctor (recommended to by the National Institutes of Health for his expertise in the history of pandemics) responded to an inquiry email: ‘Thanks. I just don’t know much about this one.’  

‘I am still shocked at how differently people addressed — or maybe even ignored it — in 1968 compared to 2020,’ said Nathaniel Moir in the New York Post. 

He reasoned that ‘death was a bigger and more accepted part of daily American life’ in the 1960s. WWII and the Korean War wasn’t too far gone in the rear view mirror before America found themselves again involved in another deadly conflict in Vietnam. Polio haunted people until a vaccine was developed in the mid-1950s, and in 1957 the world was plagued by another pandemic, the H2N2 ‘Asian Flu’ which killed 1 million people globally. 

To that point, it seems that health care officials also took a more casual approach to the flu in 1968. Dr. Guinee a spokesperson for the New York City health department was quoted in the New York Times saying: ‘it now appears that both children and adults are equally blessed’ with the ravages of Hong Kong flu.

Dr. David Morens, a senior adviser at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases described the H3N2 pandemic as ‘wimpy’ to ‘It’s not comparable in a lot of ways but particularly in its mortality. It’s also not comparable in the effects of what would happen if you just let it go.’

‘Coronavirus and the H3N2 flu are absolutely not interchangeable’ said Dr. Monto. ‘Its like comparing apples and oranges.’ Monto explains that even though the H3N2 virus was highly contagious, some of the population had been bolstered by residual immunity that was leftover from the from the previous H2N2 pandemic in 1957.

Furthermore, a vaccine for a Hong Kong flu was developed right away even though it took a while to get it mass produced and distributed. ‘The variable in this pandemic is that we don’t have a vaccine yet. We’re making it from scratch, we have no experience with a coronavirus,’ explained Dr. Monto to 

When it comes to pandemic management, Monto feels like its best to err on the side of caution. ‘You can always say you’re wrong when things don’t occur that you tried to prevent.’ 

Vietnam historian Nathaniel Moir, Ph.D. is more concerned that one day the current coronavirus crises will be forgotten, much like the 1968 pandemic was lost in the pages of  history. He writes: ‘In much the same way that the Iraq War demonstrated our ability to forget lessons from the Vietnam War, the 1968 Pandemic suggests we may eventually forget COVID 19 in a similar way. Not only does the general public forget. Unfortunately, historians too, often forget history.’

An aerial view of the crowd and stage at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in White Lake, New York on August 17, 1969

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How to Cope with Loss, Whether You Broke Up or Lost a Loved One

Hi and welcome to our How to Put Your Life Back Together series, i.e. good advice for post-pandemic times. Explore more here, or click the “next story” button at the bottom of this one.

Here, advice from experts on how to process the grief you might from feeling.

Was is a real breakup or was it just crisis collateral?

Clarity in the form of a flowchart.

To everyone who lost someone…

You’re not imagining it: This loss feels different from the ones that hit during normal life. Here’s how to work through a very surreal kind of grief.

If you feel stuck, don’t wait to mourn

Even if you can’t gather for a burial, even if you can’t hug your family. Because while funerals are important, private rituals can also help you process your heartbreak, according to research. That might look like making a recipe your loved one was known for or taking up a hobby they enjoyed.

If you feel alone, know that you’re not

Until you can get together with loved ones again, find community through groups like The Dinner Party, a network of millennials who are all dealing with loss. Or even just pick up a related book, like The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion. There is connection in knowing that other people have felt what you are.

If you feel rage: feel rage

Of course you’re allowed to be angry at people who didn’t properly social distance. If it helps you feel better: They, too, are grieving. Nearly everyone is dealing with the loss of something. So maybe they are a Very Shitty Person or maybe it’s just that they’re coping the best they can.

Can I keep my nightly bottle of wine, or…?

Some thoughts on getting back to pre-pandemic alcohol consumption.

“Alcohol in itself isn’t a bad thing,” says Liz Higgins, a therapist in Dallas, but you do need to figure out if your drinking has slipped into an unhealthy place, which is easy to do when it’s been weeks or months of just you and your laptop. Here’s a simple gut check: Is it hurting your relationships, making you less productive and more moody, or interfering with your sleep?

If no…

Okay, cool. But it still doesn’t hurt to keep your drinking habits in check, i.e., deciding to schedule meet ups with friends that don’t always involve a bar.

If yes…

You may need to cutback. Start with a goal, like going dry for a month. If you’re struggling, it’s not shameful at all to call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 800-662-HELP to get connected to resources in your community.

Art by David Stenbeck. Courtesy of Jenn Singer Gallery.

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