Photo: Kyle Sudu on Unsplash

This fourth letter from lockdown is about emotional and mental health. The CDC recommends taking care of both during this stressful time as we distance ourselves physically and often socially from each other. So, here’s a bit of lightheartedness.

I found myself looking into my underwear drawer this morning. I started to reach for a simple, gray cotton – probably a couple of years old. After all, I’m dressed down for lockdown. Then, it occurred to me: I needed a lift! So, I found a fancy, white-laced pair and slipped them on. Silly as it seems, it made me chuckle.

What we need now is to use our fancy stuff, have a candlelight dinner, take out those items we save for special occasions.  Maybe wear a bright flower in your hair, pocket or lapel or that hat you’ve been hesitant to wear.  Why not?

Of course, we mostly need to help others. This special underwear – splashing out tactic isn’t instead of doing our part. It’s about doing a little something for ourselves too.

My friend, Ellen, called today to video chat. She looked gorgeous — new hairdo, earrings, and a colorful outfit. That’s the spirit!

Let’s give ourselves and others a chuckle. Share with your loved ones – or a friend who needs a smile – that today you’re sporting your best! Right down to your underwear. I bet that will uplift the conversation.

Little things that make us smile are big things now.  So go get fancy! ??

Be safe and healthy, Kathleen


  • Kathleen Kelley Reardon

    Professor Emerita, University of Southern California Marshall School/Preventive Medicine Research. Author of THE SECRET HANDSHAKE, SHADOW CAMPUS and DAMNED IF SHE DOES

    Professor Emerita, USC Marshall School of Business with a joint position in preventive medicine, Kathleen is a Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Mortar Board and a member of the International Women's Forum (IWF).  She was a featured blogger at Huffpo from 2005 to 2016 and for Big Think. She is the author of numerous articles, including The Harvard Business Review classic, "The Memo Every Woman Keeps in Her Desk,"  and "Courage as a Skill."  She has published ten nonfiction books on communication, persuasion, negotiation, gender issues and politics in organizations, including bestsellers THE SECRET HANDSHAKE and IT'S ALL POLITICS.  She has consulted extensively for organizations and was visiting professor at Stanford University and Distinguished Research Scholar at The Irish Management Institute.  She has turned her hand to fiction as well.  Her debut novel, SHADOW CAMPUS, captures the behind-the-scenes culture of a university where moral turpitude is common and a young woman's tenure, her relationship with an estranged brother, and her life hang in the balance. Forbes described it as a "fast-paced" and "masterful debut." The sequel, DAMNED IF SHE DOES (2020), a NYC-based crime mystery, was described by Kirkus Reviews as "informed and searing" and a "page-turning success." Kathleen is originator and co-founder of The First Star Academies overcoming obstacles and preparing foster children to attend college. She received the University of Connecticut Alumni Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2013. Kathleen lives in Ireland where she writes and is an artist in watercolor and oils.  She developed an art website for people with Parkinson's disease at Her political writing and other art is at and at a Facebook page, Kathleen Kelley Reardon.