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upworthy
Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

We've got a delightful roundup of joy for you.

art, animals, kindness

From amazing artists to helpful humans, this week's roundup is full of awesomeness.

Hey all!

We're back with another roundup of joy this week and we've got some sweet, sweet finds. Enjoy!

1. An angel flight attendant went above and beyond for a woman who was anxious about flying.

Delta flight attendant Floyd Dean-Shannon explained to the woman what all the different sounds and movements of the plane were to help ease her anxiety. And when it all got to be too much for her, he sat down in the aisle and held her hand. Incredible customer service and simply beautiful human-to-human understanding. Love to see it. Read the full story here.


2. A man found an abandoned newborn squirrel in his driveway and raised it. Their relationship is flippin' adorable.

@robertsquirrel

From an interview on Newsner who has 30 million followers in 11 languages

Robert T. Squirrel (the "T" stands for "The") has quite the life! He has his own squirrel family now as well—his "wife" Barbara Ann and four youngsters named Peepers, Jeepers, Creepers and Sneekers—who live in his backyard squirrel house. (I know. My heart can't take it, either.)

3. This artist's animal 'portraits' made from foraged, natural materials are absolutely stunning.

animals, wildlife, land art

People are in love with Hannah Bullen-Ryner's ephemeral animal images.

Hanna Bullen-Ryner/Facebook

Hannah Bullen-Ryner creates one of these creatures each day in the fields near her apartment in the U.K. and each one seems miraculous. They don't last—they are left shortly after being made to be blown away by the elements—but she does capture them on camera before they return to nature. See more of Bullen-Ryner's ephemeral animal portraits and learn more about her process here.

4. Actor F. Murray Abraham's reaction to the crowd cheering for him is so wholesome.

Abraham gained recognition playing Antonio Salieri in the 1984 film "Amadeus," a role for which he won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, but he's not exactly a "household name" kind of actor. He is a prolific film, television and stage performer, however, and it's so sweet to see a career actor like him be so excited for fans to cheer him on.

5. Elementary students led the charge to raise $300,000 for inclusive playground equipment for their classmates.

Dang it, where is that box of tissues? What a wonderful story of support and inclusivity. Read the full story here.

6. Plain White T's singer surprises Delilah, who has been fighting cancer for four years, with her favorite song.

Such a special gift from Tom Higgenson. The power of music truly can't be underestimated.

7. Man shares his sweet story of how he built his entire family from a single dollar bill.

Swipe through to see the dollar bill framed. Awww. Anyone else want to see this rom-com?

8. Women are finding inspiration in this picture of Jamie Lee Curtis and Michelle Yeoh at the Golden Globes.

Jamie Lee Curtis, Michelle Yeoh, Golden Globes, women

Erin Gallagher's post on LinkedIn about women hyping women has gone viral all over social media.

www.linkedin.com

"Ladies, this is your vibe for 2023: unabashed hype woman," wrote Erin Gallagher as the opening of an empowering post about women supporting other women's successes instead of seeing one another as competition. It's an awesome read inspired by an awesome moment. Check it out here.

9. Four guys, one guitar and an awesome cover of Queen's 'Another One Bites the Dust'

These guys are too fun. And that voice! Dang. See more of Adam and the Metal Hawks on Instagram.

10. Do we need to see a baby kangaroo hug its mama? Yes, yes we do.

That's just pure oxytocin right there.

Hope that brought you some much-needed joy!

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Sandhya with other members at a home meet-up

South Asian women across the country are finding social support in a thriving Facebook group devoted to them.

The Little Brown Diary has over 40,000 members, primarily between the ages of 20 and 40, and 100 subgroups devoted to niche topics. Some of these include mental health, entrepreneurship, career advice, and more.

Members of the group can discuss their experiences as South Asians, inner conflicts they face, and even bond over their favorite hobbies. The Facebook group has become a safe place for many of its members to find support in the most transformative periods of their lives. These include:

  • Supporting women in domestic violence and sexual assault circumstances
  • Sharing mental health and suicide resources
  • Connecting members to support each other through grief and loss
  • Helping members find the strength to get a divorce or defend their decision to be childfree
  • Helping them navigate career changes
  • Helping to find friends in a new city
  • Finding a community of other neurodivergent people in their shoes

“I joined the online community because I was looking for that sense of belonging and connection with others who shared similar experiences and backgrounds,” expressed Sandhya Simhan, one of the group admins.

“At the time, I was pregnant and eager to find other desi moms who could offer support, advice, and friendship during this significant life transition,” she says.

Another group admin, Henna Wadhwa, who works in Diversity and Inclusion in Washington, D.C., even uses the group to inspire new areas of research, including a study on ethnic-racial identity at work.

“I was surprised and excited for a group that brought together South Asian/brown women. I wanted to meet other women with similar research interests and who wanted to conduct academic research on South Asian American women,” Wadhwa says.


While social media isn’t always the best place to spend our time, studies show that the sense of community people get from joining online groups can be valuable to our mental health.

“The presence of LBD has allowed so many South Asian women to truly feel safe in their identity. The community we have built encourages each person to authentically and freely be themselves. It is a powerful sight to witness these South Asian women be vulnerable, break barriers, and support each other in their journeys,” says Wadhwa.

Hena and Neesha

According to an article in Psychology Today, a study on college students looked at whether social media could serve as a source of social support in times of stress. Turns out, these students were more likely to turn to their social media network rather than parents or mental health professionals for connection. The anonymity of virtual communities was also seen as appealing to those experiencing depression.

“The social support received in the online group promotes a sense of well-being and was associated with positive relationships and personal growth,” the article states.

This is why finding a community of like-minded individuals online can have such a positive impact in your life.

“There are almost half a million women in our target audience (millennial South Asians in North America) and about 10% of them are part of LBD. It’s been a game-changer for our community. LBD is all about embracing your true self and living your most authentic life. It's amazing to see how the members support, relate, learn, and lift each other,” says Wadhwa and Simhan.

Pop Culture

'Britain's Got Talent' contestant blew Simon Cowell away singing a song he 'hates'

Her heartfelt version of "Tomorrow" brought people to tears—and completely changed Simon's tune.

Sydnie Christmas nailed her rendition of "Tomorrow" from "Annie"

Contestants on "Britain's Got Talent" (as well as "American Idol" and "America's Got Talent") have long feared Simon Cowell's judgment, so imagine auditioning with a song choice that automatically brings out his sour side.

That's what contestant Sydnie Christmas did when she chose to sing "Tomorrow" from the musical "Annie," which is Simon Cowell's least favorite song. But much to everyone's surprise, she totally blew him away with her beautiful soulful rendition, causing him to change his tune.

Before performing, Christmas bounded onto the stage with her genuine smile and spunky energy, which endeared her to the judges and audience immediately. She even cracked a joke about her middle name being "Mary" (Sydnie Mary Christmas would be quite the name choice) and got everyone laughing with her.


However, when she announced she'd be singing "Tomorrow," Cowell winced and the other judges groaned.

"That is Simon's worst song," warned judge Amanda Holden.

But when Christmas, who works as a receptionist at a gym, began to sing, it soon became clear that this wasn't an ordinary rendition of the musical classic. Soulful, heartfelt, sad but hopeful, she built the song up bit by bit, bringing the audience along with her on an emotional ride.

Watch:

Not only did she get the coveted Golden Buzzer, but she also managed to get Simon Cowell to say he now loves the song he said he'd hated just minutes before. Viewers loved it, too.

"That was the first time I could take this song serious. Before today I hated it, too," wrote one person.

"When they say you have to make the song your own, she did just that. I have never heard a better version," wrote another.

"Absolutely beautiful; love how the word “tomorrow” always sounded unique EVERY TIME! Listened over and over…" added another.

"I've heard that song a million times and she REALLY got the poignancy of it," shared another. "It is a sad song, but a song of hope, and it is hard to walk that line and she KILLED IT. It's not just about her voice, it is how she sold that song."

She even pulled in people from various walks of life, moving them with her performance:

"I'm a 60 year old highway worker. Just got off work and my wife sent this to me. What I'm trying to figure out is who's been cutting onions in my vehicle? Seriously, teared me up. This took me COMPLETELY off guard and I am so delighted to have experienced this diamond!"

"41 year old hip hop head here and never did I think I would be touched like this. The sound of suffering with a glimmer of hope in the sound. Who is cutting onions at this time."

"I’m a 60 year old builder sitting in my van having lunch. I just watched this. The guys in the next van are taking the P coz I’m crying my eyes out! Brilliant!"

As someone named Annie, I've had "Tomorrow" sung to me countless times over the years, so I shared Simon Cowell's initial grimace upon hearing what she was going to sing. But I too was moved by Christmas's performance and gained a whole new appreciation for the song after her gorgeous rendition. Not an easy feat. What a delightful surprise for us all.

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

A woman can't get out of bed.

Living with depression and anxiety is hard enough, but things are made much worse when the people we depend on minimize or discount the disorder. It’s prevalent for people dealing with depression to have parents or loved ones who say that they are just faking it for attention or that they just need to get out of bed and start living life.

If it were only that easy.

When people say these things, it can be extremely invalidating and cause further stress, anxiety and confusion for the depressed person.


Writer and performance artist Sabrina Benaim did an incredible job of explaining what it feels like to have your depression and anxiety invalidated by a loved one. In 2014, she delivered an award-winning piece at the Toronto Poetry Slam called "Explaining My Depression To My Mother," which has made countless people with depression feel seen.

In the poem, she beautifully explains the difference between depression and anxiety.

Anxiety holds me a hostage inside of my house, inside of my head.

Mom says, “Where did anxiety come from?”

Anxiety is the cousin visiting from out-of-town depression felt obligated to bring to the party.

Mom, I am the party.

She also explains why her happiness is beyond her control.

Mom says, “Happy is a decision.”

But my happy is as hollow as a pin-pricked egg.

My happy is a high fever that will break.

Mom says I am so good at making something out of nothing and then flat-out asks me if I am afraid of dying.

No.

I am afraid of living.

Benaim's powerful poem helped earn the Canadian team the top prize at the 2014 Toronto Poetry Slam. After her performance went viral, she became a vocal advocate for anxiety and depression, performing tours in the U.S., Australia and Canada. She has also published two books, "Depression and Other Magic Tricks" (2017) and "I Love You, Call Me Back" (2021).

Five women hold their bellies in a baby shower photo.

Getting married and having a child is a huge life change and so when a group of friends goes through the same experience together, it’s a great way to bond. Unfortunately, for some people, these changes on the domestic front can take over their lives and become their entire personality.

People who are single and aren’t looking to have kids any time soon can have a hard time relating to their friends who are married with children because they have less in common. Further, when you don’t have children, it can be a little tedious to hear people talk all day about lactation, sleep schedules and spitting up.

These topics can be boring to people who have children, too.


A Redditor who goes by Remarkable_Lake410, who we’ll call RL for brevity’s sake, recently ran into this problem with her friends. Instead of feigning interest in married mom life, she decided to be honest with them about why she didn’t want to join them on a trip.

child-free woman, Reddit, writing post

A woman writing a post on Reddit.

via Magnet.me/Unsplash

“I (27F) have a group of female friends (8 of us). We have been friends for over a decade, since school. Now, we don’t live in the same place, but we meet up a couple of times a year for a weekend on an Airbnb. This used to be a weekend of good food, drinks, hot tub, etc.” she wrote on the AITH forum.

“Around five of my friends are either married or in very long-term relationships. Of these five, two either have a baby or are pregnant. I will be seeing all of my friends this year for various wedding, friend and baby events. I have been invited to this year's girls' trip, but I have said I can’t come. I didn’t originally provide a reason,” she continued.

But a friend pushed her to find out why she didn’t want to go on the trip and she was honest: She didn’t want to be stuck constantly hearing about babies, marriage and weddings on a trip that was going to cost a significant amount of money.

“[Last time], I listened to one of my friends talk about her breastfeeding plans, with vengeance, for over an hour. She is not pregnant or trying. Truthfully, it’s boring, and it feels dismissive,” RL wrote. It’s also a really expensive way to feel bad about myself.”

When her friend heard her reason, she was “really hurt,” and it felt like RL didn’t care about her and her other friends. So, RL asked the Reddit forum if she was in the wrong for being honest and skipping a trip that would be all about marriage and babies.

The post received over 4,000 responses that were overwhelmingly supportive for RL.

"On the surface, this seems like it’s just about engagements, weddings and babies. You go out of your way to be constantly supportive of them. However they don’t reciprocate that for you. They can’t relate to anything or want to relate to anything outside of their lives. It would sort of be like if you just won an award, but all they talked about was the pie they just ate that morning," Dependant_praline_93 wrote in the most popular comment.

"We all change as we get older. You naturally drift apart from some friends, especially if their lifestyle changes dramatically (think married with children, in particular). I wouldn't want to spend a lot of money to spend 3 days with a group that had such dis-similar interests. And I don't think it was wrong to be truthful when your friend asked you why you wouldn't go," Smokin_HOT_Ice added.

baby, happy couple, baby photo

A couple holds their newborn baby.

via Magnet.Me/Unsplash

One commenter with kids has a close friend who is a child-free and she has made an effort to ask her about her life and interests of just talking about parenting.

“I was 38 when I had my first child and I read an article in Working Mother magazine when I was pregnant, and it said not to be the jerk who always talks about your pregnancy and your baby to your friends, especially the ones without babies,” JellyBear135 wrote. “When I see her, I always ask about her work, her activities outside of work and recently, her new baby dog. She lives alone and doesn’t have a lot of people who always ask about her life so I make sure I always do. I check in via text every couple of weeks to ask her about her life.”

After receiving a huge response from her post, RL wrote an update revealing that another friend who’s in the same boat decided not to go on the trip as well. “I have spoken to one of my other friends invited on the trip (who is also not at the baby stage of life); she is also not going on the trip and said she is not attending for the same reason,” RL wrote.

It seems the big takeaway from RL’s dilemma isn’t just that stage-of-life changes such as marriage and having babies can create chasms in friendships. But we need to make sure that we’re not just talking about ourselves to our friends but listening to them as well. Because a one-way friendship isn’t a friendship at all.

https://www.canva.com/photos

Gotta save a few of these.

Ah Gen Z, the age group known for their brutal TikTok roasts (mostly of millennials) and their attitude towards workplace professionalism that’s just a tad, shall we say, more casual than previous generations. While this attitude might be jarring at times, it also can be delightfully refreshing.

Just ask the company Oilshore, which recently shared the hilarious “out of office” messages created by its Gen Z employees.

Whether they chose a clever, tongue-in-cheek approach, like “On vacation. Hoping to win the lottery and never return,” or something more direct and borderline threatening ala “Do not contact me while I’m on leave or I’ll report you to HR,” these Gen Z workers made their message loud and clear.

To no one’s surprise, the responses struck a particularly strong chord with millennials.

“They are so bold, I love it. As a millennial I be scared to be off of work,” one wrote.

Another added, “I wish I had this direct attitude but my millennial self would never be able to do that.”

Yet another praised these workers, saying, “Xennial here thinking Gen Z’s doing all the things I’ve dreamt of doing. Kings and queens changing work culture.”

@oilshore Here at Oilshore we value honesty 🙈 #corporatetiktok #genzworker #workhumour #officelife ♬ Spongebob Tomfoolery - Dante9k Remix - David Snell


Indeed, while Gen Zers might often get labeled as lazy or entitled, they are inspiring some pretty positive disruption. According to a Stanford Report, this generation prioritizes collaboration, mental health and work-life balance, transparency, and social impact and are demanding to see these types of changes in the workforce. That’s more than evident in these “out of office” messages.

Here’s another video with even more fun ones. Feel free to use some of these yourself, if you dare.

@oilshore Replying to @Rik O'Smithwick well at least they are being honest 😳 #workhumour #genzworker #corporatetiktok ♬ Coconut Mall (From "Mario Kart Wii") - Arcade Player

"Enjoying life! Will be back when I run out of money!" might be the truest sentence ever written.

But wait, there’s more where that came from. These Gen Z workers also have some pretty awesome email sign-offs for when they're finally back in the office. I will be stealing “mean regards” immediately.

@oilshore Anything is better than ‘regards’ #genz #genzemployee #workhumour #officehumout #genzoffice ♬ Borderline - Tame Impala

In many ways, Gen Zers’ workplace values don’t differ that much from that of their post-Boomer predecessors. But there are other factors at play, like coming of age in the wake of a historic pandemic and the worldwide threat of climate change, as well as unprecedented digital connectivity that make all these events more visible, which undoubtedly influence their relentlessness in getting these needs met.

And thank goodness for that relentlessness, because it makes work a better place to be—in more ways than one.

Follow @oilshore on TikTok for even more funny workplace-related content.

@breatheintransformation/TikTok

Such a simple—and fun—way to add in daily self care

Work-life balance is a popular phrase thrown around these days, and certainly, with all the benefits it can add to our sense of purpose and wellbeing, it’s something worth striving towards.

But integrating the concept into our lives…that’s another story.

Before you know it, 12 hours of busywork have flown by, leaving us too exhausted to do anything for ourselves. And now, on top of the fatigue, we have the guilt of not doing that hour-long workout or thirty minute meditation or whatever else we know could help us feel fulfilled, if only we had time. Because the sad truth is—our current society makes it very easy to put our personal needs on the backburner in the name of productivity.

On the upside—taking even the smallest personal breaks can make a world of difference. And Trina Merz, a Hawaii-based holistic healing practitioner, recently shared the simple, yet powerful way that she and a friend created to remember their self care.


In a video posted to her TikTok, @breatheintransformation, Merz shared that whenever she and her friend carved out a small personal activity during a full work day, they’d call it “saving the day.”

For Merz, that often looked like catching a surf, calling her mom, or making a delicious meal. “One thing that reclaims the day as our own,” she explained in the clip.

And to hold each other accountable, they would ask each other how they saved the day. “It became this fun thing that we used to just casually talk about all the time,” she said.

Merz went on to affirm that "there's honestly so many ways you can save the day, and it doesn't have to be a huge time commitment. It could even be just making a cup of tea and cozying up with one of your favorite books; anything that makes the day feel like you had some space in it again."

@breatheintransformation Save the day. Everyday. #savetheday #careeradviceforwomen #corporategirlies #stressrelief ♬ original sound - trina 🕊️ work-life harmony

There’s just so much about this that works. For one thing, adding the phrase “saving the day” makes you feel like a superhero (and, let’s be real, main character energy is totally healthy sometimes). But also there’s the sharing with a friend aspect, which Merz told Upworthy is "such an impactful part of this practice not only for accountability…but because when our energy comes together it expands and inspires each other, adding fuel to the flame of seeing the positives in our lives."

As one viewer rightfully commented, “This is the healthiest lifestyle tip I’ve seen in a while."

Lots of folks requested some more examples of “saving the day,” and Mez happily obliged. Here’s a small sampling of what she listed in a follow-up video:

Blowing bubbles

Taking a walk or run outside

Making rituals out of special treats—using a special plate with a fancy piece of chocolate, for example.

Reading a book or article you find interesting

Getting a pedicure or a massage

Enjoying a crossword

Taking a dance break

Walking barefoot in the grass

Doing anything with a good friend

And of course, you are free to create your own “Save The Day” list. Share it with a friend, and see how it affects your week.