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People shared the important lessons of the pandemic. Here are 21 of the most cathartic.

It changed how we worked, socialized and saw humanity.

covid-19, pandemic lessons, ask reddit
via Pixabay

People are sharing the lessons of the pandemic.

Two-and-a-half years after the COVID-19 pandemic came to America, things are slowly returning to normal. Although people are still catching the virus, the seven-day average of deaths is around 15% of where we were at the pandemic’s peak. Lockdowns and mask mandates are over, kids are all back at school and there’s a definite feeling that the worst is behind us.

The last 30 months have been a time of anxiety, loneliness, fear, sickness, death, misinformation, and political and economic upheaval. Over that time, most of us were forced to change how we worked, socialized and learned. Even as the pandemic winds down, we live in a world that will never return to what it was like before the virus.

Now’s the time to try to make sense of what we’ve all been through so that if there’s a next time, we know how to do things better.

A Reddit user by the name Affectionate-Ad1060 asked the online forum, “What is the most important lesson learnt from Covid-19?” and they received more than 19,000 responses.


Some thought that the pandemic taught them the importance of being around people. Others realized that maintaining one’s mental health isn’t just about resilience.

A lot of people were discouraged by how incredibly selfish some acted during the pandemic. Many were surprised by the number of people who put their political beliefs ahead of the health of themselves and others.

A lot of our norms and assumptions about society have been significantly challenged over the past two and a half years. The only way that we can create a feeling of hope that things will be better the next time is to examine the lessons learned from COVID-19 so we can be better.

Here are 21 of the most important lessons that people learned from COVID-19.

1. 

"No matter how strong and resilient you think you are, your mental health can be penetrated without you realizing it." — Lentewiet

2. 

"You should take the time to spend with those you love." — idontworktomorrow

3. 

"That it wouldn’t take much for civilized people to turn on each other." — hindmaja

Strength-in-the-Loins added:

"A wise man once said something like 'Humanity is perpetually 9 meals away from utter barbarism."

JimmyHammer12 really put the nail on the head with their response:

"It could also be said based on the way people went FOMO for all that toilet paper that 'Humanity is perpetually 9 rolls away from utter barbarism.'"

4.

"People's mental health ain't no joke... people need people." — vg4030

5. 


"Pandemic was just the proverbial group project in school all over again. A couple of intelligent and hard-working people trying to keep everything from falling apart while the rest sit on their ass or choose to straight up sabotage everything. Yet somehow everyone gets the exact same grade." — NaughtyProwler

6. 

"Bold of you to assume we’ve learned anything." — Airsoft07

7. 

"Healthcare needs a overhaul." — Toxic_Politician

8. 

"The extent to which politicians will sell out public health for their political advantage is much higher than I thought. Usually, life or death situations are good for all politicians, just be a voice of stability and hope and you’re good. We all pull together and get through it. This time, dividing us intentionally to cause chaos? I still can’t believe real people did that." — Griswald

9. 

"Most schools weren't as ready to switch to digital methods as they bragged about." — SenpaisReisShop

10. 

"Most grown adults are nasty and have to be reminded to wash their hands." — shantyirish13

11. 

"The 'supply chain' is far leaner and vulnerable to the vagaries of pandemic conditions than most had thought." — Back2Bach

12. 

"You can have all the free time in the world and still manage to do nothing with it." — hogaway

13. 

"We need to teach statistics and critical thinking better." — hardsoft

14. 

"I work in childcare. We learned that children really need socialization. You would think with time off parents would work on things. Kids came back to daycare, not potty trained, still using a pacifier, speech behind, and refusing to share. It's better now but it was really interesting seeing a child pre-Covid who you potty trained…. Come back months later acting pretty helpless. don’t know if it’s parents, the lack of social pressure, or just some other thing. But it was an interesting experience." — Paceim

15. 

"People are willing to die over politics." — morinthos

16.

"That 50% of jobs can be done from home while the other 50% deserve more than they're being paid." — Kayin_Angel

17. 

"That being tied to the office, working insane hours, super long commutes are not necessary." — squashedfrog

18. 

"People make irrational decisions when afraid." — AaaON_

19. 


"During covid, I was laid off for months and spent that whole time keeping up to date on everything going on in the world. I mean everything I possibly could, every single day. I reached the point of obsession and the massive amount of negative crushed me. There was so much bad going on so much suffering that eventually, one day I just set it all down and said I'll check in in a month. Best decision I made that year, the only thing that kept my sanity. Just taking time away and not bathing in it every day." — Primerallen

20. 

"People will listen to politicians over their doctors." — GhostalMedia

21. 

"A decent amount of people I work with surprised me a lot during the pandemic. People I used to have some respect for revealed themselves as complete idiots. It was really sobering." — RiW-Kirby

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3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Woman refuses to communicate information to mother-in-law

Women are often saddled with the mental load of the household in romantic relationships, there are multiple articles covering the topic. It can be daunting to be in charge of remembering all of the things, essentially becoming a house manager by default. Many times this isn't an arrangement that is discussed, it seems to be either an expectation due to parental modeling or falling into gender roles.

Morgan Strickell was not planning to fall into the trap of being her family's sole organizer and distributer of information. This was a boundary she and her husband were clear about before getting married but recently had to reinforce. The soon-to-be mom, took to her TikTok page to explain that she is not interested in being her husband's "kin keeper."

Strickell is pregnant with her first child and after news was posed on social media, her mother in law's feeling were hurt after finding out the news second hand. It was this situation that prompted the woman's video.


"I refuse to be the primary communicator with my husband's side of the family," Strickell starts. "A few weeks ago my mother-in-law was on the phone with us and she expressed that she was a little bit hurt because she keeps finding out things about our pregnancy from her sister who sees the posts on social media."

The woman explains that this is news to her as she assumed her husband had been communicating the news to his mother. So when they had another ultrasound appointment she reminded her husband to send the information to his mom, to which he asked why she couldn't inform his mom for him. That's when Strickwell had to reinforce her boundary, reminding him that it is his job to inform his side of the family of important information.

Strickwell has a good relationship with her mother in-law and speaks to her on a fairly regular basis, so it's not a matter of an unpleasant relationship. The soon-to-be mom is simply not adding additional things to her plate that then become the expectation. Many people in the comments agreed with her approach.

@morganstrickell #family #momsoftiktok #inlaws ♬ original sound - Morgan Elisa Strickell

I'm on your side and I'm actually the mom of three boys who don't communicate with me, but it is their responsibility to keep me in the loop not their wives," a commenter says.

"Last year my husband told me I was wrong for not including his mom in my Mother's Day shopping and I kindly reminded him that we in fact do not share the same mom," another writes.

"Stay strong on this, it only gets worse after the kid is born," someone declares.

"You are correct and the next thing he'll have you do is buying birthday presents birthday cards for his family and everything becomes your responsibility," another person says.

In another video, Strickell clarified that her husband isn't worried about his communication in with his mother. She also says this isn't an issue that comes up often in their relationship because he is very good at communicating with his family. But Strickwell's intention was to use that example as a means to make sure people are aware that the responsibility of communication doesn't have to fall on the female partner in the relationship.

Doctors say a lot of us are showering more than we need to.

A few times in recent years, celebrities and social media influencers alike have made waves by sharing that they don't make their kids bathe every day. For some parents, that was totally par for the course, but for others, letting a child go more than a day without bathing was seen as a travesty.

Doctors have made it clear that kids don't need to bathe daily, with some going so far as to recommend against it when they are young to protect kids' delicate skin.

But what about grownups? Most of us don't take baths regularly as adults, but what's the ideal frequency for showering?


According to a YouGov poll of over 5,700 Americans, just over half of respondents said they shower daily and 11% said they shower twice or more per day. That means two out of three of us are showering at least once a day.

But according to doctors and dermatologists, that's probably overkill for most people. Unless you're doing heavy labor, exercising vigorously, working outdoors or around toxins or otherwise getting excessively dirty or sweaty, a few showers per week is enough for healthy hygiene.

In fact, Robert H. Shmerling, MD of Harvard Health says too frequent showering could actually have some negative effects on your health.

"Normal, healthy skin maintains a layer of oil and a balance of 'good' bacteria and other microorganisms," Dr. Shmerling writes. "Washing and scrubbing removes these, especially if the water is hot." He shares that removing that protective layer can make our skin dry, irritated or itchy, which can lead to damage that allows allergens and bacteria to cross the skin barrier. Additionally, our immune systems require exposure to microorganisms, dirt, and other environmental stimuli in order to create "immune memory," and if we wash them away too frequently, we might be inhibiting the effectiveness of our immune system.

Dermatologists who spoke to Vogue had similar advice about shower frequency. Board-certified dermatologist Deanne Robinson, MD, FAAD told the magazine that you can skip showering for the day if you haven't engaged in rigorous activity. Mamina Turegano, a triple board-certified dermatologist, internist and dermatopathologist. agreed. "I think that showering three to four times a week is plenty for most people,” she said.

Of course, everyone is different and what is good for one person's skin isn't good for another's. Showering frequency and health also depend on what kinds of products you're using, what temperature of water you're using and how long your shower is. There's a big difference between a quick pits-and-privates rinse-off and a long, hot shower.

While scorching yourself and steaming up the bathroom may feel luxurious and relaxing, especially if you've got sore muscles, dermatologists say it's not good for your skin. Hot showers are especially problematic for people with skin issues like eczema.

"Any skin condition characterized by a defective skin barrier can be worsened by a hot shower," board-certified New York City dermatologist Shari Marchbein told Allure. "[It] strips the skin of sebum, the healthy fats and oils necessary for skin health, and dehydrates the skin."

In fact most dermatologists recommend keeping showers lukewarm. That sounds like torture, frankly, but who's going to argue with the experts?

A lot of people, actually. Modern humans are pretty particular about our shower preferences, and judging from the comments on cleanliness discussions, some folks are dead set on the idea that a daily shower is simply not negotiable. Even with the experts weighing in with their knowledge and science, a lot of people will continue to do what they do, advice be damned.

But at least the folks who've been judged harshly by the daily shower police have some official backup. As long as you're showering every couple of days, you're golden. As it turns out, there really is such a thing as being too clean.


This article originally appeared on 3.7.24

There was a time when every other girl was named Ashley. That time has ended.

As we know, baby name trends are constantly changing. One generation’s Barbara is another generation’s Bethany. But it doesn’t make it any less odd when you suddenly realize that your very own name has suddenly made it into the “old and unhip” pile. And for many of us 80s babies…that time is now.

In a now-viral TikTok post, baby name consultant Colleen Slagen went through the top 100 girl names from 1986 to find which ones “did not age well” and were no longer ranked top 1,000 today. Such a descent from popularity would mark them as what she calls “timestamp names.”

Spoiler alert: what might be even more surprising than the names now considered old school are the names that are still going strong.


The first name that Slagen says is “officially out” is Heather. That’s right, not even cult movie fame could help it keep its ranking.

via GIPHY

Other extinct names include Erica, Courtney, Lindsay, Tara, Crystal, Shannon, Brandy and Dana. Tiffany, Brittany and Casey are also heading very much in that direction.

“My name is Brandy. The Gen Z hostess at Olive Garden told me that she’d never heard my name before and it was so unique,” one viewer wrote.

However, Andrea ranks “surprisingly high,” and Jessica, Ashley and Stephanie have survived…so far.

Gobsmacked, one person asked “How is Stephanie still in there? I don’t think I’ve met a Stephanie younger than myself at 34.”

But the biggest holdout still belongs to Jennifer. “She was a top 100 name all the way up until 2008. Round of applause for Jennifer,” Slagen says in the clip.

@namingbebe Sorry Lindsay, Heather, and Courtney. #babynames #nametok #nameconsultant #girlnames #80skid #1986 #nametrend ♬ original sound - Colleen

If your name has found its way into relic of a bygone era status, fret not. Slagen, whose name also ranks out of the top 1000, assures it just means “we are creatures of the 80's.”

Of course, while we still have baby names that become incredibly common for extended periods of time (looking at you, little Liam and Olivia), the real contemporary trend is going for uniqueness. As an article in The Atlantic notes, for most of American history families tended to name their children after a previous family member, with the goal of blending in, rather than standing out. But now, things have changed.

Laura Wattenberg, the founder of Namerology, told the outlet that “Parents are thinking about naming kids more like how companies think about naming products, which is a kind of competitive marketplace where you need to be able to get attention to succeed.”

But again, even with a keen eye on individualism, patterns pop up. “The same thing we see in fashion trend cycles, we see in names,” Jessie Paquette, another professional baby namer, told Vox. “We’re seeing Eleanor, Maude, Edith—cool-girl grandma names.”

So who knows…give it time (or maybe just a pop song) and one of these 80s names could make a comeback.

Rodney Smith Jr. mowing a lawn in West Covina, California

Rodney Smith Jr., of Huntsville, Alabama, was recently profiled by KMBC for his generous donation to two 11-year-olds who fulfilled his 50 Yard Challenge in Gadsden, Alabama. Ja’Torrian Taylor and Tevin Rice, founders of TJ & JT Mowing Service, completed Smith’s challenge to mow 50 yards for the elderly, veterans, and people unable to care for their lawns for free.

"I’m heading down to Gadsden right now. These are good, hard-working kids that deserve some gratitude," Smith, known as "The Lawnmower Man," told KMBC. Smith had been told that Taylor and Rice were sharing an old lawnmower that a neighbor had donated to them.

When he arrived, he gave both teens a mower, a blower and a trimmer for their hard work, hoping they’ll use their new equipment to expand their business. "Giving these boys lawn equipment is teaching them discipline," Smith said. "If they tell someone they are going to mow a lawn, they need to mow the lawn."

"Remember, this is not the end; it’s just the beginning," Smith added. "This could be the beginning of a successful lawn service."

Smith’s commitment to taking care of people’s lawns started in 2015, and the following year he went viral for helping a 93-year-old woman who could no longer mow hers. The photo of Smith and the woman received over 1 million likes.

Five years ago, Upworthy profiled Smith for setting a bold goal of mowing lawns for free in all 50 states. His goal was to promote his initiative that "provides free lawn care to our elders, those who are disabled, single mothers, and our veterans, who do not have the time, resources, and/or money to manicure their yards."

As part of this goal, he created the 50 Yard Challenge, which has been a smashing success.

As of May 2023, 4,588 pre-teens and teens are participating in this challenge across the United States. If everyone completes the challenge, that will bring the total number of lawns mowed for free by Smith’s Raising Men & Women Lawn Care Service to 229,400.

Kids and teens can take part in the challenge by sending them a photo holding up a sign that says, “I accept the 50 Yard Challenge,” and in return, they’ll receive a white Raising Men/Women shirt along with shades and ear protection to get started. For every 10 lawns cut, they will get a new color shirt.

• 10 lawns earn an orange shirt

• 20 lawns earn a green shirt

• 30 lawns earn a blue shirt

• 40 lawns earn a red shirt

• 50 lawns earn a black shirt

After completing the challenge, the child or teen will receive a mower, a blower, and a trimmer, just like Ja’Torrian Taylor and Tevin Rice from Alabama.

Smith’s story is an incredible example of how one good deed from a kind-hearted person can lead to an outpouring of kindness across the country. It also teaches young people the values of giving back and self-discipline as well as the entrepreneurial spirit.

Learn more about Smith’s nonprofit and donate at Weareraisingmen.com.


This article originally appeared on 6.23.23

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British high schoolers try southern food for the first time

Southern food is beloved by many, and those of us raised on it just consider it dinner, not a special cuisine. But since Southern food is pretty geographical, there are plenty of Americans who haven't had the opportunity to try authentic Southern food. There are a few soul food restaurants that get it right sprinkled across the country, but all are not created equal.

Since Southern cooking isn't available throughout all of America, it shouldn't be a surprise that it's not a staple across the pond. Josh Carrott, author of "Once Upon A Time in Carrottland," runs the YouTube channel Jolly, where he has people try new foods. He decided to invite a group of British schoolboys to try a few Southern staples. The boys are in year 9 in England, which means they're between the ages of 13 and 14.

Since Carrott isn't Southern, or even American for that matter, I can't say how the food was prepared. What I can say is that my very Southern grandmother would give the sausage gravy preparation the side eye, but other than that, it looked as authentic as possible.


The boys were served biscuits that were perfectly golden, and there was immediate confusion. Apparently biscuits are flat and hard in England, so the boys were sure they were being served scones. It only took one bite for them to come around to the idea of the buttery fluffy delight that is the Southern biscuit. But the taste test for the biscuits wasn't over—Carrott mixed up some white sausage gravy and smothered the delicious bread.

None of the boys were eager to try a meal that many Southern households eat regularly.

"Let's call it interesting for now. I'm not going to make a judgment," one boy says.

"It looks like a chopped-up ferret," another lamented.

To be fair, if you've never seen biscuits and gravy, it doesn't look instantly appealing, but once you try it, the dish suddenly looks amazing every time you encounter it moving forward. Maybe it isn't everyone's favorite thing, but being able to drive through a Whataburger and grab it to go brings me childlike joy.

After trying everything offered, all of the boys agreed that the Southern food was delicious, including the sweet tea. Several of them said they preferred it over their British hot tea—no one tell their parents. It feels like it would be as shocking as finding a Southerner who prefers unsweet tea. You can watch the entire video below.

This article originally appeared on 6.22.23