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Health

6 surprising, scientifically-backed ways to cool down quickly during a heat wave

Some of this advice may seem counterintuitive, but it may help you beat the heat.

man sweating and drinking a sports drink

Heat waves are hitting across the globe, and getting worse every year.

Phoenix is known for its scorching hot summers, with temperatures sitting at or above 100 degrees for much of the season. But even those seasoned by the Sonoran sun are struggling with nearly three weeks straight of high temps over 110 degrees, with overnight lows not dipping below 90 degrees for days on end.

(Having lived in the Valley of the Sun myself, I can attest that, yes, there is a significant difference between 100 and 110 degrees. At 100, you can still legitimately pull the "But it's a dry heat!" card. Over 110 is just miserable, not to mention dangerous.)

The Southwest isn't the only place experiencing record heat. The Lower Mississippi Valley and Florida are feeling it, and globally we're seeing parts of Europe and Asia breaking their own heat records as well.

With the globe predictably heating up due to climate change, there doesn't appear to be much end in sight for extra-oppressive heat waves. So aside from taking the necessary steps to curb climate change, we have to focus on how to cool ourselves down. There's a lot of conflicting advice out there, but here are some scientifically-backed ways to cool your body down quickly, especially if you don't have air conditioning or access to a pool or lake or river nearby.


1. Focus on cooling your hands and feet.

Everyone seems to have a different body part to focus on first for the quickest cool-down—your face, your neck, your wrists, etc.—but according to Professor Mike Tipton from the Extreme Environments Laboratory at the University of Portsmouth, the hands are where it's at.

"Your hands have a high surface area to mass area—they have lots of blood flowing in them when you’re hot. If your core temperature is hot, your body will send blood to the extremities in order to lose heat,” Tipton told Science Focus.

“Immersing your hands in cold water won’t feel as nice, but it’ll cool you much faster than even an ice bath! It’s so important to make a distinction between things that make you feel cooler and things that actually make you cooler.”

Cooling your feet works for the same reasons. We have lots of blood flow to our feet, so immersing them in cool water (not ice water, as that causes the blood vessels to constrict and reduce blood flow) can help cool you down quickly.

2. Try drinking hot liquids.

Yes, drinking cold drinks feels amazing when you're hot, but some experts say hot drinks can actually do more to help your body's natural cooling system work more efficiently. Ollie Jay, a researcher at the University of Ottawa’s School of Human Kinetics, explains why.

“What we found is that when you ingest a hot drink, you actually have a disproportionate increase in the amount that you sweat,” Jay told The Smithsonian. “Yes, the hot drink is hotter than your body temperature, so you are adding heat to the body, but the amount that you increase your sweating by—if that can all evaporate—more than compensates for the added heat to the body from the fluid.”

The one caveat is that the increased sweat has to have someplace to evaporate, so take humidity levels into consideration.

“On a very hot and humid day, if you’re wearing a lot of clothing, or if you’re having so much sweat that it starts to drip on the ground and doesn’t evaporate from the skin’s surface, then drinking a hot drink is a bad thing,” Jay added. “The hot drink still does add a little heat to the body, so if the sweat’s not going to assist in evaporation, go for a cold drink.”

3. Try some spicy foods, too.

Have you ever noticed that tropical places often have the spiciest foods? There are several theories for why that is, but one of them may be that spicy foods can actually help you stay cool.

Similarly to drinking hot beverages, eating spicy food makes you sweat, and sweat is the body's main cooling system. (Again, though, the effectiveness of this approach depends on your sweat being able to evaporate, so you may not benefit from your mouth burning if you're in a very hot and humid climate.)

4. Ditch the fan if it's extremely hot AND extremely dry or humid.

Fans can provide a nice breeze to help you cool down, but many public health agencies have recommended against using fans above 95 degrees F (35 degrees C).

However, Ollie Jay and 12 colleagues published a study in 2021 that found humidity levels make a difference in whether fans are actually effective for cooling in extremely high temperatures. Essentially, if temps are extreme and conditions are very dry or very humid, fans can make things worse. But as Science Alert points out, those conditions are not the norm in most places. When humidity is moderate, the temperature at which fans are effective can be higher than 95 degrees.

"[T]here are many locations on Earth where fan use could be safely recommended as an alternative to air conditioning all of the time despite air temperature exceeding the currently recommended threshold of 35 °C," the authors wrote.

(However, it is important to note that fans increase the risk of dehydration, so always make sure you're drinking plenty of fluids. And for older adults, fan use is not as effective as it is for younger people and can actually result in raising their body temperatures. So it's important that elderly folks and their caregivers follow heat guidance specifically for older adults.)

5. Just say no to the cold beer—or any alcoholic or caffeinated beverage

Cracking open a cold one may sound incredibly refreshing when you're sweltering, but alcohol and heat actually make poor bedfellows. That's because alcohol actually dehydrates you. Same goes for caffeine. And the fact that they are liquids is especially deceptive because they give you a false sense of hydration.

“If you’re drinking a lot of beer or alcoholic seltzer, it can feel like you’re taking in a lot of liquid and staying hydrated,” registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, tells the Cleveland Clinic. “But the alcohol offsets that because of the dehydrating factor.”

(If you're interested in the biological reason for alcohol being dehydrating, it reduces the release of vasopressin, an antidiuretic hormone (ADH) that works with your kidneys to keep your body fluids balanced. Alcohol is also a diuretic, which means it increases the fluid being pulled out of your body as urine.

Hydration is key to making it through a heat wave, so drink aplenty, but make it water. (And start hydrating early in the day. Keeping water near you at all times and continually drinking throughout the day will go a long way toward preventing heat illness.)

6. Try dabbing on some peppermint oil

I know, I know. Essential oils are quack cures and whatnot. But in this case, even though it doesn't drop your core temperature, there really is a scientific basis for topical peppermint oil making you temporarily feel cooler.

Menthol, the primary ingredient in peppermint oil, has been shown to induce a cooling sensation. If you've ever sucked on a menthol cough drop, you know the feeling. Peppermint oil creates a similar sensation on the skin, which can provide some psychological relief from the heat, even if it's not actually reducing your body temperature.

In one study, a menthol gel was found to have a longer cooling effect than either ice or a placebo gel on healthy males. But anecdotally, a few dabs of peppermint oil on my wrists, neck and inside my elbows provides some instant cooling relief on very hot days. When it's brutally hot outside, any bit of relief helps.

There are plenty more tips for beating the heat, from wearing light-colored clothing to avoiding strenuous activity, but the big takeaway from this list is helping our body's built-in cooling system work as well as it possibly can during extreme heat.

For more information about the dangers of heat waves and how to prevent heat illness, check out the American Red Cross extreme heat safety tips here.

Sponsored

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 change seats for mom and kids

Traveling with preteens and teens is a breeze in comparison to traveling with little ones but as a parent you still want to sit near your kiddos in case they need you for anything. If you've traveled on an airline in the last several years, you know it's much cheaper to chose the basic seats in the main cabin.

There's nothing different about these particular seats other than the airline sort of randomly selects your seat and if you're traveling alone, that's really not a bad deal. The risk gets to be a little higher if you're traveling with a party that you'd like to keep together - like your children. One mom took the risk and banked on a stranger accommodating...that's not quite how it played out.


People sit in the wrong seats on planes all the time, usually because they read their ticket wrong or accidentally sit one row ahead. Takes no time to double check your ticket and move along, but when Tammy Nelson did a double take at her ticket after seeing the mom in her window seat, she realized she wasn't mistakenly staring at the wrong row.

This mom boarded the plane with her older children and had taken it upon herself to sit in the same row as her children, essentially commandeering a stranger's seat. Nelson assumed it was a mistake and informed the woman that the seat was in fact hers but the response she received was surprising.

"She said, 'Oh, you want to sit here?'," Nelson tells Good Morning America. "She said, 'Oh, well I just thought I could switch with you because these are my kids.'"

That's an interesting assumption when seats are assigned and many people, like Nelson, pay extra to have the seat they prefer. Now, there's no telling if funds were tight and this was an unplanned trip for the mom and kids which caused her to buy the more budget friendly tickets or if she was simply being frugal and was banking on the kindness of a stranger.

Either way, Nelson specifically paid for a window seat due to motion sickness and though she paid extra, she was willing to sit in the other row if that seat was also a window seat. But it turns out, it was a middle seat.

Surely there's someone out there that loves the middle seat. Maybe a cold natured person that enjoys the body heat of two strangers sitting uncomfortably close. Or perhaps someone that doesn't mind accidentally sleeping on an unsuspecting passenger's shoulder. But that person isn't Nelson, so when the middle seat was offered in exchange for her bought and paid for window seat, she politely but sternly declined.

@myconquering

Having had only 90 minutes of sleep the night before and knowing I had to give a presentation to 500 people, I desperately needed some sleep, so I did not agree to switch seats. 🤷‍♀️ Before anyone comes after me… the kids looked like they were about 11 and 15 years old. And the mom was in arms-reach of both of them from the middle seat in the row behind us. The mom proceeded to complain for at least 15 minutes to the person next to her loud enough for me to hear. But the woman actually defended me – several times. It was so kind and I appreciated it so much because I was feeling really guilty. 🤦‍♀️ ##airplaneseat##seatswitching##airplanekarens

Her refusal to give in to the mom's seemingly entitled request for Nelson's seat has resulted in parents and child-fee people cheering her on after she posted the details on her TikTok page, MyCONQUERing. The video has over 3.4 million views.

"Nope. If it's not an upgrade it's a sacrifice," a commenter writes.

"You did the RIGHT thing. Folks need to plan their travel together. Lack of planning on their part does not constitute an inconvenience on yours," one person says.

"I have 3 kids and have sat in different rows when they were passed toddler age. I agree, book your flight earlier," another writes.

"You were right. As a woman with 3 children, I always pay extra so we're sat together," another mom says.

Nelson is also a mom so she knows how important it is to sit next to kids on flights. But since airlines have made that a luxury, as the parent, you have to plan to pay extra or accept that you likely won't be seated next to your children. Hopefully in the future, this unnamed mom is seated next to her children or pays extra to make sure it happens. In the meantime, people continue to support Nelson standing her ground.

This article originally appeared on 7.28.23

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.

Pop Culture

Simone Biles debunks misconceptions and assumptions about elite gymnasts

"I'm actually not very competitive at all…my goal is never to win—it just kind of happens."

Simone Biles sets the record straight on gymnastics myths.

Gymnastics is a somewhat unique sport in that the distance between the athletes at the top and the average person is far greater than in many other sports. Most people can run, just not as fast as Usain Bolt. Most people can dribble a ball and make some baskets, just not as well as Steph Curry. Most people can swim, but not nearly as well as Katie Ledecky.

But most people can't do a single flip on a balance beam or swing themselves over a bar once or do even the most basic gymnastics tumbling pass on the floor. Forget about the average person trying to fling themselves over a vault, much less do what Simone Biles or other elite gymnasts can do in any of those events.

Since few are able to do gymnastics at all and even fewer compete at the Olympic level, elite gymnasts are a curiosity for many. To help satisfy that curiosity, Simone Biles sat down with Glamour in 2021 and responded to some of the misconceptions and assumptions people have about top level gymnasts.


Biles, who will be competing with Team USA again in the 2024 Paris Olympic games, broke down the misconceptions into three categories: Sport, Lifestyle and Physique. Here are some highlights from her responses:

"Gymnastics is not a sport."

Umm, what? Biles said she hears this a lot, but pointed out that "every four years, everybody tunes in to watch gymnastics, so it's gotta be a sport at least."

Then she pointed out what makes it not only a sport, but one of the hardest sports in the world. "It's all sports combined in one," she said. "You can't just be fast, you have to have agility, you have to be able to jump, you have to be able to flip, memorize routines—it's kind of all-in-one."

"Gymnasts retire at an early age and have a short career."

At 27, Biles herself has defied the standard retirement age of elite gymnasts, so she may not be the one to come at with this. She pointed out that a lot of gymnasts get college scholarships and then retire around 22 or 23.

"You have to be rich to get into the sport, lessons are expensive."

Biles confirmed, "It is actually a very expensive sport. And it's also year-long. We don't have a season and then you can take a break. And you kind of have to train your whole life for it. So yes, it does get to be expensive.

"You can't start gymnastics later in life."

Biles shared that she started when she was almost 7, which is "late" in the elite gymnastics world. "Usually you start in 'mommy and me' classes or as soon as you can walk," she said.

"You can't be afraid of heights as a gymnast."

"You actually can," said Biles, 'but it doesn't affect you in the gym when you're flipping because you don't notice how high you are, so I feel like that one's sort of a myth." She added that her fear isn't a fear of falling from high up but a fear that she's going to jump from someplace high up. "I don't want to die, I just want to jump off," she said.

"They're not very nice and super competitive in all aspects of life."

"I'm actually not very competitive at all," Biles said. "In a gym or in a competition, my goal is never to win, it just kind of happens. But I also feel like whenever you're at the top everybody preys on your downfall, which is really strange to me."

She shared that her sister did gymnastics until she was around 17. While she was really good, she decided to quit because of the pressure and everyone compared her to her sister. When she would win competitions, people thought it wasn't fair that both sisters would win all the time, and she had enough of it.

"I feel like people also think gymnasts are really mean because most of the time we're so serious you don't get to see our personality," she added.

"All work and no play."

"Yes and no, I guess we can play after work," she said. "I've learned that I have to fuel myself outside of the gym too, whether that's hanging out with family, friends, going shopping or doing whatever. I still have to be happy at the end of the day without gymnastics."

"They have to wake up at 4:00 a.m."

"I don't wake up at 4:00 a.m. I wake up at like 6:15 just because we start practice at 7:00," she said, adding, "If I had to wake up at 4:00 I wouldn't go to the gym."

"They don't have time to take care of their mental health."

Biles shared that she goes to therapy. "I think it should be talked about a lot more, because it's not something to be ashamed or afraid of," she said. "Everybody has something that works for them and that's what I just found works for me."

"They have body image issues."

"I feel like that's not a misconception about gymnasts, I feel like that's everybody in general. Everybody struggles with body image issues, wanting to look different, thinking you're not skinny. I feel like that's everybody in life."

"You have to have a certain body type to do gymnastics."

"Back in the day, everybody had a more slim body and was really flexible and skinny," Biles said. "But now, you can be a little bit shorter and more powerful like me. So, I definitely think it's evolved. So I think that's false, as well."

"I feel like whatever your body type is you just have to be in shape to do gymnastics," she added. "I think it's different now. Everybody thought bar swingers were a little bit taller, leaner. And then if you're a tumbler, you're a little bit shorter and thicker. But now, it's been proven that you can kind of have both body types and do all of it. So, it's doesn't really make a difference anymore."

"They're very flexible."

"No, not all gymnast are flexible," said Biles. "Me and Aly Raisman, we're actually not that flexible for gymnasts because our muscles kind of overlap that. But, we're flexible enough to do what we have to do."

Watch the full video on Glamour's YouTube channel.

Health

Psychologist explains why everyone feels exhausted right now and it makes so much sense

Psychologist Naomi Holdt beautifully explained what's behind the overarching exhaustion people are feeling and it makes perfect sense.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

It seems like most people are feeling wiped out these days. There's a reason for that.

We're about to wrap up year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it's been a weird ride, to say the least. These years have been hard, frustrating, confusing and tragic, and yet we keep on keeping on.

Except the keeping on part isn't quite as simple as it sounds. Despite the fact that COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc, we've sort of collectively decided to move on, come what may. This year has been an experiment in normalcy, but one without a testable hypothesis or clear design. And it's taken a toll. So many people are feeling tired, exhausted, worn thin ("like butter scraped over too much bread," as Bilbo Baggins put it) these days.

But why?



Psychologist and speaker Naomi Holdt beautifully explained what's behind the overarching exhaustion people are feeling as we close out 2022, and it makes perfect sense.

In a post on Facebook, she wrote:

"A gentle reminder about why you are utterly exhausted…

No one I know began this year on a full tank. Given the vicious onslaught of the previous two years (let’s just call it what it was) most of us dragged ourselves across the finish line of 2021… frazzled, spent, running on aged adrenaline fumes…

We crawled into 2022 still carrying shock, trauma, grief, heaviness, disbelief… The memories of a surreal existence…

And then it began… The fastest hurricane year we could ever have imagined. Whether we have consciously processed it or not, this has been a year of more pressure, more stress, and a race to 'catch up' in all departments… Every. Single. One. Work, school, sports, relationships, life…

Though not intentionally aware, perhaps hopeful that the busier we are, the more readily we will forget… the more easily we will undo the emotional tangle… the more permanently we will wipe away the scarring wounds…

We can’t.

And attempts to re-create some semblance of 'normal' on steroids while disregarding that for almost two years our sympathetic nervous systems were on full alert, has left our collective mental health in tatters. Our children and teens are not exempt. The natural byproduct of fighting a hurricane is complete and utter exhaustion…

So before you begin questioning the absolutely depleted and wrung-dry state you are in- Pause. Breathe. Remind yourself of who you are and what you have endured. And then remind yourself of what you have overcome.

Despite it all, you’re still going. (Even on the days you stumble and find yourself face down in a pile of dirt).

Understanding brings compassion… Most of the world’s citizens are in need of a little extra TLC at the moment. Most are donning invisible 'Handle with care' posters around their necks and 'Fragile' tattoos on their bodies…

Instead of racing to the finish line of this year, tread gently.

Go slowly. Amidst the chaos, find small pockets of silence. Find compassion. Allow the healing. And most of all… Be kind. There’s no human being on earth who couldn’t use just a little bit more of the healing salve of kindness."

Putting it like that, of course we're exhausted. We're like a person who thinks they're feeling better at the end of an illness so they dive fully back into life, only to crash mid-day because their body didn't actually have as much energy as their brain thought it did. We tried to fling ourselves into life, desperate to feel normal and make up for lost time, without taking the time to fully acknowledge the impact of the past two years or to fully recover and heal from it.

Of course, life can't just stop, but we do need to allow some time for our bodies, minds and spirits to heal from what they've been through. The uncertainty, the precariousness of "normal," the after-effects of everything that upended life as we knew it are real. The grief and trauma of those who have experienced the worst of the pandemic are real. The overwhelm of our brains and hearts as we try to process it all is real.

So let's be gentle with one another and ourselves as we roll our harried selves into another new year. We could all use that little extra measure of grace as we strive to figure out what a true and healthy "normal" feels like.

You can follow Naomi Holdt on Facebook.


This article originally appeared on 12.23.22

Ryan Reynolds at the "Deadpool 2" premiere in Japan.

“Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds shared a fascinating take on anxiety and parenting in an interview he did with Hugh Jackman for PEOPLE. He believes that instead of making it harder to be a parent, it’s made him more compassionate and present in the lives of his children.

Reynolds and actor Blake Lively have 4 children: James, 9, Inez, 7, and Betty, 4. They welcomed a fourth child in 2023, whose name and gender haven’t been revealed. Back in 2022, he told CBS News he had struggled with anxiety “my whole life.”

“Oh mate, you’ve been pretty open with your anxiety struggles, which I really applaud you for,” Jackman told Reynolds in the PEOPLE interview. “Do you find being a dad makes it better or worse?”

Reynolds said it makes him a better parent because he can relate to their anxious moments and respond compassionately.


“Now I love that I have anxiety, I love that I’ve had anxiety,” Reynolds said. “Because when I see my kids experiencing some of that—which is probably genetic—I know how to address it in a way that is compassionate, that actually allows them to feel seen in that anxiety. I know that I can’t just fix it. And I can communicate all that stuff to them and with them. So, I’m always kinda grateful for it.”

Ryan Reynolds & Hugh Jackman Interview Each Other | PEOPLEyoutu.be

He also said that parents need to share not just their wins but also their losses in life.

“I think Sean Levy actually told me something that stuck with me forever; its that people only talk about their wins, but I think it's really important for your kids in particular to know that you lose,” he shared. “You don’t get what you want all the time; something you worked on really hard didn’t work; you said something embarrassing today; you did something that didn’t sit right with you. It’s so important that they see that and they don’t just hear about ‘Oh dad nailed it,’ because you lose so much more than you win.”



For Reynolds, parenting is all about teaching through example.

"Part of it is that I have three daughters at home and part of my job as a parent is to model behaviors and model what it's like to be sad and model what it's like to be anxious or angry. That there's space for all these things," he told PEOPLE in 2021. "The home that I grew in, that wasn't modeled for me really. And that's not to say that my parents were neglectful, but they come from a different generation."

Back in 2023, Reynolds talked publicly about his struggles with anxiety, saying that now and then, he feels like he’s spinning “out of control.” He added that he uses meditation to “take time” for himself.

Reynolds’ story shows that even though he has anxiety, he's turned it into a positive by using his struggles to enrich the lives of others. The pain of anxiety has taught him a valuable lesson in compassion that he can pass on to his children.

American sales people making deals happen.

Americans are known as some of the best salespeople in the world. The country has been the home of some of the most influential business communicators of all time, like Steve Jobs of Apple or filmmaker Walt Disney. America is also the birthplace of people who became legends for their ability to excite people with their incredible, audacious promotional skills, such as P.T. Barnum or Muhammad Ali.

There’s also a dark side to the uniquely American gift of gab. Americans have the reputation of being masters of BS. Hunter S. Thompson, a writer with a fondness for exaggeration, once referred to America as a “nation of 220 million used car salesmen.”

An X user named Alz, born in Hong Kong, was curious about why Americans are so great at sales, presenting ideas, and (less favorably) BS-ing than people in other countries. The tweet went viral, receiving over 1.4 million views. Nearly everyone agreed that Americans are the world's best salespeople, but there were many different answers to why.


“Why are Americans, on average, so incredibly good at presenting/selling/ (you could uncharitably call it) BS-ing? Is it something about early/middle/high school education? Culture? Parents teaching their kids?” Alz asked.

“I troll, but this is an incredibly important skill, and for some reason observationally, America, which has an early education system few are generally jealous of, seems to systematically produce ppl with a much higher distribution of presentation ability than anywhere else,” Alz continued.

Some respondents believe Americans are great at sales because so many work in the service sector. Over the past 50 years, globalization has altered the labor landscape, with many jobs moving from manufacturing to the service sector. Thus, Americans have learned to place a significant value on those who can communicate one-on-one, such as people who work in hospitality, retail, or personal training.

Others believe Americans have the gift of gab because its education system highly values communication skills, which are favorable in the business world. However, some believe this emphasis comes at the expense of STEM skills, which are seen as more important in other countries.

Many people think Americans are great communicators because it's crucial to be able to sell and persuade in a competitive, free-market capitalist system. If you aren’t able to sell the goods and services you provide and produce, then it doesn’t matter if you’re in business at all. Further, American business culture is also seen as more relationship-based than in other countries, where buying and selling is merely transactional.

It could be that it’s all part of a culture that values openness and confidence which bleeds over into other aspects of American life. Persuasion and sales come a lot more naturally to people who've been raised with zero fear of calling attention to themselves. Outside the business world, Americans are also seen as friendly in social situations and have no problem engaging in small talk with strangers. Americans’ extroverted nature can sometimes shock people who travel to the U.S. on vacation.

Or, it could be that Americans just have a ‘rizz that’s the envy of the world.