Having a rough week? Here are 9 brilliant and easy ways you can turn it around.

Guess what day it is...

Hump dayyyyyy! GIF via Geico.


That's right, kids. It's Wednesday! Hump day. The fulcrum on which your whole week turns. Or pivots. Maybe tips? Whatever fulcrums do.

The point is, you made it. Monday is a distant memory, and the weekend is becoming a faint but enchanting glimmer in your future. It's all downhill from here.

If you haven't been having a good week, though, today might just feel like another crappy day. Don't worry. It's not too late to turn this week from bad to good. In fact, there are a few simple things you can do to reverse the cycle.

Here are nine science-approved ways to turn your week around.

Because we can't all have the naturally boisterous excitement of a workplace camel.

1. Move to a different work spot. Even if it's just for a minute.

Changing up your scenery does amazing things for your mood. When you're stuck in a rut, changing your environment sends a signal to your brain that the current cycle isn't going to continue.

"Drive around, take a walk, or just go to a different floor. The key is to put yourself in a different physical location,” says Annie McKee, founder of the Teleos Leadership Institute.

Don't worry, he just works better with his eyes closed. Photo via iStock.

If there's truly no way to work from a different spot, just get away from your desk for a minute. Take a quick walk outside or say hi to someone in a different office. It'll help you to not feel trapped.

2. Stand like Wonder Woman. No seriously.

It may sound weird, but there's research to suggest that so-called "power poses" can actually improve your mindset. They help you feel more in control of your world and can boost your confidence.

Which is perfect if a stack of paperwork has left you feeling helpless, or if you made a mistake that got you some flak earlier in the week.

Costumes not included. Photo by Matthier Alexandre/AFP/Getty Images.

"Body-mind approaches such as power posing rely on the body, which has a more primitive and direct link to the mind, to tell you you're confident," says Amy Cuddy, a Harvard Business School professor.

Basically, your mind listens to your body. So standing like a superhero can start to make you feel like one. And who better to knock this day out of the park and into the stratosphere than a superhero?

3. Forgive yourself for your mistakes.

Forgiveness — especially self-forgiveness — is a pretty great thing.

You've seen the posters: "We all make mistakes," "No one is perfect," "You're a snowflake," etc. The fact is, if your mistake didn't make the world crash and burn, it's probably OK to let it go.

"When resentment is interfering with your life, it's time to forgive yourself," says Sharon Harman, a clinical trainer at the Caron Foundation. "So many people have a constant, critical voice in their heads narrating their every move."

Letting the little things go is way better than your four different sizes of coffee. Photo via iStock.

And it's that voice that could be dragging down your whole week. Don't let the mistakes of Monday be the grumpiness and lethargy of Wednesday. Let it go. Whatever it is, everyone else has probably forgotten about it by now.

Except for Karen. She remembers everything.

4. Prioritize and schedule. Your brain loves that.

If you feel like you've already lost control of your week, it's time to take a step back. Things are hardly ever as bad as they seem.

Ask yourself: What actually needs to get done today? What needs to get done before the end of the week? What can be back-burnered for a later date? Figure all that out and start scheduling your time.


1. Pick up glasses. 2. Put on face. 3. Finish to-do list. Photo via iStock.

Also, make a to-do list. Your brain is a huge fan of to-do lists, and they can make you more efficient at tackling responsibilities.

"Even when you are overwhelmed with tasks, the most important thing you can do is make a plan on how to get them done, starting with a to-do list," writes Jonathan Becher. "Simply writing the tasks down will make you more effective."

5. Socialize with someone. Anyone.

Little-known secret: We need human interaction to feel OK.

If all you've been doing is working, you may not have even noticed that your social life has slipped. Talking to Greg at the water cooler about last night's "Top Chef" doesn't really count, either. You're still at work!

Go out and cut loose. You don't have to do keg stands and Jägerbombs or anything (unless you want to). Grab dinner or drinks with a friend. Or just walk around the park with someone.


"Hey guys, wanna get together on my roof and HIGH-FIVE THE SUN?!" Photo via iStock.

Have a significant other? Take them on a date! Been married for 25 years and think you've outgrown dates? Yeah ... ask your partner how they feel about that.

A little midweek socialization can lift your mood enough to glide through right to Friday. Pro tip: Don't look at your phone the whole time.

6. Do something nice for someone.

You hear that? It sounds like two birds. Here's your one stone: Performing a simple act of kindness can be uplifting for you and totally make someone else's day.

Whether it’s buying a coworker coffee, paying a toll for the car behind you, or even just complimenting someone’s sweater, those little actions will make someone smile and, in turn, make you a happier person.

This guy either just got a compliment or is currently watching a very tall clown. Photo via iStock.

“People who engage in kind acts become happier over time,” says psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky. “When you are kind to others, you feel good as a person — more moral, optimistic, and positive.”

Why not improve your week by improving someone else's?

7. Treat yo self. Take some "you" time.

If you have a full-time job and a family, chances are you spend a LOT of time trying to make others happy.

When was the last time you did something just for you?

"I do think it’s important to take time for treats, because treats help us to feel energized, restored, and light-hearted," writes Gretchen Rubin. "Without them, we can start to feel resentful, depleted, and irritable."

The scented candles are to mask the farts. Photo via iStock.

So take a bath with those expensive scented candles. Watch that zombie movie you know your wife will hate. Take a run through your neighborhood, or get a nice cappuccino. Whatever does it for you, make some time to do it for you.

8. Listen to your favorite song. No, really, do it right now.

The fact that music can boost your mood has been well-documented and well-researched. It also shouldn't be that surprising — nothing feels better than listening to the music you love.

You can also increase productivity by turning on your computers! Photo via iStock.

If you've got the blues (oof), listening to music can make you feel totally jazzed (yikes) and ready to rock (I'm so sorry) the rest of your day. Which will get you all set up for a better week.

Plus, your favorite song is awesome. That's why it's your favorite, right?

9. This one might be obvious: Pet an animal.

Ever wonder why you love petting animals so much? Well, same reason you like pretty much anything. Brain chemicals!

Petting animals releases oxytocin, which is a feel-good hormone that improves mood while reducing stress and anxiety.

"Sorry your week was so RUFF. Get it? I'm a dog." Photo via iStock.

If you have a pet, today is a good day to force them to cuddle with you. If you don't have a pet, don't worry, there are options. You can either recruit someone else's pet or just follow a random dog down the street. Eventually you'll get close enough to pet them.

If the dog's owner gets mad at you, just tell them you're doing it for the oxytocin. Tell them you're having a bad week and this is how you plan to turn it around. You can even tell them it's an act of kindness on their part! Which will make their day better too! Remember the two birds?

It's not too late to turn this bad week into a great one.

The key here is that you shouldn't give up. We all have bad days, bad afternoons, bad hours. Those are temporary states, and they don't define you.

If you can break out of a mental funk, you can become more productive, more energized, and happier. Life's too short to wallow in the bad times, and it's definitely too short to have a bad week.

You're the captain of the U.S.S. Workweek. You can turn it around whenever you want.

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Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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