If The News Bums You Out, These Surprising Stats Might Make The World Seem Less Bleak
The news is bad because doom sells. The facts are much less dire. War is going out of style. Can it take jeggings with it, please?
What will you create on your social media break? Share it at #MyVisionMySight.
If you’ve always lived in a world with social media, it can be tough to truly understand how it affects your life. One of the best ways to grasp its impact is to take a break to see what life is like without being tethered to your phone and distracted by a constant stream of notifications.
Knowing when to disconnect is becoming increasingly important as younger people are becoming aware of the adverse effects screen time can have on their eyes. According to Eyesafe Nielsen, adults are now spending 13-plus hours a day on their digital devices, a 35% increase from 2019.1. Many of us now spend more time staring at screens on a given day than we do sleeping which can impact our eye health.
Normally, you blink around 15 times per minute, however, focusing your eyes on computer screens or other digital displays have been shown to reduce your blink rate by up to 60%.2 Reduced blinking can destabilize your eyes’ tear film, causing dry, tired eyes and blurred vision.3
ACUVUEhas been encouraging people to take time off social media and use their newfound time to see their vision, whether that's becoming a makeup influencer, focusing on athletics or embracing their unique talents.
Upworthy caught up with influencer, YouTube star and contact lens wearer Amber Alexander to talk about how she balances her social media use. Recently, she took a social media break while visiting her sister.
“I was able to slow down time and take in each moment,” she told Upworthy. “Being on social media 24/7 always puts me in a very overwhelmed and anxious state of mind, so it was so refreshing to put my phone down and see life from a clearer perspective. Every moment felt more meaningful.”
“As soon as I put my phone away, I was able to really connect with my family and cherish our time together. I saw how my peace of mind improved when I took a break from social media,” she continued.
Alexander understands how social media can have a huge effect on her self-esteem and productivity.
“Scrolling through social media often leads people to compare their own lives, achievements, and physical appearance to people they see online,” she told Upworthy. “It is unrealistic and discouraging to see so many attractive, successful people online 24/7. Also, being on social media takes up so much time from our day that could be used socializing with real people, going outside, and working towards meaningful goals.”
ACUVUE is challenging young people to take social media breaks to pursue their purposes, visions, missions, and dreams through its Where Vision Meets Sight campaign. But the campaign from ACUVUE is about a lot more than just personal development. They’d like you to inspire others by sharing what you’ve done during your social media break by using #MyVisionMySight.
Get inspired and learn more on ACUVUE’s Where Vision Meets Sight page.
1COVID-19: Screen Time spikes to over 13 hours per day according to Eyesafe Nielsen estimates, published 3/28/20, https://eyesafe.com/covid-19-screen-time-spike-to-....
Samantha Frye, the newest owner of Rosalie's restaurant, is proving there's more than one way to invest in your future.
Eighteen year old Samantha Frye has traded college life for entrepreneurship, and she has no regrets.
Frye began working at Rosalie's Restaurant in Strasburg, Ohio at 16 as a dishwasher, working up the ranks as a kitchen prep, server, then line cook. All while working a second job, sometimes third job.After graduating high school, Frye started college at Ohio State with plans of studying business or environmental engineering. But when she came back to work a shift at Rosalie’s for winter break, an opportunity arose—the owners had planned to sell the restaurant.
"I was thinking that maybe [buying] was something I wanted to do," she told News 5 Cleveland. "I had savings because I was saving for college, so I had quite a bit of money saved away. And I was like, I could possibly do this."
Frye acted on that gut feeling, and used her college funds to buy Rosalie’s. Now she spends every day at her new business, either in the kitchen, on the floor or in the office meeting with sales reps.
This Ohio diner is under new ownership: an 18-year-old who started out as a dishwasher and is carrying on a legacy of the past. https://t.co/7VShD0O6n0— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) May 13, 2023
Though Fyre's mother, Brandi Beitzel, confessed to USA Today that she wasn’t initially “on board” with her daughter abandoning college plans, over time she became very “proud” of her for forging her own path, and applauded her “drive and ambition.”
That sentiment is echoed both by Rosalie’s regulars and staff, who are amazing at the young woman’s drive and confidence.
“I just really think she's a great example of a young lady that is following her dreams and doing what she loves,” said Leanna Gardner, an employee.
It’s no secret that there are significantly less students attending college—down by about a million since the start of the pandemic. And while there are no doubt potential long term collective consequences to that, with exorbitantly high student loan rates, it’s easy to see why young adults would avoid massive debt for careers that don’t require a college degree.
Luckily, there are more efforts to make college an affordable option being made nationwide, like offering a free two years worth of college to graduating students.
And as Frye is proving by example—not going to college is certainly not a death sentence for one’s future. There are many ways to plant seeds for success. Honestly, college or no college, no matter which path is taken, there will likely be more uncertainty than there are guarantees. Perhaps the best bet then is trust those pings of intuition.
"You don't need college to make a decent living, and I think that's what a lot of people think nowadays," Frye attests. "Follow your instinct, honestly. If it feels right, just do it."
It's amazing what a little creativity and willingness to step outside the box can do.
Whenever people share money-saving life hacks like living on a cruise ship or exploring the country via the #vanlife, I see comments like, "That might work for a single person or a couple, but what if you have kids?"
When our kids were 12, 8 and 4, we packed up all of our earthly belongings and spent a year living around the U.S. And no, we didn't live in a van or RV. (Nothing wrong with that life, it just wasn't for us.) We traveled from coast to coast, seeing and experiencing the vast array of gorgeous landscapes and fascinating sites America has to offer, and the best part is we did it for less than what we would have spent staying home.
Was it easy to plan and execute? Not exactly. But was it worth it? Absolutely, hands down, 100%.
Here's how we did it and what we learned.
We were renting a beautiful house in the Chicago suburbs when the owner decided she wanted to sell it. We couldn't afford to buy it, so we had no choice but to move. My husband and I both worked from home and homeschooled our kids (pre-pandemic—that scenario is much more common now), so we were really free to live anywhere.
A friend of mine had been telling me about an extremely affordable house they'd rented in the Outer Banks in the fall while waiting for their permanent home to get finished. I had no idea tourist hot spots were so cheap off-peak, but once I started looking into it, I was gobsmacked.
Seriously, in major tourist areas like Cape Cod and Myrtle Beach, houses rent for upwards of 90% less than their peak summer prices from fall through spring. Owners don't want their homes to sit empty and are willing to rent them for dirt cheap.
As I started researching more, I found that the nightly cost of most vacation rentals is a lot cheaper when you rent for an entire month (though not as cheap as those East Coast off-season rentals). And since vacation rentals generally include utilities, they are even cheaper when comparing them to regular housing costs.
So I posed the question: What if we moved out of our house and just…didn't move into another house? What if, instead of paying rent or a mortgage, we put our stuff into storage, packed what we wanted to have with us in our car and rented vacation rentals a month or so at a time? We could work and school from anywhere. But could we really make that work?
I started sketching out scenarios and crunching numbers.
Our kids got used to monthly long car rides. They were not always this happy about it.
Photo by Annie Reneau
We were paying $1,800/month for rent for our house in the burbs, plus $200 to $300 dollars in utilities. That was the top of what we could afford, so we needed to keep monthly housing costs below that.
A storage unit for all of our furniture and belongings was just under $200/month. We figured that was a little less than what we paid monthly in utilities, so we'd just consider the storage unit cost as our utilities equivalent. That meant we needed to keep our vacation rental rent at $1,800/mo or below to keep our same cost of living.
What about gasoline costs, though? Driving around the country means a lot of gas money. And what about hotels and food?
Since we wouldn't be living in one spot, we'd put a pause on the kids' lessons and activities we normally would pay for (violin lessons, gymnastics, etc.). I figured what we saved in kids' activities would certainly cover gas costs, especially if we were only making a long drive around once a month. (We also figured that what the kids learned from a year of travel would be just as valuable as whatever they'd be missing in regular activities, so weren't worried about the disruption.)
Our future zoologist got plenty of animal encounters both in zoos and in the wild during our travels.
Photos by Annie Reneau
For overnight stops along the way, we'd try to plan routes that had people we knew and could stay a night with. Otherwise, we'd use Priceline for hotels. (If I were to do it again, I would use the points/miles travel hacking hobby I started last year for free hotel stays, but Priceline got us some good deals.)
We'd be living in fully-equipped homes, so we'd just cook like we normally do. We had a museum pass as homeschoolers that got us into all kinds of places around the country for free, and we're really good at finding free or cheap things to do anyway. So as long as we kept the monthly rent at or below $1,800 on average for the year, we'd basically come out even money-wise.
We kept an old-school road atlas in the car and highlighted our route as we drove.
Photo by Annie Reneau
We had a few "anchors" to guide our route as we planned. We had to leave when our lease was up at the end of April. We wanted to visit friends and family in California, we had a week-long family camp in Washington State in July, my husband had to be back in Chicago in August for a work thing, and we wanted to spend a chunk of the off-season on the East Coast. We worked backward from there.
We looked at rentals through Airbnb and VRBO and quickly found that everywhere is expensive in the summer. However, May is off-peak in Southern California (despite the gorgeous weather), and June is off-peak on the Oregon Coast (because of late school schedules and hit-or-miss weather), so we decided to start in California and make our way up the coast.
For May, we got a 2-bedroom condo right across the street from a beach in Dana Point, California, for $2,400.
For June, we rented a 3-bedroom house a block from the beach in Pacific Beach, Oregon, for $1,800.
View of Mt. Rainier from Crystal Mountain
Photo by Annie Reneau
By far, the most expensive place we stayed the whole trip was a not-terribly-impressive 2-bedroom condo in Seattle for three weeks in July (after our family camp) for $2,700. (Pretty much everywhere in the nation is ridiculously pricey in July. No getting around it.) So we were over our monthly budget to start off with, but that was okay because we knew we'd make it up the rest of the year.
In August, we stayed with my husband's parents in Chicago, so we had one essentially rent-free month.
September took us to a large 4-bedroom home in a quaint little Lake Michigan beach town—South Haven, Michigan—which had the softest sand I've ever felt. Our rent there was $1,300.
Our son playing in the snow outside our temporary Cape Cod home.
Photo by Annie Reneau
October through January we stayed in Barnstable, Massachusetts—a beautiful Cape Cod town—in what was our best deal of the whole trip—a stunningly idyllic 2,000 sq ft, 4-bedroom, 2-bath home for $1,500 a month. (Again, utilities included.) This house rented for $3,500 a week during the summer. Seriously, the off-season on the East Coast is bonkers.
February took us to Orlando, Florida, where we stayed in a 3-bedroom condo minutes from the big theme parks for $1,200 for the month.
We used some actual vacation time and money we'd stashed away selling off items before putting our stuff into storage and lived it up at Disney World and Universal Orlando during this month. Because our housing was covered and we had our own car and we could bring our own food, all we had to pay for were the park tickets. And because we weren't on a time crunch we could take advantage of far more days at the parks. (Park tickets get cheaper each day you add on, and become ridiculously cheap per person per day once you get past four or five days.) February is a perfect time to go to the parks if you wants pleasant temps and no crowds.
Kids watching Disney World fireworks. Disney magic is real.
Photo by Annie Reneau
By March we were tired. We had decided before Florida to take a break from traveling and spend time my husband's sister's family who were visiting Chicago from overseas in March. That turned out to be a wise decision, as a family emergency arose the week we got back that necessitated us staying in Chicago for a few months. So we officially ended our nomadic travels two months shy of a year.
So how did we fare financially? Adding up all the rent we paid and dividing it by 10 months came to $1,540/month, well under budget. Even if we don't count the month we stayed at my husband's parents for free, we still came in under budget at just over $1,700/month.
Our Honda Pilot packed with everything we took with us around the country.
Photo by Annie Reneau
I'd say 95% of our nomadic experience was positive, and it actually went far more smoothly than I thought it might. But there were some downsides, of course.
For one, having to pack and unpack the car every month got a bit old. We each had our own bin of clothing and personal belongings, and we had a school bin and a kitchen bin. It worked well, but it was still a lot to manage.
The kids missed having their friends around, of course, and so did we. We managed to meet people almost everywhere we went, but it's not the same as being with your own community of people. We missed having a home and a sense of steadiness. It was fabulous for a while, but not something we wanted to experience forever.
And as the person who did all the research and planning for our Big, Slow Trip Around the Country, there were times I wanted to pull my hair out trying to get it all timed out just right. I'm still not quite sure how I did it, to be honest, but it all worked out beautifully. I do know it took a lot of time and effort.
Totally worth it, though.
Sunset beachcombing at low tide on Cape Cod
Photo by Annie Reneau
First of all, the forced paring down of our belongings before putting stuff in storage was wonderful. We all have too much stuff, and having to decide what was worth paying to store was a useful exercise in and of itself.
As far as nomad life itself goes, the affordability of living/traveling in this way blew my mind. I would never have guessed we could slow travel for the same or less than the cost of staying home.
The kids had experiences we never would have been able to give them if we had tried to go all of these places just on vacations. We not only saw dozens of sunsets at the beach, but we saw firsthand the way the tides change throughout the month. We got to hike through incredible scenery at our own leisure, not trying to cram in as much as we could into a short vacation. We lived in small towns and big cities, enjoyed palm trees and pine trees and learned about all manner of wildlife.
And the learning! We studied colonial America and visited all the historical sites of the Revolutionary War during our stay in Massachusetts—a fascinating treat for my husband and I who were both born and raised on the West Coast. We stood on the North Bridge where "the shot heard round the world" was fired, which is the same bridge Henry David Thoreau and Louisa May Alcott would take boat rides under, which is within eyeshot of Ralph Waldo Emerson's family home, which Nathaniel Hawthorne also live in for a while. History hits differently when you can see where it actually happened.
Oregon Coast beaches are like glass.
Photo by Annie Reneau
We formed lifelong memories together as a family and met interesting people everywhere we went. While watching dolphins play in the surf at Dana Point, I connected with a mother who had lost her son in a surfing accident. On Cape Cod, I met a fellow homeschool mom whose husband worked as the caretaker for a very famous family's private island, and we got to go spend a day there. We also got to stay the night with friends around the country while we made our way from one place to another, and friends and family came to visit us in almost every place we stayed as well, so we didn't get too lonely.
It was also a surprisingly simple life, despite the complexities of planning it. We had what we could fit in our car and that was it. We didn't have to worry about yard work or home maintenance or decorating or anything like that. We got to live in homes that had everything ready for us, so other than just basic laundry and cleaning up after ourselves, there wasn't anything else to think about. We could just enjoy where we were while we were there.
But perhaps most importantly, we proved to ourselves and our kids that it's okay to step outside of the norm, that life doesn't have to look a certain way, and that with a little creativity, you can live a unique and extraordinary life if you want to, even if it's just for a while.
He had two projectiles and both hit the suspect, forcing him to drop the little girl.
A parent never wants to imagine what would happen if their child were confronted with someone meaning them harm. We do everything in our power to mitigate the risks of things like that happening, but scary situations still occur that can leave a family irreparably broken.
A Michigan family had an extremely close call when their 8-year-old daughter was nearly abducted while playing in their backyard. The little girl was outside picking mushrooms when a 17-year-old boy picked her up with his hand over her mouth. Owen Burns, 13, was inside playing video games when he heard his sister scream. A lot of kids in his situation may not have known what to do, but Owen quickly jumped into action.
The teen saw what was happening out the window and picked up his slingshot and a marble before taking aim at the boy who had his sister.
Amazingly, Owen was able to strike the boy in the head with a marble on his first try. This prompted the would-be abductor to release the girl, who was then able to run away while her brother reloaded his slingshot with a rock, hitting the older teen in the midsection this time. What's most shocking of all is Owen hasn't had any practice with aiming his slingshot, yet both of the projectiles he used hit the suspect.
"I kinda thought he was lying, but when the police finally confirmed it and said that he did hit him twice and he did make both shots, I was quite impressed," his mother, Margaret Burns told NBC News.
Watch the entire interview below to hear Owen's advice to parents:
He was scrolling through the news during dinner with his family and knew he had to stop.
Keeping up with the 24-hour news cycle in real time can be overwhelming. It can lead to a negative cycle known as “doomscrolling,” or endlessly scrolling through negative news, usually without realizing the emotional impact it's having.
Doomscrollers can get fixated on various topics, such as politics, crime, social justice, celebrity news, and even the personal lives of people they know on social media.
A Reddit user named Max wrote a revealing post about his doomscrolling habit on the Taoism subreddit. It explained how he got wrapped up in the vicious cycle, how it affected him on a biochemical level, and how he freed himself from the addiction. Taoism is a 1,900-year-oldphilosophy developed in China centered around balance, harmony with nature, simplicity and spontaneity.
Max started his post like he was speaking at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting."I used to spend long nights refreshing the news sites. I'd open my browser looking for a hit of dopamine, something to be hopeful and happy about, but all the bad news only gave me a buzz of adrenaline (a survival hormone) and cortisol (a stress hormone.) But what's worse, when the adrenaline and cortisol wore off, I'd go in and re-dose.
Not only can doomscrolling be addictive, but the fight or flight response also shuts down our thinking brain … so when doomscrolling sets off the fight or flight response, it also turns off a lot of our higher thinking and reasoning. It sends us panicking when we should be planning.
I told myself I was just staying informed. That's how it started. But then I couldn't look away. It's like I had to know what was happening, y'know? 'If I don't check the news the world will burn.' It got to the point where I was doomscrolling at work, and at family dinner, in my free time, and I started feeling distraught and depressed."
Max’s description of the biochemical impacts of doomscrolling is backed up by science. “Information-seeking is a distinctly human trait, encouraged by neurochemical reactions. When our curiosity is piqued, the sense of discovery releases hits of dopamine in the brain, triggering the reward system, which in turn encourages us to explore a topic, knowledge, or question even further,” Jeffrey Davis writes in Psychology Today.
Susanne Babbel, a psychotherapist specializing in trauma recovery, told CNN that when we hear bad news, we go into “stress mode” and our bodies release “hormones like cortisol and adrenaline” that can put us in a fight-or-flight response.
Dr. Karin Gepp supports the claim that when we go into fight or flight mode, it deactivates "the part of your brain responsible for rational, logical thinking."
Max realized that his constant doomscrolling wasn’t helping anyone.
"But then I asked myself 'What good is this actually doing for me? I already vote, I already campaign and donate, I already advocate for solutions, and I already try to be part of the solution in my daily life.' Doomscrolling wasn't making me more engaged, it was making me more depressed, and being depressed, and scared, and stressed, only made it more difficult to address my problems and the problems of others."
Max believes his new focus on action over attention has helped him exit the vicious cycle of doomscrolling. He used climate change as an example:
"Voting to protect the environment is good; having panic attacks because your desktop wallpaper is a live feed of the ice caps melting is not good. If you're already voting, you don't need to keep watching the video."
Humans are incredibly complex beings, and it can be tough to grasp that the things we think are helping ourselves and others may sometimes be causing everyone more harm. But it seems Max has come to a healthy bottom line that anyone who uses social media can take to heart: We only have so much time, and we should spend more of it working on solving problems than indulgently wallowing in them.
The judges had reached their Golden Buzzer limit, but Cowell decided the "astonishing" act deserved a special honor.
Simon Cowell may have made his U.S. debut as a hard-nosed grump on "American Idol," but anyone familiar with him knows he's a big ol' softie inside. When a performance moves him, he's not ashamed to say so, and when an act deserves accolades, he's not afraid to go above and beyond to make sure they get their kudos.
Such was the case with the dance troupe Unity and their emotional performance to the Wrabel song, "The Village," on "Britain's Got Talent." The group of 16 to 25-year-olds, wearing all black, began by standing together on stage as one of them explained who they were.
"We're all friends in college, so we decided to put this group together to perform a piece called 'I Will,' which is about being told that you can't or you're not enough, and how as a group that we come together and power through that," said the group's spokesperson.
As the music cued up, a screen behind the dancers read, "In nature, a flock will attach any bird that is more colourful than the others because being different is seen as a threat…" Then Emma, a girl with Down Syndrome, began to speak about how people say she "can't," while the troupe spoke in sign language along with her.
Following Emma came Declan, who stretches gender boundaries. Then came Steph and Libby, who are in love, a boy who was bullied growing up for his love of dance and a young woman who has been underestimated due to her body shape. As each person shared their personal story, the lyrics of "The Village" highlighted their struggles to be accepted.
At the same time, the group's dancing showed the support a group can give someone who feels excluded or ostracized. Ultimately, it was an incredibly moving performance with a beautiful message of inclusion: "It is not our differences that divide us, it is our inability to recognize, accept, embrace and celebrate those differences.”
The judges were unanimously impressed, and the audience chanted for them to give the group the Golden Buzzer, which would send them straight to the finals. However, the judges have a limited number of Golden Buzzers per season, and they had already used them all up.
Simon Cowell felt inspired enough by the performance to "break the rules," however, and gave them a delightful surprise ending.
Watch what moved him, the other judges and the audience so much:
Empowering, inspiring and impactful. Congratulations, Unity, on making a memorable impression on us all.
"You are loved."
There are so many times we look back on our lives and think about things we would change or do slightly differently. But many people say they wouldn't change anything because it would change who or where they are in their life now. The mystery around changing something that happened in the past is so woven into our psyches that there are entire sci-fi genres around time travel and what would happen if you altered the past.
While science fiction movies like "The Butterfly Effect" warn us against tampering with events of the past no matter how small, it doesn't stop people from wondering. A user on Reddit decided to pose a question asking what three words you'd tell your 13-year-old self, and some of the answers were surprisingly heartbreaking. (At 13, you'd think most people would want to tell themselves something silly, like the user who wrote, "Pull my finger.")
Leaving a message to yourself in three words is a tricky feat, and while some warned themselves about trying certain drugs or dating a certain person, others were deeper.
"I'm happy now," one user wrote, elaborating that when they were 13, they had been suffering from depression and many other mental illnesses which led to self-hate. "If my 13-year-old self knew that it is possible for me to be happy and to enjoy my life, I could have avoided that dark period of my life. For everyone who is now fighting their mental problems: Don't give up, it can get better!"
Another wrote, "Live life unapologetically," explaining, "I used to contemplate about ending my life a lot around that age. All I ever wanted then were friends and love. So far, I've gotten one of those two things." Things are looking up for this commenter, and later in her comment she said she's proud of herself for moving forward in life.
Mental health was a continuous theme in the comments along with people who experienced the loss of a parent, but not everything was heart-wrenching.
Several people would tell their 13-year-old self, who likely wouldn't listen, to buy Bitcoin or stocks in Apple. (Imagine going to your young teenage self and expecting them to listen to the adult version of themselves without them questioning how you got there in the first place. It would be impossible to get to the stock advice. You'd also have to explain what stocks and Bitcoin were in order for them to take you seriously. I'm exhausted just thinking about the scenario.)
But outside of confirmations of an improved future and insider trading tips, a surprising number of people shared that they would tell their younger self to take dental hygiene seriously.
"Brush your teeth. Biggest regret is not taking better care of my teeth when I was a kid," one person wrote.
Sound advice that most teenagers could use, honestly. If only when taking those dreaded health classes they informed teens how dental health affects the health of your entire body. A lesson in how expensive dental procedures are would also be beneficial, if we're being completely honest.
I'd tell my younger self, "Just keep writing." What would you tell your 13-year-old self if given the chance?