Alice Herz-Sommer has lived through things you can't imagine. Here's what keeps her more passionate about life than most 20-somethings I know.
A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.
Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.
"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.
"I visited Schoenbrunn zoo in Vienna whilst on a mini-break with my partner and son. We nipped in to see the orangutans at the end of our day who were happily playing in the enclosure, so I went to the window for a closer look and sat down by the window so my lb could see the orangutan who was roughly 5/6ft away. She then got up, carried a piece of cloth to the window and sat down with me. She looked directly into my eyes then placed her hand up as if to touch my son. I was in awe of this beautiful creature already."
"My son wanted feeding and as it was quiet I fed him whilst I sat there. The way the orangutan reacted took my breath away she kept looking at me, then my son then back again," she continued. "She sat with me for approximately half an hour, kept stroking the glass and lay down next to me as if to support and protect me.
I had to share this because my mind was blown. We may be a species apart but breastfeeding connected us today in a once in a lifetime moment that will stay with me forever. I'm also incredibly lucky that my partner caught all of this on video 💕"
The Facebook page added a story about a gorilla being taught to breastfeed by women from La Leche League, an organization dedicated to supporting breastfeeders:
"Did you know that women from La Leche League once taught a mother gorilla to breastfeed? The Mamma gorilla had been born and raised in captivity and didn't know what to do with her firstborn, and her baby sadly died. When she next became pregnant, breastfeeding women volunteered to sit beside the gorilla's enclosure and breastfeed their babies, showing the gorilla what to do. When the gorilla gave birth, a volunteer came over and breastfed her baby, showing Mamma gorilla what to do, step by step. Mamma gorilla watched, and then copied, and went on to successfully feed her baby"
The story has been shared more than 37,000 times, with many commenters stating how beautiful and moving it was. Others, while appreciating the beauty of the animal encounter, expressed sadness at seeing such a creature in captivity. As with practically every post about animals in zoos, debate broke out over whether or not zoos are helpful or harmful to the animals they house.
And like most debates, people's opinions fall along a broad spectrum. Some feel that zoos are the best way for people to learn about animals first-hand, which leads them to care more about protecting them in the wild. Some acknowledge that captivity isn't ideal, but that many animals die individually or go extinct as species without the work they do. Some feel that it's always wrong to keep an animal in captivity, no matter what. Even animal experts don't agree on this front.
And not all zoos are created equal. Many zoos have moved more toward a rehabilitation and conservation model, and there's no question that many animals who have been raised in captivity would not survive if they were suddenly released into the wild. There's also the issue of whether trying to limit natural breeding in captivity falls under the ethical treatment of animals, as breeding is a natural animal instinct. And what about the animals that have gone extinct in the wild and can only be found in zoos? There are a million questions with a million unclear answers when it comes to zoos.
However there is one thing most can agree on. Whether or not you think zoos are helpful or harmful, necessary or not, they largely exist today because of human activity mucking with nature. The same nature that compels this creature to connect with a human mother, despite her unnatural surroundings. The same nature that humans are destroying to get palm oil for our cookies and soaps, leading orangutans to the brink of extinction. The same nature that we are all responsible for protecting.
Whether we find this story sweet or sad or something in between, the reality for orangutans in the wild is worth our attention. Visit www.theorangutanproject.org/ to learn more about how to help.
Anxiety pops up at the most inopportune times.
Having anxiety is fun and by fun I mean extremely inconvenient and overwhelming. If you don't experience anxiety then the idea of something invisible seemingly coming out of nowhere to activate your fight or flight response may seem strange. But it's the reality for more than 40 million people, and while no two people's anxiety looks exactly the same, there are some things that can help sufferers get through the day when anxiety shows up.
Anxiety can happen at any time and in any place, like at home watching TV or when trying to fall asleep. But most of the time it rears its head when people are away from the comfort of home. If you suffer from anxiety you'll be familiar with the feeling of having to repeat to yourself "be cool," when you are, in fact, not cool at all. Anxiety is always playing side-splitting jokes on sufferers when they least expect it—heavy on the sarcasm in that sentence. So what are you supposed if you suffer from anxiety and it just won't go away and let you live in peace? Lucky for you, I've created a list of what works for me, as a fellow sufferer, and that hopefully will help you too.
Chameleon stress ball from Amazon
Sometimes anxiety may feel like pent-up energy, so having something physical to do to relieve that energy can be really helpful. I've found that stress balls can really help get that "I'm about to go screaming down the hallway to cry in the bathroom" feeling to calm the heck down a bit. It may not take the anxiety away completely, but it will give you something to do with that energy and it's something you can do under your desk or in a meeting.
Calm Aromatherapy Mist from Amazon
Smell is a powerful tool when it comes to a lot of things but there's something about it that can really help calm your anxiety, especially when coupled with other tools. The smell you pick can literally be anything that makes you feel safe or calm. Your laundry detergent, perfume or lemons. Whatever it is, put it on a piece of fabric and shove that bad boy in a Ziploc bag for when you need to open it up for a whiff of "calm the heck down." If you're not sure where to start for smells, you can try lavender and chamomile spray.
Adult coloring book from Amazon
Coloring books cover multiple sensory areas at once. You get to feel the pages, smell the crayons or colored pencils, and you get to see the colors. It's the sensory jackpot for anxiety and you can do this activity at work in your office or at home. I prefer the kid coloring books that have the giant pages so I can pretend I'm 9 years old. I lay on the floor and don't care about the lines. I highly recommend entertaining your inner child.
"Let That Sh*t Go Journal" from Amazon
Well, well, well, if it isn't the thing that therapists keep bringing up in sessions about taking care of yourself. You know they wouldn't keep harping on it if it didn't actually work for a lot of people. This journal is just a fun sweary journal with prompts for people who may not be good at writing what's on their mind. Journaling may be really helpful, but it shouldn't be something that stresses you out. If you find yourself freaking out over getting the journal done, then throw it in the trash because it's not serving the purpose it's supposed to.
Collage of items for sensory box.
Collage images from Canva
I like to call this my "take 15 box." Sometimes we need a little break to get it together and a sensory box is something you can stash at the office or at home. Basically what you put in a sensory box are things that will appease all five senses, which some therapists use to bring you back to the moment. Instead of looking around for the items, they're all in one spot. In the box you'll want to have some sort of candy for taste, cloth sprayed with whatever fragrance you prefer in an airtight bag, something visual like bubbles, a stress ball or pop it, and I'd say a CD, but no one uses those anymore so have a relaxing playlist ready and extra set of headphones in case you misplace yours.
Whatever your anxiety looks like, hopefully some of the things on this list work for you. Anxiety can be stressful and those of us who suffer from it need all the tips we can get for overcoming those moments.
Here are 17 changes that can have big results.
James Clear’s landmark book “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” has sold more than 9 million copies worldwide. The book is incredibly popular because it has a simple message that can help everyone. We can develop habits that increase our productivity and success by making small changes to our daily routines.
"It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis,” James Clear writes. “It is only when looking back 2 or 5 or 10 years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.”
His work proves that we don’t need to move mountains to improve ourselves, just get 1% better every day.
Most of us are reluctant to change because breaking old habits and starting new ones can be hard. However, there are a lot of incredibly easy habits we can develop that can add up to monumental changes.
A Reddit user named Accomplished-Rough36 was looking to find simple life hacks that can make a big impact so they asked the online forum, “What life hack became your daily routine?” and received more than 5,300 responses. The best answers were simple, effective habits anyone can implement that can yield big benefits.
The Reddit users shared a whole lot of great ideas for dealing with the things we all have a hard time staying on top of such as keeping a clean house, creating good sleep habits and breaking free from technology addiction.
Here are 17 of the best responses to “What life hack became your daily routine?”
"I flip my pill bottles after taking them so I remember if I took them or not. really helps if you take the same pill in morning and at night." — [deleted]
"Sleeping with a pillow between my knees. No more lower back pain." — fiddyk50
"Don’t put it down, put it away.” — arcady
"Washing dishes while cooking. Now it’s at a point where I just do it because I want a clean kitchen." — devatrox
"I bought 24 pairs of the same socks and threw the rest of miss matching ones away. I have a couple 'winter socks' and that’s it." — familiarfate01
When I'm trying to sleep in bed at night I go over what I did that day and think of everything I did in a positive light or as if it's part of a goal I'm working towards. I've never been depressed (or at least diagnosed with it!) but this helps feeling like I've accomplished something and I can feel better about what I've done. Celebrate every little thing you did, and also it helps me fall asleep a little bit faster too." — anderoogigwhore
"Saying 'thank you' instead of apologizing for things that dont need apologies. I'm a chronic apologizer and it's helped a lot. For example, if I have a bad day and vent to my husband, instead of saying 'sorry for venting and bringing down the mood, I'll say 'thank you for listening and being supportive.' It puts a much more appreciative and positive light on your relationships!" — thegracefuldork
"My alarm clock is across the room, requiring me to get out of bed to turn it off. Prevents me from falling back asleep." — soik90
"Posting this too late for anyone to see, but I brush my teeth as part of my daughter's bedtime routine. This keeps me from snacking late at night since my teeth already feel clean and I don't want to mess them up before bed. I've lost about 5 inches from my waist, and it keeps me accountable to brush my teeth before I'm too tired to care." — petethepianist
"A work from home life hack I adopted was using break time from work to do low mental energy chores. Stuff like dusting furniture and vacuuming the pool is a nice break from the mental energy of working and I’m getting stuff done." — drakeallthethings
"Preparing/getting stuff ready the night before. For example:
1. Getting my shoes and putting them by the front of the door
2. Packing my backpack with all the things I'll need for that day
3. Getting my underwear, shirt, pants, etc. out and folding them in a pile
4. Packing lunch(es) for that day
5. No more running around in the mornings looking for stuff on a time crunch! It’s become so much less stressful when I know where everything is and I can just get everything (on) and leave." — KomodoJoe3
"Drink. Water. It's something so simple yet so often ignored. Yeah, it can get annoying at times. I never really want to get up at 3:30am to piss. I don't really want to have to stop on, say, a six-hour drive because I have to pee. But, staying well hydrated helps me feel better, look better, rest better (yeah, there's the 3:30am piss, but that's after three hours of sleep. I didn't toss and turn for three hours before then,) etc. And it will help you live longer. Your organs will thank you." — 2020isanightmare
"If it takes less than a minute, just do it." — evelynmtz821
"If you have to put something down for a bit, like say your phone or glass of water, say out loud, 'I'm putting this ____ here.' I guess that by doing that you engage different parts of you brain and makes it more likely for you to remember where you put something when you need it again." — -eDgaAR-
"Ignoring people I don't want to interact with." — ClubZen
"That moment trick from Deadpool.
I have a bad temper, not going to lie. It felt uncontrollable for a while, but it was just because I was always so quick to react. Like as a kid, if my brother said something that rubbed me the wrong way, the next moment, I was trying to fight my brother without even thinking. Now, if something pisses me off, I catch myself and think about why that thing pissed me off. Nine times out of 10, I'm just being dumb and allowing something dumb to upset me. This helps a lot if you rage in video games. Most of the time if you're raging in a game at someone on your team, you're the problem." — _IraPirate_
"Its amazing how much more i get done when i wake up 2 hours earlier." — TysonGoesOutside