The First Amendment protects our freedom of religion, but what does that protection actually mean? Apparently a whole lot of nothing and a whole lot of everything.
Innovation is awesome, right? I mean, it gave us the internet!
However, there is always a price to pay for modernization, and in this case, it’s in the form of digital eye strain, a group of vision problems that can pop up after as little as two hours of looking at a screen. Some of the symptoms are tired and/or dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain1. Ouch!
Eye strain from staring at devices is a widespread issue. Most people work, play, and maintain relationships through screens, which averages out to 6 hours and 35 minutes per day (and that’s in addition to work or school)! That translates to 46 hours and 5 minutes per week, or 2,402 hours and 55 minutes per year.2
With numbers like these, attention to eye health is more important now than ever; our dependence on technology certainly isn’t going anywhere. And just like innovation brought us technology, innovation also holds the key to combating the effects it has on our bodies. Here are some key suggestions from eye care professionals to help reduce common symptoms of digital eye strain. Spoiler alert: none of them involve wearing glasses!
Follow the 20-20-20 rule.
You can find some relief by taking a 20-20-20 break: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It’s easy to remember because we all want 20/20 vision, and it’s a good excuse to look out the window.
Adjust your workspace screen to be slightly below eye level and about an arm’s length away.
This simple tweak to your work area can really improve your posture, as well as the amount of strain on your eyes. A win-win!
Adjust the brightness of your device.
Brightness levels also play into how hard our eyes have to work. Our screen brightness should match our surroundings, especially during the evening hours.
Say hello to Biofinity Energys® contact lenses!
These contact lenses are specifically made to address eye dryness and tiredness caused by digital devices. Digital Zone Optics® lens design and Aquaform® Technology are two innovations that when combined help with the tiredness and dryness that can be caused by digital eye fatigue.
Additionally, Biofinity Energys® monthly replacement contact lenses are designed to help our eyes better adapt for a more comfortable wearing experience3. This part is tricky because contacts can be hard to adjust to, and trust me—no one wants what feels like gritty sandpaper in there. Comfort is key!
If you’re sick of wearing glasses all the time and feel ready to do something new, visit biofinityenergys.com to learn more and to get your free trial certificate.
There's a bit of advice here for everyone—from financial wisdom to mental health tips.
It’s true that life never gets easier, and we only get continuously better at our lives. Childhood’s lessons are simple—this is how you color in the lines, 2 + 2 = 4, brush your teeth twice a day, etc. As we get older, lessons keep coming, and though they might still remain simple in their message, truly understanding them can be difficult. Often we learn the hard way.
The good news is, the “hard way” is indeed a great teacher. Learning the hard way often involves struggle, mistakes and failure. While these feelings are undeniably uncomfortable, being patient and persistent enough to move through them often leaves us not only wiser in having gained the lesson, but more confident, assured and emotionally resilient. If that’s not growth, I don’t know what is.
Reddit user u/G_man252 asked people to share their own life lessons “learned the hard way,” and the answers, though varied, all touched on something useful that everyone can probably relate to. Especially those of us who have had the blessing of living long enough to gain a lot of hard-won knowledge.
Below are 17 of the best lessons that all of us either have learned, are trying to learn or will learn soon enough. Reading them isn’t necessarily the same as experiencing them, but there is still some comfort in knowing they are all part of what it means to be human.
Read. Be enlightened. Or at the very least, be soothed and entertained.
"Not everyone who loves you is good for you." – @Gulbahar-00
Sometimes boundaries are a form of self love.Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash
"Back up your data." – @SomeoneHad2FuknSayit
"You can't fix other people. Only yourself." – @Bob_N_Frapples
"It’s okay to put yourself first. Don’t expend all your energy on others and leave nothing for yourself. Understand how to give and take in moderation and that it’s a two way street." – @Neffili
"Your fear of failure is worse than the failure itself. Take the chance. Now." – @aerofish_
Take the plunge.Photo by Muzammil Soorma on Unsplash
"Nothing ever stays the same no matter how hard you want it to be … don’t take it for granted." – @CodyGhostBlood
"Not everyone will like you for doing the right thing." – @Kaitriarch
"Never take your health for granted. Appreciate every little thing you have that makes you happy." – @galestrikesback
"Being vulnerable is the hardest thing you can do, but not being vulnerable will make your life much, much harder." – @thiccdiccboi
Open your heart.Photo by cyrus gomez on Unsplash
“Budget and be financially responsible." – @QuailandDoves
"If your gut is screaming at you that something is wrong, listen to it." – @REDDITprime1212
"Time does not heal all wounds. Most days get better but you'll always have days where you feel it all over again as if it just happened and you can't do anything about it except for ride it out." – @Smokey_S
"It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life." – @Karnezar
"Mental illness is very real and will get in the way of your life." – @NoUsername817226
"It's okay to be wrong sometimes. Humility really goes a long way in maintaining relationships and being happy." – @Freezeucriminalscum
Seek the help that is out there. You deserve it.Photo by Fernando @cferdophotography on Unsplash
"You will inevitably, directly or indirectly hurt people in life." – @Sinusoidal0360
"Don’t wait until the right time. For most things there is no right time. Perfectionism stalls you." – @lovelyfallday
She's setting an example.
The CEO of Co-op, one of the UK’s largest supermarket chains has made an important statement about excess at a time when many families are struggling in the UK.
The Daily Mail reports that Shirine Khoury-Haq, the head of a company with over 3900 retail locations says she’s giving her twin, six-year-old daughters one present each this Christmas because she could not “in good conscience” give them more while millions of families struggle with inflation and high energy prices.
Khoury-Haq makes over £1 million ($1,190,000) a year after bonuses, so she pledged to give her family's present money to those in need. “It just feels like excess, given what’s happening in the world. In good conscience, I can’t do that in my own home,” Khoury-Haq said according to The Guardian.
“The rest of our budget will be given to Santa to provide presents for children whose parents can’t contribute to the elves,” she continued. “We’re going to go out shopping for those other presents and [we will] send them to Santa.”
\u201cInstead of an ad, this Christmas @coopuk is focussing on supporting @yourlocalpantry, community fridges with @hubbubUK, Caboodle, The Peer Action Collective through @YouthEndowFund and other great organisations that are making a real impact in their communities. \ud83d\udc99\ud83c\udf84\ud83d\udc99\u201d— Shirine Khoury-Haq (@Shirine Khoury-Haq) 1669505085
According to the Sunday Times, one of her daughters would like a Paw Patrol toy and the other, a Barbie.
Much like America, people in the UK are having financial hardships as inflation reaches a 40-year high. They are also dealing with exorbitant energy prices. Through July, natural gas prices in the UK were up 96% and electricity was up 54%.
Khoury-Haq’s company has also made sacrifices this holiday season to help those who are less fortunate. Co-op has decided to hand over all of its holiday advertising budget to Your Local Pantry shops. These community-based pantries across the UK are places where people can pay as little as £3.50 ($4.20) a week to take at least ten grocery items.
“Whilst many of our competitors are also adapting their Christmas ads to reflect the mood of the nation in a cost of living crisis, we are going further by pulling our ad altogether,” Khoury-Haq said according to Retail Gazette.
\u201cThis Christmas season, we're so happy and to be working with @coopuk to support our network of Pantries.\u201d— Your Local Pantry (@Your Local Pantry) 1668688201
“In doing so we will be shining a light on the need to support vital community causes, throughout the year and not just at Christmas, especially with a deep recession looming,” she continued.
Through their partnership, the Co-op and Your Local Pantry hope to help over 32,000 households over the next three years, saving them nearly £5 million ($5,980,000) on shopping bills.
Khoury-Haq’s decision to give her kids one gift each on Christmas may not save everyone in the UK from their financial troubles but it sends an important message that people who are well off should consider. When millions of people are hurting, it’s not the time to flaunt your wealth or spoil your kids. Her gesture is a great reminder that hopefully inspires others to give as well.
When the going gets tough, it’s time for those who can afford it to be a great example to their kids and society-at-large by giving when people need it most. Because in the end, the spirit of giving is the true meaning of the holiday season.
Melissa Highsmith never even knew her real family was searching for her.
In 1971, Melissa Highsmith was kidnapped from her home in Fort Worth, Texas. Her disappearance has been one of the oldest missing person cases in America. Now, she gets to celebrate a long-awaited reunion with her family in what she calls a “Christmas miracle.”
As ABC affiliate WFAA reported, Melissa’s mother, Alta (who now goes by Alta Apantenco) had put out an ad for a babysitter to watch over her then 21-month-old while she was at work. A white gloved, well-dressed woman going by the name of Ruth Johnson responded to the call, but she was no babysitter. After Johnson picked up baby Melissa from Apantenco’s roommate, the two were never seen again.
As any parents would do in this situation, the Highsmiths worked tirelessly to find their little girl, involving the Fort Worth police and even the FBI. Sadly, it was all to no avail. The only glimmer of hope remaining was that there was no evidence of harm, so maybe, just maybe, their Melissa was being well taken care of. And for 51 years, the family held onto that possibility.
Meanwhile, Melissa—who never remembered being kidnapped—led a hard life with the woman who claimed to be her mother. "I didn't feel loved as a child. It was abusive, and I ran away at 15 years old. I went to the streets. I did what I had to do to get by... I worked the streets," she shared in a one-on-one interview with WFAA.
Then in September, everything would change. After receiving a failed tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that Melissa had been sighted, her father Jeffrie Highsmith (now divorced from Apantenco) decided to try his luck with DNA testing. DNA testing service 23andMe came back with a match linking him to Highworth. Their son Jeff (Melissa’s brother) then found her on Facebook and reached out.
Even though Melissa was skeptical, she was shown a baby picture by the Higworths which she admitted looked like her “twin.” According to Good Morning America, Melissa had a special birthmark and celebrated a birthday very close to the child taken all those years ago.
Any remaining shadows of doubt immediately disappeared when Melissa confronted the woman she thought was her mother. "The person that raised me, I asked her is there anything you need to tell me and it was confirmed that she knew that I was baby Melissa so that just made it real," she told FOX 25.
Mother & daughter reunited after 51 YEARS!— Malini Basu (@MaliniBasu_) November 28, 2022
Melissa was kidnapped when she was 21months old from their Ft Worth apt.
They both gave up on hope. Melissa: “I ran away at 15, & worked the streets.”
Family says 23andMe, DNA Genetic Testing matched them, living 20min away.@wfaapic.twitter.com/Vsz9437pRf
In perhaps the strangest twist of fate, Melissa and her family had been so close, yet so far this entire time—living less than 20 minutes apart.
That discovery is not without its bittersweetness, but so far the family is focusing on making up for lost time and celebrating their reunion.
"I’m just elated, I can't describe my feelings. I'm so happy to see my daughter that I didn't think I would ever see again," Apantenco told WFAA. "I feel like I am dreaming and I keep having to pinch myself to make sure I'm awake," Melissa added.
On their shared Facebook Group page the family wrote, “the joy is palpable amongst all family members” adding that finding Melissa “was purely because of DNA, not because of any police / FBI involvement, podcast involvement, or even our family’s own private investigations or speculations.” They are not alone. Previously a man kidnapped in 1964 found his real family using different ancestry services. There are still miles to go in terms of diversifying DNA databases, but DNA testing has taken on an increasingly significant role in finding missing persons over the years, and continues to be a game changer.
As for the newly reunited Highsmith family, the plan is to simply take things day by day. According to WFAA, Melissa has officially adopted her birth name (she had previously gone by “Melanie”), and is even planning on remarrying her current husband so that her father can walk down the aisle. These are sure to be hard won memories the entire family will cherish forever.
Before coming to the U.S. last year, Diaz made $12 a month as a computer science teacher in Cuba.
An Instagram post featuring Yoel Diaz, a recent Cuban immigrant, is going viral because it shows a powerful example of something many of us in America take for granted. The freedom to earn a paycheck for a day of honest labor.
In the video, Diaz is ecstatic after he opens his first paycheck after getting a job as a seasonal worker for UPS. CBS reports that before coming to the U.S. last year, Diaz made $12 a month as a computer science teacher in Cuba.
"This is my first hourly paycheck that I feel every hour counted," he told CBS News. "That every hour of work has importance in my life and that I know I can work hard for something. I can't compare that emotion with anything. Because I never had that in my country."
The new job was a big change from life in Cuba where he had trouble filling his refrigerator. He told CBS News that sometimes he only had two items: "Water, water, water, five, ten eggs, water."
“First paycheck in AMERICA!!! This is the American dream!!!” his wife Marissa Diaz of Pheonix, Arizona captioned the post. “There are no words to describe how proud I am of your courage to enter a country and a culture that is not yours. This content is a mini documentary not only for us but dedicated to the many immigrants who sacrifice everything to film what we just filmed. A little bit at a time, with hard work and dedication anything is possible in this country.
Diaz's video comes at a time when Cuba is facing some of its most difficult economic hardships since Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution. Widespread food and medicine shortages have led to protests in the streets, a rarity in the authoritarian country.
Diaz moved to America from Cuba to be with his wife whom he met as a child living in the communist country. After moving to the U.S., she shared stories of what life was like outside of Cuba. After the couple got together, Diaz had a choice: to stay in Cuba or go to the U.S. for greater opportunity.
"We want a future, we want a family... wherever you go I go,” he said. “This time, I finally can dream—I can help my family and this is the first step in my new life where I can be whoever I want now,” he said according to The New York Post.
On election day, Diaz shared why Americans should be grateful to have the ability to choose their leaders because where he is from, there is only one party. His perspective is important at a time when many Americans feel the country has been divided by political tribalism.
"Sometimes I see people fight with each other and they don't know the blessing they have. Just that you can think differently is a positive," he said in the video. "To Americans: Think about what you have. You Should stop fighting because it's something so beautiful. To think differently."
Diaz’s appreciation of his life in America is a great lesson to all of us who may take our unique freedoms for granted. America may not be a perfect place, but it’s still a country where people are free to pursue their dreams. Diaz’s story is also a wonderful reminder of the power America has to transform lives through immigration and that it should embrace that opportunity and give the gift to as many people as possible.