Can Yelling Be a Part of Healthy Parenting?

Every parent is guilty of yelling at their children at least once or twice. But why do parents yell at their kids? There are many different reasons, but the most common two are:

  • Having the feeling of powerlessness or not being able to control the kids. When you feel your kids are disobedient or hard-headed, you may lose your temper to get their attention
  • When you think you’re protecting the kids from any perceived threat, like when a toddler runs to the poolside and attempts to jump off

Regardless of the reason and whether it was on purpose or not, yelling at your child can leave serious long-term effects on them, ones which they may carry with them into adulthood. I know kids can get on our nerves sometimes, but before you lose your temper, consider this.

Yelling Worsens Behavior Problems in Children

Research shows that yelling could create more behavior problems rather than correcting them. HVD or "harsh verbal discipline", especially on adolescents, can cause an increase in behaviors like lying and stealing, which can turn into petty crimes and depressive symptoms later on.

Yelling Alters Proper Development of the Child's Brain

A study showed that children who are exposed to parental verbal aggression like being yelled or cursed at are likely to develop mood and anxiety disorders. These disorders are known as forms of psychopathology, which slows down normal brain development. When this occurs, auditory and language processing in the child is negatively affected. Being quiet, aloof and anti-social are the most common characteristic shown in children with mood and anxiety disorders.

Yelling Can Lead to Depression

HVD or "harsh verbal discipline", like shouting, cursing, insults, humiliation or calling the child names can make the child feel neglected and unloved, thus making them believe they are useless, worthless and inferior. This treatment can also increase chances of the child becoming overly self-critical and deficient in self-esteem. The child usually shows inactivity and low performance on tasks assigned to him especially at home and school.

Stress may also trigger certain illnesses, psychological imbalances and abnormalities in the brain pathways that involve emotional regulation, movement and habit formation. These conditions can include trichotillomania–excessive hair pulling, which is often observed in a stressed child who has lost their ability to control their impulses. Take a trichotillomania test for diagnosis and proper treatment.

Yelling Can Cause Chronic Pain

A study showed a link between negative childhood experiences, verbal and other forms of abuse and the further development of painful chronic conditions, which may include arthritis, severe headache, back and neck problems and other chronic pains. As the child becomes emotionally and psychologically depressed, appetite and other healthcare protocols may be forgotten or not prioritized, making the body susceptible to illness.

Yelling Should Never Be a First Resort

Words are powerful, especially when delivered in anger or frustration. Sometimes negative words are much easily absorbed by the brain and the heart than positive words. So choose your words especially when dealing with children because what you say to them is how they will see themselves in the future.

Written by Guest Author for The Healthy Moms Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Could You Be Experiencing Parenting Burnout?

If you're a parent, you've probably at some point experienced parenting burnout. Your weekends away from work may be filled with activities for your kids from sports games, to play dates, and even Sunday school. Between all that there can be standoffs you have with a 2 year old throwing a temper tantrum, and negotiations on how to get your kids to bed.

If you work throughout the week, it may seem like you're never getting a moment to switch your brain off from work, and if you're a stay at home mom, it could feel as if you're working on call 24/7. At some point, the buildup of parenting responsibilities can make us hit a wall. Many parents now have this internal pressure to be a superhero and to do it all. Be a boss and a parent at the same time while cooking every meal throughout the week and staying social in the evenings. All of this pressure and responsibilities can make you feel like you're losing your mind.

Parenting burnout is real, but so are the solutions to help you find your balance. To help you cope with the stress that comes from parenting, I've outline the signs that you could be experiencing burnout, and how to fix them.

  • Losing your ability to concentrate: Specifically on work tasks like you used to.  When you’re experiencing burnout – this can turn into chronic stress which can lead to a lack of mental clarity and other cognitive issues.
  • Losing control: Feeling as if you have zero control of any outcome, and almost as if you never have a say in what is happening in your day to day life.
  • Feeling as if you’re never doing enough : Between your own parenting instincts and everything you read in articles, you may feel like there’s always some new form of parenting that you aren’t quite getting right.
  • Lack of feeling accomplished: Feeling as if you aren’t making any progress with your own life’s goals outside of being a parent.
  • A loss of energy: Feeling as if you never have any energy to socialize, or rarely experiencing energy at all. Constant exhaustion is an extremely clear sign of burnout- and it can be a blend of physical, mental and emotional fatigue.
  • Never feeling rewarded: Parenting can be a thankless job. This could leave you feeling like you’re being taken for granted or that all of your efforts are not recognized.
  • No room for self-care: Not making self-care or “me” time a priority.
  • Irritability and frustration: Feeling extra irritable and experiencing a short temper with your kids and spouse.

Steps you can take to reverse your burnout:

  • Don’t strive for perfection: Trying to be perfect at everything is self-destructive and sets yourself up for failure. You may always feel like you’re never doing things the right way, and that’s OK. A lot of us put such a focus on being perfect because we are afraid to fail as parents. Instead, focus on doing your best
  • Prioritize your mental and physical wellbeing:  Make sure you create non-negotiables throughout the day such as making time to work out, eat nutrient dense meals, and get enough sleep. Also taking breaks throughout the work day to take walks around the block, or standing up to stretch your legs.
  • Take a break : Typically when you are experiencing burnout – you are overworked, overstimulated, and reaching your mental capacity. It might sound scary to take a break when there seems to be never ending parental duties, but the results can make a significant impact on reversing your feelings of burnout. Taking time for yourself for a quick yoga class to reset your mind, detach from responsibilities can help you come back to your parenting mindset with more confidence and clarity. This could also be the ideal time to rediscover your passions and creativity. Have your partner watch the kids while you break free for a class or even hire a babysitter if you want to connect with your spouse on a date night.
  • Listen to your body: When you are feeling mentally or physically fatigued, take a break. Don’t try to power through and work through these signals your body is giving you. If you are experiencing frequent headaches or stomachaches, these could be manifestations from stress.
  • Get organized: By putting some time management and project management systems in place, your day can become more structured which can lead to less feelings of constant stress. I know it can be hard to follow routines when kids have consistent needs throughout the day that can change suddenly, but having some sort of guidance can help you feel more put together.

With these tips you can better understand how to recognize when you're experiencing parenting burnout, and how to reverse it! What can you do today to reset your mind and bring more balance to your life?

About the author: Dr. Tenisha White

Dr. Tenisha White is a Clinical Psychologist at ClarityChi.com. In 2005 she earned her first Master's degree in mental health counseling at Loyola University New Orleans. In 2010 Dr. White returned back home to Chicago to pursue her doctorate degree at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology where she obtained a second Master's degree in Clinical Psychology and Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology in 2016.

Dr. White has experience in providing individual, family, couples and group therapy for a wide range of individuals with diverse backgrounds. Dr. White's areas of clinical focus include adjustment issues, mood and anxiety disorders, academic issues, family issues, relationship issues and behavior issues. She has a dedication to being involved in the community and has provided workshops for community programs and employers, which include stress management, conflict resolution, improving communication skills, understanding depression and developing effective coping skills.

Written by Dr. Tenisha White for The Healthy Moms Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Talented Dad’s Comics Show the Sweet and Funny Sides of Parenting

They are so right about why being a parent is totally worth it.

As a father, John Kovaleski knows parenting comes with a lot of hard work. But it’s the little moments that make it all worth it.

In his new comic strip, Daddy Daze, the Pennsylvania dad and cartoonist is illustrating the humorous moments that come along with being a parent. The comic follows the life of a single dad named Paul as he balances working from home and raising his young son Angus. According to Kovaleski, the strip is inspired by his own life and experiences as a father.

Daddy Daze is a loosely based portrayal of my experiences with fatherhood, and I’m thrilled to be able to share it. Being a parent is a crazy job—the hours are terrible, the pay is nonexistent, but the benefits outweigh it all,” he said in a press release.

Daddy Daze is available in newspapers nationwide and can also be read on the strip’s website and social media pages. Here are some that truly nail what it’s like to be a working parent:

Being a Parent Pays Off

Thinking Outside the Box

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Working Mother

Probably a good idea to keep it “inside the box” for now. Photo: Daddy Daze

Better Get Comfy

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This could take a while. Photo: Daddy Daze

Safety First

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I like the way this kid thinks. Photo: Daddy Daze

Better Check Twice

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You can never be too careful. Photo: Daddy Daze

Close Enough

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It’s the thought that counts. Photo: Daddy Daze

Changed in a Moment’s Notice

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“Is it mom’s turn yet?” Photo: Daddy Daze

Recipe For Sticky Floors

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Clean up on aisle three. Photo: Daddy Daze

Sleep Training

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He should probably work on sleeping through the entire night before asking for a curfew. Photo: Daddy Daze

An Enviable To-Do List

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Working Mother

Sounds like a busy day. Photo: Daddy Daze

Written by Joseph Barberio for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Dear Companies: Don’t Talk So Much About Productivity. Focus Instead on Supporting Parents This School Year

COVID-19 has turned every kind of working mom arrangement there was completely on its head, and it is urgent that organizations find new ways—impactful ways—to support their working moms and working women as school starts.

While every woman’s situation is unique, there are some commonalities across us upon which organizations can mobilize, for the purpose of easing employees’ everyday lives. The first step is to stop asking, over and over again, “How do we ensure our workforce is being as productive as possible working from home?” It borders on an insult to the women who have advanced the concept of “multitasking” to spellbinding performance art. Focus instead on how to ease their situation, which of course means that organization policymakers must first understand it.

The key issue in organizations is that, with so few women in the C-suite, or even the executive leadership ranks, CEOs are not likely to understand the intense pressure put specifically on women during this work-from-home pandemic. The CEO and the working women in the organization simply don’t share the same household income and range of choices of how to organize and assign work at home. Here’s what they’re likely to miss:

  • Women were already working harder to be seen, heard and rewarded for their performance before COVID-19.
  • With COVID-19, there are more meetings, and the days are longer, more intense and more exhausting for everyone.
  • The pleasure that once was found in the inherently social nature of work—the casual conversations, the connections with colleagues during the day—is gone.
  • For working parents, the rhythm of having part of their day separate from their kids, who were at school, daycare or home, and rejoining them at the end of it is gone. It’s all family, 24/7, all the time, every day.

For many, but certainly not all, women, research tells us they do a disproportionately larger share of the household chores in heterosexual households—two-plus hours more every day. And somehow, the new job in every house with children—that of the home tutor—has fallen to the female in the majority of those households. My women clients tell me they’re dealing with emails at 6 a.m., and then family and work in an all-out effort until 9 or 10 p.m. Just after they stop for the day, their boss sends out that after-hours email.

So, how can managers support women and homeschooling parents this September?

The strategy is simply this: Ease the lives of the mothers in your workforce.

  1. Immediately include benefits for virtual tutoring for the kids. Provide the funds necessary across the economic spectrum of your working population for tutors to do the teaching at the end of the classroom day.
  2. Host a live speaker series for the men in the organization focused on how they can step up at home and be an equal partner in the entire scope of house and family work. Don’t worry if it’s not “masculine.” (A recent survey found men in the US were not taking reusable shopping bags to the market because they felt it was unmanly). Teach men how all that “unseen” work gets done for home and children, and encourage them to take on their fair share.
  3. Provide anywhere from two days to one week off on a rolling basis across the workforce so people have time to recover and deal with other things. The companies doing this are trying to synch up cross-functional teams for time off so that the group’s workstream is preserved. They find productivity increases with this adjustment.
  4. Host a Virtual Hacks night. Showcase the moms and dads who’ve figured out clever solutions to handling the new challenges brought on by the quarantine. Maybe it’s tips on scheduling regimens, or less-known virtual learning tools for kids.
  5. Last, don’t assume that this household-driven help is all women need. With the same passion they have for family, they also want to have career development discussions, talk about compensation, performance and their future. Be proactive in setting up those discussions! They are on the minds of the women and working moms of your organization just as they are on the minds of their male colleagues.

Written by Susan Hodgkinson for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Four Strategies for Disciplining Toddlers That Actually Work

Discipline is never fun, and particularly not when we are all spending so much time at home. I hope you find this helpful! ~Kirsten

Some of these get a bad rap, but they can be surprisingly effective when used correctly.

Your toddler has some pretty big ups and downs—one minute she’s counting to 20 like a genius and the next she’s got her brother in a headlock because he stole a goldfish from her. Sure, she’s figuring out boundaries and “asserting her independence,” but how can you change those lessons from destructive to constructive? Let’s talk about a range of discipline techniques to help you out.

1. Try Timeouts

Because they are a negative form of discipline, timeouts can get a bad rap nowadays. And I certainly wouldn’t recommend them for anything related to the potty, food or tantrums. But timeouts are still a go-to strategy if she’s touching an outlet after repeated warnings, hitting a sibling or not coming to brush her teeth after you’ve asked her ten times. Here are a few keys to success:

  • Nail down the logistics. Pick a boring place near the center of the action (a step works great) and aim for a minute for every year old.
  • Get everyone on the same page. Kids are master manipulators—if they can get away with something under dad’s watch but not mom’s, they’ll work him every time. It’s confusing for kids when consequences aren’t consistent.
  • Debrief after the timeout. Ask her why she got the timeout and what she can do different next time. Keep it short, give her a quick hug and move on. Rather than forcing an apology, try modeling concern for any human or animal victims instead.
  • Avoid the pitfall of too many warnings. Toddlers will tiptoe that line like a ballerina, so just give one warning. Once your toddler knows you’re for real, a countdown becomes quite effective: “If you don’t put that phone down by the count of three, then you’re going to get a timeout. One … two … thank you for listening.”

2. Practice Positive Reinforcement

It can be especially frustrating for us working parents when the interactions we do have with our toddlers feel negative. You don’t want your kid to be in trouble all the time! Enter positive reinforcement, where you set up an incentive before the problem occurs. Let’s look at a few key points:

  • Be very specific. It does not work to say, “If you’re good today, you can watch Curious George.” Focus on one frustrating behavior you want to eliminate. So if your child has been fighting the car seat lately, try this: “We’re going to go get in the car now. I’m bringing Spiderman with me. If you get into car seat right away, then you can have Spiderman! Does that sound like a good idea?”
  • Reward him the right way. When you start, set a low bar for success. He’s smart—once he realizes he has the power to earn things through good behavior, he’ll be more inclined to do it again next time. Keep rewards small. Experiences, such as looking at pictures or listening to a favorite song, are ideal. Sticker charts are a great way to work towards a bigger prize. Take a piece of construction paper and write the grand prize at the bottom. Then draw five blank squares above it and you’re set.

3. Employ “The Circle of Trust”

Dinnertime can be ground zero for your toddler’s bad behavior. Bedtime is in 30 minutes, but she’s feeding mashed potatoes to the dog and shaking milk onto her head. I already told you that timeouts aren’t great for food problems, so what can you do? Let me explain the circle of trust. (Yes, I know I stole it from Robert DeNiro in Meet the Fockers.) When your kiddo repeats the bad behavior you want to discourage, you quickly push her high chair or booster back a couple of feet from the table and go about your eating as if nothing happened. After 30 seconds you ask her if she’s ready to come back to the table and warn her that if she throws food again she’ll be pushed away. Toddlers are quite sensitive to being “out of the circle,” and this is a great low-stress way of changing behavior for the better at mealtime.

4. Make Floor Time

I love floor time. It’s a simple but powerful “backdoor” discipline technique, particularly useful when your toddler is caught in a cycle of seeking negative attention from you. Weekday evenings are a setup for these bad behavior cycles—you have 90 minutes to make dinner, feed your kid, play with him and get him ready for bed. But that fast-paced agenda doesn’t feel so much like attention to him, so he gets it by acting out. Dr. Stanley Greenspan was a child psychiatrist who developed floor time over 40 years ago for kids with autism. But in its simple form it can be a secret weapon for all parents. Try to set aside fifteen minutes several times per week where you are literally down on the floor with your child following his lead. He’s the boss—even if it’s super silly, resist the urge to redirect him. This gives him the attention he craves in a healthier way, and you’re going to have more happy time with your kid. Whichever technique you’re using with your toddler, remember to think firm but loving—be confident in your bond and in the person you’re trying to raise!


Dr. Luke Voytas is the author of Beyond the Checkup from Birth to Age Four: A Pediatrician's Guide to Calm, Confident Parenting. He is a full-time pediatrician at Evergreen Pediatrics in Vancouver, WA. He has also served as the chair of pediatrics at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, the largest hospital in southwest Washington. He is known for his ability to help even the most anxious parents learn to feel confident about what they're doing for their kids. He lives in Portland, OR, with his wife (who is also a pediatrician) and their kids.

Written by Luke Voytas M.D. for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

The Best Ways Family-Friendly Companies are Helping Employees with Childcare Right Now

I wish we could all be so lucky to work for companies who are able to make it through COVID successfully, and also be able to help with childcare. Food for thought…

It’s no secret working moms are anxious, overworked and on the verge of quitting their jobs. With just one in seven kids returning to full-time school this fall, and daycares shuttering across the country, many parents are bracing for months more of desperately trying to perform the role of teacher, cook, housekeeper and employee, all at once.

Thankfully, some companies recognize that working parents have been put in an untenable position, with little chance of relief on the horizon. In addition to offering benefits such as flexible and/or reduced schedules and paid leave, many have added or expanded programs meant to help parents cover the cost of childcare.

That’s crucial because high-quality childcare is so difficult to find right now. In California, for example, a quarter of daycares have closed, equaling a loss of 19,000 spots. Experts warn that up to 40 percent of daycares could permanently close across the country if Congress doesn’t provide the industry with more financial aid. And parents who can afford it have snapped up private sitters and tutors, leaving fewer and fewer affordable choices for working parents who could use a reprieve.

Bridget Garsh, the COO and co-founder of NeighborSchools, a site that connects parents with small family childcare providers, said she’s heard from HR leaders from companies both large and small, who are searching for ways to support working parents “because the problem simply can’t be ignored any longer.”

“The majority of companies have historically under-valued and under-appreciated the importance of childcare for their workforce, especially working moms, and they have largely left parents to fend for themselves,” she says, noting that only 19 percent of companies provide childcare benefits, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2019 Employee Benefits Survey. “Of those that have offered childcare benefits, they’ve primarily included corporate centers with limited spots and expensive price points that are simply unaffordable for many families or backup care options which don’t cover parents’ long-term needs. COVID has forced companies to realize that parents simply can’t do their jobs without childcare. They’re less productive, their stress levels are through the roof and sadly many of them are thinking of leaving the workforce because it’s all too much.”

That’s what KPMG LLP learned from the check-in surveys and focus groups it began hosting to keep abreast of how its employees are doing and what additional support or resources they may need. “One of the things we heard loud and clear is that while work-life balance is a challenge for everyone right now, it’s a particularly significant concern for parents and caregivers as the new school year begins amid so much uncertainty,” says Darren H. Burton, their vice chair of HR. “Once we heard this, we went right to work to identify ways we can provide assistance, by enhancing some of our existing benefits programs and introducing new ones.”

The professional services firm quadrupled the number of backup care days available to employees, expanded access to discounted tutoring, academic support and homework assistance and expanded its network of childcare centers to offer discounts at more than 2,000 centers nationwide.

KPMG isn’t alone. Childcare benefits are becoming a big way companies are helping working parents right now. Here are the additional perks other top employers are offering:

Sanofi

The biopharmaceutical company offered 25 days of emergency backup care March through May. In June, Sanofi offered another 25 days of subsidized in-home or center-based backup care for all employees. Employees also have free membership to an online tool that provides access to nannies, sitters, home cleaners, pet caretakers and more.

Boston Scientific

The medical solutions company has increased its backup care and now offers 15 days through Care.com, as well as covering “out of network” caregivers so that working parents have the flexibility to use those subsidized days for caregivers within their personal networks. The company is also launching programs to facilitate learning pods as well as nanny shares for employees who live near each other.

Bank of America

Bank of America might have the most generous backup childcare program available—there’s no limit on the number of days employees can claim while they’re working from home or in the office through year-end. Starting August 16 and running through December 31, the bank’s employees can get daily childcare reimbursements of $75 or $100, depending on their compensation, for children up to and including 12 years of age. For children with special needs, the age requirement is up to 21 years of age. Employees also get priority access to learning hubs for school-age children, which will be offered through a Bright Horizons partnership with Mathnasium and Sylvan, providing the opportunity for children in distance learning to participate in small groups with an in-person educator.

Zoetis

Before COVID-19, the animal health company offered employees whose childcare fell through 10 days a year to send their children to a backup facility run by Bright Horizons. Employees paid $15 a day for one child or $25 daily for two or more kids. Employees who used in-home backup childcare were reimbursed for $6 an hour, but they had to use a caregiver in the Bright Horizons network. The company changed its childcare offerings, and now employees can use whomever they wanted to watch their child—family members, friends, neighbors—and they can receive reimbursement of $100 a day for 40 days. Employees also have free access to Sittercity, an online marketplace for in-home care.

PwC

The professional services firm doubled its backup care reimbursement to $2,000 and is offering discounts on nanny placements, tuition programs and tutoring.

Salesforce

In June, the cloud-based software company increased its global backup childcare offerings through the summer so employees can get reimbursed up to $100 per day for five days each month. In August, the company extended that through the end of January 2021.

Written by Audrey Goodson Kingo for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Silly and Strategic Card Games for Family Night(s)

As we all face more time at home with our COVID “pods” (big sigh), I thought these games would be good to share. Wishing you good health. ~Kirsten

It’s Friday night and the house is…quiet. Instead of separately and silently scrolling on your devices, why not break out some card games for a rousing family game night? Not only do interactive games help kids develop motor and problem solving skills, they also create invaluable bonding moments and encourage healthy competition.


Level up your family game night with these wacky and tactful card games.


Throw Throw Burrito

Food fight!


A delightful mixture of cleverness and agility, Throw Throw Burrito is the world’s first dodgeball card game for kids, teens, and adults. Two to six players earn points by collecting matching sets of cards faster than their opponents while simultaneously throwing and dodging squishy foam burritos. If you’re hit by an airborne burrito you lose points, but hit someone and you steal those player’s points. While some Burrito Battles involve a handful of players, others force the entire table to go Burrito War! Clear away the breakables and antiques, because you’ve never played a game with your family quite like this.


What Do You Meme? Family Edition

You've all seen them.


Tired of explaining what memes are to your grandparents? What Do You Meme? Family Edition will finally relieve that burden with a mighty good time. Compete to create the funniest memes by using one of your dealt caption cards to caption the photo card in each round. To win rounds and be crowned meme royalty, make sure to play to the rotating judge’s unique sense of humor. Each game contains 300 caption cards and 65 photo cards, so the laughs and surprises are endless.


Kids Against Maturity

The age appropriate spin-off of a modern classic.


Kids Against Maturity is the perfect parental tool to approach playtime and family time. Each player gets 10 white answer cards and takes turns asking the blue question cards. Each question asker chooses the funniest answer, and the player with the highest amount of most amusing responses wins the game. One set includes 500 question and answer cards, allowing for 40,000 unique card combinations. With age-appropriate humor for kids and innuendos for adults, this is a game the whole family will enjoy.


Phase 10

The race is on.


Like its name suggests, Mattel’s Phase 10 is a rummy-type game where players compete to complete 10 varied phases. Each specific phase is a combination of cards composed of sets, runs, colors, or all three. Players must complete one phase before advancing to the next round, and whoever finishes all phases first wins the game. Just when someone has taken the lead, Special Action “Wild” and “Skip” cards deliver shocking, game-changing moments that will leave everyone on the edge of their couch cushions.


Beat That

The ultimate battle of random skills.


Can you bounce two balls into two cups at the same time using only one hand? Bet on your ability to successfully complete a series of any of the 160 ridiculous Beat That! challenges using an assortment of random objects including dice, chopsticks, measuring tape, and more. Bounce, flip, stack, hop, roll, blow, balance and catapult your way to victory in this game that will bring big fun to the whole family.

Written by PopSci Commerce Team for Popular Science and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

5 Yoga Poses That Can Relieve Stress

Staying on the theme of stress relief, because this has been an election season like no other! I hope you find this helpful. ~Kirsten

If you’ve experienced more than a little stress from work and family and well, life, then try these five yoga poses to clear your head and unwind your body.

Extended Puppy Pose

When to do it: You’ve been driving or sitting all day or traveling.

In addition to settling a manic mind, this pose will help loosen tight shoulders and an aching back.

How to do it: This pose is like downward facing dog, except your knees remain on the ground. Start by coming onto all fours and walking your hands forward as you curl your toes under. Keep your hips over your ankles as you lower your chest until it hovers about an inch above the ground. Relax your neck (you may want to place a blanket under your forehead) but keep your arms active as you press your palms into the ground. Hold for 30 seconds before relaxing into child’s pose.

Lion Pose

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Oxygen Magazine

When to do it: To recover from family drama.

Carrying tension in your face and chest? Find relief from emotionally charged situations with this cathartic and energizing pose.

How to do it: Kneel on the ground, tucking one ankle under the other. (If kneeling like this hurts your knees, try placing a block between your feet for a little elevation.) Press your palms against your knees and energetically spread your fingers apart. Inhale through the nose. Then, open your mouth wide and stick your tongue out and downward. Open your eyes wide and exhale through your mouth, making a roaring “ha!” sound. Roar as many times you like, contracting the muscles in the front of your throat.

Marichi’s Pose

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Oxygen Magazine

When to do it: After a day of indulgence.

You ate, drank and were merry. But now all of those indulgences feel like they’re just sitting in your stomach. This pose is known for aiding digestion.

How to do it: Sit on the ground with your legs together and extended in front of you. Bend your right knee over your left leg and place your right foot on the ground. Bring your left heel as close to your sitting bones as possible. As you exhale, twist your torso to the right and place your right palm on the floor. Hook your left elbow over your right knee and use your arm to deepen the twist. Keep your left leg extended and continue to lengthen the spine upward as you twist. Repeat on the other side.

Legs Up The Wall

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Oxygen Magazine

When to do it: You can’t get to sleep (or stay there).

It’s time for bed, but your body and brain are fighting you like a petulant toddler. Legs up the wall can help with general anxiety, restlessness and insomnia.

How to do it: The key to this pose is getting your butt as close to the wall as possible. It’s helpful to start by laying on your side with your knees tucked into your chest. In this position, wriggle yourself toward the wall until your butt is pressed against it. Extend your legs and pivot your body until you’re lying on your back and the backs of your legs are resting against the wall. You can rest your arms alongside the body or place your hands on your belly. Relax here for up to 15 minutes.

Locust Pose

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Oxygen Magazine

When to do it: Your energy is zapped but your to-do list is overwhelming.

This energizing backbend pose can help you find your second (or third) wind when you simply can’t afford to be weary.

How to do it: Lie facedown with your arms along your sides. Let your forehead rest on the floor as you inwardly rotate your thighs. As you exhale, lift your head, torso, arms and legs so that you’re resting on your belly and pelvis. Roll back your shoulders, but be careful not to strain your neck. Hold the pose for up to a minute, maintaining steady breathing and focusing on finding length in the spine and legs. Release the pose and rest. Repeat one to two times.

Written by Jenessa Connor for Oxygen Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Mindfulness Every Day, Every Way

Not sleeping? Only a day until a huge election, I can tell you I am not sleeping. My stomach is in knots and I find myself holding my breath. I need some serious help with mindfulness! I keep trying to come back to happy thoughts, like seeing this stunning humpback whale. I hope this article helps you too. XO, Kirsten

When we think of the word mindfulness, a number of definitions rise to the top, such as being present and thoughtful. On paper, they sound reasonable but when we add in the element of human behavior and our unpredictable nature, two other words enter the mindful lexicon – reacting and responding.

What is the difference between reacting and responding? They seem interchangeable, but actually couldn’t be any more different in stressful moments. Reacting to a situation is acting without giving the action itself much thought. It tends to be quick, impulsive, and emotionally driven. Responding to a situation is a more thoughtful action, it is cool, calm, and collected. What if I told you that the simple act of mindfulness could be the key to more positive interactions and outcomes, despite any challenging moments that life might throw at you?

Reactions vs. Responses

Stressful moments in life are going to happen no matter what. This is a known fact. When was the last time that you were in a decent mood until a small annoyance or upsetting interaction happened and it ended up ruining your morning, afternoon, or even your entire day? Let’s say someone you live with forgets to do the one thing that you’ve asked them to do or your neighbor starts a sentence off with “no offense,” and then continues to say something offensive. A reaction to these situations might be snapping at them, getting defensive, or saying something hurtful. A response would start with asking questions to better understand their intention behind their actions before jumping to a conclusion or impulsively conveying the first set of feelings that arose from the situation.

Mindfulness as a Solution

When an annoying or hurtful event like this happens, a thought or emotion first forms, such as thinking your request was not honored and respected or feeling offended and hurt by your neighbor’s comment. These thoughts and feelings can take control if you allow them to. How and what you choose to do at this point changes the potential action and outcome for you and the other person. Reactions are subconscious actions fueled by a thought or feeling – they tend to push out any other (perhaps more appropriate) idea or response. It creates a knee-jerk reaction.

However, when you take a moment to practice mindfulness, you can stop the thoughts and feelings from controlling your action or mood. This helps you regulate your emotions.

Practice this the next time a stressful situation arises:


1. Take a moment to breathe. 

Try square breathing. Breathe from the stomach (not the chest) and inhale deeply for 4 seconds and hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, and hold again for 4 seconds). It’s a secret trick that Navy Seals use when they are in very stressful situations because it calms the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS). This is the fight or flight response system. By regulating your breath, it brings you back to the present moment and away from negative thoughts that have a tendency to stay put. Square breathing also helps regulate and calms the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSNS), which regulates the heart, breathing, and cortisol levels.

2. Acknowledge the physical feelings in your body.

Maybe you can feel your shoulders tensing or your face starting to get warm. Do your best to correct the physical sensations that you have control over, such as relaxing your shoulders, or simply just observe the sensations you can’t immediately control, like your face warming up. Don’t judge these physical feelings. Instead, listen to what they are trying to communicate to you whether that is stress, anger, or another emotional reaction. If you notice a thought starting to come up for you, don’t judge that either. Acknowledge that the thought exists and tuck it away for later. By no longer resisting your experience, you are able to accept the present moment.

3. Return to the present moment.

Take note of 3 things in your surroundings. These things can be as simple as the rug on the floor or the leaves on a houseplant. You could even notice smells or sounds that you hear, anything that brings you back to the present situation slowly and calmly.

4. Set your intentions.

What is the desired outcome? If it is to be heard or feel respected when making a request to others, you might set the intention of understanding to help bring you to that outcome. If you are seeking an outcome where you can voice your hurt and be understood and acknowledged, you might set the intention of compassion for both yourself and the one who has hurt you. In cases where interaction with others is not applicable, you might set the intention of letting the situation “roll-off” of your back and not impact the rest of your day.

5. Seek a More Positive Outcome.

Giving yourself a moment (or more) of mindfulness and setting your intention before acting or speaking can completely change the way that your action is received. Doing so can subtly adjust your tone, delivery, and message. That thoughtful response and calmer demeanor in a situation tend to have a better chance of a more positive and desired outcome. And even in situations where you aren’t necessarily interacting with others, these tips can help you to ensure your day is not ruined by life’s small annoyances.

Just like with a muscle, the more you use and exercise it, the stronger it will get over time. Practicing mindfulness will become easier and feel more natural the more you use it. It’s important to know that it is a continual practice, you won’t just master it one day and never need to practice it again. It’s unrealistic to be perfect. You are a human with naturally occurring thoughts and emotions. Knowing that mindfulness is a lifelong practice that controls negative thoughts will allow you to be more gentle and forgiving of yourself when you start to feel difficult emotional reactions. 

An added benefit of practicing mindfulness in everyday life is reduced stress levels. Stress, especially over long periods, puts added pressure on the body and can disrupt several biological systems.

Written by Breanne Smith for Better Nutrition and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

We love the US Postal Service! But, with the election less than a week away, make sure you bring your ballot to a dropbox instead of mailing it starting today.

Voting has never been more important. We hope you have made a plan to vote! If you requested a mail-in ballot and you still have it in hand, please make sure to bring it to your polling site or put it in a dropbox. With the election less than a week away, your ballot may not arrive in time if you send it via USPS. Since recent federal changes have been made, on-time mailing rates are lower than expected. Please don’t risk your vote not being counted!


The USPS is an amazing service!

The USPS does a lot more than just deliver letters, says Michael Pignone, a doctor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas’s Dell Medical School. It allows for the delivery of prescription medication and helps doctors do testing and notify patients—it’s part of the healthcare system, Pignone says, and not only is the mail system crucial at present, but its healthcare roles have the potential to be expanded as America’s population ages and the pandemic rages on. 


“You can think of the post office as just this incredibly well-distributed last-mile logistics network,” Pignone says. “There are all kinds of possibilities of what the postal service can do.” 


While you might associate the post with mail from elderly relatives and regular fliers, the post office already plays important roles in the health system, especially in rural areas. 80 percent of prescriptions filled to veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs are delivered by USPS, according to a recent letter sent to Postmaster Louis DeJoy by a number of concerned United States Senators, serving more than 300,000 patients. 


Since restrictions slowed the movement of mail, “we have received many troubling reports from veterans waiting weeks for their prescriptions to arrive due to delays at USPS,” the letter reads. Prescriptions expected to arrive in three to five days are taking weeks. Some of the most common medications dispensed by the Veteran’s Affairs pharmacies, according to a 2013 government study, are intended to treat chronic conditions and should not be taken erratically. For example, Clopidogrel reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke in high-risk patients, and Gabapentin, an anticonvulsant, is used to treat nerve pain and PTSD. Then there’s Metformin to treat Type 2 diabetes, and Tramadol, an opioid pain medication. If these prescription drugs arrive late, or even not at all, it puts patients’ health at risk. 


In the general population, 20 percent of US residents over the age of 40 get prescriptions delivered by mail. They are also seeing delays because of mail slowdowns, reports National Nurses United, the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in the U.S. The American College of Physicians has also expressed concern about these delays, noting in a press release that mail-order prescriptions are particularly important during the pandemic for people with chronic conditions like diabetes or asthma, who are already disproportionately vulnerable to COVID-19.


“Any prescription medication can only be as effective as a patient’s ability to access it. We need to ensure that patients can continue to rely on the U.S. Postal Service to receive their critical medications,” the ACP release states.


The postal service also sends and returns numerous medical testing kits for many deadly conditions each year. In a recent opinion article, Pignone highlighted his institution’s use of mailed fecal immunochemical tests for colorectal cancer. Mailing these tests increases efficiency all around—it decreases the use of nurse and doctor time for routine screenings as well as reduces travel needs for treatment, which is particularly important for rural patients, he writes. And because of the USPS’s high penetration of the country and the relatively low cost of sending and receiving tests via this national body, it’s far preferable to using private couriers, he says. 


Similar initiatives exist elsewhere in the country, usually focusing on fecal tests. The FDA has also designed a protocol for mail-in COVID-19 tests. 


But beyond these interactions with the health system, the USPS also plays a role in shaping the social determinants of health. A recent brief from the Institute for Policy Studies identifies that 14.5 million people living in rural areas don’t have access to broadband internet, which seriously limits their ability to communicate without the mail. “This suggests that rural residents make up a disproportionate share of the estimated 18 percent of all Americans who pay their bills by the mail,” the IPS writes.


If people can’t receive and pay bills on time because of delays in the mail service, access to essential resources like housing, electricity, and telephones becomes unstable. Cuts to the mail service “[threaten] the public with more stress,” says Jean Ross, president of National Nurses United, “which leaves them a sitting duck for illness.”  


Rather than defunding the Post Office, we should focus on what new roles it can play, says Pignone—for aging Americans, those suffering from chronic conditions or getting tested for COVID-19, and for better serving the rural U.S. “This is a really rich resource that we need to preserve.”

Written by Kat Eschner for Popular Science and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

I hope you saw our earlier posts about USPS. I have been using the USPS since I launched my business 10 years ago. They have been incredibly good to me. As a small business owner, I can not afford to use UPS or FedEx. Please make sure to advocate for and defend the USPS to friends, family, and your local representative. It is critical to our nation. XO, Kirsten