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Kids may lessen anxiety if they can take some risks


Albano is a Columbia University psychologist whose research focuses on children and anxiety. Her work suggests that kids who don’t take risks or experience occasional distress are more likely to be anxious.

Letting children get scared runs counter to parental instincts — after all, isn’t protecting them part of the parental job description?

Not so fast, warns Albano in a new TedMed Talk. Participating in child’s anxiety cycle doesn’t do them any favors. According to Albano, the best way to inoculate kids against anxiety is to step out of the anxiety cycle.

Here’s how it works: A child has a hard time. Parents can’t tolerate their child’s distress, so they step in and help. The kid doesn’t get the chance to develop resilience or coping skills, so they become more anxious. Repeat.

“If parents and key figures in a child’s life can help the child, assist them to confront their fears and learn how to problem-solve, then it is more likely that the children are going to develop their own internal coping mechanisms for managing their anxiety,” Albano says.

Parents should stay calm, validate the child’s feelings, then help them plan how to confront the situation, Albano advises — and then stand back and let them deal with the problem themselves.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution — Albano emphasizes that this tactic works only for run-of-the-mill frustrations, not situations like bullying. But developing the ability to watch your child suffer temporarily can clear the way for something amazing: The gratification of seeing that child blossom as they experience a sense of their own efficacy and ability. Watch the talk at bit.ly/kidanxiety.



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Can an Algorithm Predict the Pandemic’s Next Moves?


The Google Flu Trends algorithm, as it is known, performed poorly. For instance, it continually overestimated doctor visits, later evaluations found, because of limitations of the data and the influence of outside factors such as media attention, which can drive up searches that are unrelated to actual illness.

Since then, researchers have made multiple adjustments to this approach, combining Google searches with other kinds of data. Teams at Carnegie-Mellon University, University College London and the University of Texas, among others, have models incorporating some real-time data analysis.

“We know that no single data stream is useful in isolation,” said Madhav Marathe, a computer scientist at the University of Virginia. “The contribution of this new paper is that they have a good, wide variety of streams.”

In the new paper, the team analyzed real-time data from four sources, in addition to Google: Covid-related Twitter posts, geotagged for location; doctors’ searches on a physician platform called UpToDate; anonymous mobility data from smartphones; and readings from the Kinsa Smart Thermometer, which uploads to an app. It integrated those data streams with a sophisticated prediction model developed at Northeastern University, based on how people move and interact in communities.

The team tested the predictive value of trends in the data stream by looking at how each correlated with case counts and deaths over March and April, in each state.

In New York, for instance, a sharp uptrend in Covid-related Twitter posts began more than a week before case counts exploded in mid-March; relevant Google searches and Kinsa measures spiked several days beforehand.

The team combined all its data sources, in effect weighting each according to how strongly it was correlated to a coming increase in cases. This “harmonized” algorithm anticipated outbreaks by 21 days, on average, the researchers found.



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Psychology Around the Net: July 4, 2020


Here in America, not only does July usher in the birthday celebrations of these United States, but since 2008 July has also been the Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, or Minority Mental Health Month, or even BIPOC Mental Health Month (Mental Health America has decided to phase out the word “minority” and instead refer to Blacks, Indigenous People, and People of Color).

Regardless of how the name evolves, its original namesake — Bebe Moore Campbell — was a teacher, author, journalist, and mental health advocate who worked hard to bring awareness to the mental health needs of the Black community and other underrepresented communities. Bebe Moore Campbell passed away in 2006, and in May of 2008, the US House of Representatives announce July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

There are plenty of online resources that can guide you on learning more and getting involved! Consider getting started with MHA’s 2020 BIPOC Mental Health Month Toolkit, which focuses on everything from mental health and racial trauma to lists of resources specifically for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities, as well as NAMI’s Strength Over Silence, an ongoing docuseries highlighting the perspectives on mental health across different backgrounds and communities.

Now, on to this week’s Psychology Around the Net!

Living With Family Amid the Pandemic? Follow This Mental Health Advice: According to a recent analysis, somewhere around 2.7 million U.S. adults aged 18 to 25 moved in with another adult family member back in March and April, putting the number of young adults living with an adult or grandparent at an all-time high. Usually, these types of living arrangements are seasonal (think college semesters and job stints) but given the pandemic-related job losses, school shutdowns, and financial problems, these living arrangements are under different circumstances — and much longer. Naturally, these kinds of living situations can bring about both family and financial tensions, and Newport Institute Executive Director Jennifer Dragonette, Psy.D, has some advice to alleviate the stress.

‘We’ll Always Have Paris’: Taking Momentary Mental Vacations in Stressful Times: Ivy Blonwyn shares a beautifully written reminder that your world can be beautiful, as long as you choose it to be so.

Stop Procrastinating by Doing Your Future Self a ‘Favor’: This little productivity hack explains how can bust procrastination by looking at doing a task at present not as a chore, but as a favor to your future self.

New Programs Use Mental Health Professionals As an Alternative to Police: Studies report at least one in four people killed by police has a mental health problem, and some cities around the nation — including Eugene, OR and now Denver, CO — are implementing programs where a paramedic and a behavioral health specialist, rather than law enforcement, respond to low-risk 911 calls.

Infant Sleep Issues Linked to Mental Health Problems in Adolescents, Study Suggests: New research out of the United Kingdom shows that there might be a link between sleep problems in early childhood and the development of some mental health disorders in adolescence. The study, involving 7,155 children, found that irregular sleep routines and frequently waking in the night as babies and toddlers was linked to psychotic experiences in 12- and 13-year-old children. Additionally, kids who slept for short periods at night were more likely to experience borderline personality disorder as early as 11 and 12 years old.

Don’t Judge Me by My Inattentive Mistakes: “Being prone to those trivial errors that make you slap your forehead doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot to offer – fortunately, most things that matter are about much more than being able to avoid inattentive mistakes.”

Photo by Nicole De Khors from Burst.

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6 At-Home Fitness Fixes


According to recent studies, an active lifestyle lowers your risk of getting a communicable disease. By getting more exercise, you can help ward off viral and bacterial infections.

Can’t get out? Not a problem. You can get a full workout even if you’re home all day, says Sylvia Nasser, an NASM-certified personal trainer.


Stream It

If you love group gym classes, try the next best thing: live online workouts. “Follow your favorite instructors or fitness media channels,” Nasser says. “Many now host Zoom, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube livestreams.”

Look online for gyms or personal trainers offering live workouts that you can join on your computer or on your smartphone. Or, try prerecorded workouts on YouTube or one of many fitness websites.


Go Social

Schedule a Zoom workout with friends or family. Having exercise buddies is great for connection and socialization, Nasser says. Plus, it keeps you accountable. If you know everyone’s jumping on the computer at 8 a.m., you have extra reason to show up.


Play Cards

In a pinch, Nasser says, reach for a deck of cards and let it be your fitness instructor. Each suit represents one body-weight exercise, like squats or lunges. Each number represents the number of reps. If hearts represent squats and you pull a 10 of hearts, you do 10 squats. Jokers can be dealer’s choice or one-offs like 60 seconds of jumping jacks. “You can do this with very simple exercises,” Nasser says. “Have fun with it.”


Use Your Stuff

“Get creative with things around your home,” Nasser says. “One of my favorites is taking a school bag and filling it up, then wearing it while you do lunges and lower body exercises.” Get your arms involved by holding onto the straps and doing bicep curls or wearing it as you do pushups.


Devise a Circuit Workout

Create stations around your home and move through each one for a full-body workout. Your home is filled with exercise-ready objects. Think stairs, chairs, and walls, Nasser says. Run up and down the stairs. Use chairs for tricep dips, pushups, and step-ups. Lean against the wall for wall sits.


Try Rep Challenges

Pick a number and challenge yourself to complete that amount of reps for a variety of simple exercises. For example, aim for 50 or 100 reps of four to five body-weight exercises. Start with 50 squats. Then do 50 lunges, 50 pushups, 50 mountain climbers, and 50 sit-ups. When you reach your goal, your workout is done.






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Tracking The Spread Of The Outbreak : Goats and Soda : NPR


This page is updated regularly.

Since the new coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China, in December, the infectious respiratory disease COVID-19 has spread rapidly within China and to neighboring countries and beyond.

The first confirmed coronavirus cases outside China occurred on Jan. 20, in Japan, Thailand and South Korea. On Jan. 21, the first case in the U.S. was identified in Washington state.

On Jan. 24, the first two European cases were confirmed in France. By Feb. 1, eight European nations had confirmed cases of COVID-19, and a month later that count had risen to 24 countries with at least 2,200 cases, most of them in Italy. On March 11, Italy eclipsed 10,000 cases and the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic — the first since H1N1 in 2009. That’s also when China, the original epicenter, began seeing drops in daily counts of new cases.

March also saw exponential spread of the virus throughout the U.S., with all 50 states reporting cases by March 17.

This particular virus, officially known as SARS-CoV-2, is only the third strain of coronavirus known to frequently cause severe symptoms in humans. The other two strains cause Middle East respiratory syndrome and severe acute respiratory syndrome.

Click here to see the state-by-state breakdown of cases in the United States.

This story was originally published on March 30, 2020.



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Buttery Lemon Shortbread Cookies with a Glaze


Buttery Lemon Shortbread Cookies with a Glaze are light and fresh with vibrant sweet and sour flavors that are surprisingly easy to create! Every bite is packed with a burst of lemon flavor and the shortbread has the perfect dense, buttery texture that will make this your new favorite cookie!

For more of the freshness of lemon with the amazing texture of shortbread, try Lemon Tart with a Buttery Shortbread Crust. It is an easy and delicious homemade fresh lemon curd in a buttery shortbread crust.

A stack of lemon shortbread cookies.

Buttery Lemon Shortbread Cookies with a Glaze

Warm summer days call for light and vibrant desserts that are both satisfying and refreshing.  Classic shortbread cookies are a tried and true choice with their melt-in-your-mouth buttery texture.  Now, by adding in the subtle lemon flavor and the sweet glaze, this classic cookie becomes perfectly bright.  Calling these the best cookies ever would not be an overstatement. They are heavenly!

Lemon shortbread cookies are perfect for any occasion because of their soft and sweet buttery texture and their inspired lemon zip.  Best of all these crowd-pleasing cookies are simple to make and the dough is easy to prepare ahead of time.  Make a couple of batches at a time and freeze some of the dough until you are ready to bake them.  You will be asked to make these over and over.  So, go ahead and pre-heat that oven and see for yourself how perfect this cookie really is!

Shortbread Cookie Ingredients:

Since this recipe requires no special equipment and all pantry staple ingredients, it makes a great beginner cookie.  Shortbread cookies are tried and true cookies and adding the lemon glaze makes these a new favorite version of a classic cookie!

  • Butter: Binding agent and adds moist, smooth texture and flavor.
  • Powdered sugar: Adds sweetness
  • Flour: Helps thicken the cookie.
  • Salt: Just a pinch to bring out the flavors and balance the sweetness.
  • Baking powder: Leavening agent that helps the cookies rise.
  • Flour: All purpose flour is best for these cookies.

Glaze

  • Lemon juice: Whisk together with lemon zest and powdered sugar.
  • Powdered sugar: A bit of sweetness in the glaze
  • Lemon zest: This is where the lemon flavor really comes from.  Zest in fine pieces and add more or less according to how lemony you want your glaze.

Homemade Cookie Recipe:

Shortbread cookies are one of the easiest cookies to bake! They come together so fast and you will amazed how simple and delicious they are.

  1. Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix: In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer add the butter and beat until fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar, zest of lemon and juice of lemon.
  3. Combine dry ingredients: In a medium sized bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly add it to the butter mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Roll out dough: Add the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter cut out the cookies and lay them onto a baking sheet.
  5. Bake: Place cookies in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove and let cool.
  6. To make the glaze: In a small bowl whisk the lemon juice, powdered sugar, and zest of one lemon. Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze and place on a wire rack to set.

Steps to make lemon shortbread cookies.

Tips for the Best Shortbread Cookie:

This familiar dense shortbread cookie is so perfect with the unexpected bright lemon flavor.  My pro tips will help you achieve the BEST cookie ever are easier than you think!

  • Parchment paper: Lining your cookie sheet with parchment paper will save you so much time and help you create the perfect cookie. The parchment paper is naturally non-stick, so you do not have to use any sprays on your pan, and clean up will be so much simpler.  Moving your cookies off the tray and onto a cooling rack will be so much easier as well and your cookies will not crack or fall apart as you move them.
  • Use chilled dough: Once you prepare your dough, place it in the refrigerator to cool for at least 30 minutes before baking. Cooling the dough will keep your cookies from spreading out too much during baking.
  • Know when to take them out of the oven: Pull the cookies out when they start to turn to a light golden brown on the bottom or the very edges. They should no longer be white.
  • Add depth of flavor: Adding spices like rosemary or lavender creates an even more complex flavor in the cookie. Very finely chop these spices before adding them into the dough.
  • Presentation: Play around with different cookie cutters to make a festive display in star shapes or whatever coincides with your theme. Coloring the frosting with bright colors will also liven up any party!
  • Glaze: Apply the glaze while the cookies are still a little bit warm so the cookies don’t crack.

Storing Shortbread Cookies:

These cookies store very well and the dough can be made ahead too.  Keep some of this perfect dough in your freezer and pull it out as needed to bake a last-minute sweet treat!

  • Cookie dough: Roll dough into a log shape or cut go ahead and cut into cookies.  Then place them in the refrigerator or freezer.  If storing in already cut pieces, you will want to separate them with wax paper so they don’t stick together.  The dough will be good for 2 days in the refrigerator or 4-6 months in the freezer.
  • Finished cookies: Be sure your cookies are completely cooled, including the glaze before storing them.  Stack in layers with wax paper between each layer.  They will stay fresh at room temperature for about a week.

Close up on a stack of lemon shortbread cookies.

More Shortbread Cookie Recipes:

Buttery Lemon Shortbread Cookies with a Glaze

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 15 minutes

Total Time 30 minutes

Author Alyssa Rivers

Servings 24 Cookies

Buttery Lemon Shortbread Cookies with a Glaze are light and fresh with vibrant sweet and sour flavors that are surprisingly easy to create! Every bite is packed with a burst of lemon flavor and the shortbread has the perfect dense, buttery texture that will make this your new favorite cookie!

To Make the Cookies:

  • 2 cups butter softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of one lemon
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 cups flour

To Make the Glaze:

  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • zest of one lemon

Nutrition Facts

Buttery Lemon Shortbread Cookies with a Glaze

Amount Per Serving

Calories 327 Calories from Fat 144

% Daily Value*

Fat 16g25%

Saturated Fat 10g50%

Cholesterol 41mg14%

Sodium 185mg8%

Potassium 59mg2%

Carbohydrates 42g14%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 10g11%

Protein 4g8%

Vitamin A 473IU9%

Vitamin C 1mg1%

Calcium 14mg1%

Iron 2mg11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.





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Hospital ratings often depend more on nice rooms than on health care



The study, “The Cost of Satisfaction,” appeared in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Oh, the irony. The most satisfied patients not only died in greater numbers but racked up higher costs along the way. Plus, health-care providers receiving the top satisfaction scores were rewarded with higher reimbursements by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers the patient survey.

Lead author Joshua Fenton, a professor of family medicine at the University of California at Davis, had set out to measure the relationship between patient satisfaction and hospital resource use, drawing on the CMS Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. Ultimately, his research raised questions about whether CMS is dangerously off target in collecting patient satisfaction data to drive health-care improvements.

That was 2012. More research published this year by two sociologists likewise found that a patient’s hospital recommendation had almost no correlation to the quality of medical care received or patient survival rate. The researchers looked at CMS hospital data and patient surveys at more than 3,000 U.S. hospitals over three years. The hospitals where fewer patients died had only a two percentage point edge in patient satisfaction over the others.

What’s going on? Cristobal Young, associate professor of sociology at Cornell University and lead author of the study, calls it “the halo effect of hospitality.” Young found that what mattered most to patients in ratings were the compassion of nurses and amenities like good food and quiet rooms. It’s why hospital managers are being recruited from the service industry and we’re seeing greeters in the lobby and premium TV channels in rooms, he says.

Patients tend to value what they see and understand, but that can be limited, Young continues. They give hospitals good cleanliness ratings when they observe waste baskets are emptied and sheets are changed. “They can’t see a virus or tell you how clean the room is in ways that matter,” he says.

Similarly, patients can tell you if a physician communicates well. But most people do not have the medical skills to assess whether a physician provided the appropriate diagnostic test or made suitable recommendations, Fenton says.

In his study, patients receiving more medical interventions, treatments and hospitalizations were more satisfied with their experience. Yet, after adjusting the 26 percent mortality rate of the satisfied patients with data about their baseline health and comorbidities, their death rate soared to 44 percent over the patients who weren’t as happy with their care.

One possible explanation is that every surgery, procedure or medication carries the potential to leave you worse off. While a patient may perceive that more aggressive treatment is better, “overtreatment” can hasten death, too.

There is a more insidious reason satisfied patients did not track with better medical outcomes, though. The majority of hospitals and medical practices today are rewarded with higher compensation, promotions, bonuses or increased CMS reimbursements for attaining high patient satisfaction scores. The twist is that the path to keeping patients happy can run counter to best medical practices.

A patient may give an unfavorable rating to a physician who refuses to write an unsafe opioid prescription or order an unwarranted CT scan. A doctor may not bring up a patient’s obesity or cognitive impairment to avoid the person’s ire on a survey later.

In a 2014 study of 155 physicians by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health, close to half said that pressure to please patients led to inappropriate care including unnecessary tests and procedures, hospital admissions, and opioid or antibiotic prescriptions.

“Time after time, studies show that physicians who accede to patient requests have higher patient satisfaction,” Terence Myckatyn and co-authors wrote in a 2017 article exploring how patient satisfaction scores affect medical practice. Keeping patients happy is not always the best strategy for patient wellness or physicians, however, says Myckatyn, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Washington University School of Medicine.

“Directly tying financials to surveys as a metric to evaluate physicians can be shortsighted and unfair. It’s a difficult calculus,” says Myckatyn, stressing that patient surveys should be only one measure in the toolbox for assessing health-care providers.

CMS posts patient satisfaction data on its Hospital Compare website along with medical statistics about surgery complications, infection rates and mortality. But it’s the hotel-like amenities that seem to drive ratings, so that’s where many hospitals have invested, Young says.

He points to the new $2 billion Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto that offers private patient rooms, each with a 55” television and iPad so patients can stream Net­flix, order a burger from the cafeteria, or video conference with family. This is how hospitals are competing with each other in a consumer market where medical quality indicators can take a back seat, he says.

Whether the 29-question HCAHPS survey has led to better medical care, Fenton credits public surveys for keeping hospitals and physicians accountable for treating patients with respect and dignity. What he objects to is the harm done by conflating patient satisfaction with the technical quality of medical care.

Likewise, Nancy Foster, vice president of quality and patient safety policy at the American Hospital Association (AHA), sees patient satisfaction and medical outcomes as apples and oranges. They are each important and don’t have to correlate. In addition, whether a nurse responds quickly to a call button is not just about hospitality, Foster maintains in reference to Young’s study.

“If a patient needs to use the restroom and a nurse doesn’t arrive in a timely fashion, patients [who go on their own] can fall,” she says. “[The nurse’s responsiveness] becomes a crucial clinical outcome issue.”

Akin Demehin, AHA’s director of policy, also believes patient surveys have a place in improving medical care. “Patients have unique insights that only they are in a position to convey,” Demehin says.

Several hospitals were able to reduce their readmission rates after taking a close look at patient comments regarding problems in care coordination and hospital discharge, he says.

Collecting patient feedback began its ascent in 1985 when Press Ganey Associates introduced a survey to measure health-care provider performance. Ten thousand medical institutions today still use it. By 2006, CMS was distributing the HCAHPS survey to randomly selected patients around the country.

Once the Internet exploded, consumer-driven health care was out of the gate. Online ratings for restaurants, electronics, and the patient experience became “part of our modern day currency,” says physician Raina Merchant, director of the Center for Digital Health at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and associate vice president at Penn Medicine.

Merchant studied the impact of patient ratings on Yelp and found they were strikingly parallel to HCAHPS results. The significant difference, she says, is that Yelp reviews cover a broader range of concerns than standard surveys. You’ll find more detailed patient-to-patient information about billing, comfort care, medical costs and the experience of family caregivers, for instance.

Health-care providers “miss an opportunity to learn about consumers if they don’t pay attention to social media,” says Merchant, who sees online reviews as “democratizing.”

Will covid-19 change how we rate physicians and hospitals? “Think about how much we spend on the health-care system in the U.S. Then when we need basic things like swabs [to test for coronavirus] we don’t have them,” says Young, “. . . or nurses and doctors straining to have [personal protective equipment].”

“It’s mind-boggling,” he says. “Maybe the coronavirus will help reprioritize everyone’s thinking about medical quality. Nobody is thinking about how nice their [hospital room] views are anymore.”



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Florida State University Child Care Policy Draws Backlash


Florida State University appears to be walking back an announcement that suggested it would not allow employees to care for children while working from home during the coronavirus outbreak.

“We want to be clear — our policy does allow employees to work from home while caring for children,” the university said in an email to staff members and in an announcement posted on its website on Thursday.

That message followed a barrage of questions and criticism that started last week, when the university, in Tallahassee, Fla., emailed its staff to say it would “no longer allow employees to care for children while working remotely” as of Aug. 7.

The move was an attempt to reinstate a policy that had existed before the outbreak. But the idea that employees might suddenly be required to make other arrangements for their children even as they continued to work from home led to an immediate backlash.

“Initial responses over the weekend were of despair, shock and feeling disempowered,” said one professor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because discussions with the administration were continuing.

“We’ve all been doing our jobs and performing our caregiving roles,” the professor said. “And it’s been really hard, but everybody has been pulling their weight, and that could have just carried on.”

The university’s announcement on June 26 attracted attention on social media and from news outlets over the weekend, turning one institution’s internal debate over its work-from-home policies into an example of the conflicts that can arise as schools, businesses and caregivers across the United States grapple with how to return to a sense of normalcy amid a pandemic. Those conflicts have been amplified in recent weeks in Florida, where the number of known infections has surged.

There have been more than 169,000 cases of coronavirus in Florida, according to a New York Times database. As of Thursday morning, more than 3,600 people had died. Over all, the state’s Covid-19 cases were up fivefold in the last two weeks.

The university shared the latest memo but otherwise declined to comment on Thursday.

In response to the objections that surfaced over the weekend, the university tried to clarify its email in a memo that was posted online Monday. That memo suggested that faculty members would not be affected by the change — and it elicited another backlash because it seemed to suggest that the policy would hurt lower-paid workers more. That memo was later taken down.

In its latest email on Thursday, the university sought to clarify the policy once again.

“We are requesting that employees coordinate with their supervisors on a schedule that allows them to meet their parental responsibilities in addition to work obligations,” it said. “This may be different for each employee based on the specifics of their situation.”

The school said it regretted that its initial communication “caused any unnecessary worry and concern or oversimplified a very nuanced issue.”

Matthew Lata, the F.S.U. chapter president of the United Faculty of Florida, a union representing faculty members there, was among those who criticized the university after its initial email announcing the policy change last week. In an interview on Thursday, he said the issue seemed to have been resolved.

“I’m glad that the university has taken a step back and looked at this situation and realized that the old normal cannot be the new normal,” he said.

It is not clear when schools and day care centers in the district that includes Tallahassee, Leon County Schools, will reopen. In a letter, the superintendent said he would ask the school board to make Aug. 19 the first day of classes for students. The superintendent also said he would be open to discussing the idea of delaying the start date until after Labor Day.





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How a Simple Phrase Can Strengthen Resolve


A well-said phrase can remind us how we’re not alone in our struggles — and, perhaps, more importantly, can also inspire us to push onward. Examples range from ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle’s “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light” to contemporary author and civil rights activist Maya Angelou’s “You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated.” When facing tough times, difficult people, and challenging situations, a simple set of words such as these may keep hope alive, strengthen resolve — and help us to keep our cool.

In a Fast Company article titled “The Science Behind Why Inspirational Quotes Motivate Us” by author Gwen Moran, psychologist and motivation expert Jonathan Fader, PhD, explains that positive phrases can provide a powerful incentive to try harder and also build a “self-efficacy in that kind of dialogue that you’re having with yourself.” Also, the aspirational nature of certain quotes and phrases help us to see something in ourselves that we want to work on or overcome. 

I know that when I’m in a stressful situation, I often tell myself to “be like water,” as I picture myself gliding past the jagged rocks of anxiety and turbulent pockets of conflict. Since I started using this simple phrase (which I often have to silently repeat to myself), I’m far less reactive and am able to keep my cool while still maintaining my own sense of self-worth. And… when things get really bad, I’ll actually make swimming motions (but only when I’m on the phone and people can’t see me!). Interestingly, too, I’ve noticed that I don’t tense up as much as before, which I’m happy to say has (so far, at least!) decreased my chronic back pain. 

I was curious if other people I know also use quotes or phrases to help them deal with stress, so I asked a couple of friends about what they tell themselves to get through life, when they are most likely to use theses phrases, and how they help. I was pleasantly surprised that the first three people I contacted responded right away. Maybe more people use this technique than I thought (or I guessed at the most likely people who might do this). Regardless, I found their responses were not only insightful, but also resonated with some of their core strengths. 

Anna, a Senior Technology Officer, says that when she’s lonely or upset, she tells herself: “Like a wave is part of the ocean” to remind herself that she’s connected to everything. And like a wave, she feels as if she doesn’t just exist as an individual. Anna shared that this phrase helps her get out of her own head and see other people’s perspectives. It also reduces a reaction response and, instead, increases her capacity to understand other people’s perspectives.

From my personal experience with Anna, her mantra works, as she is one of the most accepting and friendly people I know. She adds that it’s particularly helpful when she finds that she’s frustrated with someone and her “thinking needs to be looked at.” 

Gabe, a restaurant manager and author, tells himself, “Where there’s a stupid person, there should not be two.” He says that he uses it every single day at work. And to quote Gabe: “People come and complain because, I don’t know, Santa didn’t come early this year, and I think of my mantra.” It helps him see how little is needed for some people to lose it, which only strengthens his resolve to stay stoic, calm, and rational while also maintaining his sense of humor.

Through the years, I have witnessed Gabe’s strength, wisdom, and fortitude — especially during the roughest of times. And in true Gabe fashion, even his own personal mantra is imbued with honesty and humor — just like him. 

K. Elaine, who is a Vice President of a large company, said that she tells herself: “We will get through this and this too shall pass.” She tells herself this when she loses an employee or one is crying on overload, threatening to quit. She also repeats it when clients are screaming at her — or, worse yet, when someone says that they want to sue the company.

This blended mantra helps K. Elaine remain professional while negotiating in a rational, caring tone with both clients and employees. And true to K. Elaine’s can-do, positive spirit, her mantra, which starts with the word “we,” encompasses her team-player style and personal warmth and charm. 

Whether people gravitate toward a certain mantra because it already highlights their natural strengths or because it helps them overcome something they want to work on, a simple set of words can increase one’s resolve — and may also serve as a handy reminder that may help lighten stressful situations and provide a deeper sense of calm, strength, and clarity. 

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Senate Approves Five More Weeks of the Paycheck Protection Program


Small businesses now have until August 8 to apply

Just hours before the Paycheck Protection Program was set to expire, with over $130 billion left unallocated, the Senate voted to extend the program by an additional five weeks. The extension still needs to be voted on by the House, and to get the president’s signature for approval. This could be a challenge because, as the New York Times points out, “Members of both chambers are expected to leave Washington for the Fourth of July and are not set to fully return for two weeks.”

For restaurants in particular, the PPP loans have been a bit of a mess. The first wave of funds was depleted in two weeks, with large loans initially going to chain restaurants like Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Many independent restaurants, especially Black-owned restaurants, had a hard time securing loans, and even when they could it was complicated to actually use the funds.

The extension will ideally bring relief to more restaurants and small businesses, though maybe they could have just used that $130 billion to cancel rent (which would help employers and employees alike) and allow restaurant workers to stay home until the pandemic is over.

And in other news…

  • McCormick spices will operate 24 hours a day to replenish the supply that quarantine home cooks and bakers depleted. [SupplyChainDive]
  • Little Caesars fires two Ohio employees after a couple opened their pizza and found pepperoni arranged in the shape of a swastika. [Snopes]
  • Texas bar owners are suing over the state’s re-closure, and declaring “Bar Lives Matter,” which…no. [Insider]
  • Chipotle is launching a DTC farmers market to support its suppliers. [The Spoon]
  • Subway pulls its 2-for-$10 sub deal after franchisees say it’ll make them lose money. [NYPost]
  • Chef Sean Sherman is opening an Indigenous Food Lab in Minnesota, which will include a restaurant, a training kitchen, and education center.” [Modern Farmer]
  • People who run fair food stands are struggling as all the state fairs are canceled. [NPR]
  • Protesters: Defund the Police!

Jersey Mike’s:





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