supermoons and chickenpox

Good morning darlings,

Stayed up late last night to check out the blood eclipse super lunar extravaganza (almost 11pm when I went to bed … CRIKEY that’s late for this geek!). Worth it, dashing out onto the freezing deck and marvelling at the magic (I know, science, not actually magic …BUT STILL).

Thankful that Little Girl’s chickenpox saga was in its second week during the lunar excitement, because last week I’d have been too tired to wait up and behold the spectacle. Chickenpox would have – ahem – eclipsed the eclipse. It was almost like having a baby in the house again – broken sleep, lots of active, hands-on caregiving, needing to put a wee rashy body in the sunshine. A lot! With thanks and praise to the awesome Story Store podcast from the CBC! You got us through the calamine lotion sessions. What a sadness that there are no new episodes on horizon. You will be missed.

In other news: I got my copy of Bruce Perry’s new book “What Happened to You?” in the post (written with some unknown co-author … Oprah blimmen Winfrey is who!!) and I’m enjoying slowly making my way through that. It’s a super read – here’s an excerpt – it’s just taking me a while as I am also reading the amazing ‘The WEIRDest People in the World” by Joseph Henrich (click here for a write up in the NY Times), as well as the fascinating “The Attention Merchants” by Tim Wu (here is a review in the Guardian) and I have yet to finish Sarah Wilson’s “This One Wild and Precious Life” (read about it on the RNZ website). So glad that Ms. Wilson shines a light on the dangers of hypercapitalism (speaking of which – this is also a great book) and the challenges of life in a society still reeling from neoliberalist nonsense.

“Can’t control your tech use? That’s YOUR FAULT! Never mind that big tech is largely unregulated, never mind that we are in an enormous experiment, never mind that the your psychological vulnerabilities are being exploited by attention harvesters … it’s on YOU!” Same neoliberalist argument gets trotted out for all kinds of things – the great Pacific garbage island is YOUR FAULT for not recycling devoutly enough. Never mind that a handful of corporations produce most of the waste, never mind that regulators don’t insist on cradle-to-grave corporate responsibility … ETC!

Anyway, I was a bit naughty in just ordering another book, which I JUST DID. It’s called “Goodbye Phone, Hello World” by Paul Greenberg and you can read about here, also from RNZ.

Speaking of Goodbye Phone … major admiration and respect for a Chch high school for doing away with the phones and allowing their kids to be unplugged kids! It’s working!

In other news, I was super delighted to learn of this excellent resource from my Pals at the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, about tech use in the presence of infants. I mean, talk about important! And SO my cup of tea! Amazing. The only resource of its kind that I am aware of! And this is precisely what I obsess about for a living (well, not really for a living … but as a PhD student, so … um … y’know …)

Also fascinating (albeit somewhat depressing) is this piece from the Guardian about older adults’ relationships with tech. A place where we live … we are snails. OMIGOODNESS. The stress that emerges as a result of reading that research review must be countered by some cosy yoga, thank you Adriene.

Did I share this yet? An excellent piece from a nursing journal about the experience of new babies in a frequent facemask world. I think it’s so important that we continue to use our mature skills of mind mindedness to consider how life is for today’s babies (apparently we’re calling them Generation Alpha. I thought Gen Q was better – hubby and I invented that. But I’ll go along with Gen Alpha if it encourages contemplation of infant experience!). We must remember that their access to faces (which is SUPER IMPORTANT for optimal development … hello still face paradigm, G’day Polyvagal Theory!) … babies are having limited access as a result of masks, sure … but also as a result of our PHONES.

Beware! And I can feel my face sitting in a blank affect. I’m going to sign off and wish you all an emotive, expressive, and temperate time of it until we meet again x x x arohanui x x x

Thanks for today’s lovely pic … Photo by Ahsan Avi on Unsplash.

Screen Free Week, and other delights

About flippin’ time I posted to my dear ol’ blog, and showed off this most recent issue of OHbaby!, in which I have an article called “Use it Wisely”. It’s about … yup … devices & tech use.

Heaps has been happening since last we geeked out together – I’ve been a tad bedridden and coughy for a bit, we’ve had 2 weeks of school hols, and prior to that I had a poster presentation of my research at the Child Wellbeing Research Institute Symposium at UC the other week – shout out to all the dedicated supporters of whānau who attended! I also managed a phone call with a reporter at Stuff, thankfully before I lost my voice and things got all Stevie Nicks husky over here … anyway, I’ll letcha know what comes of that interview.

SO I figure that I’d better make this snappy, because if I start enjoying myself too much here on my computer I’ll be violating my terms of SFW2021, which we started this morning! For our family, using devices for work and essential communication is OK, but entertainment media and idle chatter are not. We can use the actual telephone for random chat, and avail ourselves of the wonderful array of screen free entertainment that is always available to us but is sometimes overlooked in our enthusiasm to watch The Crown. Instead, this week we will be listening to records, reading books, playing games, making music, drawing, cooking, building with Lego, on & on! Need more ideas? Here are 111 of them.

Alright – for something rich, deep & inspiring, look no further than this deliciousness in report form from Omidyar.com, whose work is thoroughly deluxe. Reimagining tech, capitalism, all of it. (because Lord knows capitalism has a lot to answer for …) Omidyar recognise the need to honour the work of caregivers … which this caregiver both digs and appreciates!

For a couple of different but important angles on tech stuff, here is the website of Reset Australia – Reset are all about addressing the threats posed to democracy by rampant online nonsense, and I’d also like to share this fantastic website from a fellow NZer … the Light Project , which is all about having sane and healthy conversations about pornography. Jeepers, we could use some sanity around this issue, eh.

What else? You may have heard that the sickos at Instagram are trying to launch a platform for children … RESIST. There is empirically gathered evidence pointing to the negative wellbeing effects associated with that platform in particular, and there are QUITE enough issues for our young people without pushing that baldedash on ever younger citizens. Harvesting of data and promotion of body image issues? NO THANKS, ZUCKERBERG.

A cool article here, about empowering infants & toddlers in group care, written by Dr. Katherine Bussey (holla!) and I always appreciate the excellent research reviews published by my pals at the Brainwave Trust … Kia Ora Keryn!!

Here is a beautiful performance about appreciating people’s faces – a bit harder when we are masked up, perhaps? Speaking of which, talk about unintended consequences … here is an important discussion paper about infants’ experiences of a masked world, and here is a write up about an app for mothers which looks helpful, I just HOPE it comes with a caveat about choosing when to use it in a way that is biologically respectful of babies’ needs …?

Oh, and I’ve got book club tonight.

Take care, friends. x x x

productive procrastination

Kia Ora lovelies,

I think the key to productivity is to ensure that you have something useful to be cracking on with while you are procrastinating from another thing. Not in the mood to exercise? Work on your conference presentation. Don’t feel like working on that? Do some reading and note taking. Can’t face that job? Go for a brisk walk. OH LOOK … now you’re doing the exercise you didn’t want to do in the first place! Ta-dah!

A few links to share today, then I’ve gotta get back to work. Submitted an article this morn, plenty more missions awaiting my attention!

First up: Tomorrow is Phone Free Day, a surefire way to lessen procrastination! Shout out to my pals at the UCDeFLab for rallying the troops. You could think of this as a lovely warm up for Screen Free Week!!

Good timing for many: check out this article from the Washington Post about the side effects of a year lived onscreen for kids in the US, and here is a write up about research highlighting the need to resist the behavioural crutch of giving screens to tiny children. They might seem to settle now, but really they’re just delaying their ability to develop self-settling skills. Meanwhile, work from researchers in South Australia concludes that excessive screen time is delaying school readiness.

Let ’em play! Unplug the devices and PLAY!

I’m hoping you saw this piece from Stuff, about awesome Māori dads. For more about the biologically respectful practices of traditional parenting by tangata whenua, check this out.

Some random bits and pieces, now: an excellent essay about understanding TikTok by Kyle Chayka (I understand this: it’s another mechanism for harvesting data!), a new post by the folk at Sensible Screen Use about privacy in schools (and I understand this: Google classroom = more harvesting of data!) and a kinda cool bit about libraries extending their services outdoors during the pandemic.

Here is a cool site I’ve just discovered which shares tech stories from around the world (it’s called “rest of world” which tells you quite a lot, really!) AND because it’s cooling down in New Zealand we are all about firewood around here – so I’m sharing these beautiful images of covetous living rooms with lovely fireplaces x xx ENJOY x x x x

worrying, and then worrying some more

Pandemic + massive earthquakes + tsunami warnings = worrying.

Oh, and we have a trip booked to fly from rural South Island idyll to shaky capital city on other island … TOMORROW. We are supposed to be visiting my 94 year old grandmother. What to do? Unsure when we will get to go, if we decide to postpone.

I’m waiting to hear what Dr. Ash will say at his 4pm briefing – that oughta tell me if the country is likely to stay at current alert levels, or whether they will change, trapping us in Wellington. What I would really like to know is whether the quakes are done for now. I’m not sure anyone can say.

So I worry. Which is as effective as trying to solve an algebra problem by chewing bubblegum, as the lyric goes.

Speaking of lyrics: should I stay or should I go?

I vote stay home, but i am but one member of the family, so I might find myself outvoted. UGH. This is gross. Help me, Polyvagal Theory! Save me, Stephen Porges!

on holidaying like you mean it: zozo and zozi, babies!

Kia Ora New Year newbies and lovely friends. Sitting down at last to share some bits and pieces on the dear ol’ blog.

Like … here I am drinking tea (you can’t tell, but trust me) and enjoying the latest OHbaby! magazine. Yup, happy to have an article in there .. it’s about routines v. go with the flow … what Dan Siegel would call “the river of integration”, but kinda from the baby’s point of view. Anyway, shout out to the visionary new editor Kristina for a great issue, and mad love to outgoing marvel Marianne as she works on nesting with her next baby x xx

Meanwhile: what else? I have been inching an academic article over the finish line for a v. flash journal – I will report back once complete. Like most, we have had a busy time of Christmas and New Year’s malarkey, lots of delicious feasting and loving gifting and a fair bit of grateful hanging out with our friendlies. Have I mentioned lately how grateful I am for New Zealand’s privileged position during this global pandemic? “Go hard, go early” said Jacinda. And so far the borders are holding steady.

We do not take these freedoms for granted – our bi-cultural family hosted a Thanksgiving meal, we had a lovely afternoon of celebrating the groovy mark I got for my Master’s thesis ( as the late Julia Child would say “a party without cake is just a meeting”) and there have been a couple of house parties in there, to boot. Busy, happy, joyful, messy, busy, exhausting, wonderful life.

Meanwhile, here are a few links before I sign off … a refreshingly solutions-focused emphasis to some of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) stuff, courtesy of NPR. It’s about the stress buffering impact of positive experiences in children’s lives. Speaking of a positive spin on things, here is a gorgeous little cartoony representation of some important behavioural concepts – I first heard this method of framing things from Stuart Ablon, who is quite the business.

Here is a family friendly collection of episodes from the legends at Radiolab, and while we are in a podcast state of mind, behold the latest episode of Your Undivided Attention, which is dazzling. And it references the legendary Fred Rogers. And yes, it is solution focused, with Eli Pariser making such smart analogies between the design of public spaces and online fora. I said fora. Having done a bit of playground design (and having learned at the feet of legendary teachers) I feel like I can dig this metaphor. Oh, and I own this book. Am I a town planner, or just kidding?

More from me later … lots of thinking going on in between trashy novels and domesticity.

Arohanui x x x

PS! Important announcement! In response to my daughter’s scrawling penmanship, I read her “2020” as ‘zozo’, and it occurs to me that this year must be zozi, next year will be zozz, and then I think it’s zoze, and 2024 could be zoza. At a stretch, we could follow that with zozs, zozg, (which, admittedly are a bit lame) but then you round out the decade with zozy, zate (best I could do) and perhaps zozg to finish.

No? Just an idea.

a quick party, then back to work

Ladies and Gentlegeeks,

Just like President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris, I am celebrating a milestone. Theirs is the upending of Team Orange, mine is much less earth-shattering but nonetheless important. It’s been ten days since I submitted my Master’s thesis for marking (whoop, whoop!).

Some key findings … may I?

  • Today’s adults are likely to use smartphones, which are pervasive in their abundance and persuasive in their design. Using a smartphone while caring for infants is associated with suboptimal outcomes for the parent/child relationship, and therefore child development.
  • There has been an absence of empirical information about the extent to which mothers’ smartphone use reflects an understanding of potential harm, and whether their smartphone perceptions, intentions and behaviours change at the transition to parenthood. So … we ran a study …
  • Pre- and post-partum, matched-controlled observational design, in which first time mothers (n=65) and their nominated (childless) “research buddies (RB)” (n=29) were surveyed and used a screen-time tracking app (Moment) for seven days
  • Data were gathered during the final trimester of pregnancy, and again at 6-8 weeks postpartum
  • Pregnant women and RB had mean phone use of 205 and 198 minutes/day (range: 37-562 mins/day, 61-660 minutes/day), respectively.
  • Pregnant women and RB had mean daily phone pickups of 53 and 54 (range: 2-223 pickups/day, 5-142 pickups/day) respectively
  • After child birth, both groups saw increases in both measures, the new mothers’ time on device increase was statistically significant (p<0.001), as was the RB pickup increase (p=0.04).
  • These measured increases are in contrast to a reduction in both groups’ scores on the Mobile Phone Problem Use Scale, 10 question version (MPPUS-10), a self-report scale designed to assess problematic use or overuse of the smartphone.
  • This suggests that women’s perceptions of their smartphone differed from their objectively measured use.
  • These findings, along with other results from the survey, reinforce calls by other researchers regarding the need for guidelines for new parents about limiting smartphone use in the presence of infants.
  • This thesis includes this call for guidelines as part of a suite of recommendations to support new mothers in enjoying the benefits of smartphone use while minimising the potential for harm to the parent/infant relationship, and therefore to child development.

It was early last Friday morning that I clicked “SEND” on the project I’ve been working so hard on for years, and I felt a luscious sense of relief … for all of 15 minutes. Then the 7am news bulletin reminded me that I gotta get back to work, ASAP. Y’see, last Friday morn saw the release of some results of a study being run between UC and Auckland uni, examining the school readiness of NZ’s five year olds. Spoiler alert: things are not fab for our littles, especially with regard to their language abilities.

I’ve been interested in transition to school since way back (HERE is a link to an article I wrote for OHbaby! mag about “rethinking school readiness, years ago!) and so I was most interested in the extended interview with one of the lead researchers and a school principal who had supported the study. (OH and how gratifying to hear the principal namechecking our man Bruce Perry and the relevance of teachers becoming trauma-informed. Especially in Christchurch, eh friends?).

SO: yes, children are the canaries in our societal coalmine. The school readiness standards of the past are showing wobbly chinks. So … do we change expectations in classrooms? This would mean that we all accept that relationships and play may need to BE the curriculum, that we might need the back up of evidence based classroom based supports like Nurture Groups and Roots of Empathy.

AND/OR this might emphasise the need for support for families – let us never forget Bronfenbrenner and his reminder that we ought consider children as members of the nest of their whānau/family, who are themselves members of a community, a society, a species. What’s more, that research reminds us of the need for children to have rich conversations. Kids have gotta be sung to enthusiastically, and bathed in language daily (some might say: Talking Matters!). Of course.

May I suggest … we do both? Can we keep a watchful eye on children’s needs and their achievements even as we keep a gentle grasp on those education standards? Can we wrap around individual children & families as we advocate for broader change? With excessive screen time being implicated for distracting parents and children, we could insist that Big Tech be broken up … or at least better regulated. We could demand design solutions that avoid Human Downgrading and support real-life connection: ESPECIALLY when children are in the room.

Much work to be done, my lovelies. So make your celebrations heartfelt and swift, then get yourselves back to work. In my case, that means prepping for a presentation on Thursday, creating a research summary for the mamas who helped me out (and other interested parties!) and writing a wee 1700 word article. I’d feel sorry for myself, but these are easy goals compared to what Biden & Harris gotta do – defeat a pandemic, reunify a nation, weed out systemic racism etc! My to-do list is a comparative piece of cake! Go well, work hard, be kind x x x

Kia Ora, lovelies

Life is swift in my neck of the woods. Growth galore, deadlines descend, calendar is cranking. I’m trying to stay upright, wrestling to go with the flow. Embracing change as we seek stability. All that.

How are things on your stomping ground? Is your baseline affect as grumpy as mine? Are we all responding to the atmospheric weirdness of modern life: stubborn inequalities, persistent biases, and a flippin’ pandemic to boot? How does an individual little bald monkey stay happy when she knows about the fragility of Papatuanuku, Mama Gaia? Praps it’s too much for our tiny minds. In which case I reckon the best approach is to leap back into our bodies … streeeeetch, make something lovely for dinner, have a laugh.

Now, here is a raft of pressies from Bruce Perry and the gang at the Neurosequential Network, these are resources that use the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics to help children make sense of the pandemic. And they help adults to make sense of children during the pandemic.

This is a pretty groovy resource from the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, it’s for parents of teens, written from teenagers’ perspectives. Yikes. It’s not easy.

This piece from the NY Times is about ditching the cellphone and “unbreaking” your brain. (How lucky that author is to have access to Catherine Price, although I guess we all do, via her writing.) Meanwhile, the BBC report here on the issues of YouTube and their disregard for children’s privacy. Same but different from CNN, about the data that apps are gathering about children, and here is another NY Times piece, this one about the high percentage of TikTok users who are underage (and, yes, are having their data harvested).

There is so much more to share, but as I said … I gotta keep my foot on the (imaginary) gas if I’m going to finish this research and get ‘er submitted. So I’ll end by sharing the inventor’s request that we cease gender reveal parties, please. Please!

we can do hard things

Kia Ora ladies and gentlegeeks,

August already. The almond tree outside my office is in bloom already, and I relish standing underneath and basking in the buzzing. I reckon that I have buzzed out about that very phenomenon on this very blog, on previous years. Consistent, or boring?

It’s nice to count the good bits, eh. The bad bits clamour for attention and our poor little prehistoric brains can struggle to deal with the slow burning dread of our multiple crises: global pandemic, voracious inequalities, heating planet – our stress response systems weren’t made for this shizz.

The hard things I’m referring to do include living in the shadows of those aforementioned disasters, but hard things extend even beyond those. My li’l girl is away on her first school camp – we talked about how ‘excited’ and ‘nervous’ can feel like they sit side by side in our bodies. We are both excited by the temporary respite from some of our routines, and we have both been nervous about being separated.

Did you hear about the downturn in premature births during the pandemic? Pretty wild! And it shouldn’t surprise us that children are making sense of the COVID via play – cos that’s how kids make sense of the world.

Multitudes of tech related links … cos … y’know. This one is about the way kids’ tech habits mimic their parents’ (see … they get it “protect developing brains”. YES. (I do love the Hechinger report… check it out, it’s all about reducing inequalities in education) and if you don’t protect those li’l brains, they’ll fail to direct small bodies to adequately move. I’m talking about inactive toddlers. C’mon! Toddlers are designed to be active. It’s right there in their name! They toddle!

now check out this news item from India, sharing their struggles with excessive screen time at the moment.This is a piece from The Conversation in Australia about similar concerns.Jeez, whaddya do? Go to school too soon and risk COVID or succumb to online school and wind up depressed and cross eyed? Oh, for real, I offer my thoughts and angst to all the teachers in the USA … here is a tragically sad piece written by a teacher and published by McSweeneys. Speaking of school – in unrelated news, here is a piece how about how boys bear the brunt of school discipline.

Let’s be as informed as we can manage, lovelies. Try this piece from Common Sense Media about Tweens, Teens, Tech and Mental Health … worth a look … and HOLY DING DONG listen to this episode of the Being Well podcast: an interview with Stephen Porges.

Look for the Helpers – here is a strong piece of work by ARACY – the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth – it’s about Building Children’s Potential. Here’s a bit by our man Rick Hanson about looking after mothers (or, as I like to yell at my family, periodically: “MUMS RULE!”) THIS is a funny bit of satire from McSweeneys, here is a link to some kiwi made masks, and here is a collection of lessons from the great Brain Pickings. ENJOY x x x

PS: shout out to Glennon Doyle, whose book Untamed brought “you can do hard things” into lovely, crispy focus x x x

trust the experts, already.

Kia Ora friends.

So, I’ve overheard a few comments and had enough conversations to make me want to share this notion publicly … it’s about racism, and political correctness, and adapting behaviour. It’s also about white ladies thinking they can decide what racism is, what an appropriate accommodation might be to facilitate goodness for all, or whether it even exists in NZ (*It DOES).

(I’m sure white dudes do it too, but my analogy works best with ladies, so bear with)

To those nice white ladies I say:”Honey. I’m a nice white lady too. And I gotta tell you, you are not the best person to decide when protests have gone on long enough or what is an acceptable level of outrage about issues of race. Here’s the thing: y’know how some blokes will stare at your boobs when they’re talking to you? Hell, some blokes will stare at your boobs even when they’re not talking to you. You know what that’s like? To have dudes just stare at your boobs? “

Yes, yes. The ladies will say. For boob-starers are everyhwere.

Now, if I was to ask many men to assess whether they think women experience frequent boob staring, or if boob-staring is a problem, indeed if an individual friend of theirs is a boob-starer, those men would be likely to downplay or deny the issue. Because THEY ARE NOT THE ONES HAVING THEIR BOOBS STARED AT.

So, my dear white lady, for you to question a person’s experience of racism (or their expression of outrage at the existence of racism) just because you have not tasted the foul effects of that racism yourself, is as idiotic as inviting a man to decide whether boob staring is real, or problematic, or how annoyed women should be by it.

Trust women. Our boobs are frequently stared at. We are the experts here.

Trust people of colour. They experience racism. They are the experts about this.

I’m not trying to be glib or silly, I am truly trying to find an analogy that my people – the nice white ladies – can understand.

While we are trusting the experts in the respective fields, can we have a moment of silence for the death of sanity in the USA? Ay yi yi.

I’ll go back to my Results chapter in a jiff. Very challenging/humbling, as I am not a fluent speaker of Statistics, or a terribly proficient writer of code. Baby steps, snail’s pace.

Meanwhile, a few links to enjoy, if you’re still with me!

This is a wonderful website called “our words matter”, which is a collection of useful ideas and writing about what’s afoot in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Also homegrown, here is the reaction from Sensible Screen Use to the Reboot report I posted a while back.

Looks like Facebook are FINALLY getting served a tiny amount of comeuppance following their years of divisive nonsense. Here is a piece about resignations within the company, and just within the last 24 hours, more and more companies are pulling advertising. About time.

This is a li’l something from Harvard about a silver lining in the pandemic cloud: closer relationships between dads and their kids, which is good news, because elsewhere we have learned that increased parental stress points to less effective safeguards around screen use.

Some satire here, from the good folk at McSweeney’s … all parents of toddlers (past or present) will relate to this. THIS is a link to an article I wrote for OHbaby! about doing more by doing less, and this link to the Plum Village whānau will give you opportunities to join meditation practice with experts, which will help with … everything.

compassion and social distancing

For a while there, the public health professionals were trying to amend the term “social distancing” and replace it with “physical distancing”. This was an acknowledgement of the fact that we are inherently social l’il mammals and we needed to prioritise our emotional bonds even as we severed physical ones.

Anyway, I’m very physically distanced from the pain in the USA and simultaneously socially tied and connected. My husband was born there, my daughters are hybrid citizens. One of my dearest mama friends is Minnesotan, we danced and laughed in Minneapolis when I was 23. I had no idea, then, how advantageous my fair complexion was as I moved through the world. I wouldn’t hear the phrase “white privilege” until 1999, which was years later.

Party over, oops … out of time.

As a sidenote, all hail the Program for Infant Toddler Care in California. I was lucky enough to do their training in the late 90s. I remember a photocopied handout, “unpacking the invisible backpack of white privilege”, a solid 10-15 years before the concept began to be explored in the wider world. Early childhood teachers have long been the avant garde practitioners of that which will prove to be even more important than we could have quantified.

Anyway, so I”m rambling on because I’m in pain and a bit muddled.

Here’s what I think we could do. And by “we” I mean the work-from-home mums, the mums on the opposite side of the world to the protests.

If we can afford it, we can chip in a few bucks to help one of the organisations supporting those making a stand for justice in the USA. Here is a link to fundraising campaigns supporting bail for protestors in these various cities. This is the Action Center on Race & the Economy, they highlight issues of racial injustice, highlighting the need for wall st. accountability. Just a couple of options.

And if you are someone who works with kids (or if you have kids), be even more ready than usual to have some conversations with them about race. This is an awesome resource from the National Museum of African American History & Culture, and here’s some more ideas, … um … y’know … that’s us.

Then we gotta surf that line between staying informed about the world’s events, (even if via satirical works that are brilliant and hilarious and tragic … like THIS heartbreaking, knee-slapping McSweeney’s gem. Or THIS one)(or, for flip’s sake, THIS ONE) and keeping a lid on telly, internet, smartphone for reasons of self preservation. If no news is good news, how much time should we really devote to the news?

(not to mention the fact that we are still having our data mined, pandemic or no, race riots nonewithstanding. The world might be on fire, but too much time on devices is still messing with kids’ minds. In fact, it’s arguably worse, because so many kids are online even more during lockdowns all over the world – homeschooling or recreating. This has led to a terrifying increase in online sexual exploitation of children , among other ills. And we cannot really trust them (tech companies), because they keep proving themselves to be such snakes. ) Sigh.

Mind our influences. Listen to beautiful music, watch some stand up comedy, go for a blimmin walk. Support your favourite online physical (& therefore mental!) health expert. I love this local gal, and I love this local gal, and this one, all of whom have made switches to some kind of online delivery to support their communities. AND I love this international practitioner of strength, who has always had an online community! Thanks to all the people helping people to keep moving! You too, Adriene!

But yeah, if you can, donate.