The Zephyr The Student News Site of West Forsyth High School Tue, 03 Mar 2020 18:29:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Spring cleaning is good for the soul Tue, 03 Mar 2020 18:24:30 +0000 When everything is a mess and life feels out of wack, it’s time to tidy up. With spring on its way, the yearly spring cleaning wave is upon us. The season is coming quickly and at a busy time, but it is a necessary chore. Spending many tedious hours cleaning out old clothes, scrubbing spots, vacuuming and various other tasks that come with a clean space can feel time consuming and pointless. However, with the right mindset, you will find it empowering.
1. Start small: When it comes to cleaning, getting started is half the battle. If you’re not driven, you will most likely put it off for as long as possible. When this happens, you’ve got to start small. Go through a junk drawer or shuffle through socks and underwear. Creating a positive environment will help you keep your sanity as you sort through your 100 unpaired socks and discard random dead batteries. Turn on some tunes, listen to a podcast or have a show going on in the background. Just take things one step at a time.
2. Donation time: You’ve gone through the little smaller areas of your closet; now it’s time to tackle the bigger ones. If you haven’t sorted your closet in a while, take everything out. Go through it Marie Kondo style: only keep the things that make you feel good. If it doesn’t “spark joy,” get rid of it. Once you’re left with more space and a few bags of slightly used items, you have the opportunity to be generous as well. Donating is a great way to get those items out, while also helping the environment and community, allowing someone else to love the items. Also, if you could use some cash, there are a lot of resources to resell your barely worn items, such as apps like Letgo, Poshmark and OfferUp.
3. Keepsakes and knick-knacks: After getting rid of clothes and various other things, rummage through old pictures and souvenirs. This part of cleaning can be more enjoyable as you remember why you kept those items and look back on all that you’ve done. Keep the memories, but if you don’t need the item, let it go.
4. Squeaky clean: Once everything has been examined, analyzed and sorted, hopefully, you can finally see your floor, but it still needs to be cleaned. Dust turns to sparkle, dirt turns to glitter and everything feels fresh again. This can be the hardest part, but if you dance like you’re Selena Gomez with Drew Seeley in Another Cinderella Story when Mary cleans her bedroom, cleaning can be much more enjoyable.
5. Organize: For the extra neat people, this is the best part. Presentation is everything, so make the space nice. After all of your hard work, this is when you put on the finishing touches. Add flare, and make the room your own. Display the goods that made you smile or mean a lot to you; give life back to the area.
Following the many hours of taking out, putting back up and cleaning every possible corner, you’ve earned a beautiful and fresh area that makes you feel good and work diligently, making all of your hard work worth it.

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Work Out How To Work Out: A simple guide to getting fit Tue, 03 Mar 2020 18:15:02 +0000 Exercise: one of the hardest things to do when you have a couch and a phone. It’s tough to work out, and it’s even harder to stay motivated. However, just because you’re not at the gym doesn’t mean you can’t work out. Working out takes time, and starting at home can get you motivated to start going to the gym if you want to. Here are some steps to get to the gym or to start doing more.
Play some music
Everyone has a pump-up song, and now you can use it to get fit. Get into the habit of playing it every morning or night. While the song plays, do something active until the end. Want to strengthen your core? Do sit-ups or crunches for the entirety of the song. Feel a little weak-armed? Do push-ups or planks while you jam out. If you want to ramp up your workout, make a workout playlist. Soon enough, you’ll get into a routine and exercising will become second nature.
Take a class
Have you ever wanted to learn how to box, how to shoot a bow and arrow or maybe throw an axe? Congratulations! There are classes for all of those things all located in or around Clemmons. Tap That Axe Throwing and TITLE Boxing Club are both located right here. Taking a class allows you to try something new while also exercising your body. It also takes the pressure off of having to design your own workout, all you have to do is listen to the instructor. If you don’t want to do something as extreme as axe throwing, the YMCA also offers a variety of classes from ballroom dancing to CrossFit. Finding a class you enjoy and sticking to it can help you get fit in no time.
Download a workout app
Nowadays, almost everyone has a phone on them at all times. Do yourself a favor and download a free workout app. Oftentimes they offer quick and easy-to-follow workouts that are designed to target chosen muscle groups. Workout apps also take the stress away from designing your own workout by doing it for you. They also send you a ton of frankly annoying notifications until you do the workout. If you’re the kind of person who knows you won’t get active unless you’re constantly reminded about it, downloading one of these apps may be the best way for you to get fit. Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer and 7 Minute Workout are both good apps to look into.
Stand up
Yeah, you read that correctly. Stand up. Sitting down or laying down all day isn’t good for your body, so every time a Netflix episode ends or a commercial comes on, stand up and stretch a little bit. Make a conscious effort to stand up at least once an hour and walk around. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s much better than sitting hunched over your phone all day. It doesn’t require a drastic rearranging of your life, just putting your feet on the ground and moving.
Park farther away (just not at night)
Every time you go out to eat or go to the mall, find the parking spot farthest away from the entrance. Now you get a little workout when you walk from your car to the door and vice versa. It may not seem like much, but the extra distance can add up. It’s also a super easy way to get some extra exercise in. Walking is one of the best and easiest ways to stay fit. You also just did a nice thing. Now someone else who may need the closer parking spot has one to park in. You were a Good Samaritan, and you got your steps in.
Starting to try and work out may seem daunting, but it really only takes a few lifestyle choices. Doing a few things to change your activity levels could change your life. You don’t have to lift weights for five hours every night to be fit; you just have to move your body. Go ahead and try one of these options for a week. You’re guaranteed to feel better.

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Deaf History Month: People who make a culture Tue, 03 Mar 2020 18:08:46 +0000 Deaf History Month runs from March 13 through April 15 and is a period of time to remember and celebrate the efforts, contributions and marks that the deaf and hard of hearing have left in America. There are many others, but here are a few that you should hear about.
Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet

Although Gallaudet was neither deaf nor hard of hearing, he went on to co-found the first school for the deaf in America. He was inspired and driven by a young girl named Alice Cogswell after finding out that his younger siblings wouldn’t play with her because she was deaf. His co-founder Laurent Clerc taught him sign language after Gallaudet’s stint of soul-searching and seeking of deaf knowledge in Paris. Together they opened The American School for the Deaf in 1817 in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Laurent Clerc

Along with being co-founder of the first school for the deaf in America, Laurent Clerc helped to develop what we now call American Sign Language. While he was born hearing at a year old, he fell into a fire that caused him to become deaf. He studied sign language in France before leaving for the United States with Gallaudet. Clerc soon after became the first teacher of sign language in America.
Andrew Foster

Often regarded as the “Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet of Africa,” Foster has been credited with opening over 30 schools for the deaf in 13 African countries. He grew up deaf and attended multiple schools for the deaf. He graduated from Gallaudet University, a university for the deaf founded by the son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, with a degree in education.
Nyle DiMarco

Actor, model and Deaf activist Nyle DiMarco does not see deafness as a disability, but instead as an opportunity to spread awareness for deaf culture. In 2016 he founded the Nyle DiMarco Foundation, the goal of which was to provide access to resources for deaf children and their families. He is also an avid spokesperson for Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K), which promotes kindergarten readiness in America by providing learning resources for both ASL and English.
Juliette Gordon Low

You may know Low as the founder of the Girl Scouts of America, but what you may not have known is that she was deaf. Low became interested in forming bonds between young girls and teaching them important skills like learning to cook, knit, start a fire and perform first aid. After mastering these skills herself she established the first girl scout troop in her hometown of Savannah, Georgia, and it only grew from there.
Marlee Matlin

Deaf actress and model Marlee Matlin has made quite the name for herself. Starring in movies and TV shows such as Children of a Lesser God, Switched at Birth, The Magicians and Dancing With the Stars, Matlin is quite well known. She also has both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for her on-screen talent.
Sean Forbes

Modern day hip-hop and rap artist Sean Forbes became deaf at just a few months old. By the age of 10, Forbes had learned to play the drums and guitar and was writing his own songs. Forbes also helped found the Deaf Professional Arts Network (D-PAN). He has released two albums and has sold out shows, including The Deaf and Loud Symphonic Experience.
Julius Wiggins

Julius Wiggins was an African-American advocate in Canada for many Hebrew Societies of the deaf. He wanted to make something special for the deaf community, so he created Silent News, a newspaper for the deaf. Wiggins released his first issue of Silent News in 1969.
Gertrude Ederle

Gertrude Ederle was the first woman to swim across the English Channel. Not many people know that she was deaf. She is well-known for her accomplishments both in the Olympics and for her record breaking swim across the English Channel.
Calbraith Perry Rogers

Calbraith Perry “Cal” Rodgers was the first man to pilot a transcontinental flight. Alongside this incredible feat he was the first deaf man to receive his piloting license. Rodgers also happened to be one of the first civilians to ever purchase an airplane.
Sue Thomas

Sue Thomas was a young woman who proved that anyone can do anything they want to if they set their mind to it. She was very driven as a young adult and became an expert at reading lips. Because of this skill, Thomas worked as an undercover agent for the FBI for four years. After her retirement she founded The Levi Foundation, a program that helps to train guide and service dogs for people with multiple disabilities.
Ruthie Jordan

If you know anything about the deaf community, you’ve probably heard of Ruthie Jordan. She is an influencer, activist, educator and storyteller. Ruthie travels the country advocating for the deaf and sharing her story, letting others know that they are not alone.
Other notable deaf people include Thomas Edison, Beethoven, Sean Berdy, as well as Stephen Colbert and Millie Bobby Brown who were all deaf in one ear. Being deaf doesn’t bring down anyone’s worth. We all live on the same earth and we’re all working for a better world, together.

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Tails in Jail: The zoo is not all it claims to be Tue, 18 Feb 2020 18:39:16 +0000 Imagine spending everyday locked inside a cage without your friends, with no room to explore and without the ability to live a normal life. Imagine your entire life being on display for someone else’s entertainment or “educational experience.” You wouldn’t enjoy that, so why would an animal?

Although advertised otherwise, animals are treated terribly in zoos. An investigation by Freedom for Animals found that wild African elephants live more than three times as long as those held in captivity. A government zoo inspection on Woburn Safari Park in Woburn Bedfordshire England, reported lions being kept in small enclosed spaces for up to 18 hours a day. The study also found that many of these lions had untreated wounds and scars on their bodies.

Baby animals in zoos are known to suffer trauma due to separation from their mothers at such a young age. According to, zoos have resorted to tranquilizers, antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs to deal with depression and aggression in animals since 1995. But they look so cute and happy, right?
Even in the best of zoo conditions, these places have nothing to offer compared to the vast beauty and complexity of the animals’ natural habitats. Animals in zoos will never experience the freedom of living in the wild. They live with minimal space which is unfit for flying, running, climbing, etc. They are also separated from the others of their own species when put in zoos, making it more difficult for them to mate and raise a family.

Zoos claim to be conserving animal species, but this is far from the truth. Zoos will gravitate towards the more popular animal species to gain more money rather than the endangered ones. A study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology states that unless animals are protected in the wild, captive breeding won’t help fix the issue.

If you want to help make a difference and conserve an endangered species, you can donate to organizations such as the International Private Protection League, African Wildlife Foundation, the Born Free Foundation and other groups that support the conservation of habitats.

While many zoos are sitting back spending millions of dollars on the confinement of a species, their natural habitat is being destroyed with little to no funding to help. According to the National Wildlife Federation, the main causes of habitat loss are agriculture, land conversion for development, water development, pollution and climate change. You can help by donating to a trustworthy organization or by caring for the plants and wildlife near you. Even planting a tree in your backyard and picking up litter when you see it can make a big difference.

When looking for a cute date idea this Valentines Day, avoid putting your money towards the imprisonment of innocent animals and consider a more animal-friendly alternative. It’s great to be curious about our planet’s riveting animal kingdom, but there are plenty of ways to do so without putting them in danger. Visit a nearby animal sanctuary, find a cool park or hiking trail, watch a documentary or simply go outside and explore.

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World on Fire: Australia bushfires contained Tue, 18 Feb 2020 18:08:04 +0000 Social media has recently been inundated by videos and pictures showcasing violent fires, your favorite animals suffering as their habitat is destroyed and people fleeing for safety due to bushfires in Australia. The fires began in September 2019, caused mainly by arson and were the worst in early January 2020.

Thousands of firefighters, military workers and personnel from Canada, New Zealand and the United States have been working towards containing the fires, but severe damage has already been done. Ecologist Chris Dickman has estimated that more than 1 billion animals have died, and many species may have become extinct. Thirty three people have died, and more than 3,000 homes have been destroyed.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been quiet in his response to the bushfires, even taking a vacation when the fires were at their worst. Morrison has admitted that “things could have been handled on the ground much better”. Many claim that the cause of the fires is climate change, leading to a call for a government plan to curb emissions and invest in more renewable energy. However, Morrison opposes these plans as they would limit the mining and export of coal, which Australia’s economy heavily depends on. He claims that enough is being done to limit emissions, and the changing climate needs the country to create better policies for disaster management and relief.

To help with rehabilitating the country, $50 million was pledged by the Australian government with an additional $8 million for people under 16 years old. This will be used for food vouchers, support services and financial aid. $40 million will go towards communities that were strongly impacted by the fires for other needs like bills, clothing and bus tickets. Volunteer firefighters have also been promised up to $6,000 per person for lost income. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Elton John and Chris Hemsworth have each donated millions of dollars towards charities to help with aid efforts. Others like Bindi, Terri and Robert Irwin have helped save over 90,000 animals and have treated them for their injuries.

The fires have now been contained after a week of heavy rain that aided the firefighters’s efforts, but smaller fires are still burning. The rainfall led to flooding in Queensland that has killed one person. More than 100 animal species need “urgent management intervention”, according to the Australian government.
While the fires are under control, the people still require aid in recovery. Donations to the Australian Red Cross, New South Wales Rural Fire Service and St. Vincent De Paul Society can provide basic needs to Australians who need all the help they can get.

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Love Messages: Happy Valentine’s Day from West Fri, 14 Feb 2020 18:09:50 +0000  

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Iran situation starts de-escalating Tue, 04 Feb 2020 18:04:57 +0000 2020 began with shocking news from the White House when President Donald Trump ordered a drone strike to kill senior Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani. Jan. 2 after the news, Americans quickly began worrying about the possibility of a third World War, and Iran issued a statement warning the U.S. of harsh retaliation. In the following weeks since the strike, tensions between the two world powers have been high.
Jan. 8 Iran retaliated by firing at least 10 ballistic missiles at the United States’ Ain al-Assad base. The U.S. was able to discover and track the missiles 15 minutes after being launched, letting the base know to take the proper precautions, so no one was injured or killed. Although there have been recent findings that some may have suffered brain injuries according to The Guardian.
President Trump later tweeted “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world,” seemingly not worried about any possible future conflicts.
News of Iran shooting down a passenger plane became major news earlier this month. Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down near Tehran, Iran’s capital. Many have accused the Iranian government of trying to cover up the accident, but its government spokesman Ali Rabiel, denied the allegations during a press conference soon after. Iran claims the accident occurred due to human error and the fear of American attacks. People suspect the plane was attacked on purpose as retaliation for the death of Soleimani since Ukraine and the United States are in good relations. Protestors are now crowding the streets of Iran chanting for the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down.
Khamenei soon after held a public address on Jan. 17 in which he called Trump a “clown” while defending the claim that the plane being shot down was an accident.

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Living in a world that hates your hair is exhausting Wed, 25 Dec 2019 21:36:08 +0000 Of all the years I’ve been on this earth, my hair has been a large, integral part of my life. From as early as I can remember, around age two, I’ve always had my hair done. I don’t mean “done” as in I went to the salon and had it done by a professional, I mean “done” as in styled in some type of way, shape or form that was deemed “acceptable.” “Acceptable” to whom? I wasn’t sure. I didn’t know at the time. As I got older, I just assumed my hair needed to look acceptable for my grandma, my cousins, my aunts and all my other female relatives- it needed to look like my mom was doing a good job of managing my hair. The question as to why my hair needed to be managed in the first place didn’t occur to me until a couple of years later, around the time I started middle school.

I wanted to be able to actually style my hair, which meant getting my hair wet. When my hair isn’t natural, I don’t get it wet at all. I wash my hair every other week, then restore it back to its original state, flat ironed and straightened. You may read this and think “Ew, she doesn’t wash her hair enough.” But I guarantee, if you ask any other black girl who does not wear her hair natural, she’ll say the same thing, or at least something similar to it.

It wasn’t until I decided to start wearing my hair naturally that I realized just how expensive it was. My shampoo cost $15 for a four-ounce bottle. Black hair requires different products if you want it to look good. Wearing my hair naturally was extremely time-consuming. I spent at least half an hour on my hair every morning just to get it ready for the day. I had to wake up extra early and wet my hair just so I could do it, which either meant getting in the shower or spraying my entire head with water from a spray bottle.

The point is, it was a lot of work. Don’t get me wrong, my hair looked fantastic, and everybody told me so. But after a couple of weeks, it seemed like my white counterparts treated me differently as if I wasn’t as smart, or I was rebellious. It became a lot of work for nothing so ultimately I did my hair again the way it was before, flat ironed and straightened. Nobody outright said this to me but eventually, it was clear that adults and strangers treated me differently based on how my hair looked. In elevators, people would stand further away from me. At school, teachers who didn’t know me would ask me what I was doing as if I were about to do something wrong. In stores, security or employees would watch me as I went about my business. That’s when I realized why my hair needed to be “acceptable.” That’s when I realized my hair needed to be “managed.” The world treated me differently based on how my hair looked. This whole idea that a black woman’s hair needs to be in a eurocentric style to be seen as an equal is absurd. It’s the hair that grows out of our heads. White girls get to wear the hair that grows out of their heads without worrying about how the world may treat them. Why can’t black girls have that same luxury?

If I get my hair done professionally, it costs about two to three hours of my time, $100, an extra tip and a half-hour drive to the north side of Winston. So, yes, it is very expensive. But it’s definitely a lot easier than having to wake up early every day and buy products for my hair every two weeks. It’s also a lot nicer to have the world not treat me as if I am incompetent or not serious about my life and my passions. One hundred dollars may be a lot, but it’s a small price to pay for the world to see me as more of an equal.

Gabrielle Union is currently speaking out about this injustice and discrimination against black hair. She was recently fired from NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” after receiving multiple complaints about her outfits and being told by producers that her hair was “too black” for the show. She has decided to take action and has lodged many complaints to NBC, including having a five-hour meeting with the network to discuss the situation. Union is hoping to start a movement about the discrimination against black women in the workplace.

It almost seems unreal that someone as famous and as talented as Gabrielle Union would be blatantly discriminated against on a national television show. But in all honesty, that just goes to show how big the issue really is. The stigma around black hair being “unprofessional” affects women all around the world, especially in America. We as a society might not be entirely accepting of natural black hair yet, but I hope to one day live in a world where I can wear my hair naturally and not worry about how different the world will treat me.

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Diet culture needs to die Wed, 25 Dec 2019 21:32:15 +0000 No matter how much plastic surgery or implants you get or how many diets you try, the American ideal of nicely tanned skin, long, slender legs with toned abs and long, flowing, silky hair is simply unreachable for most people. We live in a society where being skinny is the ultimate goal. Boys and girls in America grow up thinking that it is “perfection.” I’ve spoken to so many people who have body image issues because of this stigma around having body fat over five percent. It’s ridiculous to believe that everyone can look the same. Beauty comes in so many shapes and sizes around the world.

Nearly every day at school, I hear someone complain about their weight. No matter their age, body fat percentage, gender identity, sexuality or socio-economic status, I’ve heard a little from everyone. Society tells us that when we want or need to lose weight, it requires restricting ourselves. For some people that may mean cutting out desserts or not binge-watching Netflix all day. For others, restrictions can be taken to an extreme. Whether it be from the pressure of others or a self-compelled action, many do not lose weight in a way that is in any way shape or form, healthy.

As teens, we are not yet done developing mentally or physically. Not providing ourselves with proper nutrition now can affect our health in the future.

Any diet that cuts out entire food groups is detrimental to one’s health. Minerals and nutrients that come from foods help different parts of our bodies run the way they need to. The lack of what your body needs may also affect your mental health. Extreme dieting oftentimes leads to the development of eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorder. Approximately 10 percent of American teenage girls suffer from an eating disorder, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Going on a diet as a teen is not always the right solution. You should only be restricting your food intake if you are advised by or have spoken with a healthcare professional about it. If you want to lose weight healthily, start with a gym membership or even just going on a walk in your neighborhood and try to choose water or low sugar drinks over sodas and sweet tea.

If you have questions or just need someone to talk to, the first person to contact is your primary care physician or another trustworthy adult. If you feel the pressure of the outside world closing in on you, it could also be beneficial to talk to another teen who wants to help. You can do this through the organization Teen Line. Phone number, text code and email for it can be found at

High school diet culture is an unnecessary and detrimental societal pressure for teenagers. No matter what, you will have people trying to tear you down, but you should know that there are people who are there to build you back up.

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Self-compassion doesn’t have to be elaborate Wed, 25 Dec 2019 21:30:27 +0000 Whether Mercury is in retrograde, you’re experiencing the winter blues or it’s just “one of those days,” it’s easy to let your circumstances get you down. We all feel down or unlucky sometimes, and while there’s no preventing the occasional funk, there are some things you can do and some things you can remind yourself of in order to make your headspace and environment a more positive place; that way it’s easier to get out of those funks and live a happier life.

1. You are not responsible for forgiving someone who has hurt you.
Our culture has told us from day one that forgiveness is the right thing, and that you can’t find peace in a situation where you’ve been hurt until you forgive whoever hurt you. I beg to differ. If forgiving will bring you peace, by all means, do it. However, remember that no one, not even family, is entitled to your forgiveness for deeply hurting you. It is okay to feel hurt, and you are not responsible for accepting an apology, especially if it won’t bring you peace.

2. Look for the grey.
When you’re in a bad mood, nothing sounds more patronizing than someone telling you to “just look for the positive!” Not everything is black and white, although it’s hard to think that way sometimes. Having to look for joy when everything seems dreary is exhausting and can make you feel more hopeless if something doesn’t show up immediately. It’s a lot easier to look for things that aren’t bad. They don’t have to be “good,” they just have to be neutral. This is a good way to remind oneself that even if positivity isn’t smacking you in the face with its presence, not everything is bad all of the time.

3. Write yourself notes for when you’re not doing well.
This one is a double whammy. By writing yourself a positive note while you’re feeling well, you simultaneously reaffirm your good mood and help yourself out for when you’re in a bad mood. There are a lot of ways to write these notes; they could take the form of a letter to yourself, writing down a positive memory or experience to look back on or even drawing yourself something that will make you laugh later on. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; even the smallest of things can help you see a light at the end of the tunnel when you’re not doing well.

4. Celebrate even the smallest victories.
Remember that you have so many people who are rooting you on. At the same time, remember that no one’s encouragement will feel the same as your own. If you practice taking pride in your accomplishments, even the smallest ones, you can strengthen your sense of self-compassion and break things up into more manageable pieces so that things don’t seem so overwhelming. In the words of Morgan Harper Nichols, “there is no shame in being proud of the smallest amount of progress.”

None of these things are instant cures for not feeling like yourself, nor will they entirely prevent those kinds of days from happening, but they are some of the small steps you can take to be kind to yourself so that when “those kinds of days” roll around, they’re easier to get through.

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