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Arianna Huffington: The “Touchscreen Ceiling”

My latest Weekly Thoughts.

In case you missed it, here’s the text of my new Weekly Thoughts newsletter. Each weekend I share my take on the week’s news stories, my favorite pieces on how we can thrive even in our stressful world, and some fun and inspiring extras. Subscribe here.

And if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to Thrive’s daily newsletter highlighting our favorite reads with actionable tips for enhancing your well-being, productivity, and sense of purpose.

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Dame of Thrones: Millions watched as a brave woman from a western land rose up to brutally confront the protector of the White Walkers, whose goal is to “erase” memory. I’m talking, of course, about Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono’s ruthless questioning of Attorney General William Barr, in which she said Barr had sacrificed a “once decent reputation for the grifter and liar who sits in the Oval Office” and then said he should resign. Spoiler alert: The Night King is still in office.

Spoiling for a Fight: The real Game of Thrones, or at least the one where the endless infighting isn’t real, set a record by becoming the most tweeted episode in history. Records were also set by Avengers: Endgame. Though not everybody has seen it. A Texas man was arrested after he assaulted a co-worker for spoiling the ending. I hope nobody tells him whether they find Nemo in Finding Nemo.

Read more: “Spoiler Stress” Is Ruining Our Enjoyment of TV and Movies — But It Shouldn’t

You Don’t Snooze, You Lose: If May isn’t bringing you great sleep, you’re not alone. As Shelly Ibach, Sleep Number CEO and Thrive’s Sleep Editor-at-Large, notes, May is America’s worst month for sleep. That’s why the Better Sleep Council has named it Better Sleep Month. To kick things off, Shelly is launching a 30-day sleep challenge, in which you can pledge to make sleep a priority throughout the month.

Read more: 5 Scientific Tricks to Fall Asleep Fast When You Can’t Sleep, According to a Sleep Expert

Come What May: May is also Mental Health Month. Given that more than 300 million people worldwide struggle with depression, there’s no better way to put a spotlight on the mental health crisis. As our approach to mental health shifts from a downstream focus on symptoms to an upstream focus on root causes, it’s become clear that we have more power than we realize to prevent mental health problems. At Thrive, we’ve launched Thriving Mind, our new well-being program developed with Stanford Medicine that goes upstream and addresses mental habits like negative bias and rumination before they escalate into depression and anxiety. And if, like many of us, you find that your mental health is inherently tied to your relationship with technology, try my favorite Microstep: Pick a time at night when you turn off your devices — and gently escort them out of your bedroom!

Read more: It’s Time to Prioritize Our Mental Health in Our Everyday Lives

Pants On Fire: President Trump passed the 10,000 lie mark this week. The Washington Post provided a helpful, if euphemistic, breakdown of his “false or misleading claims,” with the statistical rigor of an ESPN post-game show. Did you know, for example, that the Commander In Chief averages eight whoppers a day? Or that he lied 171 times from April 25 to April 27? The silver lining: Job security for fact-checkers has never been so good. Who knows, maybe he’ll pass the Dow by the end of his term. And he’s on pace to — since his inauguration the Dow has added about 3,000 points less than the Presidential Lie Index.

Read more: Apologizing Is Not As Simple As Saying “Sorry” — Here’s How to Make One Meaningful

@ariannahuff / Instagram

My Super Personal News of the Week: My daughter Christina got engaged to a wonderful man, and we couldn’t be happier!

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The “Touchscreen Ceiling”: How Our “Always-On” Culture Fuels the Gender Gap

The New York Times published a bombshell piece about how the gender gap is being fueled by our culture of burnout. Since Day One, Thrive Global has been sounding the alarm about how women pay the highest price for our society’s culture of stress and burnout.

Here’s how it’s playing out. Working more hours used to mean you got paid less. That flipped around 2000, as technology supercharged our winner-take-all economy. That created incentives, and even requirements, for overwork, especially in white-collar professions. In this world of burnout, “work has become more competitive, and long hours have become a status symbol.” In two-income families, that often means one parent pulls back to help with the children, so as to allow the other to put in the extreme hours required for advancement. And guess which half of the couple is pulling back?

So even though women are more highly educated than ever before, those in their 40s are actually less likely to be working now than 10 years ago. In our always-on culture, the “overwork premium” is actually an overwork penalty for women. It’s a tech-age update to an age-old story: “New ways of organizing work reproduce old forms of inequality.” The glass ceiling has now become the “touchscreen ceiling.”

The answer isn’t to give women more support at home so they can more easily join their husbands in burnout culture (though we absolutely still need policies like affordable day care, family leave, and other family friendly work programs). The answer is to end burnout culture for everybody. This is what I call the Third Women’s Revolution. We can only close the gender gap by shifting to a way of working in which all employees are able to realize their potential and succeed in their careers without sacrificing their lives.

This will be good for women, good for men, good for businesses which are losing out on top talent and good for society.

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Before You Go

Neologism of the Week (new words, terms or phrases that define our time): Workism: “The belief that work is not only necessary to economic production, but also the centerpiece of one’s identity and life’s purpose; and the belief that any policy to promote human welfare must always encourage more work.”

Runner-up: Verminfluencers: an online “social movement” to celebrate “animals deemed worthless and vulgar.”

@raccoon.tema / Instagram

Beta Test of the Week: Instagram is trying out a system that would hide the number of likes to discourage users from being fixated on likes, or the lack of them. #NOMOFOMO ❤️

Not-That-Surprising-But-Still-Sort-of-Shocking Stat of the Week: American adults spend the equivalent of 49 days a year on their devices. That’s according to Diane Sawyer, who spent six months traveling across America for her ABC News special “ScreenTime,” putting a spotlight on our collective relationship with technology, and learning how people from all walks of life are taking steps to redefine it.

Ad of the Week: To mark Mental Health Month, Burger King is trolling McDonald’s and Happy Meals with “Real Meals,” because “not everybody wakes up happy.” Choices includes the Pissed Meal, Blue Meal, Salty Meal, YAAAS Meal, and DGAF Meal. Not addressed: the fact that, as with all fast food, your stomach might in fact GAF.

Read more: “How Leaning Into Sadness Can Actually Reduce Our Stress

@BurgerKing / Twitter

Book of the Week: Mika Brzezinski and Daniela Pierre-Bravo’s new book Earn It!, a thoughtful guide for young women on how to find their voices, know their value, and navigate the workplace with purpose.

Study of the Week: “The dead may outnumber the living on Facebook within 50 years.” Gives the term “Facebook Zombie” a whole new meaning. The question is: What will we call it then? Gravebook? Send your suggestions here.

Subscribe here for my Weekly Thoughts Newsletter, where you’ll find my take on the week’s news, my favorite pieces on how we can thrive even in our stressful world, and some fun and inspiring extras. 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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