How to Teach Your Kid Empathy

At some point, plenty of strained parents wonder, “Is my kid crazy?” In fact, typical toddler behavior – tantrums, defiance, mercurial mood swings – can lend itself to such questions on a fairly frequent basis.

In most instances, you can rest assured that your child is not a sociopath intent on becoming a real-life Dexter (if you want to get into the weeds about it, Dr. Robert D. Hare’s long-standing study published in Psychological Assessment in 1989 on the two-factor concept of psychopathy offers the foremost criteria for the disorder). But even if that concern has never crossed your mind, you should still be thinking about how to actively teach your child to have empathy and compassion for others.

Because you don’t just want a kid who’s not a sociopath (that’s a pretty low bar, eh?). You want to raise a child who is kind and considerate, who grows up to be an upstanding citizen, even an activist. You want your kid to have the emotional intelligence that lets them make the world a better place. Right?

But how do you teach a kid something as simple yet complicated as empathy? We tapped behavioral specialist and anthropologist Dr. Gwen Dewar – as well as evidence from related studies – for the tips below. 

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Per a 2014 study by Decety and Cowell out of the psychology department at the University of Chicago, empathy isn’t a fixed trait or what Dewar calls “an all-or-nothing proposition.” Instead, she explains, “there are different facets and degrees of empathy, and the way we socialize children matters.” 

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It’s essentially being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes – one step up from plain-old sympathy. And while it may seem silly to think you can teach a baby or toddler the art of empathy, there are actually some really important and easy things you can do to lay the groundwork for a lasting process of growth and compassion.

Teach nonverbal cues

Your child can learn empathy before they even learn language; Dewar suggests using hand gestures, facial expressions and other body language to communicate with your baby. This will help them understand that they can do the same to express themselves – and it will help develop their emotional intelligence and aid them in beginning to read others based on their visual cues.

Be affectionate

Have you heard the joke about the serial killer who was never hugged as a child? There may be some truth to that, Dewar posits. Your kids need affection – so hug them, OK?

Read: 7 Tips to Help Working Moms Maximize Their “Kid Time”

Encourage expression

Ask your kids how they’re feeling, Dewar urges. Acknowledge their moods and help them think through why they feel a certain way rather than simply discouraging strong emotions or shutting them down. A 2014 study by Laranjo in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology from the department of psychology at the University of Montreal showed that toddlers as young as 12 months can be taught “mind skills” that help them develop healthy ways to acknowledge emotions.

Engage with the world

Point things out wherever you go – people walking down the street, the dogs in the park, the old man at the grocery store. Don’t just dive into screen time or think your child will simply observe on their own and pick up on things. Help them see how fascinating the world around them is and how much they can learn from it, including how they can relate to other people. 

Lead by example

Be hyper-aware of your own emotions and how you display them. Explain to your child why you feel a certain way or are reacting to something in particular. Allow yourself to feel things in the moment and exhibit healthy responses (which include letting yourself be angry or frustrated or sad – and then moving through it and back to your place of homeostasis and calm). Repressing emotions and showing your kid that you’re always “fine” can actually be more harmful than helpful (studies such as Srivastava’s 2009 findings out of the University of Oregon published in the Journal of personality and social psychology have proven this). Allow your child to see the full range of human emotions so they can validate their own feelings and learn more about how others may feel.

Read: 7 Things I Said I’d Never Do as a Parent – That I Now Do

Experience everything

Take your kid to new neighborhoods, new restaurants, new countries, Dewar suggests. You don’t have to go far, though, to expose them to new things. Walk down a different street than you normally would to get home. Have them help pick out something new at the grocery store to try. Exposing your child to new experiences will help expand their mind, which will serve them well in adapting to new people and situations.

Animals!

One way to know if your kid is exhibiting sociopathic tendencies? If they are more interested in harming your pet than loving your pet (the American Psychological Association lists harming animals as one of the indicators). 

But in all seriousness, allowing your child to interact reguelarly with animals can help teach them empathy. It can be quite beautiful. Our toddler “awws” when he sees the cat each morning, and the two of them have a little friendship that is enough to melt hearts. We also put a bird feeder and peanuts outside our window, and our son spends a ton of time each day watching the birds and squirrels come to eat, and he loves it. He even helps and carries the birdseed over to feed them, a great sign of caring for others and practice for more important moments of empathy later in life.

You may not have time to read Malcolm Gladwell’s Emotional Intelligence, but you can employ these and other simple steps to help your child learn how to connect with themselves and with others around them.

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Should Teens Have a Summer Job? Experts Weigh In

During the long days of summer, it’s pretty common for teenagers to lounge around, sleeping until noon – right? But should parents be encouraging teens to be more productive during their break from school? The short answer is absolutely.

To find out about the important benefits of summer jobs for teens, we spoke with parenting expert and adolescent psychologist Dr. Barbara Greenberg as well as JJ Ramberg, founder of Goodshop, host of MSNBC’s Your Business and the coauthor of new book The Startup Club. Their message is clear: For teens (and, well, adults too) having a job is a really good thing.

“I am a big fan of teens having summer jobs,” says Greenberg. “In my practice as a clinical psychologist specializing in parenting, teen and relationship issues, I have seen teens benefit from jobs in many ways.” So how do they benefit? Let us count those ways. 

Sorry, teens, it’s time to start turning in those job applications.

More: As a Poor, Work-From-Home Mom, I Hate Summer “Break”

Responsibility

By starting part-time employment early, teens build crucial skills – including time and money management – that set them up for success in the real, adult, post-school world. “Teens learn about responsibility and the importance of showing up on time and the expectations associated with being a valued worker,” says Greenberg. And there may be no better way to learn about these things than actual work experience.

Ramberg agrees. “The earlier we can teach our kids about how to be responsible at work, the better.”

Financial education

Sooner or later, every kid needs to learn that parents aren’t ATM machines. Through working, kids find out how to appreciate money. They can also learn how to budget their new income, enabling them to save for big purchases. “There is no better way to learn about money than by learning that you need to earn it,” explains Greenberg.

Ramberg agrees. “According to the T. Rowe Price Parents Kids and Money Survey, parents who talk with their kids once a week about money are more likely to have kids who say they are smart about money,” she says. “So, if your child has a job, it’s important to then take it the next step and talk about how they will spend or save their earnings.”

More: How to Raise a Body-Positive Teen

Teamwork

Businesses that employ teens generally have a staff of many, and that staff needs to work together. “They learn about the importance of being a team player,” says Greenberg. “This is a valuable skill throughout life.” As adults, we generally need to know how to work well with others, and that’s something teenagers can start getting used to early.

Self-esteem

“I have seen self-confidence and self-esteem increase as a result of being a good worker and earning money,” explains Greenberg. And for teens, seeing that they have the ability to earn money is empowering. “Having a job can give our kids a sense of independence and confidence that can carry through other parts of their lives,” adds Ramberg.

Time management

Employment doesn’t have to end in the fall. Teens can build skills all year-round provided they have time for other responsibilities like schoolwork. “Some kids may be so booked up with other activities that there is no room to work year-round,” says Ramberg. “Others may gain a lot from having a job that goes through the year.” Help your child assess his or her schedule and see if adding employment hours will work for them. Mastering the art of time management will come in handy after graduation – and so will that extra cash.

More: When to Worry About Your Teen & Social Media

A chance to shine

“A job is a chance to do well,” notes Greenberg. “Teens need all kinds of arenas in which to be successful. This provides another one.” Having a job allows adolescents to experience success and to understand how to create the life they’d like as adults. “It’s helpful for them to see at a young age how curiosity and hard work can help them achieve their goals,” says Ramberg, “at work or otherwise.”

A version of this article was originally published in August 2017.

Foods & Fluids That Fight Water Retention: 9 Tips to Help Combat Bloating

The dreaded bloat: It’s something we do not look forward to getting when we approach Shark Week. Not only do we feel like we’re suddenly 15 pounds heavier and wobbling around like penguins, but the fluctuations in our estrogen levels right before our period hits are a killer. It’s tempting to curl up in the fetal position on the couch and wait for the bloating to subside, but there are ways to fight it – and the solution could be right in your kitchen.

But first, let’s clarify the difference between water retention and bloating. As Dr. Kim Langdon, an OB-GYN from Parenting Pod, points out, bloat and water retention or loss are related to some extent. Water retention is related to the kidneys, while bloating is related to the gastrointestinal tract.

“Some foods, usually the ones that contain caffeine, xanthones and have high water content, send a message to the kidney to release hormones that prevent the reabsorption of water or to induce secretion of excess water from the kidneys,” Langdon tells SheKnows. “That’s how we retain water.”

As for bloating, “water needs to be reabsorbed from digested food in the GI tract to make stool the right caliber,” she says. “With too little water intake, constipation can occur, which increases bloat. Excess gas, or ‘bloat,’ is produced from the stomach enzymes and the bacteria that digests our food, in addition to gastrointestinal motility. Slowed GI motility increases bloat.”

Now that you’re well informed on the difference, let’s get right into what you should and shouldn’t consume to help combat belly bloat.  

More: These Natural Remedies Will Help You Make It Through PMS

1. Drink water, cut out alcohol & caffeine

Drinking tons of fluids may be the last thing you want to do, but really, you should drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and minimize the bloat. 

“Water aids in digestion, especially in combination with fiber, and enables the body to excrete waste (i.e., salt) helping to ‘de-bloat,'” expert nutritionist and registered dietician Keri Gans tells SheKnows. “While drinking water is highly recommended, there’s a few other ways you can incorporate more water into your diet with veggies like cucumbers, lettuce, zucchini, radishes, celery, tomato, green cabbage, eggplant and peppers.”

Langdon adds that tomatoes have about 90 percent water content and contain antioxidants such as lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamin C and selenium. “Antioxidants prevent free radicals from damaging blood vessel walls that cause leakage into the tissue, thus reducing local swelling,” she says.

Dr. Carolyn Dean, a health, diet and nutrition expert and author of The Magnesium Miracle and The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Women’s Health, recommends drinking half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water.

As far as alcohol and caffeine go, stay away! 

“Although caffeine is a diuretic, which will make you urinate more, it does not help reduce edema,” Dr. Alissia Zenhausern, a naturopathic doctor at NMD Wellness of Scottsdale, tells SheKnows. “Alcohol contains sugar that can lead to an increase in inflammation and swelling.”

2. Eat enough potassium

Yep, stock up on bananas! 

“Potassium regulates sodium in the body and therefore may reduce water retention,” says Gans. “A few foods high in potassium include avocados, pistachios, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, artichokes, fennel, Brussels sprouts and arugula.”

Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Joseph Cruise also recommends eating mangoes, tomatoes and nuts. 

“When magnesium, potassium and sodium are out of balance, you can get water retention and dehydration at the same time,” Dean warns. “The adrenal (stress) glands are the main glands that transport these salts, with potassium and magnesium going inside the cells and sodium outside the cells.”

She says that in order to correct fluid retention and dehydration and support your adrenal glands, you need to increase magnesium and potassium by eating dark leafy green vegetables, such as kale, Swiss chard, cucumbers and celery.

Lastly, sweet potatoes are a potassium-rich food. “[They] are also a great source of Vitamin A, which can help combat the underlying causes of edema,” says Zenhausern.

3. Avoid salty foods

This seems like an obvious one, right? Avoiding salty foods may help decrease water retention and improve period bloating, says Cruise. 

Gans recommends replacing added salt with spices and seasonings. “Excess sodium may cause water retention,” she says. “Spices and seasonings like garlic powder, oregano, chili powder and dry mustard will add flavor without resulting in a sodium-induced bloat.”

4. Cut down on carbs

“Carbs such as bread, white rice and pasta retain water,” Cruise says. “Try to cut down on carbs and your bloat will likely diminish.”

Replace carbs with good fats, like avocado and coconut oil, and avoid trans fats. 

“Eating a low-carb diet flushes out water by reducing inflammation and glycogen levels,” says Dean. “Glycogen/carbs retain water in your liver and muscles, so be sure to hydrate often.”

5. Say no to fatty or fried foods but yes to omega-3 fatty acids

“Fatty or fried foods contain omega-6 fatty acids (bad fatty acids) and do not contain the same anti-inflammatory properties as their friends omega-3 fatty acids,” says Zenhausern.

Salmon, coconut oil and virgin olive oil all contain omega-3 fatty acids. Zenhausern adds that omega-3 fatty acids directly combat swelling as well as inflammation.

More: Cut Out Those Bad Habits During Your Period & Do These 6 Things Instead

6. Eat plenty of fiber

“Fiber regulates the digestive system and prevents constipation,” says Gans. “Foods like ancient grains (quinoa, millet, barley, farro) and whole grain pasta, peas, celery and beets can all help reduce bloating.”

Pick up some asparagus, too. Langdon says it has asparagine, an amino acid that’s a diuretic and has been known to treat swelling and PMS-related water retention. It also has fiber that helps clean out the GI tracts and reduce bloating.

As for celery, these tasty stalks are high in fiber and have enzymes that act as both a diuretic and a laxative, according to Langdon. “The fiber draws water into the gut that eases gut motility that reduces both bloat and excess water buildup. Celery seed speeds up uric acid excretion and increases the rate of urine production,” she says. 

7. Grab a few watermelons 

Watermelon is the perfect summer fruit – and it’ll help rid you of your bloat.

“Watermelon has a very high water content (92 percent) and contains antioxidants along with zeaxanthin and kryptoxanthin,” says Langdon. “Citrulline is an amino acid that relaxes blood vessels, which decrease pressure against the walls. This reduced water pressure prevents water from hanging out in the tissue that causes edema, or swelling.” 

8. Carrots for all!

According to Langdon, carrots are one of the most effective diuretic vegetables. 

“Some of the phytochemicals in carrots are lycopene, zeaxanthin and xanthophyll that promote diuresis,” she says. “Other diuretic promoting foods are cilantro, parsley, garlic, kale and pineapple.”

9. Eat all the citrus fruits – & ginger

Oranges, lemons and limes have minerals and enzymes that cause water release from the kidneys, Langdon says. “They are also acidic, and that reduces the sodium load that causes water retention.”

Ginger also contains natural enzymes and minerals that release excess water naturally.

So there you have it – plenty of food options to help you get rid of the bloat and make you feel like yourself again in no time.

A version of this article was originally published in June 2014.

Everything You Need to Know About Apple’s iOS 12 Update

Since the release of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X back in September of 2017, we haven’t received too many updates about what Apple has been working on. But today, all that changed because Apple just revealed a ton of info about iOS 12 at its annual WWDC conference, and it’s coming soon.

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First, Apple announced several small updates. One new feature is Memoji, which is an animated emoji you can make of yourself. The animated emoji can include hair, skin tone, even accessories like sunglasses. There will also be Siri updates and a new app called Shortcuts, which will allow you to program Siri with automated tasks like calling your mom on her birthday.

But the most exciting of all has got to be the new group FaceTime feature. Yes, eight years after FaceTime was released, we will finally be able to video chat with more than one person. In fact, you will be able to FaceTime up to 32 people at once and you can even go straight from a group chat to a video chat. Pretty amazing, right?

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Don’t worry, your screen won’t be filled with 32 little boxes. When someone in the group starts talking, their tile will get bigger. You can also double tap to bring someone front and center. And if you’d like, you can even use that new Memoji instead of your video during a group FaceTime.

At their conference today, Apple also announced several other new features, like better image searchability within camera roll, improved augmented reality and 3-D capability and an improved and updated voice memo. “For iOS 12, we are doubling down on performance,” software VP Craig Federighi said onstage, which means that iPhones should perform much faster than they currently do and apps should open faster.

So, when can we have all these amazing new features? The iOS 12 update should be available later this fall. Apple usually rolls out new updates mid-September, but we’re still waiting for an exact date from Apple. The new iOS will be available to download on all phones and iPads that currently have iOS 11 installed.

What It’s Like to Get Fired While Pregnant

When people ask me, “What has been your biggest achievement?” I always reply, “That I managed not to go through a complete meltdown in 2007.” That was the year I got pregnant – and then got fired.

I was living and working in Denmark at the time. I was three months pregnant and the breadwinner of my family when I heard the news that I was being fired. That same day, I was escorted out of my office without the chance to say goodbye to my colleagues. My employer did not provide me with prior notice; I was simply called into the office and told that I was being terminated.

I drove home and cried for two days. I couldn’t eat; I could barely move. I was completely devastated, despite my husband consoling me. After all, I was suddenly broke – and the firing worked wonders to lower my self-confidence. I felt hurt, angry, and betrayed by my employer. I thought to myself, “How is it that one could devote so much time, work so hard, produce such results, receive so few complaints and then be fired just like that… without warning?”

I began to feel very alone, and I lost faith in the notion of “career.”

More:  A Pregnancy Test Is Not an Acceptable Part of a Job Interview

When this particular company first interviewed me for the role of senior VP of sales (before I had gotten pregnant), I was asked during the interview if I expected to have children. I responded that I didn’t know – but I also didn’t think much of the question at the time. I was unaware that although it is not technically illegal for an interviewer to ask those questions, it was (and still is) illegal to make a hiring selection based on someone’s answer to those questions. And we can presume that the answers to such questions formed the basis for a selection decision.

Looking back, I should have left the negotiations right then and there; I should have turned down the job offer. But I took it. And 10 months later, I got pregnant and then got fired.

After my termination, things only seemed to get worse. I spent the next 10 months fighting in court. I was plowing through my savings to pay for the legal fees, but I couldn’t just sit back; I had to fight. It was important to me to bring awareness to the issue of pregnancy discrimination.

More:  7 Working Moms Reveal What They Wish They Knew Before Going Back to Work

Despite a note from my doctor, despite witnesses and despite the plain and simple fact that I had gotten pregnant and then fired, the company still got the district court’s blessings to fire me – with no warnings and with no complaints about the work I was producing. Their decision was not just unkind; it was discrimination.

During my court battle, just in case it wasn’t stressful enough on its own, I was also scrambling to find a new job – and going through the interview process while becoming ever-more-visibly pregnant. Although in Denmark, employers are legally barred from treating pregnant women differently from other candidates (the same rules apply in the U.S. under the aptly named Pregnancy Discrimination Act), many career and legal experts today would say that telling a prospective employer you’re expecting a child isn’t always the best move. In my case, of course, keeping it quiet wasn’t possible; I was showing.

I interviewed for VP of sales roles within several organizations – and I was what most would consider a top candidate. I smoothly landed dozens of interviews, and everything seemed to be headed in the right direction. I went into each interview confident – but then they wouldn’t call me back for the second or third round of interviews. I couldn’t help but wonder how my pregnancy was affecting my job prospects.

Eventually, I’d had enough. I decided to make a life-changing decision: that no one, ever again, should be in a position to fire me. I decided to start my own business, and I was both driven enough and lucky enough to hit the ground running; my business began to thrive.

More: The Only Pregnancy Workout Tips You Need

Today, I work in more than 33 countries with some of the biggest companies in the world.  And I’ve realized that while it’s impossible to avoid adversity, what is important is how you tackle it. Do you give up? Or does it make you stronger? Getting fired while I was pregnant did make me stronger – and helped me develop qualities and survival techniques that still play integral parts in my drive for success today. Adversity became the foundation for my leadership skills, my values, my ability to focus and my sense of responsibility.

Having a career and life is all about having the courage to create your own luck – and not letting other people keep you down. So, yes, 2007 was a low point in my life, but it was also the year I found my path.

What’s a Menstrual Coach, & How Do You Know If You Need One?

What’s your relationship with your period? Do you dread it? Do you have a condition like endometriosis or PCOS that makes it unpredictable, unbearable or both? Do you feel like you’ve tried everything and you still feel like the crappiest crap every month?

Have you ever heard of a period coach? It’s an actual thing, and it doesn’t just exist in places like New York and Los Angeles. Period coaches help you understand your cycle, its quirks and why and how things play out (or don’t).

More: The Real Effect Endometriosis Has on Fertility

Before we get into the specifics of period coaching, you should know that for some, it’s controversial. Some menstrual coaches don’t have a license, and so they’re not technically qualified to practice medicine.

“I have no idea why someone would see a menstrual coach instead of an acupuncturist and/or naturopath where we can treat holistically and recognize issues with our female patients and correctly triage to a GYNendocrinologist or other medical practitioner. We integrate care,” Dr. Elizabeth Trattner, a doctor of Oriental medicine and acupuncture says.

Practitioners of Chinese medicine, Trattner says, are super-effective at resolving issues like fertilitymenstrual pain and pelvic congestion syndrome. Depending on how a person who menstruates cares for themself, their diet, stress levels, sleep and iron intake can all affect periods. If your period is different in a bad way for more than three months, it is time to see a gynecologist. Trattner recommends addressing heat and cardiovascular exercise as a means of regulating your period and its symptoms.

More: Yes, Your Period Messes With Your Digestive System – Here’s Why

What to expect from a menstrual coach

As far as period coaches go, there seems to be some variation in the practice. Limor Weinstein is both a therapist and a menstrual coach. She encourages her clients to talk about their periods and how they feel about them and urges them to remember that people who get periods all have similar experiences.

Weinstein also helps them to develop skills to cope with their symptoms, especially mood swingsdepression and anxiety. She practices cognitive behavioral therapy and refers folks with especially severe symptoms to physicians and holistic practitioners.

“There are various natural supplements that are known to help women with reduction of symptoms – alongside working through the emotional aspects that are caused by the physical changes in the body,” Weinstein says. “Working with a medical doctor in conjunction with a coach or a therapist is very helpful.” She also recommends consulting a menstrual coach if their cycle and its symptoms are adversely impacting their ability to function on a day-to-day level.

If you seek menstrual coaching from Samantha Salmon, an integrative nutrition health coach, author of You Can Afford to Be Healthy and creator of the Perfect Period Program, you’ll get guidance on how to have a more comfortable period experience. Salmon looks at how diet, herbs and lifestyle can actually get rid of period pain and decrease the amount of bleeding you have.

“The point of coaching is to bring the client from where they are to their goal, and information alone does not help people do that,” Salmon explains.” That’s why they hire a coach. I help them break through the mental blocks and obstacles so they finally take action on what they have been struggling to do for a long time.”

Johns Hopkins University alumnus Alisa Vitti is the author of WomanCode and the creator of Flo Living, a support system for people dealing with period issues and the first global modern menstrual health company in existence. Vitti cites her own experience with her period and what she calls a “hormonal breakdown” as the catalyst for her foray into period coaching.

“We’re just not thinking about hormones the right way,” she says. “Synthetic birth control doesn’t really cure or address any of the problems. We need to be thinking about how to leverage the endocrine system.”

Flo Living’s protocol helps the body regulate hormones via diet and lifestyle. Vitti acknowledges that acupuncturists and naturopaths are super-helpful in treating period issues, but points out that they’re also often not covered by insurance, so one session with a Flo Living coach, which happens online, may be more affordable.

More: Why Period-Shaming Is an Environmental Issue & What You Can Do About It

“Ninety percent of the problem is that people don’t believe you can do anything about your period, so you take no action,” she says. “There’s a cult of confusion and misinformation around menstruation, and that’s keeping women sick and underserved.”

By Chanel Dubofsky

These Grey’s Anatomy Fan Favorites Are Officially Done & We’re Not OK

It’s been a rough week for Shondaland fans. On Thursday, Gladiators said goodbye to Olivia Pope with the Scandal series finale, and on Friday, social media turned out to be a Grey’s Anatomy tear-fest. This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill weekly sobbing the show merits; rather, it was a very specific sadness – the final day of filming for Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw, whose roles as fan favorites April Kepner and Arizona Robbins have officially run their course. The actors, their peers and fans alike flooded the internet with emotional tributes to the special characters these phenomenal talents brought to life.

More: 10 Struggles Every Grey’s Anatomy Fan Knows to Be Real

It’s only natural for everyone to need a minute to adjust to the idea of going forward on Grey’s without April and Arizona (or Aprizona, as fans affectionately refer to the onscreen BFFs). Capshaw first started roaming the hospital halls as Arizona, then a surgical fellow, way back in Season 5. Drew joined the following year, when Seattle Grace and Mercy West merged. Fans have loved these characters for a decade. Respects must be paid.

Ellen Pompeo got the ball rolling with heartfelt Instagram posts highlighting the beauty both actors brought to the show.

Grey’s Pompeo Drew

Grey’s Pompeo Drew

“THANK YOU to this lady….@thesarahdrew you served up the sugar and spice for 9 years and it’s been a blast. Your passion and talent for storytelling has touched so many people provoked thought and Greys is a better show because of it and you,” Pompeo wrote to Drew.

To Capshaw, Pompeo pointed out the cultural significance of her character.

Grey’s Pompeo Capshaw

Grey’s Pompeo Capshaw

“Boom…@thank you @jessicacapshaw for bringing it the way you have brought it for 10 amazing years,” Pompeo said. “What a blessing you are and what a contribution you made to television history. Lit that screen up with your glow on the LGBT community… making a difference and making it all look so easy.”

Brace yourselves – there’s more.

Rhimes devoted an Instagram post to Capshaw and Drew as well, calling them “beautifully talented women” who each deserve a whole day “to tell you stories about their talent and to tell what I know about what their roles have meant.” Magic. That’s what Rhimes called them, and who can argue?

Grey’s Shonda Drew Capshaw

Grey’s Shonda Drew Capshaw

One message in particular, though, may push fans over the edge. Jesse Williams – who shared countless poignant onscreen moments with Drew as half of the beloved “Japril” – posted a selfie with her, captioned with one simple, heartbreaking word: “Chapters.”

Grey’s Sarah Drew Jesse Williams

Grey’s Sarah Drew Jesse Williams

Or perhaps it will be the short video Drew posted to her own Instagram account that will send fans into an emotional tailspin. In the post, the actress revealed the touching gift given to her (and Capshaw, too) by the crew: a keepsake box filled with memorabilia from Drew’s time as Dr. April Kepner, along with letters from colleagues.

Grey’s Drew Box

Grey’s Drew Box

Capshaw shared her own version of goodbye on Twitter, saying, “That’s a series wrap for Arizona Robbins… wow, wow, wow.”

Grey’s Capshaw Goodbye

Grey’s Capshaw Goodbye

Whew, we’re already emotionally drained and the finale hasn’t even happened yet. We won’t dwell too much on just how gutting that episode will be, other than to say it’s probably a good idea to go into the evening well hydrated.

More: A Collection of the Best Grey’s Anatomy Memes in Honor of the Season 13 Finale

Now that we’ve gotten that (horrible, awful, no-good, bawl-inducing) news out of the way, it’s worthwhile to point out that it’s not all sad news coming out of the Grey’s camp. For starters, it won’t be long before Drew brings her undeniable presence to the screen again. She already has two roles in various stages of production – the war drama Indivisible and the TV movie Cagney and Lacey.

Grey’s Sarah Cagney

Grey’s Sarah Cagney

As for Grey’s, the show may be losing two fan favorites but will be bringing back another, if only for one episode. According to E! News, Geena Davis is set to reprise her role as Dr. Nicole Herman on Season 14’s penultimate episode. Per the logline, she’s bringing an “exciting opportunity” for Arizona.

It’s not a sure thing, but that certainly makes it sound like at least one of our girls may be making it out of Grey Sloan alive. Hey, you’ve gotta take little victories where you can get them, right?