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This category will be all things pertaining to my life. You might see pictures of my boys or my crazy cats. You just never know..haha!

teaching-child-understand-strong-emotions

Teaching Your Child to Understand Strong Emotions

By Alek S.

 

One thing that a lot of adults tend to forget about growing up is how extreme emotions could feel at time. Children tend to feel things very strongly, and don’t necessarily have the context to tell whether something is a big deal or not. Because of this fact, strong emotions can often bubble up in children, and cause them to engage in behavior that could be harmful or destructive. For this reason, it is the responsibility of parents to recognize these issues that their children are having, and to teach them how to work through and understand those strong emotions. Here are some tips on how to teach this to your child…

 

Teach them to apply logic to their emotions

Children have a tendency to operate strictly off of emotion. This is just how children are. While they can be remarkably observant, they just don’t have the context of a longer life to have witnessed logic in action, as much. Because of this, it’s important to communicate with your child (calmly, might I add), and ask them to really think about why they feel a certain way. When children begin to put motivations to their emotions, it becomes easier for them to see a bigger picture and realize that they might be overreacting to something, or at least they’ll understand why they have such strong feelings.

 

Don’t downplay their emotions

One of the worst things you can do is downplay these emotions and make your child feel like these feelings don’t matter. Yes, they may be acting absurd, or might be overreacting to something that is really such a small problem. But the feelings that they are feeling are very real. Address those feelings, as such, and make sure that they understand that you really do care what they are feeling, and want to help them figure out how to handle those emotions. This teaches children to tackle their emotions, head-on and in a productive way, rather than burying them deep down where they can forget about them.

 

Tell them when you feel a certain way

While children don’t always do what their parents say, or follow their parents’ advice directly, they are always watching and listening. Children pick up on so many cues that their parents never really intended the to learn from. It’s why people have such a tendency to inherit their parents’ mistakes. Because of this fact, be mindful that they pick up emotional intelligence by watching you.

 

Whenever you are feeling incredibly strong emotions about something, do the same thing that you tell them to do, and communicate with them about why you feel this way, and why you are reacting the way you are. This helps put context to certain emotions. If you feel like you don’t want to explain the reason you are acting a certain way to your child, then the reality is that your emotions are probably very childish, in that moment.

 

Show them coping skills for problematic emotions

When you are a child and you feel something so strongly, it can be difficult to really know what to do about it. They just haven’t developed the coping skills to deal with such strong feelings, yet. It’s up to you, as the parent, to show them how they can cope with these strong feelings, and that they can work through their emotions in a positive way. This is especially something to worry about when the emotions can lead to problematic behavior, and cause your child to be destructive.

 

Teach them to recognize emotion in others

Emotional intelligence is a highly important skill for children to learn, as it teaches them how to be social and how to have empathy for other human beings. Start to teach them how to recognize emotion in other people, early on. You can do this by showing them how to recognize certain emotions in the media that you watch together, or by pointing out the ways that they’ve made another person feel (whether that is another child that they play with, or another member of the family.

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tech-cleanse-reduce-anxiety

Could a Tech Cleanse Reduce Anxiety?

By Alek S.

 

Today, we are surrounded by technology wherever we look. Whether we’re on the computer at work, watching television afterward, or spending endless hours on our personal computers and smartphones connecting with friends on social media.

This amazing access to technology and communication is astonishingly convenient… and yet the rate at which people suffer from depression and anxiety has continued to climb to never before seen highs, and some professionals believe that this is directly linked to our hyper-connected culture.

The truth is that our attachment with technology is a bit of a double-edged sword. For all of the great things that technology has given us, in this day and age, we cannot forget the fact that we are natural creatures, and that all the ways in which technology overwhelms has had a detrimental effect on our psychology, especially when we have constant alerts drawing us back into the pressures of those connections. For this reason, it is sometimes important, especially for those who suffer from a lot of anxiety, to periodically take a tech cleanse to recharge their own personal batteries, before jumping back into technology, once again. Here are all of the reasons that a tech cleanse might be good to help with your anxiety…

 

Multiple addictions are linked with anxiety

First of all, it’s important to understand that there are multiple types of conditions that can feed into anxiety. This is especially true when it comes to addictions (alcoholism and anxiety can especially be codependent on each other). However, even though it is not a physical addiction, the addiction to smartphone usage has been classified as a type of diagnosable addiction, and has been shown to increase the risks of developing something like generalized anxiety disorder, according to a study published in Computers in Human Behavior.

 

Social media contributes to anxiety

Social media, for all the ways that we have been connected by it, also is able to contribute to social anxiety. An example of this was shown in a study conducted in the UK that provided evidence that increased social media usage was strongly correlated with higher rates of loneliness, and general anxiety about socializing with people. Cutting the cord to technology for a little bit helps put things into perspective, and allows you to remind yourself that you don’t have to answer to a social media app every moment of your life.

 

You have more time for yourself

Usually, when people make a list of the things that they want to accomplish in their life in the near future, it involves actually going places, making things, or moving towards specific accomplishments. How often do you find yourself getting off of your phone after a session on social media and discovering that you’ve blown a significant amount of time that you had planned to use for something else? Breaking up with technology for a little bit, or disabling all the apps on your phone besides the one that actually makes it a phone, can help you get back on track to spending time that is actually fulfilling and making you better.

 

Gives you a moment to breathe

When people are attached to their technology for every waking moment of every day, it begins to feel like you are in a constant rush, as time keeps slipping by you. Part of this is the amount of time that social media and technology requires to really get into, and the other part is simply the information overload, which can make it feel like the world is flying by you at a rate that is unprecedented.

 

For treating anxiety, therapists often recommend having time where you aren’t doing anything (including looking at your phone), except breathing. Taking this time helps put you in a good head space, and is a good coping mechanism for dealing with the tension that anxiety can put on your life. A tech cleanse can help you remember this important step, and is able to put everything back in perspective, for a time.

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How to Get the Cottage Look for Your Home

By: Maurine Anderson

 

Many of us love the look of a traditional English cottage but don’t realize that the cottage look is something that we can have for our own homes. Creating a cottage-style look for your home is easier than you might think. Here is a brief guide to making your home look like an English cottage.

 

Install a picket fence.

A white picket fence is, perhaps, the most iconic characteristic of an English cottage. A picture-perfect cottage-style home will typicallycottage have a low white picket fence framing the front lawn, enclosing a beautiful space adorned with flower beds and a natural stone path. Consider installing a picket fence around your front lawn to give it more of a cottage-like feel. As this article mentions, you can even have a modern, easy-to-maintain vinyl fence designed to mimic the look of a classic vinyl fence.

 

Aim for an overall relaxed landscape.

As you go about landscaping your property, aim for an overall loose and relaxed landscape. Cottage-style landscapes are never rigid and polished. Think time-worn bricks, inset pavers, or stone lined gravel for a walkway. Winding paths and curved flowerbed edges can lend your landscape an air of informality. Natural stone, as this article points out, makes for a great natural edging for flowerbeds or garden walkways.

 

Put heavy emphasis on flowers and plant life.

cottageThe traditional English cottage features beautiful landscaping, complete with colorful flowers and green shrubs. Here are a few landscaping tips related to flowers and plant life:

 

  • In your gardens, plant many different plants, herbs, vegetables, and flowers near each other for a full look.

  • As you select plants for your landscape, be sure not to venture too far into the exotic plants category, which doesn’t fit in with the cottage theme.

  • Choose plants that grow well in your region and that will offer both beauty and practicality for your landscape. Traditional cottages are all about functionality.

  • When choosing flowers, aim for variety in color and height for added interest. Roses, peonies, marigold, salvia, foxgloves, delphiniums, lamb’s ears, and geranium are all great options.

  • In addition to flowers, include shrubs or small trees, such as panicle hydrangea or Japanese maple. This will give added depth to your garden areas.

  • Don’t forget to build some florals onto your home’s exterior—by installing window flower boxes or by installing climbing plants along the front face.

 

Incorporate some decor into your landscape.

Cottage-style landscaping isn’t all about paths, flowers, and shrubs. It’s also about integrating meaningful decor into that exterior space. Consider adding romantic decorative elements, such as a rose- or vine-covered trellis or a garden walkway arbor. You might also add a patio with weathered furniture, a bird bath, or a tuteur amidst all of your beautiful flowers. Meaningful decorative elements such as an old family wagon or an old family bench will also go a long way in adding interest to your cottage style garden space.

 

Consider your home’s exterior.

The materials used for your home’s exterior will also dictate just how closely your home resembles a traditional English cottage. Herecottage are a few tips on designing your home’s exterior to give it that cottage feel:

 

  • Choose an exterior material that complements both your home’s style and the traditional cottage style. Siding, shake shingles, brick, stone, and stucco can all work well as exterior materials for a cottage-style home.

 

  • Consider painting your window trim a complementing color besides white. This bit of color will give your home some added charm and a vintage feel.

  • Install shutters around your windows to lend added interest to the front of your home.

  • A front door with a large window looks especially airy and inviting. Don’t forget to include a screen door for your front door as well, as just about every cozy cottage has one!

  • Incorporate natural elements into your home’s exterior, such as flower filled boxes below your windows or climbing plants along the front face of your home’s exterior.

As you choose materials for your home’s exterior, don’t forget to consider your home’s region. Some materials are better than others for particular climates, and no matter your climate, you can find a material that both fits into the cottage theme and lends your home all-weather durability. This article has some good tips on selecting the right materials for your home depending on climate.

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10 Dishes That Are Better with Coconut Oil

By: Maurine Anderson

 

If you’ve spent any time in the blogosphere or on social media, chances are you have come across at least one blogger proclaiming the miracles that can be wrought with coconut oil. Coconut oil seems to be one of those household staples that can be used in cooking, baking, skincare, daily hygiene, and everything in between. I, myself, can’t vouch for coconut oil as a skincare and beauty product (it makes me break out), but as an avid baker, I can vouch for coconut oil as a trusty cooking and baking ingredient. Coconut oil is a healthier alternative, after all, to fats like butter and shortening, due to its high level of medium-chain fatty acids (which you can read more about here). Plus, it makes for a great fat substitute when you’re trying to make things a little vegan friendly.

 

Because I’ve seen quite a few hits and misses as I’ve experimented with using coconut oil in the kitchen, today I wanted to share with you ten foods that I’ve found work and taste better (or at least just as great) with coconut oil.

 

Note: I recommend using virgin, unrefined coconut oil in your cooking and baking. Refined and partially hydrogenated types of coconut oil do not offer the same health benefits that virgin coconut oil does. In addition, still be sure to limit your daily coconut oil intake to one tablespoon or less, as coconut oil is higher in saturated fats than other types of oil.

 

  1. Rice krispies treats

Ever tried swapping out the butter in classic rice krispies treats for the same amount of coconut oil? You won’t miss the butter, and you’llcoconut oil feel that much better eating your delicious treats knowing they aren’t full of butter.

  1. Chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are another classic that coconut oil can add some unexpected, delicious flavor to. Use coconut oil just like you would butter in your chocolate chip cookie recipe, following the directions given for the butter (using it at room temperature, melting it first, etc.) Keep in mind that coconut oil can harden when combined with cold ingredients, so be sure to let your other ingredients reach room temperature before starting.

  1. Hot chocolate

If you’ve never made hot chocolate at home, I challenge you to try it this winter! Coconut oil makes for a perfect addition to gourmet homemade hot chocolate containing other ingredients like cacao, coconut sugar, sea salt, and almond milk.

  1. Waffles

Mmm…coconut oil in waffles. I’ve found that coconut oil pairs naturally with ingredients like whole wheat flour and coconut sugar when making waffles, and you’ll often end up with a crispier edge and more tender middle of your waffle. You can also use coconut oil on top of your waffles in place of butter or syrup.

  1. Stir fry

Coconut is a common ingredient in dishes like Pad Thai and curry, so it makes sense to add a little coconut flavor to your stir fry with coconut oil. Tip: Keep in mind that coconut oil works best on the stove at temperatures of 350°F or less.

  1. Sweet potato fries

Baked sweet potato fries taste great when made with olive oil or vegetable oil, but it’s fun to mix things up and toss sweet potato coconut oilwedges with coconut oil for a change in flavor. Try pairing your fries with curry seasoning or avocado sauce for an intriguing flavor.

  1. Roasted vegetables

Similarly, it’s fun to swap out your usual tossing oil for coconut oil when making roasted vegetables. I love tossing coconut oil with broccoli, bell peppers, and zucchini.

  1. Salad dressing

Ever tried making dressing at home? Using coconut oil as the oil for your dressing makes for a fun touch to salads—especially those that feature avocado or cilantro as key ingredients. Try making a delicious cilantro coconut or avocado coconut dressing.

  1. Crackers

Crackers are so much fun to make, and making them with coconut oil adds an unexpected, yet delicious flavor. I love making crackers with ingredients like flaxseed and shredded coconut to complement the subtle coconut oil flavor.

  1. Smoothies

You’re probably used to adding chopped fruits and vegetables to your smoothies, but next time try adding up to a tablespoon of melted coconut oil while you’re at it. The healthy fat boost will help keep you fuller longer, and it adds the slightest hint of tropical flavor. I find that coconut oil goes best in smoothies featuring pineapple, banana, strawberries, and other tropical ingredients.

 

coconut oilMy favorite thing about using coconut oil in the kitchen is that the recipes that feature coconut oil tend to include other healthy ingredients as well. So as you cook and bake more with coconut oil, your overall diet will likely become healthier, offering you countless health benefits like those listed here. What foods do you like to prepare with coconut oil? Share your favorites in the comments!

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5 Precautions That Will Protect You from Debt

By Alek S.

 

Being in debt can sometimes feel like you are carrying the weight of the world upon your shoulders. Indeed, debt sometimes feels like an actual physical sickness that you simply don’t get better from, and it actually can cause pain and health problems through stress. Once you are in debt, it can be difficult to work your way out, but it simply must be done. However, it can be a lot easier to prevent yourself from ever getting into debt in the first place, if you arrange your life and finances in a certain way. Here are some particular strategies that can protect you from getting into debt…

 

Plan for some “mad money”

debtFirst of all, one of the most important and most obvious financial rules to remember is that saving money pays off, in the long run. However, it would be unrealistic to assume that you will never have times where you’ll want to splurge with your hard earned cash. Presuming that you’re never going to splurge your money is like assuming you’re never going to sin. It just isn’t in the cards. However, to prevent money splurging from really hurting your finances, it is a good idea to simply plan for those splurges and set money aside to spend on treats that you and your family really want now and then!

 

Have a plan

If you don’t know what your money is doing, then it is always going to be getting away from you. That’s just how money works. It’s almost like a law of physics. This is why it is so important to have a plan for where your money is going to go. When you first start making a financial plan, it can be quite simple. One popular method is to put cash in envelopes with different categories, such as rent, food, entertainment, etc. However, as you get more capital and buy a house and your finances get more complicated, it’s a wise idea to get into estate planning, which gives you a long-term organizational plan and helps you save for your future. It also helps take care of your will and certain trusts.

 

Use cash, when possible

That envelope method of planning your money out that we mentioned above is a great idea that works for a lot of people. It’s dependent on one particular aspect, though: cash. The problem with handling all of your expenses on a plastic card is that there is far less accountability when you pay for things that way. Using cash allows you to set aside a very specific amount that you cannot physically overspend on, since there is only so much cash. Likewise, when you go shopping, take cash with you to spend. This way, you can’t go over budget if there is something you talk yourself into buying, and you already are prepared for how much more you might spend than you planned.

 

Save, instead of using payment plans

debtLike we said before: saving is the most important aspect of managing finances. You should always be putting money away for future use, every month. To help motivate this habit, avoid using payment plans to purchase anything. Usually, these plans require interest, and put your credit at risk. If you can, wait to purchase something until you have the money to purchase it outright. If you consistently do this, you’re already several steps ahead of everyone else at avoiding debt. However, there might be certain purchases that you still take loans out on, such as for a house, but these should be sparingly done.

 

Protect yourself from credit cards

The exact opposite of using cash is using a credit card. Credit card companies thrive on how convenient it is to simply whip out your card and make adebt purchase. However, most people end up paying more for things because they allow credit card interest to stack up and hit their wallets hard. You might think you’ll be an exception, but remember that credit card companies make loads of money, and it’s all coming from people like you. However, if you can use them wisely, credit cards can go a long way towards building credit. One strategy to keep your credit card purchases down is to write down every credit card purchase as soon as you make it, so that you there is something tangible that keeps you accountable.

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Simple Healthy Cooking Alternatives

By Alek S.

 

It’s probably safe to say that most people would like to eat healthier. However, it is the view of too many people that this is easier said healthy cookingthan done. One of the biggest roadblocks that people have put up that prevents them from eating healthier is that it is too difficult to find something to eat that is healthy. However, when it comes to cooking in the kitchen, you can actually make a lot of the same things that you already do and have a healthy meal, if you swap out a few key ingredients for things that are a little more nutritional. Here is a list of some easy, healthy cooking alternatives…

 

Coconut oil

Although extra-virgin olive oil can be quite healthy, coconut oil is a proven superfood with a vast assortment of different health benefits. While coconut oil has a lot of fats, they are made up of medium-chain fatty acids, which are easier to digest. This means that coconut oil is a great way to get a lot of energy in your food, and can make an excellent substitute for oils and butter. If you’d like to check out more reasons why coconut oil is a terrific superfood, check out this nifty article here.

 

Applesauce

Another great substitute for butter when you are baking can be applesauce. This can give the same textural benefits as butter, and adds a natural, fruity flavor that gives your baking even more zest. For maximum benefits, go with unsweetened applesauce. Doing this will cut down on the saturated fats that you consume.

 

Matcha powder

healthy cookingThe matcha tea hype is real, as matcha tea has become a favorite of health nuts all around the world. However, you can actually do a lot more with matcha tea powder than just drink it. Matcha can actually be used as a flavorful supplement to a whole host of foods. For example, instead of using sugar in your next baking adventure, try using a few scoops of naturally sweetened matcha powder to give your baked goods a little extra zing. If you want some other ideas of things you can cook with matcha powder, check out this useful list here.

 

Bananas

If you’ve ever wondered how vegans can make such good pastries when they can’t use milk or eggs, then this mystery is about to be answered: bananas. Eggs, which aren’t necessarily unhealthy, but are high in cholesterol, can be substituted with bananas for any baked goods. Bananas help give baked goods their shape, just like eggs, but make everything taste a bit more like banana bread, which is never a bad thing.

 

Ground turkey

If you’re cooking for a whole family, then you know that ground beef is one of your best friends. Most recipes that can feed an army usually call for a couple pounds of ground beef. However, unless you are buying incredibly high quality products that cost a pretty penny, most ground beef is high in saturated fats. Add this to the fact that red meat increases the risk of heart disease, and it’s probably not a good idea to have it for every meal. Not to worry though! Ground turkey can be just as delicious, and has considerably less fat, making it an excellent substitute whenever ground beef is called for.

 

Whole wheat flour

healthy cookingThere might seem like a lot of baking substitutions on this list, but it’s only because baked goods are usually some of the biggest culprits of unhealthy things in the kitchen. This time, it’s flour. Standard white flour isn’t necessarily actively bad for you, but it is pretty much nutritionally bankrupt. Whole wheat flour has tons of fiber and proteins that help give you energy and helps your body get essential vitamins. This is an easy substitution that you probably won’t even notice, when it comes to flavor. Substituting for whole wheat pasta is a great idea, as well.

 

Skim milk

Most dairy products are high in fat. That’s just the sad, sad, sad truth about the world. However, for baking, coffee, cereal, and even just a plain ol’ glass of milk, skim milk can be a reliable substitution. Indeed, aside from the straight up glass of milk, you probably won’t even notice the difference when you use skim milk in your baking.

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Fresh Step is an amazing company. They wholeheartedly advocate adoption, and they donate litter to shelters year round! Check them out at Chewy.com.

Their Mission

litterWhy is there a perception that cat lovers are “crazy”? Is this why out of the over 3 million lovable felines that enter shelters every year, only 37% of them are adopted*?

The makers of Fresh Step® think it’s always been cool to add a cat to your family. So we gave the spotlight to fabulous felines during fall Fashion Week in NYC. These adorable—and adoptable—kitties walked the catwalk to help more cats find their forever homes.

Our efforts go way beyond Fashion Week. In fact, we donate over 1 MILLION SCOOPS of Fresh Step® litter to shelters around the country every year. In our view (and we hope, yours), it’s always been #Hot2Adopt.

 

Hawaiian Aloha

 

  • Specially formulated to eliminate even the stinkiest litter boxes with the power of Febreze®. 10-day Odor Control GUARANTEED. Leaves behind a light tropical scent.
  • – Clumps tight with Fresh Step® ClumpLock® technology for easy clean-up.
  • – Low dust formula*
  • – Created with your cat’s health and happiness in mind.

My Thoughts

We absolutely loved this litter! My cats are very picky about what litter they will use. For this reason, we weren’t sure how they would react to Freshlitter Step. I don’t know if it was the Hawaiian scent that they loved, or if it was the the feel of the litter on their paws. Either way, they loved it! We didn’t have any issues with the kitties not wanting to use the box at all. I loved it because the fresh Hawaiian scent really kept things smelling fresh! We didn’t have to worry about the yucky cat litter smell at all, which was such a relief. Fresh Step really “stepped” up for us!

 

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building-emotional-intelligence-children

Building Emotional Intelligence in Your Children

By Alek S.

 

Part of being a balanced and healthy person is the ability to empathize, sympathize, and work through our own emotions. We often hear all of this put together in a single phrase: emotional intelligence. As parents, teaching our children to develop emotional intelligence is one of the most important things we can do, as it helps them be social beings that can connect and bond with other people, as well as develop emotional maturity. Although some of this will already be inherent in children, and they will pick up emotional cues that they see happen around them, emotional intelligence is also something that we can teach our kids, and it is something that we should definitely strive to. Here are some tips for building emotional intelligence in your children…

 

What is emotional intelligence?

emotionalFirst of all, it’s important to identify what exactly we mean when we say emotional intelligence. The psychological term for emotional intelligence is actually emotional quotient, which refers to the ability of a person to recognize, process, control, and communicate emotions. Emotional quotient is what gives us the ability to not overreact to certain emotional stimuli, and to recognize emotions in other people and react accordingly.

 

Show kids how to recognize their emotions

If we pointed out how an adult was feeling all of the time, it would probably be quite annoying. However, it is something that is emotionalabsolutely essential for developing and raising kids. When our children are expressing emotions over certain events that happen around them, it’s important to point those emotions out. If they are angry or frustrated, tell them what that is and why they are feeling it. If they are sad or fearful, let them know that it is a natural feeling and why it occurs. This helps kids learn to recognize their own emotions, which is a crucial step to recognizing it in others.

 

Openly communicate with your children

Although children may not have a very developed sense of emotional intelligence when they are younger, they still have insights and feelings that are complex. Allow yourself to listen to your child and get a real idea of how they are feeling. Sometimes, these acts of expression can teach them profound lessons that they would not otherwise have learned, and all you had to do was listen. On top of that, you listening to your child teaches them the importance of listening, which can help them recognize emotions in other people, later in life. After all, even adults just need an ear to listen to them, every now and then.

 

Teach them how to work through anger and sadness

emotionalIt’s important not to only focus on positive emotions in our kids. While we all strive to be happy in life, it is unrealistic to assume that we won’t have times that evoke anger or sadness inside of us. As a matter of fact, it is entirely good that we have these emotions, as there are definitely times that call for both of these emotions. For this reason, it’s good to start learning how to work through these emotions in a positive way while we are still young. If your child is feeling angry, take the time to talk with them and find constructive ways to deal with that anger, as this will help them immensely when they are dealing with more complex emotions later in life.

 

Talk them through common anxieties

When kids are young, they tend to have very extreme emotions about how they are discovering the world around them. Children can be stunned in amazement at a small, beautiful thing that adults will take for granted, like raindrops on a window or a bug on the sidewalk. However, children can also get incredibly fearful and anxious over simple things. For example, does your child get nervous about a trip to the dentist? During moments like this, be calm and simply talk to them about what they are feeling and try to reason with those emotions. This can help children find productive ways to process fear or anxiety later in life.

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Creating a Relaxing Home Environment

By Aurora M.

relaxing
Woman sitting on the sofa reading a book holding her coffee mug in living room at home

Your home is supposed to be a haven; a place for you to feel safe and comfortable. Whether you’re living in your dream home, or a cramped studio apartment until you can find something better, you deserve to feel comfortable when you’re at home! There’s no point to having a home that you don’t enjoy or want to spend time at.

 

Aromatherapy

This can look like so many different things to so many people. You can light incense, or you can set up a simple essential oil diffuser to release the scent slowly throughout the day. Having a pleasant smelling home can transport you mentally to a handful of different places, because we associate smells heavily with emotions and memories. Test out lots of different scents until you find the perfect one for your home! Some popular smells for the home are lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus, all of which can help lift your mood and make you feel good. You can learn more about common scents and their effects here.

 

Music can set the mood

One of the best things about music is how much it can influence your mood. There are tons of ways to play relaxing music in your home to keep you feeling calm but invigorated. You can find lots of playlists on apps like Spotify that are calming, or you can create your own playlist. A great set playlist to try is to search for either spa music, or coffee shop music. Both of these types of playlists will be mellow and comforting. You can play music softly in the background throughout the day to help you feel calm and relaxed.

 

Add some greenery

Having live plants in your home promotes a positive energy, as this article states. It can even have significant effects on your mental state and productivity. Even if you feel like you’re horrible at keeping plants, or that they often die in your care, there are lots of plantrelaxing options for you! Try a succulent or cactus, both of which require much less water and maintenance to survive. So if you forget to water them for a little while, they’ll make it out alive.

If you really can’t keep a plant alive, bring fresh cut flowers into your home every week instead. This will still freshen up your space considerably, but you won’t feel stressed trying to remember to water a plant every few days. This option also gives you the chance to change up your greenery every single week, so you can keep it fresh and try out new things.

 

Feng Shui

A lot of people are skeptical when it comes to feng shui, but you’ll have to try it for yourself before you judge it. Having your furniture in different positions in your home can promote different types of energy. Even if it’s just rearranging your furniture so it is a more open space, rather than feeling cramped, can create a much more relaxing environment. It’s hard to be comfortable and relaxed when you feel cluttered and like you don’t have enough room. Check out a feng shui book or website and see if there’s anything you can do in your living spaces to free up space and make things a little more comfortable for you.

 

Blankets, throws, and pillows

relaxing
10 years old pre teen girl wrapped in blanket stretching after waking up. Comfortable weekend morning.

Just because the weather is starting to warm up doesn’t mean that it’s time for you to pack away all of your cozy blankets! In order to be relaxed, you need to be comfortable. If you have a pile of blankets and pillows to cuddle with when you’re sitting on your couch, you’re going to be so much more relaxed. It also promotes optimal cuddling, so you win no matter what!

 

Natural light

Most living spaces have a few windows you can pop open on warm days to fill your living room with fresh air and warm sunlight. A lot of us forget to open our curtains, though, and use artificial light during the daytime instead. Try to remember to open up your windows more often, because it will make you feel better and as an added bonus, it will lower your electric bill!

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Spring Cleaning Tips

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Spring Cleaning Tips

By Aurora M.

 

Spring is the perfect time to declutter your home. There’s something about the weather getting warmer, and the absence of snow, that makes you feel like you can reorganize and redo all of the things in your life, and in your home, that you don’t like. You want to have everything clean and ready for the summer, and so spring is the perfect time to get started, while school-age children are still in school.

 

Start with the biggest rooms

Spring cleaning can be a really big project. There are often multiple rooms that you feel need a makeover. Try to prioritize your projects; start with the rooms that are the biggest, or that are the biggest problems and need the most work. This way, if you get burned out and decide to postpone the rest of your spring cleaning, at least you got the most important things done already. If you start with all of the small tasks, when you get tired, you’ll feel guilty about the large projects that have been neglected, and chances are that they won’t be cleaned anytime soon.

 

Watch out for pests

During the colder months of the year, pests like to make their home in your home. The most common places for them to set up camp is

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Moving boxes in new apartment. Real estate concept.

among clutter. That’s why one of the best ways to prevent dreaded spider infestations is by minimizing clutter and areas where they can hide. So be especially careful when you’re cleaning out certain areas like the attic that may be used most often for storage purposes. For example, your garage can be a major haven for any kind of pests. This article has some great tips for keeping them out and keeping your garage secure.

 

Clean as you go

The main focus on spring cleaning is often decluttering; this is because it’s generally

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Woman hands holding tub with supplies for house cleaning.

the part of the job that takes the most time and energy. As you’re clearing out and organizing your home, make sure that you take the few extra minutes to clean up, so spring cleaning won’t be nearly as difficult next year. Wipe down all surfaces, and make sure to sweep everything out as well. Even if it doesn’t necessarily look that grimy, it’s still a good idea to get it cleaned up, because the dirt and dust will have at least doubled by next spring, and it will be even harder to get removed! And in some cases, the problem will be worse than just a buildup of dirt, you can sometimes run the risk of developing mold. The more time you invest now, the less time you’ll have to invest in the future to maintain the level of cleanliness.

 

Enlist help

Spring cleaning can be a large, and daunting, task to take on. Many hands make light work, so make sure you ask for help from your partner, children, or even a friend or neighbor. Not only will the extra set (or two) of hands help you get the project done faster, it will probably be more enjoyable because you have someone to talk to.

Getting help is also the safest option, especially if you’re working on a larger project that can require heavy lifting. You’ll want to be as safe as possible, so having someone else there can make sure that you don’t get stuck in any tough places, and they can make your job a little easier (and safer).

 

Get creative with your storage

A lot of times, as you accumulate things throughout the year, the things you don’t use as often get pushed into a messy pile. If this is a

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3d illustration of White shelves in the interior with various objects

recurring problem, it could be helpful to set up additional storage to prevent the issue from repeating itself multiple times over the years.

Try installing some shelving in your garage or attic. Make sure that they get screwed into the wall securely, so you’re not at risk of having heavy items toppling down onto you. Having shelving on the walls makes it easier to keep things organized, because you can easily see where everything is. It also frees up space on the floor, and encourages you to keep things organized, rather than creating a stack of boxes on the floor, which can be inviting to pests.

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