Giving Yourself a Break: Top Ways to Spend Your Me-Time

This has been a difficult year for many of us. Alongside the usual stresses of day to day life, almost all of us have had to deal with the consequences of a worldwide pandemic. Back in January, who could have anticipated that we’d spend the majority of this year battling against the effects of a potentially deadly virus. Coronavirus and Covid-19 have posed a huge health threat, have caused the implementation of social isolation and social distancing (posing a threat to our mental health and emotional wellbeing) and have also ravaged the economy, causing countless companies to collapse and countless consequent job losses around the world. We’ve all had a lot on our plate. On top of this, many of us have faced around the clock childcare alongside trying to take care of everything else, as many schools have been closed for months on end. It’s not all too surprising that your stress levels may be pretty high right now. If this is the case, it really is important to take some me-time and schedule it into your calendar. Sure, you want to put everyone else’s needs foremost and you can. But also make sure to schedule some time in for yourself where you can kick back and relax for a while. Here are some good ways to spend your me-time.

Go For a Walk

You’d be amazed what going for a simple walk can do for your wellbeing. This activity goes above and beyond the physical benefits of getting out, stretching your legs and getting some mild aerobic exercise in. It gives you time to think and reflect. Plus, being out in nature can be pretty calming in and of itself too. While the majority of us don’t live next to sprawling and stunning scenery and landscapes, think of a local nature spot you can visit to just see something nice in the quiet and calm.

Game

So many of us enjoy gaming. It gives you an outlet where you can escape from the real world and live a fantasy for a while. Plus, you can game safely from the comfort of your own home without having to come into contact with others to communicate with them. Whatever games you’re into, whether that’s Animal Crossing, casino games with an Online Casino Guide or anything else, make sure to play responsibly and don’t get too immersed. You still need to keep up with your other commitments. This should just be an occasional release.

Bake

Lots of people have really got into baking over the past few months. There’s probably been a point where local stores have experienced a lack of baking essentials like flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and more. But this is because baking is relaxing, fun, engaging and you get some sort of (hopefully) delicious treat at the end! Try a few recipes to see how you get along.

These are just a few different activities you might want to try out when you take a little break and incorporate some me-time into your schedule! Hopefully, you’ll find some fun!

4 Tips to Improve Your Child’s Organization

assorted activity playset

https://unsplash.com/photos/0VNVxhEnkII

Kids are not necessarily known for their organizational skills, but its something they will need to learn if they want to stay on top of their school work and personal life when they get older. As a parent, there are few things more infuriating than seeing a child with terrible time management; it can affect you, their friends, and your child themselves, so here are four tips to improve your child’s organization. 

Don’t Hoard 

Encouraging your child not to hoard is perhaps one of the most important ways to improve their organizational skills. However, it can be a challenge. Kids don’t really like getting rid of anything, especially when they get to an age where they are convinced they will use something again.  

But, it’s unlikely they will, so if you want to make sure they don’t fill their closet with clutter, encourage them to sell game consoles, clothes, shoes, instruments, and anything they will never use again. They might protest, but you know better. 

Break Down Tasks

Many tasks can be daunting, especially if they feel like mammoth chores that will take hours. This can make your kids procrastinate, which means the duties will never get completed, anyway. 

To overcome this, you can get them to break down the tasks into smaller and more manageable chunks. Rather than asking them to vacuum the house, get them to do it room-by-room. This doesn’t sound so bad, and if they do one room, they might feel they have the time to do another. By the time they’ve finished, they will feel they’re on a roll and be happy to do all the vacuuming in one go. 

Help Them Create a To-Do List

To-do lists are useful for a variety of reasons. They stop your children forgetting their chores and responsibilities, and the satisfaction that comes from crossing something off will motivate them to keep going. 

These to-do lists can also be daunting, though, so you can advise them to separate the list into easy things, such as doing the dishes or taking the dog for a walk, and difficult things, like their essay. This will help them decide which tasks to prioritize. 

Establish a Routine

Routines are something that you kids will need to get into as they grow older, so they may as well establish a routine as early as possible. Otherwise, they risk sleeping in too late every day, which can waste their days off, and this means they don’t have time to do anything. 

By helping them establish a routine, they can organize their day more efficiently, giving them the time to do all the serious hard stuff like homework or chores, and still have time to relax and enjoy their evening once they are finished. 

Neat and Tidy

A tidy room creates an orderly life and mind. Not many people realize it, but clutter and organization can have a severe impact on stress levels and focus. As your kids have enough to worry about when growing up, such as school, crushes, and their future, getting them to stay organized can give them one less thing to worry about. 

St. Louis Aquarium and St. Louis Wheel Re-Opening Today!!!

If you haven’t seen the news then here’s to some good news! The aquarium and the wheel down in Union Station is re-opening today!!!

Of course there are a few guidelines to be aware of when arriving. Check out the press release below!

The Aquarium reopens at 9 a.m. and the St. Louis Wheel reopens at 10 a.m. on Monday, June 8.

CHANGES: Guests will notice a variety of new animals and activities at the reopened St. Louis Aquarium, including “Annie,” a four-year-old Tamandua, or Lesser Anteater. Other new animals include Zebra Sharks and Bonnethead Sharks, one of the smaller Hammerheads.

A new Dive Show will take place three times a day — at 11 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 4 p.m. — in the Shark Canyon exhibit. Guests will be able to ask questions of the Aquarium’s divers who will be wearing special communications masks during the 20-minute shows.

Colorful murals also have been added to wall spaces throughout the Aquarium.

DETAILS: The indoor and outdoor attractions at St. Louis Union Station will reopen on June 8, 2020 after receiving clearance from the City of St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS AQUARIUM: The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station will resume regular hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

New physical distancing protocols will be in place along with enhanced sanitation measures and extensive team member training to ensure the health and safety of guests and workers.
 
The St. Louis Aquarium and other St. Louis Union Station attractions have been closed in accordance with Missouri and St. Louis City COVID-19 regulations. 

Aquarium Ticketing Changes: All guests, including annual pass holders, will be required to reserve timed tickets in advance to keep within City of St. Louis regulations for significantly reduced capacity in the Aquarium.
 
Advance reservations will guarantee guests’ admission on the day of their visit. No tickets will be available for same day visits at the ticket counter and no guests will be admitted to the Aquarium prior to their reservation time. 

Guests who are feeling unwell on the day of their visit can contact the Aquarium and have their tickets exchanged for another date.
 
Aquarium Safety Protocols Added: The health and safety of guests and team members is the highest priority of the St. Louis Aquarium and St. Louis Union Station. Enhanced safety and sanitizing procedures have been enacted for the Aquarium reopening, including:

— All team members will wear masks and guests over the age of 9 are required to wear masks at the direction of the St. Louis City Department of Health. Guests with pre-existing health conditions unable to wear a mask for medical reasons are exempt. Guests may remove or lower their masks when they are able to stay six feet or more away from others or when eating or drinking.

— A one-way flow has been established through the Aquarium to help with social distancing. 

— The Aquarium is maintaining its existing high standards of cleanliness and all high-touch surfaces such as windows, doors, railings, restrooms, and elevators will be cleaned continuously by the Aquarium’s Clean Team. Hard surfaces will be sanitized throughout the attraction, lobby and restrooms continuously. 

— Additional hand sanitizer stations will be found throughout the Aquarium including at the entry, exit and in the restrooms.

–Employees will be screened daily to verify that they do not have fevers or other COVID-19 symptoms. Guests will walk through an infrared scanner at the entrance to verify their temperatures and will take a survey to confirm their health. Those with temperatures of more than 100 degrees will be asked to return on another day.

— Guest services associates will refer guests to signs listing COVID-19 symptoms to verify that everyone in their party is symptom free.

–Floor decals have been added throughout the queue lines and inside the aquarium to help guests maintain six feet of separation from others. At touch pools and interactive areas, guests can step up and enjoy the experience when floor decal spaces are open.

— The Aquarium’s touch pools, Otter Chat and animal presentations will continue to be available along with a new dive show at Shark Canyon. 

— For now, the Fish ID touchscreens, Scavenger Hunt touchscreens, the Train Experience and the Virtual Reality Sandbox are not available due to their high touch nature and the difficulty in maintaining adequate social distancing during their use. 

— No cash payments will be accepted at attractions and restaurants throughout St. Louis Union Station; all major credit cards will be accepted.
 
St. Louis Ropes Course and Mirror Maze: The indoor attractions at Union Station also will reopen on June 8. Queue markers will help guests at the St. Louis Ropes Course and the Mirror Maze maintain their distance from each other to at least six feet. Gloves will be offered to guests and the areas will be continuously sanitized throughout the day.

More Information: Guests will finds an FAQ at www.stlouisaquarium.com and can ask questions by emailing info@stlouisaquarium.com

Follow the St. Louis Aquarium on social media @aquariumstl.

UNION STATION RESTAURANTS AND RETAIL: The Aquarium gift shop and Wheel retail kiosk will be open but will limit the number of guests allowed inside at any time. Guests will be asked to touch only what they intend to purchase. 

No cash payments will be accepted at this time. Plexiglass barriers have been erected to separate guests and team members at Aquarium gift shop checkout counters. 

Restaurants Trainshed and 1894 Cafe also will reopen to the public at reduced capacity and with enhanced sanitizing and health checks for regular hours on June 8. 

Soda Fountain reopened at reduced capacity and with added sanitizing, health checks and social distancing on May 18, 2020. 

THE ST. LOUIS WHEEL: The St. Louis Wheel at Union Station also reopens to the public on Monday, June 8, 2020.

With physical distancing protocols, enhanced sanitizing and extensive team member training in place, the St. Louis Wheel will welcome riders with a resumption of regular hours, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily. 

The Wheel has been closed in accordance with Missouri and St. Louis City COVID-19 regulations. 

Wheel Safety Protocols Added: The health and safety of guests and team members is the highest priority of the St. Louis Wheel and St. Louis Union Station. Enhanced safety and sanitizing procedures have been enacted for the Wheel Park reopening, including:

— Team members will wear masks and guests are encouraged to do the same. 

— Employees will be screened daily to verify that they do not have fevers or other COVID-19 symptoms. 

— Guests will take a survey to confirm their health.

— Signs in the Wheel Park will list COVID-19 symptoms and guests also will be asked to confirm their health statuses in person. 

— Pavement markers will placed to guide guests to stay at least six feet apart to maintain social distancing. 

— Gondola loading and unloading cycles will be spaced to allow physical distancing between guests and between cleaning cycles. 

— The Wheel’s gondolas will be sanitized between groups. Clean Team members will continuously sanitize surfaces on and around the Wheel, in the Wheel Park and at the other attractions. 

— All team members will be required to wash and sanitize their hands frequently. Hand sanitizing stations will be in place throughout the Wheel Park.

UNION STATION’S OUTDOOR ATTRACTIONS: The Mini-Golf course and St. Louis Carousel in the Wheel Park at Union Station also will open for guests on June 8, 2020. 

Golf equipment will be cleaned between guest uses. Signs will be placed to remind guests to continue social distancing. Entry to the golf course will be regulated to keep the appropriate number of players on the course. Golf pencils and scoring pads will be disposable. 

At the Carousel, queue lines are marked to allow for social distancing. Attendants will use visual checks from a distance to ensure safety compliance and verbal instructions will be given from a distance to explain how to properly fasten the seat belt. Chaperones will be required to fasten the lap belts of younger guests and assist them off and on to the carousel animals. Each animal will be thoroughly disinfected after each use and the amount of riders will be limited to allow for proper social distancing and spacing.

The Wheel Park playground will not be open at this time.

Tables in the Wheel Park and chairs surrounding the Union Station Lake will be spaced to allow for proper social distancing. The Lake Fire and Light Show will resume on June 8.

More information is available at www.thestlouiswheel.com.

Mad Science Virtual STL Summer Camps!!!

It’s that time of year again, when schools are out and summer starts peeking it’s head out from behind the Arch. With school ending this year in a dramatic fashion all across the region, I have started to see exciting new opportunities pop up for kids to still have fun and participate in fun and engaging programs from the safety of their living rooms.

This summer your children can participate in some very exciting virtual summer camps provided by Mad Science STL!

During the month of June Mad Science STL is offering 4 different virtual summer camps. The camps run 3 hours each day for 5 days. A total of 1-1.5 hours is spent on an active Zoom call, but that time is not consecutive.

The time on zoom call will be spent watching experiments, learning about different science concepts, listening to instructions, and discussing what your children think and what they’ve learned.

The time off the zoom call is spent doing the activities and experiments. The majority of materials are provided by Mad Science, parents can choose to either pick up materials from our office or have them delivered/mailed for $7.50! A bargain if you ask me!!!

Other materials parents will need to provide are fairly commonplace materials such as a cup, a book, or a piece of paper. While campers are working on their activities, the Mad Scientist will be available to chat and provide clarification as needed.

Mad Science STL is offering 4 different Virtual Camps for the Month of June. Space Alien Traveler, Rocketry, and Secret Agent Lab are open to rising K-5th graders. Our 4th camp is Mad Inventors and is open to rising 2nd-5th grades.

For most campers, they should be able to participate independently, but for Rocketry, Kindergarteners and 1st graders will need help from a parent or older sibling. 

A little more about the different camps…

Space Alien Travelers June 1st-5th: Take on the role of a space alien visiting earth for the first time. Find out about how earth’s sports work. Explore the animals and nature on earth. Learn how humans communicate with secret messages. Discover how earthlings can protect their planet. Finally, it’s time to take off into space to return home as we explore space!

In this camp, campers will explore nature, physics, space, and secret messages. All of the experiments and activities will relate back to the campers being Aliens, exploring the mysteries of Earth.

A young mad scientist waiting to see what happens!

Rocketry Camp: June 8th-12th Your child’s in for an action-packed week focused entirely on rockets and the physics of rocket flight! After learning the model rocket safety code, campers will build different types of rockets and watch exciting rocket launches. We recommend this camp for children entering 2nd – 5th grade; however, children entering kindergarten and 1st grade will enjoy it as well with a little more help from a grownup at home. Note: If you wish to for your child to launch their own rockets (with adult supervision), you will need to purchase a launch kit from an online source or hobby shop. All fueled launches during camp will be virtual.

Campers will learn about different parts of rockets. They’ll also learn about NASA and how launched rockets are recovered. (K-1 campers will need help from a parent or older sibling)

Secret Agent Lab June 15th-19th: Ever dream of becoming a secret agent? We’ll start with the basics: Campers will get their very own spy glasses! Step into the shoes of a detective as you uncover the science involved in evidence gathering and analysis! Figure out the science of forensics in a hands-on look at crime scenes! Become a super spy and learn clever ways of performing tasks as we take a hands-on investigation of the science that spies use!

Campers will create secret message, find clues, gather evidence, and learn all about spy technology.

Mad Inventors June 22nd-26th: Creative Contraption Warning! This is a camp designed by you–the Inventor! Each day you’ll be given a series of challenges which must be overcome using basic materials, simple machines, tips from the world of famous inventors, and the most important thing of all–your mind. With a little bit of ingenuity, you’ll construct catapults and forts and then lay siege, fabricate a winning design and assemble a working light saber. While Thomas Edison said invention is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, this camp is 100% fun!

Campers will create duct tape castles to defend, explore hovercrafts, and learn about all different types of flight. This camp is full of creativity!

Be sure to sign up today with Mad Science STL as spaces are filling up quickly! Check out their social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and elsewhere for more info and to see some amazing photos, projects, and interviews!