How Your Home Can Affect Your Health

Your home is supposed to be a reprieve from the outdoor world. It’s a place to relax, make memories, and all-around build up the energy we need to be an active part of the world. Alas, while that’s the plan, it’s not always how it goes. If we’re not careful, our homes can become detrimental to our health. Some of these issues can be handled easily; others, you’ll have more difficulty fixing, because they’re more of a permanent feature of the property. We take a look at a few of the big ones below.

Source: Pexels.com

 

Quality of Sleep

 

In an ideal world, we’d all get a solid six to eight hours of sleep each night. But of course, this isn’t an ideal world. While some of the issues we have with getting a good night’s sleep of our own making – such as too much screen time, for instance – others we can lay squarely at the home. For example, if the property is too loud or too bright, then you can’t expect too many perfect nights in the land of nod. And that can lead to issues that include high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. If this is the case, invest in blackout curtains, and soundproof your home. It’s not as difficult as you might think.

 

Damp Issues

 

It wouldn’t be pleasant to live in a home that’s damp, but the consequences can be greater than simply “uncomfortable,” if that damp turns into mold. If you’re sensitive to molds, then you can expect to have throat and nose irritations, and other reactions. It can also exacerbate problems for those people who lung illnesses. You can prevent mold by cutting off any water leaks as soon as you notice them. If you already have mold, have it professionally removed.

 

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

 

It’s possible that there are creatures living in your home that are making you sick, and we’re not talking about your kids, who often bring whatever bug is going around the playground back to your home. We’re talking about insects such as cockroaches and bed bugs, who can live in our homes undetected. If you suspect that you’ve got unwanted guests in your home, then it’s important that you call a pest control company as soon as possible. They won’t go away by themselves if they consider your house to be the perfect environment for living.

 

Mental Health

 

We’re understanding more and more about the things we need to be happy, and the things that can make our mental health plummet. Sometimes, people are living in homes that are compromising their state of mind, and don’t even know it. If your home is too dark, or too cramped, for instance, then you may struggle. It’s all about thinking about what you need and making sure that your home has it.

 

Where You Live

 

Alas, some things are beyond your control. If you live near a busy road, then you might heart troubles. Conversely, if you live by the coast, you may be given better all-around health.

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Great Tips For New Freelancers & Small Business Owners

As a freelancer or home business owner, you are in charge of absolutely everything. It can feel like you have been gifted with the most freedom you’ve ever had – but with great freedom comes great organization. Having the freedom to create your working week is a great thing. But, you need to have systems in place that allow you to enjoy that freedom and stay as productive as possible.

There are of course going to be plenty of days where the system doesn’t feel like it’s working, or that you just don’t feel like working – and that is fine too. But, to help you have less of those days, and more ultra-productive smooth ones, here are a few tips.

Photo by MARVIN TOLENTINO on Unsplash

Work With How You Work

Some people are night owls, some people are early birds, and others work in dribs and drabs throughout the day. If you can see a pattern in how you work, use that as the basis for your schedule. There is little point in putting a working routine together that starts at 6am if you aren’t functioning at your best till 12. By choosing to work in the times, you are most productive you won’t waste any time getting things done. If you have any staff or work with other freelancers, you’ll also want to implement a system to schedule your employees with ease too. As well as time routine, you could think about what times your breaks would work best, could you prep your lunch the night before?

It is all about making your day run as smoothly as possible and maximizing your working time.

Set Timers

Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” – does that sound familiar? Probably. Most freelancers are guilty of letting their days run long because they don’t set solid time limits on their work. It might sound counterproductive – getting all of this freedom then tying yourself into timetables and timers, but by maximizing your working time, you’re going to getting a lot more free time. A few great options are:

  • Be Focused: Allows you to set up a task list with a time to complete it and a work interval in between each. Typically it sits in 15-minute slots with 5-minute intervals until the long interval of 30 minutes. You tick each task as you complete and it moves on to the next one.
  • Office Time: This one has expense tracking, Apple calendar syncing ability, summary graphs, and a simple invoicing system. Perfect for keeping track of hourly contracts.
  • Time Panther: This has a brilliant break down of projects and clients. So you can tally up how much time you have spent on each, making invoicing for hours spent super easy. It has timers to keep track of all of the activity, and it can even tell you when you were working productively or when you were surfing facebook.

Lists Are Your Friend

Each and every morning, you should make a checklist. You might like to tie this moment into when you have your morning coffee (or shake if that is what you do), think about what you need to achieve. Be specific too. Rather than just write ‘deal with emails’ write something closer to ‘respond to XYZ, contact ABC and unsubscribe from X newsletter’. Setting actionable goals will help you feel accomplished. Transfer that written list into your digital time tracking app, set your timers up and away you go.

Goals are Goals

The lists are part of you setting daily goals. As well as daily, you should think about setting goals for the next 3/6/9/12 months. Think about what it is that you would like to achieve. Want to create some downloads? How about complete an eBook? Learn a new skill? You’d be wise to write down a financial goal too. Visualizing your goals, and keeping them somewhere as a visible reminder will help you stay on track. Once you have written down your goals, think about the actionable steps that you’ll need to take. If you don’t already have one, then you should put together a business plan or at the very least a vision for your venture. For two reasons, every business should have an idea of the very long-term goals, and the purpose which they serve. And, on the very hard days, the vision is a nice reminder of why you started this in the first place.

Don’t Get Bogged Down

When you are implementing new working systems, it can be all too easy to pile on too much work and not manage to finish any of it to the standard you want. Or, in your excitement, you take on more clients than you had room for. Be sensible with what you have the time to do without exhausting yourself. Overwhelm is a real thing and can hit particularly hard when you are the only person who can be held accountable.

End of The Day

When you send that last email or put the final period at the end of the sentence, and is time to switch from work to personal take stock of the day. Have a look at your to-do list from the day, what did you accomplish, what needed more time than you had thought? Where there any tasks that you keep putting off? By taking a moment to talk about what you didn’t get done, you will begin to streamline your process even more.

Now is a good time to check things that track your productivity vs procrastination, like the Time Panther app mentioned above. How can you eliminate those distractions?

If you haven’t been able to find a system that works for you, now might be a good time to head to Google and check out some productivity planners. You might just find the one that makes a serious impact.

Keep it Neat

Having a neat filing system that works is very important. The earlier on you have a system for your files the better. As a freelancer or small business owner, you need to be able to access things quickly and easily. If a client were to call and ask for some specific information, but you couldn’t find the file – either on your computer or a paper file, it doesn’t look great. These are some of the documents that you should make sure are within easy reach and in good order.

  • Receipts (although you might like to get an app to manage these)
  • Invoices (have a paper and digital copy of all of them)
  • Tax Forms
  • VAT documents
  • Legal Business Documents
  • Client Project Files
  • Accounts

To be extra organized, use color coding for all of you files, and have the corresponding folders and email markers for that client on your emails. Anything over a year old that you no longer need to refer to, place in an archive folder. Remember to keep any financial details or sensitive information in a safe filing cabinet with a lock.

Make Friends

The joy of the internet is that even if you are really pushed for time to meet in person, there will be numerous online message boards or groups that have the same interest as you. If you work in marketing or PR for example, search for groups that meet your needs. You can use them to socialize, to chat with others, ask for advice and maybe even pick up some work. Building a community of people with similar goals is great for motivation.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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Making The Most Of Quality Time With Your Kids

It’s no secret that life with kids is busy and hectic but full of fun and adventure too; you wouldn’t change them for the world. It’s crucial that you’re in a great routine with your little ones so that they feel happy and secure, and they know what to expect. However, sometimes the routine can overtake the fun stuff; and spontaneity can get pushed aside, and replaced with homework, dinner time, and bedtime. Therefore, when it comes to the weekends or holidays; it’s time to ensure that you step away from the rutt, and make an effort to enjoy more quality time with your children as they grow up (which will happen way too fast). Of course, rules, boundaries, and routine are vital to the health and well being of both child and parent, but there is definitely no harm in mixing things up a little and making some great memories together. The following are some ideas and inspiration for busy parents who want to focus more on spending quality free time with their kids.

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Making The Most Of Free Time

Free time with your little one is your chance to teach and educate them about all the stuff they don’t learn at school. Perhaps it’s about getting outside and appreciating the environment more, or a trip to where you grew up so that they can learn more about their family history; whatever you choose to do, it will be time well spent. Therefore, it’s worth thinking about how best to spend your free time, writing a list of places you’d like to visit and things you want to do, and going over in your mind the values you want to instil in your kids. Sometimes, getting it all down on paper and writing a to-do list, or typing stuff out can help you implement things and make them happen.

Appreciating Special Moments

Kids might not remember the exact zoo, park, or funfair you took them to, but they’ll pick up on how they felt at the time, and specific things you’ve done or said to them. Therefore, make sure that you’re praising them for great behavior, noticing the little things they do and have to say, and, take loads of photos! Even on an average morning, when everyone’s trying to eat breakfast and get ready for school; make it a moment to remember and take a picture. If you’re sat together, try to help them learn something; whether you’re teaching them songs from musician authority on their ukulele, or helping with their reading, they’ll appreciate and remember these special moments where you bond. Your kids know how much you love them, so give them plenty more memories, skills, and quality time that they can take into their future and show and teach their kids.

Managing Times And Routines

It’s tough to juggle life and all the things that kids bring, but with a little planning; your time can be divided up successfully. You can utilize a large monthly calendar, and start popping down the things you’re going to do, how much it may (or may not) cost, and then begin working out a plan for each specific day. Whatever your parenting situation may be; you can still utilize a day plan, and break things up hour by hour, which will help you have fun, while you stick to the eating and sleeping routines.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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Top 5 Challenges for Students and Their Parents

When it comes to education there are some challenges that are simply unique across the world. Students in England and China and India and onwards around the globe can face the same challenges!

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Yes, there also some challenges which are broadly regional and there even many which are restricted to specific countries, even individual cities.

This list however has been put together in a spirit to togetherness, to recognize the common challenges, stresses and concerns that unite students all over the world – and their long suffering parents too!

Time

One thing that many students and their parents can certainly agree on is that often it can often seem as if there is just not enough time in the day! Between studying and chores, homework and often part time employment too it can sometimes seem like just too much to fit into one day.

This is why time management is so important – and it is a skill that is used by the majority of successful students and their parents all over the world. It is of course also important to schedule sufficient down time so students can step away from their studies every now and then to clear their heads – which can be important in combating out next challenge.

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Stress

Being a student, whether at school or college/university level can be some of the most stressful times our lives. Anyone of us who has passed through this stage of our lives can attest to this fact. The combination of all the things that make up this list can seem like a crushing pressure bearing down on students. Plus, this all comes at such a young age that the student is still often growing as a person, developing the skills that as adult help us deal better with stresses of everyday life.

It’s no wonder then that both parents and students around the world are acutely aware of the challenge of stress.

Achieving the Best

One of the key challenges facing students is to achieve the best in their education. At the same time parents can feel the same challenge to provide the background support required to nurture a stable and effective support network for their child.

Whilst this is of course understandable – the whole point of being a student is to receive the best education and so have the best start as they move onto their adult lives – there are of course lots of thing parents can do to help.

Everything from bringing in outside support – for example seeking Math tuition help from reputable tutors (click here) – for the student who may need a little extra help to just providing a warm, happy and well lit home that supports the student in their studies.

Staying Focussed

It can be hard for any of us to maintain complete focus all of the time. Yet this does seem to be something that is often demanded of students.

Whether it is guilt from parents that they are not studying enough to teachers and lecturers assigning too many projects and home assignments, it can seem as if a student must study 24 hours a day to cover everything.

Or at least, that is how it can feel! The truth is that if a student can remain focused for sufficient periods they will probably be ok – and maintaining that focus can often be a challenge both for students and for parents. With so many distractions in the world not to mention other commitments away from studying it’s not surprise that staying focused on their work is a challenge faced by many students the world over.

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Keeping Perspective & Balance

Finally, one of the biggest challenges that students and parents face is simply to try to keep a sense of perspective. As we have outlined above, there a range of universal challenges that face both students and their parents – and this list is by no means exhaustive!

It’s therefore important that we keep some perspective. Yes, education is of course extremely important. But so to is having a happy, healthy childhood and adolescence that, as much as possible, attempts to minimize stress. Keeping a healthy balance that maintains this can be the hardest challenge of them all – but also the most worthwhile.

Annabelle is part of the Content and Community team at SmileTutor, sharing valuable content to their own community and beyond.

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