Smart Ways to Be Prepared for a Family Emergency

Smart Ways to Be Prepared for a Family Emergency

Smart Ways to Be Prepared for a Family Emergency

Life is full of surprises. This is why it is essential to be ready for any type of emergency. Here are some ways to effectively prepare for family emergencies.

1. Consider Your Family’s Unique Needs

When preparing for an emergency, the first step is to familiarize yourself with your surroundings.  Consider what types of weather events are common in your local area. This way, you can tailor your plan to these specific conditions.

Also, think about which family members require special accommodations. Younger children or elderly relatives may need assistance when evacuating your home. Also, take into account your family’s dietary restrictions and medical history.

2. Make a Disaster Supply Kit

Having all your emergency supplies in one place is essential for a quick getaway. You should try to pack only one or two lightweight bags.

Here are some of the main items to include in your bag:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries

Make sure to keep the bag in a spot you will remember. Also, update it periodically as your family needs change.

3. Know Where to Go

If a weather-related emergency occurs, you will need a safe place to go. You want to figure out where that place is ahead of time.

Start with designating spaces inside your home to take shelter. You also want a have a meeting spot outside your house in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire. Make sure you plan where to go if you need to evacuate. You want to have the route mapped out beforehand.

4. Stay Connected

Come up with a family communication plan. This should cover how you will stay updated on emergency alerts. It will also cover how you will stay in contact with other family members.

Know your household members’ emergency numbers. Have these saved on your phone and written down. Also, save the numbers of your local police stations and the nearest hospital.

Make sure to designate someone to be your out-of-area emergency contact. This person should be easier to reach since they won’t be affected by the crisis. Ensure all family members keep in touch with them.

Also, consider letting others know when you have reached a safe location. Here are some ways to notify people of your safety:

  • Update your Facebook status
  • Use Apple’s Find My app
  • Use Google’s Trusted Contacts
  • Use the American Red Cross app

5. Protect Your Pets

Suppose you have pets? Be sure to incorporate them into your plan as well. When deciding where to relocate during an emergency, keep in mind pet-friendly hotels. Also, add food and items for your furry friends inside your supply kit.

Here are some other ways to keep your pets safe:

  • ID your pet
  • Take your pet when you evacuate
  • Contact hotels ahead of time
  • Arrange plans for if you’re not home
  • Close off unsafe areas your pet may try to hide in

6. Write Down and Practice Your Plan

Once you determine where to go and what you will need, write down the plan. Create detailed instructions for every possible situation, such as hurricanes or fires.

Then, have your family review the plans and practice them. Meet up in your designated safe areas and then drive to your evacuation location.

7. Review Your Insurance Plan

Before an emergency occurs, you want to make sure you have the right coverage. Some insurance policies may not protect you from floods or earthquakes. You want to ensure you’re covered for weather emergencies that commonly occur in your area. Also, know how to file a claim with your insurance carrier.

Also, consider investing in life insurance to be further prepared. To buy life insurance, a medical exam is usually part of the process. This helps to verify your current health information.

8. Keep Important Documents Safe

Make sure you have all your essential documents in one place. Put them in a waterproof and fireproof evacuation box. Make sure you keep them in a spot where you will remember and have easy access.

Here are some of the primary documents to consider including in the box:

  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security card
  • Marriage certificate
  • Passport
  • Driver’s license

9. Update Your Home With Safety Features

Make sure you have a smoke detector and fire extinguisher inside your house. This will make sure it can quickly detect and address a fire emergency. Regularly check the batteries in your smoke detectors to stay prepared.

Here are some other safety features to consider installing:

  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Heat detectors
  • Security system
  • Deadbolt locks
  • Emergency radio

10.  Work With Your Neighbors

During a crisis, you want to lean on your community for support — this is why you want to work out a plan ahead of time. You and your neighbors can share food and other resources.

Here are some tips for working with your community during an emergency:

  • Create a neighborhood communication plan
  • Help those with special needs, such as the elderly or people with disabilities
  • Make a plan for taking care of children if a parent isn’t home
  • Learn the response plans of your children’s schools

Preparing for Emergencies

We can’t predict every situation, especially when it comes to the weather. This is why having a family emergency plan is essential. Your family should be familiar with it and practice it annually. If you feel like you don’t know where to start, consider these tips.

Photo by Emma Bauso from Pexels

8 Natural Ways to Manage Anxiety

8 Natural Ways to Manage Anxiety

More than 40 million U.S. adults have an anxiety disorder. Yet, less than 37% of them ever receive professional medical treatment. That isn’t to say they don’t receive any treatment at all, though. In fact, many people rely on natural solutions to manage their anxiety and alleviate related symptoms.

If you don’t feel especially inclined to go to therapy or take prescriptions either, these remedies might work for you, too.

1. Breathe Deep

Many people experience chest tightening, shortness of breath and an increased heart rate when battling anxiety. If they aren’t able to manage these symptoms, they could cause a full-blown panic attack. Luckily, deep breathing exercises can help calm you down when you’re facing stressful situations.

When you feel tensions start to rise, take a few deep breaths and focus on lengthening each exhale. Doing so will relax the parasympathetic nervous system and prevent you from hyperventilating. Breathing from your diaphragm or practicing pranayama may also help reduce anxiety and related symptoms.

2. Try Aromatherapy

While you’re focused on your breath, why not inhale some mood-boosting scents? Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils to help you relax, reduce anxiety and improve your overall sense of wellbeing. Apply a few drops of oil to your wrists, a lava bead bracelet or your pillow before heading to bed. A diffuser can also aid in dispersing scents throughout your home. Choose lavender, ylang ylang, grapefruit, clary sage or bergamot oil for best results.

3. Meditate

Meditation involves the practice of mindfulness and can effectively alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Find a quiet, comfortable spot to sit, stand or lie down. Then, close your eyes and observe your breath. Notice each thought that pops into your head and allow them to pass without reacting. Eventually, this practice will help you find a sense of calm so your emotions don’t spiral out of control when troubles arise.

4. Plan for the Future

If your worries stem from situations within your control, you could minimize related anxiety by taking initiative and planning ahead. For instance, those who work in hazardous industries like construction might worry about what will happen to their families if something were to happen to them. In this case, purchasing a life insurance policy would give them at least some peace of mind because their family would receive a death benefit in the event of their passing.

Because money — or a lack thereof — is a major stressor for many Americans, you might also make and stick to a tight budget. Doing so will keep your spending habits in check so you can build an emergency fund and a bigger savings account. Experts recommend saving enough to cover three to six months’ worth of basic living expenses to best prepare and minimize finance-related anxieties.

5. Ditch Caffeine

If you suffer from chronic anxiety, most doctors will advise you to stay away from caffeinated beverages like coffee and energy drinks. That’s because caffeine stimulates you flight or fight response and can cause nervousness and jitters. Ultimately, these effects can exacerbate mental health issues like anxiety and even cause panic attacks in people with panic disorder.

Luckily, there are other ways to boost your energy levels. For instance, going for a brisk walk, connecting with nature, taking a power nap and staying hydrated can all help you stay awake and alert. Plus, you won’t experience a sugar or caffeine crash later.

6. Try CBD

Cannabidiol oil — or CBD — has become increasingly popular in recent years, largely thanks to its ability to treat a wide variety of ailments, including anxiety. This hemp-derived oil contains little to no tetrahydrocannabinol, so you won’t experience a high. Instead, you’ll likely notice a sense of calm and clarity that enables you to focus. You can find CBD products in many stores, and it’s often available in tinctures, gummies, chocolate and lotions.

7. Use Herbs

Prescription drugs like beta-blockers and benzodiazepines often come with unwanted side effects, which is why many people turn to herbal remedies to treat anxiety. Chamomile, valerian, lavender, passionflower, kava kava and ashwagandha are just a few of the most effective herbs. If consumed on a regular basis, they can help regulate your stress response and reduce the severity of generalized anxiety disorder relapses. Brew these herbs into teas or use tinctures, creams and tablets to experience their healing powers.

8. Name Your Emotions

Sometimes, the best way to manage your anxiety is to put your feelings into words. Whether you’d rather write everything down in a journal or talk to a friend about your fears, giving voice to your anxieties will make them a little less powerful and overwhelming. Naming your emotions will also help expose irrational fears so you can work through them without letting them overpower you and dictate your reactions.

Knowing When to Ask for Help

Of course, there are only so many natural remedies for anxiety, and they don’t work for everyone. So, if you try a few and don’t see any results, your best bet is to connect with a doctor or therapist. They’ll be able to assess your symptoms, offer a diagnosis and prescribe treatment. Remember, there’s no shame in asking for help and doing so might be more effective than any natural remedy.

Cover Photo by KoolShooters from Pexels

Show Your Classic Car in SoCal

Show Your Classic Car in SoCal

While we didn’t get the chance to travel to car shows for most of 2020, things are starting to go back to normal. If your quarantine project was restoring a classic car — or you’ve got one in your collection that you’ve been itching to show off — events are starting to show up on the calendar again. If you’re in the SoCal area, here are a few places where you can showcase your classic cars without traveling too far afield.

1. Rendezvous Back to Route 66 – Oct 2, 2021

For decades, a four-day event called the Route 66 Rendezvous brought half a million people into the San Bernardino area. After the event lost the support of the city, the local Chamber of Commerce put together a two-day car show that allows classic car owners to showcase their rides by driving through the streets of San Bernardino. For $40, you can register your car and join the fun. This show accepts custom cars and motorcycles from every year, so register soon before the deadline passes.

2. National Grand Roadster Show – Jan 28-30, 2022

This show used to be called the Oakland Roadster Show and while it may have dropped Oakland from its name, it’s still one of the oldest running indoor car shows in the world. Show vehicles can compete for awards and even if you’re not in the running for the title of America’s Most Beautiful Roadster, you may want to consider registering for the weekend event that goes along with the National Grand Roadster Show, the Annual Grand Daddy Drive-In. The event’s been cancelled for 2021 due to it’s January date but it’s currently on the calendar for the beginning of 2022 so you’ve got plenty of time to prepare.

3. The Classic at Pismo Beach – Sept 10-12, 2021

Is there anything better than spending a weekend on a California beach? Why not add 24 square blocks packed to the eaves with classic cars? This three-day car show has happened every year since 1986 and over the last three decades has raised money for countless charities. Registration will set you back $115 but spaces are limited so if you want to showcase your classic car at this iconic event, make sure you register soon.

4. The Valley Nationals – October 13-14, 2021

October is a popular month for SoCal car shows. Every year, the Valley Nationals happens, hosted by the Hot Rod Coalition, showcasing more than 500 classic cars and bringing together car enthusiasts, owners and vendors in one of the biggest events of the year. The Valley Nationals aren’t limited to classic cars, welcoming all sorts of cars from classics and customs to hot rods and dragsters and everything in between. Pre-event registration is $35 for each vehicle, with the price going up to $40 if you choose to register at the event.

5. Main Street Classic Car Show – Fridays, Continual

If the rest of the shows on this don’t fit your schedule, why not opt for a show that happens every single week, rain or shine? There are roughly 50 parking spaces on Historic Main Street in Garden Grove, so finding a place to park is often challenging. It also means that you’ll be part of a rotating cast of characters that will change every week as people drop out and new car enthusiasts take their place. Both admission and vehicle registration is free for this weekly event, but you might want to check in with the event organizers to ensure that you’ve got a place to park.

6. Gassers 7 – August 28th, 2021

Head over to the Automobile Driving Museum at the end of August for the Gassers 7 Rev Fest, the 7th annual show that focuses on a love of classic cars, from originals to dragsters and anything that screams both speed and style. Parking is first-come-first-served and vehicle registration starts at $20 before the event and climbs to $25 when it’s time to find a parking space.

+ 1 — Join a Car Club

There are so many car shows going on in SoCal every week that we could write a book on it — and then have to keep updating it. If none of these cars shows tick the boxes for you, consider joining a local car club. In addition to getting you in touch with car enthusiasts in your area, these clubs often host their own shows or have a network of shows that they attend. It may not extend beyond your local area but it can be a great way to network and make the most of your weekends instead of scrambling to find a show. Use the resources you have available.

Get Out There and Show Off Your Favorite Classic Car

Whether you’re planning a trip to one of the biggest shows in the state or just sticking to local drive-throughs, the world is returning to normal and it’s time to get out there and start showing off your favorite classic cars.

Cover shot from: Nordic Overdrive

10 Things SoCal Homeowners Should Consider

10 Things SoCal Homeowners Should Consider

There is nothing quite like the beauty of southern California living. However, when you buy a house, there are multiple factors to consider. Here are some things to keep in mind as you settle into your new home.

1. Use Alternative Ways to Cool Your Home

 For those hotter summer months, you may find yourself cranking up the heat. Keep in mind this can increase your energy bills. To reduce costs, consider installing a whole-house fan. They blow out hotter air from the attic and pull in cooler outside air from the windows.

They also can help your air conditioner run more effectively. Whole house fans are also more energy-efficient while providing constant air circulation.

Along with these fans, here are some other ways to help cool down your home:

  • Close your blinds
  • Set your ceiling fans to rotate counterclockwise
  • Insulate your attic and walls
  • Do your baking and washing at night
  • Shut doors to unused rooms

2. Fix Your Leaky Water Heater

Your drain valves may leak occasionally, but these can easily be replaced. Although, when your tanks begin to leak, this could cause more significant issues. Common causes of leaks include older age, loose drain valves, or too much pressure in the tank.

Water tanks are typically made of glass-lined steel. When the glass becomes cracked, the steel can start to rust, creating puddles on your floor. If left untreated, the cracks can continue to grow.

Once you identify a leak, call a specialist immediately. This will prevent future damage and save you money on expensive repairs down the road. Plus, you can use some of the cash saved to take your family on a trip to Disneyland.

3. Lock Your Windows and Doors During the Day

When rushing off to work in the morning, you may sometimes forget to lock your door. You might even want to keep the windows open to let in some fresh air while you’re away. To protect your personal belongings, lock your doors whenever you leave your house.

This is especially important if you live in a desirable neighborhood, such as Santa Monica.

Here are some other tips to help further secure your home:

  • Secure the door
  • Lock the Windows
  • Light up Your Landscape
  • Set up a security system
  • Lockdown your wifi network

4. Remember to Replace Your Furnace Filters

If you live a more fast-paced lifestyle it can be hard to remember to replace your furnaces.  However, leaving them untouched can lead to poorer indoor air quality and higher energy bills.

To help you keep up with maintenance, consider pre-buying a year’s supply of filters. You want to change them at least every three months, depending on your strainer type.

5. Shut Off Your Main Water Valve When You Go On Vacation

It is essential to know the location of your main water valve to avoid flooding. Being able to access and turn it off quickly saves you valuable time if any issues arise. It’s also good to know the location of the valves when you’re going on a family trip. Turning it off protects your personal belongings in case a pipe bursts while you’re gone.

6. Know Where Your Property Lines Are

When owning a property, you want to be aware of where it begins and ends. This information comes in handy if you want to build a fence or plant trees on your residence. Keep in mind; you may be required to have a fence if you install a pool in your backyard. To find out where your property lines are, you can request a plot plan from city hall.

7. Go For a Timeless Design

Remodeling can be a costly and time-consuming project. To help minimize renovations, design with styles remaining popular over the years. While you may want your home to feature updated designs, remember trends change over time.

Here are some timeless design tips to consider incorporating into your home:

  • Design with symmetry in mind
  • Incorporate classic patterns, like botanicals, stripes and plaids
  • Decorate with furniture that has clean lines
  • Remember less is more
  • Paint walls with natural colors

However, you should add your personal touches to your space. Just keep in mind you’re style preferences may change with time.

8. Always Measure When Buying New Appliances or Fixtures

This is a critical step to ensure your appliances fit within the designated space. It also saves you the hassle of returning the item to the store and purchasing a new one. Before going to the store, measure your current appliance and the space the new one will go.

9. Consider Installing Solar Panels

Solar panels are a more eco-friendly way to power your home. Plus, you might as well take advantage of all that sunshine. Along with the environmental impact, you can also save money. Since the panels use renewable energy, your electricity bill may decrease. You can even earn some extra cash. There is a 26% tax credit for solar systems installed on residential properties.

Before you purchase your solar panels, consider these different factors:

  • Solar panel efficiency
  • Durability
  • Ratings and reviews
  • Warranties
  • Overall quality

10. Use a Programmable Thermostat

To keep your indoor temperature comfortable, consider installing a smart thermostat. This device allows you to set your ideal temperature schedule. Also, the thermostat helps to save energy reducing your heating and cooling expenses. Some models can even be controlled by your smartphone, providing more convenience.

What to Consider When Owning a Home in SoCal

Living in California has many perks, such as warm weather and a more luxurious lifestyle. Although, when it comes to purchasing a home their multiple things to keep in. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind as a homeowner.

7  Ways to Manage Your Family’s Health This Summer

7 Ways to Manage Your Family’s Health This Summer

Most parents know to keep healthy snacks, sunscreen and yard games around during the summer months. However, there are so many other things parents can do to ensure their kids have a safe, healthy summer. While these habits and lifestyle changes may be small, they’ll ultimately change your perspective on wellness and help you discover better ways to keep your kids healthy and happy. 

Cultivate healthy habits now by using these smart tips all summer long. 

1. Reapply Sunscreen

You already know that sunburns can increase your risk of developing cancer. That fact alone is enough to spray the kids with sunscreen. However, one application likely won’t be enough to protect your family if you’ll be outside for a few hours. 

Reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating. Choose one with an SPF of at least 60 and wear protective clothing if the UV index is extra high. These additional precautions will prevent burns and subsequent skin damage. 

2. Manage Portions 

You serve all the right food groups so your kids have healthy options at mealtime. But are you paying attention to portion size? Generally, you should choose foods every day from the following :

  • Two to three cups of vegetables
  • One and a half to two cups of fruit
  • Five to eight cups of grains
  • Three cups of dairy
  • Five to six ounces of protein foods 
  • Five to seven teaspoons of fats and oils 

So, if you’re serving more macaroni and cheese than fruits and vegetables or your little ones are sneaking extra portions of the former, it’s time to focus on improving your plating. 

3. Take Care of Your Gut 

Good health starts in your stomach, and the same goes for your kids. That’s because your gut is home to millions of bacteria that form a microbiome. This group of microorganisms holds the key to digesting and utilizing food, a process that can affect your entire body. 

Therefore, it’s important that you care for your gut by eating fermented foods like Greek yogurt, sauerkraut and pickles. If your kids are picky eaters, try probiotic and prebiotic supplements instead. Regardless of how you go about boosting those good bacteria, you’ll surely experience a plethora of health benefits once you start prioritizing gut health. 

4. Stick to a Bedtime 

Most parents let their kids stay up late into the night during the summer months. However, children still need eight to 13 hours of sleep each night, depending on their age — and regardless of whether school is in session. 

Establish a bedtime for yourself and your kids and try to stick to it by developing a nighttime ritual. Waking up at the same time every morning may help, too. By the time this new schedule becomes routine, everyone will already be experiencing better sleep and happier, healthier outlooks. 

5. Don’t Forget to Floss 

While you’re at it, make flossing part of your family’s nightly routine. This simple yet oft-forgotten habit is crucial to your dental health and hygiene as it protects against plaque buildup and subsequent tooth decay. 

Teach your kids how to floss by modeling the behavior yourself. Younger kids might need extra help as they develop their fine motor skills. However, if you want to boost their independence, try having them use y-shaped floss picks. With a little practice and patience, they’ll soon be flossing their teeth all on their own. 

6. Try Mind-Body Exercises

Whether your family works out together or not, it’s important to incorporate mind-body exercises into your lives. These exercises will help you use your thoughts to gain influence over your body’s physical responses. With practice, your whole family may experience better sleep, less stress and a heightened sense of well-being. 

Try a few deep breathing exercises or meditate for a few minutes to develop and deepen this mind-body connection. Yoga, tai-chi and other similar traditions can be beneficial as well. Plus, they’re easy for kids to learn and practice. The more often and consistently they participate, the more apt you’ll be to see positive results. 

7. Take a Proactive Stance 

With more vaccines rolling out every day, now’s the perfect time to schedule your kids’ annual wellness check. This appointment will clue you into any underlying health issues so you can help your children make healthier life choices. 

Ask your pediatrician about routine inoculations and whether or not they recommend the COVID-19 vaccine. Remember to schedule any routine appointments afterward to get ahead of the wellness curve and take a more proactive stance on health care. 

Lead By Example 

The devil’s in the details and, if you want your family to stay healthy and active, you must take the lead. Your kids — and maybe even your spouse — often look to you for direction, so take charge and lead by example. Once they see you prioritizing sunscreen, sleep, gut health and the like, they’ll likely follow suit. With some practice and a little bit of luck, these healthy habits will stick with your little ones well into adulthood.

10 Things to Do Outside in SoCal With Your Family This Spring

10 Things to Do Outside in SoCal With Your Family This Spring

Spring is the perfect time to take advantage of the nice weather and get your whole family outside. Outdoor activities allow you to soak up vitamin D and improve your overall mood. With so much to explore, you and your family can create lifelong memories. Here are 10 activities to do with your family this spring.

1.   Go to Legoland

If your kids enjoy playing with legos, this is the perfect place to keep them entertained. It offers amusement park rides and buildings made out of Legos. In 2019, Legoland received over 15 million visitors spread across its eight parks. Consider checking out the Adventures Club attraction, which takes you on a journey through the Amazon rainforest.

2.   Wander the Carlsbad Flower Fields

If you enjoy looking at beautiful scenery and brightly colored flowers, then this is the place to be. The main attraction is the giant ranunculus with its vibrant hues and fluffy exterior. If you prefer more classic plants, there is even a miniature rose garden.

Visiting this field is an excellent opportunity to teach your kids about nature and increase their appreciation for it. The open space allows them to run around and explore freely.

3.   Hike at Yosemite National Park

Discovering new wildlife, trekking to waterfalls and enjoying scenic views are just a few of the Yosemite National Park’s main attractions. Walking along the trails also encourages your family to engage in physical activity. Exercising allows them to release pent-up energy and improves their mental health.

Plus, the scenery makes for beautiful photo opportunities and Instagram selfies. Along with stunning views, the secluded area allows you to connect with your family with limited distractions.

4.   Check Out Universal Studios

This is the place for hardcore Hollywood movie fans. The studio offers attractions like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Revenge of the Mummy and Jurassic Park the Ride. Be sure to join the Universal Studio Tour to get a behind-the-scenes look at how filmmakers produced some of their classics.

Younger kids will enjoy the interactive dino play area. They can dig for fossils or climb around on the jungle gym.

Universal Studios is the perfect activity when you’re looking for an all-day adventure with your family.

5.   Enjoy the Views at Huntington Beach

This beach provides volleyball nets and basketball courts if you’re up from some family competition. Head to the south end and explore the nature preserve to check out the wildlife. If you’re hungry during the day, hit up the concession stands spread across the beach.

6.   Visit the San Diego Zoo

This attraction is perfect for animal lovers. It offers a wide range of exhibits, from leopards to arctic foxes. However, there is much more to explore. There are also guided bus tours, a botanical garden and a 4D theater.

The zoo puts on animal shows so you can see exotic creatures up close, and this interaction will help your kids learn more about them. They also gain a better appreciation for wildlife conservation.

7.   Spend a Day at Moorpark Farm Center

Moorpark Farm Center offers an authentic farm experience. There are multiple family-friendly attractions, such as wagon rides and an animal center. Also, take a look around the market to pick up fresh produce for your next meal. This is a great way to spend an afternoon and teach your children about where their food comes from.

8.   Explore SeaWorld

Your kids can observe and interact with marine life at SeaWorld in San Diego. It offers amusement park rides for thrill-seekers and live shows for animal lovers, as well as shopping and dining options. In the dolphin encounter tour, a trainer will guide your child as they meet and feed these amazing creatures.

9.   Take a Ride at Go Kart World

If you’re seeking a rush, then you might want to consider this attraction. It offers various driving tracks for all ages. There is a kiddie option that uses battery-operated karts. You can test your skills on the slick track or take a ride on the bumper car pathway.

Go-karting can teach your children better focus and hand-eye coordination. It also demonstrates to them the importance of safety when operating a vehicle.

10.  Show off Your Skills at Golf N’ Stuff

If you’re ever in Norwalk, California, be sure to check out this mini-golf location. It includes 18 holes surrounded by lush landscapes and water features. It also offers rides and attractions, such as bumper boats. Some scenes from the movie “The Karate Kid” were filmed here.

Get Outdoors While Enjoying Family Quality Time

Spending time with your family creates cherished memories. However, at times, it can be challenging to get everyone together. With the warmer weather right around the corner, try these spring outdoor activities to connect with your loved ones.

Does Organic Food Help with Anxiety?

Does Organic Food Help with Anxiety?

Amidst nutrition facts, ingredient lists and dietary claims on food packages, the term organic might seem like just one more thing to decipher at the grocery store. Are those organic eggs and carrots really worth the extra few bucks?

Well, from a physical health standpoint, eating organics won’t make a noticeable difference in your physique. Unfortunately, the media tends to focus on this point, alone, causing many people to overlook organics. Yet, organically grown food can make a big difference in your mental health and overall sense of wellbeing.

What Is Organic Food?

Organic food includes plants and animals that were produced without harmful pesticides, fertilizers, GMOs, antibiotics or hormones. Instead, farmers rely on biological fertilizers and eco-friendly pest management practices to produce a healthy crop and fertile soil year after year. They also use environmentally friendly production practices like water management, no-till farming and habitat maintenance. In doing so, organic farmers enhance the ecosystem and promote biodiversity.

To gain organic certification, a farmer submits an organic system plan to an accredited certifier and undergoes an inspection each year. Farmers must also meet animal health welfare standards, keep a detailed record of all products and abide by all rules that the National Organic Program has put in place to maintain their certification.

Pesticides and Mental Health

Nearly 47% of U.S. adults will battle a mental illness at some point in their lives, and 18% of the population suffers from anxiety each year. In many cases, lifestyle changes, major events and even chemical imbalances in the brain can cause anxiety. However, what you put in your body can also increase your risk of developing this debilitating disorder.

Many conventional farmers use fertilizers and organic insecticide pesticides like organophosphates to protect their crops. Despite some differences, all organophosphates inhibit acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme is responsible for clearing chemicals that transmit signals between brain cells and other parts of the body. If this acetylcholinesterase doesn’t do its job, the pesticide can disrupt the central nervous system.

Over the past few decades, researchers have discovered a link between organophosphates and neuropsychiatric disorders. Some of the most striking evidence comes from instances of short-term, high-level exposure in agricultural workers, veterans of the Gulf War and civilians in the Sarin gas attack on a Tokyo subway. Each of these groups of people have shown high incidences of depression, anxiety, and related neurological impairments.

Now, many scientists surmise that long-term, low-level exposure to this compound can play a role in disorders like anxiety and depression as well. Therefore, eating foods free of these toxic compounds can minimize your risk of developing these mental illnesses.

Which Organics Are Best?

Because organic foods are free of anxiety-inducing pesticides, fertilizers, and insecticides, they can potentially help with anxiety. However, if you don’t want to commit to a fully organic diet, buy foods that will give you the best bang for your buck.

The following foods are especially beneficial for those looking to ease anxiety and live a happy, healthy life.

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are high in selenium, which can reduce inflammation, a common symptom of anxiety. They also contain other antioxidants like vitamin E that can effectively treat anxiety and potentially prevent depression in some people. Consume three to four brazil nuts or no more than 400 micrograms of selenium per day to get 100% of your daily intake.

Eggs

Researchers have begun to link vitamin D deficiency to mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Luckily, you can boost your intake of this essential vitamin by consuming more eggs. Eggs also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that creates serotonin. This chemical neurotransmitter helps regulate mood and can even relieve anxiety.

Dark Chocolate

Although it’s unclear how dark chocolate reduces stress but, experts have found that cocoa can improve mood. Like eggs, chocolate contains high levels of tryptophans. Plus, dark chocolate contains magnesium, an essential nutrient that may reduce symptoms of depression. Aim for 70% or more cocoa when choosing a dark chocolate to reap the most benefits — and minimize sugar intake.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea also works to reduce inflammation and relax the body. It’s also similar to chocolate in that it contains flavonoids, which can reduce anxiety symptoms. The herbal remedy contains antioxidants as well, which help to prevent cell damage and treat mental illnesses like anxiety.

Yogurt

Fermented foods like Greek yogurt can benefit natural gut bacteria and reduce chronic inflammation, a condition that may be partly responsible for anxiety, stress and depression. Look for organic brands that contain living bacteria to really give your brain a boost.

Managing Anxiety Holistically

Of course, eating whole, organic foods can do wonders for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. However, the best way to treat anxiety is with a holistic approach. Treat the whole body to sunshine, fresh air, movement, and meditation. Practice mindfulness, start a gratitude journal, or try traditional Chinese medicine. When paired with a healthy, organic diet, natural remedies can help ease your mind and minimize symptoms of anxiety.

Smart Health Tips to Consider This Spring

Smart Health Tips to Consider This Spring

Spring cleaning is an annual routine where we rid our homes of unnecessary materials that no
longer serve us. You can also apply this method of cleaning to your body. Get your health back
on track this spring to ensure a safe and carefree summer.
If you plan to travel, or your children plan on attending camp, schedule doctors’ appointments
now to reduce stress when planning summer activities. Evaluate your nutrition, exercise routine,
skin, oral health, sleep, mental health, and family history to maximize your well-being this
spring.

Consult a Dietician
Increase your nutrition efficiency by visiting a dietician. One of the most effective ways to aid
your overall health is through your gut. If you or your family members struggle with significant
weight gain or loss, allergies, picky eating, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea, or constipation,
schedule an appointment this spring.
In the U.S., we normalize the intake of fast food and the negative feelings it causes. These
consumption patterns cause a variety of health impacts that you can challenge with a good diet.
Working with a nutrition specialist to craft adequate meals for your family can:
● Reduce their risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
● Reduce their blood pressure.
● Lower their cholesterol.
● Increase their ability to fight illnesses.
● Increase their energy levels and well-being.

Reevaluate Your Exercise Routine
Increase your muscular and skeletal health by switching up your workout routine. To maximize
your fitness, research the benefits of your previous exercise forms and contact a professional
trainer to add in necessary elements.
Your well-rounded workouts should last 30 to 60 minutes. You should engage in them five days
a week. You can also participate in 20 to 60 minutes of vigorous exercise three days a week.
There are additional alterations you can make to increase your happiness while training.
If you typically work out at the gym alone, try taking a communal cycling or yoga class. And if
you cycle in a studio, try biking outside in nature instead. An easy way to change your routine is
by altering your warm-up. Instead of spending 10 minutes on the treadmill, shorten your start
with high-intensity circuits.

Visit a Dermatologist
Less than 20% of the U.S. population visits a dermatologist regularly. If it has been a while since
you or your family members have scheduled an appointment, it may be time to do so.
Many people believe that you need an urgent issue to see a dermatologist, but annual checkups
can improve everyone’s health. If you, or a family member, has a mole, acne, or hair loss, it may
be a good idea to consult a dermatologist. Some topical issues resolve on their own while others
worsen over time, so it’s essential to address them early after identification.

Schedule a Dentist Appointment
Biannual dentist appointments can address issues outside of tooth health. These professionals
completed oral hygiene training, which covers the entire mouth. Before attending your dental
appointment, it can help to jot down concerns you have about your mouth’s health.
Over two-thirds of patients struggle with persistent oral cold sores but never discuss this issue
with their dentist. Rather than waiting for your health to decline, consult your doctor about cold
sores and other abnormalities to maximize the health of your mouth.

Challenge Your Sleep Routine
With spring beginning just days after Daylight Saving, it is a great season to reevaluate your
sleep patterns. A limited number of civilians receive adequate amounts of rest at night.
Signs that you need to alter your or your children’s sleep routines include:
● It takes 30 minutes or more to fall asleep.
● Waking up more than once a night.
● Lying awake for 20 minutes, or more, in the night.
● Skin breakouts or puffy eyes.
● Difficulty concentrating during the day.
You can improve your family’s sleep habits by sticking to a schedule, researching how many
hours of rest each member needs, rearranging bedrooms, and managing worries.

Visit a Therapist
A vital tip for improving your family’s health is to evaluate everyone’s mental status. Mental
health includes emotional, social, and psychological well-being. If you or your family members
are showing signs of struggle in these areas, it may be time to visit a therapist.
Therapy is an effective form of treatment for many underlying struggles that everyone feels.
Staying on top of your family’s mental well-being is a crucial way to keep everyone healthy this
spring.

Learn Your Family’s Health History
A smart way to prevent future illness is to evaluate your family’s health history. Most civilians
have at least one chronic disease present in their immediate or extended family. This increases
your likelihood of developing the same illness later in life.
Asking your parents or other family members about their chronic illness can help you better
prevent your exposure to them. You can also contact doctors of deceased family members to
access medical records for further precautions. When it comes to major medical issues, staying
ahead of the game can allow for a healthy and stress-free future.

It All Starts With a Conversation
If you are living with older family members, they may resist particular medical treatments. Talk
to your family about their increased risks for certain illnesses and the benefits of maximizing
their health. When your family supports one another, it benefits everyone’s well-being.

 Photo by: Vlada Karpovich

Photo by: Vlada Karpovich

 

 

Throw the Best Virtual Party

Throw the Best Virtual Party

7 Ways to Throw the Best Virtual Party This Winter

It might seem a bit strange to host a party over video chat, but COVID-19 has forced everyone to try new things. If you long for the days when you could throw an event with your loved ones, you should try your hand at a virtual gathering. This digital soirée will be one for the books.

Take a look at how to put on a get-together everyone remembers.

1. Pick the Right Platform

First, you need to choose a video chat platform. Certain options have different capabilities and features, so you should find one to suit your specific needs. For example, you might want to invite people who aren’t technically-savvy, which calls for a more straightforward website.

Do a little research to figure out what service will work best. If you know that your guests already use Zoom for work, you might want to pick that platform for accessibility’s sake. It may not seem like a huge deal — but you don’t want to close out anyone accidentally.

Quarantine Birthday party invitation.

2. Send Detailed Invitations

If you want your party to be successful, you need to give people advanced notice. This event won’t be one where people can just show up and have fun. There might be a few technical difficulties you have to address, which requires a little extra preparation.

As you write your email or Facebook invitations, you should emphasize a few points. Be sure to include a link to your virtual space, as well as how to access said platform. It’s smart to highlight features like the mute button, too. Don’t forget to add details about your specific event.

This information will help everyone connect without a hitch.

3. Consider Food and Drink

It might be a digital extravaganza, but you can still “serve” refreshments. If you want to enjoy appetizers with cocktails, you have a few options at your disposal. This component will require preparation to ensure everyone can participate.

Consider what you want to serve. If you’re going to throw a dinner party, you should create a menu with simple recipes each guest can cook. Feel free to add a note such as, “Make your favorite beverage to enjoy while we celebrate,” to the invitations. It’s even fun to mail out desserts.

4. Pick a Fun Location

What’s a party without a fun location? Try not to limit yourself to your dining room table. Instead, you can create a celebratory backdrop in your living room. If you expect good weather, you should head outside. Encourage your guests to put up their best decorations, too.

5. Think About Entertainment Options

There’s not much worse than a gathering that doesn’t have entertainment. If your guests have to make small talk while they sip their drinks, you haven’t offered enough ways to occupy guests. It’s still good to let people talk. However, you need to fill in the awkward gaps that can pop up in a digital space.

Why not have a party where you play an online board game together? There are even plugins that let you stream movies with friends. If you like music, you should grab a playlist to put on throughout the event. As the host, you need to think about entertainment.

6. Leave Enough Time Before and After

If you’re a regular party host, you know that some guests will arrive early — and others will linger after hours. That’s going to happen during digital events, too. As a result, you might need to make adjustments to your original timeframe.

Let’s say you want your party to start at 7 p.m. Be sure to open the meeting space at around 6:30 p.m. so that anyone who wants to come early can. It’s also smart to set aside an extra 15 minutes toward the end.

Try to remember time zones, too. If you have guests on the East Coast, you might need to start your party at 4 p.m. your time. Determine your timeframe before you send out invitations.

7. Be Ready to Be a Host

Never forget that you’re the host. It’s up to you to run the show. Therefore, you should get as much planning done as possible before your party. This preparation doesn’t have to be stressful, but you don’t want to be super lax.

If your guest can’t figure out how to log into the room, you have to play tech support. What happens when the conversation dies down? It’s your job to start up whatever game or movie you have queued. It’s key to make everyone feel welcome despite the virtual environment.

Remember These Points to Make Your Digital Event Awesome

Do you want a fun way to connect with your loved ones? Despite COVID-19, you can still find a way to throw a fantastic event for someone’s birthday or anniversary — or just because! Try these tricks to make your gathering as memorable as possible.