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Category: Lifestyle
Why You Should Get A Pet

Whether you have children or simply enjoy animals, the question of whether or not to get a pet is bound to arise at some point in your life. Owning a pet entails a lot of responsibility, but you’d be surprised at how many people buy a pet on a whim. Pets require a lot of maintenance. Some people may be concerned about getting a pet because of the possibility of losing it one day. It’s difficult enough to have something you care about in your life, but it’s even more difficult to know that the pet you choose will leave you to cross the Rainbow Bridge one day.

You can think about this and the time you won’t have with them, but really, you should think about all of the benefits of having a pet in the first place. You get to spend your life with a friend who is overjoyed to be with you all the time. You have the opportunity to be unconditionally loved by something in your life that will naturally bring you a lot of joy. These are not trivial considerations when deciding whether or not to adopt a companion animal. You may still be hesitant because you are concerned about how you will afford your new pet, but let’s look at every single reason you will ever need to say yes to pet ownership.

get a pet
Image by Sven Lachmann from Pixabay

You Can Meet New People

Being social is one of the most difficult things to do in today’s world. No, seriously. We rely on our screen-selves to interact with others, making interaction in public all the more difficult! You have an instant talking point if you have a pet. You spend time in public with other people when you walk the dog. If you have a cat, you can bet that a friend of yours is sending you cat memes to make you laugh. If there is one thing that most people will agree on, it is that having a pet can bring joy and love into your life, and this is always a point of agreement. There are even online forums and pet ownership groups in the same town as you, and you can join them and meet a whole new group of people as a result.

Better Health

Let’s face it: it’s not always easy to motivate yourself to get out of bed and exercise. You don’t really have a choice when you have a dog. Either you get up and take your dog for a walk, or your dog will pee on your carpet. Not only that, but dogs often need to be walked twice a day, which means you have the excuse you need to get your steps in and you can finally find a sliver of motivation to keep moving. You may not even have health-related goals for yourself, but your pet may be all you need to get you off the couch.

Good For Allergies

If you have children, you may want to reconsider saying no to them having their own pet. Some people are allergic to dander regardless of how much they are exposed to it, but children can be moldable. The more they are exposed to pet dander, the stronger their immunity becomes, and any allergies are eventually overcome. Adults’ immune systems can be strengthened against pet dander allergies, but this is less common.

Pets, whether it’s their skin dander or their hair, can help you combat allergies. If you want to do a little more for your immune system or the immune systems of your children, you may discover that having a pet makes a huge difference.

get a pet
Image by Dim Hou from Pixabay

A Mood Lifter

Whether you are head over heels in love with your brand new snake or the floppy ears of your new puppy have you dizzy with cuteness, you will find that your new pet will greatly improve your mood. We adore our pets, and it’s easy to see why. Falling in love with a pet is similar to falling in love with a human in that we learn about their quirks and come to love aspects of them that make us happy. You could be having the worst day at work, and your pet running to you at the end of the day could change your mood. It’s a good way to feel good to have the cat curled on your lap and purring at their contentment with your presence.

How A Bone China Mug Can Help You To Be More Mindful

Mindfulness is about being entirely present in the moment, in the here and now, and not worrying about the future or the past. It is thought to be good for us, as it is relaxing and energising at once, and therefore it has been shown to relieve stress, boost the mood, enhance your focus, and improve your wellbeing in general. 

Most people will immediately think of things like meditation and yoga when they look at ways of being more mindful, but these are only two ideas out of dozens that can help you. One that you almost certainly won’t have considered but that can have some major positive effects is simply having a cup of tea in a bone china mug. Read on to find out why this is such a good idea. 

bone china mug
Photo by Syed Hussaini on Unsplash

It’s A Ritual

Using a bone china mug to enjoy a cup of tea from is something special, and it deserves to be made in a special way. The ritual of making tea using tea leaves is something special, and it will help you to focus on the task you are carrying out, which is one way to become more mindful. 

Set aside one time during the day to enjoy your mindful cup of tea from a bone china mug. It might be in the morning to get you ready for the day ahead, or the evening to calm yourself before going to bed, or at any time in between. Try to stick to this time, however, as this is all part of the ritual. 

When you’re making tea, pay close attention to every aspect of it. Smell the aroma of the tea leaves as they leave their container. Listen to the sound of the kettle boiling and the water being poured into the teapot. Watch the amber liquid swirling into the bone china mug. Try to tie in all of your senses. In this way, no other thoughts can creep in, and you can be entirely in the moment with your cup of tea. 

Choose Your Tea Wisely 

Did you know that different types of tea can evoke different feelings and reactions in the drinker? Black teas are good for heart health, for example, and green tea is ideal for mental alertness. Oolong tea boosts your brainpower, whereas white tea can reduce inflammation. Then there are fruit teas, which have all kinds of different properties, from improving memory to helping you relax and get to sleep. 

Depending on what you want out of your mindfulness, you can choose a tea to drink from your bone china mug that will offer you the result you’re looking for. In this way, you can be mindful not just in the way you make your tea but also how you’re taking care of your body when you drink it. 

A Few Moments Out 

Finally, drinking tea can help you be more mindful because it gives you just a few moments out of ‘real life’. No matter whether you’re using tea leaves or tea bags in your bone china mug, those few moments where you can focus on making and drinking the tea are all many people need to break away from the chaos of everyday life and step back. 

Taking these few moments out is crucial for your good mental health, but it’s hard to do without a reason – there always seems to be something left on the to-do list. Making and drinking a cup of tea could be just the excuse you need. 

What To Consider When Starting A Business After Retirement

Just because you have retired, that doesn’t mean you have to sit around doing nothing. In fact, that’s the worst thing you can do – it might be nice for a week or two, but imagine how bored you would become after that, especially if you have been working for many decades before you decide to take retirement. business after retirement

It’s a good idea to stay as active as possible, while also taking the chance to relax, when you are retired. This might mean ensuring you get enough exercise, taking up a new hobby, going back to school to learn about a subject you’ve always been interested in, or maybe taking on a part-time job to keep your brain busy and to give you some extra income. 

Some retired people even choose to start their own businesses. If this sounds like something you might be interested in doing because you’ve always wanted to try or because you know you have a great idea, here are some important points to consider. 

business after retirement
Image from Pixabay

Think About Cost 

Age should not be a barrier to anything you want to do, including starting a business after retirement, but the cost may well be. This is why it’s crucial to put enough time and energy into researching all the costs that you might have to pay out for when starting a business and try to limit them as much as you can.

There are some businesses you can start for almost nothing, so these may be worth looking at more closely. It will depend on what you want to do and how much money you can afford to invest. If you don’t want to use your savings (which may be all you have since you have retired), then an investor could be a worthwhile road to go down. Although business loans exist for startups, this is where your age may go against you.

Use Your Experience 

Something you will have that a younger person might not, and therefore something that will help you greatly when it comes to starting a business after retirement, even if you’ve never done it before, is experience. Not necessarily experience in business or even in the sector you want to launch your business in, but life experience. 

By now, you will know what your strengths and weaknesses are, and you can use these to your advantage within your business. You’ll also know what’s really important and what just seems to be. Plus, you’ll have a vast network of friends, family, and acquaintances to gain advice from and, at the very least, to help motivate you. 

business after retirement
Image from Pixabay

Buy A Business 

Starting a business after retirement from nothing takes much more time and effort than you might imagine, and when you have just retired and have been working hard your whole life, this might not appeal, even if you are very keen to get back into some kind of work, and would ideally like to be self-employed. 

It might sound as though you would have to compromise, but you don’t; you can buy a franchise instead. All the initial hard work (and much of the ongoing marketing) will be done for you, and although it will cost you a reasonable amount to buy a franchise, you can start earning straight away and use your skills in the best way for you. 

How To Be An Eco-Friendly Pet Owner

When it comes to the home, you’ll have researched where to buy natural cleaning products online. When it comes to your car, you’ll have done your homework on electric vehicles and charging points. When it comes to energy, you’ll know all there is to know about solar power. But what about when it comes to your pets? You might be being eco-friendly in every other aspect of your life, but are your pets included in that? If not, don’t worry. You can easily become an eco-friendly pet owner, and here are the ways you can do it.

eco-friendly pet owner

Photo by Richard Brutyo on Unsplash

Change Their Diet

It might surprise you to learn that the pet food industry causes a huge amount of pollution, and is one of the most unclean industries on the planet. It takes huge amounts of water, land, and other natural resources – including animal products like beef which can lead to additional greenhouse gas emissions – to produce pet food in the quantities we currently use it.

There is another way, and it will help you to be the eco-friendly pet owner you want to be. By switching your pet’s diet to a grain-based meal plan, or from beef to chicken and turkey (which is much more sustainably farmed), you can make a big difference to the world.

Pet treats are also a concern as they contain many unsustainable ingredients, the worst of which is palm oil. It’s good to give pets treats from time to time, but you can do this without harming the environment; by organic items or even make your own at home.

Buy Eco-Friendly Toys

Pets all need exercise, and although dogs can be walked (and should be, for at least 30 minutes a day), other pets don’t get to go out and about very much, if at all, and they need to find their exercise in other ways. This is one of the reasons why we like to buy them toys (another reason is that it makes them happy which in turn makes us happy), but those toys are often plastic, and since they tend to get destroyed fairly fast, they then have to be disposed of.

Instead of buying plastic pet toys, make sure you look out for eco-friendly ones made of sustainable materials. Not only are they better for the environment, but they are safer for your pet too, and often look more attractive which is useful if you find them lying all over your home.

eco-friendly pet owner

Photo by Rebecca Campbell on Unsplash

Clear Up The Mess

We’re really talking about dogs in particular for this item on the list, and we’re really talking about feces rather than anything else. As a responsible dog owner, we’re sure that you do already clear up after your pet when you have taken them out for a walk or when they do their business in your yard. However, just to drive home the importance of this, it’s not just a matter of health and safety; it’s an environmental issue too.

If feces is left on the ground the bacteria within it can easily infiltrate water sources and contaminate them. Remember, though, don’t use plastic poop bags to carry out this chore; use biodegradable ones instead. Eco-friendly pet owners always clear up the mess.

Why Having A Hobby Is A Good Idea

Think back to when you were a child and all the hobbies you had. It’s likely that you were always filling your time with something. They may have been organized kinds of events in specialist classes, for example, such a dancing or gymnastics, or they may have been things that you did by yourself at home like reading or colouring. Whatever it was you did, it is clear that you had fun and learned a lot. When we grow up, those hobbies tend to fall away as we become busier, but having a hobby is actually something that is good for us. Here are some of the reasons why you should find one again and enjoy yourself.

Make Friends

As adults, it is much harder to make good friends than it was when we were younger. You’ll have plenty of acquaintances, but friends are far different, and they are important – they are even good for your health. Some hobbies, particularly sports, will help you to make real, lasting friendships. It is easier to make friends with the people you enjoy a hobby with because you already have something in common.

More Self-Esteem

If you have low self-esteem, a hobby is a great way of boosting your confidence back up again. The more you practice whatever your hobby is, from jazz saxophone lessons to painting, to running, to playing cards, or anything else at all, the better you will be. As you see these gradual improvements happening, you will also see your confidence growing in not just your hobby but in other areas of your life because you have proven to yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to.

hobbies
I’ve been painting recently

Less Stress

Although we all get stressed every now and then, chronic stress can be a big problem for many people. It’s important if you do suffer from stress to find ways to reduce it as much as possible for your physical and mental health. A hobby is the ideal way to reduce your stress levels because it puts you right in the moment, and you don’t have to think or worry about anything else in your life; you just concentrate on the task at hand. This gives your mind and body the chance to relax, lowering the cortisol (stress hormone) in your body, and making you feel happier in general.

You Will Be Interesting

What would you be doing without your hobby to keep you entertained? You might well be bored and, as the saying goes, bored people are boring. If you want to be more interesting, then you need something interesting to talk about, and your hobby is just that. If you truly love it, you will have passion about it, and be able to talk about it with your friends, family and colleagues. This will inevitably lead on to other conversations and you can join in with those too.

hobbies

You Will Feel Younger

Hobbies keep your brain active, and that means you will feel a lot more youthful, and your brain will continue to work better as you do age. Older people who don’t have hobbies age much more quickly in terms of their mobility and their brainpower than those who have at least one activity to enjoy every week.

Beating Those Back To Work Blues

It doesn’t matter whether you hate your job with a passion, or whether you have the best career in the world, that feeling of going back to work after a little time off still fills us with dread. It’s back to reality. It’s back to the daily routine. No more home time, no more holiday, no more freedom. The grindstone is waiting, and your nose has to be put right back on it.

Ouch.

No wonder we all get a little sad about the prospect of heading back to the office.

But guess what? There are ways to combat this terrible feeling and get straight back into the swing of things without too much distress…

back to work blues

Why Are You Feeling Like This?

That’s an important question. Ask yourself why you are feeling so down about going back to work, and you might get a surprising answer, but one that will help you make some decisions, and help you feel happier about things too.

It could just be that you’ve enjoyed your time off and the idea of having to go back to the office (or wherever) and get your brain in gear doesn’t appeal. And that’s perfectly normal. But a few hours – or even minutes – into your first day, and for the majority of people that’s all forgotten and you’ll wonder what you were worried about in the first place.

For some, however, it’s a deeper problem than simply enjoying a bit of freedom. Could there be something about your job (perhaps even the job itself) that you dislike enough to make you not want to go back at all? If this is more than just a form of the Sunday evening fear, it’s time to take stock. If you’re not enjoying your job, you might consider moving on. If not immediately, then at some point, once you’ve done all the sums and weighed up the pros and cons of it all. There is no point in going to work for eight (ish) hours a day if it’s not something you like. There are many forms of deathbed regrets, and working too hard in the wrong place ranks right up there at the top.

You might even consider starting your own business.

If it is one aspect of the job that is making you miserable, why not speak to your boss? They might be able to help, and it could turn out that it wasn’t such an issue after all once it’s out in the open.

Have You Made A Work Plan?

If the feeling of dread doesn’t dissipate after a little while, if it’s there every morning and you’re coming home more downhearted every day, you know what you need to do. Finding a new job isn’t something that can necessarily happen overnight, especially when you’ve got commitments and a family to provide for. So make a plan. Give yourself a time frame to get it completed by (three months is a good one – just long enough to feel comfortable, but short enough that you have to get on straight away). Create targets to meet along the way such as applying for a certain number of jobs each week, or tidying up your CV by a specific date. You might even want to invest in some evening classes to top up your skills.

back to work blues

Me, Me, Me

If your job isn’t the problem and you’re happy doing what you do, where you do it, and the people with whom you work, then it could be a problem within yourself. If you’re not feeling 100 percent, book an appointment with your GP and chat to them about what ails you. It could be a physical problem (lack of sleep, a weight issue, general aches and pains), or it could be a psychological one (anxiety, stress, depression, for example). Either way, it’s good to discuss these matters and hopefully do something about them once and for all. As soon as you fix your body and mind, everything else will fall into place.

back to work blues

And for those who are simply feeling a little run down, you need to schedule some me time. Book a fancy spa day, go for a long walk on your own, read a good book, watch a terrible movie, it doesn’t matter as long as you can relax and zone out for a while. When you come back down to the real world you’ll hopefully be feeling a whole lot better for it.

4 Ways To Stop Your Children Being Bored This Summer

It’s really not many weeks now until the long summer holidays are upon us – your children (and possibly you) will be counting down to that last day of term with a huge amount of excitement and endless possibilities of the fun they can get up to flashing through their brains.

But, whether you have six, seven, or eight whole weeks of time away from school, not every day is going to be a fun one. There will be homework to do, chores to complete, not to mention the fact that going out all the time is both exhausting and expensive. So yes, there will be times when boredom creeps in, no matter what other plans you might have. In order to prevent this from happening as much as possible, or at least diminish the impact, here are some great ways to stop your children being bored this summer.

Build A Fort

Building forts out of furniture and bed sheets may have fallen out of fashion due to the plethora of tech that children have to play with these days, but there is nothing quite like the fun and giggles that building one can give you, so why not give it a try? If it makes a mess, does it really matter? Everything can be put back when the kids are finished enjoying themselves, and no harm will have been done.

children

They might want to turn it into a den for watching a film – another good distraction for a little while, allowing you time to do the housework, catch up on emails, or simply sit with them and have a rest – or colouring, or playing with their toys. You don’t need to spend any money to create it, and it will amuse them for hours.

Go Outside

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden at home, spending some time in it will do the children good, and they’ll even get some exercise (without realising it!) when they’re running after a ball or playing chasing games.

children

A paddling pool and some shade for hot days, a good imagination for all days, a few garden toys, and they’re all set. They can even invite friends over and not disturb you if they’re playing in the garden all day. Give them a picnic lunch and keep them topped up with drinks and that’s it.

Rearrange The Bedrooms

We’ll admit, at first glance this idea does sound like more of a chore than a fun thing to do to stop children being bored, but this is not just tidying up – this is complete reorganisation, and that can be exciting.

children

Try working out different ways to have the furniture in the room to maximise space or make it more comfortable. It might be that the bed is where it is because that’s where the removal company put it when you moved in, for example, but is there a better spot for it? This is hard work and should be planned out before any furniture is moved, but it can be a worthy thing to do.

Do Some Baking

Baking is always a fun thing to do, and since you end up with a sweet treat at the end of it, it’s even better. This can be messy – the younger the children the messier it tends to be – so be prepared for a tidy up session at the end (get the kids involved in that, too). This can be a fantastic bonding experience, and it will all start with choosing exactly what you are going to bake, shopping for the ingredients, and then putting it all together.

children

Check out this website for some great baking ideas.

Is Your Workplace Toxic?

Work takes up a huge amount of every day, so it makes sense that it should be a good place to be – you should enjoy your work, and your workplace, otherwise every other aspect of your life is going to be affected. You might even develop mental illnesses such as depression and stress, or your unhappiness might manifest in physical ways; heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, ulcers, and much more can all come about from working somewhere unpleasant.

Not enjoying your job is one thing, but what if you are actually working in a toxic workplace? This is when the situation becomes desperate, and finding a new job should be a top priority. Here are some of the signs that your workplace is making you not just unhappy, but potentially unwell.

workplace
Is your team supportive?

You Dread Going To Work

On occasion (usually on a Monday morning after a lovely weekend at home), everyone is going to ‘dread’ going to work. But is it really a dread, or is it just a feeling of preferring not to? When you actively dread heading off to your workplace in the morning, and that dread is there every single day, then there is clearly a problem. Your workplace could be a toxic one.

You should never feel this way about your job. Life is too short, and there are many opportunities out there for you; you may have to retrain or think laterally about where your skills can take you, but being happy is the main thing and that is what you really need to consider.

You Don’t Feel Appreciated

Getting feedback at work is crucial for anyone to develop and become more successful. If you never hear a word from your boss about how you are doing, or you’re always the one doing the chasing when you want some kind of critique on a project or assignment you have been doing, then you are sure to feel under-appreciated.

When this happens, you might become less productive; what’s the point in bending over backwards if no one cares that you are working hard and going the extra mile? Something that you used to think matters will now how a much lower place in your heart and mind.

That’s not right.

You should be able to love what you do, feel appreciated, and feel good about the work you are carrying out. You should be able to work in a supportive workplace. Not even being acknowledged is a bad sign and one that you shouldn’t ignore.

workplace
Workplace stress is toxic

Your Workplace Worries You Even On Days Off

When you have a day off from work, what do you do? Do you enjoy it, not think about work at all (or if you do it’s only to determine the next step and what you will start with when you get back to it), and relax? Or do you constantly worry about your job, finding it frustrating and irritating? Does it make you angry? Are you unable to wind down?

If the latter is the case for you, it’s time to get out. It’s true that work is important, but it’s not everything – you need to make time for yourself and your family and anything else you want to do. If work is taking up all of your rest time as well as your work time, something’s wrong.

Conclusion

If something feels wrong about your place of work, whether it’s something tangible or just a gut feeling, and if that place of work is making you miserable or even ill, you need to leave. Yes, that can be easier said than done, and finding a new job isn’t always easy, but if you don’t start the search then you’ll never find your next – happier – position.

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I am happy to carry out research, conduct interviews, and write/edit articles of any length. Contact me for more information about my rates and services.

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I'm a content writer

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I studied English theory at university and have always been interested in the mechanics of writing, but it wasn’t until 2010 when my daughter was born that I started to write professionally. Although this was out of necessity (it was a job that I could do from home, and it brought in enough to pay the bills!), it soon became a passion. Since that time, I have been published in over 40 fiction anthologies and have written seven novels.

Find out more about my publications on my Amazon Author Page.

I am now a full-time freelance writer. The majority of my time is spent writing SEO-friendly blog posts for businesses in all kinds of niches from bakeries to florists to roofing specialists and plenty more in between. 

Between 2014 and 2020 I was the features and online editor for insideKENT magazine.

Today I live with my husband, daughter, and a cat called Cheryl in a cottage in the Kent countryside, writing, painting, and – whenever possible – watching horror films.

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Sunscreen In The Winter: How To Wear It

When it’s freezing cold outside, it’s easy to forget about sunscreen in the winter. But, we’ve all tried it, and we’ve all paid dearly for it. Snow and ice, like water, reflect sunlight, making it more essential than ever to use sunscreen and take care of your skin and lips.

The good thing is that when it’s cold outdoors, our skin is often less visible, making our sunscreen regime a little more straightforward. You may be less likely to use sunscreen now that the weather has cooled and you won’t be basking in the sun. But here’s the thing: you really must wear sunscreen in the winter. Read on to find out how to do it right. 

sunscreen in the winter
Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels

Use Physical Sunscreen In The Winter 

Chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays, but physical sunscreens divert or prevent them. While physical sunscreen, which comprises zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, is the hardest to apply, it produces excellent all-year protection.

Compared to chemical-based sunscreen, which is usually either UVB or UVA blocker, physical sunscreen gives better broad-spectrum coverage. Furthermore, physical blockers act for a more extended amount of time, providing more coverage and needing less re-application. They’re also less abrasive than chemical blockers.

Sweat Is Important 

Many people believe that using your daily SPF moisturiser once in the morning is enough to provide coverage for the entire day. However, even if you’re wrapped up and outside, your skin always perspires, and you should renew SPF during the day. Before leaving the house, apply a naturally healing and moisturising sunscreen in the winter with an SPF of at least 30, and allow it to absorb into your skin fully.

Watch Out For Spots 

Sun exposure causes freckles, age spots, spider veins on the face, rough and leathery skin, small creases that disappear when stretched, loose skin, a blotchy complexion, and actinic keratoses (thick wart-like, rough, reddish areas of skin). The sun also damages the elasticity in the skin, preventing it from springing back and causing wrinkled and leathery skin. To detect UV damage, look for rough, red skin, an increase in moles, and damaged blood vessels on the face throughout the winter. Also, keep an eye out for any wounds or bruises on your skin that aren’t healing properly, as this could be an early indicator of skin cancer.

Food Can Help 

Fruits and vegetables, in general, are strong in antioxidants and help us fight free radicals and sun damage. In contrast, meat, dairy products, simple carbohydrates, sugar, and processed foods increase inflammation and can contribute to the worsening of solar damage. Conversely, foods high in vitamin C and antioxidants such as carotenoids and lycopene, such as leafy greens, peppers, squash, watermelon, blueberries, and tomatoes, can help reduce sun damage.

How A Stay At Home Parent Can Re-Enter The Workforce

Returning to work after being a stay at home parent may appear to be a challenge. However, there are numerous ways to improve your skills or stay current in the job market so that you can eventually return to the traditional workforce. Here are some of the best tips for re-entering the labour market.

stay at home parent
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Be Your Own Boss 

If you want to have a flexible work schedule, you can start your own business at home or elsewhere. To increase your chances of success, consider your strengths when starting a business. Furthermore, consider the current marketplace in your region to ensure that you are providing services or products that the area residents require. Keep in mind that it can take several years for a business to turn a profit; you can continue to be a stay-at-home parent as your business grows, but this will depend on your savings and other needs. 

Create Your Own Website 

What about making a website? Today, more people are using social media to help them find work or start a business. If you learn how to create a blog, as well as how to use online images and videos to promote your brand, you can start to make an income. There are various ways to do this, including having advertising on your site or promoting specific products. Just make sure you stick to SEO rules if you intend to do this, or your site won’t be seen. 

Be A Temp

You can work as a temporary employee to update your CV. You can sign up to loads of temp agencies online, so do some research to find the best one for your needs. You may prefer to work in an office, but other options are available, such as teaching or working in retail. It will depend on your qualifications and experience, as well as what you enjoy. You can try lots of different jobs until you find the one that suits you best. 

Be A Volunteer 

Volunteer at one or more locations to gain valuable work experience. Volunteers are frequently needed in hospitals, public libraries, museums, and schools. Many community organisations in a larger city require volunteers on a daily or irregular basis. Although you won’t gain an income from volunteering, you will gain valuable skills that could help you find a job later on. 

Why You Should Get A Pet

Whether you have children or simply enjoy animals, the question of whether or not to get a pet is bound to arise at some point in your life. Owning a pet entails a lot of responsibility, but you’d be surprised at how many people buy a pet on a whim. Pets require a lot of maintenance. Some people may be concerned about getting a pet because of the possibility of losing it one day. It’s difficult enough to have something you care about in your life, but it’s even more difficult to know that the pet you choose will leave you to cross the Rainbow Bridge one day.

You can think about this and the time you won’t have with them, but really, you should think about all of the benefits of having a pet in the first place. You get to spend your life with a friend who is overjoyed to be with you all the time. You have the opportunity to be unconditionally loved by something in your life that will naturally bring you a lot of joy. These are not trivial considerations when deciding whether or not to adopt a companion animal. You may still be hesitant because you are concerned about how you will afford your new pet, but let’s look at every single reason you will ever need to say yes to pet ownership.

get a pet
Image by Sven Lachmann from Pixabay

You Can Meet New People

Being social is one of the most difficult things to do in today’s world. No, seriously. We rely on our screen-selves to interact with others, making interaction in public all the more difficult! You have an instant talking point if you have a pet. You spend time in public with other people when you walk the dog. If you have a cat, you can bet that a friend of yours is sending you cat memes to make you laugh. If there is one thing that most people will agree on, it is that having a pet can bring joy and love into your life, and this is always a point of agreement. There are even online forums and pet ownership groups in the same town as you, and you can join them and meet a whole new group of people as a result.

Better Health

Let’s face it: it’s not always easy to motivate yourself to get out of bed and exercise. You don’t really have a choice when you have a dog. Either you get up and take your dog for a walk, or your dog will pee on your carpet. Not only that, but dogs often need to be walked twice a day, which means you have the excuse you need to get your steps in and you can finally find a sliver of motivation to keep moving. You may not even have health-related goals for yourself, but your pet may be all you need to get you off the couch.

Good For Allergies

If you have children, you may want to reconsider saying no to them having their own pet. Some people are allergic to dander regardless of how much they are exposed to it, but children can be moldable. The more they are exposed to pet dander, the stronger their immunity becomes, and any allergies are eventually overcome. Adults’ immune systems can be strengthened against pet dander allergies, but this is less common.

Pets, whether it’s their skin dander or their hair, can help you combat allergies. If you want to do a little more for your immune system or the immune systems of your children, you may discover that having a pet makes a huge difference.

get a pet
Image by Dim Hou from Pixabay

A Mood Lifter

Whether you are head over heels in love with your brand new snake or the floppy ears of your new puppy have you dizzy with cuteness, you will find that your new pet will greatly improve your mood. We adore our pets, and it’s easy to see why. Falling in love with a pet is similar to falling in love with a human in that we learn about their quirks and come to love aspects of them that make us happy. You could be having the worst day at work, and your pet running to you at the end of the day could change your mood. It’s a good way to feel good to have the cat curled on your lap and purring at their contentment with your presence.

How A Bone China Mug Can Help You To Be More Mindful

Mindfulness is about being entirely present in the moment, in the here and now, and not worrying about the future or the past. It is thought to be good for us, as it is relaxing and energising at once, and therefore it has been shown to relieve stress, boost the mood, enhance your focus, and improve your wellbeing in general. 

Most people will immediately think of things like meditation and yoga when they look at ways of being more mindful, but these are only two ideas out of dozens that can help you. One that you almost certainly won’t have considered but that can have some major positive effects is simply having a cup of tea in a bone china mug. Read on to find out why this is such a good idea. 

bone china mug
Photo by Syed Hussaini on Unsplash

It’s A Ritual

Using a bone china mug to enjoy a cup of tea from is something special, and it deserves to be made in a special way. The ritual of making tea using tea leaves is something special, and it will help you to focus on the task you are carrying out, which is one way to become more mindful. 

Set aside one time during the day to enjoy your mindful cup of tea from a bone china mug. It might be in the morning to get you ready for the day ahead, or the evening to calm yourself before going to bed, or at any time in between. Try to stick to this time, however, as this is all part of the ritual. 

When you’re making tea, pay close attention to every aspect of it. Smell the aroma of the tea leaves as they leave their container. Listen to the sound of the kettle boiling and the water being poured into the teapot. Watch the amber liquid swirling into the bone china mug. Try to tie in all of your senses. In this way, no other thoughts can creep in, and you can be entirely in the moment with your cup of tea. 

Choose Your Tea Wisely 

Did you know that different types of tea can evoke different feelings and reactions in the drinker? Black teas are good for heart health, for example, and green tea is ideal for mental alertness. Oolong tea boosts your brainpower, whereas white tea can reduce inflammation. Then there are fruit teas, which have all kinds of different properties, from improving memory to helping you relax and get to sleep. 

Depending on what you want out of your mindfulness, you can choose a tea to drink from your bone china mug that will offer you the result you’re looking for. In this way, you can be mindful not just in the way you make your tea but also how you’re taking care of your body when you drink it. 

A Few Moments Out 

Finally, drinking tea can help you be more mindful because it gives you just a few moments out of ‘real life’. No matter whether you’re using tea leaves or tea bags in your bone china mug, those few moments where you can focus on making and drinking the tea are all many people need to break away from the chaos of everyday life and step back. 

Taking these few moments out is crucial for your good mental health, but it’s hard to do without a reason – there always seems to be something left on the to-do list. Making and drinking a cup of tea could be just the excuse you need. 

How To Help Your Children Keep Their Teeth Healthy

It can be a challenge for children to keep their teeth healthy; there just seems to be something built into the little ones’ minds that tells them brushing their teeth is a bore and a chore and should be ignored as much as possible. And for parents, the daily struggle to ensure their children keep their teeth healthy becomes something of a battle, so much so that in some cases, the adult gives up altogether, perhaps thinking that the milk teeth aren’t quite so important and good oral healthcare can wait. 

The truth is, keeping the milk teeth healthy is just as important as taking care of the permanent teeth that come later. This is partly because by instilling good oral hygiene habits early on, it becomes easier later for all involved, and partly because those milk teeth aren’t the only thing being cleaned; a good brushing technique takes care of the gums and tongue too. Read on to discover some good ways to ensure your children become better at keeping their teeth healthy, making things much easier for you too. 

teeth healthy
Image by bigbear from Pixabay

Good Preparation 

Surprises are cool and all, but for the big life lessons, preparation is key. Suddenly presenting your child with a toothbrush and expecting them just to get on with it, or trying to do the job yourself if they are under the age of eight or so, might seem rather daunting and even scary. 

Ensure you set down plenty of preparation before it all begins, and the process won’t be so unnerving. By reading books, watching videos, and talking about why dental hygiene and keeping their teeth healthy is so important, you can make things much easier for everyone. 

Sing A Song 

One of the reasons that children don’t like to brush their teeth is because it’s boring. They have to stand in one place, doing one thing, for around two minutes, and that’s hard for an active child. They would much rather be playing or reading or running around or anything else; they don’t like the dull nature of tooth brushing. 

You can make the process easier (and go faster) by being there with them and singing a song, for example. Pick a song that lasts for a couple of minutes, and the time will fly by. Set a timer if it helps. If you don’t like to sing, why not tell a short story

Help Your Child Take Ownership To Keep Their Teeth Healthy

Yes, you can bribe your child with stickers or pocket money or sweets (not ideal when we’re talking about keeping their teeth healthy, but sometimes needs must), but you can’t do this every day, twice a day.

Instead, allowing and helping your child to take ownership of keeping their teeth healthy is a great solution. They can choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste, for example, and they can set out their own routine. If they have a choice (although you’ll always have the final say), you will find they are much more willing to go along with the oral hygiene that is so important. 

3 Simple Home Improvement Tips You Need to Try

Home improvement tips are always good to know more about. If you’re getting tired of how your home looks and it feels like it’s time to make some changes, you won’t be the only one. People will constantly want to update and upgrade their homes to make them the most comfortable places they can possibly be. 

Often, you’ll immediately think of making significant changes like installing a new kitchen or bathroom or even taking down walls to create more space, but home improvement doesn’t need to be as complex as that. You can do some very simple things that will give you a fantastic result – read on to find out what some of them are. 

home improvement tips
Photo by Stephanie Ho from Pexels

Repaint The Walls 

After a while, the paint you have on your walls will start to fade. Either that, or it will look grubby and dirty, or perhaps the colour is just not longer a fashionable one or one that you enjoy looking at anymore. 

Useful home improvement tips to be aware of include changing the colour of your walls with a new coat of paint (or even keeping the old colour and refreshing it). This is a relatively simple thing to do, but it will make a massive difference to the look of your home. Whether you stick with something neutral or you go for something bright, or you opt for a bit of both with a feature wall, no matter what you do, the difference will stand out. 

Use Plants 

Think of your home now. Then think of it with some plants and greenery added to a few areas. Can you see how much better it looks? Incredibly, you don’t have to do any actual DIY or change anything at all for these home improvement tips; just by adding some plants in pots in strategic areas, you can enhance the look of your home and make it more comfortable for you and your guests. 

When you are choosing which plants to use, pick the ones that match your lifestyle. In other words, if you’re at home a lot, you can have plants that need more regular care. If you travel, you can go for something that doesn’t need much looking after. 

Plants are also great because you can change them or the pots they are in whenever you want to for minimal expense but a big impact. 

home improvement tips
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Update Your Kitchen Cabinets 

A brand new kitchen is a great home improvement tip, but it might be out of the budget for some people, or perhaps it’s just not something you’re comfortable doing – after all, it will be messy and disruptive. Yet if your kitchen is looking tired and out of date, you don’t have to put up with it; you can change it for less money and less disruption than an entirely new kitchen would bring you. 

All you need to do is change the cabinet doors. By doing this and keeping the carcasses in place, you are drastically reducing your costs. Even better, you can paint over your existing cabinet doors and make them look completely different even if they are actually the same ones you’ve always had. 

Are You Sabotaging Your Life?

Are you sabotaging your life? You may not realise it, but it could be that you are. There are many theories in this world that support the idea that what you think determines the outcome of your life. The mind is a marvellous, untapped resource that is potentially infinite in its influence over what you do and how things turn out. The Law of Attraction is just one of these theories, and it is fascinating to find out more about it.

Even if you don’t believe in how it works exactly, there is no doubt that having a positive outlook affects how you perceive things, and how you are perceived. So it is important to think positively whenever possible.

If things have been going badly with regards to your work or writing – or any other creative pursuit – then could it possibly be your thoughts and feeling about it all that is causing the problems? Could it be that you are sabotaging your life? Let’s take a look at how you might be, without even realising that you are.

sabotaging your life

You Make It A Competition

If you are constantly looking around you at what other people are doing, you’ll never be able to fully focus on what you are doing – and that can spell disaster for your current writing project. That is one of the best ways of sabotaging your life. Comparing yourself to others can sometimes work in terms of allowing you to set yourself a goal, but doing it all the time is distracting, and can push you off course from that goal very easily.

It is always better to be looking ahead, towards your next goal, and ignore what other people are doing. Creativity is not a race. It’s not a competition. It is a personal journey. That may sound a bit ‘new age-y’ but think about it; it’s completely true.

You Get Angry

Allowing yourself to get angry about things is another excellent way of halting the creative process and sabotaging your life. If something has irritated you – it could be anything, from a Facebook post by a fellow writer, artist, poet etc, to hearing about someone’s success in the same genre that you work in – the important question to ask is ‘why?’. Why are you angry about this? And what is that anger doing to harm your creative process (hint: it’s another way of sabotaging your life)?

Is your anger about being envious? Is it that you have a particularly deep competitive streak? Does the news make you feel less secure about your place in the creative world?

Whatever it is, remember that your own thoughts are taking you on a journey, and if you want that journey to be a fulfilling and successful one, then you need to dispense with all the superfluous feelings of anger and just get on with working your way towards happiness. Another artist’s success will not diminish your own. There is no need to be envious as your time will come as long as you work towards it and acknowledge that fact.

sabotaging your life
Image from Pixabay – ijmaki

You Complain All The Time

Complaining to yourself is a waste of time. Complaining to other people… well, that all depends on the complaint. A valid complaint should often be aired – in a well-thought-out and calm kind of way. That is how things can be done, that is how problems get solved. A general gripe about the state of things, about a tweet that you didn’t appreciate, about someone else’s success or writing ability… that’s usually less productive. Plus this kind of pointless complaining has a knock-on effect. Firstly, it takes up a lot of time when, you guessed it, you could be writing or painting or doing whatever it is that makes you feel complete.

Secondly, empty complaining puts you in a negative frame of mind. One small niggle and suddenly everything is less rosy. Unsure about that? Think of it the other way around – when you see something that makes you happy, or you get some good news, doesn’t your day immediately seem better? Brighter? Altogether happier? It’s true, and the same goes for negative things. Your day (if you let it) will go downhill. Don’t let it. Keep positive, and things will improve. That’s just how it works.  

Indie Authors Can Help One Another – And They Should

In many professions, competition is the norm. It is a fight to the top, and sometimes people get trampled. But with indie authors, it’s different. Or at least it should be. With writers, there is enough space out there for everyone.

I’m not talking about copywriters or freelance writers exactly – every one of them (me included) fights for the jobs that pay well or seem interesting. Heck, we even fight for those who don’t pay well and have us writing about things we have no interest in at all; the bills need to be paid.

indie authors
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Indie Authors

But indie (independent) authors are a particular breed of writer. In this profession, there is room for everyone to do whatever it is they want to do. Especially now that there is the option for self-publishing. These are the ones who do not need to compete with one another; there are so many different stories that they can write and so many genres (and sub-genres and sub-sub-genres, come to that!) that the variety is infinite.

Because of this infinite variety, indie authors really should – and generally do – help one another out. Working together is important; it enables everyone to move forward and find different markets that they might otherwise never have come into contact with. It will take time, but it is always worth doing – networking, offering advice, working on a ‘give and take’ ideal… it all goes to the greater good because when one indie author succeeds, it gives hope and opportunity to all the others.

How To Work Together

There are a few different ways to collaborate with other authors. One is link swapping. That could be posting or sending out alerts when a new competition or writing opportunity presents itself, or it could simply be placing the links of other writers on your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, your blog… If you link to theirs, they can link to yours, and both of your audiences will grow. It’s a fantastic way to find new readers for your work, and it’s immediate exposure too, meaning immediate income. It might not be much, but it’s something, and that’s how we all need to start.

Brainstorming is another excellent way to use other writers’ expertise and put forward some ideas of your own. Join in with (or create, if you can’t find one already) a monthly online meeting using Skype or Google Hangouts or Slack. There are many different options. You could even set up a secret Facebook group and use that. As long as there is an online space where everyone – whoever you invite – can discuss their writing, how they’re marketing it, any plans for the future or questions they might have, and so on. It’s a great way to swap ideas and discover new things.

Libraries are such valuable commodities, and so indie authors may as well use them too. Note down the ISBN of the books written by authors in your network, and ask your local library to order the book for you. If your entire network does the same for everyone, that will give all of your books a nice borrowing boost. It can be embarrassing to ask for your own book to be brought into a library, but asking for someone else’s is much easier and more likely to get done and yield results.

indie authors
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Apart from actually writing, the thing that takes up most of an indie author’s time is the research. This is research into how to market the books when they are complete, who to use as an editor, where the best value cover designers are, as well as the content itself. It can take an age when all you want to do is get it done and have your book out there for all to see – and hopefully read. This is where the knowledge of others can really save you time. Ask your questions on a forum and get answers – indie authors love to share! And who knows, you may be able to pay it forward and answer someone else’s questions while you’re at it.

When indie authors pull together, so much more can get done – and so many more will see you.

Health Problems That Can Occur After A Car Accident

When you are involved in a car accident, it’s plain to see some of the injuries that can result. You’ll often have cuts and possibly deeper lacerations, as well as red marks on your skin. You might even have broken bones, depending on how severe the accident was. 

However, these initial injuries might not be the end of things, and more can occur days or even weeks after the accident. This usually happens because, due to the stress of the accident, the body is flooded with hormones and chemicals such as adrenalin and endorphins. It is only when the danger has passed and the body reverts back to normal chemical levels that more injuries might be noticed; if they are very serious, you may even need medical attention, as well as a car accident lawyer to help you claim compensation. Read on to find out what health problems can occur after an accident so you know what to look out for. 

car accident
Image from Pixabay

Headaches 

Headaches are a common problem that can occur well after a car accident has taken place. There are several reasons that you might develop headaches including whiplash, concussion, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), muscle tension, or even head trauma that you were unaware of. 

No matter what you think the cause might be, or even if you can’t think of any reason to have developed headaches, you must seek medical attention right away as headaches and migraines can be extremely dangerous and indicate a serious underlying problem. 

Bruising 

Bruising is not something that happens immediately in most cases anyway, and it will take some time to develop after an accident of any kind, including a car accident. However, if the bruising is happening in a large area, or in an area that you hadn’t thought you had injured, you should seek advice from an expert. 

Bruising is a sign of internal bleeding (which can be fatal if left untreated), and the discoloration of the skin is blood pooling beneath it. Large bruises on the back, sides, or abdomen that occur days after an accident can be particularly worrying. 

Numbness 

If you suddenly lose the feeling in any part of your body after a car accident and it is numb to the touch, then you may have sustained nerve damage. This can take some time to manifest since the nerves will try to keep working, but as you use the area that is affected, the damage can become worse until you can’t feel your legs or arms (for example) at all. 

Tingling can be a sign of nerve damage too, and it is often the precursor to complete numbness. In both cases, go to an ER or speak to a doctor as soon as you can; never damage can be reversed if acted upon quickly enough. 

PTSD 

We have briefly mentioned PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) already, but it is a big problem that can occur many days or weeks, or even months after a car accident. PTSD happens when the body’s fight or flight response doesn’t ‘switch off’, meaning that the sufferer is always in a state of alertness. This will become physically exhausting, and mentally it can lead to depression, stress, and anxiety. 

Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, insomnia, high blood pressure, withdrawal from society, and mood changes among many other things. 

What To Consider When Starting A Business After Retirement

Just because you have retired, that doesn’t mean you have to sit around doing nothing. In fact, that’s the worst thing you can do – it might be nice for a week or two, but imagine how bored you would become after that, especially if you have been working for many decades before you decide to take retirement. business after retirement

It’s a good idea to stay as active as possible, while also taking the chance to relax, when you are retired. This might mean ensuring you get enough exercise, taking up a new hobby, going back to school to learn about a subject you’ve always been interested in, or maybe taking on a part-time job to keep your brain busy and to give you some extra income. 

Some retired people even choose to start their own businesses. If this sounds like something you might be interested in doing because you’ve always wanted to try or because you know you have a great idea, here are some important points to consider. 

business after retirement
Image from Pixabay

Think About Cost 

Age should not be a barrier to anything you want to do, including starting a business after retirement, but the cost may well be. This is why it’s crucial to put enough time and energy into researching all the costs that you might have to pay out for when starting a business and try to limit them as much as you can.

There are some businesses you can start for almost nothing, so these may be worth looking at more closely. It will depend on what you want to do and how much money you can afford to invest. If you don’t want to use your savings (which may be all you have since you have retired), then an investor could be a worthwhile road to go down. Although business loans exist for startups, this is where your age may go against you.

Use Your Experience 

Something you will have that a younger person might not, and therefore something that will help you greatly when it comes to starting a business after retirement, even if you’ve never done it before, is experience. Not necessarily experience in business or even in the sector you want to launch your business in, but life experience. 

By now, you will know what your strengths and weaknesses are, and you can use these to your advantage within your business. You’ll also know what’s really important and what just seems to be. Plus, you’ll have a vast network of friends, family, and acquaintances to gain advice from and, at the very least, to help motivate you. 

business after retirement
Image from Pixabay

Buy A Business 

Starting a business after retirement from nothing takes much more time and effort than you might imagine, and when you have just retired and have been working hard your whole life, this might not appeal, even if you are very keen to get back into some kind of work, and would ideally like to be self-employed. 

It might sound as though you would have to compromise, but you don’t; you can buy a franchise instead. All the initial hard work (and much of the ongoing marketing) will be done for you, and although it will cost you a reasonable amount to buy a franchise, you can start earning straight away and use your skills in the best way for you.