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A Short Guide For Shopping Online During The Holidays

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shopping guide holiday

Now that the Holidays are upon us, the rush to get everybody gifts begins. But, don’t panic, because thanks to the internet, you can now do your shopping at home at the comfort of your home office or bed. Online shopping is becoming very popular, because there are no long queues, no need to sit in traffic while going to the mall and best of all, no aggressive shoppers. Online shopping is more relaxing and less stressful on the body. But, before you get your credit card ready and swipe away, here are some tips to consider when shopping online for gifts.

Read the Reviews

When it comes to online shopping, reviews matter. When you see an item you like on your computer, there is no way to touch it. All you have are pictures and descriptions of the item. Online shopping does not have long lines or crowds, but the drawback is you won’t get to see the quality of the items. This is why you need to read reviews of other customers who purchased the items. They have already felt and worn the product, so they know if it is of good quality and can tell you their experience in using the product.

Size Matters

Have you ever bought a shirt as a medium in one store, and then get sized as large when you go to another shop? When you buy a sweater in a store, you have the option of trying it on. You don’t have this when you’re shopping online, so always read the size guide posted. This will give you an idea of what “medium” or “large” is, because every store has a different sizing chart. If the store does not have a sizing guide or chart, contact them for measurements to make sure that you have an idea of the sizing. Another option is to make sure that they have a good return policy so that you can exchange products if you get the sizing wrong.

Hunt for Bargains

One of the best things about shopping online is the ability to visit many stores with just the click of a mouse. If you’re shopping for electronics for example, other stores are bound to carry the same product but at a different price. This is why you should always visit multiple websites when shopping online so that you can find the best bargains to save money. An iPhone, for example, would retail at a certain price in Website A, however there might be other websites that sell the same model phone at a lower price with freebies. Hunting for bargains is easy when you’re shopping on the web, so make sure to compare prices and discounts in multiple stores.

Be Safe

Your safety is always important, so always make sure to shop only in secure e-commerce sites with verified SSL certificates. Always look for the padlock icon usually found on the right side after the URL. Never give away your credit card number or financial information. Information like this should always be handled by a third-party such as Paypal and the like.

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What To Do When Your Brain Is Fried

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We’ve all been there before. A great creative week where ideas are flowing endlessly, inspiration and great feelings abound. You feel like you’re breezing through and galloping towards the finish line. Then you come in one day and spend hours and hours staring blankly at your computer screen. For writers, it’s writer’s block, while others simply refer to it as a fried brain.

If you’re struggling to think coherently or if you feel like there are no ideas or clear thoughts coming from your brain you may be suffering from mental fatigue. This can occur anytime to anyone and can hamper your productivity. For most people their first step is to get a caffeine fix. But this might not be the only way to beat a fried brain. Here are some great examples on how you can get your brain to work again.

Take A Walk

According to a study conducted in Edinburgh Scotland, taking a quick walk can help combat mental fatigue. The study hooked 12 people to a portable ECG machine that measured their brainwave patterns that can be used to gauge excitement, frustration, arousal and more. The participants were asked to walk through a predetermined route around Edinburgh through busy shopping districts and green spaces. ECG readings of the participants showed that walking through green spaces reduced feelings of frustration indicating a reduction in stress levels. Richard Coyne, PhD and one of the authors of the study states that taking a walk through a park reduces cognitive overload and can help you overcome your fried brain.

Think Positively

When the brain is stressed, it has problems sending signals from the amygdala – the brain’s center for emotions, emotional behavior and motivation – to the prefrontal cortex which is responsible for higher level thinking. However, focusing on positive thoughts like your plans for the upcoming weekend or even quitting time can help lower stress levels thereby increasing the flow of information to your prefrontal cortex. This means happy thoughts can help you think clearly again.

Go On Youtube

Did you know that YouTube has the same calming effect as taking a walk around the park? Studies show that humor has a very positive and relaxing effect on the brain so when you’re feeling as if your brain is fried, hit Youtube and look for humorous clips from Jimmy Kimmel, Carpool Karaoke from James Corden, or Jimmy Fallon. Or if you’re looking for something more inspiration look for FunForLouis, Casey Neistat, or Gary Vaynerchuck. The videos won’t only help your brain “laugh,” but also increase your motivation and perseverance so that stress is decreased and you regain mental clarity and health.

Sleep

The brain gets tired too. Although it never really goes to sleep, sleeping helps the brain slow down so that it essentially takes a break from thinking and just focus on bodily functions and repairing your body after taking a beating from stress. Switching off can help you forget about what’s keeping you stressed at least for the night and give you energy to tackle problems tomorrow. When the brain is rested you might see your problem in a new light and give you new angles on how to best tackle it.

Fatigue, slow mental response, irritability and finding it harder to perform are some of the signs of a fried brain. Giving your brain a break from time to time will not only keep you from burning out physically but mentally as well. Finding ways to relax your poor exhausted brain will help you in the long run too.

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8 Easy Habits To Adopt In Your Workplace To Boost Your Health

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boost your health

Working a desk job is not the best for your health. However, many jobs require work on the computer that it feels unavoidable. If you work at a desk in an office, there are things you can do to boost your health physically and mentally. You may not be able to completely ditch your desk, but you can create a more health friendly environment in the office.

Clean your desk

desk

How are you with distractions? Are you someone who is bothered by every little sound or are you someone who would not notice if the filing cabinet was engulfed in flames? Just because you can work in a messy environment, doesn’t mean you should. Walking into a neat cubicle or office will help you remain on task and complete your work. Wiping down your keyboard and mouse will help prevent the spread of germs. Keeping your drawers organized will make locating paperwork more automated and will save time and drama. The same can be said about organizing your desktop. Keeping well-labeled documents and files on your desktop helps you navigate your computer quickly. That way, the next time someone emails you one minute after they need something emailed to them, you can drag and drop without a second thought!

Stock up on healthy snacks

Health habits

Healthy snacks sometimes feels like an oxymoron in a work setting. The standard snacks in offices are often leftover bags of chips, cookies, and soda from conferences and meetings. When that afternoon energy crash comes your way, you may be inclined to reach for some type of caffeine and a sugary or crunchy snack. To avoid the draw of Doritos in the break room, stock up on your own snacks to boost your health. If you are looking for crunchy, try some hummus and veggies or trail mix. If you looking for a sweet treat, reach for a piece of fruit and pair it with yogurt or nut butter for more satiety. Many healthy snacks can be purchased pre-portioned so you won’t be tempted to mindlessly devour a whole jar of peanut butter at your desk.

Bring your reusable water bottle

water bottle

If your workplace has a filtered water dispenser or a classic water cooler, you can use your breaks to walk over and hydrate. By bringing your own water bottle, you can reduce waste and monitor your water intake. If you use a smaller water bottle, it will allow you more opportunities to get up and fill up. If you use a huge bottle, you may be getting your steps in on the way to the restroom. Either way, stay staying hydrated is super important if you want to boost your health.  

Set timers and get up

regain confidence

People only have so much mental stamina when it comes to tasks. Setting timers is something that can help motivate you to completely dedicate yourself to a single project. When you know you only have 30 minutes of concentrated effort before you earn a break, it becomes easier to power through. When the timer goes off, give yourself a five minute break to walk around, stretch, or use the restroom. Use the break to tear yourself away from the screen and give your eyes a rest. This habit helps break up the day and drives productivity.

Headphones On Om

belkin

Working at a desk could have you feeling super plugged in all the time. This is a fact of the current workplace and it is pretty unavoidable. A lot of people turn to playlists and podcasts to get into their flow state. It is important to be mindful about what you are listening to. There are a ton of apps and podcasts that offer guided meditation and motivational soundtracks. You do not need 8 hours of guided meditation everyday but it is nice to break-up the trap music with some super positive vibes and take time to breathe and be in your body.

Ditch take out

morning rituals of entrepreneurs

While healthier options at restaurants are on the rise, packing your lunch is still the way to go. This is a habit that starts at home and carries over to the office. By bringing your lunch, you can tell exactly what is in it, control the portions you eat, and save some money. Eating complete meals that include protein and healthy carbs and fat can help your energy levels remain steady throughout the day. If you need more meal prep ideas to boost your health, you can find them here.

Eat somewhere else

smart food

Whether you pack your lunch or pick something up, try to sit somewhere that is not your desk. Aside from the fact that your keyboard and desk is really germy, it is just healthier all around to have a designated eating area. If your work doesn’t have a designated eating area, maybe you can duck into an open office or conference room. When the weather is nice you can try to get outside and boost your Vitamin D. Bonus points for inviting your coworkers and having a face-to-face conversation with them instead of messaging them back and forth on G-Chat.

Stand, Sit, Walk?

Vanguard

Desks are becoming more versatile these days. You don’t have to sit all day anymore! If you work from home, your desk situation may be more mobile, but office workers may not have that flexibility. Many offices are encouraging employees to get desks that adjust between sitting and standing. You may even work somewhere that allows desk treadmills to boost your health. Even if sitting is your only option, there are free online guides and resources on how to adjust your posture to alleviate neck and back pain.

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What To Do When You Lose Creativity

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Advice to regain creativity

The longer you are tasked to creating things, the more likely you will lose your creative edge. It doesn’t matter if you’re making websites, writing a new book, or making a new recipe. There might come a day when you feel too lethargic to get out of bed or dread going to work. These are some of the most basic and easy-to-shrug symptoms of losing the creative streak. The good news is that there are ways to snap out of it. You can regain your creativity and prevent yourself from “drying out” by practicing a few simple tasks.

Explore

When we were kids, it’s always fun to experience new things for the first time. As we get older, our sense of wonder gets jaded, probably because we had to grow up and face reality. But rediscovering how great the world is can help awaken our creative streak. To prevent yourself from losing it or to find it if it’s already lost, explore and experience new things again. You can set aside one day a month to try something new, be it an experience, new dish, or venturing out to a new place. Adventure can reawaken creative juices and your sense of wonder.

Laugh

One of the reasons why we lose our creativity is pressure. It can be quite stressful if you’re always looking for new ways to make your design look fresh. Sometimes it is even unavoidable that your paintings, essays or web designs all look the same way. Stress can kill creativity, so what better way to de-stress than to laugh? You can watch a comedy movie, catch a live comedy act, or just clown around with your friends. When your brain is filled with oxytocin and dopamine, which we get from laughter, you will be more relaxed and find it easier to find inspiration for creativity.

Think Like A Kid

If you’re asked to be creative, ask yourself what your six year-old would do in situations like these. Kids can be very creative and surprisingly straightforward. It might feel weird at first, but you never know, so you might as well give it a try and see if it works.

Rediscover Creative Pursuits

When was the last time you painted something, read a good book, sang, danced like nobody’s watching, or even modeled clay? All these creative outlets sometimes get lost because of busy lives. However, you can rediscover them again if you set aside time at least once a week to be creative outside your work.

Meditate

Mediation is a good way to relax both the right side (creative) and left side (logical) part of the brain. When they are both relaxed, they work harmoniously so you don’t run out of creative ideas. Some people think that they don’t have much time to mediate, but it can be surprising what 5 to 10 minutes of meditation can do for your brain. Meditation does not have to be complicated. You can start by thinking happy thought for 10 minutes each day for relaxation, and you will be surprised how easy it will become to carry on creative tasks.

When it comes to being creative, pay attention to yourself. Find out what works and what doesn’t. This can tell you when you are most inspired, which in turn can really help you to continue being creative.

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