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5 Items to Have In-Office to Prepare for the Winter Months

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5 Items to Have In-Office to Prepare for the Winter Months

As seasons change, so do businesses. There are adjustments that need to be made so that the winter months run just as smoothly as the summer months. There are things that you would do earlier in the year that just won’t work as well now.

Examples of these changes range from marketing promotions changing themes to store decorations being swapped out. You may also adjust the thermostat and business hours to accommodate the changes in weather. What you need to be prepared for more than anything is the cold and snow that blows in during cooler months.

To keep you and your customers safe and warm, add some of these items to your business before the snow really starts coming down:

1. Healthcare Items

People get sick more often during the winter months. This could be because people spend more time indoors, due to the cold, where illnesses spread more easily. Immune systems might also be weaker during the winter, and the cold, dry air certainly isn’t helping.

You don’t want your employees and customers to get sick at all, let alone while at your place of business. While personal hygiene can’t be enforced, you can provide some helpful items for customers to pick up upon entry. Face masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes can all assist in keeping illnesses at bay.

Staying healthy has been a great priority since the COVID-19 pandemic changed people’s lives. While vaccines are readily available and mask mandates are mostly gone, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Having those options available really helps customers who still feel unsure about COVID and other illnesses. They can also benefit clients who have medical conditions that force them to be more cautious.

2. Snow Removal Gear

For much of the country, winter months bring snow and ice. This means a couple of things for your business. First, you may need to have some snow shovels and ice melt handy in case Jack Frost pays you a visit. You’re responsible for clearing out parking lots and walkways so that your customers can enter your business safely.

The next thing you need to worry about is the snow and slush that customers drag in with them. Grab a thick entry rug that they can wipe their boots off on so that your floors don’t get too wet and dirty. Not only is it inconvenient to clean them frequently, but dry floors continue to ensure customer safety.

3. Hand Warmers

Even with climate control in your building, some customers will still feel cold inside. The problem with space heaters is that they might make spaces too warm for other customers. An individual solution can work better in this scenario.

Consider having a package of hand warmers available for any customers who need it. Hand warmers are easily placed in gloves and don’t emanate any heat to the other individuals in the building. You can also consider stocking up on some blankets that can be kept in the waiting room for use. Just be sure to clean them regularly.

4. Clothing Storage

During the winter you’re likely not going anywhere without a thick coat on. However, this presents a little challenge when you enter a building. Inside it’s not cold enough to keep the coat on, but it’s so bulky that carrying it around can be awkward. Multiply this by however many customers are in your waiting room at one time and you can see how this can get problematic.

What you need is a designated spot for coats, hats, scarves, and more to stay while customers finish up their appointments. If you don’t have a large storage space readily available, a few coat racks should do. This gives customers the option to hang up some of their belongings until they’re ready to leave again.

Such a system will inevitably lead to a lost and found situation. Do your best to hang onto and keep track of missing articles, so they can be returned promptly. If you’re unable to find the owner, consider donating items to charity so that those in need can be bundled up better.

5. Warm Food and Drinks

There are days when during the winter months when it gets so cold that no number of layers seem to keep you warm. The trick on those days is to get something warm into your system. A cup of hot chocolate can quickly make your spirits bright even on the draftiest of winter days.

Speaking of which, a seasonal hot chocolate bar will certainly be a hit in your waiting room this winter. You can provide a variety of different flavors, even tea packets if you’d like. This will surely be a welcome treat for the cold, weary travelers that come to your business for an appointment.

Every once in a while you can offer some bonus items as well. Your earliest customers might be lucky enough to enjoy a warm pastry to get them through the morning. Little things like this can leave quite the impression on your customers now and in the following seasons.

Winter can be a challenge for many reasons. Dangerous road conditions and seasonal depression can greatly affect the lives of your customers. Taking a few steps to help them feel a little warmer and welcome during their appointments will mean a lot.

Featured Image: Josh Hild; Pexels.com. Thank you!

Change Up Your Food Routine With These Fun Techniques

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Food Routine

Need a little more spice in your life? Are you tired of the same-old food routine? That’s a common feeling people experience. But, especially after the pandemic, people realize they want more out of their lives. Your life doesn’t have to be as exciting as a dramatic soap opera. But, doing things differently or trying new things can help bring back some excitement if you’re feeling bored.

Most people tend to like at least some bit of change — a change in scenery, workplace, and, most commonly, food. Trying new food can be an adventure in itself, but it’s not constantly changing what you eat that can make a difference. Sometimes all you need to do is change the way you do things. And, yes, that can involve cooking.

One of the best ways to change up your style of preparing food is by limiting how long it takes. So for those who don’t feel like a chef in the kitchen and grumble through cooking, this one’s for you. Of course, some people want to enjoy meal-making, but the length it takes is just too overwhelming. But here’s a little secret — it doesn’t have to be that way.

Even if you’re set on the way you do things, it never hurts to switch up your routines from time to time. And especially when that change helps save you time. Here are some tips to change your food routine to free up more time.

1. Try Meal Prepping

Have you ever heard of this new craze that’s taken the internet by storm? Meal prepping involves making food in advance, whether all of it or portions, in order to save you time. How much you do beforehand is up to you. Whether you want to have ready-chopped vegetables or fully-prepared lunches, this technique can take a weight off your shoulders.

You can do this for every meal of the day, too. There are no limits to meal prepping. Wondering how to make breakfast in advance? Decide how much prep work you want to do the night before. For example, some people prefer the taste of freshly cooked eggs to reheated eggs. Let’s say you want to have an omelet for breakfast tomorrow. Tonight, pre-cook any bacon or sausage, if you choose to add those. Any vegetables, like peppers or avocados, can be chopped and sliced the night before. And if you really want to go all out, just make the whole thing.

If you’re interested in the boxed-lunch idea, all you need to do is set aside some time. Use that moment to make a large portion of whatever meal you’re in the mood for. Divide up the food into lunch-size amounts and put them away in plastic storage containers. And, if you’re really looking to stretch your food routine budget, you can freeze these lunches. This technique is great for bringing healthy lunches to work, school, or simply for days when you’re on the go.

2. Invest in a Slow Cooker

One of the easiest ways to cut down on cooking time is by using a slow cooker. These helpful appliances are designed to save you time and do all the cooking for you. Not to mention, they’re relatively cheap and widely available.

Slow cookers can be used for more than just dinner, too. Try using one to make breakfast. The food will cook overnight while you catch some well-earned z’s. Or, utilize this wonderful device for your meal prepping needs. Large slow cookers are very useful for making large portions of food. For example, you could cook a pound or two of chicken. When it’s done, cut it up or shred the meat how you like it. Then you’ll have chicken you can use for multiple meals — chicken salad, pulled barbecue chicken, and pieces to throw in pasta dishes.

With such a versatile device, you can use a slow cooker any time and for any kind of meal. There are tons of recipes out there — from soup to veggies. You’ll not only have some delicious home-cooked meals but also more free time. It’s a win-win.

3. Get Some Time-Saving Gadgets

Another internet sensation? Kitchen and household gadgets that are designed to make your life easier. Many of these have been gaining popularity through short-video apps, like TikTok and Facebook Watch. Clearly, these gizmos have taken off. So why not try some?

There’s just about every kind of device out there. If you’re stumped by how to cut up avocados, there’s a tool for that. Want hard-boiled eggs without the disaster of trying to peel them? You can bet there’s something for that. How about cutting vegetables in fancy slices? You guessed it — there’s a device out there. Salad spinners, fruit corers, sushi rollers, yolk separators — these are all real things.

Lots of manufacturers and inventors have realized that certain aspects of cooking can be so time-consuming. That’s why people are always coming up with new tools to help reduce the time spent on preparing food. There’s probably a gadget out there for just about everything. Start doing some internet searches and see if there’s something perfect for your kitchen woes.

4. Make Cooking an Activity

One way to change up the way you view mealtime and cooking? Make it fun. There’s something fulfilling about sharing a meal you’ve made with someone. And if you’re not the biggest fan of cooking, this might be a way to boost your enthusiasm.

If you have kids, this is a great way to get them involved in the meal-making process. It keeps them engaged and maybe even gain a lasting interest in making food. It’s nice having a little chef on your hands. Even if your kids aren’t too keen on cooking to begin with, making dinner together is a good bonding experience. Not to mention, it’s device-free.

Children need hands-on activities to keep their minds sharp. Cooking can involve fine motor skills and the development of hand-eye coordination. Whatever task you have them do depends on age and your child’s personal abilities. Of course, having a toddler chop up a watermelon is not advised. Stirring up batter, sorting ingredients, or rolling up dough are just a few easy tasks for young kids.

And if you don’t have kids, what’s a better date idea than cooking together? It’s usually cheaper than a restaurant (but hey, go as gourmet as you want), and you can stay home. You won’t need to dress up to enjoy a fancy pasta dinner — just make it at home. Likewise, this kind of activity is a great bonding exercise for couples. It can help you learn how to work together and share the fruits of your labor as a team.

Remember to Make It Fun

The whole point of mixing up your food routine is to have some more fun experiences. Don’t make yourself do anything you know you won’t enjoy. Sometimes you can surprise yourself, but don’t go into anything that’ll feel like torture.

Try out a little at a time. You don’t need to completely change up everything you do. You just need variety, which doesn’t involve uprooting every practice you’re used to doing. It’s all about gaining new experiences. So go out there and have some fun in the kitchen.

Change Up Your Food Routine With These Fun Techniques was originally published on Calendar.com on Sept. 28, 2022, by Abby Miller. Featured Image: Marcus Aurelius; Pexels.com. Thank you!

COVID Personal Wellness Program

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Personal Wellness

Personal wellness isn’t something we usually prioritize, but would certainly benefit from. The world seems like a completely different place than it was a mere couple of years ago. For many, it’s almost unrecognizable. To make matters worse, there is so much uncertainty on when things will go back to being “normal.” COVID-19 and now the riots — suffice it to say — this whole thing is really doing a number and all of us emotionally, mentally, and physically.

There is, thankfully, a silver lining. You can create a COVID personal wellness program that can help you cope with everything that’s going on while building up your resilience.

Attend to your physical health and safety.

The first place to start when it comes to developing a COVID personal wellness program is obviously your physical health and safety. I’m sure you’ve come across this information countless times in the past. But, it certainly bears repeating.

Health and safety.

For starters, wash your hands! You may be tired of hearing this. But, that’s a simple reason why. Soap annihilates the virus. Well, as Pall Thordarson, a Professor in Chemistry at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, in The Guardian that this is “because the virus is a self-assembled nanoparticle in which the weakest link is the lipid (fatty) bilayer. Soap dissolves the fat membrane, and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and dies – or rather, we should say it becomes inactive as viruses aren’t really alive.”

Another way to keep yourself protected? Limit your time around others. I know. Staying at home can be tiring. But, social distancing is imperative right now. So, postpone non-essential appointments and try to stock up on groceries two weeks at a time. If possible, have them delivered to you or chose curbside to go.


Speaking of food, fuel your body mindfully right now. That means eating foods that reduce anxiety and strengthen your immune system. That means limiting meals and snacks that contain high amounts of sugar and fructose corn syrup, as well as vegetable oil and refined carbohydrates. Instead, consume items that contain mainly Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and zinc, such as fruits and veggies, nuts, fatty fish, and yogurt. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

Physical activity.

Besides a healthy diet, make sure that you get enough physical activity. Even though your gym might be closed, there are more than enough exercises that you can do from home. You may also want to upgrade your home office by investing in a standing desk that you aren’t living a sedentary lifestyle.

Even better, though, get outside and go for a walk or bike ride. It’s actually been found that spending 120 minutes outside per week is associated with good personal health and wellness. And, as noted in TIme, even light activities like walking and housework can be just as effective.

Staying physically active doesn’t just your body in top-tip shape. It also bolsters your immune system and combats stress and anxiety. It also gives you an energy boost so that you’ll remain productive.


Finally, make sure that you’re getting enough sleep. I think this is often overlooked. However, getting a good’s night rest is vital to your health and safety. That’s probably easier said than done though with so much going on right now. But, you can try the following techniques to help you fall asleep:

  • Shut off screens at least 30 minutes before bed.
  • Eat a snack like a slice of cheese or apple slices.
  • Write out a to-do-list for tomorrow.
  • Don’t overdo it with the afternoon naps.
  • Set a bedtime time and stick with it.
  • Exercise, preferably in the morning.
  • Meditate.

Make your mental health and well-being a priority.

Let’s not sugarcoat this. COVID-19 is taking a serious toll on our mental health. As such, you need to make this a priority.

Physical activity, eating healthy, and sleep will help with personal wellness. But, for many of us, these typical ways to cope with stress and anxiety aren’t cutting it. After all, we’re in a completely different world than a couple of months ago.

How can you take care of your mental health and well-being during these uncertain times? Well, here are some suggestions:

  • Stick to your routine since it provides structure and sense of normalcy. If your previous routine has changed, start a new one.
  • Keep contributing. If you’re fortunate enough to work from home, then keep on trucking. Just remember to set boundaries and not work around the clock. If you aren’t working as much, then look for ways to share your unique talents with friends, family, or nonprofits. My sister, as an example, is crafty. So, she’s been making masks and selling them online with a portion of the proceeds going to charity.
  • Reach out to others. Technology has made it incredibly easy to interact with others remotely. Check-in with friends, family, and co-workers so that you can fight back again the risks of isolation. If no one else is around, then hang out with your pet.
  • Do meaningful things, such as learning, getting around to a project you’ve been putting off, or volunteering virtually.
  • Keep doing the things that you love like a hobby or indulging in a little self-care.
  • Use this time as an opportunity to start a new and healthy habit.
  • Focus on the positive by writing in a gratitude journal or reading uplifting and inspiring news stories.
  • Keep your sense of humor. Yes, this is a serious time. But, Gallow’s humor has long been a way for people to cope with a crisis. Some would even say it can be cathartic.
  • Download an app like Calm or Headspace to help you meditate.
  • Make use of teletherapy or emergency hotlines if you’re feeling overwhelmed or like you’re going to harm yourself.

Keep your environment clean and organized.

Things are already tense enough, so why add any additional stress and anxiety to your life right now?

But, that’s precisely what clutter can do. As Deanna Ritchie wrote in a previous Calendar article, one “study shows a link between clutter and procrastination.” Several others “have also found that clutter increases stress, decreases productivity, and makes it difficult to unwind.” As if that weren’t enough, “clutter can encourage bad habits, such as unhealthy eating and sleep problems.”

“And, most worrying to me is that clutter can clog neural networks,” adds Deanna. “As a result, you’ll be slower and less efficient in processing information.” Moreover, decluttering can provide you with a sense of control — which is certainly in short supply these days.

Oh yeah, Keeping a clean environment, like wiping down high-touch objects, such as doorknobs and faucets, is another way to protect you against the virus.

Make decluttering and cleaning a part of your routine. For instance, tidy up your workspace. During your downtime, clean an area of your home (and your vehicle) and either trash, recycle or donate the items you longer need.

But, clutter isn’t just restricted to physical items. You could also clean out your inbox, unsubscribe from newsletters you no longer need, and remove unnecessary files from your computer.

The same is also true of toxic people. Instead of spending your valuable time with those who drain you emotionally, surround yourself with people who are positive and supportive.

Address your financial and insurance concerns.

Before COVID, Americans were most stressed about money. Considering how this pandemic is negatively affecting people’s work and finances, these concerns will only get worse. However, there are ways that you can manage financial stress during COVID-19.

  • Create a budget and stick with it.
  • Avoid adding additional debt.
  • See if any government programs can help.
  • If applicable, find ways to add revenue streams. Maybe you could make masks online and sell them like my sister or deliver takeout orders during the weekend.

For more information, turn to trusted sources like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You should also speak with your accountant or financial advisor to develop a plan.

On top of getting your finances in order, know what your health benefits are during this crisis.

Stay informed, but also make time to unplug.

There is a lot of misinformation being spread around regarding COVID-19. And, that could be potentially dangerous — for some even life-threatening. What’s more, as more research is being conducted about the virus, we’re finding out new information almost daily. Besides, you also want to stay informed on how the pandemic is impacting both your work life and personal wellness.

At the same time, we all deserve a break from all things COVID. I mean, between the news, talking to others remotely, and writing articles like this, I feel like I’ve been wearing down. There’s just no reprieve. And, it’s been really taking a toll on my well-being.

Fortunately, I have found easy ways to give myself a break. For example, I take my dog for a walk every afternoon after lunch — sans phone, smartwatch, or any other piece of tech. I’m usually not that productive at that time anyway. So, I use this time to get the blood flowing, enjoy the outdoors, and clear my head.

You can also try establishing tech-zones in your homes, such as the dining room and bedroom. I’m also a fan of blocking apps at certain times or just turning off my phone completely when I’m working or enjoying a downtime activity like reading. But, if that makes you uncomfortable, then set time limits for news and social media consumption.

Here’s something else that’s helped me out a lot. Talk about something else other then COVID-19! Let’s say the next time your talking to a friend on the phone, ask them if there are any new podcasts or documentaries they can recommend. Talk about a new hobby you started.

If you need help with personal wellness, seek it out immediately. Heck, make plans about getting together once you physically can.

If you’re at home with family or roommates, go around and ask if they learned anything new today. What are they grateful for? And what are their plans for tomorrow?

Image Credit: Pixabay; Pexels; Thanks!

COVID Personal Wellness Program was originally published on Calendar by .

6 Ways Wellness Habits Boost Productivity

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Morning Routine

When you think of productivity, you might think about going into overdrive. In reality, it’s about making more time to take care of yourself.

Employees who practice healthy habits are 3.1 times more productive than their less healthy peers. Healthy employees live a balanced life: They make time to exercise, plan, eat well, and unwind after a long day.

Taking care of yourself takes time, of course, but its productivity returns are much greater than the time invested. When you’re well, you:

1. Pay attention to the details

Have you ever tried to work on an assignment when you didn’t get enough sleep? Think about how you felt the last time you pulled an all-nighter to finish up a quarterly report. It probably wasn’t your best work. 

When you pay attention to your mental health, you can do more in less time. By getting adequate sleep, you set the stage for a more productive next day. Clinical studies show that lack of sleep can be even dangerous for workers. Sleep deprivation makes it difficult for you to focus, so be sure to get at least seven hours of quality sleep each night. 

2. Get sick less often

Employees take time off from work for many reasons. The right ones actually increase productivity: Vacations help people unwind, and weddings keep them connected to important people in their lives. But often, it’s because they’re not feeling well.

Taking care of yourself is one of the best ways to cut down on your sick days. Eating well, exercising regularly, and keeping your stress levels low are all important for the immune system. They also minimize mental health days, which many employers are now lumping in with regular sick days. 

3. Beat back burnout

You’ve seen co-workers work themselves straight into a wall. They burned out because they didn’t take care of their health.

By making your wellness a focus, you keep yourself from running out of steam. Particularly important is keeping your stress levels low. Easy, inexpensive ways to do it include:


  • Take a walk


Sunlight and fresh air are great ways to decompress. Spend a few minutes on your feet, ideally outside. If you need to walk on a track due to weather or availability of outdoor walking trails, that’s a good substitute.


  • Meditate for a few minutes


Meditation is easier than it sounds. Just sit or lay in a quiet place for a few minutes. Listen to your breathing. Let your thoughts pass by without judgement.


  • Break out a book


Reading is an easy, healthy way to escape into a different world. Let yourself enjoy the pages for a few minutes before returning to work.


  • Eat a snack


If you’re feeling stressed, you may simply be hungry. Eat something healthy, like a cup of yogurt, a handful of nuts, or some fresh fruit. 

4. Grow more quickly

When you’re not feeling good, all you can think about is getting better. Keeping your body and mind in top condition make it possible to learn and grow. Wellness can:


  • Make you more optimistic


When you’re healthy, you feel like you can take on the world. Focus on wellness, and watch your outlook improve. 

  • Increase creativity 

Coming up with new ideas requires you to feel free to let go of the old. That becomes a lot more difficult when you’re struggling to stay afloat. 


  • Boost problem-solving skills


Challenges don’t look so large when you’re healthy. A happy, healthy mind can see solutions that an ailing one can’t. 

5. Find your groove

Regular, healthy meals. Exercising at the same time every day. Going to bed and getting up on time.

Healthy habits help you find a rhythm that works for you. Apply that same spirit of structure to your work by:


  • Setting daily goals


Each morning, create a list of realistic daily goals. Keep it brief: Treat anything you get done beyond your top three priorities as the cherry on top. 

  • Scheduling breaks

Particularly when you have a big goal ahead, break it up. Work on one part at a time, and give yourself a rest in between tasks. For every hour you work, give yourself a five- or ten-minute rest. 


  • Figuring out your prime time 


What time are you most productive? Is it the morning, afternoon, or evening? That time is your prime time. 

During your prime time, get your most difficult tasks completed. When you’re off of prime time, you can work on easier tasks like answering emails or reconnecting with old clients.


  • Using time blocks


Time-blocking is the act of splitting your entire day into 15- or 30-minute increments, during which you work only on a specific task. When the timer goes off, you move onto the next one.

Remember to block off times for meals and relaxation, too. Those are just as important as your work blocks. 

6. Keep things in perspective

Wellness helps you keep your head on straight. It helps you brush off bad experiences while remembering the importance of things like family and self-care. 

At the end of every day, make time to think about what went right, what went wrong, and what you want to do differently tomorrow. Ask yourself:

  • What actions today brought me closer to my goals?
  • Where did I slip up? What led me to make the mistake?
  • What’s the single biggest way I can make a difference tomorrow?

Wellness changes everything, including your productivity. Take better care of yourself, and watch what a difference it makes. 

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