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6 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home

6 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home

Allergies are finicky. They can be a small nuisance to some, and a debilitating condition to others. Either way, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Cleaning your house isn’t about keeping up with appearances; it’s about your health, as well as the health of everyone else who comes around. Keep to a strict cleaning regimen and routine, and your house will always be, literally, a breath of fresh air.

Get rid of dust

Dust is one of those things that you don’t notice accumulating until it’s extremely unsightly. Instead of waiting until your home gets to that point, wipe your surfaces down and vacuum your floors on a regular basis. Use sprays and carpet treatments sporadically — don’t overuse them, or you may be doing more harm than good. Lastly, use zip-on covers for any bedding you use regularly to prevent dust mites from creating a home under your sheets. You might not be able to see them, but believe me, they’re there.

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Maintain plants and pets

Most of us enjoy having a home full of houseplants, flowers, and pets. But the downside here is when you realize the allergies you’ve been experiencing are due to your furry friends or aromatic greenery. The soil used in potted plants can actually grow moldy, so it’s actually best to leave them outside. If you absolutely must have some plants inside your home, coat the surface of the soil with aquarium gravel. Or, go with artificial plants for the inside of your home. They look pretty and won’t bother any guests!

As far as your animals are concerned, before you even adopt a cat, dog, or any other fuzzy wuzzy pet, make sure you’re not allergic in the first place. If you’re already past that point, but don’t have the heart to give little Fido away, at least keep him neatly groomed. Get him outside as much as possible, and definitely don’t let him sleep on your bed. You’re just asking for breathing problems if you do.

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Go hardwood

Like your mattress, wall-to-wall carpeting is a trap for dust mites and other allergens, such as pollen and dander. This is made worse by the fact that you don’t really notice when these allergens are building up in the crevices of your rugs. With hardwood surfaces, you can immediately see dust balls start to form, and can take care of them right away. But, again, don’t let it get to the point that you can actually see the dust. Be proactive with your cleaning regimen and you won’t have to start sneezing to remind yourself you need to sweep up.

Leave it at the door

You know how some people ask you to take your shoes off at the door? It’s not just because they don’t want you tracking mud in (although that’s obviously part of it). It’s also because you track in millions of unseen organisms (like the ones previously mentioned) that contribute to the overall dustiness of the entire house. If you don’t want to be a stickler about people’s shoe-wearing habits in your home, at least put a doormat on the inside and outside of your front entrance. That way, you can make sure your guests leave most of the “stuff” from outside at your doorstep.

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Check the curtains

If you’re not too picky about what you hang on your windows, opt for blinds made out of material other than fabric. If you absolutely need to have curtains, make sure you maintain them as much as your floors and bedding. Vacuum them weekly, and wash them monthly. Be especially diligent during the months in which your windows are constantly open; you have no idea of the type of microscopic organisms your curtains pick up from a strong breeze.

Stay ahead of mold

A good rule of thumb is: where there’s water, there can be mold. Of course, the two most common areas to stay on top of in this matter are your kitchen and your bathroom. Again, don’t wait until you can actually see mold growing before you do something about it; it’s there in some form, but can explode overnight if left alone. Check the entire surface of tubs and sinks, being especially careful to notice any cracks where water might be sitting dormant. Other hotspots for moisture include your basement or any area with direct access to the outside. For those areas, consider using a dehumidifier to suck up any excess water that could lead to trouble down the road. You could not only save yourself some health problems, but also save your home’s foundation as well.

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Featured photo credit: damned allergies – Day 43 / leila-anne cavé via farm2.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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