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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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