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6 Tips for Moving Out On Your Own for the First Time

6 Tips for Moving Out On Your Own for the First Time

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of moving out on your own for the first time. Maybe you’re headed to college, or finally moving beyond dorm life and out into the “real world” — apartments! Rent! Landlords! Electric bills! Suddenly excitement turns to dread. How the heck are you supposed to manage all those details?! MOM! DAD! HELP! Before you go running back to your childhood bedroom in your parents’ house (you’re a bit beyond those Ninja Turtles sheets, don’t you think?), read through these 6 tips for moving out on your own for the first time. With a little bit of focus and a few fairly easy tricks, it won’t seem quite so daunting.

1. Invest in a good bed

It can be tempting to skimp on your furniture purchases when you’re outfitting your first place, but even if you buy everything else second-hand or for cheap, you should at least buy a good mattress. If you’re not sleeping well, the rest of your life will suffer. Nothing makes you feel older, grumpier, and less excited about your new life than back pain and chronic fatigue. Unless you’re willing to spend time bargain hunting at your local furniture stores, you’re likely to find the best deals online. Amazon.com, for example, has mega deals on high-quality mattresses for under $300 — and if you want to go with Memory Foam, it’ll show up vacuum packed into a box on your doorstep. Your only job? Build yourself a platform, a DIY project that can be done on the cheap.

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    2. Let someone else do the heavy lifting

    Hiring movers might seem like a decadent choice, but you won’t regret it. You have enough to worry about with your move without having to figure out how to get that sofa up the staircase or straining your back with heavy boxes. A well qualified team will make your move quick, easy, and relatively painless — at least, until you have to figure out where to put all of those knick knacks you decided to take with you. Be sure to hire movers who are professional, insured, and experienced, and read their reviews on a third-party site before handing over your cash! Using online tools is a great way to prepare for your move, as it will save you time and money, and help you stay organized. Price comparison and booking tools make finding and booking a mover much easier. You can find information about movers in your area, all in one place, and make inquiries directly in the platform – no need to make endless phone calls. Most of these online moving tools let you see real reviews from past customers, too.

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      3. Learn to cook simple, healthy things

      One of the expenditures Americans spend a whole lot of money is on food. Pre-made meals, takeout, and frozen pizzas cost way more than preparing simple meals for yourself, and are generally full of preservatives or other unpronounceable ingredients that you don’t really want to put in your body. Start by getting to know your local grocery store — and stick to the periphery as much as possible. That’s where you’ll find foods in their most natural form. Make friends with the Bulk Section as well, where you can find large amounts of rice, oats, and other staples typically at lower prices.

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        There are plenty of amazing blogs out there with an abundance of recipes, all downloadable for free. ThugKitchen.com delivers clean eating with some mega sass and humor (steer clear if swear words bother you!). You can also check out Allrecipes.com and The Food Network for easy, quick and healthy recipes. Choose a few recipes that appeal to you, and master them before you worry about becoming any sort of world class chef.

        4. Ditch the fancy cleaning supplies

        All of those different spray bottles of cleaners for wood, porcelain and glass are a waste of money, and generally full of chemicals and synthetic fragrances. You can make your own cleaners for less money and sans chemicals with a few easy ingredients: white vinegar, baking soda, and castile soap. Need to scour your tub? Mix castile soap with baking soda and scrub away the grime. A 50/50 mix of vinegar and water, wiped with a microfiber cloth, will remove the minerals from sink fixtures, the streaks from mirrors, and clean your windows. Pour baking soda into the toilet to coat the bowl, then spray with vinegar and scrub with your toilet brush. And if you’ve got really tough stains, Borax is a natural but really effective powder you can add to your baking soda-castile soap mix.

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        5. Unplug to save electricity

        There’s this thing called the “Phantom Load” – an energy draw that happens when your electronics are plugged in, but not on. That means that the electric meter is still ticking away, racking up your bill, even though you thought you were being good by turning everything off. If you’d really like to keep the electric bill down, unplug your electronics when you’re not using them. Make this easy by plugging things into a power strip/surge protector that has an on/off switch so that you can kill the electricity to your entertainment system, for example, with one flick of a switch.

        6. Make a budget you can follow

        With the technology available these days, it’s really not that difficult to get a picture of your spending habits and create a budget that will help you stay on track. You can either do this yourself by using an Excel sheet, or you can opt to use a mobile app. Mint.com is one such app that, year after year, has raked in the accolades for being easy to use and free — It links to your bank and credit card accounts to seamlessly import all of your purchases and spending. The program categorizes everything the best it can, but you can easily program it to categorize certain locations or purchases under specific budget categories. From there, you can track your spending by category or overall, set savings goals, and even get alerts if you’re nearing your budget limit. With this handy tool in your pocket, there’s no room for overdrafting or missing rent payments!  There are plenty of budget apps out there, so do your research, and choose one that is right for you. Moving out on your own for the first time is a huge milestone in your life.  With these simple hacks and tips, not only will it be a positive next step, but they will help you pave the way for future success in your adult life, for years to come.

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        Last Updated on June 18, 2018

        What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

        What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

        Eight out of ten adults experience lower back pain once in their lifetime. I am one of those people and I’m definitely not looking forward to my participation award. I know how it feels like to step out of bed and barely being able to put on your socks. Having lower back pain sucks. But 9 out of 10 patients that suffer from lower back pain don’t even know the primary cause of it.

        Video Summary

        Back Pain? Blame Our Evolution

        Once upon a time in our fairly recent past, our ancestors felt the urgency to stand up and leave our quadruped neighbors behind. Habitual bipedalism, fancy word for regularly walking on two legs, came with a lot of advantages. With two rear limbs instead of four, we were able to more efficiently use our hands and create tools with them.

        Sadly, life on two legs also brought along its disadvantages. Our spine had four supporting pillars previously, but now it only got two. The back is therefore naturally one of the weak links of our human anatomy. Our spine needs constant support from its supporting muscles to minimize the load on the spine. With no muscle support (tested on dead bodies) the back can only bear loads up to 5 pounds without collapsing [reference Panjabi 1989]. With well-developed torso muscles, the spine can take loads up to 2000 pounds. That’s a 400-fold increase.

        Most people that come to me with a history of a herniated disc (that’s when the discs between the vertebral bodies are fully collapsed, really severe incident), tell me the ‘story of the pencil’. The injury with the following severe pain usually gets triggered by picking up a small, everyday object. Such as a pencil. Not as you may think by trying to lift 100 pounds – no, but by a simple thing – such as a pencil.

        This tells us that damage in your back adds up over time, it’s a so called cumulative trauma disorder. Meaning back pain is a result of your daily habits.

        Sitting Is the New Smoking

        Whenever I sit for too long, my back hurts. In fact, 54% of Americans who experience lower back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting. But isn’t sitting something that should reduce the stress of your back? No, just the opposite.

        The joints between the bones of the spine are not directly linked to the blood supply. These joints instead get nourished through a process called diffusion. Diffusion works because molecules (such as oxygen, important for cells) are constantly moving and try to get as much space for themselves as they can. A key element for diffusion therefore is a pressure difference. In the image below the left room contains more moving molecules than the right, that’s why the molecules from the left are moving to the right. This way nutrition gets transformed into the joints, whereas toxins are transported out of the joints.

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        Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spinal chord. The diffusion process therefore can’t function as efficiently. Nutrition and toxins can’t be properly transported, the joints get damaged.

          Sit Properly

          If sitting can play such a huge part in the creation of your lower back pain, how do you sit properly then?

          Is it better to sit with a straight back or should you rather lay back in your chair? Can I cross my legs when I’m sitting or should I have a symmetrical position with my feet? These are questions that I hear on a daily basis. The answer might shock you – according to recent science – all of them are right. The best sitting position is an ever-changing one. An ever-changing position minimizes the pressure on certain points of your spine and spreads it on the whole part.

            Credit: StayWow

            Stand Up More

            Even better than a sitting position is a stand up position. Standing dramatically reduces the pressure on your spine. If you’re forced to work on a desk the whole day though, you have two options.

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            Take breaks every hour of about 2-3 minutes.

            Set an alarm on your phone that goes off every hour! In that time you stand up and reach to the ceiling, on your toe tips with fully extended arms. You’re inhaling during the whole process. You do this activity for 20 seconds. Afterwards you’re walking through the office for the next 2 minutes. You might grab a healthy snack or some water in that time. The exercise relieves the pressure on your spine, while the walking makes sure that the joints on your spine are properly used.

            Or get a standing desk.

            One of the best companies on the market for Standing Desks, according to my research, is Autonomous. Autonomous offers a rather cheap Standing Desk, with the ability to change the height. Which means you can start the day standing and switch to sitting if you’re tired.

            Exercise for Lower Back Pain

            Sitting is an immobile position. Your joints are made for movement and therefore need movement to function properly. If humans are moving, all moving parts: e.g. the joints, bones and muscles get strengthened. If you’re in a rested position for too long, your tissues start to deteriorate. You have to get the right amount of activity in.

            But not too much activity. There’s a chance that going to the gym may even increase your risk of lower back pain. I know plenty of friends with chiseled bodies that suffer from pain in the spine regularly. Huge muscles do not prevent you from back pain. In your training you should focus on building up the muscles that are stabilizing your back and relieve pressure. Squats with 400 pounds don’t do the trick.

            The more weight you carry around, the more weight your spinal chord has to bear on a regular basis. That’s one of the reasons why huge, muscular guys can suffer from back pain too. One of the most important goals of your exercise regimen should therefore be weight loss.

            Here are some important tips for you to consider when starting an exercise regimen:

            Make sure you implement cardiovascular training in your workout routine.

            This will not only help you lose weight, it will also make sure that your arteries, which flow to the tissue next to your spinal discs, are free of placque and can therefore transport nutrients properly.

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            Important: If you have rather strong back pain, maybe even an herniated disc, don’t start running on a threadmill. Running is an high-impact exercise. Which means there are continuous, reocurring high pressure points on your spine. Your endurance training should therefore either be fast-paced walking or a training on the elliptical trainer for the beginning, because both have little to no stressful impact on your backbone.

            Focus on developing your whole core if you want to minimize your pain.

            There are some people that do hundreds of sit ups a day. While sit ups are a good exercise for your abdomen, it also puts pressure on your spine due to the bending movement. A sixpack workout routine is one-sided. Your abs may become overdeveloped in comparison to your back muscles. You’ve created an imbalance. A great way to train your abdominal muscles and back muscles simultaneously, is holding the plank position.

            Stretch only if you have tight muscles.

            I remember stretching every morning after I woke up. I took 10 minutes out of my day to just work on my flexibility and prevent injuries. Little did I know that I was actually promoting an injury, by doing so.

            Contrary to common belief, stretching is only partially beneficial to treating lower back pain. Stretching makes sense if tight muscles (such as the hamstrings) are forcing you to constantly bend your back. Stretching to treat pain doesn’t make sense if you’re already on a good level of flexibility. Hyper-mobility may even enforce back pain.

            If you found out that you had tight muscles that you need to stretch, try to stretch them at least three times a week. Don’t stretch your muscles right after you wake up in the morning. This is because your spinal discs soak themselves up in fluid over the nighttime. Every bending and excessive loads on your spine is much worse in that soaked-up state. Postpone your stretching regime to two-to three hours after you’ve woken up.

            Where to Start

            The key to improving your habits is awareness. Try to get aware of your back while you’re sitting down, laying down or lifting an object next time. This awareness of your body is called proprioception. For example, you have to be aware whether your back is bended or straight in this very second. Trust me, it is harder than you might think. You may need to ask a friend for the first few tries. But the change that this awareness can make in your back pain is absolutely fascinating. This consciousness of your body is one of the most important things in your recovery or prevention.

            Here are a few behavioural tactics that you need to be considering:

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            If you’re leaning forward more than 30 degrees with your upper body, support your spine with your arms.

            Ever tried to show a colleague of yours a complex issue and found yourself awkwardly leaning forward on their desk, pointing with your fingers to his paper? If that ever happens again, make sure you’re using the not-pointing arm to support yourself on the desk.

            Keep a straight back.

            Be it while exercising, stretching or standing. If you’re bending your back you’re putting stress on small areas of your spinal chord. A straight back redistributes the force to a bigger area. You’re minimizing the pressure. Remember this whenever you’re at the gym and reracking your weights, focus on having a neutral spine.

            Put symmetrical loads on your spine.

            I used to play the trumpet when I was a child. The instrument is pretty heavy. The trumpet gets transported in a big, metallic suitcase – with no wheels. Being the nature of suitcases, you only carry it with one arm, on one side of your body. This forced me to constantly lean on the other side with my upper body, while transporting the instrument from A to B. Not really the healthiest activity for your spine as you can imagine.

            If you have to carry heavy objects, carry them with both arms. Put the object in the middle of your body and keep it as close to your mass of gravity as you can. If this is not possible, try to carry the same amount on the left side than you do on the right side. This puts the stress vertically on a fully extended spine. The load is much better bearable for your spine.

            Stay Away From the Back Pain League

            Our world is getting more sedentary. We will continue to develop faster transportation, more comfortable houses and easier lives. While our technological progress definitely has its amazing benefits, it sadly has its downsides too. The danger for back pain will continue to rise on our ever-increasing motionless planet. It’s time to raise awareness.

            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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