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8 Ways to Keep Your Pets Safe During the Holidays

8 Ways to Keep Your Pets Safe During the Holidays

Even though we love to deck the halls, raise toasts, and gather loved ones around warm hearths, our furry family members don’t always share the same affection for the holiday season.

Make sure your pets feel included—and stay safe—during the holidays with these eight must-do pet safety tips.

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1. Establish House Rules

There’s no place like home for the holidays, and that means lots of friends and family dropping by, staying over and entering your pet’s domain. To keep everyone merry, establish some basic house rules for visitors who may not be used to living with animals. Let your guests know when and how they can best lavish attention on your pet. If your pup is easily overstimulated, ask guests to give her space. If she loves making new friends, encourage extra belly rubs. Also, be clear about how your pet gets along with other animals and small children—this way everyone will be sure to have a happy holiday.

2. Decide on Safe Spaces

Sometimes we all need a little time to ourselves. With the hubbub of the holidays, your four-legged friends can benefit from knowing there’s a quiet place where they can safely get away from the action. Provide a cozy spot for your kitty to take a snooze—and don’t forget to include his favorite toy and a festive bowl of fresh water. You can provide your dog or cat with a crate, or give them their own room if possible, where they can stay safe and sane amidst all the festivities.

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3. Secure Your Tree

Nothing invokes holiday spirit like a splendidly dressed tree, but these bedazzled icons can be dangerous for an overly curious kitty or rambunctious pup. Secure your tree to keep it from tipping and falling over. A stable tree also prevents spilled water, which can be filled with chemicals and byproducts that may hurt your pet if ingested. You also want to avoid hazardous trimmings like tinsel, as they can become choking hazards or lead to blocked digestive tracts.

4. A Second Pair of Eyes

Whether you’re hosting Christmas dinner or heading out of town for Hanukkah, chances are your best friends will be on their own more than usual during the holidays. Banish any worries you might have with a home security system that includes cameras, perimeter alerts, and remote-viewing capabilities. This way you can keep an eye on—and even interact with—your beloved animals no matter where you are. Most security systems let you tune in via smartphone, tablet, or any computer with internet access so you can always make sure your pet’s safe.

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5. Fence in Flames

If you plan to roast your chestnuts on an open fire this holiday season, you want to make sure your dog or cat can enjoy the warm glow without getting hurt. Place all candles in stable holders and put them where pets can’t accidentally knock them over. Always use a fireplace screen and never leave candles or fires unattended.

6. Provide Healthy Handouts

With so much yummy food around, Fido is bound to catch a dropped piece of fruitcake or potatoes. Make sure she doesn’t put on extra holiday weight—or eat something that could make her sick—by asking guests to refrain from sharing table scraps. Instead, provide healthy, safe snacks that guests can give her when it’s time for a treat.

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7. Travel Safely

You probably don’t want to ring in the new year without your best friend, but holiday travel can be even worse for our pets. Make travel safe and comfy for your furry friends by giving them a safe, anchored space where they can’t distract a driver or roam into danger. If you’re going on a road trip, plan several rest stops on your itinerary and talk to your vet about safe solutions for motion sickness and anxiety.

8. Avoid Harmful Seasonal Greenery

Many of the season’s most abundant flora and fauna are harmful to pets. Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias all pose risks to your four-legged family members. If you can’t resist the lure of traditional holiday greens, opt for silk plants or seek out a pet-safe arrangement of less harmful plants in bright reds, greens, and whites. Tulips and roses are fragrant, beautiful alternatives that you and your pets can safely enjoy.

The holidays are a time for giving, celebrating, and drawing loved ones near. Make sure your canine and feline friends remain safe and happy by taking these thoughtful safety precautions this holiday season.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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