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Common Sense Ways to Beat Cold & Flu Season

Common Sense Ways to Beat Cold & Flu Season

Fall is here which makes for colorful trees, cozy cardigans and comfort food. Unfortunately, it also means flu and cold season is about to hit.

Every year without fail my daughter’s class gets overrun with the sneezing, coughing, running nose pandemonium. No parent wants to see their child miserable with the cold or flu.  Add the necessary day taken off of work with your sick child to the mix and it becomes an even bigger dilemma.

And, if you didn’t know, it already is a big dilemma. The 2014-2015 flu season reached epidemic status. It was one of the worst on record and teachers can only do so much to keep the classrooms sanitized in a sea of runny noses. A University of Arizona Study showed that when someone is sick in an office it only takes four hours for it to spread on surfaces around the office. Transfer this same idea to a classroom with several little hands who are probably not as hygienically conscious as the typical adult and we have kids who don’t typically like sharing joining in.

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Instead of waiting until the inevitable and working against the symptoms, and with all of the conflicting ideas about the flu vaccination, here is a great list of preventative measures you can take.

Diet

Most people know that their diet has a huge effect on their health, but paying extra attention to it during winter months is the key to beating cold and flu season. This is often a time when people start eating heavier meals and the holidays bring many tasty additions. During this time making sure both ourselves and our children are still getting all of the proper micro-nutrients necessary for a healthy immune system is very important, and guess what large orange vegetable has vitamins A, B, C, potassium, copper, magnesium and iron all in one? Pumpkins! Just in time for the holidays. You can add pumpkin to chili, soups, stews, and smoothies.

Another way to help the little ones’ bodies fight off the bad guys is by adding probiotics to your diet. Probiotics are a natural way to boost your immune system to help keep those pesky cold and flu bugs away. One great source is yogurt, most importantly Greek yogurt. Try adding yogurt to your chili and stews in place of sour cream. Other great probiotic choices are sourdough bread and miso soup. Yum.

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While we’re talking comfort foods, adding something sweet to the list is a must. Honey is another food that has been proven to have natural microbial and antioxidant powers. Add a little to your kid’s cereal or oats in the morning or even some yogurt for an added sweetness.

Another large natural preventative vitamin that the family can get through a healthy diet is zinc. You can get large amount of zinc in pumpkin seeds! Another reason for all things pumpkin this season. You can also get large amounts of zinc in mushrooms, spinach, and chickpeas (great in chili).

Sleep

During the fall and winter months it gets dark earlier so making bedtime a bit earlier for the little ones should not be too difficult. Moving bedtime up even one hour gives both you and your little ones more time to rest. A fatigued and burned out body will have to work harder to fight off a cold or flu. Lack of sleep contributes to an unhealthy immune system so making sure to stay well rested plays a key role in helping you stay healthy.

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Cleanliness

Easier said than done with most kids, but this is by far most important factor in keeping the germs from school from getting back into your home. Having to remind the kiddos to wash after using the restroom can get rather repetitive quickly. A great way to remedy this is with notes. In my home a simple sticky note next to the sink, “Don’t forget to wash your hands” works wonders.

Another great preventative measure is hand sanitizer. At school kids don’t have mom or dad there reminding them to wash their hands, cover their mouths when they sneeze and blow their nose properly. It is just the way of things, so I send my little one to school with hand sanitizer as well. There are some great tutorials for natural hand sanitizers you can make right at home.

Lastly, noses are like filters that trap debris. For very young kids this won’t do but once they are old enough to blow their own noses a simple neti pot is a great way to clear out all airborne organisms or bacteria as well as moisten the nasal passages during the dry months.

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All in all it comes down to paying attention to the smaller details, the things that we overlook or simply are too busy to pay close attention to. This flu and cold season focus on these natural preventative measures. Making an extra initiative to eat healthier, sleep better and watch for germs could work for you. Chances are someone in the family will still catch a cold or flu but instead of counting on over the counter help when signs of illness start creeping up using preventative measures decrease the seriousness and length of the cold or flu if caught after all as well.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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