How to Downsize Your Home to an Apartment

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Over time, we tend to accumulate stuff – lots of stuff. We have drawers full of stuff, gifts that we have never used (and never will), furniture we don’t really need but keep “just in case” and items that we’ve had for years may be difficult to part with due to nothing more than familiarity while serving no functional purpose.

Now is the time to get rid of excess baggage (literally!) and pare down to the essentials.

Take a look at your actual needs. You may take up exercising someday but the treadmill/Stairmaster/Bowflex has been gathering dust for some time. Wouldn’t a good pair of walking/running shoes be more useful and take up significantly less space? Does anyone actually sit in the chair in the corner?

Deciding what you really need requires a good long look at how you live your life daily and prioritizing the activities and items that are already a part of your actual lifestyle–not those activities or items that you want to be part of your lifestyle, but haven’t gotten around to yet. Take a walk through your house and evaluate everything you come across (furniture, books, food, etc.). Ask yourself if you’ve used it in the past year and, if so, how often? Be honest with yourself.

Will everything fit? Measure your furniture. You will need to know how your furniture will (or won’t) fit into your new space – particularly large items such as your sofa and your bed – so measure everything. You  will also need to get the room measurements of your new space. Ask if you can take measurements or if there is a floorplan available to you. Don’t forget about the location of doors and windows as this will be a factor in furniture placement.

Get organized. Before you move into your new place, it’s a good time to work out some storage solutions for your stored items. You can do this as you pack. Place your storage items in decorative storage boxes that can be moved and placed in the new storage areas without much effort. Plastic bins are great for moving and storing, come in many sizes, are stackable, and the see-through ones make finding what you need a snap. The measurements taken of the new storage areas will ensure a good fit. Come moving day, these boxes will be much easier to deal with.

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Tips for Keeping Your Pet Cool This Summer

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As the weather kicks it up a notch, the natural tendency can be to get everyone up and out of the house, pets included. While spending more time outdoors can be a great source of exercise and fun for all involved, it’s essential to be wary of heat exhaustion in your animals.

 

  • Keep plenty of water available for your pet at all times. Make sure the water is cool and fresh, and keep it in the shade if it is outside.
  • Add a few cubes of ice to your pets’ water bowls. They’ll enjoy it, and it will help to keep their body temperature down.
  • Dogs tend to enjoy sitting in the sun. But lots of time spent in the sun can cause heat stroke and increase the risk of skin cancers. So be sure to provide a shady area for your dog at all times.
  • Exercise your pets only in the early morning or late evening. Avoid the hottest part of the day.

 

 

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An Easy Way to Search Your Text Messages

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Your mom sent you step-by-step instructions for roasting cauliflower, but somehow, you can’t seem to find it anywhere in your lengthy text message chain. Here, how to quickly search–and find–exactly what you’re looking for.

What you need to do: Open up your messages app, then scroll up until you see a search bar. That’s where you’ll plug in a word or two that reference what you’re looking for (like “cauliflower” or “recipe,” for example).

What happens next: The text message you’ve been searching for will appear immediately. Even better, it will open up to the exact spot in the chain (even if your mom sent it to you all the way back on May 17, 2015).

Time = saved. Yay, technology!

 

 

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5 Tips for Writing an Effective Resume

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Avoid Typos and Grammatical Errors

Your resume needs to be grammatically perfect. If it isn’t, employers will read between the lines and draw not-so-flattering conclusions about you, like: “This person can’t write,” or “This person obviously doesn’t care.”

 

Quantify Your Accomplishments

The most common resume mistakes are making claims that are too general and using too much industry jargon that does not market the candidate. A resume is a marketing document designed to sell your skills and strengths rather than just portray a bio of the candidate.

 

Don’t Go on too long or Cut things too short

Despite what you may read or hear, there are no real rules governing resume length. Why? Because human beings, who have different preferences and expectations where resumes are concerned, will be reading it.

That doesn’t mean you should start sending out five-page resumes, of course. Generally speaking, you usually need to limit yourself to a maximum of two pages. But don’t feel you have to use two pages if one will do. Conversely, don’t cut the meat out of your resume simply to make it conform to an arbitrary one-page standard.

 

Use action verbs

Avoid using phrases like “responsible for.” Instead, use action verbs: “Resolved user questions as part of an IT help desk serving 4,000 students and staff.”

 

Identify your Accomplishments not Just Job Descriptions

Hiring managers seek candidates that can help them solve a problem or satisfy a need within their company. Consequently, you can’t be a solution to their problems without stating how you solved similar problems in other companies and situations. Focus on what you did in the job, NOT what your job was there’s a difference For each point ask yourself, What was the benefit of having done what I did?

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Decorating Tips on a Budget

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Create a Side Table

Stack modular storage units (from $22, amazon.com) to make a stepped side table with surfaces for displays and lighting. Create miniature still lifes in the cubbies, or stack reading material that you’re going to get to…someday.

 

Stack Your Books

Piled books draw the eye. If shelves aren’t high enough or deep enough to accommodate oversize books, stack them on a flat surface, such as a bench or an end table.

 

Cluster Candles

Candles look best when massed, particularly on a spacious surface, like a coffee table; the larger the surface, the larger the candles should be. Group four or five pillars of different heights (same color) in glass containers.

 

Hang a Gallery of Photos

Mine your albums for your best shots (pick a theme: weddings, birthday parties, vacations) and put them in identical frames. Hang in a tight grid or a long line—you can’t go wrong if you stick to a geometric arrangement.

 

Hang Plates

Plates in unexpected colors make a fresh wall arrangement. Vary hues (within a family), sizes, textures. Put the most dramatic plate toward the center (lay out the plates first to experiment); attach wire plate hangers and hang plates on picture nails.

4 Tips for Entertaining this Holiday Season

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  • Avoid trying a new recipe for the first time when cooking for a dinner party. Always go with the recipes you know and trust.
  • Wearing comfortable shoes is a good idea because you’ll probably be on your feet for long periods of time.
  • Don’t feel obligated to invite anyone whose company you don’t enjoy simply to accommodate someone else. A party becomes a lot less fun when you have to interact with someone you don’t like.
  • Leave yourself as much time as possible before your guests arrive. Don’t be intimidated by the process and attempt to enjoy yourself.

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Tips for Surviving Christmas Shopping

 

 

 

 

 

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The leftover turkey is wrapped up and stowed in your refrigerator, the Thanksgiving pies have been devoured, and you’re ready for a long vacation. Unfortunately, the Christmas shopping season kicks off with a vengeance even before you’ve had time to make that cold turkey-stuffing-cranberry-sauce sandwich. Don’t stress out yet—we’ve shared some tips for saving money and staying sane while navigating holiday shopping madness.

 

Plan ahead

Too many people spend weeks worrying about getting the shopping done – it’s far easier to do it when you first start thinking about it. Start stocking up with the supplies as soon as possible – try getting a few items over the remaining weeks leading up to Christmas along with your regular shopping. As for presents, a great tip is to have an emergency supply, just a few small gifts to save you from embarrassment in the event of someone arriving unexpectedly with a present for you.

 

Make a List

Write down everyone you plan to buy a gift for, no matter how small the gift may be. Include ideas of what to give each person, along with the maximum amount you’re willing to spend. Don’t forget to list the people who will receive holiday tips, such as your doorman, babysitter, and mail carrier. This will help you manage your holiday budget.

 

Do Online Research

If you’re unsure of which specific item to buy (for example, you want to buy your husband a digital camera but don’t know what brand or model is best), search for reputable online reviews.

 

Do It Yourself

There’s an abundance of homemade pickles, hand-knit hats, and handcrafted stationary these days, thanks to a growing obsession with all things crafty, artisanal, and homespun (just look at all the unique things for sale on Etsy.com). If you’re creatively inclined, avoid mall madness altogether and bake a batch of cookies, sew personalized tote bags, or make beautiful earrings for friends and family.

 

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Preserve Family Dinnertime

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Only about half of families in the U.S. report eating dinner together regularly – an act linked to better sleep and higher self-esteem in kids. Here are some suggestions for how to cut down on the distractions and enjoy the meal.

 

  • Put Dinner on the Books – Though the average family dinner lasts only 20 minutes or so, coordinating schedules is a common barrier to carving out this crucial time. So on Sunday night, pencil in future family dinners.
  • Recruit your Kids as Sous Chefs – Cooking for a group is no easy task, but if you ask your children to pick one or two nights to help with the grocery shopping or veggie chopping, you’ll cut down on prep and gain extra bonding time in the process.
  • Turn off Electronics – Talk as a family about tech rules ahead of time. Assign one child the job of turning off the TV – or better still, eat in a room without one – and have a basket in the kitchen for everyone to drop their phones (with the ringers off).
  • Promote Fun Chitchat – Sit around the table to encourage eye contact, and make dinner a judgment-free zone (avoiding talk of test scores or discipline) to help kids look forward to meals.

 

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Cell Phone Etiquette

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Are there rules for cell phone etiquette? If not, there should be. Here are some rules that shouldn’t be ignored.

  1. Don’t speak so loudly that everybody around you has to hear you. Better yet, wait to talk when there aren’t others around.
  2. Use common sense about holding inappropriate conversations in public.
  3. Good cell phone etiquette is being considerate to the person with whom you are with. When in another’s company and your phone rings, ignore it until you are alone.
  4. Turn your phone off in movie theaters, at performances, in class, at work, or in church.
  5. Never text while driving. This bears repeating. NEVER text while driving. It is dangerous and is any thing that important that it can’t wait until you’re off the roads?
  6. Texting back and forth to a friend at work is not only annoying, it’s a good way to get fired. Don’t try to wait on customers, answer a text, return a message or respond while trying to offer service.
  7. When placing an order at a restaurant, don’t take a call. Be considerate. If you are inconsiderate of others because of poor cell phone etiquette, those waiting for you might return the treatment.
  8. During a job interview, don’t answer your phone. Turn your device off before you enter the building. There are documented cases by HR directors that were going to hire an individual before they interrupted the interview to answer their cell phone.
  9. The easiest rule is to use your phone when you aren’t doing other things. This is the considerate and absolute safest decision.
  10. Think about how you’d feel being told to hold that thought while the person you’re with is putting you on hold.

Drink to Your Health

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Raise a glass to your health. Recent studies have shown that wine reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cataracts, and improper lung function. Drinking moderate amounts of wine could reduce these risks by at least 30%. In addition, both regular and non-alcoholic red wine were found by researchers to prevent cavity-causing bacteria from adhering to tooth enamel.

 

For these health benefits you can thank flavonoids, the powerful antioxidants found in wine. The antioxidants diminish DNA mutations that cause cell damage and are also create the good cholesterol that makes blood flow easily through the arteries, reducing the risk for blood clots.

 

In order to enjoy these health benefits, doctors recommend one glass of red wine per day for women and two for men. Five ounces is recommended and it should be sipped slowly over dinner.

 

Drinking more than one to two glasses of wine per day cancels out the benefits. The key is moderation. Both red and white wine are beneficial to a person’s health and well-being. Scientific evidence clearly shows that wine drinkers have a higher level of protective antioxidants in their blood than non-drinkers. Here’s a toast to good health.

 

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What are the Dog Days of Summer?

 

 

 

 

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We’ve all heard the phrase before, but what does it actually mean? Well, the phrase originates from ancient Rome. Romans referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the “Dog Star” because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). According to the Romans, the Dog Days ran from July 24th through August 24th. The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists the traditional period of the Dog Days as the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, coinciding with the ancient helical (at sunrise) rising of Sirius. These also happen to be the days of the year with the least rainfall in the Northern Hemisphere. So the next time someone mentions the Dog Days of summer or asks you where that phrase came from, you can impress everyone with this short history lesson!

 

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Get Back to Nature

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Summer may be winding down, but that’s no excuse to stay cooped up in your home for the rest of the year. Here are a few suggestions for getting back in touch with nature.

 

Check out Colorado’s National Parks

Sometimes just a short drive out of your usual environment is all that is necessary to get away from it all. Colorado has four National Parks: Rocky Mountain, Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes, and Black Canyon of Gunnison. A visit to a state park is also an impromptu way to explore your natural surroundings for a day or weekend without a lot of advance planning. On top of all this, National Parks are packed with things to see and do.

 

Hit the trails

There are thousands of miles of hiking trails to explore in our great state. Colorado has enough trails that hikers of all experience levels can find a good fit. Try out Stanley Canyon, Columbine Trails, or the many trails at Palmer Park.

 

Have fun Outdoors

Riding a hot air balloon allows you to see Colorado from an entirely different perspective. Nearly every major city and resort town in the state offers a bird’s-eye view of local scenery from the basket of a high-flying balloon. Or if you don’t like being quite so high up, try boating instead. As your location around Colorado changes, so does your boating experience. Consider a peaceful excursion on a serene alpine lake, a pine-tree corralled body of water that supports a fleet of sailboats. Or hold tight as your motorboat zips across the wave-free waters of a Colorado State Park reservoir on the sun-collecting eastern prairie.

 

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Smartphones – Are We Addicted?

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It seems like everywhere you look nowadays, someone is using a smartphone (even in places they shouldn’t be, like movie theaters or doctors’ offices). But exactly how ubiquitous are smartphones? Have they supplanted PC’s as our main technological devices?

Earlier this year, the Pew Research Center surveyed* American adults about their smartphone ownership and usage and this is what they found:

-64% of American adults now own a smartphone of some kind, up from 35% in the spring of 2011.

-19% of Americans rely to some degree on a smartphone for accessing online services and information and for staying connected to the world around them. 

-10% of Americans own a smartphone but do not have broadband at home, and 15% own a smartphone but say that they have a limited number of options for going online other than their cell phone. Those with relatively low income and educational attainment levels, younger adults, and non-whites are especially likely to be “smartphone-dependent.”

-7% of Americans own a smartphone but have neither traditional broadband service at home, nor easily available alternatives for going online other than their cell phone.

Now for some stats about what Americans actually use their phones for:

  • 62% of smartphone owners have used their phone in the past year to look up information about a health condition.
  • 57% have used their phone to do online banking.
  • 44% have used their phone to look upreal estate listings or other information about a place to live.
  • 43% to look up information about a job.
  • 40% to look up government services or information.
  • 30% to take a class or get educational content.
  • 18% to submit a job application.

 

* http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/us-smartphone-use-in-2015/

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Beat the Heat this Summer

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  • Keep Your Windows Covered – By keeping your blinds and/or curtains closed during the day, the sun won’t heat up your apartment while you’re away from home. When you return, your apartment will be cooler and considerably more comfortable.
  • Use Fans – The interesting thing about fans is that they don’t actually cool a room, they just make it feel cooler, by blowing the hot air away from your body. Fans can make a room feel up to 7 degrees cooler and they use much less electricity than your air conditioner.
  • Avoid Using Your Oven – This is an unnecessary heat source that can really warm up your rental on a humid summer day. Consider changing your diet in the summer months and choose food that doesn’t require a stove or oven to be cooked. Try focusing on dishes that incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet.
  • Wear Cool, Loose-Fitting Clothing– Shorts, absorbent fabrics, and loose-fitting clothes all work outdoors, but they work inside too. It’s your home, dress for comfort. The cooler the clothing, the less you’ll need air conditioning.
  • Shut Down Unnecessary Electronic Appliances – Anything with a transformer generates heat. So shut down unused desktop computers, televisions, or entertainment systems – pretty much everything with a plug.

 

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4 Daily Habits That May Make You Smarter

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Have you felt a little slow lately? Maybe your memory isn’t as great as it used to be? Try practicing these daily habits and you may just succeed in expanding your mind. Remember, a little effort goes a long way.

 

– Share what you learn with other people. If you can find someone to debate and analyze ideas with, you can add to each other’s knowledge and gain new perspectives. Also, when you can explain ideas to someone else, it means you’ve mastered the concept.

– Play devil’s advocate – Take something that you have learned about recently and come up with a unique opinion on it, something that wouldn’t come to mind right away. Attempt to support this new opinion with evidence and try to be open to the idea that new evidence will change your opinion. If you repeat this every day, you’ll become much better at thinking outside the box.

– Stimulate your mind with exercise – Going on a daily run is a great way to get your brain flowing and to keep your mental health in shape. It’s also a great way to think through difficult decisions or process new information.

– Follow your questions – If you see or hear about something interesting, don’t just let the moment pass. Follow up and pursue your curiosity and track down the answers to your questions.

 

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Colorado Springs Brewery Roundup

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As of 2015, Colorado boasts over 200 breweries. The state is home to 4 of the top-50 brewing companies in the nation. The total business and personal tax revenue generated by Colorado’s breweries and related industries was more than $2.5 billion the last year – suffice it to say, beer is a big deal in our state. For your drinking pleasure, here are a few standout breweries in Colorado Springs to try out.

 

Bristol Brewing Company began in 1994 and their mission is threefold: quality, purity, and sanity. Their ales are made with all-natural ingredients. Favorites are their Laughing Lab and Winter Warlock (which was the winner of a Silver Medal in the foreign-style stout category at the 1998 Great American Beer Festival®).

 

Colorado Mountain Brewery offers a light, gentle brew of hops with their 7258 Pale Ale (7258 is the altitude of the United States Air Force Academy, which is also the view out the window of this brewery). Ole 59er Amber Ale celebrates the more than 100,000 gold seekers who stormed Colorado in the first gold rush of 1859, who became known as 59ers. This is also the year for the first graduating class of the USAFA (1959) and the founding of the Denver Broncos.

 

Great Storm Brewing is a fairly recent addition to the Colorado Springs brewing community. They try to focus their attention on tasty yet overlooked styles. Try their Rum-Raisin Stout which is fermented with oats, raisins, dark brown sugar, and mild English hops. It’s a dessert in a glass!

 

Judge Baldwin’s Brewery, nestled in downtown Colorado Springs, was the first brewery in town. Seasonal microbrews are on tap daily as well as their four popular microbrews. Flanders Oud Bruin and the Belgian Biere de Goude are favorites.

 

Phantom Canyon Brewery has been in operation since December 1993. Their beers are made from the finest malted barley and hops from the around the globe, carefully selected ale and lager yeasts and pure Colorado water.

 

Rock Bottom Brewery maintains ten beers on tap, all of which are made onsite.

 

Rocky Mountain Brewery started operations in June 2008 and they’ve been going strong ever since. Try their cherry beer, “Da’ Yoopers,” it’s brewed with 100% Montmorency cherries from the UP of Michigan. Or if you’d like something a bit stouter, try their Shop Stout, which blends together chocolate, roasted malt, and espresso flavors.

 

Smiling Toad Brewery is a small and “homey” brewing operation. They pride themselves as truly being a place where everyone knows your name. Their taps are constantly rotating so stop in sometime and see what they’re offering.

 

Big Ideas for Decorating Small Bathrooms

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Even if you have a small bathroom, there are many ways you can liven it up. These design tips can revitalize any small bathroom and help you maximize space.

 

  • Declutter Countertops – Store makeup, prescription items and any personal grooming tools out of sight. Style your countertop with fresh flowers and sweet-smelling lotion or soap.
  • Consider Lighting – Generally speaking, a bathroom — or any space for that matter — will always seem larger if it’s lighter and brighter. For this reason, be sure to take full advantage of any natural light available in your small bathroom. Make sure any curtains or shades are translucent, and keep windowsills free of any items that would obstruct sunlight from entering the space.
  • Add Flashes of Color – In an all-neutral bathroom, add pops of color with fresh flowers in a simple vase on the vanity. It’s effortless, inexpensive, and easy to mix up the palette and accessories with each new bouquet.

 

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3 Reasons to Stop Multitasking

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It may seem like juggling several tasks at once can save you time, but research studies have proven that this is not the case. In fact, it will probably take you longer to finish two projects when you’re jumping back and forth than it would to finish each one separately.

 

– Multitasking Usually Leads to Mistakes – Researchers have found that switching between tasks can cause a 40% loss in productivity. It can also cause an increased amount of errors and mistakes into whatever you’re working on.

– Multitasking Stresses you Out – When your attention is divided between multiple tasks, each one becomes that much harder to complete. Increasing the difficulty of your to-do list only leads to more stress and anxiety.

– Multitasking Makes you Miss out on Life – In a 2009 study, researchers from Western Washington University observed college students walking across a campus square while talking on their cell phones. 75% of the students failed to notice a clown riding a unicycle nearby. The researchers referred to this as “inattentional blindness,” indicating that even though those students on their phones were technically looking at their surroundings, none of it registered in their brains.

 

Scientists claim that one of the most effective way to complete tasks is to work in batches. For example, pay your bills all at once, or work on sending all of those emails you’ve been putting off all at once. Get a groove in completing one type of task and focus on that until you’re done.

 

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4 Reasons Your Phone is Dying

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It’s an image that we are all too familiar with: that ominous red battery in the upper corner on your phone’s screen. But you say to yourself, “I only made a single phone call and sent a couple texts, how could my battery already be low?!” Here are some culprits that might be secretly draining your phone’s battery.

– Your Phone Could Be Searching for Wi-Fi networks. Connecting to Wi-Fi networks is a great way to limit your data-use and save money on your phone bill. However, if you’re out and about, your phone may still be trying to search for networks to connect to and this is a sure-fire way to run down your battery. When you leave the house, do yourself a favor, and turn “enable Wi-Fi” off.

– Your Screen Could Be Too Bright. During the day, the brightness level on your phone’s screen doesn’t have to be maxed out. If you have an iPhone, you can turn on your phone’s auto-brightness feature in order to further conserve power.

– Your Phone Is Vibrating. While turning your ringer off can be necessary in certain situations, the fact of the matter is that vibrations drain your battery faster than your ring-tone does.

– You’re Not Letting Your Phone Drain Its Battery. This may be hard to believe, but the more often you charge your phone, the harder it is on your battery. Let your phone’s battery drain completely from time to time and it will help your battery’s long-term health.

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Five Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Day

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We’ve all had hectic days, where it seems like everything goes wrong and finishing all of the items on your to-do list just seems impossible. However, when bad days strike, you always have the potential to turn them around. Here a few steps that you can take in order to make it through a particularly stressful day.

– Declutter. Take just a few moments to tidy up a space, even one as small as a single drawer or shelf. Decluttering an area of your life can have a tremendous effect on your overall mood and can give your day a much-needed boost.

Go on a walk. Even if your schedule for the day is packed, try and fit in a walk, perhaps in the evening at the end of your day. Getting your body moving outside in fresh air can help clear your head and calm you down.

– Sniff a lemon. Your sense of smell is quite underrated when it comes to de-stressing.Japanese researchers found that linalool, which is substance found in lemons, may turn down the classic “flight-or-fight” stress response. If you’re not into lemons, you can try basil, juniper, or lavender — those scents have also been found to lower stress.

Turn off your electronics. Take a break from your gadgets and gizmos. Staring at screens all day can zap your energy and encourage you to be less active.

– Listen to music. Make a playlist of songs that make you smile. Researchers have found that listening to music can help lower your blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve your mood.

 

 

 

 

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