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Tips for Working At a Co-working Space

It is important for you to be aware of why you are at a coworking space and its benefits. Whether you’re aiming to be productive without a lot of socializing or trying to build a strong professional community or just want to be around other people in a productive environment, you need to design and have a personalized approach to your involvement in the community. Below is a list of tips based on our around that can help you get the most out of your coworking experience.

Put Yourself Out There
Take the initiative to introduce yourself to new members even if it’s straight out of your personality. Nothing beats making a good, friendly first impression to a fellow coworker. A hello! will go a long way, either it could land you the next collaboration, get your next client, spark the most inspirational conversation or simply create a new best friend.
A simple smile and ‘good morning’ when you enter the office could be the start of a great relationship. Knowing your co-workers helps build a stress-free environment leading to better work life and productive time! Take a break and invite your coworkers for lunch or for a coffee, bring food or sweets, a great way to know everybody pretty quick, especially if you are shy. I invite our new members to join me for tea at a ‘chai stall’ below Collab House.
A good strategy is to take a break with people in fields that are different from your own and see the ways your fields intersect. Grab lunch with someone in your field and talk openly about opportunities and issues in the industry. It’s great to have a few people to bounce ideas off and necessary to be willing to discuss your projects.?

Get Involved in the Community
If you’re not necessarily wanting to go out of your way to talk to others or make connections, at least make yourself and your business is known at community events so everyone’s aware of who you are and what you do! A great non-intrusive way to meet your fellow co-workers is to participate in events and social gatherings organized by your coworking space.
The first step is to participate. Most of the coworking spaces host events, workshops, guest talks, socials and happy hours, and special networking events to give members an opportunity to mingle; sharing upcoming projects, past setbacks, and current successes. A community invests so much of time and money for their members, by being a part of its members will get an opportunity to interact with the coworkers and get the best out of the events.

Socialize Not Just Network
The goal is not to talk to as many people as possible: one meaningful and interesting conversation is worth a thousand business cards. You don’t need to attend them all, if something is not of interest at all, you don’t need to make an appearance. Check your coworking space’s upcoming events calendar, stay updated and if something is remotely on your radar, check it out.

Take Initiative
Run a workshop in your area of expertise or organize a pub crawl, or host a table-tennis tournament or monthly community meeting. Speak to your community manager and get it organized. This is a great way to introduce yourself (or your company) and get to know your neighbors and possibly find a new client or gain a referral.

Don’t Sell
Don’t always look for the opportunities to sell. People who are simply trying to have a light conversation at water-cooler or kitchen are not necessarily interested in the hard sell and so very quickly people will start to avoid you.

Smart Talk
Don’t start up long conversations with people when they are not fully contributing to the discussion, most of the time they are just being nice to you. Always ask if they are up for a discussion.

Know Your Community Manager
Many coworking spaces have a community manager who is an invaluable resource. They will have a good knowledge of the people within the space, are informed about events, deal with any issues that arise and are keen to make their service as good as possible. Ask questions, give feedback and share your ideas and your projects! They will be glad to listen to you and to help to find a solution together or introduce you to people who can help you professionally. This will put you on top of their mind and can help refer coworkers who could benefit from your service.
By getting to know the community manager or a well-connected employee of the center, you’ll be poised to make the connections that may ultimately mean business for you.

Collaborate
It’s important to realize your limitations when you work for yourself. Helping each other is an integral part of coworking culture. If you’re a software developer, you’re not necessarily a designer, product manager, or marketer as well. When you work at a coworking space, people with those skills probably work right next to you and are just as interested in building something awesome as you are.
Invest in your community by taking a genuine interest in what they do. Ask questions. This provides both parties with an opportunity to learn one’s strengths and collaborate! Best coworking spaces have the ability where you can look across the room and ask someone for help with exactly what you need! In a true community coworking space, generosity and an underlying spirit of helpfulness are the heart of everything.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask
The great thing about coworking is they get to operate as real human spaces.
Talk to your coworkers, and talk to your hosts. Let them know what you are looking for: they will guide you through the infinite resources of their networks, knowledge, coworking and it will help you to integrate. Be as precise as possible when you ask for help.

Participate in the Online Community
Leverage your coworking community’s communication tool – WhatsApp group or Slack channel or a Facebook group for quick help with relevant asks (‘help I need a designer/UX person/content writer etc.’).

Juice the Offerings
Optimizing your coworking experience is really about putting the resources available to you to full use. Your coworking space may provide you with a number of obvious solutions to help you work your best, such as meeting rooms, audio-visual equipment for presentation use, and/or printing and copying solutions including complimentary items such as coffee, water, and snacks.?
What most of them miss look into is most of the coworking spaces have great discounts for other businesses nearby, events and conferences. For instance, we get a 15% discount at a local Pizza and Sandwich store, free deliveries and more. Sometimes if you ask nicely, you may also get complimentary tickets to various workshops and conferences happening across the city.

Be Organised and Disciplined
Without cubicles, you add more distractions to the mix. It is easy to start random conversations as people are usually friendly. Being organized and disciplined in your place not only helps you boost capacity but helps the coworkers to be productive as well. It is easy to get carried away as you are at a place where a lot will be happening around and it will easier to draw into it.

Set a Routine
The most important thing about being productive is that it can only be accomplished by setting a routine and being disciplined. Prepare a routine and be ardent about following it. Set timers for how long you’re going to work, and have intense focus and maintain breaks to keep your workday on track – take a walk or having a conversation. Be consistent and make a plan with a coworker friend to meet over a coffee every day at a certain time.
Use personal time management apps; they can play a crucial role in increasing productivity and keeps you on top of your time.

Invest In Decent Headphones
It can be hard to concentrate on your work when there are a bunch of interesting conversations happening around. Noise is the main complaint in open-plan offices. Whether it’s digital sounds like ringing phones or computer notifications, or it’s human sounds coughing or sneezing, the ambient sounds of coworking spaces can be distracting. It is easy to get pulled into random conversations with people sitting around you. Sometimes this can be extremely distracting and unproductive.

Headphones are the universal coworking sign that you don’t want to be disturbed. Headphones are a topmost recommendation for staying productive. If you can, invest in noise-canceling headphones.

Experiment with Different Spots Within The Space
One of the best parts of working in a shared space is your ability to choose your work environment. Many coworking spaces are designed with different “vibes” in mind–from communal tables and lounges to hidden corners and conference rooms.
Speak to the community manager or coworking team and try out which area makes you feel most comfortable. If you’re having a hard time concentrating at your desk, head over to a couch or communal table. There’s likely an area that will make you feel right at home.

 

Blog Source: Entrepreneur India | #15 Tips to Get the Most Out of Working At a Co-working Space

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Material Needed for Building Patio

Popular patio building materials run the gamut from poured concrete and pavers of recycled plastic to natural flagstone and bricks of fired clay.

Patios can make your outdoor space more enjoyable, increase your home’s value, and not so insignificantly, save you money on landscape maintenance costs. What type of patio is right for you? Any number of colors and patterns may be installed in a variety of materials. Pros and cons for a few of the most popular are discussed here.

FLAGSTONE

The color and characteristics of flagstone result from the natural process by which it forms, a slow and gradual accumulation of layers of sand, clay, mineral and organic sediments. The most common colors available are red, blue, and buff, with regional varieties like Arizona sandstone and Pennsylvania bluestone among the most popular.

Flagstone patios are unmistakable—and hard to resist if you favor the material’s earthy, timeless appearance. Irregularly shaped and sized, quarried flagstones are heavy and rather difficult to work with, especially for the inexperienced do-it-yourselfer. Since flagstone is subject to erosion and splitting, a successful flagstone patio design prioritizes adequate drainage.

Note: Different types of flagstone entail different maintenance requirements. Sandstone has a cooler temperature in summer, but it’s porous and prone to water damage. Bluestone is more durable but requires a sealer to maintain its coloring.

CLAY BRICK

A time-tested, enduringly popular patio building material is clay brick, which offers a distinguished aesthetic that complements both traditional and contemporary architecture.

Over time, bricks usually retain their rich, warm color, and due to their handy weight and size, installing them in a patio is DIY-friendly work. Mortar is not strictly necessary; bricks can be laid easily on a dry bed of sand.

Homeowners love brick’s versatility—myriad patterns are possible, from rectangular to round. Reclaimed brick, though typically more expensive, has grown in popularity owing to its “green” status and unique look.

Note: Though it may crack with wintertime freeze-thaw cycles, brick is otherwise durable, and individual damaged bricks are easily replaced.

PATIO PAVERS

Pavers come in forms as varied as natural stone, concrete, clay, and even recycled plastics. For patio installations, experts recommend either stone or concrete pavers, which, due to their higher density, may be expected to last longer and undergo less color fading than other paver types.

Concrete pavers, in particular, are a mainstay of patio building, beloved for their easy installation and the range of sizes, shapes, and colors in which they can be found. Inevitably, this manmade product lends itself to a less “natural” look, although some concrete pavers are manufactured to look like natural stone or clay brick.

Note: With the exception of interlocking designs, all pavers will spread over time. To maintain the shape of your patio, be sure to ring your paver installation with a border of pressure-treated lumber.

CONCRETE

Concrete patios are typically one of the least expensive to build. Assuming proper installation and maintenance, they are one of the most durable, too, though, like brick, concrete is subject to cracking with freeze-thaw cycles.

Since poured concrete follows any form, unlimited patio design options are possible. If your dream patio is one covered with glazed decorative tiles, a concrete slab is a way to go, as it will provide a solid, even base on which to add tiles in the future.

Note: Control stormwater runoff by devising the shape, depth, and slope of your poured concrete patio in such a way that adequate drainage is achieved.

GRAVEL

If you are looking for a patio material that may be installed quickly and easily, look no further than gravel. Usually, two types are available, river rock or crushed stone (in sizes ranging from a quarter-inch to one inch in diameter). When installing over landscaping fabric, gravel effectively deters weed growth, and compared to other materials, it offers excellent drainage.

At best, a gravel patio recalls English cottage-style gardens and Tuscan courtyards. At worst, a gravel patio is high-maintenance, plagued by stones that are difficult to keep level and in place. Some folks also complain that gravel is uncomfortable to walk on with bare feet, and other materials provide superior support for outdoor furniture.

Note: Round, pebble-like gravel stones are more likely to shift than angular, crushed gravel stones; in a high-traffic area like the patio, it may be wise to insist on the latter.

 

Blog Source: Bob Villa | Patio Materials 101

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Tips for Running an Effective Meeting

What is an effective meeting?

It’s important to distinguish between effective and efficient.

An efficient meeting starts promptly, stays on track due to good time management, includes a few people as possible, and achieves the stated objective. Job has done, right? Wrong. Efficiency is a superficial quality. It says nothing about whether the right people were in the room for the right reason, or whether the meeting generated any value for the business.

Efficiency is a superficial quality. It says nothing about whether you are effective.

An effective meeting brings a thoughtfully selected group of people together for a specific purpose, provides a forum for open discussion, and delivers a tangible result: a decision, a plan, a list of great ideas to pursue, a shared understanding of the work ahead. Not only that, but the result is then shared with others whose work may be affected.

Effective meetings have a clear purpose

Let’s face it: most of us have too many meetings on our calendars. And few things are a bigger waste of time than recurring meetings that no longer provide any value to attendees (or the business). It’s easy to fall into the trap of viewing meetings like the one and only way to collaborate. That knee-jerk tendency is what gets us into trouble and what gives meetings a bad name.

Determine whether you really need a meeting

Some types of meetings are legit, others aren’t. Meetings should never be held for the sole purpose of sharing information. That’s what email, chat, and company intranets (e.g., Confluence) are forDepartment and company all-hands meetings are a notable exception. They provide a unique chance for people at all levels of the business to hear directly from executives and other leaders – and, if you include time for Q&A, vice-versa.

At the very least, a meeting should center on a discussion that will be more effective in real-time than asynchronously via emails or comment threads. Examples include team or project retrospectives, brainstorming, and 1-on-1 meetings between managers and their direct reports.

In the best case scenario, a meeting’s purpose is to make a decision or create something collaboratively. Project planning, mapping out customer journeys, setting goals, solving a problem, choosing X vs. Y… all these are situations where holding a meeting is probably the most effective way to get it done.

Choose meeting attendees who can make a unique contribution

Meetings are expensive, so be thoughtful about who you invite. To be sure, you want to invite the minimum number of people needed to achieve your goal. But you also want the group to bring diverse perspectives and knowledge, especially if the purpose of the meeting is to solve a tough problem or brainstorm. Sadly, there’s no magic formula for balancing cost against the potential for creativity. Use your best judgment.

Craft and share an agenda

Few things are more irksome than the person who sends a meeting invite with no indication whatsoever of what will happen in the meeting, and therefore, no clue as to why you’re being invited. Don’t be that person. Include your agenda in the invitation so people can determine whether they really need to be there and if not, decline the meeting or suggest someone else.

Your meeting agenda might have just one item. That’s fine! The point is to have an agenda that speaks to the result you want – e.g., “Brainstorm 10 or more ways we could reduce customer churn 10% by the end of the year”. If you can’t describe what you’ll be doing in actionable, results-oriented terms, that’s a sign holding the meeting would be a waste of time.

Effective meetings keep attendees engaged

It’s ok to start the meeting by setting the expectation that everyone is 100% focused on what’s going on in the room. Let the group know that if someone has work that is so pressing they’d be tempted to multi-task, they have permission to go do that work and catch up on what happened in the meeting later. They’ll produce better work, and you’ll have more engaged participants. Win-win.

Schedule for maximum engagement

In our age of globally-distributed companies, a bit of thought around timing goes a long way in maximizing your meeting’s effectiveness. As much as possible, avoid scheduling your meeting during someone else’s lunch hour, or at a time when they’d otherwise be reading their kids a bedtime story. When that can’t be avoided, at least check in with the people who’ll be inconvenienced to get their buy-in in advance. (Depending on your company culture, that might not be strictly necessary, but it’s always polite.)

Even for co-located participants, timing can make a differenceOur capacity for creative thinking is the highest right after sleep, so schedule that brainstorming session first thing in the morning. By contrast, we solve problems best later in the day when our minds are a bit tired. Our focus relaxes, so we’re able to see more opportunities and connect more dots. Plus, we’re less likely to be distracted by a looming list of tasks for the day.

Close the lid

Unless you’re acting as the designated scribe, laptops should be closed and phones should be off the table. “Oh, but I can focus on the discussion and check my email at the same time,” some might say. Please allow me to call bullshit on that. Besides, for every person with a laptop open, there’s a person sitting next to them distracted by their typing or peeking to see if they’re actually just cruising Facebook. (There’s a 71% chance it’s Facebook.)

Make it remote-friendly

Even if everyone in the group has a desk in your office, set the meeting up to be accessible and valuable for people joining remotely. Because last-minute business travel and WFH days happen. Video conferencing is the closest thing to being there in person, and fortunately, there are loads of options available: from enterprise systems like BlueJeans and Zoom (both used by teams at Atlassian) to group video chat (may I suggest Stride? 😉).

You might even have the entire group join remotely from their desks. The team at Trellodoes this if even one person is remote. It puts everyone on a level playing field and encourages more balanced participationPlus, nobody likes being the giant head on the TV screen at the front of the room.

Effective meetings provide a safe space for divergent thinking

A bit of divergence goes a long way when you’re looking for creative ideas, puzzling through solutions to a problem, or exploring options. You don’t have to put a specific brainstorming exercise on the agenda, but you do have to make the group feel comfortable expressing non-conforming opinions or offering up off-the-wall ideas.

Build trust in the room

People need assurance that stepping outside the norm won’t be a career-ending move. Known as psychological safety, this is one of the leading indicators of a high-performing team. (And what is a group of people in a meeting, if not a temporary team?) As the meeting organizer and facilitator, you have a chance to lead by example and be the first to offer up a controversial perspective or idea.

You can also build trust by asking questions that prompt a deeper discussion, even when you think you know the answer. Questions like “Why do we think that’s true?” or “Can you expand on that?” or “How could we measure that?” demonstrate humility and curiosity on your part, which sets the tone for the rest of the group.

Be inclusive

If you’ve done a good job gathering a group with diverse knowledge and perspectives, everyone will be “the odd one out” in one way or another. The only introvert… the only person from Finance… the person who just started last week. Your job now is to take advantage of that diversity by making sure everyone is (and feels) heard.

Ask the new hire how things look from their still-fresh point of view. Draw out the introvert toward the end of a discussion by asking whether they see points the group hasn’t considered yet. Encourage the lone representative from Finance to share how the decision would affect her team.

Effective meetings produce real, sharable results

Ok statistics nerds, here are a few gems for you. 47% of workers complain that meetings are where productivity goes to die. Furthermore, workers consider roughly half of their meetings to be a waste of time, and 73% confess to sneaking in some real work during meetings. That’s unfortunate. If you’re doing meetings right, they are where “real work” gets done.

Focus relentlessly on results

You know the meeting’s purpose because you’ve thought it through. You crafted an agenda designed to achieve the goal. Now stay the course! Be mindful not to meander off-topic for too long or dive too deep into technical discussions. (Just how long is “too long” and how deep is “too deep” is up to you as meeting facilitator to decide.)

If the meeting centers on a decision, don’t let the group off the hook and settle for a “maybe”. Push for that decision or recommendation so people can start to take action as soon as they walk out of the room. You might not reach full agreement, but that’s ok. Effective teamwork means agreeing to trust each other enough to rally behind the decision once it’s been made. Consider using the DACI method to clarify each person’s role in the decision: driver, approver, contributor, or informed. (More on DACI in the Atlassian Team Playbook, including a silly video starring yours truly.)

Chances are, your meeting will generate some kind of artifact: a plan, a collection of ideas, a user journey, a list of follow-up items, etc. At Atlassian, we capture all that stuff as a page in Confluence (the wiki-flavored intranet tool we make) and share the page with everyone on the invite list and other relevant people. Sharing via email and Google Docs works fine, too.

Err on the side of sharing with more people than is strictly necessary. It’s really hard to keep track of exactly what everyone around you is up to, or how the outcome of your meeting will intersect with their work. Sharing broadly reduces the chance you’ll discover conflicts late in the game, and might even lead to an opportunity to join forces with a team doing complementary work.

Don’t waste energy worrying about trivial stuff

Be intentional about where you are and aren’t focusing on energy. For 99% of meetings, you can give yourself a break and skip worrying about…

  • Finding a meeting location outside the office
  • Bringing donuts or having lunch catered
  • Preparing a snazzy slide deck (death to all “consume information” meetings!)

Instead, focus your energy on the real ingredients that make for effective meetings: purpose, engagement, safety, and results. I’d even argue that starting and ending on time isn’t absolutely critical for success. What’s important is how you use the time you have – however long that is.

If the meeting isn’t effective, change it!

The fact that you’re still reading means you’re committed to running the most successful meetings possible. Yay! Turns out, though, you’re not the sole judge of whether the meeting was effective or not.

Thankfully, you can ask attendees for feedback with questions like these:

  • Did this meeting result in something of value to the business?
  • Did we have the right people in the room? If not, who should/be included in the future?
  • Were the meeting’s purpose and agenda clear?
  • Was it easy for you to contribute to the discussion?
  • (for recurring meetings) Are we holding this meeting on the right cadence? If not, how should we adjust?

Even if the meeting was a one-off, this feedback will help you plan even better meetings going forward. Keep an ongoing, open dialogue amongst the people you meet with most frequently, and emphasize progress over perfection. Continuous improvement for the win!

Blog Source: Atlassian Work Life | Running effective meetings: a guide for humans

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Tips for Preparing Your Furniture for Self-Storage

While it may seem silly or tedious to give your items a thorough clean only to store them away, doing so can ensure proper preservation.

You may be thinking—what’s the worst that could happen? Furniture that is simply left alone may contain bacteria or other elements that make these items more prone to mold or mildew accumulation during long-term storage.

To avoid this from happening, give your furniture a proper clean. Below, we outline common cleaning techniques for three types of furniture pieces: upholstered, wooden and plastic.

1. PROTECT UPHOLSTERED ITEMS

Upholstered furniture pieces are those that contain stuffing, springs, and cushions, with fabric that covers it all. To clean, consider the following steps:

  1. Know your fabric. It’s important to note that different fabrics will react differently toward certain chemicals and processes. Knowing the fabric type can help guide you toward the best way to clean and protect.

  2. Brush the dust off. Use your vacuum or a duster to eliminate particles or moveable materials from your furniture. Remove cushions, and look for spare change, food particles or other objects that may have fallen between the cracks.

  3. Work in a cleanser. With a smooth surface and knowledge of your furniture fabric ready, select a cleaner that pairs well with the fabric type. Then, wash your fabric with a fabric cleaning brush. After applying the cleaning solution, let the piece sit and soak in the cleaning chemicals for a few minutes—longer if you are working with tough stains. Wash the cushions separately.

  4. Let it sit. After your work is complete, let it dry completely before reassembling the furniture pieces.

2. SUSTAIN WOODEN OBJECTS

A great piece of wooden furniture can be a real showstopper—an item that pulls a room together with an air of sophistication. You’ll want to keep it that way.

Cleaning methods can be dangerous to temperamental wood, and the wrong method can ruin the entire piece. Select a cleanser of your choice and test a small area before committing to cleaning the whole object. As with upholstered items, four main steps apply to clean:

  1. Know the wood type.

  2. Dust off the item.

  3. Select a cleanser that works best.

  4. Once clean, seal with a protective finish. (This will be a clear coat seal made to help with preservation.)

Cleanser tip: Use the weakest solution you can find and only move on to stronger solutions if dirt or stains remain. The stronger the chemicals are, the greater the risk that the solution will damage your wooden furniture. A simple mineral water solution or water with a light soap solution may be all you need.

3. PRESERVE PLASTIC PIECES

Plastic furniture items can be simple, auxiliary or unique touches to a room. When it comes to cleaning plastic furniture, there are a variety of solutions available.

Did you know that some of these common household items can actually be used as a solution to clean your plastic furniture?

  • Baking soda

  • Common tub or tile cleaners

  • Vinegar or apple cider vinegar

As with other furniture items, dust the item off, give it a good clean using the solution of your choice, and let the item dry.

4. CONSIDER COMPLETE COVERAGE

Once your items are clean and ready for a self-storage solution, we recommend investing in furniture covers as an added layer of protection.

Want full control over the environment your piece lives in? Consider a climate-controlled storage unit to help prevent warping, distress, discoloring or other kinds of harm that can come from an item being left in a place too warm.

Blog Source: Security Self Storage | Start with Clean: How to Prepare Your Furniture for Self-Storage

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Guide In Selecting The Best Wall Art For Your Home

If there is anything that can make the interior design of your house look sophisticated and trendy at the same time – it is wall art. And not just any wall art, art that harmonizes with the overall design and color scheme of all the individual rooms, which can also include your bathroom.

Yeah, it has decorating large bathroom walls with art has also become a very hip thing today. Art is an integral part of making your house look warm, welcoming and upbeat. It shines a light on the type of personality you have, it can help set your mood right, add a sort of a sophisticated accent or feng shui, etc.

There are just so many reasons that you should invest in the best wall art for your home.

In addition, artwork can also get you that final finishing touch to your room or any other place in the house that you thought was missing all this time. However, when it comes to buying wall artwork, it is critical to know what you are doing, where you are looking for it and a number of different factors.

For example, canvas artwork or wall art has become very trendy over the last couple of years and a lot of US homeowners are investing in buying the best wall canvas art. If you know to buy, you can get your hands on spectacular pieces of art, truly unique and inspirational.

And you know what – you don’t have to be an artist, an art critic or an expert in the field to buy the best art for your house.

Wall art for the kids.

It isn’t uncommon in homeowners to place interior design at the back burner or neglect it as it just an afterthought. Installing modern wall art is something that is taken care of at the very end – or not at all.

However, this insightful guide is all about the reasons why this shouldn’t be the case with your home, the importance of 3 piece wall art and how tip-top but budget-friendly wall art can absolutely transform your home into something else.

If you’re sitting at the sidelines with this, then it is safe to say that you are missing out on a lot of opportunities to enhance the design of your home. This can also be useful for people who are planning to sell their house for good market value.

Some Amazing Reasons Why You Should Invest In Inspirational Wall Art For Your Home

​If you are unsure if you should buy some wall art, here are some reasons that will definitely convince you.

Intelligently Selected Wall Art Can Provide You With A Quick Palette

When it comes to designing and planning your own interior designing, one of the most daunting factors that keep you up late night deciding what to do is selecting the right color palette.

Why? Well, that is because there are literally hundreds of different colors, shades, textures, etc. available at a home improvement store near your locality. The endless choices are what can make the decision process even trickier.

Moreover, the wide variety of choices may even hinder your ability to choose the perfect palette for your home, which you envisioned.

This is where the best wall art options come into play. With the right type of wall art, you will never have to waste time selecting from so many different types of color palettes.

Once you hang really inspirational or downright invigorating or thought-provoking painting on a wall in your room, you will instantly know what to select for your room’s color palette. The first thing you are going to have to do is to choose 3 to 4 shades of different wall art you wish you want to integrate with your interior decoration.

Green decorated room with wall art.

It is really quite simple, just go with the most dominant and attractive color and select a couple of shades of that color that you will have to incorporate as accents. Then look for these accents in the overall decoration items in your room.

Good Wall Art Can Generate An Focal Point

When it comes to the fundamentals of interior decoration and design, every room in the house has to have a center of attraction or a focal point – something that will captivate the guests, your family, your friends, etc. as soon as they enter that particular room.

A single element design is basically an interior decoration strategy that immediately attracts the attention of the person in the room by providing him with a sense of what he can expect to see in that room.

This is where nothing can be better than mosaic wall art. Instead of traditional decorative items that are placed in the center or in the corners of a room, the most powerful thing you can do is hang a great work of art on the wall.

Just for a second, imagine that your favorite painting or some wall art that you really admire is gracefully hanging on the wall directly above the fireplace or in the master bedroom. Now how cool and breathtaking that would look – not just for you but also for everybody who comes to your house.

They will simply be blown away, especially if it is a large painting. Moreover, multiple pieces of wall art can also create an art-gallery like feel in your house – which can quite literally be stimulating and awe-inspiring.

Wall Canvas Art Can Provide A Sense Of Depth And Texture

It is also important to keep in mind that not every piece of the decorative item or wall art isn’t designed equal. While you may come across a variety of two-dimensional paintings there is no reason not to opt for different shapes, sizes, dimensions and mediums in order to find that perfect piece that beautifully falls into place with your interior décor.

Moreover, after you select the best prints or paintings for your rooms, don’t just stop there, you will have to complement the paintings with other conventional or slightly out of the box types of decorative items such as statues or metal sculptures or maybe shadow boxes, which can really enhance the rooms putting in a bit of depth.

Wall art with shadow boxes.

If you are a millennial and prefer a bit of avant-garde to shadow your wall art, consider incorporating a proportionately sized media installation in all your rooms – which should primarily include digital art, screens and anything to digitally complement your setting.

These additional bits of added depth and texture can significantly enhance the room’s visual aesthetics adding a bit more weight artistically speaking. This is an be going to shape an individual tone for each one of your rooms, making them feel more intimate, visually comfortable and chic.

This is where is it is important to remember that rough textures translate into more warm, welcoming and intimate décor while soft and smooth textures set a more streamlined, more funky look in the room.

The Best Wall Art Can Help Make Your Rooms Appear Adequately And Professionally Finished

This is a lot truer than you think. How? Well, think about the first room you have ever decorated, your dorm room perhaps, or your apartment – chances are, after completion, your room still looked like it needed something, but you weren’t always sure what.

Plus, the color of your walls may quite possible be white – which is also a big part of the problem when it comes to interior design. This is where the best wall art comes into play. It is a deciding factor that can add that finishing touch to your room and finally lay that feeling at rest.

Modern wall art can help add a layer of visual appeasement and stunning functionality.

The best part about this is the fact that it doesn’t have to be expensive. This has everything to do with how creative you are and the place you buy your wall art from.

Wall art that compliments the rest of the room.

The basic trick to selecting the right painting or any other form of wall art is the fact it should always complement the overall decorative style of the room.

It is absolutely no use hanging a really nice painting in a room with the wrong décor. After all, you want that painting to stay hanging on the wall for the years to come or maybe a lifetime.

Another really imperative point to understand is that selecting appropriate wall art for your room should not be the very last thing on your agenda when it comes to interior decoration and design. As a matter of fact deciding what type of wall art to buy should be the very first step, you should take to decorate your house.

Why? Well, that is because if you utilize the right type of wall art for your interior decoration in the first place, you will be able to figure out the necessary framework for your room on which you can successfully base the rest of the decoration and designing.

 

Blog Source: House Decorio | A Comprehensive Guide To Selecting The Best Wall Art For Your Home

 

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Guide in Taking Care of a Puppy

Adding a puppy to the family can often be like one of those Pinterest fails. Your head is filled with all the adorable scenes of puppy kisses and playing fetch at the park, but the reality is consumed by countless hours of house training your dog and teaching them how to walk on a leash.

While puppies may be a lot of work, your commitment to developing a good routine will give you a loyal companion for years. When preparing to bring a puppy home, be sure to set up a good support team that includes both a knowledgeable veterinarian and a reliable pet sitter, as life so often goes off course from our best-laid plans. This guide will help you get your home and family ready for your new puppy.

Meeting the family

Bringing a puppy home is an exciting time, especially for a family with children. As new owners, we must remember that this is a big life change for all participants — animal and human. This puppy will be in a new environment with new sounds, smells, and a brand new family to meet.

When first introduced to its new home, place your new puppy on a leash and allow it to roam its new environment under your control. You want it to feel comfortable, but a free-roaming puppy will often have accidents if left on its own for too long. While most new owners may feel a dog crate is isolating and cold, crate training is actually the easiest way to establish good sleep habits and bathroom routines. It also prevents them from getting into trouble while you’re sleeping, which keeps both them and your belongings safe. A veterinarian once told me that puppies don’t view their crate as a place of isolation but rather as a safe place, as we often feel in our own bedrooms.

When providing exercise, be sure to keep your puppy on a short leash by your side. Do not allow the puppy to pull and lead you. Owners want to establish dominance, so the puppy knows to follow your command. When your puppy’s about 4 to 6 months old, look into obedience school and ways to socialize it. Teaching your dog to follow commands will ensure you can keep it safe.

Teaching a puppy to socialize around 12 weeks will make for an easier lifestyle. When expecting visitors, keep your puppy on a leash to greet the visitor at the door, do not allow them to jump, and provide positive reinforcement by allowing your visitor to give a treat for a proper greeting. Like children, puppies love and respond well to frequent positive reinforcement.

House training

Like a newborn baby, a puppy will give you countless hours of joy while zapping all your free time and some hours of sleep in the first few weeks home. House training takes a lot of commitment, but once a good routine is established, you can resume normal living.

House training a puppy begins with a good routine, patience, and positive reinforcement. Plan to take your puppy outside to the same spot around the same time each day, being mindful to plan for times right when you wake up, before bed, immediately after eating, a nap, or physical exercise. The general rule of thumb is to take a puppy outside as many hours as their age plus one hour, so a 2-month-old puppy needs to go out every three hours.

Purchasing a puppy who was raised with its mom and dad versus a raised in a crate in a store will be easier to train. Puppies in stores use the restroom in their crate, while puppies raised with their parents are trained from birth to follow their parents outside to relieve themselves.

Puppy proofing

Puppies love to explore new places, so do your new furry friend and yourself a favor and spend the time on some preventative puppy proofing to keep all your favorite things intact.

  • Keep electrical cords covered.
  • Tie up window cords and curtains.
  • Put toxic cleaning supplies/chemicals in higher cabinets.
  • Invest in a tall, heavy-duty trash can with a lid that is difficult to knock over.
  • Purchase a crate for crate training or a baby gate to keep the puppy in a small place, such as the kitchen, with easily washable floors.
  • Don’t give your puppy old shoes and stuffed animals. Invest in appropriate toys that belong solely to them so your puppy knows the difference between his rubber ball versus your daughter’s favorite stuffed animal and your brand new sandals.
  • Don’t let them get away with things because they’re small. If you don’t want to a 60-pound snoring dog in your bed, then don’t allow it to sleep there as a puppy. Establish your routines early, because breaking bad habits is infinitely harder.

Develop a proper feeding schedule

While we can often be swayed to buy the less expensive item on the shelf, feeding your puppy high-quality food is a key competent to keep your fur baby healthy. If you are unsure of which brand to pick, speak to your veterinarian to see what they recommend. Choose a brand and stick with it, as oftentimes switching brands can upset your little one’s tummy. While you want to control the amount of food they receive, be sure to always keep a bowl full of water available. Be mindful that puppies need more food than an adult dog to keep up with their rapid growth spurts.

Feed your puppy multiple times a day according to its age:

  • 8-12 weeks: 4 meals per day
  • 3-6 months: 3 meals per day
  • 6-12 months: 2 meals per day

Small or toy breed dogs may require more frequent feedings, about every two to three hours to avoid a drop in their blood sugar.

What not to feed a puppy

Have you ever heard the phrase “puppy dog eyes” — those sweet little eyes that beg you to give in to their every desire? While they are hard to resist, owners should avoid feeding scraps from the table to encourage proper eating habits and for the dog’s own safety. When it comes to table scraps, the following food items are an absolute no for dogs, as they present a risk to your dog’s health:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Chicken bones
  • Raw fish and raw meat
  • Sugar
  • High-fat foods, such as macadamia nuts and avocados
  • Dairy
  • High-fat meats, such as bacon
  • Onions and garlic
  • Caffeine and alcohol

What products does my puppy need

The aisles of your nearest pet store are filled to the brim with products you may or may not need. As a vet once told me: Just because a dog food company made it doesn’t mean it’s good for your dog. Sadly, some companies put the idea of making money before the wellness of their consumers. Do your research, talk to your veterinarian, and invest in these helpful products:

  • Metal food and water bowls
  • A sturdy leash and nylon collar
  • Identification tags for the collar
  • A crate pillow or snuggle nest
  • Small puppy treats
  • Good quality dog food designed for puppies (know your dog’s weight before shopping)
  • A bristle comb
  • Non-toxic dog shampoo

The growing pains of raising a puppy

Owning a puppy requires a great deal of patience, flexibility, and more often than not, the loss of at least one pair of your favorite footwear. While most negative behaviors can be eliminated by proper training, the job of a pet owner is not with pitfalls.

First and foremost, a puppy requires a lot of training. They must be house trained, crate trained, and even trained to play with others. For the first few months, their every need comes before your own. Between the hours of training, they must be fed frequently, walked often to burn off that puppy energy and constantly praised for positive behavior.

If you live alone, this kind of dependency may be just what you’re looking for, but if you’re busy with kids or work or other life obligations, you may want to push pause on the purchasing of a puppy.

The bills and expense that come along with your newfound love could be surprising. In addition to basic necessities, vet bills quickly pile up in a dog’s first year of life. If all this information is taking you by surprise, there’s an easy solution. Don’t panic. Slowly walk away from that adorable puppy and run to the nearest pet shelter. There are plenty of older dogs looking to be adopted. Rescue one and give them a forever home!

 

Blog Source: Care.com | How to take care of a puppy: A new owner’s guide

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Put An End to Smoking

Deciding that you are now ready to quit smoking is only half the battle. Knowing where to start on your path to becoming smoke-free can help you to take the leap. We have put together some effective ways for you to stop smoking today.

Tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke are responsible for more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States, according to the American Lung Association.

Most people are aware of the numerous health risks that arise from cigarette smoking and yet, “tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease” in the U.S.

Quitting smoking is not a single event that happens on one day; it is a journey. By quitting, you will improve your health and the quality and duration of your life, as well as the lives of those around you.

To quit smoking, you not only need to alter your behavior and cope with the withdrawal symptoms experienced from cutting out nicotine, but you also need to find other ways to manage your moods.

With the right game plan, you can break free from nicotine addiction and kick the habit for good. Here are five ways to tackle smoking cessation.

1. Prepare for quit day

Once you have decided to stop smoking, you are ready to set a quit date. Pick a day that is not too far in the future (so that you do not change your mind), but which gives you enough time to prepare.

broken cigarette on a calendar

Choose your quit date and prepare to stop smoking altogether on that day.

There are several ways to stop smoking, but ultimately, you need to decide whether you are going to:

  • quit abruptly, or continue smoking right up until your quit date and then stop
  • quit gradually, or reduce your cigarette intake slowly until your quit date and then stop

Research that compared abrupt quitting with reducing smoking found that neither produced superior quit rates over the other, so choose the method that best suits you.

Here are some tips recommended by the American Cancer Society to help you to prepare for your quit date:

  • Tell friends, family, and co-workers about your quit date.
  • Throw away all cigarettes and ashtrays.
  • Decide whether you are going to go “cold turkey” or use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or other medicines.
  • If you plan to attend a stop-smoking group, sign up now.
  • Stock up on oral substitutes, such as hard candy, sugarless gum, carrot sticks, coffee stirrers, straws, and toothpicks.
  • Set up a support system, such as a family member that has successfully quit and is happy to help you.
  • Ask friends and family who smoke to not smoke around you.
  • If you have tried to quit before, think about what worked and what did not.

Daily activities – such as getting up in the morning, finishing a meal, and taking a coffee break – can often trigger your urge to smoke a cigarette. But breaking the association between the trigger and smoking is a good way to help you to fight the urge to smoke.

On your quit day:

You will almost certainly feel the urge to smoke many times during your quit day, but it will pass. The following actions may help you to battle the urge to smoke:

  • Delay until the craving passes. The urge to smoke often comes and goes within 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Deep breathe. Breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of three and exhale through your mouth for a count of three. Visualize your lungs filling with fresh air.
  • Drink water sip by sip to beat the craving.
  • Do something else to distract yourself. Perhaps go for a walk.

Remembering the four Ds can often help you to move beyond your urge to light up.

2. Use NRTs

Going cold turkey, or quitting smoking without the help of NRT, medication, or therapy, is a popular way to give up smoking. However, only around 6 percent of these quit attempts are successful. It is easy to underestimate how powerful nicotine dependence really is.

nicotine gum in a packet

NRTs can help you to fight the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking.

NRT can reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms you experience that may hinder your attempt to give up smoking. NRTs are designed to wean your body off cigarettes and supply you with a controlled dose of nicotine while sparing you from exposure to other chemicals found in tobacco.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved five types of NRT:

  • skin patches
  • chewing gum
  • lozenges
  • nasal spray (prescription only)
  • inhaler (prescription only)

If you have decided to go down the NRT route, discuss your dose with a healthcare professional before you quit smoking. Remember that while you will be more likely to quit smoking using NRT, the goal is to end your addiction to nicotine altogether, and not just to quit tobacco.

Contact your healthcare professional if you experience dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, fast or irregular heartbeat, mouth problems, or skin swelling while using these products.

3. Consider non-nicotine medications

The FDA have approved two non-nicotine-containing drugs to help smokers quit. These are bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix).

white tablets falling from a container

Bupropion and varenicline are non-nicotine medications that may help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you feel that you would like to try one of these to help you to stop smoking, as you will need a prescription.

Bupropion acts on chemicals in the brain that play a role in nicotine craving and reduces cravings and symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Bupropion is taken in tablet form for 12 weeks, but if you have successfully quit smoking in that time, you can use it for a further 3 to 6 months to reduce the risk of smoking relapse.

Varenicline interferes with the nicotine receptors in the brain, which results in reducing the pleasure that you get from tobacco use, and decreases nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Varenicline is used for 12 weeks, but again, if you have successfully kicked the habit, then you can use the drug for another 12 weeks to reduce smoking relapse risk.

Risks involved with using these drugs include behavioral changes, depressed mood, aggression, hostility, and suicidal thoughts or actions.

4. Seek behavioral support

The emotional and physical dependence you have on smoking makes it challenging to stay away from nicotine after your quit day. To quit, you need to tackle this dependence. Trying counseling services, self-help materials, and support services can help you to get through this time. As your physical symptoms get better over time, so will your emotional ones.

group of people at support meeting

Individual counseling or support groups can improve your chances of long-term smoking cessation.

Combining medication – such as NRT, bupropion, and varenicline – with behavioral support has been demonstrated to increase the chances of long-term smoking cessation by up to 25 percent.

Behavioral support can range from written information and advice to group therapy or individual counseling in person, by phone, or online. Self-help materials likely increase quit rates compared with no support at all, but overall, individual counseling is the most effective behavioral support method.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) provides help to anyone who wants to stop smoking through their support services:

  • smoking helpline: 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848)
  • local and state quitlines: 1- 800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
  • LiveHelp online chat
  • Smoke-free website
  • SmokefreeTXT text messaging service
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

Support groups, such as Nicotine Anonymous (NicA), can prove useful too. NicA applies the 12-step process of Alcoholics Anonymous to tobacco addiction. You can find your nearest NicA group using their website or by calling 1-877-TRY-NICA (1-877-879-6422).

5. Try alternative therapies

Some people find alternative therapies useful to help them to quit smoking, but there is currently no strong evidence that any of these will improve your chances of becoming smoke-free, and, in some cases, these methods may actually cause the person to smoke more.

Some alternative methods to help you to stop smoking might include:

man comparing e-cigarette and cigarettes

E-cigarettes have had some promising research results in helping with smoking cessation.

  • filters
  • smoking deterrents
  • electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes)
  • tobacco strips and sticks
  • nicotine drinks, lollipops, straws, and lip balms
  • hypnosis
  • acupuncture
  • magnet therapy
  • cold laser therapy
  • herbs and supplements
  • yoga, mindfulness, and meditation

E-cigarettes

E-cigarettes are not supposed to be sold as a quit smoking aid, but many people who smoke view them as a method to give up the habit.

E-cigarettes are a hot research topic at the moment. Studies have found that e-cigarettes are less addictive than cigarettes, that the rise in e-cigarette use has been linked with a significant increase in smoking cessation, and that established smokers who use e-cigarettes daily are more likely to quit smoking than people who have not tried e-cigarettes.

 

Blog Source: Medical News Today | Five ways to quit smoking

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Optimize Your Keyword List for SEO With These 7 Tips

Tweaking your keyword lists is like regular car maintenance: you have to do it, or else things stop running properly.

Evaluating and optimizing your lists on a regular basis keeps your content high up in search engine rankings.

However, keyword optimization is not always straightforward.

Google’s algorithms grow more sophisticated constantly, and your old bag of keyword tricks becomes less and less effective.

Still, keyword optimization is an essential part of any successful content marketing strategy – it’s just more nuanced now.

Best practices change from year to year based on Google’s changes and user habits.

This list will help you keep your content among the top results and bring in more visitors.

1. Map Your Keywords to the Buying Journey

Not every potential customer starts their journey with the exact product they want in mind — just like not everyone needs to do extensive research.

Your keywords should be targeting everyone whose interests match the content on your website.

Just make sure to map their stage of the buying journey to the appropriate page.

Awareness Stage

Customers in the awareness stage are trying to pinpoint a solution to their problem or what type of product/service satisfies their need.

For this type of search, consumers will use general terms, such as “how to stay fit” or “what should I feed my dog”.

When mapping your keywords to this stage, you should create pages that answer common questions related to your offerings and simply inform the reader as opposed to selling something.

Consideration Stage

Your audience is already looking for a specific solution and evaluating options in the consideration stage.

This means it’s time to build trust and convince your prospects that your solution is the right one.

To attract these types of buyers, focus your keyword selection on the value of your solution.

The Decision Stage

In this stage, your customers have direct commercial intent.

At this point, you should use keywords like “buy,” “order,” “demo,” and so on.

Then, it’s up to your content to turn that prospect into a new customer.

2. Use a Keyword Optimization Checklist to Build Your Lists

Keeping track of every aspect of keyword optimization can be overwhelming.

Every section of your website should be taken into account, from subheadings to meta titles. That’s why having a checklist is essential.

Having a structured workflow makes your job much easier. That’s why you should follow a plan when you’re working on your keyword list.

Here’s a short list you can use to get started and create your own workflow:

  • Prioritize your efforts and categorize your keywords by segmenting your webpages into groups based on topic and conversion rate.
  • Align your top pages or groups of pages with their targeted key phrases, search volume, and difficulty score.
  • Create a list of long-tail variations based on your top keywords.
  • Don’t forget about branded terms.
  • Enable Site Search in Google Analytics to discover the search terms your web users are actually interested in.
  • Gather keywords with geo-modifiers.
  • Run a competitive analysis to discover some overlooked keywords.
  • Align your newly discovered keywords with your existing pages or create new web pages for your website.

3. Pay Special Attention to Mobile Keywords

People don’t use the same queries to search across all platforms.

As a result, the most popular keywords can change depending on the device the user is searching from.

On mobile, in particular, the queries tend to either be shorter due to the less comfortable keyboard or much longer because of voice search (for example, “coffee shop paris” versus “where is the nearest coffee shop?”).

Make sure you take both versions into account when optimizing for smartphone and tablet users.

Another important aspect to note is that location is a huge component of mobile searches.

In fact, according to Google, 94 percent of users search for location-based info.

That means that, if you have a brick-and-mortar location, you should pay special attention to keywords like “near me” and “nearby.”

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Also, optimize your Google My Business page and make sure your NAP information is accurate so your company shows up when users are looking for businesses in your niche.

4. Conduct a Keyword Audit

Even if you used a checklist to come up with new keywords, it never hurts to bring in a third party to check your work.

This is where online SEO auditing tools like Woorank and SEO Site Checkup come into play. Such tools check your on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and even your website’s mobile usability.

Most of them also identify issues like broken links and defective webpages. Plus, many SEO audit tools also give recommendations to improve site visibility and ranking.

You can also conduct audits periodically on old content that’s still ranking for a solid number of keywords, but might need an update to perform better.

This is a great way to rediscover old hidden gems and get them to drive better traffic. After all, just because the content is a bit older doesn’t mean it’s completely useless.

5. Keep an Eye on Keyword Trends

A trend can lead to a big boost in traffic if you know how to leverage it.

Plus, if you get on board ahead of time, there’s less competition compared to more general keywords.

Some keyword research tools, like Soovle, can identify the trending words of the day for you.

If any of them are relevant to your niche, add them to your list. Just don’t forget to clean up the list every once in a while so that your previously trending keywords don’t pile up.

This strategy can give you a short-term boost while you’re waiting for your long-term content to take off.

Google Correlate is one of the best ways to discover seasonal trends and come up with fresh keyword ideas.

This lesser-known tool reveals keywords with similar time-based or regional search patterns to the search query you provide.

6. Don’t Underestimate Long-Tail Keywords

Voice search is becoming increasingly popular, now that virtual assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa are becoming more mainstream.

Many users now prefer to use their voice to find what they’re looking for instead of typing. This applies especially to mobile devices and even TVs.

But if you aren’t adjusting your keyword list to these new trends, you’re missing out on this audience.

To give you some perspective, a study of 1.9 billion keywords found that 29.13 percent of keywords with 10,001+ monthly searches are made up of three or more words.

One surefire way to make sure you’re capturing the voice search audience is to employ more long-tail keywords.

When speaking, users are more likely to ask questions like “What are the best lead generation companies in the US?”, as opposed to typing in “best lead generation companies US.”

Keep this conversational tone in mind when selecting keywords to make sure that your content appears in voice searches.

7. Track Your Internal Site Search

Some of the best keywords might have been right under your nose this whole time, specifically on your own website.

Looking at these queries can help you learn about how people are using your site and get keyword ideas that you’d never think of otherwise.

Plus, if you find that some searches are followed by the customer leaving the website, you can create content that matches those terms.

Conclusion

Keyword research is one of the highest return SEO activities — and these seven tips should give your traffic a significant boost.

And even if you’re already following best practices and your lists are constantly updated, experimenting can yield surprising results.

So the next time you manage your keyword list, use these guidelines to breathe some new life into your strategy.

Who knows, maybe you’ve been missing out on some profitable keywords!

 

Blog Source: Search Engine Journal | 7 Tips That Will Help You Optimize Your Keyword List for SEO

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Tips for quit smoking for good

Refuse Smoking

Nobody knows who first said, “To succeed, you first have to fail.” But it’s a phrase many smokers likely relate to.

About half of all smokers try to quit each year, according to federal data. But only about 7 percent are successful.

“We’ve heard about people who say, ‘That’s it!’ and they stop for good. But that’s pretty rare,” said tobacco researcher John Dani. “The average person makes multiple attempts before they quit.”

It is the nicotine in cigarettes that keeps people physically addicted. But there are multiple social and psychological factors that also play a role in determining why some smokers who decide to quit are successful while others aren’t.

For women, weight gain is a common reason for relapse, said Dani, chair of the department of neuroscience at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

He advises women and men to substitute exercise for food when battling the cravings and nervous energy that often accompany nicotine withdrawal.

“Healthy habits like running or walking or doing yoga are great alternatives,” Dani said. “I know people who started walking the steps of their building at work instead of walking out to the parking lot to smoke a cigarette.”

Thomas Payne, director of ACT Center for Tobacco Treatment, Education and Research at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, said moments of extreme tension and strain often play a powerful role in why people return to smoking.

“Stress undermines our coping efforts and is often associated with more intense cravings,” he said.

Getting enough sleep each night is essential in reducing stress and increasing a person’s chance of quitting for good, he said. Trying to reduce stress with a glass of wine or beer, on the other hand, could make the problem worse.

“Even small amounts of alcohol are associated with an increased risk of relapsing because it causes our inhibitions to drop off a little bit,” said Payne, who’s also an investigator with the American Heart Association Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center.

Studies show smokers have somewhat higher quitting success rates if they use interventions such as counseling; quitlines; nicotine replacement products such as gum, patches, and lozenges; and prescription medications.

“Professional help can make all the difference in the world, and many insurance plans cover all or most of the costs involved,” Payne said.

The key, he said, is for people to keep using these programs and products even after they’ve stopped using tobacco.

“Think of it like antibiotics: You need to keep taking it even if you feel great,” Payne said. “A minimum of three months of usage is really what we’re shooting for, and for many people, as long as six months may be the sweet spot.”

People who want to stay quit also shouldn’t fall prey to the “one won’t hurt” myth, Dani said.

“Just one often turns into one every couple of weeks, and then once a week, and pretty soon, they’re smokers again,” he said. “It’s similar to how people start smoking in the first place.”

Those who want to quit should also realize that setbacks are manageable.

“People can recover from a slip if they have a good mindset about it,” Payne said. “The important thing is not to beat yourself up about it. Think about it as a learning opportunity. Recognize what happened that made you want a cigarette so badly and plan for how you’ll react in similar situations down the road.”

Every day, week and month a person goes without smoking, the better their chances of kicking nicotine addiction forever, experts say.

“There is never any risk of relapsing,” Payne said. “But the greatest risk period is the first two weeks after quitting. And once a person gets past the first three months or so, relapse risk drops considerably.”

 

Blog Source: Heart.org | Staying quit: How to stop smoking for good

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Quit Smoking for Good with these 10 Tips

cigarette, smoke

There are countless reasons to quit smoking: doing so will lower your risk of cancer, heart attack, and stroke, and—let’s be honest—make your breath smell better. Unfortunately, millions of people continue to smoke simply because quitting is incredibly hard. Hard, but doable: According to the CDC, the number of former smokers has exceeded the number of current smokers since 2002.

Just a week after quitting, you’ll find that your energy levels, breathing, and sense of smell and taste have improved. Long term, you’ll be less susceptible to colds and cases of flu, you’ll experience less smoking-related anxiety, your risk of heart attack, stroke, and colon cancer will drop significantly, and for men, erectile dysfunction issues can improve. After 15 years of smoke-free living, your risk for smoking-related illnesses (such as heart disease) will be the same as a nonsmoker.

It’s time to stop smoking now. Increase your odds of success with these 10 tips.

1. Mentally Prepare

First and foremost, you need to want to quit. Most people make multiple attempts to quit and fail because they’re not psychologically ready. Think about your reasons: Did you just become a new parent? Did you lose someone to a smoking-related illness? Are you just tired of letting cigarettes control your life? There’s no question that smoking is bad, but what does that mean to you? Identifying real reasons can help you stick to your plan and hold yourself accountable.

2. Get a Buddy

Like having a training partner increases your likelihood of adhering to your fitness goals, finding someone with a similar health goal like quitting smoking can help you stick with it. Partner up with someone else who wants to quit and support one another. Talk to everyone in your social circle and make your intention to quite clear. Did you know that quitting is contagious? A Harvard study found that people quit smoking in groups, sometimes creating a “quitting cascade” that spreads from person-to-person within a social network.

3. Set a Date

Set a quit date that’s not too far in the future and stick to it. Setting a start date marks the authentic initiation of an action plan. It’s a tangible, immediate goal as opposed to tapering your smoking over the course of several months.

4. Get Counseling

Talk to your health care provider about quitting. He or she can refer you to licensed counselors who can coach you through the process from recognizing the habits and triggers around your smoking patterns to offering support when you’re tempted to give up or fall off the wagon. Several studies have found that counseling and follow-up from a doctor improve quit rates.

5. Stress Less

Stress is one of the most common triggers for cigarette cravings. Finding alternate ways to cope with stress is a good first line of defense against nicotine pangs. Start a practice such as meditation, yoga, or counseling to build long-term coping mechanisms. When you feel anxiety or stress coming on at the moment, try 4/7/8 breathing—focus on your breath and breathe in for four counts, hold for seven, and exhale for eight counts. Repeat for a total of 10 breaths. This can help level your mood when you’re overwhelmed.

6. Demotivate Yourself from Smoking

A study found that graphic cigarette warnings had a positive impact on quit rates. Utilize this demotivational technique by printing out images and facts about the dangers of smoking and placing them in places you’d usually smoke, such as your car or on your front porch.

7. Find Nicotine Replacements

Nicotine replacements have proved time and again to increase the likelihood of success. Nicotine gum, lozenges, patches, sprays, and even lip balms can help curb your cigarette cravings and offer distractions from the oral fixation that comes with smoking. The jury’s still out on electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes, and research doesn’t point to them being an effective way to quit smoking. However, they can be an alternative if you aren’t quite ready to quit but want to make a transition. From an overall health perspective, e-cigarettes may be less harmful than cigarettes, but there still isn’t enough research to say definitively.

8. Keep Your Hands (and Mouth) Busy

Disrupt the oral aspect of your smoking habit by chewing gum or eating mints. Something as simple as drinking water can be a useful tool in breaking the habit as well. Bringing the glass to your mouth provides a way to keep your hands and mouth busy. It can also combat any weight gain associated with quitting smoking. Nicotine is an appetite suppressant, and quitting can lead to an increased appetite. Drinking water can keep both food and cigarette cravings at bay.

9. Go Alternative

If you believe in it, it can work for you. Alternative therapies like hypnosis and acupuncture don’t have substantial proof of efficacy as a cessation aid, but if you’re ready to quit, connecting with a modality that you trust it can be effective. While not a first-line option, these therapies can help keep you on track to hitting your goals.

10. Consider Prescription Smoking Cessation Aids

A Dutch study about the success of different smoking cessation methods found that prescription medications like Zyban (bupropion) and Chantix (varenicline) are highly effective for smoking cessation. If cold turkey or over-the-counter options aren’t working for you, talk to your provider about quitting using one of these medications. Make sure to mention any health issues or other drugs you’re taking to ensure these prescriptions are safe for you.

The decision to quit smoking is an easy one; it’s the follow-through that’s challenging. But outlining an action plan to help you break the habit will improve your chances of success greatly. Stopping smoking is one of the most impactful actions you can take for your health!

 

Blog Source: One Medical | 10 Tips to Quit Smoking for Good

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