Reducing Your Environmental Footprint

This is the only planet that we’re going to get. Yet most of us aren’t doing enough to protect it—and far too many of us are actively destroying. The actions of wasteful people, greedy corporations, and slow-moving governments are putting the future of our planet at risk. In time, the Earth may change so drastically as to be uninhabitable. Even if the people who are alive now will be long gone by then, it’s our responsibility to do something about the threat now. The future of our planet—and our species—depends on us!

Power to the Planet

Saving the planet starts with breaking our addiction to wasteful, polluting, and climate-destroying fuels. Coal, gas, and other unclean sources of energy are pumping toxins into our air and filling the atmosphere with carbon dioxide—which, thanks to the “greenhouse effect,” is warming our planet.

But better alternatives do exist. If we can switch to a greener option such as residential solar panels, we could ease our species off of the more dangerous and destructive sources of energy.

Driving Big Green Changes

We use energy all over the place, including at home. But few things that individual human beings do impact the environment as drastically as driving does. Driving a car, we’re burning gasoline and pumping carbon dioxide into the air. We’re warming the planet and wasting resources.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. You could upgrade to a more efficient vehicle—perhaps even a hybrid or an electric car. Cars that get better fuel mileage will save you money and help the environment at the same time, point out the experts at a car-buying website that offers vehicle auctions. When you’re in the market for your next vehicle, cast a wide net by shopping for your car online and look for the fuel-efficient models that will be better for you and for our planet. Investing in a reliable vehicle that uses less fuel is a smart long-term decision and a great reason to get back into the market for a vehicle.

Waste Not, Want Not

We use up a lot of energy here in the United States. But that’s not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that a lot of that spent energy isn’t being “used up” at all! Americans waste staggering amounts of energy every year.

When you drive recklessly by accelerating quickly and braking hard, you’re wasting gas. When you fail to keep your attic properly insulated and allow heat to escape through the roof in the winter, you’re wasting energy. And you’re wasting fuel, energy, and natural resources when you run clunky old appliances, leave lights on all night, or let the kitchen sink run.

Be smart! There are a ton of ways to cut down on what you use, and most of them will save you money. There’s a lot of virtuous synergy between helping the environment and helping your own household budget, so there’s no excuse not to cut down on waste!

Creating a Movement

You can make a difference in the future of our planet by making smarter and more environmentally friendly decisions. But make no mistake: Individual actions are dwarfed by those of huge organizations like governments and corporations. In fact, just 100 companies are responsible for most greenhouse gas emissions. If we’re going to put a stop to serious problems like global warming, then we’re going to need to team up and take on these behemoths.

That means organizing, lobbying, protesting, and donating to environmental and conservation groups. If you really care about the environment, you should consider getting involved in the fight!

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Hearing Loss & Depression: Dealing With the Emotions of Hearing Loss

The loss of any sense is devastating. If you’ve lost your hearing, you’re likely feeling a range of emotions and may be struggling with depression. This is understandable and normal, but there is help available. You don’t have to suffer alone. Here are some ways to deal with the emotions that might come with the loss of hearing.

Be Sure Of Your Situation

If you haven’t had a second opinion on your situation, visit a qualified hearing clinic and make sure you know about all your options. New treatments and interventions are being developed all the time, and whoever gave you your first diagnosis might not be aware of all your options.

Most important, you don’t want to find out later that you missed an important intervention. If you find out later only to learn it’s too late do anything, this will only make your mental health struggles all the more difficult.

Honor Your Feelings

The world has changed for you and everyday tasks will be harder. You have real feelings of anger, sadness, frustration, and confusion. Don’t be ashamed of these feelings or tempted to ignore them. Most of all, don’t isolate yourself.

Instead, reach out to your existing support network of friends and family for emotional support and acknowledge that all these feelings are natural and valid. You may be surprised to find that they’re feeling similar things on your behalf and that they expect you to have normal human reactions to such a difficult situation.

Be On The Lookout For Depression

Everyone feels blue sometimes, and it’s natural to feel very sad about your hearing loss. But there’s a difference between normal sadness and the natural grieving period, which includes a period of depression, and long-term clinical depression. Clinical depression has certain symptoms, though the specifics are unique to each individual. 

Symptoms to look for include constant feelings of hopelessness, the inability to enjoy anything you used to love, persistent fatigue, irritability, and sleeping problems. Depression is serious, and if you notice these symptoms, seek help. Depression doesn’t get better on its own, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Join A Therapy Group

Therapy groups allow you to interact with people who are facing similar struggles. Working with them, under professional guidance, you can become stronger and take back control of your life.

At TherapygroupDC, you’ll find expert therapists who can offer you personalized help. With data-driven treatments, they offer therapy designed not just to help you feel less depressed, but to get you back to being your very best.

Be Honest With Your Loved Ones

Your friends and family care about you, but if they’ve never experienced hearing loss, they won’t know how to help. They don’t understand your frustration or how their behavior can make life more difficult for you. Instead of withdrawing, be open.

Explain to people what you need and how they can help. You may be feeling inadequate or embarrassed, but that’s almost certainly not how your loved ones see you. In fact, they’re probably eager to find ways to show how much they care and how valuable you are to them: they just don’t know what to do to help.

Don’t Try To Rush The Stages

Losing your hearing is like losing a friend: it brings on the five stages of grief. Most people will go through a period of denial, followed by anger, then bargaining, then depression, and finally acceptance. Sometimes these stages overlap, and it’s not always a linear process.

While it’s important not to get stuck forever in any stage, especially in anger or depression, it’s also important to acknowledge that you can’t rush grief. If you do, you risk even greater long-term consequences in the future. When you accept that grieving is a process, you make true healing possible.

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Connecting With the Natural World

Our planet is a place of spectacular natural beauty. The landscape that we see when we explore untouched natural spaces is one that has been created over millions upon millions of years. Being out in all of that ancient glory can be humbling—and, according to experts, good for us!

Time spent in nature has a positive effect on the human body and mind. Studies show that natural spaces can reduce anxiety and stress. Time outside is healthy for our bodies, too. That’s particularly true when we’re in motion, but experts say that the outdoors can be healthy even if we’re not exercising!

In other words, you don’t have to be a tree-hugger to benefit from a connection with nature. Here’s how to grow closer to the world outdoors.

Find an outdoor hobby.

Taking a vacation to a natural space is a great way to experience the best that nature has to offer, but you shouldn’t have to wait until your next week off to get some fresh air. It’s healthy to be outside regularly.

Making time to get outdoors for a decent amount of time every day can be tough, though. That’s why you should consider adopting a hobby that gets you outdoors. Don’t just plan to go to the park regularly; plan to do something there, like go for a jog or play lawn games. Take up hiking, rock climbing, or camping. Do something that you enjoy that will get you outside even when your own wellness isn’t the first thing on your mind.

Live where you belong.

For busy modern professionals, nature can feel like a place that must be “escaped” to rather than a place that can surround a person on a day-to-day basis. It doesn’t have to be that way, though! As work environments become more flexible and remote work more common, more and more people are taking to the road and working from relatively wild locations rather than from the big cities that once had a near-monopoly on lucrative careers. Some people even work while on the go!

Living in a beautiful natural setting doesn’t have to mean jetting from National Park to National Park in a run-down van or an RV, of course. There are many beautiful places to live that mix modernity and proximity to large cities with a rustic and beautiful feeling of nature. Take North Carolina, for instance, where a thriving economy and the development of new areas has led to a housing boom. North Carolina is a great place to turn for beautiful cabins and mountain land. Whether you maintain a summer home or live in the mountains full-time, you’ll find that waking up in a more natural space will calm you.

Besides, real estate can make a great investment! You can’t “own” nature, but you can own a plot of land that may grow more valuable over time. In a state like North Carolina, where fast-growing populations and opportunities share space with naturally beautiful wilderness, you might do very well.

Do Your Part

Nature is a wonderful thing. It was here before us, and we expect it to be here after us. But we shouldn’t take for granted that nature will always be here in its current form. The world has never seen a species as dominant and disruptive as our own human race, and we can’t know for sure what sort of world we’ll leave behind. What we do know isn’t encouraging: Experts have linked human activity to everything from a massive ocean garbage patch to a continuing worldwide increase in average yearly temperatures.

The good news is that we humans have proven ourselves capable of reversing course. When a “hole” was found in the atmosphere’s ozone layer, changes in public policy and consumer behavior helped solve the crisis. Today, the hole in the ozone layer is repairing itself. Humans have undertaken all kinds of environmentally friendly activities, including recycling. We can even recycle some types of oil, explain experts in used cooking oil collection. Recycled oil can be used in fuels and other products.

Still, the task ahead of us is a difficult one. Our current actions aren’t enough to stop global warming and save our planet. That’s why one particular way of connecting with nature may be the most important: You need to fight for the planet you love! Examine your own lifestyle and look for ways to become more energy-efficient, reduce your carbon footprint, and limit your material waste. If you’re up for it, it’s also a great idea to get involved in political organizing. It will take more than just the actions of individuals to save our planet!

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Easy Ways to Take Control Of Your Health This Year

If you haven’t taken the best care of yourself in the past year, setting big goals for the new year might seem like the perfect solution. Nearly 55 percent of New Year’s resolutions are health-related, such as exercising more, eating healthier, and losing weight. But vague goals can be hard to achieve, and according to Strava, most people give up their New Year’s resolutions by January 12. If you’re committed to setting clear, measurable goals for the new year, here are some easy ways to take control of your health.

Be More Proactive

Taking control of your health requires taking a proactive approach. Instead of putting off going to the doctor until you need to take time off from work due to an illness, or waiting months to schedule regular screenings and tests, set a goal to go to the doctor when you need to. Regular preventive care helps you stay healthy, reduces your overall medical costs, and allows you to enjoy more effective treatment options.

If you’re nervous or unsure about scheduling an appointment, bringing a trusted family member or friend can make you feel more comfortable. If you’re in college, between jobs, or struggling to afford health insurance, compare short-term health insurance quotes with Agile Insurance. Shopping for short term medical insurance online is quick, easy, and affordable, and it can significantly reduce your medical costs in the case of an unexpected accident or illness. 

Focus On Your Diet

While finishing the day with a big dinner salad can feel like a win, cupcakes and ice cream can leave you feeling stressed and depressed. Even though we all know that eating healthy can make you feel better, Americans eat less than the recommended amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, dairy products, and oils.

According to a 2014 study, healthy dietary choices, like the Mediterranean diet, help stabilize mood, fight cravings, and keep depression at bay. Another study showed that the happiness associated with eating eight portions of fruits and vegetables a day was comparable to the happiness experienced by an unemployed person finding a job. 

To encourage healthy eating, start by stocking up on convenient and healthy snacks, like fruits and nuts. Keeping healthy choices within easy reach at home and work will make it easier to fight cravings and make healthier choices. To measure your success, try keeping a daily food journal.

Make Time For Yourself

Balancing social life, work, and family can be stressful, especially when you’re trying to prioritize your health. Setting aside some solitary time for yourself each day—whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour—can help reduce blood pressure, relieve pain, and lower your risk of anxiety and depression.

If your schedule allows, make practicing yoga or meditation a habit. Mindfulness is associated with numerous positive effects on mental well-being, and studies have shown that meditation reduces anxiety levels approximately 60 percent of the time. Meanwhile, yoga lowers blood pressure, reduces chronic pain, and can help you squeeze a mindful workout into your day.

If you’re too busy to fit yoga or meditation into your schedule, try CBD isolate. Various studies have suggested that CBD is effective in treating individuals suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety-induced insomnia. Google CBD isloalate for sale or visit Pacha Mama to learn more about different CBD products.

Nearly 80 percent of people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions, while just eight percent of people achieve their goals. Sticking to New Year’s resolutions can be hard, especially when there’s so much pressure to be fitter and healthier. Ultimately, setting small, achievable goals can help you stay motivated, make positive changes, and take control of your health this year.

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The True Cost of Opening a Coffee Shop

Anyone who flirts with the idea of entrepreneurship knows that running a successful business is more than just a concept. From planning and development to strategy and operations, several start-up costs come with launching a new business. Before getting into the caffeine business, understand the true cost of opening a coffee shop. 

There are three basic costs to be aware of when opening a coffee shop. One-time startup costs are exactly as they sound, one-time expenses incurred while getting things set up. Fixed costs refer to regularly occurring payments, and variable costs fluctuate based on business demand. 

The Shop Itself (And Renovations)

Finding the ideal space to set up shop depends on the location and size of the shop, and the real estate available in the chosen area. There are some initial costs to keep in mind when finding and developing the space: 

  • Rental costs: whether renting or buying space, expect to pay some form of deposit and remember that the more desirable or sought-after the neighborhood, the higher the monthly rent or payment for space. 
  • Utilities: a coffee shop will need to have the gas, electricity, and water turned on while getting the shop ready for opening. 
  • Renovation costs: turning an empty commercial space into a coffee shop with character will likely mean purchasing new light fixtures, cabinets, decor, coolers, freezers, and refrigerated display cases. 

If choosing to purchase a space, chances are financing will be necessary. Bay Mountain Capital has extensive expertise with hard money loans in Texas. As a direct lender offering loans and securing investments for residential and commercial properties, Bay Mountain Capital takes a streamlined approach to investments. Clients can always expect competitive rates and a quick closing turnaround time. 

All Your Proper Permits

Operating a coffee shop requires permits to serve food, play music, hire employees and more. The first permit to obtain is the Business License and Employee ID Number (EIN). Next is a Certificate of Occupancy and a Food Service License. If alcohol will be served in the coffee shop a liquor license will also be needed. Bear in mind that each permit comes with an application cost that varies by state. 

Sophisticated Equipment

The equipment needs of a coffee shop are standard when it comes to daily operation. Brewing equipment, a water filtration system, commercial coffee grinder, and drip coffee maker, and espresso machine are the absolute basics. The biggest initial challenge of buying equipment is determining what is needed and how much to purchase. Keep costs in check by shopping brands and choosing the most practical equipment for the overall vision. 

A coffee shop will need sufficient initial inventory and supplies like coffee beans, teas, cups, lids, straws, stirrers, napkins, packets of sugar and sugar substitutes, spices, and milk. To open for business and earn the first dollar, a Point of Sale (POS) system and financial software need to be acquired. POS software can come at a monthly cost while the hardware is a one-time payment. Shop around to find the most practical transaction technology for business needs. 

Branding And Marketing

Branding and marketing are important startup costs. Without investing in marketing the business and raising brand awareness, there will be no clientele or income. Keep these branding and marketing basics in mind when fleshing out overall startup costs: logo design, exterior signage, interior signage, website development and setup, and business cards. 

Intelligent marketing campaigns that communicate the right message are what attract new customers. Demand Local is a leader in digital advertising solutions, applying the technique of geofencing marketing to increase clients’ brand awareness. 

Geofencing is a technique that draws virtual boundaries around a physical location and specifically targets customers within the perimeter of that location. Customers within the marketing bubble will immediately start to receive relevant and contextual ads that pique interest and direct them toward the business. 

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Navigating the Tough Teenage Years

It’s no secret: Being a teenager isn’t easy. As generations of teenagers can attest, the teen years come with plenty of personal, social, and academic challenges.

In some ways, things have gotten worse as time has gone by. Today’s high-tech world offers plenty of conveniences, but it also robs modern teens of privacy and surrounds them with distractions. In a world like this, the teenage years can be tough to navigate. But surviving and thriving during your teenage years isn’t impossible.

Protect Your Privacy

Social situations are some of the biggest sources of stress that teenagers have—and, today, nearly every situation is a social one. After all, most teens walk around with smartphones in their pockets. Those smartphones connect teens on social media, where oversharing and unhealthy comparisons can make teens feel vulnerable and depressed.

Making the most of the teenage years often means finding ways to use (or not use) social media in healthier ways so as to limit its unhealthy effects. Teens should be careful about how much time they spend on social media, who they connect and communicate with, and how much they share. Remember, not every photo or video needs to be shared! There are better and more private ways to save and store photos and other files.

Take cloud storage devices, for example. As reviews of Ibi and other cloud photo storage devices point out, these sorts of devices are great for protecting your photos while making them easy to share with only those who ought to have access to them. Choosing to keep vacation photos and videos of social hangouts in a private cloud instead of on social media can make a big difference in a teen’s self-image and mental health.

Settle On Your Priorities

The teenage years are also years of big decisions. Though there is plenty of time left to choose college majors and careers, this is the time that teens ought to start forming a sense of what direction their life ought to take and how they intend to live their dreams and their values. That can be a source of stress in and of itself, of course—few people (teens or not) feel that they’ve determined their exact purpose in life.

Teens can make progress by making smaller decisions. Daily choices that reflect responsibility and ethics can add up to big changes in the course of a teen’s life. It doesn’t take climbing a mountain to discover the secret of life—it just takes doing little things right every day until the bigger picture emerges.

Care For Your Body

One daily priority for teens should be health. Higher metabolisms make it easier for teens to hide unhealthy lifestyles, but make no mistake: Eating poorly and avoiding exercise is unhealthy at any age, no matter how much or how little weight it causes a person to put on.

With that in mind, teens should strive to eat right: A diet of whole foods, especially vegetables, is ideal. That may mean having to pack a lunch to school! Exercise is vital, too. Coming out for a sports team or practicing a sport outside of school as a hobby can make a huge difference.

Care For Your Mind

For teens and everyone else, caring for one’s mind is every bit as important as caring for one’s health. Teens should take special care with their mental health, given the high rates of teen depression and anxiety. Happily, many of the same things that help teenage bodies, such as eating well and exercising, can also help teenage minds.

Getting psychiatric or psychological treatment is important, too, explain experts at the Ross Center, which specializes in emotional disorders. Teens know that they should be heading to the doctor for regular check-ups and that they should let medical experts know about physical symptoms.

The same logic ought to apply to mental health: Teens should be checking in regularly with mental health professionals, and teens should move quickly to get professional help in dealing with mental health symptoms like feelings of anxiety and depression. Navigating the teenage years isn’t easy, but focusing on the right things—and getting the right kind of help—can make all the difference.

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