3 Smart Strategies For Creating An Eco-Friendly Home Office

When it comes to home renovations, many homeowners assume that the biggest ROI comes from kitchen and bathroom remodeling jobs. In fact, experts say that bathroom additions alone offer an average ROI of 86.4%. But before you decide exactly which area of your home is ready for a remodeling job, you should be aware that home offices are a major asset that are growing in popularity. About 67% of professionals agree that working remotely is productive, and by taking a few small steps, you can create a picture perfect and eco-friendly home office that can serve as both a productive space and a major selling point should you decide to put your home up for sale. Here are just a few tips for creating the eco-friendly home office you’ve always dreamed of.

Consider Window Replacement/Insulation

New windows can lower energy bills. In fact, depending on where you live, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that you can save up to $501 a year by replacing old single-pane windows with new Energy Star approved models. With this in mind, it only makes sense to either add insulation or replace your home’s windows, if possible.

If new windows are out of the question, don’t rule out the idea of getting Energy Star savings just yet! Experts say that there are countless office appliances with Energy Star labels that can help you save big over the long term.

“If you’re buying new office equipment, look for products with the Energy Star label. They’re designed to save a lot more energy than products without the label,” Jennifer Roberts, author of Good Green Homes, told ThisOldHouse.com.

Invest In Small Solar Panels Or Lights

If your home office has subpar lighting, investing in one or two small solar panels is an innovative way to conserve energy and create ambience inside your office.

Tube lights are ideal for full lighting, and they’re easy to connect to a reflective dome on your roof to get set up. They work by trapping sunlight and transferring it via the tube to fully illuminate your eco-friendly office. Just make sure to decide on the right path from your roof to your office’s ceiling to avoid affecting cables, plumbing, and duct work.

Solar powered LED lights, on the other hand, are better for illuminating just your desk area. Modernize.com says they have a number of advantages of traditional lighting.

“You won’t have to strain every time you read or work on your computer, which will also help avoid eye strain and decreased productivity. Solar-powered lights are attached to electric panels. They have batteries at their bases, which can provide power for an entire day if fully charged,” writes Ronique Gibson on Modernize.com.

Establish A Paper And Plastic Recycling Routine

With the availability of recycling programs nationwide, there’s really no reason all homes shouldn’t be prioritizing an efficient way to make sure all their recyclable get to the proper place. This includes not only paper, but plastic, considering the fact that Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. One of the easiest ways to simplify recycling is to keep two separate bins — one for paper and one for plastic — and sort all refuse each week. Don’t forget to check all labels to make sure you’re recycling everything possible. Even things like printer ink bottles can sometimes be recycled!

Ultimately, understanding these techniques for maintaining an eco-friendly home office is the key to staying productive and preserving the potential for ROI. Eco-friendly home offices are proof that any room in your home can be transitioned into a sustainable and enjoyable living space!

Compelling Reasons To Add Honey To Your Winter Healthcare Regimen

Americans consume about 1.3 pounds of honey per person per year. And while most think of the substance as nothing more than a sweet treat, there are actually a surprising number of health benefits of honey that many people overlook. Here are just a few reasons to consider adding honey to your winter healthcare regimen.

Cleans Wounds

It’s no secret that winter weather often comes with an unavoidable and imminent risk of slipping and falling on an icy sidewalk or driveway. Fortunately, the healing powers of honey can work to help you recover from any cuts or scrapes you may have after a fall or other minor injury. While it’s not a miracle cure, it’s antimicrobial properties can help keep wounds clean and heal them faster.

How exactly can you use honey to treat a wound? It’s easier than you think.

“After cleaning the wound, put honey on one side of gauze or a clean cloth, and lay it onto the wound. Or pour a thin film of honey directly onto the wound and put the gauze over that. Either way, seal the honey in with surgical or duct tape on the edges of the bandage. Clean and repeat twice a day,” explains Commonsensehome.com.

Can Improve Oral Health

Many people may be shocked to hear that despite honey’s sugar content, it still has positive oral health benefits. That’s right — the honey present in sugar does not harm your teeth — that is, as long as it’s 100% raw honey. Anything less is almost certain to be mixed with high fructose corn syrup, which is known to cause cavities like other sweeteners.

Raw honey, however, can be used as a form of tooth decay prevention in addition to treating gum disease. According to an AACD survey, virtually all adults (99.7%) surveyed believe a healthy smile is socially important, but it’s undoubtedly medically important as well. And fortunately, certain types of honey are known for their cavity prevention abilities as a result of their microbial properties.

Furthermore, if you have an infection or inflamed area in your mouth, honey can work its antibacterial magic to ease pain and discomfort associated with the infection and help to flush out the bad bacteria that caused it.

Don’t Forget…

Unfortunately, not all honey is created equal. The key to reaping these fantastic health benefits of honey is investing in the right type of honey. As mentioned earlier, it has to be completely raw honey with no fillers such as high fructose corn syrup. Ultra-filtrated honey should also be avoided, since the process of refining it removes many of its healing properties.

Finally, it’s ideal to know exactly where your honey comes from. Always try to buy locally to ensure that your honey is not being altered or processed in any way.

According to current data, the U.S. needs about 52,000 more primary care physicians by 2025 to meet our healthcare needs, and even though honey isn’t necessarily a miracle cure, you never know if it could save you a trip to a healthcare professional this season. Of course, for more severe injuries and health issues, it’s always best to consult a doctor before attempting any DIY treatments.

Natural Remedies To Ease Your Lower Back Pain

For many adults, lower back pain is an ever-present factor in their lives. Whether caused by age, genetic factors or lifestyles, it can become too much to handle. In fact, about 69% of Americans say that this pain impacts their daily lives. While many adults turn to medication to treat their pain, it is not the only option.

There are plenty of ways to incorporate lower back pain management into your holistic health routine. This guide will help you incorporate these methods into your lifestyle and control your risk factors going forward.

Natural Treatments For Lower Back Pain

For many people, there is not a cure-all remedy for lower back pain. It generally takes a combination of changes to help you find relief. While you should always consult a physician about your pain, consider the following methods as well.

Exercise
When you strengthen your body, you strengthen your ability to support your spinal column. This is especially true when it comes to your abdominal strength. A strong core can make your entire center more steady and improve your posture. Yoga can be especially useful for strengthening, loosening, and aligning.

Massage
Massage therapy can help release tension in your back muscles that may be pinching nerves and causing pain. A massage therapist can also work with you on lifestyle changes and stretches to better care for your back.

Postural Treatment
Chiropractic adjustment and relating treatment can help align the spine and improve your posture. Your chiropractor may even incorporate massage and physical therapy to provide a more holistic healing approach.

Anti-Inflammatory Food
To nourish and heal your body, it’s essential to fill it with quality food. By avoiding refined grains, sugars, and fats, and eating nutrient-rich food instead, you can calm inflammation. This then calms your pain.

Controlling Your Risk Facotrs

While natural treatments can help ease your current back pain, it’s also important to practice prevention. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lives, there are ways to control your risk:

    • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Avoid a sedentary lifestyle
    • Work to improve your posture
    • See your physician for preventative care
    • Learn what treatment methods work for your body

Remember: You are in control of your life. While low back pain may be a factor, it is not in the driver’s seat. By trying some of the above treatment methods and taking care of your health as a whole, you can control your pain and live the most vibrant life possible.

Can You Travel This Holiday Season AND Eat Healthy?

As the holidays approach, more and more families are buying train, plane, and bus tickets to meet up with loved ones and enjoy the season. The problem is, for many, “enjoying the season” means putting diets and other healthy habits on hold. But even if you’ve failed to eat healthy during holidays past, it is possibly to enjoy the season and eat healthy. You just need a plan.

Here are just a few ways to keep yourself on track with your diet while traveling during the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season.

Consider Your Travel Method
Unfortunately, those traveling by air don’t have as much flexibility when it comes to which snacks and sizes are permitted onboard. But if you pack liquid- or gel-based snacks such as yogurt and applesauce in containers smaller than 3.4 ounces, you should be good to go. Luckily, many brands are already a step ahead of the game and have multiple options for snack-size and spill-proof containers.

Motorcoaches, on the other hand, account for 751 million passenger trips annually, and since they don’t have the rigorous security measures of airlines, they and allow for much more snacktime flexibility. Furthermore, the storage they provide allows easy access to any snacks you’re inclined to pack along in you carry-on. It’s best to avoid exceptionally messy foods, as well as those that may emit a strong odor, just to be considerate of your fellow passengers. But granola bars, raw veggies, trail mix, and sandwiches are all great options.

Depending on the length of your trip, you may enjoy the idea of packing a salad in a ziplock bag along with a plastic fork. You can add whatever you want, as long as it’s eaten within a few hours. For maximum nutritional content, pack a mix of leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and romaine lettuce. You can also try adding microgreens, a tiny form of edible greens produced from very young vegetable, herb or other plants. They range in size from one to 1.5 inches long, including the stem and leaves. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your healthy travel snacks — as long as it can be stored properly and eaten easily, the possibilities are nearly endless.

The Fresher, The Better
According to a 2016 survey, Americans consume more fresh foods — including fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses — than they did three years prior. Whether you’re staying at a hotel or crashing with your family, try to prioritize eating fresh foods over frozen or processed. This may not be an issue for those staying with a family member that always seems to be pulling out another fresh, hot dish from the oven. But for those limited to hotel lobby convenience stores and other small sources, finding a healthy, fresh meal can prove to be a bit more challenging. Instead of taking the easy route by stopping by a fast food restaurant, don’t hesitate to seek out the nearest grocery store and stock up on any available fresh foods, provided that you can store them properly.

“If you stop at a grocery store that offers whole or healthy foods — fruits, bagged carrots, nuts, hummus — or a supermarket that features a salad bar, you quickly expand your choices (and reduce junk-food temptations),” writes Men’s Fitness.

Ultimately, knowing how to stay healthy when traveling during this holiday season can help you continue to make health-conscious choices all the way through the new year. But regardless of the time of year, you should always be on the lookout for more ways to incorporate fresh foods into your diet!

Why Environmental Education is Important for Children

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The world our children are growing up in is changing in so many ways. Future generations are going to be faced with rising sea levels, an increase in the number of natural disasters, climate change, the loss of agricultural land, and a reduction in biodiversity. Tropical diseases will extend their reach, countries and factions will compete over decreasing fresh water supplies and more and more people will become migrants and refugees as parts of their homelands become uninhabitable. Those are big challenges for society to face. Our children need to be ready – they need to be educated.

Global, national, personal
Although these issues might seem overwhelming, there are things that national governments can do to reduce the rate of climate change and deal effectively with its consequences. Our children are the generation that will need to take charge of this. They will need the know-how to develop effective policies. They’ll also be able to make changes at a personal level, from adopting more eco-friendly diets to driving electric cars, insulating their homes, generating their own eco-friendly energy, and recycling, repairing and repurposing the things they buy.

Introducing environmental issues
Helping children to engage with environmentalism starts with small things. Keeping pets – even small animals – helps them to understand the relationship between the individual and the environment. Going on nature trips helps them see how different factors in the environment interact. Craft projects can help them to become enthusiastic about recycling even when they’re too young to understand why it matters, and as they get older environmental education can become a part of their schooling, enriching their perspective on biology, chemistry, geography, engineering and more. Principles derived from environmentalism also give them the ability to see how all the subjects they learn fit together, building cross-disciplinary skills that give them an advantage in a changing economy.

Educating the public
Children attending good schools get to learn about environmental issues and what they can do to make the world better, but it’s still important to find ways of reaching out to people more widely, so part of what schools need to teach is how to do effective outreach work. Students from Stamford American international school in Singapore contributed to a video promoting Global Earth Hour in 2016, helping people around the world to understand why protecting the environment matters. It was a year in which over 400,000 people engaged with Earth Day educational events in the US alone, but there are billions of people who still need to be persuaded to change the way they live, so every effort matters.

Inheriting the Earth
Educating young people not only prepares them for what they will inherit – it helps to give them a voice in the present. That means adults who are careless about the environment have to deal here and now with the people who will live with their mistakes, which is in itself a way of bringing about change. Properly educated well-informed children can speak up for themselves and defend their future.