Safe Travel Tips in 2021

The year 2020 has been tough for all of us. As governments across the world put in place travel restrictions to stop the coronavirus pandemic, our lives turned into a kind of prison. We could no longer visit our families in other states or countries. Interaction with our best friends was restricted to virtual and which can never replace face-to-face meet ups.

As we go into 2021, the virus is yet to be contained and some restrictions are still in force. Fatigue is setting in even as we take great care not to contract or spread the virus. Many people are wondering if there is a way to travel safely in 2021. In this article, I will give some safe travel tips that will serve us well in 2021 and beyond. Let’s get going.

Use Private Means of Transport, if Possible

Health experts have advised that there will still be traces of the virus for some time into the future, regardless of whether a vaccine is available or not. This means that chances of contracting the virus will be there, albeit low. That notwithstanding, we cannot afford to take chances with our lives. One risky way of getting the virus is travelling in public means such as high capacity buses and trains.

To minimize the likelihood of catching the virus, it might be wise to consider using private means to move around. A family car can be essential for travelling within and across states. The cost of gas might skyrocket but it is nothing close to the value of good health. Again, the opportunity to use a car is more welcome than the continued sheltering in place.

Avoid Virus Hotspots

Different states and countries have posted varying degrees of success in combating the virus. Some have managed to combat the disease to just a few cases out of their entire population. Other jurisdictions are still under heavy virus attack with increasing new cases and fatalities.

To travel safely in 2021, we might need to look up the spread of the disease in different travel destinations. This will enable us to gauge the levels of risk in our preferred vacation destination. Travel where the virus seems to have been contained. Luckily, there are so many places we might choose to travel without compromising our health.

Adhere to Public Health Protocols

We are all aware of what it takes to control the spread of coronavirus. The public health pronouncements have been loud and clear for all of us. As you plan to travel in 2021, remember the directives and you will increase your chances of returning home with your health intact.

As compliance fatigue sets in, there are places where the protocols are hardly observed. To be on the safe side, don’t join them. It might look awkward but keep your face mask on especially when in public and crowded places. Maintain physical distance to minimize the chances of catching viral droplets.

Pack the Essentials

Coronavirus has not only changed how we travel but also how we prepare for travel. Before 2020, face masks were unheard of, at least in public interaction. The alcohol hand rub was not really an essential item to pack along. The personal protective equipment was only restricted to the industrial workers and the medical professionals. And then things changed suddenly.

As we prepare to travel in 2021 and beyond, it is advisable to pack up the safety gear. Pack enough face masks for the entire family, stock up an effective hand sanitizer and soap. You don’t know how things will unfold ahead. Better be safe than sorry.

Book Early

Placing early reservations is a hackneyed travel tip but it strikes differently in the times we are living in. As more people seek to travel, popular destinations will receive an avalanche of bookings forcing some of them to shut shop to more holidaymakers. Booking early has never been so important. we will not only secure a slot before the shutdown, we might also secure some early bird discounts.

Carry Your Prescriptions

The virus has made us forget our other infirmities. We must carry drugs wherever we go to ensure that our health condition is kept in check. Consult your doctor to get essential health tips. Keep an emergency contact just in case, god forbid, something unwelcome happens.

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Staying Fit Through the Covid Crisis

With gyms closed and a lockdown upon us, staying fit has been one of the most challenging things we have had to do through the pandemic. Although most places have opened up, our daily workout routine cannot remain the same. The yoga classes or gym sessions we had have been altered due to social distancing and a reduction in the number of persons in a room. Although working out on our own seems tiresome, it is still an essential practice. Besides keeping our weight in check, physical exercise helps relax the mind, which is very much needed during this stressful time.

Working out also boosts the immune system, which in turn protects us from catching the very deadly coronavirus. Finding the right exercises and motivation can help us deal with our fretfulness, downheartedness, stress, and regulate diabetes and cardiac diseases. However, as much as training is essential, too much will not do our bodies or immune systems any favors. As the saying goes, too much of anything is poisonous. True to the phrase, too much exercise might end up weakening the immune system rather than strengthening it. Therefore, to avoid incidents, it is better if we find something that suits us.

Many people have suggested exercises that we could take part in while keeping safe and maintaining social distance. Most of the methods have proved to be quite effective. Since most of us still have to work from home, here are several things we can do to keep our bodies in check.

Active Breaks

Rather than sitting and working all day, the World Health Organization recommends that we take active breaks between tasks. The pauses can last anywhere between 10-30 minutes, depending on our schedules. During the break, being active is key. Therefore, rather than moving from our workstations to relax on the couch, we can involve ourselves in some activity. Some activities include cleaning the house, playing with kids, or even dancing. Though these activities seem basic, they play a significant role in breaking the monotony of sitting all day.

Online Exercise Classes

If working out alone is boring for us, then this is the perfect fix. Most platforms, e.g., YouTube and Instagram, have professional trainers imparting some skills or routines. Taking advantage of these classes is a good idea because we will not feel alone and weird while exercising. However, while following the patterns and steps, we should be aware of our limits and the kind of exercises that are good for us. If we are not very experienced, there is no shame in starting at the primary/beginner level and working our way up.

Walking

Even with a lockdown, walking is still possible. It’s not a must that we go outside or around our block. We can also walk several miles while even at the same place. Treadmills and stairs can make this possible. Also, walking from one place in the house to the other is another good way to keep our bodies active. Incorporating technology such as smartwatches that count steps will help us accomplish our daily walking targets easily. However, if we decide to walk outside, we ought to recall to put on our masks and upholding social distance.

Healthy Diets

A significant challenge of remaining and working from home is that we are always near food. The temptation and freedom to grab a snack every now and then without the typical work regulations is so amazing. However, this is also a straightforward way to send our diet off the rails, negatively affecting our fitness and health. Therefore, as much as we are eating more, incorporating some vegetables, fruit, and whole foods will boost our immunity.

 

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A Housebound Lifestyle

Most of us are used to being able to go whenever we please. We are not used to being housebound. When circumstances arise that causes this situation it can be very hard to deal with. A prime example of this has been the Pandemic of 2020. Although this has been very difficult to deal with it has taught me some valuable lessons. Ones that I will carry forward with me as I never know when they will be needed again.

Adjustments

Often what can happen is becoming housebound can happen quickly. As it did with the first round of the COVID_19. But there are other circumstances where a person can become restricted to the home. Such as a result of an illness or injury. Or in other cases where people simply cannot afford to go out for any type of entertainment. When these circumstances arise it takes people away from their normal routine and they have trouble adjusting. Some become depressed while others may become irritable.

Putting Time To Good Use

The biggest challenge that I as many others faced is what to do with all the extra time that is now available and what to do with it in a constructive way. This is difficult when there are family members of different age groups. I found the best approach was to plan for using time.

Turn It Into Something Fun

One approach is to turn the situation into something fun. With some creative thinking, there are lots of ways to do this. Here are some things that I planned for my family.

Plan A Virtual Vacation

There is no way that a traditional vacation can be taken but now it’s an ideal time for a virtual one. Just as you would for any vacation it has to be planned for. So for this segment use it for making the décor that would be found in the destination you are virtually planning. So for example, if the trip is for Hawaii, then get the whole family making some props. Plan one room that will be used for the destination vacation, like the den or family room. This can then be decorated with all the items that you make.

  • Next make the food. A whole day can be spent on making the food that is going to be used on the virtual vacation. The kids will love this and we got some inspiration by doing some research into the cuisine that would be available at our destination.
  • Now the activities: What activities would you enjoy if you went to Hawaii? Fishing might be one of them. So how about playing the card game “Go Fish”?

These are just a few ideas to get you going on planning your virtual vacation. If all these are put into action you are going to spend three days on this event. Two for the preparation and one for the actual event.

Plan A Theatre Night

Now you can think outside the box for this one, and it too can take up several days of preparing for it. Instead of just watching a movie, how about the whole family putting on a play. When we did this we recorded it then sent the video to some family members. They enjoyed it so much that some of them did the same thing. We then sent all of these videos to the children’s grandparents.

The first day the script could be written, and then everyone learns their lines.

On the second day, the costumes and props could be worked on. Then finally the third day the big production,

Virtual Visiting

Another big problem with being housebound is not being able to spend time with family friends. At least one of the family members is likely to be computer savvy. Which means they can set up virtual meetings. But, instead of just logging in to say hello why not play a game? Charades would be perfect. This too could be a pre-planned event where snacks could be made.

The important thing is to have a plan for a few days at a time. Trying to think about how to use time spontaneously can be difficult. In between all these activities, there should be a regular home routine as well. Such as doing the chores, cooking, cleaning, and whatever else the family participates in during normal circumstances.

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Modern Ways to Update Your Interior Walls

There are plenty of ways we can improve our interior walls whether they are made of plaster, drywall, brick, or panels. From wall treatments, natural stone, molding, and wallpapers, it is possible to prep the walls for a complete makeover in no time. Here are our best suggestions on how to enhance the interior walls.

Texture is all about going bold

When it comes to the choice of colors, we have millions of options at our disposal. Paint, for instance, is easier to change by adding texture. While caramel tan looks nice, it can give a room a new dimension when combined with a textured panel or faux painting. There has been a growing trend of textured walls since homeowners discovered that they take countless aesthetic forms with bold geometric layouts and fine linen. The greatest stronghold of using textures is their ability to spark a dramatic ambiance in any space without changing the architectural details, flooring, or furnishings. Textured wall paneling comes in sheets that are embedded on the wall and painted. The panels are available in varied colors but we have seen many people leaving them white. But bold textures can bring a unique aesthetic to an interior wall.

Touchable textures are good but a subdued appearance is a desirable aspect of any room. It allows the walls to harmonize with the room décor rather than compete with it. Walls that seem to have textures of varying palettes and highlights can be attained through faux painting. It is possible to attain a unique look on every wall depending on the chosen colors and the application pressure that has been used. An accent wall can envelop space in a distinct texture.

Artwork

We have all come across walls looking like artwork. These are often courtesy of texture techniques like trompe l’oeil, patterns, and painting murals. Trompe l’oeil is the painting of scenes and pictures that give an illusion of realism and texture. The technique adds an element of depth and character to a wall, changing the space dramatically. Such walls look like a perfect work of art and can be done by interior designers and professional artisans. Some DIY murals and wallpapers can also be used to mimic hand-painted designs on a wall.

A large-scale art can command attention in a room. It is also a good idea for setting the tone of a smaller space. A classic black and white picture in a minimalist house looks ideal. A vibrant abstract piece may be included to add color. Nothing shows the personality of a house more than a gallery wall. A collection of images and art displayed on a wall speaks a lot about the owner of the house. A simple cohesive frame and ornate designs can help to mix things up. The gallery wall may be extended to the ceiling to bring an illusion of more space.

Breaking up monochrome

Monochromatic colors are easy to break with texture without creating a dull look. Good examples of materials for breaking the monotony are joint compound, wall panels, and fabrics. The room will still have its unified color scheme but attain a new personality without much effort.

Natural stone

A while ago, we used to view the natural stone as an archaic design element that brings a cold aura to a modern house. But today, we have embraced decorative natural stones in our contemporary living spaces. Surprisingly, they do not derange the harmonic and simple appeal that we need for interiors. All that is needed is a bit of creativity to make stone pieces on the walls a focal point. While the installation of stone pieces can be tricky, it can give a visually striking texture. Too much should be avoided though. In a small room, natural stone can be installed in a portion of the wall to give a desirable effect without creating a cramped up appearance.

To avoid a cold look, stone walls are best matched with knitted floor cushions, wool, fur, cashmere, and textures. We encourage warm hues e.g. red, orange, and yellow to make cool interiors more inviting. Sometimes, all it takes is a little creativity to give distinct impacts on natural stone walls. For instance, normal bulbs can be replaced with LED lights for a dramatic effect.

Textures, artwork, and natural stones are a great way to reimagine the interior walls. No matter the interior décor, there is always an option meant to fit well into a room.

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Top 6 Tips for Choosing the Right Furniture for Your Home

Whether it’s moving to a new home or making a furniture change in the current house, choosing my furniture has always been a big deal. I am very particular with color and feel and how the entire décor coordinates. If you are as detailed as I am, you understand why choosing home furniture can be a reason for a meltdown if things are not handled well.

Over the years, I have learned to make such changes easier. Here are the top six tips I use when choosing the right furniture for my home, plus a bonus point at the end.

1. Assess your current furniture

Just because I want new furniture, or I’m thinking of remodeling does not mean I should get rid of all the old stuff. Some furniture pieces are too sentimental to let them go. I have always found a way to make them work and you should too. In some way, making proper use of old furniture might still give you the feeling you are looking for if you just coordinate everything or move a piece to a new space.

2. Narrow down on your style

Every person has their preference but very few take the time to narrow it down. After a couple of hitches, I realized that preferences change and sometimes it gets mixed up in one’s head. To avoid a total disaster, I find it helpful to take a bit of time to narrow down on what I want exactly. Yes, I might love that color, but will it match with the rest of the décor? Where do I need to trade off and where can I get a free pass? Such questions have helped me not to get carried away.

3. Shapes and sizes

Style goes for shapes and sizes as well. Just because my neighbor has a classical-designed sofa making her living room look ecstatic, does not mean the same couch will coordinate well with the rest of my furniture. Size is also a major factor since I never want to either crowd my space or leave an empty feel. Handcrafted pieces are an easy trade-off in this case.

4. Harmonizing colors and materials

I thought color coordination was an easy task until I brought in a seat whose fabric color didn’t seem to collaborate with the rest of the room. Color coordination is not about the furniture alone, one has to consider the wall painting and the flooring type. Such simple details can mess you up if they cause visual interruptions.

5. Is it a functional choice?

Beauty can be attractive but is the piece functional? Will it serve its intended purpose or will you have to replace it for something more functional later? More importantly, will it add to your home’s comfortability? Such questions have made me aim for a balance between feel and function always.

6. What about the budget?

No matter how much you want something, if you do not have the money you will have to bypass the choice or save the thought for later. Thanks to the DIY movement, you can find ways to refurbish an old furniture piece into something that matches your desire or comes close enough.

Getting something custom made might help save some money. However, this will depend on the design and your particulars. What most people fail to realize is that just because you want a new look does not mean you need to get totally new furniture. You might find a few unique items at the resale store that adds some magic to your home.

Bonus tip: Take it easy

Trust me, you do not want to rush through this process. Whether the furniture is urgent or not, you need to schedule ample time for choosing the right pieces. Else, you will end up buying unwanted ones and do so in bulk.

Realize that this is a coordination experience and you need to be in the right mental place to make the right choices. I avoid being overwhelmed when I am remodeling and often do the decision making when I have the least items on my bucket list. This way, I am fully present, thus avoiding future regrets.

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4 Tips to Enjoy Life While You’re on a Diet

Dieting doesn’t have to be a tough and stressful process. Of course, going on a diet is a serious matter. If you want to get the desired results without doing any harm to your body, you should seek professional advice. You can’t improvise or play dietician.

Having said that, I’d like to share the following tips because going on a diet doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying life. These simple strategies have helped me while I was trying to lose weight. I had to adjust to a new “routine” because, in the end, I had to give up something I really love (large quantities of my favorite food). This journey seemed very hard, especially at the beginning.

You Don’t Have to Give Up Your Social Life

If you love eating out, it might be a bit harder when you are on a diet. I have the following strategy: I always check the restaurant to learn more about their menu. It’s straightforward; now everything is online and just a couple of clicks away. I decide what I am going to have for lunch or dinner so that I can adjust the rest of my meals of that day accordingly. It usually works. As for those late-night (fattening) drinks, well, now I’m always the one driving my tipsy friends back home if you know what I mean.

Exercise – With Friends

I have never been an athlete, not even a sports gal. I don’t even like to watch sports on TV. In fact, I’ve always been pretty lazy. And, when you are overweight, you are not keen to go to the gym and compare yourself with those thin ladies and men, with their muscular bodies squeezed into tight sportswear, that’s for sure.

Still, I knew I had to help my metabolism rate somehow. I thought that the best way to start was by taking long walks. I started a Facebook group with a goofy name (The Cake-Walkers), where, together with my friends, I organized lovely walks around town or even in the countryside. I met new people, walked hundreds of kilometers, and saw beautiful places I didn’t even imagine existed. Now, I am confident enough to enter a gym, still I prefer to run, bike, or walk in the open air.

Sleep More

I discovered that my total count of sleeping hours was terribly low. I used to go to bed really late, because I was either watching TV or out with my friends. So, the last snack or meal the day before and the following day’s breakfast were probably not more than 7 hours apart. When I started my diet, I could not eat or drink anything after dinner (no snacks, no soft drinks, no beer…) So, naturally, I started going to bed earlier. The results were stunning. After only a week, I was more energetic, my humor had improved, and I also had better results at work.

Simple Supermarket Strategies

I avoid going to the supermarket before my meals or when I am hungry. As you know, it’s much easier to be tempted by delicatessen, snacks or sweets if you haven’t eaten. I don’t use the huge shopping cart you find at the shop entrance, but I bring a smaller one from home. I always prepare a list of the food I actually need to prepare my meals, and I stick to it. I try not to be tempted by the three-for-two sales or similar offers. And, in the end, I think about how much money I will save if I don’t buy those extra items!

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