Spring Cleaning the Green Way

Spring is officially here, and we all know what that means: spring cleaning. And while there’s nothing wrong with really digging into that storage closet and getting ready for summer, many people avoid spring cleaning for one very good reason: allergies. All those dust, fumes and other particles can make for some difficult breathing environments. However, if you go about your spring cleaning in a green kind of way, you’d be surprised how much easier-to-live your environment can become.

1.) Forget the chemical air fresheners. We all want our place smelling its freshest, and that often means going out and purchasing whatever “fresh cotton” or “clean linen” air freshener you can get your hands on. Not a good idea. These chemical air fresheners are used in about 75% of homes and have been linked to sex-hormone and other developmental abnormalities, as well as cancer (of course). Your best bet is really to either open the windows and let some actual fresh air come wafting in, or to use natural fresheners, like baking soda or essential oils.

2.) Reuse what you can. You know what else people don’t like about spring cleaning: the expenses. Purchasing all these cleaning supplies costs money, and the costs tend to add up fairly quickly. So instead, use what you already have laying around. Use old socks or old T-shirts instead of disposable wipes. You can also use newspapers as paper towels and replace all furnace and air conditioning filters with washable ones.

3.) Make your own cleaning products. Cleaning products contain a vast array of chemicals linked to just about every health problem you could think of. Respiratory problems, birth defects, headaches, eye irritation and even cancer and infertility are just a few of the problems that can arise. So instead of using your traditional cleaning products, make your own. A mixture of salt, vinegar and water can be used on a variety of surfaces (especially kitchen counters), and plain soap, baking soda and lemon juice have also been found to be just as effective, and much safer, when used on other surfaces.

live lavish

Of course if you don’t have the time or energy to make your own cleaning products, you could always switch to the green versions when you go to the store. You’d probably surprise yourself to see just how effective eco-friendly products really are. Plus you’ll no doubt sleep better at night after you’ve used them.

4.) De-clutter your home. Dust and allergens tend to settle where they won’t be found, and that means in all the little nooks and crannies that you can’t see. Of course on one wants to clear off all their picture frames and replace them all every time they need to clean the mantle, so make life easier on yourself and keep it less cluttered in the first place. It’s much easier to move and clean under four photos than it is to move and clean under 26 little knick-knacks.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

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Improving the Air Quality in Your Home

For some reason, people tend to completely underestimate the air quality in their home, but believe it or not, allergens and irritants can stay in your home for years, creating not only a stuffy and uncomfortable environment, but a downright unsafe one as well. Think about it; if you suffer from asthma or allergies, the air quality inside your home can ultimately determine your happiness in life! So how do you keep things cleared up?

1.) Suck it up. Just sweeping isn’t going to help. If anything, it tends to kick up anything that has settled on the floor back into the air again. Instead, vacuum your home as often as possible, even if you have hardwood floors. Dust, danger and other things tend to settle in the cracks and corners, so go around the edges of your floors with a vacuum before breaking out the broom. And don’t forget about drapes, furniture, and even ledges around your walls.

2.) Invest in a purifier. An air purifier can be your saving grace during the allergy months. All that coughing can be alleviated by keeping your air circulated and purified on a regular basis. Just make sure to purchase an air purifier that is relatively quiet; otherwise, you’ll be trading itchy eyes for a serious lack of sleep.

3.) Keep it out in the first place. One of the easiest ways to keep your place free of chemicals is to put down a floormat and take your shoes off at the door. We can’t even describe the cocktail of pesticides, dirt and other pollutants that are sticking to the bottom of your shoes, so why would you even bring them into your house in the first place? Putting a welcome mat outside your door will help you eliminate some of the damaging pollutants; avoiding wearing your shoes inside the house will go even further.

4.) Use common sense. That means no smoking in your home, putting away food as soon as possible and avoiding spraying things like hairspray in such closed spaces. Not everything that hurts your air quality comes from outside; a lot of it comes from inside your home. Be one step ahead of the game by making sure you aren’t polluting your home from the inside.

5.) Invest in a dehumidifier. Especially if you live in a high humidity area (we’re looking at you, anyone in the southern part of the country) high humidity can be a major contributing factor to decreased air quality. To avoid mold and that musty smell, you’ll want to keep your humidity below 50%.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

Signs of a Damaging Relationship

No one wants to end up in a damaging relationship, but it can be difficult to recognize if we’re a part of one or not. I myself have been there, and I didn’t even realize what my life had become until I was free again. If your relationship has any of these signs, you might want to consider packing your bags:

1.) Your partner puts you down. Even slight putdowns and backhanded compliments can build up over time, and not only are they hurtful, they’re downright psychotic. Under no circumstance should you be with someone that makes you feel stupid or insignificant. No matter what you have done, your partner should be there to build you up, not tear you down.

2.) You feel the need to hide things from your partner. If you came out of the supermarket, found a scratch on your car door and instantly thought about how you can cover this up before your significant other sees it, that’s not healthy behavior. Things happen, and wallowing in constant fear of how they may react to any given situation is a horrible, horrible way to live.

3.) They try to change you. You don’t want someone that will try and change you but someone that loves you for who you are. Of course this tends to be a gray line. If you are severely overweight and smoke three packs a day and your partner is asking you to live a healthier lifestyle, that’s one thing. If your boyfriend or girlfriend asks you to “do something with your hair” every time you leave the house to avoid their own embarrassment, that’s quite another.

4.) There’s a lack of trust. Trust is one of the foundations of a healthy, caring relationship, and if your significant other is constantly second guessing your loyalty, you might have a problem. Someone that constantly calls to “check up on you”, has jealous fits or accuses you of lying is not someone who loves you; it’s someone who wants to control you.

5.) You’re not equals. It doesn’t matter who makes more money or who works more hours, if you’re feeling trapped because you aren’t able to make your own decisions, it’s a sign of trouble. No one should have power over another in a relationship; you should both be equals and have an equal say in the issues you come across.

6.) You keep their actions a secret. If you don’t tell your friends what your partner says or does behind closed doors, chances are it’s not healthy. Everyone fights, and everyone says things they don’t mean at one point or another, but we all know what we are able to share and what we aren’t. Even if you did tell someone and immediately had to defend them by saying something like, “But he’s really not a bad guy…” guess what: he really is a bad guy. Pack your bags.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

College Student Health Tips

Now just last week I posted an article about College New Year Resolutions, and not surprisingly, one of them was to get healthy. Now I get it; college is a huge life step, so why not make the best of it? Plus, since you’re not in high school anymore, this is your chance to create a new identity. It’s a new year, a new career path (you may even be starting your first semester of school in a few days) so why not start off by making yourself the healthiest ‘you’ you can be? I thought so.

But before you start off on some crazy plan (I’m going to run 14 miles a day!) and then quickly abandon it (as an avid runner even I can’t commit to running 14 miles a day), let’s get a few more useful habits into place.

1.) Clarify what and why you want to change. If you think the only thing keeping you from being happy is your weight, you’re wrong. There are a lot of factors that determining your happiness and you need to address all of them. That means that by “getting healthy”, you also need to address your mental state of mind. Are you stuck in a dead-end relationship? Do something about it. Are you constantly getting taken advantage of people? Make a change. Your physical appearance, contrary to popular opinion, has nothing to do with these two things. Your weight does not determine your self-worth.

2.) Address all areas of your health. That means not just exercising more often, but watching what you eat, making sure you’re drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, managing stress better and being more aware of your mental health. All of these things combined create a healthy identity, not just one or two on their own.

3.) Be specific, and write it down. You want to work out more? Great! How much? How often? Don’t just say “more”; make a goal. Two times a week? Three times a week? An hour each time? Write that down. Or maybe it’s a fitness goal, like you want to run a 5k by the end of the month. Write that down. Maybe you want to learn how to cook and decrease the amount of meals you eat out by 50%; leaving only three times during the week where you will eat out. Write that down.

4.) Be ready for set-backs. Research shows that habits are never actually broken; they are just replaced by stronger habits. You are never actually going to lose your sweet tooth, but you will become much better about giving into it all the time. Now keep in mind, research also says that it takes roughly three weeks straight for a new habit to start becoming second nature. That means if you abandon your goals by the second week, you really haven’t even given yourself a fighting chance! So if you miss the gym one day don’t sweat it, just go the next day. Gradually, you will be able to make a change.

5.) Keep things interesting. I mentioned earlier that I’m a runner. One of my goals every year is to run 365 miles by the end of the year (1 mile per day). However, I also know that I don’t run on treadmills. I get bored and frustrated. Outside I can run 10 miles, but on a treadmill I barely make it 2 miles before I move on to something else. If I relied on treadmills there’s no way I’d reach my goal, but by creating routes around my house I’m much more likely to stick to my plan.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

What are some ways you plan on being more healthy this year?

It’s Still an Illegal Drug

By the time you hit college, the phrase “Say no to drugs” has surely been ingrained into your mind. However, things are also a bit different in college. Of course you know what to say no to (you know, your general meth, crack, inhalants, etc.), but there’s a whole different breed of drugs that you might be considering. After all, they’re supposed to be good for you, right?

Wrong. The following are still drugs, and if they aren’t prescribed to you (and even if they are prescribed to you), taking them incorrectly can have disastrous consequences.

1.) Ritalin. It’s been around for several years, but the adverse effects of it have been fairly swept under the rug. The drug affects chemical secretion in the brain as well as specific nerves that affect impulse control and hyperactivity. But you probably already knew that…I mean it is prescribed to help with ADHD. But you should know that those nerves can be permanently damaged, especially when combined with caffeine or alcohol.

2.) Adderall. Also prescribed for people with ADHD, Adderall kicks things up a notch. It’s a sister drug of speed, and is also prescribed to people with Narcolepsy. Adderall, however, is much more dangerous. It can be easily abused and is quite addictive, with withdrawal side effects including depression, aggressive behavior, mania, and even psychosis, heart attack and death. So no, it’s not worth it to pass a final exam.

No sharing. You’d think that borrowing your roommate’s prescription might be harmless, but there are much bigger risks than you might realize. For example, I found out I have a heart condition my sophomore year of college. Had I tried taking Adderall or Ritalin during my freshman year, the results could have been catastrophic. Of course if I had gotten a prescription myself, my heart condition would’ve been taken into account. At the least, the dosage at least would’ve been adjusted.

And let’s not forget, that sharing prescription drugs is illegal; both for you to take and for your roommate to share with you (or sell, as is more likely the case).

Keep in mind that both of these drugs are not meant to increase one’s intelligence. All they do is delay the onset of sleep, allowing someone to stay up for hours on end cramming for exams and writing research papers. Of course, along with the side effects of the drugs themselves, are also the side effects of sleep deprivation, including increased anxiety and the inability to focus (the very problems the drug is supposed to fix). In fact, in terms of reaction time and decision making skills, a sleepless person can be compared to an individual who has an alcohol consumption above the legal limit.

So just don’t. Please get some sleep and develop some time management skills before turning to either one of these drugs for help.

Ways to Fight Winter Gloom

Now I may just call it “winter gloom” but let’s be honest; what I’m really talking about here is a little thing called seasonal affective disorder. You may even have it yourself and not even know it! How would you know?

Do you find yourself feeling a little depressed during the cold, winter months? What about when you happen to live somewhere that’s rainy all the time, like London or Seattle? It might seem silly, but it’s a real thing; some people just need more sun than others.

No really, I’m not even kidding! Seasonal affective disorder is a change of mood that’s brought on by decreasing amounts of daylight. That means short winter days are all it takes to trigger an episode. And if you’re already prone to having depressing thoughts, or already struggle with anxiety, a couple months of short, gray days (combined with the stress of final exams) can push you right over the edge. So how do you keep your head above water?

1.) Get out in the daylight while you can. SAD is caused by a lack of daylight, so when there is available daylight, get out there! Go for a walk, a drive, or just go sit in the park. Take a friend with you or go by yourself. Personally, I love going for a long drive; it’s the perfect way to clear your head!

2.) When indoors, position yourself near windows. Need to head to the library to do study for finals? Don’t bury yourself on the basement level, go up a floor or two and find a quiet study spot next to a window. You can even rearrange your dorm room to have your bed closer to your window so when you wake up in the morning the first thing you see is a little daylight.

3.) Exercise! Exercising releases natural endorphins that help you feel instantly happier. And all you really need is 30 minutes a day; plus you can always combine it with something outside.

Freezing temperatures make it so you’d rather stay indoors? No problem! Head to the gym (a school gym membership should be included in your tuition fees) and try and get a treadmill facing a window. Or just blast some of your favorite music in your dorm room and have a personal dance party for one. It still counts as exercise!

4.) Trick yourself. Surrounding yourself with pictures of the ocean or home during the summer time may sound like a futile attempt to make yourself feel better, but it really does work. After all, when you’re feeling homesick would you rather sit in a blank room, or one covered in pictures of friends and family? There’s a reason college kids line their walls with photos; it makes them feel better! Do the same with this: put calendar pictures of summer days in between your photos. It’ll be a wall of inspiration.

5.) Make a fun change. Changing it up in the drab of winter can bring a little excitement into your life. It doesn’t have to be crazy; just get a new haircut or try out a new bakery in town. A little bit goes a long way!

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spray, safes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lighting, fun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

Safety Advice for Transfer Students

Transferring from one school to another can be quite stressful. I know, I’ve been there. Not only are the people different, but everything else is also different. Your housing situation, the classes, which credits transfer, which credits don’t; not to mention you don’t know any of your professors. But with all the change there is also a little comfort in knowing this too: all universities follow the same general guidelines.

You will go to class; you will live with roommates. Textbooks will be expensive and you   will probably have a difficult time finding parking every morning. And yes, you will make friends and survive.

However, here are a few things you might want to keep in mind:

1.) Have a list of who you need to call. Different schools have different protocols, and if an issue required you to call your RA at your last school, it might require you to call the front desk or even campus security at your new school. Understand who you need to call and for what reasons.

2.) Sign up for classes ASAP. Signing up for classes as soon as possible won’t just ensure you’ll get the best professors (research them at www.ratemyprofessors.com and if one professor’s class is filling up fast while another has only one or two students, it’s a good sign as to who is the more desirable professor), but it will also ensure you a safer class schedule. A class that gets done at 2:00 in the afternoon is generally much safer than a class that gets done at 9:00 at night, especially if the shuttles have stopped running and you have to walk home alone…in the dark.

3.) Do a test run. Get your schedule (make sure you’re actually in the classes you think you are) and walk around campus the day before finding each building and classroom. The last thing you want to be doing is scrambling around an unfamiliar campus trying to find a class you think you’re registered for. Plus, it’s important that you know the best routes to take to specific classes. If you have a night class, for example, you don’t want to be wandering around campus in the dark. Find a well-lit, often used path and stick to it.

4.) Live on campus. I know, I know, I’ve been preaching that the benefits of living off-campus greatly outweigh those of living on-campus (and I still stand by that opinion), but as far as safety goes, on-campus is the way to go. Everything you need is either within walking distance or even located in the same building. I’ve lived in dorms that have laundry facilities, computer labs, the bookstore and the cafeteria all in the same building. Plus, it’s easier to make friends when you’re surrounded by new people in the same situation, meaning there’s a less of chance of walking alone if you do have to go anywhere. Many universities also have dorm specifically for transfer students, which means if you’re 22 and transferring, you don’t have to worry about living with a bunch of 19 year olds begging you to buy them alcohol.

Don’t forget to check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com for more college safety essentials!

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