Ask Away Blog: September 2020

Four Self Care Tips For Fall

Thursday, September 24, 2020


2020 has been a year unlike any other, no doubt about it, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end this fall. With the world still in the grips of the pandemic, and cases only set to rise over the next few months during flu season, taking the time to look after ourselves and those around us has never been more crucial. While significant progress has been made, such as the $1 million contribution to expand medical care to homeless people to help treat Covid-19, as highlighted by Cynthia Telles, we still have a long way to go. But even though it’s easy to feel a bit helpless, sometimes the perfect place to start is with yourself, with self-care being more important than ever.

Even though fall is set to look a little different from last year, that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy it and change our self-care routines to transition alongside the seasons with these four tips.

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Check-in with yourself

Find a few quiet minutes every day, either in the morning or in the evening, once you’ve finished work, to check-in with yourself, and honestly address how you feel mentally, emotionally, and physically. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the endless amount of news and information constantly being thrown our way, especially if we are currently working from home and generally spending more time indoors than ever. That’s why addressing how you are is the first, healthy step to determining what you need, whether that be a call with a friend, a soak in the tub, or an autumnal walk outside.

Practice your baking skills

Cooking and baking is a great way to relax and enjoy yourself that doesn’t involve sitting in front of a screen. Not only that, but you get a yummy treat at the end of all of your hard work - what better incentive is there? Fall is a great time to try out some delicious and filling new recipes such as an autumnal apple or pumpkin pie, cinnamon cookies, or spiced ginger muffins. You can share with friends and family after, or enjoy during a cozy evening in.

Go for an autumn walk

Going on a walk has been proven to put you in a better mood and give you a burst of energy, almost instantly. And what better time to go for a stroll then during colorful fall? Take photos of the seasonal changes around you and collect some colorful leaves and chestnuts to decorate your home with. Or if you feel like you need something a bit more intense, plan a weekend hike somewhere local to get your heart pumping, legs moving and endorphins going.

Invest in some light therapy

There is a reason why we feel better during the spring and summer months when the days are longer and lighter. We need light signals to keep our energy and serotonin levels up, so as the darker and longer nights slowly start to creep in, many people might start to feel a bit down, fatigued or even experience SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Investing in a Lumie light or similar lightbox that mimics the sun’s rays, without the harmful UV, could be the perfect way to combat this drop in energy during fall and give you, and your well-being, a much-needed boost. Not only this, but the light will help you to wake up easier in the mornings and put you in a better mood overall.

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All You Need To Know About Being a First Time Pet Owner


For as long as we’ve known, humans have kept animals as pets. Unlike any other species, we are accustomed to welcoming cuddly companions into our families and homes. It’s unclear where this trend originated from but many believe that people tamed wild animals thousands of years ago to use as protection. It was then that they discovered that animals could be useful and loyal accomplices.

The modern-day house cat or family dog is a far cry from the tamed wolves of old but their value remains the same. It’s now common for people to keep pets of all varieties, from lizards to fish, and from hamsters to tarantulas. No matter the animal, there is someone out there who’d love it as a pet.

People tend to get very close to their pets. 67% of American households have at least one pet, and half of them consider their pet to be a member of the family. There is no escaping the bond between humans and their animal friends.

There are tremendous benefits to having a pet, both mental and physical. Spending time with animals is shown to make people happier and reduce the symptoms of stress and depression. Those with pets that require exercise and outdoor activities, tend to live more active lifestyles. Getting regular exercise has positive health implications.

However, pets need responsible owners. They are high maintenance, expensive, and can cause the occasional problem. Before getting a pet, people should consider the responsibilities as well as the benefits.

If you’ve weighed up the pros and cons, decided on what pet you want, and are ready to embark on your very first pet journey, you’re going to need some pointers. Here is everything you need to know about being a first-time pet owner.

Photo by muhannad alatawi from Pexels.

Pets need training

You might be surprised to know that fish are the most popular house pets. While they don’t require training, the vast majority of pets do. Apart from fish, cats and dogs are by far the most popular types of pets. These animals must be trained and domesticated to live with you.

Like babies, pets don’t instinctually know where the bathroom is. Their table manners and general household etiquette needs to be taught. Pets must understand their role in the family. Structure, routine, and an obedient relationship with their owners are generally the keys to a pet’s happiness.

Take the time to train your pet to avoid anguish in the long-run.

Find a good vet

The first thing you should do with your pet is to take them to the vet. Animals require vaccinations and annual treatments for things like fleas.

As it’s your first pet, you should ask your vet to fill you in on everything you need to know about maintaining good health practices for your animal.

It’s important to have a vet that you know and trust. Do your research, ask around, and find the right vet for you and your pet. If you’re ever worried about your pet’s health, never hesitate to give them a call.

Know their grooming requirements

Many pets require vigilant grooming and hygiene habits. Whether they have long hair, thick fur, sensitive skin, or are prone to certain infections, it’s vital that you know how to take care of your pet from a bathing and grooming standpoint. Establish a routine and tend to their needs regularly. This will help get them used to it.

Exercise is essential

Just like people, animals need exercise. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to weight gain and illness. Regular exercise helps keep animals’ blood pressure low, build lean and healthy muscle, and develop strong bones. It also helps keep their digestion process healthy.

Find out what a healthy amount of exercise is for your pet and ensure that they get it.

Optimize your pet’s nutrition

A pet’s diet is fundamental to their overall health. It impacts their bone health, organ health, coat condition, and oral well-being, amongst other things.

Obviously, different animals have different nutritional requirements. Some will thrive on carnivorous diets, while others eat strictly vegetarian food. Consult your veterinarian and find out what foods are best suited to your pet.

If you notice that your pet’s energy or mannerisms are slightly off, consider switching up some elements of their diet.

Pets aren’t cheap

Big or small, all pets cost you money on a regular basis. To cover their basic needs, such as food, water, and medical bills, takes its toll over time. Additional equipment such as a bed, bowl, lead, collar, cage, and toys can cost a pretty penny.

Consider all costs and ensure that you’re covered.

Be prepared for young pets

While puppies, kittens, and other baby animals can melt your heart at a glance, they can also break your heart. Young animals, puppies in particular, are often quite mischievous. As they are yet to learn socialization and training, they are likely to cause a raucous in your home.

Prepare for your personal items to be stolen, swallowed, or chewed. Be conscious that your pet isn’t aware of any wrong-doing and that it will take time and effort to get them accustomed to regular life.

Avoid leaving valuable items and expensive clothing around the house, and ensure that you prioritize toilet training.

Be ready for health issues

An unfortunate reality for pet owners is that your pet is likely to incur health problems. While you can be lucky enough to witness only minimal issues, it’s important to realize that serious illnesses and accidents happen to pets all the time.

Most people outlive their pets. When your furry friend passes away, it can be traumatic for the whole family. For the sake of you, your partner, and your children, be prepared for when that day comes.

It’s always nice to give them a good send-off. Pet cremation urns are a great way to honor your pet after they are gone. They come in a variety of beautiful designs, meaning they can blend nicely into your home.

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What Steps Should You Take If Injured At Work?

Have you been injured in a workplace incident that was not your fault? There are generally two types of workplace accidents. There are those that happen then and there, such as construction accidents, and then there are cases whereby injuries develop over time because of negligence. For example, you may have recently been diagnosed with hearing loss and believe your employer is to blame because they failed to provide you with the necessary protective equipment.

A lot of people do not realize that they have a leg to stand on when it comes to cases such as hearing loss, especially as they happen so gradually. However, if your employer has not provided you with the correct level of hearing protection, you could be able to get assistance with funds to see an audiologist and get the hearing devices that are required.

Irrespective of what applies to you, read on to discover everything you need to know about workplace accidents, from steps you need to take to advice on hiring a solicitor.

Steps to take after a workplace accident

See a doctor – It is imperative to see a medical professional if you want to have any chance of claiming because he or she will put a medical report together, and this is the most crucial piece of evidence when it comes to any compensation claim.

Report the incident – You need to inform your employer of what has occurred, as they are required to have an accident book by law. If the incident is not recorded in this book, you may experience obstacles when it comes to making a claim.

Witness contact details – It is also advisable to get the contact details of anyone that witnessed the accident because witness statements can help to strengthen your case and give you a better chance of securing compensation.

Advice on hiring a solicitor

If you want to make a workplace accident claim, you need to make sure you choose a solicitor with care if you want to have the best chance of getting the full amount of compensation you deserve. You should look for someone with a considerable amount of experience, especially in workplace accident claims. It is also advisable to look for a solicitor that offers a no-win, no-fee service, as this minimizes monetary risk because you will only pay legal fees if your case is a success. Finally, read reviews that have been left by previous customers to see what they have had to say about the solicitor you are considering.

So there you have it: everything you need to know if you have experienced an accident in the workplace and you believe that it was not your fault. It is important that you get the help that you are entitled to so that you can move on with your life and get the right medical aid. A lot of people don’t realize that help is available to aid them from the recovery process, so don’t overlook this.

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5 Reasons Why You Need Help With Your Alcohol Addiction


It’s no secret that many people occasionally consume alcoholic drinks. Some folks do so at social events like gatherings of friends and family, or perhaps at home after a long day at work.

The issue with drinking anything alcoholic is that it’s very easy to get addicted to alcohol. And when that happens, you will often find that it takes over your life. As time goes on, you may also discover that it becomes harder to kick the habit of drinking alcohol to excess.

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You’re likely reading this because you think you might have an alcohol problem - but you’re not sure if you need help to combat it. If any of the following warning signs apply to you, it’s time to admit you’ve got an alcohol problem and get professional help to beat it:

You’ve got more empty beer cans and wine bottles than trash. When you put your trash out to get collected, have you noticed that most of your household waste consists of empty beer cans and wine bottles?

Drinking makes you forget about your life. One of the most common reasons people get addicted to alcohol is because it helps them to cope with problems in their lives;

You’ve ditched your friends and made new ones. It’s likely your new friends are probably alcoholics themselves;

You drink alcohol in secret. Do you find that you’re drinking more at home each day? Perhaps you have a secret stash of whisky or vodka in a hip flask that you hide in your desk drawer at work?

Of course, the above are just some of the signs that you’ve got an alcohol problem. The thing is, should you get help for your addiction? Of course, the answer is yes! But, if you’re still not convinced, the following five reasons to get professional help will change your mind:
1. You want to break free

Are you fed up with being dependent on alcohol to survive each day? If so, getting professional help for your addiction is the only way to break free from your addiction.
2. It’s a bad idea to go “cold turkey”

It makes sense to have the right support behind you as you get through this challenging phase of your life. Some people even find that partial hospitalization for rehabilitation from addictions like alcohol dependency gives them the right support they need.
3. You don’t want to end up in jail

A sad fact about alcohol dependency is you increase your risk of breaking the law. For example, you might end up driving your car while intoxicated. Going alcohol-free significantly reduces your risk of becoming a law-breaker.
4. You want to rebuild your life

People don’t just get addicted to alcohol for the sake of it. There are usually one or more underlying reasons for their alcohol addiction, such as abuse or trauma. Getting professional helps means you can tackle and overcome the reasons that made you an alcoholic.
5. You want to be healthy again

Alcohol dependency can severely jeopardize your physical health. The thing about alcohol abuse is it can impair your immune system and cause diseases, particularly with your liver and kidneys.

Now that you’ve read this blog post, it’s time to get the help you need to combat your alcohol addiction. Be sure to see your doctor or a professional alcohol addiction clinic to make that crucial first step on your road to recovery.

Good luck.

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Be Safe And Secure With Your Car On Its Next Trip!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020


The journey by car gives a sense of freedom and relaxation. However, apart from the convenience offered by this means of transportation, it is always useful to organize a car trip. Here you will read small tips that will make your escape easier. You must, however, be prepared for every eventuality and if an uninsured driver hits you, you must realize that you are able to file for compensation. You can get legal help after an injury! With all that being said, it's important to now look at your getaway and how to do it safely and securely.

Photo: Unsplash

Keep your car clean before and during the trip.

It is a good idea to throw away old rubbish and things you do not need before you travel so that you feel comfortable along the way. If the trip lasts more days, be sure to remove the waste often for reasons of hygiene and aesthetics.

Have a relaxed schedule

A road trip can always have unexpected developments. Traffic, bad roads, and even a crash can quickly get you out of time. So it is good to keep a relaxed schedule so that there is no annoyance between your fellow travellers.

Do not always use highways.

It is often very interesting to choose a route through country roads. It may take you longer to get to your destination. Still, the magical route will compensate, as the lush vegetation and picturesque villages are more interesting than the boring routes on the highway.

Always have all the necessary driving documents with you.

Starting a trip without a license, car insurance, and license is probably a bad idea. A police officer can stop you at any time for a check-up, and everything must be right for you to continue your journey undisturbed.

Always inform someone about the places you have visited and passed.

The excitement of the trip should not make you forget about safety. Make sure you always inform someone about your plans and the places you have visited or intend to visit. If for some reason something happens to you, they will be able to inform the authorities. It would also be useful to let them know every time you get to a new place, especially during COVID-19.

Always check the oil and water levels before setting off.

Oils are the soul of the car engine. If you change them regularly, according to the manufacturer's recommended maintenance program, the life of the engine and of course its efficiency will increase dramatically. If, on the other hand, you leave them to age or remain low, then engine strain increases, which causes damage and shortens life. It is essential to check all fluids regularly to make sure your car is working correctly and smoothly.

By following the above steps, we are sure that you will protect your car in the best way. Of course, regular visits to the garage help even more in the proper care of the vehicle. It will allow you to have a great trip away and be safe, too!

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Things You Can Do with Everyday Household "Trash"

I like to think I do my part to reduce the amount of waste I put in landfills so I like to reuse things when I can and I also like to save money.  So today I'm sharing some things you can do with everyday household items to save money, time, and the environment. 

4 Ways to Rethink Your Finances

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Over the past few months, many people have begun to have financial issues. Maybe you were sick with the novel coronavirus or busy taking care of an ill loved one, and you couldn't go to work. Perhaps your job shut down because it was not deemed essential. Regardless of the source of your financial difficulties, it's time to regain control of your finances with these four steps.
1. Get Rid of Unnecessary Belongings

Your house is full of things that you don't need. Not only do these possessions take up space, but they are also valuable. Rather than letting your unused belongings gather dust in the attic, take them to a pawnshop such as Monte de Piedad. Resist the temptation to use the cash you receive to purchase more things; instead, put it in your savings account.
2. Analyze Your Spending

Now that you have a little room in your budget, it's time to take a careful look at your spending. If you have a budget, are you sticking to it, or do you regularly exceed it? If you don't have a budget, where are you spending most of your money? Once you've answered these questions, look at your spending on necessities. Figure out how to balance these expenses with the cost of entertainment and other unnecessary purchases, and make a new budget that accurately reflects your spending. Be realistic, but try to limit your nonessential purchases until after the financial crisis ends.
3. Stay on Top of Your Debt

Between student loans and your house's mortgage, it's easy to become overwhelmed by how much debt you're in. While it's all right to have some loans, you should prioritize paying off your debts as soon as possible. Talk to an accountant or consultant at your bank about ways to consolidate your debt. If your bank has early repayment fees, then simply stick with your schedule, but if possible, finish early to avoid paying extra money in interest. Do not let yourself send in your monthly payments late, as this usually results in fines. Always look out for debt forgiveness programs for which you qualify.
4. Prepare for Future Expenses

Look ahead to the next five years' spending. Do you have any major purchases coming up? These include college tuition, major home repairs such as replacing your roof, and new cars. If so, figure out how to start saving today. Perhaps you can take some money from your entertainment budget, or you can switch to a cheaper provider for Internet or cell phone service. The best part of saving for expenses years in advance is that you have time to experiment with different options rather than panicking and taking out a bad loan.

Looking carefully at your budget isn't fun, but it is necessary if you want to make it through this time of financial hardship. If you take these steps now, you can save enough money to live comfortably. Soon, you'll be so used to your new lifestyle that it won't even feel like you're saving.

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Important Steps To Take After Experiencing a Fire in Your Home


A fire can be incredibly daunting and scary to face. Depending on the severity, it could leave you without a home to live in at the end of the day. Most people would consider themselves lucky to escape a fire with their life, but even then, it’s hard to put your life back together after such a devastating event. So what exactly can you do to recover after experiencing a fire?

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Things you should avoid doing after a fire

First, we’ll cover some of the things you should absolutely not do after a house fire.

Don’t enter your home until you’ve been given permission that it’s safe. If you’ve had to call emergency services to get the blaze under control, you need to speak with them first to determine if it’s safe to re-enter.

Don’t try to clean heavy smoke and soot. This should be left for fire damage professionals to take care of as it can be dangerous to you without proper safety equipment.

Don’t turn on any appliances unless a professional has deemed it safe. You may want to contact gas, water and electricity services to ensure your utilities are safe to use.

Don’t touch or move anything that has been damaged. For example, if your car was partially damaged in the fire, don’t attempt to move or use it. Similarly, any furniture should be left alone and inspected by an expert before using it again.

Steps to take after a house fire

Here are the steps you should be taking after a fire. Please note that these aren’t in order of importance and should all be prioritized.

Make sure you cooperate with emergency services. You might be asked to explain how the fire started and to report whatever you know.

Document all of the fire damage so you can make an insurance claim.

Secure a place to sleep if your current home is off-limits. You may need to search for a local hotel or ask a friend or family member if you can stay over.

Take care of your family’s needs. From children to pets and elderly parents, tend to everyone and make sure to help soothe their emotional state.

Retrieve any important belongings such as identification documents with the help of emergency services. This may take some time to retrieve anything that may have been affected by the fire.

After you’ve taken these steps, there are a few more extra steps to take that will help you get back to your daily routine again.

For starters, make sure you focus on avoiding potential fires in the future. Keeping your home safe is an important step that everyone should take. This includes inspecting your appliances and ensuring that you’re not doing anything dangerous or questionable that could cause fires again.

You might also need to rebuild parts of your home that were damaged by the fire. Hopefully, your insurance will take care of most of these costs, but you might also want to dig into any savings you have because this is certainly an emergency.

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An Introduction To Spray Foam Insulation

The applications for spray foam insulation are many and varied, while usually found around the home. Professionals work extensively with individuals and professionals who are carrying out loft or cellar conversions, for example, to help open up new living spaces in their own or their clients’ homes.

Larger projects include barn conversions, as well as agricultural projects in order to help prolong the life of tired old farm buildings. In general, the process of adding cost spray foam insulation to part or all of a building, old or new, is far quicker and cheaper than more traditional methods of boarding-out. The foam is also fire resistant – more difficult to set light to than wood, for instance.

You will also find many reports on the internet that state that spray foam roof insulation will trap moisture in the roof timbers, allowing for mold and rotting. If you have mold in your home, you should seek mold treatment should you notice any symptoms. This highlights why choosing a company with care is vital for this service. No corners should be cut.

Some of the other, perhaps more surprising, areas professionals work in are swimming pool insulation and boat insulation! For the former, for example, building regulations require that any in-ground pool within a pool house must be insulated. Spray foam insulation also offers a better, more thermally efficient way of insulating your pool.

Choosing The Right Contractor For Your Spray Foam Insulation

Winter and summer alike, there are benefits to be had from installing insulation spray foam all year round. If you have decided that this is the right choice for you and your family, you will want to know how to choose the best contractor for the job. Start by searching for one who will take a good, long look at your property and tell you if and how the spray foam insulation can best meet your requirements. Make sure that they explain to you, in a clear manner, the product they will be using, how it will be applied, and what precautions need to be taken. This will give you confidence in the process and in the work they will be carrying out.

Always check their qualifications so that you know they are competent to carry out such work on your property. If possible, read online reviews from other clients who have used their services, or ask your chosen firm to provide references from past customers.

Ask about the company’s insurances to make sure you are covered if anything goes wrong; and ask detailed questions about the installation process such as ventilation, how long people and pets need to steer clear of the building or workspace, and so on.

A genuine, reliable, and competent contractor will be happy to supply all the information you need to make an informed decision before discussing spray foam insulation. Don’t be caught out: approach this as you would any relatively major investment decision.

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