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Living Alone In Lockdown: How To Keep Yourself Healthy And Occupied At Home 

In November 2020, the Office for National Statistics released findings that showed levels of loneliness had climbed to record levels within the past year of the Covid-19 pandemic. The findings showed that 8% of adults were feeling “always or often lonely,” and 16-29-year-olds were twice as likely to experience those same feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression. 

Even individuals who were previously living by themselves have claimed that this pandemic has forced them to rethink their entire way of life. Some experts claim that long-term social isolation is as bad for your health as 15 cigarettes a day; obviously this is in reference to complete and total isolation, however, being trapped in your home with nothing but a smartphone to show you the outside world is anything but healthy.

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Many individuals living alone have also found themselves in the unlucky position of being unemployed due to the decline in economies throughout the world as well. The combination of complete solitude and lack of employment is leaving individuals to get trapped in their own heads, and being in the middle of a deadly global pandemic is causing those inner voices to become much louder. 

Brenda is a 71-year-old UK resident who lives by herself. She recently spoke with the media about how the pandemic and its isolation has given a lot of people the opportunity to self-reflect, which doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. 

“I’m not the sort of person who thinks about dying, but I suddenly found myself wanting to clear my papers and get rid of clutter, as it wouldn’t be fair on my daughters if I passed. All the things I’d ignored by surrounding myself with others came to the front of my mind,” she explained as she broke down how a lot of us have also lost the ability to interact with each other because of this pandemic.

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“What I found odd, having been very sociable before, was that you almost lose the art of it. A friend turned 70 last summer and her daughter threw a party; 15 people were allowed. I really looked forward to it but on the day I felt strange. I always liked living by myself, but total isolation from society is a different thing altogether. As the year wore on I missed people terribly and fell into some real slumps.”

Lonely people are much more likely to turn to negative vices, like drinking and smoking, when left in complete isolation. The addition of a deadly virus spreading around the world has many individuals caring less about their health when it should have the opposite effect. Experts claim the best way to combat this is creating a daily schedule for yourself that allows you time to explore your creative side and pick up some new hobbies. 

Many individuals have turned to things like baking bread, painting, knitting, puzzles, running, etc. to pass the time and better their lives while stuck inside. Doing activities that stimulate your body, mind, and spirit and keep you engaged are the best for combatting these negative feelings. 

One of the most important things to remember, however, is to really listen to yourself and your feelings. No one should ever feel alone, even if they’re living on the top of a hill thousands of miles away from everyone. Take care of your body and mind, and look into online therapy options if you think talking out your thoughts will help you move past them. Many of us have been focusing on keeping our bodies healthy throughout this pandemic due to the virus, but don’t forget that mental health is just as important as physical health, if not more important. Treat yourself kindly, and never be afraid to ask for help.

Headphones

What Is ASMR And How Is It Helping So Many People Relax?

ASMR stands for “autonomous sensory meridian response” and while all of those words sound really large and confusing, the actual experience is quite simple. ASMR refers to the pleasurable feeling one gets from certain noises or sensations. Have you ever gotten a tingle down your spine from the sound of a hair buzzer coming close to your ear? Felt relaxed while listening to the waves crash on the beach? That’s ASMR. 

In fact, ASMR has become a bit of a cultural phenomenon. Entire YouTube channels are dedicated to the sensation and giving viewers the experience of “tingles” or complete relaxation. There are hundreds of Spotify playlists that just contain sounds of a fan blowing, paper crinkling, typing on a keyboard, and millions of other noise combinations that give people that response. 

Some of the videos themselves are more whimsical as well, with users pretending to be a doctor, hairdresser, or any other occupation that would prompt being in close contact with another individual. These are known as “role play” videos, and before your mind starts going to a dirty place, the actual intention couldn’t be more pure. 

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The ASMR community online has grown to be one of support and comfort. Many individuals with anxiety, depression, and other mental health ailments claim that ASMR videos and sounds help them relax and seperate themselves from the struggles that they deal with on a day to day basis. This makes sense as well due to the fact that ASMR can be seen as a form of meditation depending on how one consumes it as well. 

Typically, when one views an ASMR video, it’ll be right before bed to help them fall asleep, or at a time when the individual just wants to relax and unwind. ASMR Shortbread, also known as Shortie, is a top ASMR creator on Cameo and YouTube who recently discussed how she often receives requests from her viewers to make videos after they suffered bereavements, break ups, or any other struggle in their life. 

“My channel focuses a lot on personal attention, being that caring friend. I would say the majority of requests are looking for just a chat really, somebody to talk to. ASMR is intimacy, but at a distance.”

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With the coronavirus pandemic there’s been a huge surge in popularity among personalized videos. Wisio is a personalized video platform that claims their requests for ASMR videos increased by 2,100% since March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic first hit America. This makes sense due to the fact that many people utilize ASMR to assist with stress and sleep aid; two things we’ve all likely struggled with in the past year. 

According to a 2015 study taken among individuals who claim to regularly consume ASMR content, 82% claimed to use the videos to fall asleep, and 70% claimed it was to deal with stress. Another study revealed that ASMR decreased levels of sadness and stress, as well as feelings of interpersonal connection after watching a range of videos. 

Dr. Craig Richard described ASMR as “just another item on the menu of relaxation techniques that humans use to feel better. Personalized videos are like getting to pick and choose the foods that you like the most at a buffet.” Richard expects future research to show that ASMR was one of the most beneficial techniques for relaxation used during the pandemic.

FetchaADate Meet Pet Owners

Niche Dating Sites Are Helping People Find Love In The Most Unique Ways | FetchaDate

Dating Apps that focus on individual passions are rising in popularity, one of the most unique being FetchaDate, a dating service used for pet-owners to find love.

How To Stay Warm This Winter Without Increasing Your Heating Bill 

With so many of us working from home in the middle of one of the coldest winters in years, many are worried for the rise in their heating bills that’s guaranteed to follow. According to Laura McGadie, the group head of energy at Energy Saving Trust, many individuals don’t realize the multitude of ways they can save on heating every year, without sacrificing being comfortable in your own home. 

“If you are taking advantage of not having to commute by getting up later, set your heating to come on later in the morning. If possible, get a smart meter installed, which is estimated to help reduce a household’s electricity use by 2.8% and gas use by 2%.”

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McGadie claims that getting to know your heating system is the best first step to understanding the best ways to save energy and cost. She also recommends draught-proofing all your windows and doors, as many homeowners don’t realize that they could be saving every year based on how much cold air comes into their space through cracks and crevices in the home. 

“You can seal the gaps between floors and skirting boards to reduce draughts with a tube of sealant bought from any DIY store. Other simple fixes include getting a cover for your letterbox and keyholes, fitting self-adhesive foam strips to draughty windows or using a chimney balloon in unused open fireplaces.”

John Eric Smith is an assistant professor in the department of kinesiology at Mississippi State University, who also claims that individuals aren’t wearing enough clothes in their homes, which also prompts them to increase the heat more than necessary. “If you can keep the core – the chest and all – warm, you will keep the peripheries warm. When your body gets colder, blood is diverted from the extremities, which then feel colder.”

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“I like fleeces because they create this really thick area without much weight, but several layers of any kind of top can create the same effect. Some people swear by thermal undergarments, and a hat will also help, but not if you’re sitting topless at your desk. Any time you’re looking at reducing the skin’s contact with the environment, it is going to be beneficial. The idea that most of your heat is lost through your head is an old wives’ tale,” Smith explained. 

Getting curtains can also help contain heat within your home and stop it from escaping through the windows. McGadie recommends heavy lined curtains in darker colors, and putting an old blanket over your door at night can also have the same heating effect. Smith also recommends making sure you’re moving your body everyday. This is not only great for keeping your blood circulating, but for your overall physical health as well. 

“You need to find that happy balance between being physically active enough that you’re generating heat to stay warm, but not to the point that you’re going to sweat to try to cool down.”

Smith warned that with exercise you have to be “careful when you start sweating because you’re going to be losing body heat faster which will actually make you colder.” Even cleaning up your house and performing chores can be seen as adamant exercise around your space as long as you’re constantly moving.

Man with Dog

How To Protect Your Dog From This New Deadly Disease Spreading Through Ticks

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Bowl of Cheerios

Cheerios Bringing Back Heart Shaped O’s To Promote Heart-Healthy Lifestyle 

Cheerios is America’s number-one cereal brand. They’re classic shape, flavor options, and nutritional value has been a staple in leading a healthy lifestyle for decades now. The company recently announced that they would be bringing back happy-heart shaped cheerios to help promote a heart-healthy lifestyle. 

The heart-shaped cheerios will appear for the original yellow-box Cheerios, along with the Honey Nut flavor which were the two options that originally changed shape in the 2019 campaign. Additionally, Cheerios is announcing new flavors as a part of the campaign including Blueberry, Cinnamon, and Chocolate.

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The limited-edition boxes will begin distribution at major retailers at the end of the month. Cheerios also announced that they would be giving away a free box of Honey Nut Cheerios via rebate all throughout the month of February; while supplies last. That promotion is to drive awareness for National Heart Health Month; heart disease is the number one killer in the world. The company took to Twitter this week to express their excitement over the return of this campaign.

“When we launched the happy-heart shaped O’s last year, it helped educate the millions of our fans about the importance of not only following a heart-healthy diet, but also about the benefits of eating Cheerios.” 

Kathy Dixon, Senior Brand Experience Manager to Cheerios also took to Twitter to express how “Cheerios is on a mission to not only put a smile on people’s faces, but to inspire them to find new and fun ways to support their hearts. With the launch of our happy-heart shapes O’s, Cheerios wants to encourage people to adopt simple, fun behaviors that get them active like walking the dog, joining an online group fitness class and eating three grams of soluble fiber daily from whole grain oat foods.”

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, nearly 1 in 3 Americans have high cholesterol. To help support a healthy heart and prevent things like heart disease and raised cholesterol levels, health officials recommend practicing healthy living habits such as maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough physical activity, and eating a diet that promotes a healthy-heart. 

The CDC has long recommended eating foods with whole grain oats to help lower cholesterol levels; hence why Cheerios has been the symbol for a heart-healthy diet for as long as it’s existed; at the base of all Cheerio flavors is whole grain oats

According to Cheerios, “The limited-edition Cheerios boxes with happy heart shapes will be available at major retailers nationwide starting in late January, while supplies last. The Honey Nut Cheerios free box giveaway will also be available via rebate up to $7.00 excluding tax. Americans can redeem by scanning their receipt during the month of February, while supplies last, to receive their rebate via Venmo, PayPal or US mail.”

To learn more information about how you can receive a free box of Honey Nut Cheerios in February visit www.freeHoneyNutCheerios.com

Golden Doodle

Some Of The Most Popular Pets Being Adopted During The Pandemic 

Dogs and cats have always dominated in terms of popular pets for the whole family, and while the Covid-19 pandemic has given numerous households the opportunity to commit to raising a puppy or kitten full time, many are opting for some more unique additions to their family while enduring the rest of the pandemic. 

According to Pets4Homes, an online resource used by many Americans for finding or putting up adoption listings for any and all pets, nearly 20,000 parrots were rehomed in 2020; a 79% increase when compared to 2019. The company claims this is likely because many individuals got tired of the silence in their homes and wanted an animal that could talk back to them. 

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That’s not all either, according to Pets4Homes stats on the past year a wide variety of extremely unique pets have risen in popularity amid the numerous lockdowns the US has endured within the past ten months. Chickens, salamanders, ferrets, quails, tarantulas, and stick insects are among some of the coolest species on the list. 

Lily Wakefield is an average citizen who recently spoke with the media about this unique pet phenomenon and discussed why her and her housemates became obsessed with the idea of owning and raising baby quails after watching numerous TikTok videos about it. TikTok and social media in general has been a major player in getting all of these diverse species onto people’s feeds and thus getting them interested in what it would be like to be an owner of that species. 

“The quails are very funny and have individual personalities. They’re also a great conversation starter as nobody is doing anything in lockdown, and we get so many eggs to give to our neighbors.”

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Daniella Dos Santos is the senior vice president of the British Veterinary Association who also spoke with the press about how while it’s awesome to see so many animals finding loving homes, many of these owners don’t actually take the time to learn about all the specific care that goes into taking care of these species. 

She also went on to discuss how in a year from now when the world is likely back to normal, many of these owners may begin to neglect their pets once they’re able to go out into the real world again. Remember, for these pets, you’re their whole life, and your home is also the only space they will occupy for their entire life. We all now know what it’s like to be stuck in our homes indefinitely, so make sure you’re giving your pet the best care and most loving and entertaining life possible, and make sure you do the research!

Many of these animals have indeed found those loving spaces and owners that actually need their new friends as much as they need them. Romy Miller is a barista who said she found comfort in adopting her axolotl Pluto. Axolotl’s are nicknamed “little water dragons,” to give you an idea of what they look like. 

Miller explained how lockdown gave us all the opportunity to appreciate those we love the most, and that includes our animals. People are finally able to really commit to their pets like they should’ve been all along, and give them the same level of love and emotional companionship that all pets give to their owners.

Outdoor Furniture

How To Care For Your Outdoor Furniture So That It Lasts For Multiple Seasons 

One of the more positive things that has come out of 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic is the utilization of our outdoor spaces. Many people have been spending their time in lockdown updating their yard spaces to make it more accessible and aesthetically pleasing for socially distanced outdoor gatherings with friends and family. 

However, for many this is the first time they’ve invested in actual outdoor furniture and accessories, and while most pieces are well equipped to survive the elements of the world, homeowners should know the proper ways to care for their outdoor spaces and the furniture within them so that they can last for years to come. 

As a general rule, one should be prepared to pay some regular attention to their furniture and products at least once a year, typically at the start of whatever season you like to bring your outdoor furniture out. For those who live in climates where the weather is relatively warm all year, like California, you may want to consider putting in some extra TLC to your furniture twice a year. 

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Adam Taylor is the owner of The Wood Doctor, a furniture restoration company, and has been working in the industry for more than four decades. According to Taylor the “most attention people pay to their outdoor furniture is the day they buy it,” but he’s determined to change that. 

For timber and wood pieces specifically, Taylor claims that those are the easiest to maintain, and owners really just need to focus on keeping them clean. “Clean it off, removing any dust with a brush, or fine grade steel wool for more ingrained dirt. Once clean, I recommend using one of Sikkens oil-based products, which enhances and preserves the natural beauty of the timber.”

Taylor explained that “an oil-based product expands and contracts with the weather, feeding and protecting the wood without covering it. Other products that introduce a film that covers the wood. This means water gets in where there are gaps, gets trapped and causes the wood to rot from the inside out.” Ideally he believes new furniture should be given four coats of oil, applied about 16 hours apart for the most optimal protection for the year. 

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For fabric products it’s smart to have some sort of storage space that can fit all the fabric-covered items in your collection. While outdoor fabrics are equipped to handle the full brunt of the earth’s elements every day, overtime that prolonged exposure to the weather will break down the fabric and shorten the lifespan of it. 

Sweep down your fabric items with a hard-bristle brush to remove dust and other debris. Throwing outdoor fabrics in the wash on the cold setting with a color-fast detergent can help take care of bigger messes or stains, but Taylor recommends hosing off any fabric that gets stained immediately if you can. 

For wicker or cane furniture, one should make sure they use a UV-safe resin once a year to strengthen the tightness of the woven pattern. Thick bristle brushes and some basic soap and water can help dust off these surfaces in the beginning of every season as well. 

Finally, for those with wrought iron furniture the biggest order of maintenance is rust prevention and removal. Surface rust can be easily removed with a wire brush or steel wool, and then the surface can be painted over with a rust guard to help prevent further rusting. If you just bought a new set of wrought iron furniture, you should paint over it with a layer of rust guard as well. 

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Lifestyle And Wellness Trends To Expect In 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has truly changed the way in which we run our everyday lives and take care of ourselves. While 2021 is looking a lot more hopeful with the release of multiple vaccines and a new administration running things in the White House, the pandemic is likely still going to drive trends within the next year in terms of how we live our lives and take care of ourselves. Here are some of the pandemic trends expected to be carried into 2021. 

Comfort Crafting: Whether you like knitting, painting, or even baking, creating something with your hands is always a satisfying feeling. The pandemic has given people the perfect excuse to finally explore any and all hobbies that they may have never had time to try in the past. Dayna Johnson is a trend expert working for Etsy who claims that “crafting and learning new skills in general serves as a form of self-care and grounding.”

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Meditation: It’s no surprise that a global health crisis paralleling an economic recession would cause some extreme feelings of stress and anxiety. For those who have always suffered with their mental health, or those who may be learning about their own anxiety for the first time this pandemic, this crisis has shown us all that taking care of ourselves needs to be a priority. Learning proper meditative practices, or any other activity that can help ease the daily stresses of living during a pandemic will likely carry out into the new year as we all start to navigate the uncharted territory of post-vaccination life. 

Outdoor Activities: If we think back to the beginning of this pandemic, Friluftsliv is a Norweigan concept that began trending when lockdowns were initially occuring last spring. The word translates to “free air life” and is explained as a deep appreciation for being outdoors and incorporating outdoor activities in your life. Utilizing whatever outdoor spaces one has at their home or taking advantage of whatever walking paths your town may have is an amazing way to safely get out of your house, and appreciate the world around you. 

Road Trips/Solo Travel: Travel has become the last thing on most of our minds within the past year, however, as the pandemic progressed, new and safe ways of travelling began emerging so that individuals could get out of their quarantine space and feel a certain sense of freedom. Road trips and solo vacations have grown in popularity this past year due to the fact that you don’t need to be around anyone else to do so. Solo travel has given people an excuse to truly appreciate their own company and remember what it’s like to fall in love with yourself and the world around you. 

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Going Green: Throughout their time in lockdown many individuals have realized that the world is actually enduring two global pandemics right now; Covid-19 and climate change. At this point it’s going to take true systemic change from our world leaders to really reverse all the damage that humans have done to the planet, however, many are spending their time at home figuring out ways that they can personally better the planet. Many are learning how to properly recycle, remove single-use plastic items from their homes, and reduce their overall carbon footprint. 

Interior Design: Since we’ve all been stuck at home for the past year, many of us have decided to redesign the spaces that we’ve been spending an indefinite amount of time in. Creating home offices, rearranging furniture, creating pieces of art to revamp a plain wall, painting rooms, building gardens, etc. have all been home improvement projects that interior design blogs have been discussing immensely within the past year. So many first time designers are taking to the internet and its multitude of tutorials and tips for freshening up their spaces and implementing more of their personal style into the spaces.

Remote Working: While this is less of a trend and more of a circumstantial activity, many companies and employers are seeing how successfully they can still run their companies in a remote setting, and are thus opting to remain remote as the world begins to reopen. Even large corporations like Facebook and Twitter have announced that their employees will now always have the option to work from home, or come into an office space once the pandemic becomes less of a threat, if they wish.

Pierre Cardin

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