If you are anything like me, the shorter, darker, and cooler days of winter might make you feel a little less energetic and a little more prone to laziness.
Here are a few tips to help boost your energy levels and conquer winter:
During this time of the year our lack of energy may be due to the winter blues. Research shows us that one way to boost your mood is to wear bright and vibrant colors. Sometimes during these dark and cloudy days a little burst of color might just help to lift your spirits.
Rise and Shine:
It turns out that there is wisdom behind the cliché saying rise and shine. Experts recommend either stepping outside or simply facing a window soon after waking up. This flood of natural light can help energize you and exposure to sunlight has been shown to set our internal clock, regulate hormones, and put you in a better mood.
During the cold winter months many of us spend almost the entire day indoors. However, once in a while it is a good idea to bundle up and go outside. But you don’t have to stay outside too long. Research shows that just a quick walk around the block can ease our tiredness and help us feel much better. If it is dark outside make sure to be extra safe and carry a little flashlight with you or just use the one on your phone if your phone has one.
I feel slightly hypocritical because out of all of these tips this one is the hardest for me to implement. During the winter you should take soothing warm showers. However, experts recommend that right before getting out you should give yourself a 30 second rinse in cold water.
Research shows that once you get over the initial shock you will feel more energized as the blood flow increases to help your body conserve heat. One study even showed that doing this can even help your brain release endorphins and this can even have an antidepressant effect.
Don’t Forget about Water:
Normally, drinking plenty of water is most often emphasized during the warmer summer months. However, it is possible to become, at least, mildly dehydrated during the winter and this can lead to lethargy and changes in mood. The simple solution is to carry a bottle with you and continue to sip throughout the day.
I think that it is safe to say that nowadays most people carry their smartphone with them wherever they go. Although our smartphones can often be a source of distraction for us, most of them have a potentially life saving feature called Medical ID.
As its name implies, Medical ID is an especially helpful feature to have if someone is in an emergency situation. During an emergency, Medical ID, which is available on both Apple and Android phones can help first responders identify the patient, find the contact info for the family or loved ones of the patient, and especially help them learn a bit about the medical history of the patient.
The good news is that Medical ID is a free smartphone app. If you have an iPhone, the Medical ID app is called Health and it is the app with a pink heart on a white background. If you have an android phone, the Medical ID app is the one with a red star on a white background.
Regardless of what type of smartphone you have the Medical ID app will ask you to fill in your basic medical information about yourself such as your name, age, height and weight. It also asks if you have any allergies and if you are currently taking any medications.
I know that for many people, taking the time to find this app and fill in the information may sound trivial and unimportant. However, the reality is that we never know if or when an emergency may occur. As the saying goes: “its better to be safe than sorry”. I really hope that this post will convince at least some of my dear readers to take the time to find and fill out their Medical ID app.
For many students, back to school season is a great opportunity to form healthier and more productive habits.
Here are just a few tips to help you have a more productive day: (Of course, most of these tips can be helpful to anyone whether or not you are a student)
Breakfast is Key
I know that this is nothing new and you have all probably heard this tip many times before. We all know the importance of breakfast but in my experience with those around me, many students go to class with either an empty stomach or they just have some toast.
Breakfast really is very important because if you think about, assuming you haven’t eaten anything since last night, you are truly breaking your fast in the morning. Scientific research shows that people who skipped breakfast were less productive.
The ideal breakfast will contain both protein and carbohydrates. Good sources of protein include eggs, cottage cheese and nuts. Whole grains and fruits are a great source of carbohydrates.
Of course, we all know the benefits of exercise however, most of us exercise after class. I know that most of us can barely get out of bed in the morning before class. However, research shows that 15 minutes of exercise can actually help the student retain more knowledge for five to six hours. This is why experts recommend doing a physical activity such as walking, jogging, climbing the stairs, etc. before going to class.
Hydration is something that is emphasized during the summer time. However, it is important for our health and well-being to stay hydrated throughout the year. The results of a recent study showed that dehydration negatively impacts our cognition and performance. People who are dehydrated don’t do as well and they don’t think as well.
Drinking water is only one of the things that we should be doing to stay hydrated. Current research emphasizes eating our way to hydration by eating fruits and veggies with a high water content. In order to stay properly hydrated its best to avoid excessive caffeine and although sports drinks can be hydrating they should be consumed in moderation.
Before the Test:
If you have a sweet tooth you might enjoy this tip. Researchers recommend that students have a small square of chocolate preferably dark chocolate, Research has shown that the caffeine in the chocolate can help students focus better on the test. It sounds too good to be true but there is even some data that shows that students that ate the chocolate had slightly higher test scores.
Relax a Little:
Taking some downtime to relax is very important. I know that it sounds counterintuitive but take some time each day to do something that you love or just anything that you enjoy. Taking a 20 minute break will help you remember better and the knowledge will really sink in.
I hope that you enjoyed these tips and please remember that most of these tips can be applied to anybody’s life.
Right now, here in the United States it is currently back to school season. As the summer vacation comes to and end many students of all ages will be returning to their schools or their colleges and universities.
Every year, around this time of the year I see lots of videos and articles about study tips and I see a lot of content about what the latest back to school gadgets and accessories are.
However, I haven’t come across any content about what I like to describe as having the right mindset for going back to school.
In my personal experience, many students hate going back to school often because of all of the hard work that they will have to do in order to be a succesful student.
I know that when I was a student often times I would feel the same way as well and not just during the beginning of the school year but especially during the middle and end of the academic year.Basically, all of the hard work would drain me and I would start to lose motivation and I would hate being a student.
During my university years the only thing that helped me get through this slump was to change my mindset by remembering all of those students that are less fortunate.
Ideally, getting an education should be the right of each and every student. Unfortunately, a large percentage of people throughout the world, mostly girls and women, are not given this fundamental human right.
We all know that knowledge is power but sometimes we forget that many people throughout the world, due to various circumstances, are not got given the opportunity to gain a formal education.
If you are reading this blog post you are obviously literate. However, there are millions of people who are illiterate, who do not know how to read or write, because they were likely never given the opportunity to learn.
Unfortunately, many students throughout the world pursue their education under very difficult circumstances.
Most of us have some form of transportation to take us to and from school or perhaps we walk a reasonable distance to reach our school.
However, in some parts of the world students walk very long distances, often in extreme weather conditions, in order to reach their school. Unfortunately, in certain parts of the world, students risk their lives just to commute to and from school. Once they reach their school, many students do not get to sit in nice, clean, well insulated buildings. Some students sit in tents that are used as classrooms and many students attend school without enough supplies such as books, pens, and paper.
If you are a student, the next time you lose your motivation, please remember those students that are less fortunate and perhaps this will help you regain your focus and motivation to work towards academic success. You never know, perhaps your academic success may enable you to one day help out other students throughout the world!
I know that I haven’t mentioned this before but I have a pet bird, a cockatiel, and her name is Laily! This week marks one year since we brought her into our home. This past year, Laily has brought us so much joy and happiness so I wanted to create this post to share some of my personal tips and experiences of living with a pet cockatiel.
Please remember that I am not an expert on cockatiels, these are just some of the things that I have learned over the course of this past year. If you are thinking of buying a cockatiel please do your own research first to determine if a cockatiel is a good pet for you.
Why a Cockatiel:
My fascination with cockatiels began about a year and a half ago at a family gathering. We had all gathered at my grandmother’s house and my younger cousin brought over her two pet cockatiels and I got to meet them for the first time! I was really amazed at how cute and friendly the cockatiels were!
After going home, I did some research of my own by watching a lot of YouTube videos and reading a few articles and I decided that I really wanted a pet cockatiel as well. Basically, a short while later, my family and I went to our local breeder and that’s how we brought Laily home!
The scientific name for cockatiels is Nymphicus Hollandicus.
Cockatiels are originally from the warm semi-arid regions of Australia.
On average, the lifespan of the cockatiel is anywhere from 10 to 25 years.
Cockatiels are very curious and smart animals. They have the intellect of a two year old child.
Cockatiels are the second most common pet birds in the United States, right after the budgie/parakeets
Pros and Cons:
Without a doubt, cockatiels can be amazing pets. They are adorable and many of them are very sociable as well.
However, in my experience, two of the major cons of having a cockatiel are their messiness and their tendency to make a lot of noise.
Cockatiels are very clean animals, in fact if you sniff them, they smell quite nice. However, they love to make a mess, especially when they are eating.
Everyday, when I clean Laily’s cage, my father sweeps the floor near her cage because she always spills seeds everywhere. This can definitely be an annoyance but I believe that some companies are starting to make spill-proof or mess-proof cages with a special enclosed area for feeding.
If you are sensitive to loud noise (especially loud squawking noises) I definitely would not recommend a cockatiel (or most other pet birds). In general, cockatiels can make a lot of noise in the mornings, then once again in the late afternoons/early evenings.
They will also make a lot of noise if they’re bored or if they are in a very bright and sunny environment. The excess light can overstimulate them.
Also, if you leave the room, they will make a lot of noise for you to come back. (I personally find this very endearing but others may find this to be an annoyance)
Male vs. Female:
In most cases, there not many physical differences between males and females. From what I have read males can be a bit noisier than females. However, males are able to whistle and sing while females are generally not able to do so.
My Cockatiel Care Tips:
Every morning I thoroughly clean her cage. I take out the removable bottom tray of the cage and wash and clean it. I then use a damp paper towel and soap to clean any remaining droppings and food particles. I also clean her food and water bowls and replace them with clean food and water.
As you can imagine, diet is essential to a healthy cockatiel. Cockatiels love seeds but they should have a well balanced diet. Most experts recommend giving your cockatiel pellets. Also, try to give your cockatiel veggies and a little bit of fruit as well. Admittedly, this is something that I have to work on with Laily because I give her a fortified seed diet and I keep trying to introduce her to vegetables but she is a very picky eater!
When it comes to bathing her, I usually just mist her with a spray bottle filled with water. However, now that the weather is very hot I usually hold her under the sink and gently wet her. Most experts recommend only using water to clean cockatiels because their feathers contain a natural dusty powder which helps keep them nice and clean.
In fact, it is very common for cockatiels to preen themselves on a daily basis. When they are preening themselves it looks like they are itching themselves but in reality they are just preening/cleaning themselves.
To Trim or Not to Trim:
Many bird owners have very strong opinons on whether a pet bird should be flighted or should have trimmed feathers.
Obviously, in their natural settings, birds fly freely and this is a great form of excercise. However, in my opinion if you have a pet bird it is best to trim their feathers.
Primarily, this is for their own safety. However this also gives peace of mind to the bird owner (or bird parent) because if a bird accidently flies away it is very difficult to find the bird and the birds’ life may be in danger.
When you first bring your cockatiel home, it is very tempting to want to immediately interact with it. However, it is best to give it a day or two to allow it to get used to its new surroudings.
Approach the cockatiel very gently: Start by just sitting next to the cage and softly talking with your new bird. As the bird becomes more comfortable you can put your hands inside the cage and gradually work your way up to having the bird perch on your finger. There are many YouTube videos and online articles that teach you how to tame your cockatiel. The best tip that I can give you is to be very gentle and make sure to have some spray millet with you as a treat for the bird.
I definitely only reccommend getting one cockatiel rather than two. Its much easier to form a bond with a single cockatiel. However, you must be able to spend at least 30 minutes to an hour of quality time with the cockatiel each day. If you don’t have that much time then I would reccommend getting two so they keep each other company.
Buy two or three toys for your cockatiel and alternate them every few weeks so your bird doesn’t get bored. Toys are essential to keep your cockatiel happy and calm and quiet.
During the first few weeks try to spend a lot of time with your new cockatiel so you too can form a strong bond. Eventually after the bond has formed it might be a good idea to set up specific time(s) of the day to play with your bird so the cockatiel knows what to expect and this structure can also keep them calm and quiet.
Make sure that the cage is not too small. It should be large enough for the bird to move around freely without hitting anything.
At nighttime cover the cage with a towel or thin blanket to prevent street lights or the sunrise from waking them up. They need between 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night.
If you want your bird to be friendly with other people start having different family members or friends spend time with the bird. The sooner you start the more likely you are to have a friendly and well-socialized bird.
Laily, my pet cockatiel, has provided my family and I with an immense amount of joy and happiness. However, a cockatiel may not be the right pet for everyone. Honestly, each cockatiel has its own personality. Some may be more friendly and sociable than others. However, with a little bit of effort and a lot of patience, it is very possible to form a bond with a cockatiel!
I just finished reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Sheryl Sandberg is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and she is considered by many to be one of the most powerful people at Facebook after Mark Zuckerberg.
Her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead is all about empowering women to reach their full potential in the workplace. In this book she really goes in-depth to describe some of the psychological, sociological, and personal reasons why women do not reach higher positions in the workforce.
I don’t want to give away too much of the book but this is really a book that not only encourages women to reach for higher positions in their respective jobs but it is a book that encourages and empowers women to reach for the highest level positions available in their jobs. She gives many helpful tips and useful advice based on her many years of experience first working at the U.S. Treasury, then at Google, and now at Facebook.
As someone who studied psychology I really appreciate the fact that throughout the book she really used a lot of examples of studies, examples, and concepts relating to psychology and the social sciences in general to demonstrate some of the points that she is making.
I also really appreciate the fact that this book is written by a woman who has truly reached her so rightly deserved position as COO of Facebook through many years of hard work and dedication. Her story may not be a rags to riches story but there is no doubt that she has worked hard to reach the level that she has. In other words, I think that she certainly does have the credibility to write and speak about such issues as women in the workforce.
In my opinion one of the most profound tips that Sandberg gives in this book is to always ask ourselves what would we do if we were not afraid? This rings so true for myself and I am sure for many others. We so often limit ourselves because of fear. This includes many different types of fear such as fear of what others will think and fear of failure.
I would definitely recommend this book to any woman who has a job or is looking for one and in fact I would also recommend this book to all the amazing men out there who support the progression of women in the workforce.
Today June 20th 2017 is World Refugee Day and this is a topic near and dear to my own heart because my parents immigrated to the United States from Afghanistan and if they had not done so, or rather, if they were not allowed to do so, then I probably wouldn’t be here today.
In order to better shed light on this issue and present you, my dear readers, with some tangible solutions to this heartbreaking humanitarian issue, in this post I will summarize a recent TED Talk by David Miliband about this issue.
David Miliband is a British Labour Party politician who has been a member of the British parliament and he is the chief of the International Rescue Committee charity.
The current refugee situation is indeed a humanitarian crisis however, it is manageable.
Facts in numbers: In 2016 65 million people were displaced from their homes. Of these 65 million people most of them stayed in their own countries but 25 million of them became refugees. Most of these refugees are currently living in developing nations.
Causes: (as presented by Miliband in this TED Talk)
Weak states that cannot support their own people
An international system weaker than at any time since 1945.
Differences in theology, governance, engagement, with the outside world, in significant parts of the Muslim world.
This refugee crisis is a long term problem with deep causes however, it can be solved.
The refugees need to get into work in the countries they’re living in and these countries that they’re living in need massive economic support.
Education for kids is a lifeline and not a luxury especially since many of these people are going to be displaced for a long time.
Most refugees live in cities and so they need cash to pay rent, buy clothes etc. Give refugees cash to boost their economic power and to help the local community.
The most vulnerable refugees need to be given a new start and a new life in a new country including in the West. The numbers (of those needing to be admitted into Western nations) are small but the symbolism is huge. Now is not the time to ban refugees but it is the time to embrace victims of terror.
It is a good question to ask are they properly vetted? However, the reality is that refugees are among the most properly vetted people that enter our countries.
Refugee is not another word for terrorist.
If refugees are not given the proper help, they take risky journeys in unstable boats with life jackets that cannot even prevent children from drowning. He describes this as not just a crisis but a test of our humanity.
Yes, refugees are often very different from us but this should not prevent us from helping them.
Empathy and altruism are two of the foundations of civilization and we should use these beliefs as our motto to help others.
In this modern world, thanks to our smartphones and other gadgets we cannot say that we did not know what was going on.
If we fail to help then it shows that we are lacking a moral compass.
Saving refugees is a part of Western history, especially after World War II. So if we trash refugees, we trash our own history.
If you’re an employer hire some refugees
Take on the myths that friends and family have about refugees.
If you have money try to donate some it to charities that make a difference for refugees.
If you’re a citizen try to vote for politicians that will implement some of the above mentioned solutions.
He mentions the story of a French man who helped his Jewish grandmother and aunt during World War II by giving them refuge in his village. When Miliband, as a teen visited this now elderly French man and asked him why he took such a risk the man’s reply was: “one must” meaning that helping others was a natural and innate thing to him as it should be to us too.
He concludes by reiterating the point that it is possible to solve this problem and by helping refugees we are upholding our own cherished morals and values.