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April, 2011:

Disasters and Storms, Are You Prepared?

Each year I write about severe weather &  natural disasters and how to be ready in case it comes your way. After the terrible earthquakes in Japan recently as well as the tornadoes that are happening in Iowa and other parts of the country, we do need to take time again to determine our preparedness.

Earthquakes and severe weather events are violent acts, they disrupt our lives and often change to course of our lives. We can do ourselves justice by doing a few simple things to reduce the immediate stress of a bad storm or other disaster.  Reducing your stress begins early, before the event happens.  so treat yourself well!
1. Check your home.  Do you have a way to cover windows in the event of a hurricane or severe thunderstorm?   Do you have a Weather Radio that is tuned to a NOAA Weather station in your vicinity?  Do you have an escape route if the house catches fire?  Do you have an escape route planned in case of flooding or fire?  Flood insurance?

2.  What are you going to do with your Pets?  Do you have horse trailers available for your horses and ponies?  Cat and dog carriers?  What about food and medicine for the animals? Water?  Veterinarian papers since you could be traveling with them?

3.  Children and the elderly need special attention too.  Do you have blankets, water, medicine, food, extra clothing, first aid kits, flashlights, batteries.  They often need special medications and supplements.  Water, food, treats, blankets, pillows, warm clothes even in the summer, games, books, pen & paper, playing cards.

Wind-up Flashlights and wind-up Radios are the best for me since I provide the power and don’t have to worry about a normal battery running out of power in the midst of a crisis!

Think ahead a little and gather the important papers you need, your emergency kits and water and then relax.  Hopefully you will not need them this year! Stay well.

Reducing Workplace Stress

We all have stress these days.  Stress just is.  However, as we go about our daily lives, there are steps we can take, choices we can make that will reduce the stress.  Stress is part of the “fight or flight” response that keeps us safe.  We are designed to handle stress, but with breaks in between instances.  However, if this stress lingers,  is not resolved, our bodies are still in the fight orflight mode and those hormones keep on coming.

Cortisol is released in our bodies to repair the damage caused by the stress.  Ongoing release of cortisol ends in this cortisol being stored in fat tissue around our middle section, otherwise known as belly fat.  The desired effect is the Cortisol turning into natural Cortisone used by the body during sleep to help repair and renew our bodies. Reduce the Stress.

We are spending more time in the workplace.  Now that workplace may be like mine, a space in my home, but it is still a workplace.  Whether you work in an office away from home or in a home office, the stresses are real.  Modifying your workplace to provide a calm surrounding is very important to your health.

Plants, comfortable furniture, pleasant paint colors, natural lighting, fresh air and quiet spaces are necessary for better moods, better morale and higher productivity.  Whether a home workplace or an office

Fern Tree Close-Up

“cube farm” or a traditional office space, the environment you create effects the output of that space.  Don’t skimp on the comfort and ambiance of the space as that will be counterproductive in the long run.

Plants have long been the champion in decorating workplaces.  Turns out that many Fortune 500 companies have chosen to add living plants, not those fake silk things, to their offices.  Plants bring life, pleasant scenery, air filtration and humidity control to the workplace according to an article by Interior Office Plants.  My plants are helped along by the kitties who do occasional pruning and suggest re-potting!  So bring in a few plants and enjoy the scenery.

How is the lighting in your workplace?  Do you have a window or skylight?  If so, maximize the benefits of the natural light.  Often in the South, we tend to put up heavy drapes and blinds to block the heat of afternoon sun.  Find ways to modify the heat by using window films and blinds to divert the sun, but allow the light to come into your workplace.  Natural light is easier on your eyes and will lift your mood!

Personalize your workplace as much as allowed.  Previously, my office space was an interior space with no window and no skylight.  Now that was hard, not seeing the beautiful weather during work hours.  To balance the lack of sun, we added plants and as many personal photos and artwork as tasteful.  Bringing in personal photos adds a calming touch to a busy work area.

Artwork is important to your workplace.   Choose images that are calming for waiting areas.  Brighter, more active images are good choices for work spaces.  And don’t forget the break areas and restrooms!

Talk with your boss to see what input you can have in reorganizing the workplace to take advantage of the light, fresh air and paint colors you have.  Active participation will give you a boost to your morale, your productivity and your general well being!

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