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Change is constant. Whether it’s in the workplace or our relationships, nothing in life ever remains quite the same.

Regardless of the gravity of change, it can always be a little scary. So scary, in fact, that some people are downright crippled by the idea of it causing them to remain stagnant in anxiety. We can’t control every aspect of our lives and we can’t stop change from happening. But how we respond to change will greatly affect our overall life experience.

1. Don’t fight it
I once heard one of my favorite yoga instructors say suffering is what occurs when we resist what is already happening. Life changes are usually out of our control. Rather than trying to manipulate the situation and wishing things were different, try flowing with it instead. Some initial resistance is natural if we’re going into survival mode. Just make sure you are conscious of when this resistance is no longer serving you.

2. Find healthy ways to deal with your feelings
Whenever we’re in transitional periods it can be easy to lose track of ourselves. Sometimes we feel like we’re being tossed about by life. One way we can channel these feelings is by finding healthy ways to release them. For instance, whenever I find myself in a difficult transitional phase I find physical activity helps me channel my emotions and release endorphins. It also helps me get in shape which increases my mood and energy levels.

3. Reframe your perspective
Reframing perspectives is a very powerful tool. It helps to take a situation you are struggling with, such as a major life change, and find some sort of empowerment in it.

Examples of disempowered thinking during life changes include casting blame, focusing on negative details or victimizing. These perspectives can make awkward transitional phases much worse than they have to be. Meanwhile if we come from a more positive perspective such as finding a lesson in the situation, realizing that there may be an opportunity for something or that everything passes we can come from a greater place of ease.

4. Find time for self-reflection
Having time to reflect is important at any stage in your life, but it’s especially important during transitional periods. We need our time to step back and get centered when things can get a little crazy.

As a result, big life changes are perfect for doing some self-reflection. They are opportunities to check in with ourselves and practice getting grounded for a few minutes.

Self-reflective exercises include meditating, yoga or journaling - all of which require some quiet time to get yourself together. If handled in a positive manner transitional periods can pave the way for some serious self-growth, reflection and awareness.

Amanda Abella
Freelance writer & life coach

Few people are aware of the danger that clothes dryers can pose which is one of the reasons that dryer maintenance is so often overlooked. Fires can occur when lint (a highly combustible material) builds up in the dryer or more commonly, in the dryer’s exhaust duct. This blockage causes excessive heat to build-up in the dryer.

Some warning signs that your dryer vent may be blocked are:
1. excessive heat in the laundry room
2. a musty smell
3. clothes that are still damp after a cycle
4. a large amount of lint and debris

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important that you take steps to clear your vent right away.

Keep Your Dryer as Lint-Free as Possible
1. Use a lint brush or vacuum attachment to remove accumulated lint from under the lint trap and other accessible places on a periodic basis.
2. Every 1-3 years, have the dryer taken apart and thoroughly cleaned out by a service technician.
3. Clean the lint trap after each load.

If you regularly clean out your dryer’s exhaust vent, you’ll not only significantly reduce a very common fire hazard but you’ll also save money as your dryer will last longer and run much more efficiently.

Before You Go…
1. Never let your clothes dryer run while you are out of the house or when you are asleep.
2. Thoroughly read manufacturers instructions regarding the safe use of their dryers.

If all else fails, you can always go back to an old-fashioned clothesline. There have never been any reported clothesline fires!

Moving can be stressful so planning is the key. The more organized you are, the less stress you’ll endure and the more fun you’ll enjoy!

Start off by packing non-essential items like pictures and books. This is the perfect time to ruthlessly purge your “stuff” and either donate or sell items you no longer need. Here are a few packing tips for the rest of your things:

• Unscrew light bulbs from lamps
• Water plants the day before the move
• Take a photo of how your electronics are connected
• Lay towels between pictures before bundling them up
• Label the sides of boxes so you can read them when they have been stacked

The best way to ensure a smooth move is to write out a plan of action. Make a checklist and a timeline that clearly states what needs to be done.

If you follow these tips, you’ll have fond memories of the last day in your old home - just don’t forget to take one last family photo before you leave.

How many of us really know every item sitting in our closets? Once you discover closet cleaning has a science to it, you should find it easier to build it into a positive habit. Here are some tips to tackle your closet without separation anxiety.

1. Focus.
Cleaning out your entire wardrobe in one shot can be overwhelming. Instead of waiting for clothes to pile up, try focused purging. Sort out one drawer at a time, or just try shoes and boots.

2. Favor.
Think about the last time you wore those perfect pants. If you can’t put your finger on when, it is probably time to donate and give back to the community.

3. Finalize.
If all your clothes disappeared, what fewer items would you wish were right back in your closet? Once you decide which items are keepers, you should quickly spot the ones you can part with and donate.

The basement is usually the last place people think to insulate, yet it can account for up to 1/3 of heat loss in a home.

Insulation can significantly cut down on energy use. It also creates a comfortable space – a boon to people who wish to extend their recreation and living space into the basement.

Where Should the Insulation Go?
From a building-science point-of-view, it is better to insulate the outside of the foundation. From a practicality point-of-view, however, insulation is easier to apply from the inside, especially if done while renovating.

Here are the exterior versus interior pros and cons:

Exterior Pros
• You can fix any foundation issues at the time.
• Insulation will not take up basement space.
• The foundation itself will be warmer.
• The foundation stays dry inside, reducing or eliminating mold and mildew.

Exterior Cons
• Disruptive and expensive: you have to dig soil to get at the foundation.
• The above-grade portion of the foundation insulation is difficult to finish and protect. Rigid-foam insulation is the most common exterior insulation material, most often finished with stucco, a fragile finish that gets damaged from lawn tools, etc.

Possible fix: use exterior insulation for the below-grade part of the exterior and then insulate the above-grade part from the inside.

Interior Pros
• Much easier to install and less expensive than exterior.
• Can be done while renovating the basement.

Interior Cons
• Foundation wall will be at exterior temperature (cold), making it prone to condensation.
• Any moisture that gets into the wall system does not dry readily, making the wall prone to mold.

Problems with Traditional Interior Techniques
Since interior insulation is by far the most common approach, traditionally, a moisture barrier is applied to the foundation. Fiberglass batts sit against this barrier and then a vapor barrier is applied to the batts on the interior.

Other interior insulation strategies work much better, such as foam-based insulation that is more tolerant to moisture.

The season you look forward to most says a lot about your most alluring traits. If you prefer…

Winter: You are poised yet perseverant. Tenacious & driven you are able to plow through obstacles. Few things, be it a snowstorm or a setback, can keep you down.

Spring: You are a determined optimist. Spring is synonymous with potential - the almost palpable feeling in the air that anything is possible. You don’t quit until all your goals have come to fruition.

Summer: You are an exuberant doer. This is hope fully realized. You bring an exuberant passion to whatever you do and have a spark to your spirit that’s just as bright as summer sun.

Fall: You are multifaceted. Smart & sophisticated you are drawn to autumn’s understated beauty. You know that when fall arrives, there’ll be a cornucopia of fun & pursuits to do.

1. Turn the space under a staircase, in a closet or an attic into a home office. For a custom look, add a desk and built-in cabinets, or just fit in a small table and chair and hang a memo board on the wall behind.

2. Make the most of wasted space above your kitchen sink. Add two wire shelves in the open area above the sink directly between the cabinets. This should make a perfect, safe spot for draining fine china and glassware or for holding soap and sponges.

3. Use kitchen cabinet sides for extra storage space. Hang a metal rack to hold pot lids or a towel bar to hold dish towels.

4. Stack two benches. To create impromptu shelves use the benches to hold books or baskets full of CDs or videotapes.

Deal with dampness first – Most experts agree that you should deal with any dampness issues before insulating the basement from the interior.

Seek out knowledgeable contractors – Do not simply follow traditional conventions. Significant advances in the best techniques for insulating basements mean better results.

Fix basement windows – One of the most effective strategies for improving the thermal efficiency of your home is to seal air leaks. Seal and weather strip basement windows, which are often neglected.


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