Planning a Romantic Surprise Trip: 5 Ways to Make It Successful

Planning a romantic getaway is one of the ways to make your relationship grow stronger. You get to spend uninterrupted time together away from all the worries and the stress of everyday life. It allows you to explore each other’s personalities and connect at a deeper level.

To make it even more exciting, think of a surprise trip. Your partner will appreciate the effort even more. To make it a success, consider the following:

Side view astonished diverse males in casual summer clothes standing with photo camera in verdant forest and looking up in surprise

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Consider Your Partner’s Wishes

Planning a surprise means factoring in your partner’s preferences and tastes more than yours. Think of a place they’ve always wanted to visit and include activities they love. Coming up with a specific destination and itinerary will enable you to pack and plan accordingly. 

To make the trip successful, know what to bring along. For instance, key things include a tent, flashlights, matches, and a first aid kit if it’s a camping trip. Also, consider bringing along the best 18650 battery for flashlight. You don’t want to be stranded in an unknown location in the dark.

Choose a Date that Works for Both of You

Picking the right time to go on a trip is essential. A surprise trip can be better if your partner has nothing planned for that day or week. Think of dates they have off work during the year or national holidays that fall on weekdays. 

If you find it hard finding out about their schedule, consider asking them about their plans without hinting at the vacation plans. Another alternative is working with their boss to give them some days off without their knowledge. 

Pick a Destination that will be both Memorable and Interesting

A surprise romantic trip can get boring if you go to the same place every time. You don’t want to make it dull and predictable. Have unique options in mind so your partner feels loved, appreciated, and surprised. Think of new destinations and those off the beaten track and not overcrowded with tourists. Consider places that offer privacy as well as great scenic views.

Give the Planning Enough Time

You’ll need enough time to plan all the details. Doing so will allow you to study and research the location of your choice and reserve hotels and tickets in advance. Because you’ll be planning for two, in secrecy, it’s best to do thorough research- checking out reviews and photos online- for all your options.

It will also give you enough time to adequately pack the right clothes and make arrangements for passports if necessary. To make sure you don’t forget anything, use a list. Also, observe your partner’s routines for ideas on what to pack for them. 

Decide When to Reveal the Surprise

You can wait until you get to the airport to reveal the surprise or an hour before leaving the house. Alternatively, wait until you’re already at the hotel or destination. However, you’ll have to cook up a convincing reason to make your partner leave the house voluntarily. 

In conclusion, planning a romantic surprise trip is thrilling and fun. When well mapped out, it’s the best way to spend quality time with your loved one.

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5 Post Pandemic Dating Tips

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Now that restrictions are finally lifted many people are keen to get back on the dating scene. If you’re finding the prospect a little scary, check out these five post pandemic dating tips.

1 . Get Prepared

If you haven’t dated in a long while you might be feeling a little overwhelmed right now. Getting yourself prepared will help you to feel better. Dating preparation looks different for different people. For some of us it’s choosing a new outfit, for others it’s asking our friends for a pep talk. Here are a few general ideas to inspire you:

  • Treat yourself to something that makes you feel fabulous, whether it’s a pre-date manicure or a new lipstick!
  • Meditate and breathe deeply, it’s normal to feel nervous, observe that feeling and let it pass.
  • Had a few bad dating experiences in the past? It’s time to let that go. Move forward from those memories and prepare for new horizons. 
  • Free yourself from dating misconceptions and approach the journey with an open mind.

2. Gain Perspective

If you’re feeling a little nervous it’s time to gain a little perspective. Remember, your date is probably feeling just as on-edge. It’s been a long while since we’ve been able to date in-person, and so it’s bound to feel a little strange!

Worried you’ll run out of things to say? Write a few notes before you go! Don’t take the notes with you, (that’ll be awkward if they fall out of your pocket)! Just brainstorm a few conversation topics that you can refer back to if you draw a blank.

3. Virtual if you prefer

Remember just because you can date in person doesn’t mean you have to. If you’re not feeling comfortable, then stick with virtual dates. Lots of people will still prefer to do this, it’s okay to wait until you are ready. Of course virtual dates tend to be a bit more awkward, so it’s best to keep the date pretty short.

4. Little Steps 

If going for dinner with a stranger seems way too much right now, take things back to basics. Suggest a quick coffee or a walk in the park, take things slowly and at your own pace. We are all keen to get back out into the world, but four dates in one week might be a bit overwhelming! Choose one person from a dating app who you feel the most connection with, and go from there.

5. Have fun with it 

Dating is meant to be fun, so ensure that you are having fun with it! Don’t date for the sake of it. If you’re not enjoying the experience then don’t put yourself through it. Check out alternative ways to have fun whether it’s phonechatlines.com articles or secret parties! Seek out the opportunities that you want in your life, and above all stay safe!

Dating after the pandemic is what you make of it. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, just focus on your values and your preferences. The dating scene can be tough, but it can also been plenty of fun.

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DIY With the Kids: Home Improvement Made Fun

If you are like most parents, you are a busy person. Doing household chores, cooking dinner, helping the kids with school – your schedule is packed with important tasks that must be accomplished within the day. With everything that’s going on, it’s nearly impossible to accomplish some home maintenance tasks.

But here’s an idea, Mom and Dad: what if you can include the children in some home improvement projects? It hits two goals with one stone: it’s a great bonding activity that enables you to finish some items around your home.

Whether it’s teaching the kids how to garden or taking them with you as you shop for engineered hardwood floors from a reputable supplier, including the children in your tasks takes some load off your shoulders while teaching your kids a few things about home improvement.

Fortunately, there are many kid-friendly home improvement projects you can undertake. Assess their skill level to determine the tasks they can handle.

Ground Rules for Doing Home Improvement with Kids

Safety is still a priority to keep your children safe from accidents or injuries. Their skill level determines the tasks they can do. So before you assign your kids tasks, consider their skills.

Also, patience makes the entire experience fun for everyone. Since you are working with kids, don’t expect them to understand instructions as easily as you do. For some kids, it takes a little longer to complete a task so be patient with them.

What are Home Improvement Projects You Can Do with the Kids?

Fireplace Decoration

If your fireplace is the center point of a room, regular upkeep prevents it from looking worn out. Left without any maintenance, your fireplace can become an eyesore instead of a statement piece of your room.

Bring your fireplace back to life by cleaning it and adding some decorations. You can buy stylish pieces that encompass your personality and add it to your mantle. If you want to compliment the colors of your room, do so!

Involve the children by having them make homemade crafts or draw pictures that you can hang up around the mantle. Add an elegant touch by adding colorful plants.

Room Makeover

Transform a dust-collecting spare room or unused guestroom into one of the best places in your home. The children can help clean a room and remove clutter. To help the kids safely clean a room, let them use non-toxic disinfectants and cleaners so you don’t have to worry about them being harmed by chemicals.

Once the room is clean, furnish the space with statement pieces in your home or take the kids out shopping for new ones. You can turn the room into anything you and the children want:

  • Spare office
  • Extra bedroom for guests
  • Activity center for the children
  • Family room
  • Spare office
  • Family room
  • Game room
  • Reading room
  • Arts and crafts space

Bathroom Remodeling

Before you remodel your bathroom with the kids, check for signs of water damage. Small issues like these can become serious ones in the future if not addressed by the experts.

Once your bathroom is good, start remodeling! Have the children use eco-friendly cleaning products to scrub the grease and grime away. If some fixtures need upgrading, take the older kids with you to find new ones. They can also help you pick out new bathroom flooring, appliances and paint colors.

Backyard Sanctuary

Who says your backyard has to be “just another backyard in the neighborhood?” Instead of forgetting your yard, transform it into your vacation space. Apart from sprucing up your yard, you’ll also save more money by having a personal haven near your home.

A popular family project is building your garden – one filled with organic foods and beautiful plants. The kids will learn important skills, as well as expand their intellect and creativity. Together, you can plant your family’s favorite vegetables: cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes are relatively easy to grow. As your skills improve, you can plant lettuces, melons and other vegetables that require more attention.

Make an At-Home Theater Room

Due to COVID-19, many cinemas are still shut down to prevent the spread of the virus. Fortunately, you can make your own cinema experience at home. Transform any spare room or living room into a theater for the family.

Take the kids out and have them pick the items they want for their mini cinema. This can include sleeping bags, candy stations, gumball machines and bean bag chairs. Make the space comfortable, so they can enjoy their favorite Netflix shows or Disney Christmas movies.

Doing home improvement tasks with your children is experiential learning at its finest. Figuring out how to do projects yourself (and with the kids) takes physical science, mathematics and reading, so you can turn each home maintenance task into a lesson minus the lecture!

At the end of the day, you didn’t just have a good time with the kids; you helped them develop the life skills they needed to become more independent.

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Seven Signs Your Marriage Will Be Beaten By The 7 Year Itch

Nobody walks down the aisle imagining anything other than love, happiness and a beautiful future. Not one person thinks that this won’t work; they think that marriage is it and the end of dating and any need to find another person to love. And then seven years goes by and things become…itchy. Well, for some people they do. The 7-year itch is a coined term that psychologists deemed the time in a marriage where there is a slump. One or both parties get itchy feet and feel the need to explore outside the marriage. The relationship is likely to decline at this point if it’s going to, and the timing leads one or both people to disconnect.

Of course, not every single married couple gets to year 7 and throws in the towel. Plenty of married couples remain happy and married for even more years. However, if you are nervous about this and you feel the need to seek advice from people like Susie Tuckwell to know what to do next, you should get to know the signs your marriage won’t make it past year 7. With this in mind, here are seven signs to look for!

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  1. You’re no longer curious about each other. One of the things that pulls a couple together is their desire to learn more about each other. Curiosity is so important to the communication between a couple and without it, you’re not going to learn new things anymore. 
  2. You’re keeping secrets and it’s becoming difficult. When you are married, there shouldn’t be any secrets beyond birthday gifts and surprise parties. Transparency is important and you have to stop keeping secrets from each other.
  3. You choose not to spend meaningful time together. Love isn’t enough – and it’s something you’ll quickly learn. You need to spend time together for your relationship to be meaningful and if you’re not, that’s a clear sign you’re growing apart.
  4. You’re starting to take each other for granted. Those little gestures that you had before, when you were enjoying together seem to disappear, and bam – you’re not enjoying each other anymore.
  5. Money hasn’t been a topic of conversation for a while and you have stopped communicating about it. You should be discussing financial goals together, and if you’re not, you could be on the decline.
  6. When you are trapped in a cycle of criticizing each other, you can forget how to be nice to each other. You shouldn’t be drowning in criticism, and instead of criticizing each other, you should be discussing and talking together. If you can’t get out of this cycle you may find you’re on the slippery slope to ending the marriage.
  7. You no longer have any fight. You have to fight together. Marriages are work and they take two people working together to get through each phase of life. Life is full of surprises and you can ensure that you get through them all together when you both agree to fight together for your love to last.

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How To Cope With Difficulties in Marriage

Every marriage faces difficulties at one point or the other. While such issues can strain your relationship, working through them can help strengthen your bond if you are wise in handling the challenges. 

Dealing with marriage problems can be difficult because they may arise due to stressors from many different sources. However, there are some smart tactics that you can apply to deal with them healthily. They include the following; 

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Work on Yourself

The best way to overcome problems in your marriage is by working with your partner as a team. However, if they aren’t willing to get on board, you can start by working on yourself, and they might come around later. 

It is also essential to be realistic about what you are expecting from your partner. Ensure that you are treating him/her in the same way you would like to be treated. Focus on correcting what you can first and later bring them into the loop. 

Adjust Your Expectations

To have a successful marriage, it is essential to be realistic about what you expect from your relationship and your partner. Keep in mind that as time passes, both of you might experience changes in your lifestyle, and it may no longer be possible to receive an extravagant gift on every occasion or have an elaborate dinner each night due to time or financial factors. 

It is, therefore, essential to discuss your hopes and wants with your partner and come to a consensus so that neither of you feels like they are being asked to do things they can’t manage. It is also vital to prioritise the things that matter to both of you. 

Be Mature

Passive aggressiveness, sarcasm, insults, and pouting are never going to solve your marriage problems. Such behaviours can get in the way of resolving your misunderstanding. Ensure to stay away from them even if your partner still has them in their arsenal. 

Dealing with your marriage problems can be an opportunity for you to model maturity for your children. Therefore, you should approach the issue with utmost maturity while ensuring that you do not allow yourself to put up with bad behaviour or be a doormat. If your partner is persistent in their immature behaviour or they start being violent, you may need to seek the advice of a divorce lawyer for advice on the way forward. 

Value Commitment

Without commitment, even the most loving or romantic marriage can’t work out. Having a firm commitment and sticking with your marriage through the good and bad times can make a big difference. 

Letting your partner know that you are willing to stick around when unexpected roadblocks appear can go a long way in helping you resolve any differences that you may have. It is possible to make it through and disagreements if you both have a firm commitment. 

Accept Your Differences

It is vital to understand that there are some long-term issues that you and your partner might continue to conflict about for years or perhaps throughout the relationship. Although this may sound like a great concern, it is normal. 

Having a successful marriage isn’t about fixing every problem that arises. On the contrary, it entails treating each other with kindness and respect even when you do not agree on certain issues

Every couple dreams of a healthy marriage. Apply these tactics to deal with difficulties in your marriage. 

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How to Face the Married Life

Finding someone you truly love and loves you back the same way is one of the best feelings in this world. To be with someone who understands your quirks and loves them is a rare and magical experience. One way or another, we will get to come across these things.

However, the sad truth is that even people who are so good together will have problems that will come their way. These challenges will rock their relationship to the core and make them question the love they share with their partners. If you’re one of these people, don’t worry. It’s a totally normal thing.

Marriage is a scary decision and a terrifying place. Of course, there’s the rainbows and the butterflies, but there’s also the tears and the arguments once in a while. If you feel like you’re starting to lose your partner, you’ve come to the right place.

Navigating the Married Life

If you just got married and you’re not facing any major problems yet, but you want to make sure that you don’t face them soon, we’ve prepared a quick list of tips for you. Below are some techniques on how to navigate married life.

The Right Perspective on Permanence

The idea of permanence can easily cloud your mind with fear and anxiety. The fact that you’d be living with one person for the rest of your life can be rather overwhelming that you start to feel the panic building up in your chest. Always remember that it’s about perspective. You’d be living with the person you love the most for the rest of your life. You get to spend every single day with your haven, a person with whom you can rest your troubles with.

That’s something you shouldn’t be scared of but rather be grateful for. It’s even more exciting when you have someone to build your dreams with-looking for a house and lot for pre-sale, saving up for the future, starting a family, and sending the kids to school. All of these get better when you’re with the person you love.

Embrace Imperfections

When we get married, we sometimes think that life will then start to become perfect. That’s not true. Some days will be mundane, and some will even be difficult, and that’s okay. You have to be okay with the fact that life is not always rainbows and butterflies. Accept that the imperfections are part of the married life.

Keep it Within the Marriage

Always remember that your spouse is called your partner for a reason. Your spouse is there to help you fix problems, not intentionally create them. That being said, whenever you disagree, make sure that youcommunicate it properly, and you do it only to each other. Avoid venting your problems to social media or other people because aside from the fact that it’s none of their business, it would not do your marriage any good.

Marriage Mistakes You Need to Avoid

There’s always a pattern when it comes to marital problems that lead to split-ups. More often than not, it’s about the mistakes we fail to see that chip away at the very foundation of the relationship and cause it to fall apart. Make sure that you get to avoid these mistakes.

Bringing Up Past Problems

The worst person you could ever hold a grudge on is your spouse. You spend your days with your partner, and we can’t imagine how you’re going to do that if you secretly despise him/her. Make sure that when yousolve a problem, you forget about it, and you don’t bring it up every time you argue.

Treating Your Partner Like a Kid

Do not ever treat your partner like a kid. Sometimes, we tend to see ourselves as superior and look down on our partners, especially when they make mistakes. Never forget that we all commit mistakes, but that does not justify any wrongdoing we can make towards our partner. You should always see your spouse as your equal.

Not Having Fun

Never forget the famous adage that goes, “laughter is the best medicine.” It’s easy to be caught up with problems, even just little ones, and be stressed out by it. However, you can also make the most out of it. Don’t ever lose your sense of humor when you get married because that’s a vital component of any relationship.

Once upon a time, you stood in front of your partner and vowed to love each other forever. We might all have our own definitions of the word, but what we do know is that love is a universal language that does not need to be understood; it just needs to be felt. Marriage might be scary, but knowing how to navigate your way through it will make it exciting.

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How To Be A Responsible Carer

As we get older in life, our responsibilities change throughout, and sometimes we have to take on the responsibility of caring for others. Not everyone is prepared to care for other people, and it can be a stressful ordeal if it came unexpectedly. For a lot of people, the idea of having to take care of your elderly relatives is inevitable, and only a matter of time, but how do you tackle that when the time comes? It’s not like you’re trained for it, and there’s a lot of emotions involved too. You must know how to handle the situation, and it can be different based on the individual.

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Elderly care

When it comes to elderly care, there’s a lot you need to know if you’re going to take on the role of their carer. For example, if a relative is dealing with Alzheimer’s, it can be very difficult for both parties involved. You’ll need to know how to act and treat them daily, and failing to do so can cause a lot of stress. You need to take it upon yourself to understand the whole situation and understand their needs. If they can no longer care for themselves, those needs need to be taken care of by someone else – is that something you can do? 

Making hard decisions

Many people find it very difficult to make time for their elderly parents to care for them, and that comes with difficult decisions. There are carers you can hire to take care of things while you’re not around, but that in itself can be difficult to trust.

Trusting the care of your relatives to another person can be difficult, but making sure their needs are met is very important. Sometimes elderly care homes are the better choice, as they offer many benefits. Living alone without the ability to care for yourself can get lonely, and living in a home where employees care for seniors can remedy that. With peers around, and many employees who are trained in elderly care who are available at all times ensures the safety of your relatives.

Selfcare

You aren’t trained for this, and you still need to have a life of your own outside of all of this, so it’s important to recognize when you’re being pushed too hard. You have to remember your needs are important too, and you still need to be the one to care for them. A lot of people feel guilt when it comes to caring for their relatives, as caring for yourself can feel selfish if you don’t have the time.

Pushing yourself too hard not only impacts your happiness, but it can cause you to feel what’s called caregiver burnout, which will only negatively impact your relationship with your relatives. You must learn when to take a timeout and when you need help with your responsibility.

Not everyone is prepared or able to care for their elderly relatives, and what’s important is making sure they get the proper care, from you or someone else.

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How To Encourage Your Kids To Study While They’re Stuck At Home

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Some kids absolutely love school and adore learning. They cannot wait to fill their brains with all kinds of different skills and understanding. There are also some who cannot really concentrate too much or simply do not want to learn new things in terms of the school system. They’d rather stimulate their brains in other ways and pick up skills in plenty of other areas. 

Due to covid, most of us seem to be working from home – and the kids are a part of this group. Since the breakout, they have been sent home and sent back to school a fair few times in order to cooperate with the lockdown/quarantine rules.

As a parent, you’re going to be in charge of how they have a lot more during the working week. You’re also going to be in charge of the learning they’ll have to do while they’re away from the school premises. While it might seem like a difficult task, it’s actually not too much effort! Here are some ways you can encourage your kids to study while they’re stuck at home:

Positive Reinforcement

Too much positivity can taint the value of it, but kids do need to be reinforced positively. There’s often a comparison between being stern and being nice with regard to grown-ups, but kids will need to be encouraged with a smile. If you can make them feel good about themselves and about the work they have ahead, then they’re going to be more inclined to get it done. 

Work With Them

If you make them do everything alone like that of an early 1900s teacher, then that strictness isn’t going to make them feel comfortable with what they have on their worksheets. They’ll look up to you and if they think you’re enjoying the work, then they will, too. Take, for instance, some of the worksheets (learn more about the kinds here) they’ll be given – some might be entirely away from their interest. If you work along with them, then it’ll keep their minds stimulated as they probably wouldn’t have expected it. You’ll probably make it fun for them, too, as they’ll see a side of you they’ve never seen. 

Get Them Into The Routine

Life is all about habits. If they’re out of a learning and working routine, then their minds will hate the idea of working from home and studying when they have to. If you keep them in a school mindset, then they’re going to be happier with learning. They’ll feel as though they have to. Once we get into a scheduled way of living, operating out of that cycle can feel pretty negative. 

Provide Rewards

While this might seem like an easy idea, it’s actually great for getting your kids excited. At first, they might just be doing what they must in order to get what they want at the end of it, but, as we said before, life is all about habits. They’ll get used to working in a particular way. Consciously and subconsciously, they’ll be learning things. They’ll become more interested in the things they’re studying.

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Divorce Amid a Pandemic: How the Virus Strains Relationships

When Wuhan — the first epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic — lifted its 70-day quarantine in April, divorce rates have doubled compared to pre-lockdown figures. The number of people applying for divorce has soared so much that the local marriage administration was overwhelmed. People had to wait for three to four days before applying due to the sheer volume of applicants.

This trend was observed in major cities that locked down and forced couples to stay indoors. Across China, divorce filings spiked as things returned to normal. In the US, divorce rates soared by 34% from March to June 2020, compared to 2019 data. And in England, including London, experts forecast a divorce boom after the lockdown, based on the number of people looking for divorce advice online.

It’s no secret that the pandemic has created an enormous strain on relationships, and it has sent challenged couples seeking their divorce lawyers via Zoom. Forced to be together for most of the time, spouses nit-picked, perceived flaws are amplified, and deep-seated frustrations are unearthed. The virus has restructured not only healthcare systems but also families.

The Strain

It must be noted that many of the COVID-19 divorce cases were divorces waiting to happen. The pandemic didn’t drive a wedge between happy couples, but it easily drew couples who had existing issues apart. If a couple was hanging on by a thread, the pandemic drew them over the edge.

The issues don’t surprise divorce lawyers. In Wuhan, divorce papers were drafted over arguments on housework and childcare. Elsewhere, it was a combination of financial, emotional, and physical problems that created the last straw. In the US, the pandemic has plunged the economy into recession and hurt about 33 million jobs, with 13.6 million driven to joblessness. Strained finances challenge already strained marriages.

People also deal with higher levels of stress due to fear, anxiety, and worry over their health and the health problems of the people they know. This external stress affects interactions. Then, they have extremely limited outlets for these stressors: pubs are closed, gyms are closed, spas and hair salons are closed.

People face higher levels of stress than they have ever had before, but there’s nowhere to go but the four corners of a home, stuck with a person who becomes more annoying by the day. Whereas before, couples can regulate their relationships—when they can be together, when they are apart—now they can’t, and they are forced to confront things that they have avoided for many years. You have a recipe for a divorce boom.

In some dire situations, a spouse experiences domestic violence in the hands of their partner. Cut off from family and friends, the victim is left in a more vulnerable situation. Once the lockdown is lifted, the victims, understandably, will find a way to finally detach themselves from their abusers.

Not Just the Pandemic

It’s not fair, however, to simply blame the pandemic for every divorce filed post-lockdown. As mentioned earlier, a huge chunk of these soon-to-be divorcees already had issues before the pandemic, but the issue had only worsened during the lockdown. The issues they faced were independent of a health crisis — common problems involve incompatibility, lack of commitment, infidelity, and constant bickering.

Age could also be a factor in these divorces. Business Insider cites a study from the Institute for Family Studies that advocates the Goldilocks Theory of Marriage, which pegs an “ideal age” for entering married life. According to their studies, tying the knot too early or too late can put a marriage at risk. Meanwhile, people who married in their late 20s or early 30s are more likely to have a successful marriage.

Those who were married under the age of twenty showed the highest likelihood of divorce, at around 38%. The 20-24 age range showed a 27% divorce rate, which is higher than the age brackets 25-29 (14%), 30-34 (10%), and 35 and up (17%).

The article argues: if you were married during your teenage years, there’s a higher chance that you’re facing a problem financially and emotionally, as you’re still trying to find your footing in life. The pandemic might have amplified the issues.

When the Marriage Isn’t Working Anymore

For people who believe that their marriage is at the end of the rope, there are steps to prepare yourself and mitigate the damage.

  • Research Options â€” There are different options when it comes to divorce, and these vary depending on the state. Some couples enter mediation, litigation, or the traditional attorney-to-attorney process.
  • Gather Financial Information â€” You need a clear picture of your assets and liabilities, including investment accounts, bank accounts, pensions, loans, and more. All houses, properties, and even high-profile vehicles should be accounted for.
  • Create a Budget â€” Divorce is a financially grueling process, so you have to compute how much money you need to cover essential and discretionary living expenses.

As if going through a divorce isn’t stressful enough, divorcing through a pandemic is one of the most challenging things a person can experience. But the right tools and preparation can cushion your well-being and see you through the end (of the relationship and the pandemic). More importantly, soon-to-be-divorcees can take comfort in the fact that they are not alone, and that, like a health crisis, the stress will die down sooner or later.

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Simple Tips to Transitioning to Working-from-Home

If you’re one of the many office workers who have recently transitioned from working in an office to now working remotely from home, you might be pulling your hair out trying to figure out exactly how to make the environment work best for you. 

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Working from the comfort of your own home has huge pros, and a few cons. The lack of social interaction can be rough, and learning how to navigate meetings and face-to-face discussions via Skype or Zoom can make even the most introverted person wishing to be in the same room as their coworkers. 

One of the ways to reduce that stress though is to make sure that your home office environment is a welcoming place, thoroughly equipped to make your job easier to perform. If you haven’t already, now is the time to consider a dual monitor system. Whether you’re working on spreadsheets, going over a project with coworkers over the phone, or switching between two websites to compare, having two monitors greatly increases productivity. According to a survey performed by Jon Peddie Research, a second monitor increases your average output by 20 to 30 percent. 

Next, let’s talk about docking your laptop. If you’re accustomed to working on a larger monitor, and suddenly only have your laptop, you can consider docking your laptop. This will save on the cost of an entirely new computer, but allow you to use a larger or second monitor, as well as a traditional more ergonomic keyboard and mouse. For short amounts of time, a laptop can be a great machine to work on, but having a docking station is key in making sure your work station is a comfortable place to work. Not all laptop docking stations are made equally, though. If you’d like a thorough breakdown of some of the best options on the market in 2020, check out this review here

Finally, let’s address that persnickety video conference issue. 

Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/turned-on-macbook-3205403/

When you set up your video camera and microphone to hold meetings with coworkers or potential clients, take these tips into consideration:

  • Angle the video so that viewers are not looking up at your chin or into your nose. Have a straight-facing camera, or slightly higher than eye level.
  • Even though you’re at home, make sure your area looks professional. That means clear out any clutter from behind you that can be seen.
  • Consider the lighting. Lighting from behind is going to put a shadow on your face, so have your lighting in front or to the side of you. This could be as simple as changing the location of where you sit so that you’re using natural light from a window 
  • Use the mute button. Large conference calls can get noisy. Touch-to-talk can make a meeting much easier to deal with when several people are in attendance. 

If you’re new to working from home, it can be a stretch, but well worth it in the long-run. You may need to remind kids and family members that while you are at home, you do need to focus on work during specific hours. This can greatly decrease interruptions and have you focused and productive throughout your workday.

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