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How to Vote

how to vote

Voting doesn’t have to be a confusing hassle. If you have questions about how to vote in the upcoming election just take a look at the links below and find the quick answers you’re looking for:

Voting can seem complicated, especially if you just turned 18 and have never done it before. But it’s actually pretty simple! The upcoming election is also coming up faster than you might think. This coming February 3rd will be the first caucuses in Iowa, beginning the many caucuses, primaries, and conventions you’ll want to be a part of in order to participate in choosing the presidential candidates in the final election.

You need to prepare for the coming election now so that you’re prepared to vote in the primaries, and so you’re registered to vote in general. This way you aren’t taken by surprise when the final election rolls around and suddenly you have all these logistics to figure out. When it comes to voting, you also want to participate as early as possible so you can be informed and make your own educated choice.

Things to Know

There are a few general basics you’ll want to know about in order to understand elections and how they work.

Who can vote?

vote

In order to vote you must be at least 18 years old, be a citizen of the United States, and be registered to vote. But if you’d like to double check the specific voting requirements of your state you can visit Vote.org.

What are the different kinds of elections?

You probably already know about the presidential election, but did you know there are many more elections you can be a part of?

Federal Elections: these elections include anyone in the federal government. This would include the president, members of congress, senators, and members of the house of representatives.

State Elections: this includes voting for state legislatures, governors, the attorney general, secretary of state, state supreme court, and any other members of the state judiciary. State elections are also the time where you might vote on state policies.

Local Elections: this is where you vote on county and city government officials, like sheriffs, the mayor, and school board members.

The convention

One of the first things that happens during election season are conventions for each party. These conventions are generally held nationally. It is where political parties all gather together to browse the nominees for the coming presidential election.

The caucus

If you are registered to vote with a certain political party then you can go to that parties caucus. It is a meeting where people of a specific political party gather together. This can be where members of the party will register their preferences for who should be that party’s candidate. They also gather to discuss political policies pertinent to that group.

The primaries

The primary elections are often simply referred to as the primaries. They are the preliminary voting that takes place to decide who the final candidates for the final election will be. Many people try out to be presidential candidates, so this process helps voters choose the specific candidate they would like to represent their party in the final election. This narrows down the field so that when it comes time to vote for the actual president, there aren’t 30 or more people you have to know about and choose from on the voting ballot.

What is the electoral college?

We actually use the electoral college to determine the presidential winner in the end. Each state has a number of electors who cast these electoral votes. These electors consider the votes of the people from their states and use that information to cast their electoral vote. It’s these votes that determine who wins the presidency.

What’s the election schedule?

There are many events to be aware of during election season that take place the year before and after election year. Here is a general outline of all the most important election events you are going to want to be aware of.

The year BEFORE election year
Spring Candidates start announcing their intentions to run for president
Summer Primaries, caucus, and debates begin to take place
The year OF the election
July to September Political parties choose their candidates
September to October Presidential debates
November Election Day
December Electoral College votes
The year AFTER election year
January Congress counts the electoral votes
January 20th Inauguration Day

If you’d like to learn more about the basics of the presidential election, you can explore USA.gov to learn all about the voting and election process. This website even has educational videos and infographics to help you visually understand the process as well.

How Do I Vote?

register to vote

One of the biggest questions people have when it comes to elections is how to vote. Thankfully this process really isn’t too complicated either. Basically you’ll want to register to vote, participate in primary elections, stay informed, and vote at your polling place on election day.

First: how to register to vote

The very first thing you’ll want to do is get registered to vote. You register to vote in your state of residency so that when you do vote, you’ll be a part of your state’s voting pool. Registering to vote is incredibly easy to do. You can do it in person or online.

Where can I register to vote in person?

  • The DMV
  • Armed forces recruitment center
  • State and county public assistance offices

You can also quickly register online at Vote.gov. You can also check your registration status on this website to check if you’re already registered to vote.

You can also register by mail, if you are out of the country or out of your home state. All you have to do is fill out the National Mail Voter Registration Form found on USA.gov and then mail it to the address listed for you state.

Second: how to participate in the primaries

The candidates that will represent each party in the final vote needs to be chosen. Before election day arrives there will be primaries, caucuses, and political conventions to help narrow down the candidates. Different parties and states will do these preliminary voting events in varying ways.

If you want to vote in the primaries to help pick the final presidential candidates, then read, “When are the 2020 presidential election primaries?” to see when your state will hold their primaries. Then all you have to do is go to the primaries and participate in the preliminary voting so you can be a part of picking the final candidates.

During this time candidates will be narrowed down to the final few. They will also announce who their vice president would be, and then they go across the country campaigning, talking about their views and plans, and debating with other candidates until election day arrives. You can also help out your candidate of choice by volunteering or fundraising for their campaign!

Third: how to vote on election day

By participating in election events now, you can do your own research and watch debates to learn about the different presidential options, what they are all about, and what their presidential plans are. Then all that is left to do is go to your local, designated polling station on election day and cast your vote.

Election Day is always on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. This upcoming election day will be on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

The only way you can cast your ballot is in person, or by mail. There is no way to vote online, so when election day comes you’ll need to be prepared to physically go to the polls, or be prepared ahead of time to mail in your ballot.

To find your polling place type in your address at VotingInfoProject.org to see where you’re designated polling station is.

If you are going to be absent from your registered state, or need to vote by mail for any other reason, then you’ll need to use the website for you state to find out how they want you to cast your absentee ballot.

What do I need to bring to vote?

polling station

The only thing you may need to bring with you to the polls is a form of identification. Whether ID is required for you to vote or note will depend on your state. You can check your state’s requirements for what to bring with you to the polling station by visiting NCSL.org.

How to Vote Early

There are many things that can make voting on election day difficult. But don’t let finances be one of them. If you need some financial help to get to the polls just take out an easy to use personal loan from Check City.

Whatever your reason, if you need to vote earlier than election day, it will depend on your state and whether they allow early voting. States usually have specified early voting dates.

Generally you don’t have to give them an excuse as to why you need to vote early, but this also might depend on your state.

The best way to see what you’ll need to do to vote early in your state is to find your state’s official website. You can do this by choosing your state at USA.gov and they’ll bring up your state’s official website. This site will then have your state’s specific information about early voting.

How to Vote in Midterm Elections

Midterm elections, or congressional elections, occur every 2 years. They happen in between presidential elections. They include voting for members of congress, the house of representatives, and the senate. These elections don’t use the electoral college but instead use the popular vote. The last midterm elections occurred November 6, 2018. If you want to participate in the next congressional elections just visit USA.gov for more information on when they are and how to vote in them.

How to Vote in Local Elections

The presidential election isn’t the only election you should be involved in, there are local elections going on all around too. These elections are equally important as the people put into office and the policies that get decided are all things that will affect your immediate community. Don’t just deal with whatever happens, be a part of shaping your community.

You can either use USA.gov or USVoteFoundation.org to see what local and state elections are coming up in your area.

 
Voting is an important part of being an active member of society. Your voice matters and voting is one way to make your voice heard. Don’t let misconceptions about voting keep you from getting to the polls and doing your part to help our society and grow.

How to Succeed at NANOWRIMO

nanowrimo

NANOWRIMO is a writing challenge that goes on every November where lovers of literature everywhere take on the same goal—to write an entire novel in one month. See how you can successfully achieve this goal by following these great tips!

Table of Contents:

What is NANOWRIMO?

NANOWRIMO stands for National Novel Writing Month. It occurs every November and refers to a writing challenge to finish the first draft of a novel by the end of the month. So if you’ve always wanted to write a book now is your chance!

The Logistics

So the logistics of NANOWRIMO is to get a full, first draft done by the end of the month. The official final wordcount goal is 50,000 words. If you divide that into the 30 days of November, then you’ll need to write about 1,667 words every day for the whole month of November to get to the final word count and end up with a full first draft.

Final Word Count Goal: 50,000 words

Daily Word Count Goal: 1,667 words

But ultimately NANOWRIMO is about you, your writing goals, and what works best for you. Some people only have time to write on the weekends and that’s ok! If you’re a weekend writer then can write 3,571 words for each day of the weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), instead of writing 1,667 words each day of the week. Over the course of the weekend your new word count goal would be:

Weekend Word Count Goal: 10,000 words each weekend

How to Write a Novel

how to write a book

1. Pick a genre

The very first thing you should decide when going into NANOWRIMO is the genre you’d like to work with. If you’re going to write a book it’s good to first know what kind of book you want to write. The kinds of stories you could write are an endless list of categories and subcategories, so if you want to see a more detailed list check out Literary Genres.

But here are some of the more basic literary genres:

  • Fantasy
  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Historical fiction
  • Science fiction
  • Memoir
  • Mystery
  • Tragedy
  • Romance
  • Horror
  • Self-help

It also might be important to decide who your audience is before writing because that can decide a lot about how you write your novel. Thinking about what age group you are writing for is a great way to start so your reading level and content cater appropriately to your readers.

2. Pick a perspective

First Person: This perspective is written in the main character’s point of view. The narrating character tells their own personal story with their own words. When writing in first person you’ll use words like I, me, us, my, and we.

Second Person: This perspective is written to address the reader directly. It’s as if the narrating character is telling a story to the reader directly. When writing in second person you’ll use words like you, referring to the reader who the narrator is speaking to.

Third Person: This perspective is not written from the point of view of the character or the writer. Instead, a third party narrator is telling a story that they are not themselves in any way apart of. This can also be referred to as omniscient point of view, because the narrator is like the all-knowing god of this story. When writing in third person you’ll use words like he, she, they, and it.

Multiple Perspectives: You can also write your book using multiple points of view. This is especially common when writing in first person because then you can switch between the firsthand perspectives of different characters throughout the story.

Present Tense: You can also write your story in the present tense. In this case you would write as if the character is telling their story as it is happening. For example you would write, “I walk toward the closet door and open it.”

Past Tense: It is much more common, and even recommended, to write your story in the past tense. This means you would write the story more naturally, as if it had already happened and someone is narrating a detailed, perfectly remembered account. For example you would write, “I walked toward the closet door and opened it.

Ultimately, if this is your first novel, it’s recommended you write in third person, in the past tense. If you feel a little more confident in your writing abilities then you can try out writing in first person, or even switching between multiple points of view throughout the story. If you really want to be different, you can write in the present tense, but most books are written in the past tense.

3. Create the world

All stories need a setting. Maybe your story will occur in a small town or the big city. Maybe it’ll take place in an alternate universe, or a completely different fantasy world of your creation. Get a clear vision of what your world is like, and all the important aspects of the world that will affect your story and characters.

4. Create the characters

There are many ways to create really great characters. You can make a vision board for each characters to keep tabs of all your inspiration for who they are. You’ll also want to find names for them and keep notes on all the things you know about each person appearing in your novel.

5. Make a story outline

Now that you have the materials and initial ideas you need to make a story, it’s time to start outlining! One thing that can really help you storyboard your book is to first think about your beginning and your ending.
There are many templates and guidelines out there for how to format a story outline that can help you with all of this.

story outlining

  • Freytag’s Pyramid
  • Imagine the rise and fall of a pyramid. The story starts with exposition, rising action, peaks with the story’s climax, falling action, and ends with the resolution. To see the story outline in even more detail check out the 7-Step “Freytag’s Pyramid” from the Writing Itch.

  • Snowflake Method
  • This method involves starting with a small story summary and expanding it to have more and more details until you have a larger story.

  • 8 Point Arc
  • The 8 point arc includes 8 key story points that you can write about in order to have an 8 step plot outline for your novel.

  • 3 Acts
  • The first act is the setup, act two is when the confrontation occurs, and act three is the resolution. This outline is great for writers who just need a really simple idea of the basic flow of their story.

  • The Hero’s Journey
  • The hero’s journey is a classic story outline you see in popular books like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. It’s similar to the 8 point arc in that it has a detailed 10 step plan for your story outline.

  • Notecards
  • Write out your key scenes on different notecards. Then you can use a wall or bulletin board to place your notecards in order. This outline technique is great for writers who often rearrange events.

  • Plots
  • This outline is for when you have multiple plots happening simultaneously. You can have a main plot and sub plots, or have equally important A, B, and C plots.

Story Beginnings:

  • Mid-Action
  • Also known as in medias res, starting in the middle of the action can be a great way to get your audience hooked right away and keep impatient readers from putting the book down after the first page.

  • Ask a question
  • By starting with a question you can immediately give your book an inquisitive tone.

  • Introduce us
  • You can also start your novel by introducing the reader to something or someone important. You can describe the setting, the world they live in, or a key character.

  • Origin story
  • If your story has important background information then you can start with the origin story of your kingdom, or main character.

  • Flashes, dreams, and memories
  • You can also start your book out with an important flashback into the past, a foreshadowing flash into the future, in the lucid landscape of a telling dream, or with key memories.

Create Conflict:

Every story needs some riveting conflict. It’s what keeps the story going and keeps your readers interested in what’s going to happen next. For more help in brainstorming your main and sub-conflicts read, “Decoding the Six Conflicts in Literature (With Examples).”

Story Endings:

Some people really struggle with how to end their book. There are many things to consider in order to create a good ending. You’ll need to ask some important question like, what goal or goals you want accomplished or unaccomplished by the end, how your characters change, and what do they learn or fail to learn.

  • The Happy ending
  • The goal is accomplished and things are better now.

  • The Tragic ending
  • The goal fails and things are worse now.

  • The Twist ending
  • The goal is accomplished, but for some reason things still end up worse.
    The goal fails, but for some reason things still end up better.

  • The Cliffhanger
  • The goal remains unaccomplished, leaving readers in suspense, or in the middle of events.

Writing Resources

Every writer has their go-to resources for writing. Eventually you might find blogs, forums, or books about writing that you like.

Name Generators:

Websites:

Books:

How to Cultivate Yourself as a Writer

Like with any hobby you should look into bettering yourself as a writer, just as you would if your hobby was hiking or drawing. Here are some things you can do to really enter into the writing world:

  • Join writing groups
  • Write with others
  • Get feedback
  • Read books you love
  • Read books on writing

How to Stay Inspired Throughout November

When you’re on a writing deadline it can be really hard to stay inspired. Everyone has their own tricks to beating writer’s block and as you write more frequently you’ll gain a list of your own. Here are some things you can try to get you started:

  • Explore Pinterest
  • Make vision and mood boards
  • Get in nature
  • Take care of your physical and mental health
  • Keep reading things you love
  • Watch things you love
  • Listen to things you love
  • Set up your workspace so it’s decluttered and free of distractions

NANOWRIMO is like a community event on a larger scale. By joining the groups and forums you can accomplish your goals along with your fellow writers and who knows?! Maybe you’ll make some friends or publish something great! What’s more, writing novels can potentially become a lucrative at home job to get your household some extra income.

If you’re going to do NANOWRIMO this month, you may need a little help preparing. If you do need some financial help visit a Check City store or our website to take out an easy to use Personal Loan.

 

READ MORE

Learn some other tips about making more money, “Making More Money.”

Thinking about writing as a career? “How to Choose a Career” can help you decide if a career in writing is write for you.


How to Start a Fundraiser

fundraiser ideas

Maybe you need to make money for your organization, for a club to function, or for a charity to give away. We are surrounded by causes all the time, each one just as valuable to our time and efforts as the next. There are a lot of ways we can do our part for the causes closest to us, and having a fundraiser is one of those ways.

  1. Pick a Cause
  2. Pick an Event
  3. Set Goals and Plan Logistics
  4. Advertise
  5. Give a Formal Thanks

1. Pick a Cause

First you’ll want to decide on a cause and define a clear purpose for the fundraiser. You can’t save the world all at once but you can put forth a concentrated effort on one topic and really make a change. Then you can find an organization that aligns with your purpose. You can find organizations worthy of your help in your local community or nationally.

To find some national charity organizations you can visit GuideStar.org. You can sometimes contact national or local charity groups in order to get their help, affiliation, or expertise on how to run a fundraiser for a certain cause. It’s also a good idea to find a reputable organization to give the proceeds of your fundraiser, as they may have better resources for how to use it effectively.

2. Pick an Event

more fundraiser ideas
 

Nothing makes people want to spend money more like making an event out of it. But you’ll want to determine the best type of event to make people aware of your cause while getting donations at the same time. Some events may be more appropriate for a cause than others. Either way, you’ll want to make sure the event is fun and engaging for the participants.

Fundraiser Ideas:
  • Car wash
  • Host a party and sell tickets
  • Marathon
  • Sell something:
    • food
    • seasonal buys, like chocolates and flowers for valentine’s day
    • tickets to a party, concert, talent show, movie night, or other event
    • raffle tickets for prizes
    • sport, tournament, competition
    • auction
    • yard sale
  • Carnival or fair with games and contests
  • Put on an event for kids, like a scavenger hunt
  • Offer lessons, like a cooking class

3. Set Goals and Plan Logistics

make plans
 

Your fundraiser is going to need a detailed plan with goals. You’ll need a budget for how much money you can afford to spend on the fundraiser event or endeavors. You want as much of the proceeds as possible to go to the charity, and not toward the event. One way to help pay for your fundraiser is to get companies and stores to make donations. For instance, if you are having a talent show for your fundraiser, you could speak with the owner of the venue to see if they’ll let you use the space for free as their donation toward your cause.

If you need funding to put on your fundraising event, then you can also visit Check City for a personal loan to help get your charity event rolling.

You’ll also need to plan your event, decide the date and time, book the venue, set things up, get any licenses you may need, decide how you’ll receive donations, and make any other decisions and plans necessary. You’ll need to get the necessary supplies together as well. For instance, if you’re having a marathon you’ll need to mark the path, bring water, cups, and snacks.

How to Organize Fundraiser Money
  • Open a bank account
  • Create a GoFundMe account
  • PayPal
  • Venmo
  • Cash
  • Checks
  • Cards

Above all else, make sure that everyone at the event knows how to make their donations. Make an announcement explaining how to donate at the beginning and end of the event, and place the information to donate in a visible place.

4. Advertise

Before your fundraiser takes place you’ll want to advertise for it. First, figure out who your audience is. Who is also concerned about this issue and will want to take part in your fundraiser? If you are selling items or hosting a certain kind of event, what demographic and age groups are going to be most interested? Target these kinds of people in your advertising.

  • Print
  • Social media
  • Online website/events
  • Fliers to pass out
  • Ask ppl to announce the event
  • Start an event on Facebook
How to Start a Fundraiser on Facebook

First, you’ll want to visit Facebook’s Fundraiser Page.

Second, you can either choose:

  • raise money for a nonprofit
  • or a personal cause, like raising money for a friend’s surgery.

Finally, you’ll set your fundraising goals and start sharing and posting about your fundraiser to start getting donations!

You can also explore the Fundraiser page what all is going on in the Facebook fundraising world and see what other people are doing.

How to Start a Birthday Fundraiser on Facebook

  1. log into Facebook
  2. on the left-side toolbar, under Explore, click on Fundraisers
  3. from here you’ll choose a charity
  4. set your goals and time limit
  5. invite people to participate in your fundraiser
  6. post about your fundraiser, mention that this is what you decided to do for your birthday, and if you want, briefly outline why this fundraiser is important to you
  7. make sure you thank everyone who donated

5. Give a Formal Thanks

thank you notes
 

It’s important you thank everyone involved in the fundraiser. It’s a good idea to take a moment during the activities to thank everyone, as well as send out a gesture of thanks after the activity is over. You can send out thank you notes, post a thank you announcement on your website or Facebook event, or you can send out a trinket, or small gift of some kind to show your gratitude for their help in your fundraiser.

Make sure you don’t forget to thank:

  • everyone involved in making the event possible
  • the organization involved in the charity you chose
  • everyone who participated and donated

 

Supporting a worthy cause is a beautiful thing, and anyone can make one happen! All you have to do is know how to put on a fundraiser and contact the right people for help.

Some people have even found that after putting on their first fundraiser it turns into an annual event that their community looks forward to every year! So not only can a good fundraiser do a lot of good in your community and in the world around us, but it can also bring your community closer together.


READ MORE

Learn some more tips about “How to Set up a Fundraising Event.”

Read about the benefits of charities by reading, “Charity Gives Back More Than It Takes.”


Make Your Own Adventure Club and Get Outside!

outdoor-club-adventure

As a kid you were probably forced outdoors at some point during the day to play outside and get your energy out. You probably noticed as you got older that now, if you want to get outside time you have to provide it for yourself. And if you live in an apartment or the city you may not be able to get quality outdoors time just by going into your backyard. If you live in the city you might have to plan your outdoor time even more as you coordinate trips to local outdoor hot spots. Getting yourself out in nature might be easier if you form a like-minded group to get you going. With the steps and tips below you can make your own Adventure Club and explore nature with your friends!

Why Going Outside is Good for You

Get vitamin D. You can actually get vitamin D from sun exposure. Vitamin D is very important to our health and it doesn’t always come in abundance in the foods we eat. One of the best ways to get your daily dose of Vitamin D is through being outside in the sunshine. It can help you have strong bones and protect you from certain diseases and ailments. Improves your immune system.
Opportunity to exercise. Unless you’re sitting in a chair it’s hard not to exercise at least a little whenever you go outside. And every ounce of exercise contributes to your overall health! Even a short stroll outside can do wonders for your physical health.
Elevate your mood. A lot of things about being outside can give your mood a healthy boost. The light, the sun, the fresh air, or the flowers and trees can help you feel a little better about the world if you give them the chance. But there are also studies to support this idea. The National Institute of Health (NIH) found in a study of theirs that just walking outside for a bit each day boosts creativity by 81%. Who knows what creative potential you might unleash just by getting yourself outside a little each day!
Good for children. Studies show that being outdoors helps kids focus better. Spending at least an hour outside every day can increase their focus, overall wellbeing, and help them get better grades.
It can be easy to let kids go run around outside and get all the exercise and vitamin D they need, but as we get older it can become harder to find time to get outside. One way to make getting outside easier is to give your outdoor time some kind of purpose.

  • Exercise outside.
  • Go for a daily stroll at the same time.
  • Get outdoor furniture. Once you have some place to set up camp outside, it can be easier to take things you normally do indoors, outdoors while you soak up some sunshine.
  • Make your outside time a group activity by creating your own outdoors club!

outside-nature

What Kind of Outdoor Club Do You Want to Do?

There are many things to do outside and everyone has different interests. Some people really like swimming, or hiking, or kayaking. What outdoor activities most interest you? These are the things you’ll want to incorporate in the purpose of your outdoors club. Having a clear purpose for your club will help a lot once you start bringing other people into the group and involving them in planning.
You can focus on one thing. You can make it a club all about just one thing you know you like to do:

  • Skiing
  • Hiking
  • A sport
  • Swimming
  • Camping
  • Backpacking
  • Running
  • Kayaking
  • Biking

Or you can involve many outdoor activities. Instead of making a hiking group, you can decide to make an adventure club! That way you can plan activities around all things adventuresome.

Whatever the purpose of your outdoor club, you’ll also want to keep in mind who you want to invite to the group and the level of difficulty everyone will be ok with. For instance, hikes and trails are often ranked by difficulty. They can be considered easy, moderate, or hard. So while you are deciding your club’s purpose remember to also consider the level of experience and difficulty you want to involve, and remember to disclose these things to those you invite to the group.

Who Do You Want in the Group?

Outdoor groups can be for all groups of people! You can make no restrictions about who can join the club, or you can decide to make your group exclusive in some way. For example, if you’re a dad looking to bond with your kids through fishing, you might make a fishing club specifically for dads and their kids. You can also restrict the group to certain age groups, like if you’re interested in getting to know more people your age.

Logistics

The last thing you’ll want to figure out before publishing your new group is all the logistics. Below are a couple questions to consider and make decisions about before going live with your new club idea.

  • How are people going to get places?
  • How are you going to get equipment?
  • How will your group stay in contact?

Maybe you’ll expect everyone to use their own cars and equipment to get places, or maybe you’ll want to talk to local rental places for any equipment your group might need. You can also keep in contact with your group in many ways. If you all know each other you can simply create a group text message. Or you can make a Facebook group, or use other messaging apps like Slack, or GroupMe. There are almost infinite options nowadays for where to keep your group’s base of operations.
flyer-outdoors-club

Now that you have your group all set up you can start reaching out for people to start joining. One great way to get members is to create a public Facebook group online. You can also try inviting some people you know and ask them to bring a member or two of their own.

You can also make flyers to hang up around town to meet new people! A flyer doesn’t have to be complicated, just make sure it has all the information they’ll need.

Fun Ideas

There are endless ways you can really have fun with getting more involved in your community and getting to know new people through starting a club like this.

  • Bring snacks.
  • Have a group potluck event.
  • Be educational. You can make a presentation about outdoor etiquette, safety, or hire a trial guide to teach your group about different plants you come across during your hike.
  • Do volunteer work every other month. You can volunteer to clean up a place you visit.
  • Make a website, a blog, or social media accounts for your group and post about the trips and activities you do!

Other Good Ideas

  • Have regular meetings.
  • Assign responsibilities to different people. You can nominate different group members to be the President, Vice President, Trip Coordinator, Treasurer, or Social Media Manager.
  • Fundraise for your trips. You can have a group yard sale or bake off to save up money for your bigger trips or activities. Sometimes your outdoor adventures are going to require fast funds while you’re in between paychecks. If your Adventure group finds itself short on cash, you can always get a payday loan or a personal loan from Check City and pay it back when you return from your trip.

Getting yourself outside is important. The great outdoors are meant to be appreciated and can shower you with mental and physical benefits. You don’t have to go through the trouble of making an outdoor club to get outside, but it can help motivate you to make going outside more of a habit, and who knows! You might just make some great new friends along the way.


READ MORE
Read all about vitamin D and it’s health benefits.
 
Check out another Check City Blog article, “Getting Outside This Spring” to learn some other great ways to get outdoors more often!
 
FEATURE IMAGE BY PETER CONLAN
OTHER IMAGES BY BLAKE LISK

7 Tips for Workplace Wellness

tips for workplace wellness
 
In order to take good care of your work you first have to take good care of yourself. Taking care of your well-being will not only help you in life, but it will help you in the office as well.

  1. Get Quality Sleep
  2. Fuel Your Body Effectively
  3. Exercise
  4. Prevent Eye Strain
  5. Decorate Your Desk
  6. Learn to Unwind
  7. Have Pursuits Outside of Work

Believe it or not, but even an office job can have its own hazards. You may not think about it but everything from vending machine food and sitting all day can cause serious health problems. But don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to combat these workplace hazards and increase office wellness. This can mainly be done by having a work-life balance. Everyone always seems to be talking about having a good work-life balance, but what does this balance really mean? Ultimately your wellness at work is about taking care of your physical and mental health.
 

Take Care of Your Body

physical well-being
 

Get QUALITY Sleep

Sleep is a factor that greatly affects your performance throughout the day as well as your physical and mental well-being. But it isn’t enough to just go to bed and hope for the best. You don’t just want enough sleep you want quality sleep. There are ways you can optimize your sleep so that you are getting the most out of your nights.

Go to bed and wake up at the same time

This will help your body to adjust to a regular schedule. Once your body is used to this schedule falling asleep each night and waking up each morning will become much easier. Set an alarm or reminder for when you need to start getting ready for bed to help you learn to wind down at the same time each night.

Stay hydrated

You actually get dehydrated as you sleep which can cause a dry and hoarse throat in the morning, leg cramps during the night, and an overall lack of quality sleep. You lose hydration in the night through breathing or a dry or warm environment in your bedroom. Another thing that can cause night dehydration is exercising late in the evening. To combat this issue, hydrate yourself well throughout the day, keep a water bottle on your nightstand, and keep your room temperature on the colder side with a humidifier turned on while you sleep.

Fuel Your Body EFFECTIVELY

Your body is like a complicated machine and in order to work at top performance levels and feel its very best your body needs fuel that it can work with. There are a lot of foods out there today that might be quick, easy, and immediately filling, but they won’t provide your insides with the proper nutrients to function at full capacity and eventually you’ll feel this as you feel more and more lethargic throughout the workday. You can fuel your body with a lot of things, but only certain nutrients will give you effective nourishment to give you optimal health and energy.

Eat wholesome meals

Make healthy meals at home and take healthy meals with you to work. Many of your coworkers might be going out to eat every day and though this might be fun in the short term it probably isn’t beneficial in the long term. Healthy homemade lunches will improve your physical wellness and improve your spending! You can also start bringing in healthier treats for your coworkers to help improve workplace wellness as a whole.

Eat wholesome snacks

If your stomach is growling for the majority of the day, you will likely crash before the end. Make sure you have the right nourishment going into your body and it will pay off. Even simple snacks can help keep you going between meals. Nuts, fruits, and cut up vegetables can really give you the energy you need to make it through the day.

Cut down on sugars

One of the biggest issues office workers fight on a typical workday is lethargy. Sugar intake can be one of the major contributing factors to your lethargy. Take note of the sugar content of what you are consuming in a regular day and you’ll see how prevalent this ingredient has become in a lot of our foods.

Then remember, while you pick your foods each day, that each gram of sugar adds to unpleasant feelings like bloating and tiredness. Make sure you take these tips to heart in order to keep your body happy and healthy throughout the workday and throughout your life. You will be grateful when you still have energy after retirement!

Stay hydrated

You would be shocked to know how much staying hydrated can improve your workplace wellness. There is nothing more important than drinking enough water throughout the day. It doesn’t matter whether it is summer or winter, your body is made up mostly of water and you need to continually replenish it. Don’t wait till you are thirsty to start drinking. It is much better to have a set amount that you plan on drinking throughout the day.

In general it is advised that you drink 8 glasses of water a day. It can help to have a designated water bottle that you keep with you throughout the day to drink from. If you have trouble getting yourself to drink enough water each day try drinking with a reusable straw. This can make drinking enough liquids faster and easier. Another thing you can do is put things in your water to make drinking water more fun! You can add cut up fruits and vegetables, mint leaves, and many other things to your water to make staying hydrated healthy, tasty, and fun.

Exercise

Exercise may seem like a dauntingly intense habit to get into, but it’s actually one of the easiest ways to boost your well-being because any amount of it will help. Even if you only go out of your way to exercise 20 minutes on weekdays, that’s still better than no exercise at all.

The average person is advised to get 75 to 150 minutes of physical activity into each week. This averages out to be around 30 minutes a day. Thirty minutes really isn’t asking too much of your time and there are a million ways you can get this 30 minutes of physical activity into your day without having to do crazy intense workout sessions at the gym. You can simply go on a walk, plan a hike for the weekend, go swimming, biking, or take a physical class like dancing or yoga.

Put Exercise on the Agenda

You can implement a routine of exercise into your day before or after work. Getting yourself to exercise will be easier if you schedule it into a specific time of day. In fact, a study found that working out at the same time each day made exercise more effective.

Work Out at Work!

You can also find ways to grab some exercise while you’re at work! There are hundreds of exercises you can do at your desk. Everything from simple stretches to replacing your chair with a stability ball can greatly improve your health.

Whatever you choose to do, change things up and get your body moving as much as possible. By the end of the day when most of your coworkers are crying about sore backs and tired limbs, you will be ready to keep going with your day.

Office Friendly Exercises

  • Practice good posture
  • Leg raises
  • Chair dips
  • Use weights at your desk
  • Ab workouts with your swivel chair, or stability ball
  • Lean on your desk to do planks or pushups
  • Use a standing desk
  • Go for a walk around the building
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator

Prevent Eye Strain

If you work in an office chances are you also get a lot of screen time at work. Staring at screens all day can put a strain on your eyes and even cause headaches and nausea after a while. But you can help prevent eye strain by getting a blue light filter on your screen, or blue light filter glasses to wear at work. It is also a good idea to take a break or two from your screen while at work to give your eyes a rest.
 

Take Care of Your Mind

mental well-being
 

Decorate Your Desk

Decorating your desk will make you happier, and liven up your workspace. You can get plants, you can set up some photos, you can decorate with cool looking bulletins and white boards, or splurge on a special mug or thermos just for your desk.

Learn to Unwind

You don’t have to pay for an expensive spa to still have your own personal spa day. There are endless things you can do to unwind and everyone relaxes in different ways. For some people relaxing may include hanging out with friends and going out. For others, relaxing may mean staying home, taking a warm bath, watching TV, or reading a good book. In order to learn how to unwind you need to learn more about yourself and what relaxation techniques work best for you.

  • Learn about mediation
  • Keep a journal
  • go outdoors
  • listen to music
  • have a spa night
  • read a book

Have Pursuits Outside of Work

It will give you a special sense of accomplishment to have your own personal pursuits outside of your job. And if you need help with funds to make your club or go on a weekend getaway you can use a Check City Personal Loan!

  • Volunteer
  • Join a book club
  • Start your own group or club
  • Join a recreational or intermediate sports team
  • Make personal goals
  • Plan vacations and getaways
  • Take a class

Having workplace wellness is all about having a work-life balance. Having a work-life balance is all about taking care of both your body and mind. If you remember these key principles of taking good care of yourself than not only will your life and health improve, but you will actually become more successful and productive at work as well!


READ MORE
Read “Workplace Wellness” from Mental Health America (MHA) to learn more ways you can improve the overall well-being of your employees.

Read an NPR report about how effective wellness programs are in the article, “How Well Do Workplace Wellness Programs Work?

Read an article from Corporate Wellness Magazine called, “What is Workplace Wellness Really? “ to learn more about what workplace wellness means.

For more tips about workplace wellness, see our article, “How to Stay Healthy at Work.”

6 After School Activities to Keep Your Children Interested in Learning

monday
Learning should never stop, even when school is out—it should even extend beyond homework. But sometimes kids get burnt out on school, and all they want to do is play. Play time is important, too and it presents a wonderful opportunity.

To help your kids continue learning throughout the day, and even on the weekends, here are 6 cool activities that deceptively combine play with education.

Have your kids write a play, then act it out

Children’s minds are constantly brimming with creativity just waiting to be tapped. If you encourage your kids to come up with a play, and promise that you’ll all act it out together (that’s right, you should be acting it out, too), you’ll be surprised at the wonderful stories they can come up with.

A fun science experiment with cabbage

All you’ll need is a head of cabbage, some food coloring, water and some jars to illustrate how plants absorb water. Fill some jars with water and food dye, stick a leaf of cabbage in each jar, and before long the cabbage will absorb the dye and transform into new colors!

Decorate non-perishable food items to donate

One of the most important lessons you can teach your children is the importance of charity and giving. Turn it into a fun activity by having your kids decorate cans of food and other non-perishables. Then go on a road trip to your local food bank. Don’t forget to explain how their act of charity is helping feed people who are in need.

Salt art

It’s easy for children to get excited about art, especially if it involves a new medium. Here’s a cool idea: get some colorful construction paper and spread salt across it. Have your children “paint” images or words in the salt—the colored paper beneath it creates a cool effect.

Play a game of “sink or float”

Teach your children about buoyancy with a simple game of “sink or float.” Basically, you get regular household items, have your kids guess whether the items would sink or float, and then toss them (the objects, not your kids) in a tub of water. This is a very basic form of the scientific method—your kids come up with a hypothesis, and then they get to test it out and determine if they were right.

For extra credit, have your kids combine two things and see whether they “sink or float.”

Make paper plate birds that actually fly

Cut a paper plate in half, and then tape a plastic spoon to it, with the ladle of the spoon being the bird’s head. Color and decorate the bird (it could be a majestic eagle, or a colorful parrot), and then test it out—it should soar across the living room with ease.

Take one, or a few of these ideas, and get your children excited about learning at home! One of the best lessons you can give is that learning doesn’t only have to take place in a classroom—it can happen anywhere!

The Importance of Being Charitable

Americans today are always looking for ways that they can save a few dollars. Although many people wish that they made more per hour, sometimes all it takes to have more money is to just redistribute how you are spending it.
Money seems to be something that no one has but everybody wants. We all recognize this is true, but we don’t seem to be doing much about it.

Focus Less on Money

Something that could help our society as a whole would be if we could take the emphasis off money a little bit. For many people, all they think about is money.

They are constantly thinking about how their lives could be better if they just had more money. They would be able to buy a nicer house, a newer car, more clothes, and they would just be happier.

Many people dream of having a lot of money, but these people also usually know that money can’t buy happiness. Yet, they still struggle to truly internalize the idea that they don’t need excessive amounts of money to be happy.

Money Doesn’t Equal Happiness

Just look at the people in the world who have a lot of money. You have probably thought of various celebrities, actors, actresses, and owners of big businesses.

They may have a lot of money, but does that mean they are happy? Usually people with a lot of money still describe the most important things in their life to be their family and friends.

The most important things to http://gardencare.uk.com them are things that they creative and that they are proud of. They usually mostly highly value the things in life that they truly love.

The things that people truly love are usually people. Their family members, their closest friends, and their spouse and children are usually the people that are loved most.

Think of What You Have That Others Don’t

That being said, not having to struggle for the necessities in life is something that people everywhere should be able to enjoy. There are still millions of people around the world who do not have access to clean drinking water.
They usually also do not have adequate shelter or clothing either. We who live in a stable industrialized country seem to take what we have for granted.

We feel that what we have isn’t ever enough. Our house isn’t enough.
Our car from 2003 isn’t new enough, isn’t nice enough. We constantly feel like we need more.

Consider Volunteering

There is a cure for feeling like this. You do not have to succumb to those thoughts of feeling sorry for yourself and always wanting more.

There are several ways that you can be charitable and give to those who do not have as much as you do. There are many, many nonprofit organizations around the United States that you can volunteer for.

There are many different kinds of volunteering opportunities within these organizations. If you want to travel the world and literally go help people who live in developing countries, you can do this.

The Peace Corps accepts volunteers every year. Usually for the Peace Corps, you have to have a bachelor’s degree from a university and some relevant experience in the field that you would like to volunteer in.

There are many things you can do to volunteer without leaving the country, though. You can volunteer at organizations like United Way or UNICEF.

Organizations like these are always in need of loving volunteers who are trying to do their part to make a difference in their world. Oftentimes you can better see the impact you’re making on the world because the effects of your work can be seen all around you in your own community.

Look for Service Opportunities

There are still even more ways that you can help your fellow man and give back to your community. There are simple acts of service all around us.

If you want to make someone’s day better, all you need to do is simply smile at someone as you walk down the street. If you’re at work, smile at someone at work.

Give your co-worker a compliment on their outfit. Ask them about their day and about their life.
People feel valued when people take an interest in them. Be genuinely interested in what they have to say and in getting to know them better.

When you do this, you will feel your love for your fellow man grow. You will feel bonded with your co-workers, associates, family members, and friends.

You will see that by serving you learn to love those around you. And by serving, you come to love yourself as well.
Service is love, and love is service. Be charitable and reap the benefits today.

The 2014 Souper Bowl of Caring

While most people were getting ready for the big game this past weekend Check City had the priveledge of helping local news station KUTV with the Souper Bowl of caring. For those of you who aren’t familiar the Souper Bowl is a fundraising event that helps fight child hunger across the state of Utah.

While we like to think of Utah as a place where no Child has to go hungry, child hunger is a growing problem in Utah. While more than 175,000 Utah kids are eligable for free school breakfasts and lunches these kids are not eating well on the weekends. The Souper Bowl of caring was put together to raise money to provide these kids with the food they need on the weekends.

Viewers of the Souper Bowl telthon were encouraged to skip some of the soda and chips that they might have during their Super Bowl parties aand donate part of their Super Bowl party budget to the Souper Bowl of caring.

As always we were blown away by the generosity of our fellow Utahns and to date the Souper Bowl of Caring has been able to raise well over $180,000. Check City was able to offer a donations match of up to $5,000 and we’re excited to say that our goal was met in very little time.

Thanks to everyone that participated in the event, donated and especially KUTV and all of our fellow sponsors for making the 2014 Souper Bowl of Caring a HUGE success! To keep up to date with future opportunities to donate be sure to follow us on facebook and Twitter!

Happy Holidays From Check City

From everyone here at Check City we want to say Happy Holidays! We hope the Holidays find you well and surrounded by your friends and family. We also wanted to thank everyone that has participated in our community outreach programs this holiday season and even our seasonal giveaways. We look forward to a fantastic 2014 with more community outreach and contest to come!

Happy Thanksgiving From Check City

From all of us here at Check City We hope you are having an incredible Thanksgiving Holiday! Between all of the traveling, cooking, football and eating, things can get pretty busy on Thanksgiving but on this great holiday we encourage everyone to take a minute to reflect on the many things in your life to be grateful for, whether it’s family, friends, employment or the simply having a roof over your head there are hundreds if not thousands of things to be grateful for.

For many people in our community something as basic as staying warm throughout these cold winter months is a challenge for them so that’s why today we wanted to remind everyone that the warm hearts coat drive is still going on in all of our Utah locations. From now until December first you can stop by any of our Utah locations and drop off your gently used coats, sweaters and blankets.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far, we look forward to seeing if we can break last years record!

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