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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.”


How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

bed bugs

Nobody wants to deal with bed bugs. But if you are dealing with these pests, you’ll need to know the best ways to get rid of them.

What are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are a type of parasite. They live off of other living things by taking up residence in things like mattresses and sheets. Like mosquitos, lice, or ticks they bite and drink blood for their nutrients. Bed bugs are a small oval shape with a brown color.

They’re usually the size of any small bug, about the size of a thumb tack, but when their bellies are full of blood they can swell in size and become a redder hue. Thankfully these little demons don’t fly or jump the way some pests can. But they can crawl quickly, meaning they can still spread quickly throughout your house if you don’t tackle getting rid of them as soon as possible.

Bed Bug Bites vs Flea Bites

Since fleas and bed bugs are so similar, it can be easy to get them, and their bites, confused. Below are a few of the key differences between fleas and bed bugs so you can tell the difference.

Flea Bites

Fleas usually prefer to make their homes on animals, so if you have pets make sure to check their fur every so often with a flea comb to make sure they’re flea free. If humans get flea bites it’s usually because a pet they live or interact with has fleas, not because fleas have made you their home. You can also tell if your pet is affected by fleas if they start itching and biting themselves to try and relieve the itching.

Flea bites most commonly occur on the lower half of the body like on legs, feet, waists, and armpits. Their bite marks are red and blotchy like a rash. Like bed bugs, fleas cannot fly, but unlike bed bugs, fleas can jump.

Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites look more like mosquito bites than the rash bites that fleas make. Bed bug bites look like small, raised bumps and they often itch. They most commonly bite areas of the upper body like the hands, neck, and arms. Bed bugs are also a bit larger than fleas so they are easier to spot.

If you need some visual references for flea bites on humans, or some bed bug pictures, or some bed bug bites pictures, check out these websites:

How to Treat Bed Bug Bites

Like the common mosquito bite, bed bug bites will fade away in a week or two. To ease the itching you can use a topical itching cream, like corticosteroid cream. If you have a particularly strong allergic reaction to the bites you can take anti-inflammatories like Benadryl.

To effectively treat bed bug bites, do the following:

  1. First and foremost, DON’T itch them
  2. Then, wash the bites with soap and warm water to avoid infections
  3. Put anti-itch or calming cream on the infected area
  4. Wrap the infected spots with bandages to protect them and keep you from itching them

How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites Overnight:
First of all, the bed bug bites will go away much quicker if you don’t itch them, so the fastest way to get rid of them is to not itch them. Part of what makes the bite bumps is the swelling, so calming this swelling will help the bumps disappear faster too. Here are some other things you can do to keep yourself from itching them, and help the bites calm down:

  • Use anti-itch cream
  • Use calamine lotion
  • Take an oral antihistamine
  • Pain reliever
  • Wrap up the bitten areas with bandages or long sleeves
  • Wrap up your fingers or wear mittens or cloves so you can’t itch
  • Use an ice pack
  • Use a paste of baking soda and water
  • Apply calming essential oils like camphor or chamomile oil

How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bite Scars:
If you scratch the bites too much you can open up your skin where the bite marks are and make scars. You treat bed bug bite scars the same way you would care for any scar. Below is a list of things you can use to try and get rid of or hide bed bug bite scars:

  • Vitamin E cream
  • Sunscreen will keep the blemishes from discoloring from the sun
  • Mederma scar gel
  • Aloe vera
  • Honey
  • Coconut oil
  • Apple cider vinegar

There are also a few treatments you can do like laser resurfacing in order to get rid of really bad scarring.

How to Check for Bed Bugs

bed bugs
 

The best way to check if you have bed bugs in your house is to remove the bed sheets and check under the mattress. Since bed bugs aren’t as small as fleas it can be easier to spot the bugs themselves in your mattress. But you can also look for the brown, rusty stains of dead bed bugs and feces on the mattress.

If you’re worried you might have bed bugs, but you aren’t sure, you can also have a professional exterminator come in for an inspection.

Common places where bed bugs can be found:
  • Mattresses
  • Bed frame
  • Box springs
  • Carpet
  • Curtains
  • Clothes
  • Furniture
  • Pillows
  • Blankets
  • Bed sheets
  • Stuffed animals
  • Cracks in places like the baseboards

You can also set up bed bug traps to see if you have any bed bugs in your house or near your bed.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally

Not everyone is comfortable introducing harsh chemicals into their home, especially if they have kids or pets. Check out this website to learn what natural bed bug remedies do and don’t work. If you need to get rid of bed bugs, but you want to do it the natural way, here are some tips on the most effective home remedies to get rid of bed bugs:

Heat

Heat is one of the best weapons against bed bugs. You can use heat to kill bed bugs by washing and drying bedsheets and clothes on the hottest settings. It is most effective if you can use a hot temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
You can also use a clothes irons and steamers to iron sheets or steam your carpet and curtains.

Cold

You can also use extreme cold temperatures to freeze and kill bed bugs. You can do this by keeping infected items outside in temperatures 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower for at least 4 days.

Vacuuming

Vacuuming also works to pick up bugs and get them out of your house. Just make sure you empty the vacuums dust bag outside of the house, in a trash bag that’s going to get far away from your house, so you they can’t escape back into your house after getting vacuumed up.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a kind of dust made of finely ground fossils that contain silica. It’s a common pesticide used to kill bed bugs, cockroaches, crickets, fleas, ticks, and spiders. This powder can generally be used inside and outside buildings, on farms, in gardens, and in pet kennels. Depending on the powder you might be able to even use diatomaceous earth on your pet directly.

Diatomaceous earth is a great substance to use to get rid of bed bugs because it isn’t poisonous and it’s been categorized as safe by the FDA. It can even be found in food, medicines, and toothpastes. Regardless of it’s safety, always read the labels and instructions before using any product to get rid of or prevent pests.

How does diatomaceous earth work?
Diatomaceous earth gets rid of pests like bed bugs by drying them out. The dust absorbs all the oils in the insects body and they in essence, suffocate on dust. You can even buy diatomaceous earth on amazon.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs for Good

prevent bed bugs
 
One of the best ways to get rid of bed bugs for good is to hire a professional exterminator to come in and treat your home. These are some of the traditional ways to get rid of bed bugs if you don’t mind involving some chemical warfare into the process. After killing as many of the bugs as possible with pesticides, you’ll still need to take care of some key parts of the house to really make sure all the bugs are gone.

How to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress

Remove or get rid of infected bed sheets and mattresses. You can also treat infected mattresses by dusting them with diatomaceous earth.

How to get rid of bed bugs in clothes

Put all your bed sheets through the wash. They key is to use the hottest settings on the washer and dryer. You can do the same with clothes, pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals, or you can put these items in airtight bags for several days to try and suffocate any bugs left in them. You can also put them in below-freezing temperatures like a shed outside in winter or a freezer to freeze whatever bugs are left.

How to get rid of bed bugs in couch

Vacuum the couches thoroughly, including the couch cushions.

How to get rid of bed bugs everywhere else

Bed bugs can also reside in the walls, floors, and areas around the bed. So vacuum all the floors, especially the carpets, emptying the vacuum’s dust bin and taking that trash out to remove any vacuumed bugs from your home.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs PERMANENTLY

These tips are for those in dire need of some real results. Maybe you’ve tried everything else and they just didn’t work. If so, you can bring out the big guns against your bed bug problem to make sure the problem is really gone.
You can use chemicals to ensure you’re using maximum power against killing every last bug. Here are a couple common pesticides you could use:

  • pyrethrins
  • pyrethroids
  • desiccants
  • biochemicals
  • pyrroles
  • neonicotinoids
  • insect growth regulators

Some of these chemicals you can use yourself, but the best thing to do if you want to implement these harsher tactics is to call in a specialist to treat your house with these chemicals for you.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs

Here are some tips on how to protect your home from bed bugs in the first place.

  • Get a mattress protector or furniture covers.
  • Spray bed bug repellent to kill them before they multiply.
  • Be careful about getting secondhand furniture and clothes. Check them for bugs before allowing it in your home.
  • Be careful at shared laundry facilities where you’ll be around the clothes and sheets of many other people.
  • Keep the house clean and clutter free so bed bugs don’t have great places to hide out and make their homes.
  • Use bed bug monitor traps that will show you as soon as bed bugs arrive.
  • Make sure your house is sealed up, especially along the baseboards where bed bugs can start to hide out in the cracks.
  • Be careful of public places like hotels

 
Pests are a pretty big nuisance, and small parasites can become a nightmare as they infest your home like a virus. But like the common cold, there are measures you can take to eradicate your home of bed bugs once and for all. If you need help paying for everything you might need to get rid of the bed bugs, stop by Check City and use a Personal Loan.



READ MORE
To read more about bed bugs, check out the following informative articles from WebMD and Entomology.

Learn more about taking care of pets in your home by reading, “How to Make Your Home Pet Friendly.”

How Much Do Braces Cost?

braces



Generally people need braces because there is something wrong with their teeth alignment. But there are many reasons that problems with teeth alignment can occur. Some people just have genetics that influence their teeth, making them more prone to certain oral problems. Other problems arise from external factors that we allow to negatively affect our teeth.

Whatever your circumstances, whether you’re younger or older, it is never too late to seek the orthodontic care you need to be more comfortable and confident. Many people worry about paying for braces though, keeping themselves from getting the care they need. But with some research on your part and understanding your insurance plan, you can have a pretty good idea how much braces will cost you.

But before we go figuring out how much braces cost, let’s take a look at how to know when you or your child needs a checkup with your orthodontics . . .

Why a Kid Might Need Braces:

Losing Teeth Early

Generally the age range that kids lose their baby teeth is from 6 to 12 years old. But if they start losing their baby teeth sooner than 6 years old then you might want to take them to get checked out by your orthodontics. Losing baby teeth too early can be a sign of a bigger underlying issue and can affect their jaw and their permanent teeth as they grow older.

Crowded Teeth

When a child has crowded teeth, it means that their mouth doesn’t have enough space for their future adult teeth to come in. Leaving crowded teeth untreated leads to impacted teeth, which is an even bigger problem and involves much more invasive treatment to correct. If you are worried your child’s mouth isn’t going to be big enough for their adult teeth then consult your orthodontist.

Jaw Issues

Another major variable in teeth alignment and overall mouth health is your jaw structure. Orthodontists don’t just work on teeth, they also work on certain jaw issues. Signs that your child has a jaw related issue is if they have trouble biting, chewing, and breathing properly.

Thumb Sucking

Sucking on a thumb or pacifier is a common habit for young children. Usually as a child gets older they grow out of these habits, but some children have a more difficult time with this than others. It is advised that children who suck on thumbs and pacifiers should stop around 6 or 7 years old, if not sooner. If the habit continues past this point there is a chance that their teeth will protrude, creating a misaligned bite.

Why an Adult Might Need Braces:

Jaw pain, face pain, headaches, and earaches

Oftentimes a headache is just a headache, but sometimes this can be a sign that an issue with your jaw structure is causing you head pain.

Issues with chewing, speaking, or biting

Similar to children, these kinds of problems can be linked to jaw and teeth issues.

Jaw popping

If you find your jaw excessively popping you may want to mention it to your orthodontist.

Different Types of Braces:

If you need treatment at some point you are going to have to choose which kind of braces to get. When people think of braces they usually picture the metal kind, but now there are several other options to choose from.

Which kind of braces you get will affect how long you will have braces and what you will pay for them. Orthodontic treatments have come a long way over the years, and now there are a variety of treatment options, all of which vary in cost, effectiveness, treatment period lengths, and noticeability. Now, Invisalign isn’t the only type of invisible braces.

Metal Braces

Metal braces are the traditional kind of braces with metal brackets. They are usually the cheapest option and are the most visible.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are just like traditional metal braces, except they go on the back of your teeth instead of the front. This makes them less visible than traditional braces, but not all dentists will do lingual braces.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are like traditional metal braces except they are made of ceramic instead of metal. They still go on the front of your teeth but because their color is closer to the color of teeth they are less noticeable.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, like Invisalign, are the least noticeable form of braces. They are clear plastic trays that fit over your teeth and get changed out for a new tray every so often. Clear aligners usually cost the most.


different-kinds-braces

Other Orthodontic Services and Treatments:

Retainers

Retainers are generally used after you have finished your treatment period with braces. Retainers are used to make sure your teeth stay the way your braces have worked to align them as you transition into not wearing braces anymore. Retainers usually have a metal band that hug your teeth and a plastic mold that is custom fitted to the roof of your mouth.

Space Maintainers

If a child loses their baby teeth earlier than normal they might need to use space maintainers. This will keep the spaces between their teeth open so that there is room for the adult teeth to come in later and ensure that their adult teeth grow into the correct spots.

Mouth Guards

Mouth guards are often worn by athletes while they are playing a sport. An orthodontist can custom fit the mouth guard for maximum protection during games and competitions. You can also buy mouth guards over-the-counter, but they are not as comfortable as a custom fitted guard and are less effective at protecting an individual’s teeth.

Mouth guards can also be called night guards and can be used by people who grind or clench their teeth in their sleep. Night guards protect your teeth from damage and pain due to teeth grinding.

How Much Do Braces Cost?

Now that we have determined whether you need braces and talked about the different kinds of braces you can get, it’s time to figure out the cost. The cost of braces and treatment is going to depend on several different variables:

  1. The type of braces you get
  2. Whether you’re an adult or a child
  3. How long you’re going to need them
  4. What kind of dental issue needs correcting
  5. Your dental insurance
  6. Your orthodontist
  7. Your region

These types of factors will all weigh in on how much you end up spending on braces. Metal braces are usually the least expensive option while clear aligners, like Invisalign, are going to be the most expensive option. Orthodontic treatment for children generally costs a little less than it does for adults, but this will also depend on your orthodontist. The longer you need to have braces and the more severe the problem is the more expensive the overall treatment is going to be as well because these will require more work from the orthodontist and more appointments.

Lastly, factors like your insurance company, the orthodontist you use, and where you live can also factor into how much you spend on braces. Different insurance policies will provide different coverage for braces, different orthodontist offices will have their own prices in place, and sometimes more rural areas end up being cheaper than busier ones.

How much do braces cost for adults?

Regular metal braces for an adult can cost anywhere between $4,000 and $5,000.

How much do braces cost for kids?

Regular metal braces for kids can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000, depending on how much treatment their teeth need.

How much do braces cost with or without insurance?

It is always going to be helpful to have insurance to cover the cost of braces. So make sure you contact your insurance and understand what they will and won’t cover so you can get your maximum benefits. With insurance your braces can cost closer to $3,407, while the average cost of braces without insurance is $4,937.

How much do braces cost a month?

The cost of your monthly payments will depend on whatever plan you have with your orthodontist, your insurance, and what the overall cost of your braces end up being.

How to Figure Out the Cost For YOU

Whatever braces you choose will depend on what needs fixed, your pocket, and your preference. After figuring out what needs fixed and what your preferences are you can easily figure out the possible demand on your pocket by following two simple steps.

But before you go calling your orthodontist office and your insurance make sure you know ahead of time whether you need braces, how severe your case is or how long you will probably need them for, and which kind of braces you would like to use. Then you will simply:

  1. Check with your insurance to see what they will and won’t cover.
  2. Contact your orthodontist (or various ones if you’re searching) to see what all their options, payment plans, and costs are. Some orthodontists will have a monthly payment plan you can take advantage of.

Taking care of all aspects of our health, including our teeth, is an important part of being a healthy human being. Orthodontic treatment can be expensive, but by knowing your options and asking the right questions you can be on top of your orthodontic plans.


READ MORE
Check out Angie’s List to see more about different treatment types and their costs.


Read more about the pros and cons of different braces types.


Read here the signs of needing braces for adults and children.


Visit the American Association of Orthodontics to see answers to frequently asked orthodontic questions.


Read the Check City article, “Tip of The Week: When You Get a Raise, Save More, Don’t Spend More” to learn about how raises can help you save for braces.


Check out our Personal Loans Page to see how Check City can help you with unexpected bills such as medical and dental bills.


FEATURE IMAGE BY LESLY JUAREZ

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.”

How to Gain Weight on a Budget

budget-gain-weight
 
Losing weight isn’t the only way to stay healthy. Nowadays we understand that when it comes to weight, less isn’t always better. Whether you simply need to gain weight, or you’re trying to gain muscle mass, these tips can help you reach your weight gain goals.

While most people in the country are looking for ways to lose weight, some people are looking to do the exact opposite. For every person that has trouble losing weight, there is somebody struggling to gain weight. This could be because they want to bulk up and gain more muscle, or because they have a higher than average metabolism that makes it difficult for them to gain and maintain a healthy BMI.

To Maintain a Better BMI

For those that do not know, BMI stands for Body Mass Index. This is a weight-to-height ratio that helps indicate where you are on the spectrum between being over or underweight. The US Department of Health and Human Services has an easy to use BMI calculator that tells you whether you are underweight, normal, overweight, or obese. All you have to do is input your height in feet and inches, and your weight in pounds.

Why Is Being Underweight Bad for Your Health?

Knowing your BMI is important because it isn’t healthy to be overweight OR underweight. We hear a lot these days about how unhealthy it is to be overweight, but many studies have shown that it can be just as unhealthy to be underweight.

  • Worldwide, underweight children are at greater risk for childhood mortality and disease, particularly pneumonia.
  • Underweight pregnant women have a greatly likelihood to suffer complications during pregnancy, like Intrauterine Growth Retardation (IUGR), which affects the healthy development of the fetus.
  • Underweight men are at greater risk for early all-cause mortality than men in the normal weight range.
  • Being underweight can cause osteoporosis and protein deficiency in the elderly.

To Gain Muscle Mass

Maybe you’re not underweight and you just want to gain muscle weight. Either case will find the following tips helpful. Some people want to build up muscle for sports, weightlifting, an acting role, or a job that requires physical work.
Whether you’re looking to bulk up with muscle or just add some curves to your physique, gaining weight can be expensive. Luckily there are some simple ways to gain weight on a budget. It doesn’t have to entail crazy dieting measures like binging unhealthy fast foods or eating out of cans everyday either. You can gain weight the healthy way while on a budget with these simple principles.

How to Gain Weight

Carb Load

The main way you gain weight is by increasing your daily calorie intake. A calorie is a unit of energy used in reference to the body. One of the main ways our bodies get energy (calories) is through carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are a type of nutrient that provides your body with a source of energy. Your body changes carbohydrates into glucose which then helps power your body, tissues, and organs on a molecular level.
Carbohydrates come in two forms—complex and simple. Complex carbohydrates are generally better for you, are less processed, contain less sugar, and take longer to digest so you’re left feeling more satisfied. Simple carbohydrates are more processed, have more sugars, and take less time to digest so you’re left feeling hungry again sooner.
Most foods have carbohydrates in them, but some of the best carbohydrate candidates are bread, rice, oatmeal, pasta, and starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn. Other fruits, vegetables, and dairy products can also be a great way to intake healthy carbohydrates, but grains really are the star when it comes to carbohydrates.
Bread is really not that expensive and you should be able to find oatmeal and other whole grain pastas for very cheap at the store. By choosing the right grains you can dramatically increase your caloric intake.
 
carb-load
 

Protein

Proteins are made up of amino acids and do a lot of the work in the body’s many cells. If you think about anything having to do you’re your body’s cells, you can bet proteins are there doing all the hard work. Proteins also help our bodies have strong bones, muscles, and skin. Increasing your protein intake is a great way to build up healthy muscle mass and weight.
Great sources of protein include meat, nuts, beans, and animal products like dairy, eggs, and cheese. Protein from meat and animal products are complete proteins with all the amino acids that our bodies need. Plants are incomplete proteins meaning they don’t have all the amino acids your body needs. If you only eat plant based proteins you just have to make sure you eat lots of different plants in order to get all the different amino acids you need.
 
protein
 

Healthy Fats & Oils

Fats and oils are an important part of any diet. While you may hear a lot of people telling you to not eat fats or oils, there are some healthy ones you should be eating. Some healthy examples of fats and oils that are good for you are extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, fish, avocado, nuts, yogurt, and peanut butter. Peanut butter is a great way to get healthy fats and oils on a budget because it’s fairly cheap and is loaded with calories and protein as well.
There are three kinds of fats—saturated, unsaturated (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), and trans fats. You want to consume unsaturated fats and avoid saturated and trans fats. Healthy unsaturated fats are good for you because they protect your heart from disease and lower bad blood cholesterol.
 
fats-oils
 

Exercise

If you’re trying to gain muscle weight then obviously you need to exercise. But if you’re just trying to gain weight you can benefit from exercise as well! Cardio workouts are great for building your heart and lung health, but cardio exercises are primarily helpful in losing weight. Strength training is the kind of exercises that will help you gain healthy weight and build muscle mass.

How to Plan Your Weight Gain Budget!

After gaining a better understanding of the nutrients your body needs and the costs of basic healthy groceries, you can budget and make a plan.
health-quotes

Make Your Goals

Not only do you need to create goals for how much you need to budget out for food, but you also need to know your specific weight gain goal. This will help you create an effective meal plan that works for your body and your budget.

  1. Decide how much you want to spend on groceries each week.
  2. Then choose your healthy groceries full of complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats and oils and stay within that weekly grocery budget goal.

This is why it helps to make a grocery list before you go shopping because at home you can pick your groceries and calculate the cost of everything to make sure you stay within budget before you even get to the store!

Organize Yourself

You should be keeping track of your caloric intake in three separate amounts—how much of your calories are proteins, carbs, and fats. If you keep a log of these three key numbers and use the food pyramid to balance things out, you will be surprised at how much you are able to gain.

Maintain a Balance

While your major goal may be to gain weight don’t forget to still eat vegetables and fruits. Vegetables and fruits have essential vitamins and minerals so keep them in your diet as well. It’s important that you not only eat to gain weight, but that you eat to be healthy as well.
 
We all need to eat and we all have physical goals about our health and our weight. But while you go about planning, remember that you aren’t just reaching short term goals, you are creating a lifestyle for yourself. Remember that it’s not just about gaining weight, it’s about practicing a healthier way to live. It’s also important to still eat things you like even if you are on a weight gain diet. Enjoying your diet will make it feel more like a meal plan, and ensure you keep these healthier habits in the long run.


READ MORE
Read more about effective ways to gain weight in the Mayo Clinic’s article, “ What’s a Good Way to Gain Weight if You’re Underweight?

12 Helpful Tips When Finding the Right Gym

gym tips

Here are some tips to consider when finding the right gym for you:

  1. Work Out Near Home
  2. Visit When You Normally Workout
  3. Look for Cleanliness
  4. Gym Reciprocity
  5. Read the Contract
  6. Compare Pricing
  7. Observe the Culture
  8. What Machines Do They Have?
  9. Ask About Emergency Care
  10. What Classes Do They Offer?
  11. Look for the Long Term
  12. Don’t Forget the Locker Rooms

We make fitness goals all the time, but when we continue to fail at reaching those goals, it can be really discouraging. Having a gym membership can be just what you need to finally reach your goals this year. The gym industry is huge in America, so it can be difficult finding the perfect gym.

1. Work Out Near Home

Location can be very important when finding the right gym. Find a gym that is near your home, or on the way to work. If you have to go out of your way to the gym, you probably won’t go as much, so it’s a good idea to pick a gym close by work or home. Create a list of local gyms in your area that you are interested in.

After you have a list of the local gyms, you can research their websites to see what they offer. When you have narrowed the gyms down to the few you want to check out, hit the pavement. Most gyms offer a three-day or one week pass, to check out their services. Talk to the staff and other members to gauge how the gym meets your needs. As you work out, evaluate how you feel at the gym. If you feel positive, this is a great possibility.

2. Visit When You Normally Workout

Are you a morning person or an afternoon person? Do you like to workout first thing in the morning? Or maybe you like to work out right after work, in the afternoon. Or, maybe you like to work out late in the evening! Visit the gym whenever you are most likely to work out each day. By doing this, you can gauge the crowd control and see if that would be a problem for you.

3. Look for Cleanliness

gym cleanliness
 

Check for a clean environment and machines. People touch the equipment all day, so cleanliness is essential. With so many people touching the equipment, the chances of catching someone else’s sickness is high. So if the gym employees keep the equipment clean and in good repair that’s a good sign.

4. Gym Reciprocity

Ask about reciprocity agreements with other gyms within your city, or even nationwide. Many gyms are part of a network and will allow you to work out as you travel, or they have multiple locations. Don’t be afraid to ask about reciprocity so you know whether you can use their other gyms as well.

5. Read the Contract

gym membership
 

Check your contract to ensure that you understand everything you are signing. If your credit card will be charged automatically, make sure you know the exact amount you will be charged. Ask about the fees and different pricing options. It is also important to understand how long you are under contract. Make sure that you understand how to cancel your contract, should you need to.

If you’re gym shopping you should be able to ask for a copy of the contract to take home and read through. You’ll want to make sure there aren’t any hidden fees, and that you understand any rules.

6. Compare Pricing

It is important to gather and compare all the gym membership prices and gym membership deals. This can play a major key in finding the right gym. Some gyms charge more because they offer more, and some offer better deals at different times!

A good way to do this is to gather the data about all the places you’re thinking of and make notes of everything in the same notebook. This way you can see the different prices all in one place.

7. Observe the Culture

Gym culture is a real thing and every gym has one. If you’re going to have an aversion to a certain kind of gym culture, then you’ll want to look out for those things when you go visit. You want to make sure the atmosphere in the gym is friendly, safe, and comfortable. Dealing with a toxic, or obnoxious gym culture is the last thing you need when you’re trying to work out.

8. What Machines Do They Have?

gym machines
 

A good mix of machines and equipment is a great sign. They even say that an assortment of different brands is a sign of a quality gym, since different brands will make certain equipment better than others. Make sure the treadmills, ellipticals, and other machines will fit your needs so you can switch your workouts up with different exercises.

Above all you want to make sure they have the machines you want. If you’re an avid treadmill runner then a gym with no treadmills wouldn’t be the right fit for you. Also, if they only have 2 treadmills that are always in use, you may want to look elsewhere, since the machines you want will always be busy.

9. Ask About Emergency Care

You may never need emergency care services at the gym, but it is a place where sudden emergencies could arise from overexertion, or through dealing with heavy equipment.

Are the gym staff trained in CPR? Is there an AED kit nearby with staff trained to use that too? These are all questions that are perfectly acceptable for you to ask when visiting prospective gyms.

10. What Classes Do They Offer?

gym classes
 
You want to take full advantage of your gym. Workout classes and trainers are one of the ways you can do this. Signing up for scheduled classes can really help you to stay on track with your fitness plans.

Gyms can also offer a lot of extra amenities besides lockers and machines. Some even have a food court or a smoothie bar. If there are any special amenities you need in a gym, make sure you add them to your gym shopping list and star the options that include them.

11. Look for the Long Term

Don’t be blinded by flash deals! Just because there are deals it doesn’t mean they are the best gym to go with in the long term. A gym membership is a long term thing. Daily workouts can be a part of the rest of your life. So shop with the long term in mind.

12. Don’t Forget the Locker Rooms

What about the locker rooms? Maybe you’ll bring your gym clothes with you in a gym bag, but having a locker at the gym can be nice in case there is anything you need at the gym every day. So don’t forget to check out the locker rooms to make sure they’re comfortable and clean as well.

 

Finding the perfect gym for you can take a little research. But with the right research you can find a gym that will help you keep your fitness goals and resolutions.


READ MORE

Learn more about how to find your next gym, “How To Find The Right Gym For You

Get yourself to not only find a gym, but get yourself to go, “11 Easy Ways to Find the Right Gym (So You’ll Actually Go)


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