(Family Features) With remote and hybrid work schedules here to stay for many Americans, it’s important to have a space dedicated to comfort and productivity. The initial transition to remote work may have involved setting up an impromptu workstation at the dining room table but creating a long-term, functional home office can be one of the first steps to increasing efficiency, focus and productivity.
Whether your work area is a spacious room, small den or desk in a quiet spot in the house, these ideas can help you create a space where you enjoy working.
Select the Perfect Location
While some remote workers have a spare bedroom or den they can dedicate as a home office, others may need to create a multiuse area in which office space occupies another room, such as the dining room, family room or basement. If you have several options for your workspace, consider how lighting and sound may impact your ability to focus.
For example, positioning your desk near a window can help increase your mood and reduce boredom. Similarly, if possible, choose a location where noise from other family members moving around or traffic outside will be less of a distraction. Earplugs or background noise can help drown out sounds if you’re restricted to a specific location in your home.
Keep Color in Mind
Colors can influence productivity and mood, so it’s important to consider them when designing or updating your workspace. Avoid white, which can lead to boredom, and instead choose a color scheme that can make a positive impact. Warm colors like red or orange can increase energy; blues are relaxing and can help keep blood pressure down; and green can help reduce stress.
An on-trend option like the Granny Chic Home Office from Wellborn Cabinet, Inc., can be set up in nearly any area of the home to create a stylish workspace. Featuring Premier Series cabinets with Napa doors in an olive finish and satin nickel hardware, this desk and hutch also includes base and crown moulding to help set it apart as a space devoted to productivity. Plus, accessories like a wastebasket pullout, drawer inserts and dividers, and tiered organizers can make organization easy.
Choose a Desk and Chair
Start by measuring your space to see how large of a desk you can accommodate then decide between a traditional desk or trendy adjustable-height version, which can allow you to sit and stand throughout the workday and has been shown to provide health benefits in addition to increasing work performance. An ergonomic chair with a padded seat and armrests is also a must-have to provide lumbar support and increase comfort while seated.
Find Storage Solutions
Storage is one of the most critical aspects when designing your home office. To avoid clutter and keep documents and other items organized, consider options such as built-in cabinets and shelving, base cabinets with desk file drawers, utility cabinets and wall bookcases. You can even customize your cabinets and choose from a wide selection of styles including traditional, transitional, casual, formal, contemporary or eclectic with options from Wellborn Cabinet.
Add Plants and Decor
Office plants provide numerous benefits, including improving air quality and increasing productivity. In fact, a study published in the “Journal of Environmental Horticulture” found productivity increased 12% when workers performed a task on a computer in a room with plants compared to those who performed the task in the same room without plants. Low-maintenance species such as orchids and succulents also produce a pleasant aroma and earthy atmosphere to decrease stress.
In addition, consider your space’s decorations if you will be conducting video calls. If your home office doesn’t have much natural light, place a light source behind the camera. While the background for your calls should be relatively neutral, a mural or art on the walls or shelves can complement your professionalism and add a creative touch to your space.
Find more home office inspiration at Wellborn.com.
Wellborn Cabinet, Inc.
How to care for fresh flowers
(Family Features) The beauty of having a garden is buds continually blooming on one plant or another throughout most of the year. While this provides lovely views from your windows, it can also be nice to bring some beauty indoors.
Don’t be afraid to snip off a few blossoms each week. Many plants thrive after trimming and may reward you with even more flowers. Once you’ve gathered a bouquet from your garden, consider these tips to help keep fresh flowers at their best for a week or more:
- Bacteria can quickly destroy fresh flowers, which is why it’s important to use a clean vase. Any floral foam, wires or frogs used in your arrangement must also be washed in warm, soapy water.
- Remove any lower leaves that may come in contact with water inside the vase.
- Carefully trim each flower stem at a 90-degree angle. It may also be helpful to cut flowers while they are underwater to keep moisture flowing into the stems.
- Keep your arrangement out of direct sunlight. The darker and cooler the room, the longer your blossoms will bloom.
- Adding a crushed aspirin, bleach, vinegar, sugar or penny to the vase are age-old tricks. However, you can keep bacteria at bay and help flowers thrive by adding a packet of flower food to the water. It can be found at your local florist or home improvement store.
Flowers are living things that still require water, food and care after they are cut. Every 2-3 days, be sure to change the water, replenish the flower food and recut the stems for additional days of glorious color.
Find more ideas for freshening up your indoor spaces at eLivingtoday.com.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
5 lifestyle changes to help combat incontinence
(Family Features) Sometimes living a healthy lifestyle can feel like an impossible task when combined with all your other responsibilities like working a full-time job, taking care of family and friends or spending time in the gym. Add dealing with an underlying health condition and it may seem almost overwhelming.
For example, a condition such as urinary incontinence is a common problem that is often difficult to manage and can range from a light leak while coughing or sneezing to even greater loss of bladder control.
In fact, almost two-thirds of U.S. women over the age of 20 will experience leaking, according to the experts at FitRight Fresh Start. While stress, aging and obesity can cause incontinence, certain health events unique to women such as pregnancy, childbirth and menopause can also cause problems with the muscles and nerves that help control your bladder.
Consider these healthy lifestyle changes to help combat issues like urinary incontinence:
Focus on Fluid Intake
While it may seem counterintuitive when dealing with certain conditions, it’s important to hydrate appropriately. In fact, drinking too infrequently can cause other issues like dehydration. To avoid frequent or urgent needs to urinate, the Mayo Clinic recommends drinking smaller amounts throughout the day, such as 16 ounces with each meal and 8 ounces between meals. If you find yourself waking multiple times at night to urinate, try drinking more of your fluids in the morning and afternoon rather than evening, and avoid alcohol and beverages with caffeine like coffee, tea and soda.
Make Dietary Modifications
The things you eat can have an impact on your condition – both positively and negatively. For example, alcohol; spicy foods; chocolate; artificial sweeteners; caffeinated, carbonated and citrus beverages; and high-acid foods, like citrus and tomatoes, may contribute to bladder irritation, according to the National Institutes of Health. On the other hand, consider incorporating more of these foods considered good for bladder health:
- Green beans
- Winter squash
- Sea bass
- Eggs or egg whites
- Whole grains
Manage Bladder Leaks
Changing day-to-day habits may improve bladder control, but for those living with leaks, it’s important to manage the condition rather than letting it disrupt your life or define you. One way to do that is choosing products that allow you to live your life to the fullest.
For example, created for women by women, FitRight Fresh Start offers a range of options including discreet underwear, surface protectors, liners and pads that fit close to your body and smoothly under your clothes – all available in a variety of sizes and styles – deliver one-of-a-kind wetness and odor control and uncompromising personal care. The proven power of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda helps fight odor faster and longer, and ultra-advanced materials instantly absorb and trap moisture to keep you feeling dry and confident all day long. Additionally, they’re built for maximum comfort for discreet use whether you’re staying on the couch or heading out on the town, and the 100% breathable materials enriched with vitamin E help soften and protect sensitive skin.
Maintain a Healthy Weight and Stay Active
Two factors that have been shown to be part of nearly every healthy lifestyle include overall body strength and weight loss, which can be improved by increasing physical activity. Seek out exercises you enjoy so you can get physical while having fun. Aim for 30 minutes daily of low-impact activities such as brisk walking, biking or swimming.
As a habit that can be detrimental to overall health, smokers are also more likely to suffer more severe symptoms from a variety of conditions, according to the Mayo Clinic. For instance, heavy smokers may also develop a chronic cough, which could cause pressure on the bladder, further aggravating urinary incontinence.
Find more savvy tips to slow urinary incontinence at FitRightFreshStart.com.
Understanding Urinary Incontinence
If you’re experiencing bladder leaks, dealing with them and the frustrations they bring shouldn’t keep you from freely living your full, multifaceted life. Designed for women by women, FitRight Fresh Start offers this information to help you learn about leaks and understand what’s happening to give you the power to keep bladder leaks from disrupting or defining your life.
Common Kinds of Urinary Incontinence
Strong urges: That overwhelming need to use the restroom right away is known as urge incontinence, which frequently involves some level of unwelcome, involuntary leakage.
Stress and pressure: This is the type of incontinence many people experience and hate when they leak a little (or sometimes a lot) simply because a tiny sneeze or good laugh put extra pressure on the bladder. Jumping and heavy lifting are also causes.
Ongoing overflow: If it feels like your bladder is never completely empty and you feel a slow, continuous drip, you’re experience overflow incontinence.
Common Causes of Urinary Incontinence
Motherhood: Carrying a bundle of joy inside your body for nine months then giving birth is bound to put pressure on your pelvic floor muscles, which don’t always bounce back, especially after multiple births.
Menopause: Leaks can begin in perimenopause, before you actually stop having periods, usually in your 40s or 50s. As hormones shift, lower estrogen levels can lead to less elastic, weaker pelvic floor muscles.
Medical issues: Health conditions like diabetes, nerve or joint conditions, urinary tract infections and obesity can cause bladder leaks, too, as well as physical limitations that inhibit your ability to make it to the bathroom in time.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images
FitRight Fresh Start
Calming color: Design inspiration for a comforting, relaxing home
(Family Features) Updating your home can provide the perfect opportunity to explore new design styles or refresh living spaces with a new color scheme. In fact, a coat of paint can help set the mood for entire rooms in your home.
By turning to nature-inspired designs, you can create a sense of comfort and relaxation. A hybrid color, like Valspar’s 2024 Color of the Year, Renew Blue, is gentle and airy with a touch of blue to set a restful and meditative mood. The grayed sea green – inspired by fleeting things such as fog, mist, clouds and glacier lakes – is a seasonless and versatile hue that features a mid-tone blue with warm undertones and can be used in outdoor living spaces and four-season rooms alike.
“This mid-tone shade has become popular for wellness environments over the years due to its low saturation level, which evokes a sense of rest and calm,” said Sue Kim, Valspar’s director of color marketing. “The harmonious green and blue open the possibility for outdoor applications, blurring the boundary between interior and exterior.”
To help elevate the mood in your home, consider implementing Renew Blue into one of these popular design trends that can update the look of nearly any of your indoor or outdoor spaces.
Coastal looks are timeless designs that have remained relevant for years because of their positive correlation to calming beach locations. Perfect for outdoor spaces like the backyard, you can implement a more curated and personal take on the trend by shifting from “typical” coastal design that pairs beachy hues with natural textures like rope, driftwood and wicker to something more classic and natural like the Cape Cod variation by working in some nautical touches like anchors, oars or seashells.
In the entryway, using beautiful and functional decor, such as unique ceramics and handwoven textiles, helps usher in a modern rustic style. By using timeless tones and accents, as well as layering heritage art, you can create visual mystery while elevating the ordinary to make your home feel warm and welcoming to guests from the moment they walk through the door.
Modern Traditional is a style that came together over time, and the Hygge look is a refined take. It pulls elementary cues from traditional farmhouse style but has shaker-inspired elements mixed in and is done with a slightly modern twist. It can make a larger space like the kitchen feel welcoming, open, carefully curated and warm.
Boho is a nature-loving and free-spirited style connected to earthy and botanical elements. From handmade decor to vintage metallic finishes, this style reimagines the past and elevates everyday spaces like bathrooms into personal retreats designed with wellness in mind.
Leaning into the modern sentiment of “less is more,” this style reflects a naturally minimalist design aesthetic and showcases color coordination with mood-boosting hues and joyful color. Perfect for nurseries and other spaces that should be bright and welcoming, pieces with pared-back, welcoming shapes and silhouettes that allow quality natural materials to shine are perfect for decorating the room.
Visit Valspar.com to find more on-trend home design inspiration and order up to 10 free paint chips to be delivered to your home to see how your favorite colors will fit your space.
Exploring Color Pairings
If a concept like color drenching – using one color from the baseboards to the ceiling and decor – isn’t what you’re envisioning, pairing a gentle and airy color like Renew Blue with other hues may be just the trick to create the space of your dreams. Consider these popular Valspar pairing options:
- Perfect Backdrop: The familiar, natural tone of beige has returned strong, balancing warm and cool shades to create comforting spaces that harmonize well with various design styles.
- Dusk in the Valley: A barely-there, grayed pastel that is soothing to the senses, even amid constant changes. Layering pale tints in various materials can create a sense of calm and relaxation.
Personalized Advice for Your Space
If you’re unsure where to begin your color search – or need advice on color matching, building your painting confidence or troubleshooting complicated projects – the experts at Valspar offer free virtual advice. Simply provide details about your space, lighting and style preferences using the questionnaire at valspar.com/en/color-consultation and by uploading photos of your space and any inspiration to receive personalized recommendations directly to your account.
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