Are Video Games Bad?

There’s been a back and forth debate on whether video games are bad for you. One of the most common arguments includes whether or not violent video games, like shooter games, cause aggressive or anti-social behavior. Well in a study conducted by the LA Times “There isn’t a lot of evidence to support theories that video games, particularly violent video games, foster anti-social or violent tendencies in young people.”

However, there is a slight chance that people may develop violent tendencies, but the sample size is too small to shoulder the blame on games. There are other factors that lead to violent behavior.

Even though video games do have their fair share of health issues, they also have many benefits, starting with stress relief.

Sometimes life can be stressful and can throw many unexpected curveballs. It’s important to let your mind breathe and relax. One of the best ways to relieve your stress is to sit down for a few hours and play one of your favorite video games. This will allow you to shift your focus elsewhere and allow enjoyment for the levels you are trying to complete.

Video games work your brain just as much as your hands. It takes comprehension and intelligence to complete difficult levels. Your brain is a muscle and you have to exercise it to make it stronger. Video games can help your brain grow as iD Tech writes “playing video games increases grey matter (basically, the size of your brain) and helps refine learned and hardwired skills.” Who said video games make you dumb? Now that just sounds silly.

There are also many features gaming consoles have to offer. From streaming Hulu to surfing the internet, gaming consoles are mostly known for keeping communication with your peers. It’s essential to partner up and strategize with your friends to take down an enemy. However, the main reason why the party chat feature is so great is that you’re allowed to your closest friends or to people all over the world. Playing a video game alone is satisfactory, but there’s no other feeling than playing with other people. A healthy communication among peers defeats depression and loneliness. BBC News writes “being part of a team and making new friends is claimed to help with depression.”

Creative minds are able to think of unusual solutions and tend to think outside the box. Playing video games can be challenging and sometimes there isn’t an easy route to defeat the last boss. You have to rely on out of the box tactics or tricks. This can too apply to real-world situations. Playing video games can stretch your imagination beyond its limit. Think of how we evolved from Tetris to VR gaming. It’s incredible how far we’ve come and that’s thanks to people who strive to be game designers to innovate the playing field.

Video games aren’t all bad as some try to make it seem. Whether it’s Tetris or call of duty, pick up your phone or controller and escape from the world. Just like in a video game, there are levels to complete in life too.

Seven Ways to Improve Workmate Relationships

A major factor that plays a role in your happiness at your job is the environment. Establishing a good relationship with your colleagues can help ease the troubles you may find yourself at work. It can also lead to better production as MindTools states, “if people who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs.” If you’re shy or not a people’s person, here are 7 ways to improve your relationship with your fellow employees.

  • Start with small talk – Forget the high and bye that goes on passing through the hallway. Make an effort and engage in conversation with someone. However, make sure to do that when they’re on break or not busy. If you’re trying to start a conversation while they are hard at work can have the opposite effect.
  • Eat together during breaks – Instead of sitting alone in your office or cubicle, continue to build up steam. After you have engaged in some small talk, make the effort to it together during lunch breaks. The lunch break is a great opportunity to get to know each other. Try to talk about things you would have in common with him/her.
  • Improve your listening skills – paying attention to someone goes a long way because it shows that genuinely enjoy having a conversation with this person. One of the biggest turn offs is not paying attention to someone while talking to you.
  • Avoid gossip – It’s sad that once a high school activity still takes place in the work place. Keep it professional. Don’t engage in childish acts because it is one of the quickest ways to have a bad reputation. Instead of being a bystander, stand up for the individual who is the target of gossip. This shows respect and loyalty for the individual and others around the work place.
  • Positive energy – Nobody likes a negative Nancy, so smile often, stand up straight with your chest out, and develop a cheery tone. People are gravitated by those who have positive energy and it can help by getting a lot of recognition. You can also engage in positive topics that will help bring up the mood for other people. If you express negative energy, then people will be wary of you and will most likely try to avoid you.
  • Don’t be too compelling – You want to maintain the relationship, not ruin it. It’s okay to give some space here and there. Sometimes people will need their space and it’s okay to allow that. Work can be hectic at times, so trying to start a conversation while they’re working hard can become a nuisance and just get in the way.
  • Appreciate your colleagues – Appreciating your fellow workmates can say a lot about ones character. Remembering their birthdays, brining donuts in the morning, or buying them coffee when it’s going to be a busy day is a great way to show how much you respect them. The little things you do can come with a big reward.

 

It can be hard making friends at your job and sometimes you won’t get the results you expect. Some people are who they are and you must respect their feelings. However, it doesn’t mean you stop trying. So put yourself out there and make some friends with familiar faces.

Mosquitoes

You hear the silent buzz. You feel the urge to itch, and as you rub the itch, you feel another spot to itch. It’s annoying, aggravating, and frustrating. If you can infer of what I’m talking about, then you too know that all mosquitoes should be destroyed. Well, that’s physically impossible, but there are some ways to combat these pestering insects.

However, before we get to that, mosquitoes are important for our ecosystem and play a big part in our daily lives. Gizmodo points out “many other insects and small fish feed on them and the loss of that food source would cause their numbers to decline as well. Anything that feeds on them, such as game fish, raptorial birds, etc. would in turn suffer.” In short, mosquitoes feed us. However, according to national geographic “mosquito-borne disease causes millions of deaths worldwide every year with a disproportionate effect on children and the elderly in developing countries.” They must be minimized to all humans, and here’s how.

Mosquito spray – Invest in a good mosquito spray. This will create a barrier around your body that will force mosquitoes to stay away. The better the spray, the likelihood of not getting your blood sucked increases.

Mosquito repellant – Try surrounding the areas where you spend time outside with mosquito repellant. This will create a perimeter blocking mosquitoes from entering. The best type of repellent you want to look for is anything that contains the chemical N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET). Mosquito.org states that DEET “remains the standard by which all other repellents are judged.”

Natural repellant – There are certain plants you can plant outside your house that acts as a repellent from mosquitoes. These plants include citronella, basil, and lemongrass. You can fill up your garden or backyard with pretty plants and kill pest at the same time.

Water – Mosquitoes’ love water, so try moving any items that contain water. This includes flowerpots, containers, and hoses. This will send mosquitoes to a different direction rather than yourself.

Window screens – Place window screens to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside your home. Mosquitoes are tricky and hard to see; installing a window screen will stop any small bugs from entering without asking.

Bed net – The most annoying time a mosquito can pierce you is at night. A bed net that would hang over your bed is a great way to block any mosquito from entering and disturbing your sleep.

Stay inside during dusk – Mosquitoes are everywhere but are most active during the nighttime. If possible, try to stay inside during those times. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds, but it’s a good thing you have repellent and spray to give you extra protection while you’re outside.

Mosquitoes are pestering but there are ways to make them less annoying. Make sure to be cautious when going outside and take appropriate actions when dealing with mosquitoes.

Beat the Heat

With 2019 becoming one of the hottest years so far as January through March ranked as the third hottest YTD on record according to NOAA.gov, it has forced many people to stay inside rather than enjoy the beautiful days outside. If you were to go outside for a long period of time, it could have significant t effects on your body and health. Here are some ways you can beat the heat.

Drink plenty of water – It is said to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day according to Healthline. The harsh environments during the summer switch the narrative from recommended requiring. Make sure to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and refreshed.

Avoid dark colors – Black colored clothing absorbs more heat from the sun than white. Before you make your trip outside, be wary of the colors you wear. Darker colors tend to make your body warmer than usual.

Avoid sodas/energy drinks/alcohol – According to an insider, “alcohol is a diuretic, which makes the body lose fluids by making you have to go the bathroom more often.” Coffee, energy drinks, and sodas all fall under as a diuretic. High sugar content associated with these drinks also prevents your body from absorbing the water it needs.

Bring a water bottle – Make it a habit to bring your own reusable water bottle. This will ensure you to have water at your hands at all times and help reach your daily consumption of eight 8-ounces a day. You can find tumblers for as cheap as five to ten dollars.

Apply sunscreen – If you plan on staying outside for a long period of time, then you should consider applying some sunscreen. Sunscreen is used to prevent your skin from heating up and sunburns. If you plan to walk your dog or workout at the neighborhood park, it might be a good idea to rub some sunscreen.

AC – Make sure the ac units in your car and home are up to date. Check the maintenance and all parts are functional. Add free- on to make sure you’re getting the coldest air possible. The heat can be so overwhelming, that it will cause your AC units to blow hot air or force your unit to work harder than usual. Keep it a priority to check up on your AC during hot times.

Limit your time outside – It’s difficult to stay indoors on a beautiful day, but the longer you stay outside in high temperatures increases the likelihood of suffering a heat stroke. Heat strokes include dizziness, headaches, and rapid pulse. According to Medicine Health “Confusion, hallucinations, seizures, loss of consciousness, organ damage, coma, and death can occur if not treated quickly and effectively.” the same can go for younger kids and pets. Make sure to regulate their time outside as they have a higher risk to obtain symptoms of heatstroke. Take a look at our Heat stress blog that will further inform you about heat-related symptoms.

Park under the shade/garage – When driving to a convenient store; park in spots that have shade. This will prevent the car from getting too hot or overheating when you’re at the store for long hours. If you have a garage, take advantage of it. Leaving your car with the blistering sun pounding on it can ruin paint and any objects left in your car.

It’s hot and you know your body better than anyone. Always pay attention to what your body is signaling to you so you won’t have to suffer from any heat like symptoms.

Binge Watching

Laying down and watching one of your favorite TV shows is a great way to spend a day off. It relaxes you, de-stresses you, and helps you escape the world for a while. Binge-watching consist of watching TV shows or movies for a lengthy period of time. One of the main reasons why we enjoy binge-watching is due to the chemical dopamine. NBC News writes “this chemical gives the body a natural, internal reward of pleasure that reinforces continued engagement in that activity.” However, if you abuse it, it can be unhealthy and addicting. 

When you’re binge-watching one of your favorite shows, you’re most likely sitting or lying down on the couch. According to Reader Digest “Sitting for long stretches of time increases your risk of health issues (including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer), even if you also exercise regularly.” To avoid this, take a few breaks from each episode and go outside for a walk. You can also stand up while watching to help increase blood flow. Be cautious of your body when you lye or sit down for long periods of time. Once you start to get comfortable then addiction will begin to take place.

Addiction is never good, no matter what it is. No one ever says “okay let’s get addicted to watching TV.” Binge-watching can become very addicting because your mind tells you “one more episode” or “this is the last one” and you instead ignore your brain and you finish a whole season. Time travels very fast and next thing you know its 9 p.m. and it’s time to get ready for bed. Once you begin to focus on the screen, you’ll start to notice a change in your body.

Whether it’s on your phone or your TV in the living room, your eyes are glued to the brightness of the screen. Long periods of focus on the screen can put huge amounts of strain on your eyes. According to the Washington Post, “80 percent of Americans use digital devices for more than two hours a day, and 59 percent of them report eye strain, neck and shoulder pain, dry eyes, headaches, and blurred vision.” You may not be able to notice right away, just like some other things you will ignore.

Like I said earlier, you can lose track of time when you’re watching an episode after another. If you tend to spend many hours sitting on the couch and watching TV, you could forget to eat, neglect your pets, and fail to do your chores and work. If you have an important presentation to present at work, you can easily lose a lot of time by just binge-watching. Slowly your mental health will be affected.

Once you finish a series, it can leave a sad imprint in your brain. It may have been a happy ending but don’t you ever think to yourself “I wish I can still experience the series” or “I hope it’s not the end.”? It’s because watching someone on TV helps you escape the real world and tricks you into thinking you’re living with one of your favorite characters set. NBC News explains “when we finish binge-watching a series, we actually mourn the loss.”

If you’re not careful, binge-watching can become a dangerous activity. If you do decide to binge-watch on your days off or on a workday, make sure to complete your entire task beforehand. You should also try implementing break times in between episodes. This will allow you to eat regularly, move around, and take care of some small chores. Binge-watching isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s the audience who is spoiled from enjoyment to lose sight.

 

Returning to Work After Vacation

Mid way through the summer and the warmer weather also calls for vacation! Going on vacation and having a few days off is always an exciting time. You can go someplace new and unwind without the stressors of daily life.

Although taking a few days off for vacation sounds amazing, returning to work after a vacation can be daunting, whether you were only gone for a few days or you took an extended trip. Regardless if you went out of town or you simply use your off days to stay at home and decompress, the first day back at work after some time off can be a little rough. Here are some tips for productivity and so that you can make the transition back a little less difficult.

Before you leave:

  • Make a list of projects and/or assignments.
  • Make sure your area is organized – get rid of unnecessary clutter and organize your desk/cubicle drawers.
  • Delegate tasks to others. Give some tasks that you might normally do to other people. This will help so that your responsibilities aren’t totally being neglected while you’re gone, and you don’t feel as swamped when you come back.
  • Let your co-workers know that you’ll be gone and when you’ll be back. Even though you may have let your supervisor know and you formally requested the time off, your coworkers might not be aware. Let them know so that they can coordinate with you.
  • Do extra work before you leave. If you do more assignments before you leave, you can get ahead so that when you get back, you can have a somewhat light workload for the first few days back.
  • Turn on auto-response messages on your e-mail informing people that you will not be in the office. Set your voicemail to explain that you are on vacation and make sure you let people know when you will be back.
  • Pre-vacation. If your schedule permits, give yourself a full day in between your last day of work and the day before you are scheduled to leave for vacation. Try to stay off your electronic devices and not think about what’s going on in the office.

During vacation:

  • Unplug. Try to avoid looking at your emails and messaging your co-workers.
  • Enjoy your time away and relax! It’s important to use this time for its intended purpose. Going on vacation does a lot to keep you healthy, both physically and mentally.
  • Adjust your sleep schedule. Make sure you go to sleep at the same time as when you know you have to work the next morning. If you’re not on vacation for very long, make sure your sleep schedule doesn’t get too off-track.

When you come back:

  • Come home early – Give yourself a few days to adjust to your normal routine. Try to dedicate a day to personal errands alone, whether that’s grocery shopping and cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, or just sleeping the whole day.
  • First day back at work – come in early, if you can, and catch up. Give yourself an extra 30 minutes to an hour to check emails, voicemails, and figure out what problems happened while you were away. From there, you can make a list of what you need to do, starting from most to least important.
  • Take it easy. If you throw yourself in full-force, it will cause you to be overly stressed, which will hurt the quality of your work.
  • Catch up on emails. Check in with your supervisor and colleagues as soon as you can. Find out what you missed while you were away.

You don’t have to feel flustered the minute you go back to work. With some planning and a positive attitude, it won’t take you long to get back into your normal routine.

 

Written my Dami Falade

Benefits of a Good Chair

Whether you’re at work or home, you usually spend at least eight or more hours sitting down and you begin to realize that your legs or back begin to feel uncomfortable. Chairs are one of the main pieces of furniture that you use daily and it’s important to choose the right chair for you. Here are some reasons why you should invest in a good chair:

  • Health benefits – Owning a good office chair can have many benefits, one of the most important one is your health. A high end office chair can solve the problems of back, leg, and rear pain. Apartment therapy states “a good office chair provides proper lumbar and pelvic support which results in your back muscles being less stressed.” You should never ignore the screams your body has been telling you. By buying a quality office chair, your health issues will be solved.
  • Durability – The common saying of “you get more for what you pay” doesn’t always apply to everything, but you should consider for a chair. The more expensive the chair, chances are that it can last you for a long time. A well rounded chair can last for ten years or more and still provide the proper lumber for you back, legs, and rear. A chair is meant to be seated on for long hours, and if it is on the verge of collapsing, then you have the wrong seat. You’ll actually save more money owning a long lasting chair compared to a cheaper one due to the possibility of last only a few years. Consider the wear and tear you put in, and buy a durable chair that will last for a long time.
  • Increase productivity – You may be thinking that end of the day a chair is a chair, but did you know that it can actually improve your productivity at work? According to the 3 Benefits Of, “a workplace equipped with office task chairs for everyone experiences an average 17% increase in productivity.” The more comfortable you are will ensure less distraction from any type of pain. Focusing on your task is important. After all a chair is a chair at the end of the day. However if you can buy the right one for you, then your work will reflect.
  • Posture – One thing for certain is that when you own a bad chair, your body is going to act just as bad. Habits like slouching or leaning can be the result of owning a decent chair. The potential of having bad posture can result in “serious blood flow issues and potentially damaging spinal tension after just 20 minutes of sitting in a poor posture.” stated by Inc. Better posture also helps your appearance stand out and makes you look determined and confident. No one wants to see a sloth at work, so if you invest on a quality chair, you just might be able to get the raise you deserve. 

Good chairs these days aren’t cheap, but you don’t have to break your bank either. Spend your money where you spend your time. Before you know it, a single piece of furniture will be able to accommodate for many things. Always do you research and buy the chair that will best for you.

*Pictured chairs are not a recommendation or endorsement

The Pros and Cons of Energy Drinks

While you’re indulging in your cold energy drink, do you really know the contents that are going into your body? Do you believe that the only thing energy drinks do is give you a boost in energy? According to Statista “about 47 percent of respondents indicated to consume energy drinks several times per week.” and it’s unknown if consuming energy drinks is beneficial or deficient. Here are some pros and cons to consider when digesting an energy drink.

PROS –

Gives a boost in energy Two key ingredients in energy drinks are sugar and caffeine. The combination of these supplements is what charges your mind and body to stay awake and energized to combat a long day. When you’re energized, you’re able to effectively complete your task.

Can improve your mood and attitude Once you’re high on energy, you’ll feel like you’ll be able to take on anything. Eliminating the groggy and temperamental mood will lead to constructive relationships among your peers and family.

Convenient Purchasing energy drinks is accessible at almost any retail store. They are also affordable with prices ranging from $1 to $5 depending on the brand.

Boost performance for workouts – Energy drinks have a high source of vitamin B, which is used to give you energy. Gulping down an energy drink before a workout can help with your performance and endurance.

Zero calorie option – A healthier option is available as its purpose is to limit weight gain and sugar consumption while having the same effect with those with sugar and calories.

CONS –

Cardiovascular problems – One of the most important factors you should keep in mind when consuming an energy drink would be the effect it could have on your heart. According to the Journal of the American Heart Association “It could actually be playing some nasty tricks on our hearts, leading to emergency room visits and even death.” If you’re not careful, excessively gulping energy drinks can lead to dangerous consequences.

High on sugar – one serving of an energy drink contains about 25 g – 39 g of sugar. Large quantity of sugar consumption can lead to the following: Jitters sleep disorders, dental problems, obesity and diabetes.

Weight gain – Energy drinks can be useful for the gym due to high amounts vitamin B, but it can also have the opposite effect if you just drink and lay on the couch. The high amounts of sugar and calories can sneak up on your body and develop unwanted weight gain if you’re not careful.

Addictive – Energy drinks can become very addictive, especially for children. Due to a high sugar intake, teens are more prone to latch on the addictive trait which could potentially become a gateway for other substances.

There are both positive and negatives when gulping an energy drink. Although, it’s up to on how you choose to drink. If you are a casual consumer, then these health effects shouldn’t be much of an issue. However, if you choose to abuse the consumption of energy drinks, then it could spell danger.

 

Written by Julien Gonzalez

Tips for Staying Healthy as a Truck Driver

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, trucking is the eighth most dangerous job in the United States. Drivers are constantly driving long distances, harsh environments, and dealing with mental fatigue. Here are some tips to consider for keeping up with your health as a truck driver.

  • Pass medical exams – In order to become a truck driver, you must be able to obtain a valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate (ME Certificate). The document will recognize that the driver is stated at good health and is capable of driving.
  • Sleep – Long distances can lead to fatigue and driving while drowsy is just as dangerous as being under the influence. In order to combat drowsiness, one should sleep for at least 7 hours and develop good sleeping habits. This will help drivers to stay awake and concentrate on the road.
  • Take breaks – Similar to sleep, a driver should take frequent breaks in order to clear the mind and destress. Take 10 to 20 minute naps and stretch your body so you can refresh and get back on the road.
  • Exercise – Even though truck drivers have a strict deadline, there is always time to perform a quick workout. By doing simple exercises like pushups and squats, 1) you’re keeping your body fit 2) as your heart rate rises, so will your energy level and 3) you’re maintaining overall good health mentally and physically.
  • Consume nutritious snacks – Treat your body like it’s your truck. If you fill it up with bad fuel, you can damage the truck as the same goes for if you eat bad food, then your body won’t preform at the level it needs to be. Snacks like peanuts, yogurt and fruits is great for acquiring the vitamins your body needs.
  • Avoid energy drinks – Energy drinks do provide a quick boost but it can lead to some long term effects. Consuming too many energy drinks can lead to a high intake of sugar, high blood pressure, and heart problems. A better alternative to energy drinks is water. Water helps maintain body temperature, weight, and gets rid of waste.
  • Constant contact with loved ones – This may sound obvious, but truck drivers are spending countless of hours driving alone to reach their destination. According to The New York Times “loneliness can impair health by raising levels of stress hormones and inflammation.” In order to avoid this state, it is important or drivers to contact their family members or loved ones every opportunity they have.

Trucking is a dangerous occupation but can be rewarding as it provides many benefits and great pay. However, health is the number priority for any occupation and as for truck drivers, implementing these tips while on the road should serve well.

 

Written by Julien Gonzalez

Sunscreen

Summer is in full swing. While enjoying time outdoors with your family and friends, it’s easy to get caught up in all the fun and relaxation, and forget about protecting your skin against the sun.

Sunscreens help shield your skin from the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays Some work by scattering the light, reflecting it way from your body, and others absorb UV rays before they can even reach your skin. Whether the sun is out or it’s cloudy outside, you’ll still need to apply sunscreen to protect your skin from damage. While sunscreen should be used every day of the year, it’s even more important during summer – the days are longer, the sun is stronger, and more time is spent outdoors.

Sun protection factor (SPF) is a number that indicates how much protection a product offers against UVB light. A product with a higher SPF number will offer greater protection. When choosing a sunscreen, make sure the label says:

  • Broad spectrum. A broad spectrum sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, which are different types of UV rays that can damage your skin.
  • SPF 30 or higher. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you select a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher, especially for extended stays outdoors. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 will block out 97% of the sun’s UVB rays.
  • When going in and out of the sun on a daily basis, your skin gets a lot of exposure to UV rays. Using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 on a daily basis will help protect you, only if you won’t be in the sun for long time.

Here are the proper ways to use sunscreen to protect your skin.

  • Make sure to apply sunscreen at 30 minutes before you go outside.
  • Use sunscreen on all areas that will be exposed to the sun. That includes your face, ears, hands, arms, and chest area.
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat (and sunglasses) that covers your face.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially after you’ve been in the water or if you have been sweating a lot.
  • Apply water-resistant sunscreen if you will be around water or swimming. Water resistant sunscreens can last for up to 80 minutes in the water, and some are also sweat resistant.
  • Use sunscreen even when it’s cloudy. UV light can pass through clouds, too.
  • Check the expiration date, since sunscreen becomes less effective over time. Never, under any circumstance, should you use expired sunscreen – it will not give you the protection that you need.

Consider your skin type and allergies when you are purchasing sunscreen. If you are experiencing rashes from sunscreen, it’s important to try to figure out why. Instead of not using sunscreen at all, find one that doesn’t result in you having an allergic reaction. The amount of time it takes for an allergic reaction to show depends on the person – it can happen within minutes or it can take a few days. If you are still having allergic reactions to sunscreen, it’s important to speak with your doctor. They will be able to tell you the proper ones that you should use.

Try to avoid being out in the sun during the day. The sun’s rays are at their strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. A combination of shade, proper clothing, and using sunscreen year-round will help to protect your skin from the sun.

Written by Dami Falade