September 4, 2018

The Entrepreneurial Lessons We Can All Learn From Anthony Bourdain

Note: This post has been contributed.  
File:Anthony Bourdain 2014 (cropped).jpg
So many of us were left reeling in the shock that, earlier this year, Anthony Bourdain had shuffled off this mortal coil. But, for all of his ventures in front of the camera, many of us still view him as one of the most authentic chefs to come out of New York City in the last 25 years. Let's not forget, he was one hell of an entrepreneur, and are there any lessons we can learn from this modern master, and apply it to our own restaurant businesses?
Show Respect
If there's anything we can learn from him at face value is that through his show No Reservations, he was incredibly respectful to other cultures. He tried any food that was offered to him, as he knew the families that presented these strange and exotic dishes were unable to afford to eat most of the time. We can apply this to our business acumen by doing very simple things, greet the customers and show them how grateful you are that they've chosen your restaurant. And even if an employee has made a grave error, do you need to fly off the handle about it? Think twice.
Always Be Curious
In life, we need to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone, and he did this with enthusiasm, unlike anyone. He was always keen to try new things, and we should all take this on board when pushing our restaurants further. Taking risks needs to be the fundamental backbone of what we do. And if you don't have a curious mindset, and you've stuck to the same menu for as long as you can remember, practicing curiosity is something we can all do; it's a matter of habit. You can look on to get a few ideas of the habits of curious people, and this is what will help you develop as an entrepreneur.
Learn From Your Mistakes
As he frequently admitted, he was no saint, and whatever the mistakes we all make in life, either on a personal or professional level, taking these opportunities to learn is essential to our growth and development. Whether you have made frequent administrative mistakes, or you've hired the wrong person, there are so many things we can do to build on these mistakes to improve ourselves and our business. Even from the administrative side, you can view for various restaurant-oriented tools to improve your business. If we don't learn from our mistakes, then there is no point in us ever progressing beyond our remit.
Last, but certainly not least, he was someone who enjoyed life. If you find yourself bound by the pressures of running a business, you need to take a step back and look at if you are actually enjoying the ride. This is as important to your sense of self as it is to your culinary passions. You've got to make the most of what you've got, and if you're not happy running your business, you need to change it, so you don't have any regrets. His passing has left a mark on the restaurant world, but there are so many things that we can learn from how he lived his life to improve us and our business.

August 24, 2018

Are Care Homes Failing The Elderly?

Note: This post has been contributed.
Care homes will be an inevitability for most people. It’s true to say that once you reach a certain age, you may not be able to live independently anymore. Care homes are typically the solution, particularly if you can not afford live in care. However, there is alarming evidence that suggests care homes may not provide the level of support that elderly residents need. New reports have emerged that suggest care homes are falling short where it counts.
Respite Or Nursing Care?
When you admit an elderly loved one into a care home, there are often two types of care available: respite and nursing care. While one provides complete support, the other operates more as a basic level of care for residents. Many elderly patients are physically able. This means that they do not need constant support and attention. Instead, they can move freely through the care home which is useful, particularly in more deluxe locations where there are facilities like cinema rooms.
Nursing provides a more intense level of care with constant support, treatment, and aid every hour of the day.
The issue? It’s in the care home’s best interest to mark most residents as eligible for respite care. This means lower costs and a lower level of employees are needed. It could be a way to keep a budget in check, even if it does leave someone vulnerable. That’s exactly what can happen with residents suffering injuries when they should have been monitored.
Low Levels Of Staff
Reports have also revealed that staff numbers in even the best care homes are often limited. This again impacts the overall quality of service and means that patients can be neglected in a variety of ways. You might find that your elderly parent is suffering from bedsores which a care home will tell you is perfectly normal. However, this can be avoided if an elderly patient is moved regularly and readjusted. Many employees won’t bother or won’t have the time to do this, particularly if the care home is understaffed.
Of course, you also might find that staff will refuse to go the extra mile for residents. Particularly, if they are booked in for respite care. Even medical health issues may go unchecked until a relative notices.
Issues With Communication
There are plenty of residents in care homes who are unable to communicate due to medical conditions such as a stroke or dementia. If a patient is unable to communicate, then this can leave them vulnerable and at risk of neglect and abuse. Since a patient can not communicate effectively, these issues also go unnoticed and unreported. It’s a dangerous situation and neglect or abuse in care homes is a serious problem. These days, it’s common for care homes to have CCTV throughout the premises to ensure that any issues like this can be caught.
It seems then there are a wide range of issues currently plaguing the care industry. However, with live in care often being too expensive and a growing elderly population there isn’t a solution on the horizon.

August 24, 2018

Breaking The Cycle Of Depression

Note: This post has been contributed.
Depression is the biggest creator of negativity in life. You don’t have to be diagnosed as depressed to suffer from the negativity that depression brings. Being stuck in a terrible situation and experiencing the symptoms of depression is enough to trap you into a cycle that feels unbreakable. It can lead you to fail at meeting the responsibilities that you have in life, make you feel like you’re not enough and that you’re not strong enough to handle the things that life is going to throw at you. Your mind wandering is a dangerous thing, because it can lead you down paths that are too scary to deal with and that you just don’t want to.
The worse you think about yourself, the bigger the cycle of negativity gets. You can go from thinking about not feeling enough to believing the world would be better off without you. This can lead to feeling guiltier and guiltier about your own existence. If you are in a situation in your life that makes you feel vulnerable, whether that’s being unemployed and struggling or a domestic violence victim trying to get out, you’re going to spiral. This cycle of negativity is exceptionally hard to break and while you’re so exhausted by your own emotions, you can feel numb to anything that constitutes moving forward with your life. So, how do you even begin to break that cycle?
Silhouette of Person Sitting Beside Body of Water
Living by a schedule and in a solid routine can really help you. The people who suffer with depression are not the best at making decisions, because really, they just don’t care. They’re not trying to feel depressed, but they do better with a routine in place. A visual routine chart can make a huge difference to the day, so creating a schedule with alarms alongside it and sticking to it is going to make all the difference to your life. Committing yourself to this schedule is so important for you to be able to break out of the depression that you feel. You’ve got to keep it as simple as possible and your routine should be very basic, very much surrounding your eating, exercise and your daily responsibilities. You need to eat, even when you don’t feel like you can, because food gives you energy to keep going through your day.
Energy is the biggest thing that depletes when you are dealing with depression, so it can be extremely difficult to want to do anything relating to movement or food; because it just seems like too much. You have to hold yourself accountable for your feelings and your actions, because if you don’t, you’re not going to survive it. Own yourself, own your schedule and make it feel right. Once you feel more secure, you can break free from those negative feelings dragging you right down. Set small and manageable goals, and you will be able to hit your achievements far better and far faster. Remind yourself that you CAN do this, and then go and do it.

August 23, 2018

The Problems Facing the US Prison System Today

Note: This post has been contributed.
We hear a lot about prisons in the US and most of the coverage tends to be negative. There are many reasons for that, but many people still don’t fully understand the specific problems overwhelming the prison system today and why these issues are so pressing. Change in certain areas is certainly going to be required to make the system more functional and sustainable going forward. So keep reading to find out about the biggest problems today.
Falling Crime Rate is Not Resulting in Falling Incarceration Rates
Even though crime rates in America have been falling for a few years, this has not led to any decrease in the number of people being incarcerated in America. This is a strange problem, but one that gets to the heart of many problems in America. Prison target should never come before justice. In a healthy society, a fall in crime would lead to lower rates of people getting locked up.
Racial Disparities
There is a clear disparity between black and white inmates in prisons, with the former being more overrepresented in prisons than the latter. The numbers for incarceration rates along racial lines are worse today in America than in Apartheid South Africa, so this is clearly something that needs to be taken seriously and hopefully addressed. It’s a huge problem though, so it won’t be easy to overcome.
Long Sentences for Nonviolent Crimes
There are now a significant number of people in US prisons serving life sentences for crimes that were completely nonviolent. Many people question the worth and reasoning behind this policy, and whether it’s the right thing to be doing. The belief that only people who’ve committed violent crimes should serve life in prison is growing in popularity. There are many campaigning for the situation to be changed.
Confusing and Inconsistent Bail Bonds System
When people don’t even understand the bail bond system, it’s pretty evident that there are ways the system can improve. There are also some inconsistencies that people have highlighted in recent years. Luckily, there are organizations like Alamo City Bail Bonds that can help people to navigate the process when they’re having difficulties or don’t know where to start. It would help if the system was improved and simplified though.
Because of the skyrocketing prison numbers in America, overcrowding is becoming an issue that’s hard to ignore. There simply aren’t enough places for all the people who are being sent to prison, and this might be linked to harsher rules meaning prison sentences are being given for crimes that wouldn’t previously have warranted such a punishment. Whatever the causes, it’s a problem that needs to be addressed.
The American prison system is not in the healthiest state right now, and even compared to 30 years ago, the situation is far, far worse. It will take root and branch reform to overcome these problems because they’re truly systemic right now, but it remains to be seen whether there is the motivation there to make it happen.

August 20, 2018

How To Find The Fun Again

Note: This post has been contributed.
Remember when you were a kid and you didn’t have a care in the world? Your primary objective in life was to have fun and be happy, so why does that change as you get older? From dealing with stresses in work to problems in your personal life, can get very tough indeed. Why not step back to your childhood and take some time to have some fun to let your worries disappear, even if only for a short period.
Image: Pxhere
Here are some great ways to find the fun again.
Play board games
What was your favorite board game as a kid? Operation? Monopoly? Whatever it was, dig it out and get playing. Playing board games has a surprising number of benefits for your health, including helping your memory, reducing blood pressure and reducing stress. Get your friends or family together to enjoy a night of playing classic board games and relax as you find yourself in a familiar routine.
Hop on a skateboard
Were you into skateboarding as a kid? Or maybe it’s something you’ve always wanted to try but never got round to doing? Skateboarding can be a fun hobby and a convenient way to travel - it’s not uncommon to see commuters using their skateboard to get to work! Give yourself a workout and have fun at the same time - Cruiser skateboards are sleek and easy to carry round to help you rediscover your lost youth. Get riding and blast past all of your problems and worries.
Play with puppies
It’s very difficult to be miserable around puppies, as they’re full of energy and keep you on your toes. Even if you can’t get your own puppy right now, there are plenty of shelters who are looking for volunteers to help out or opportunities to help with dog walking. Help a friend or relative to take care of their dog and you’ll soon find your stresses disappearing as you enjoy the company of some four-legged friends.
Watch cartoons
Cartoons were the perfect way to chill out when you were a kid, but when was the last time you watched a cartoon? Whether you rediscover some old classics (YouTube is great for this), or take a look at some new cartoons, you’ll soon be laughing away. Think you’ve grown up out of classic kids cartoons? Try adult-oriented cartoons like Family Guy and The Simpsons instead.
Discover a new hobby
Having hobbies benefits you in many ways, and by finding something that you love to do in your free time, you can enjoy an escape from it all while you get active or creative. From adult coloring books to joining a sports team, there are plenty of options available to you that will help you discover a fun new hobby.
When you’re going through a tough time or need a break from it all, looking for fun things to do can soon lift your spirits. Think of activities that make you laugh and smile and you’ll soon ease your stresses for a much more relaxed and happier you.

August 5, 2018

Overcoming The Tough Moments in Life

Note: This post has been contributed.
If we could have it all our own way, life would be a series of sweet moments and nothing but love, love, love, but then, this is the real world, so this can’t happen. While you’ll have plenty of life-affirming moments, there’ll also be those incidents and days that have you under the covers, hiding from the world. While it can feel like there’s no path towards a happier life, remember that it’s always possible! We take a look at a few useful tips below.
Be Good To Yourself
Whether your circumstances are a result of your own actions or not, it’s important that you’re good to yourself. People are all too ready to let that inner chimp - their negative voice - do all the talking, but this will only compound your misery. Instead, try to keep any negativity at bay. If they arrive, just let them float away! Beyond that, it’s all about taking care of the essentials in life, like making your bed, eating well, getting enough exercise and sunshine, and so on. You might not feel like doing these things, but they will be helping you.
Think To The Future
Those tough moments in life are going to feel all-immersive. They’re all you can think about. There is nothing but the here and now, and the circumstances you find yourself in. While you should try to remain as present as possible, also spend a little time thinking about the future. It’s going to come sooner rather than later, and when it does, you’ll be in a better position than now. By making plans for the future, you’ll also have something to look forward to, as well.
Get Support Around You
You can’t be expected to navigate all of life’s tough times by yourself. You’ll need help finding a route to the other side! This can come in the form of friends and family, or professional help. There are law firms that can you help you get justice for the wrongs you’ve suffered, or defend you if you’ve been accused of a crime that could derail your future. If that happens to you, take a look at Martin & Kent; their legal team will ensure that you’ve got an aggressive defense. You don’t have to face your toughest hour all on your own. Get the help you need.
Advice From the Masters
If you’re in dire straits, it’s worth remembering that you’re not the first person to find themselves in this position. Take a look through history, and you’ll find that there has been plenty of people who faced incredible tough obstacles in life yet managed to overcome them. People today will have a lot to say, but you might just find that the best words come from people who have long gone. You’ll also find plenty of people who managed to pick themselves up off the ground of rock bottom and create a new life for themselves. No matter how tough it gets, there’s always a brighter future waiting.

August 5, 2018

4 Things People Assume When They Find Out You’re Tee-Total

Note: This post has been contributed.
Choosing not to drink alcohol is a decision that causes quite the stir for much of the population. In many ways, modern culture revolves around alcohol: the quick drink after work, the celebratory champagne, and the constant mentions of “wine o’clock” that invade social media every evening.
Strangely - and unlike many other personal decisions - the choice not to drink alcohol tends to create judgment from others; as if they are personally offended by a choice not to partake in this culture. This judgment is usually swiftly followed by one of a number of common assumptions people make when confronted with a non-drinker…
People assume… you’re a recovering addict 
Drinking culture is so absorbed into our society that this is the immediate, number one assumption made by people when a teetotaler tells them they don’t drink. Most of us know that abstention is a key component of recovering from alcohol addiction, and given that drinking is so widespread, declining an alcoholic beverage is to immediately arouse suspicions.
This is a problematic response. First and foremost, if someone is in recovery, then this issue doesn’t need drawing attention to. Secondly, if someone is declining a drink for other reasons, they shouldn’t need to be scrutinized for what is a basic personal preference.
People assume… teetotalers are boring 
There are hundreds of good reasons not to drink alcohol. They may worry about the health impact, have taken the time to learn details here about the prevalence and damage of DUIs, or - most commonly of all - they just don’t like the taste. Yet despite these good reasons, many people associate the choice not to drink with someone being boring - you’re a stuck-in-the-mud, determined to ruin everyone’s fun.
This isn’t the case, of course; teetotalers are more than capable of having a great time - and what’s more, they’ll be able to remember that they had a great time, too.
People assume… pregnancy
Woman declining a glass of wine? It can’t just be preference - it must be because she’s pregnant! Man declining a beer? He’s being supportive of his pregnant partner who can’t drink!
It’s worth noting that this assumption can be hurtful as well as incorrect. Say, for example, a couple have been privately struggling with infertility; if declining a drink brings forth the “are you pregnant?” question, this can cause significant distress.
People assume… that teetotalers are lying 
This is perhaps the strangest assumption of all, and is usually brought forth if someone explains they are not drinking due to not liking the taste. There’s no reason for a person to lie about not wanting to drink; no one is declining a cocktail and then going home to a glass of wine just to spite the person who offered them the cocktail.
While many people enjoy alcohol, others are more sensitive to it, or find the taste bitter, sour, and off-putting. Given that society readily accepts we all have different preferences for food, is it so surprising that we have beverage differences also?
In conclusion
The choice not to drink alcohol may seem like a bizarre one in modern society, but it is a personal choice, and the above assumptions are just unnecessary. Sometimes, someone just doesn’t want to drink alcohol - and given they are the only person impacted by that decision, this really shouldn’t be the concern of anyone else.

August 5, 2018

Make A Third Of Your Life Count: What To Do If You’re Unhappy With Your Workplace Environment

Note: This post has been contributed.
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We can all feel that workplace malaise from time to time, even if we are in a perfect job. Sometimes, the role can be everything we expect it to be, but there is still that feeling of incompleteness. The workplace environment has a lot to do with your overall enjoyment of the job, even if it is a perfect fit. But when you are unhappy about your workplace environment, is there anything that you can do to make it better?
Get To The Root Cause
Is it just you, or is everyone feeling like this? If it is a common feeling, digging to find the underlying cause will, at least, give you the answer, and from there, you can look at building a solution. In the office, you may all find yourself on edge at the moment, because there are people being fired left, right, and center. It's important to know your rights in this respect, but if the workplace environment is something that feels insecure, and you are dreading going into work every day, especially if the place is unsafe, it's important to voice your concerns to the powers that be. Even a workers comp attorney might be able to provide you with the necessary information if you are working in an environment so unsafe, or many people have suffered accidents. If the root cause is the place itself, don't feel like you are powerless to do anything about it.
Are You Being Challenged Enough?
On the other hand, if it's not the physical location, but the problem lies with you, you may just find yourself at a crossroads, either in life, or in your career. We can all feel bored from time to time, and if this is the case, it's time to address this problem head-on. If you don't feel you are being challenged enough, what can you do about it in your working space? Applying for promotions, or taking on extra duties are two of the most common approaches, but many people are reticent to do more without the pay increase to reflect it. If you are bored and you are looking to challenge yourself, but without promotion, maybe it's time to think about what else you can get out of your work. Maybe change how you go about your working day. Mixing it up, and doing things differently, even though it's the same process, could make it feel entirely different.
How Long Have You Been There For?
And on the other hand, if you feel unhappy with your workplace environment in any manner, is it time to move onto pastures new? Sometimes we can outgrow a place, and the daily grind can get to us. It's more commonly accepted now, changing careers, whereas a few years ago it was considered foolish. And if you are looking for a new challenge, you need to ensure that you are heading to something that will renew your enthusiasm. After all, we spend a third of our lives working, so we have to make it count.

July 27, 2018

Welcoming a New Wonder into the World without Losing Yourself

Note: This post has been contributed.
Right now is an extremely exciting time in your life; you are getting ready to welcome a new baby in your home. You are worried about a number of different things, but one of the most significant fears you are experiencing is losing yourself and your so-called ‘normal’ life. You want your kids to grow up in a healthy and happy environment for the years to come, so you want to make sure you are perfectly prepared for the change. From helping your pet understand the new baby, to taking time out for yourself; here’s how you can truly enjoy the magical moments of a new born without losing who you really are.
Pets Will Be Able To Sense Everything
It is important to keep giving your pet the same love and attention, even when you have a new born baby at home. They will sense the new tiny human in your life and start to feel lonely and abandoned if you don’t give them any tender loving care. Don’t forget about how important long walks and nutritious foods are to your pet; click here for some amazing and affordable options for pet food. Your dog or cat will be guaranteed to cheer up if they have special treats to look forward to and quality time with you too.
A baby on her belly next to a cute puppy.
Get Into a Routine
The quicker you can get into a steady routine with your little one, the more easily you will be able to slot straight into normality. Admittedly, life will never be the same again once you welcome a newborn in your home, but that doesn’t mean that all the rules go out of the window. Give yourself plenty of time to eat, sleep and relax when your baby is resting. Nutritious food is so important for you and your partner, not only to stay healthy for your baby, but also to give you the energy you need to function during these trying times.
Seek Advice from Professionals
If you ever feel overwhelmed, under pressure or depressed after having a baby make sure you seek advice from your doctor. It is completely normal to have these types of feelings, so don’t feel ashamed to speak out. Your problem will be able to be fixed quickly with the correct care from the experts. Similarly, if you are worried about your physical health or your baby’s health ask your doctor for advice too; this will keep your mind at ease.
Take Time Out for Yourself
When you become a parent it is easy to make your child become the centre of your universe. Don’t lose sight of who you were before you had a baby; you can still go on dates with your partner, eat your favourite foods and pursue your lifelong hobbies. Don’t ditch anything in order to make everybody think you are a good parent. Balance your time well and allow yourself a little bit of freedom. This will make you a much more patient parent in the long run.
Welcoming a new baby into the family home is an exciting and scary event, but with these tips you will be in for a smooth and seamless journey to parenthood.

July 19, 2018

Hobby Happy? Here’s Why Everyone Should Get A Hobby

Note: This post has been contributed.
“Do you have any hobbies?” It’s a common question asked when dating, during job interviews, and occasionally when someone finds out you’ve been watching a lot of Netflix. It might seem like an obvious question but many people find there is little time for hobbies outside of work and managing their personal lives.
Image: Pxhere
Having a hobby is important, and can help your health and happiness in more ways than you imagine. Why should you get a hobby? Find out more below.

It helps you switch off

Whether you work in a demanding job or you’ve got a busy home life, your hobby can be your escape. Finding something fun to do with your free time will help you to switch off from the stresses of the day and allow you to do something for yourself. Discover hobbies that relax you and help take your mind off things to reduce stress in your life.

It helps improve your health

Hobbies that are more active can be a great way to improve your health and wellbeing. From taking up yoga to writing, there are plenty of hobbies that will improve your health. Many people see exercising as a hobby, and turning your fitness into something you enjoy will help you feel more motivated to do it. Consider joining a fitness class or start running as an enjoyable hobby that will also help you get into shape.

It can become much more than just a hobby

While hobbies might start out as a fun way to pass the time, they can develop into so much more than that. Some hobbies can even be turned into a career. A hobby with a goal, such as restoring an airplane from aircraft parts or putting together a classic car can give you a lot of joy, with a great end result. Hobbies help you to discover your passions, so you never know where yours could lead.

It can help you become more interesting

Having hobbies gives you interests that set you apart from other people, helping you to become a more interesting person. This can improve your social life, your dating life and more - giving you something to talk about and teach others.

It can help you meet new people

If you want to expand your social circle or make friends in a new town, then a hobby can be a great way to meet new people. Hobbies can take you to classes, projects and more where you can encounter people with similar interests. Social interactions and connections are essential for your happiness and wellbeing, so find hobbies that you out and about in your local community.
Finding hobbies that interest and excite you can have all kinds of benefits. Hobbies help you to keep learning as you get older, keeping your mind sharp and broadening your horizons. From meeting new people to helping you stay in shape, they can be a great way to give your health a boost. Could starting a new hobby benefit your life? Start something new today and find out.