Alleviating Depression by Boosting Serotonin



 

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and enhances your ability to get quality sleep. Improving serotonin levels is important for fighting depression and living a happy life. Read on to learn different ways to boost your serotonin levels and start feeling better. 

1.Exercise 

 

We all know how rewarding it feels after our workout is complete. Exercise releases dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin, making you feel good. Group workouts can be even more effective because it can increase your pain tolerance, push you to work harder and activate even more neurotransmitters.  

2. Sunlight 

 

Getting sunlight is a natural way of getting vitamin D and these are known to increase serotonin levels. Research suggests light therapy can help ease depression and this phototherapy is often used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder.  

 3. Healthy Eating 

 

We all know eating healthy is one of the best things we can do for our body. Particularly, eating foods containing the amino acid, tryptophan, can boost your serotonin levels quickly. Beneficial foods to consider include spinach, green beans, tomatoes, pineapple, bananas, papaya, strawberries, avocados, oats, nuts, and seeds. 

 4. Supplements 

 

When your body isn’t getting enough nutrients, consider taking supplements. Amino acid, 5-HTP, plays a vital role in boosting serotonin. L-theanine is another amino acid which elevates neurotransmitters and can provide benefits like anxiety relief. Antidepressants raise Magnesium levels, a mineral affecting serotonin production. B-vitamins also produce mood enhancing chemicals, particularly B-6 and B-12. Even taking probiotics are linked to better moods and more energy.    

 5. Think Positively 

 

Do you ever smile when you look back on fond memories? These happy thoughts, as well as thinking optimistically, can produce serotonin. If you ever feel down, do your best to start fostering positive thoughts for instant relief and a better mentality.    

 6. Meditate 

 

Meditation is known to reduce cortisol, a hormone that contributes to stress. Cortisol can block serotonin production, so finding ways to relieve stress can go a long way. Focusing on deep breathing can be very beneficial for these reasons.  

7. Treat yourself 

  

Indulging in less healthy foods can also make you feel good. Eating high-carb foods, junk food and sugary foods can set off neurotransmitters. Although this may bring an instant high, it inevitably causes a crash after, so it is more of a short-term solution. Do what you will with this information, just remember the importance of moderation.  

8. Art 

 

Creative expression can be a process of healing. Allow yourself to explore your emotions and experiences through your favorite mediums. Making art can alleviate stress and depression. Plus, you’ll be left with a finished piece to be proud of.   

9. Spend Time with Loved Ones
 

Spending time with your loved ones, whether it’s friends, family, a lover, or your pet, can release oxytocin. Oxytocin helps release serotonin and may distract you from the chaos of life. Enjoy these moments and lean on these sources of love when you need to. Having genuine support reminds us that we don’t have to face adversity alone, and that even at our lowest points, we really are loved. 

 

Take care! 

 

 

Watch Out for Flu Season



According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Flu activity is known to peak between the months of December and February. Protect yourself with these tips to minimize the chances of getting sick this flu season.

1. Consider Getting Vaccinated

The flu shot may protect against specific virus strains and boost your immune system to fight these. Some health experts advise getting an annual flu shot to prevent sickness. However, this is a controversial topic and its effectiveness depends on many factors. We advise everyone to do their own research and make an informed decision on whether a flu shot right for you.

2. Practice Good Hygiene

Wash your hands frequently, especially after being in densely populated spaces. Keep hand sanitizer nearby when you can’t properly wash your hands. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze and advise others to do the same.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep deprivation and stress suppresses immune functioning. A quality night’s rest can go a long way in preventing sickness. Depending on your body, aim to get around 6-9 hours of sleep.

4. Eat Nutritiously

Many foods help boost your immune system, including vegetables, fruits, garlic, ginger, nuts and green tea. Limit your intake of sugar, processed foods, refined foods and alcohol; they are known to weaken your immune system.

5. Take Vitamins

If you aren’t getting enough vitamins through your diet, take a multi-vitamin. If it’s sunny out, take a stroll for about 15 minutes. Vitamin D is linked to lower rates of getting the flu.

6. Rest

If you start to feel sick, rest! The more time you give your body to recover, the less time it will take to fight the flu. The initial stages of the flu are also when you are the most contagious. For the sake of you and everyone you encounter, take it easy and do what you can to get better.

A Mindful Morning Routine



Your morning routine is important; it influences the rest of your day. Do you want a calm, organized      morning that will inspire you to be your best, productive self? Here are 10 ideas to start building a mindful morning routine.

1. Avoid technology  

Don’t let social media posts be the first thing you see in the morning. Most posts on your feed don’t benefit your mental wellness, plus you can always check for them later. Allow your thoughts to flow naturally without any external influence.

2. Be grateful 

Instead of your phone, reach for a journal. Write down 3 things you are grateful for and 1 thing you love about yourself. This immediately starts manifesting wholesome thoughts that will improve your mood.  

3. Drink Water 

Drinking water first thing in the morning has many health benefits. For instance, it jump-starts your metabolism, flushes out toxins and supports a beautiful complexion. Your body will appreciate you.

4. Meditate 

Focus on maintaining deep breaths and good posture. Clear your mind from any stresses you may have and trust that you will accomplish what you need to. Learn to conquer the present moment.

5. Prioritize Movement 

Take a few minutes to stretch and get your blood flowing. This will genuinely feel good and calm your mind. Take it further and do a quick workout to boost your endorphins and energy. Try a Tabata workout, you’ll only need to dedicate 4 minutes!

6. Freshen Up 

Wake yourself up with your favorite products by washing your face or taking a hot shower. Don’t forget to moisturize too! It feels good being comfortable in your own skin. Relax and enjoy.

7. Eat for Energy 

 Don’t skip breakfast! Eating a healthy, high protein breakfast will fuel you for the day and prevent unhealthy snacking later. Try a banana with peanut butter, oatmeal with fruit or avocado toast. Enjoy your meal with a cup of tea or coffee but limit sweeteners to avoid the crash later.

8. Listen  

Whether it’s the nature outside, music or a podcast, try listening to something that will soothe your mind. Try listening to an inspiring/educational podcast to build knowledge on your interests. Experiment with lo-fi beats that compliment your energy and natural thought process.

9. Show Love 

If you share your home with your loved ones, take time to appreciate them. Share a mindful conversation, hug them, tell them they look nice, simply say “Good morning” or “I love you”. If you are by yourself, practice saying affirmations like “I have all that I need to make this a great day of my life” or “I believe in me”. These actions will bring significant positivity to your day each morning.

10. Make a Game Plan 

Write out everything you want to get done and highlight the things you need to get done for the day. Prioritize the highlighted tasks, schedule them all and do your best to follow through. Always be prepared to adapt but having a clear game plan everyday will increase your productivity.  

 

Now What? 

Try a monthly challenge where you will focus on doing one of these for the month. Once you feel you have developed the habit, add a new task to focus on. Building one habit at a time will foster better results in the long run. Remember, creating the right routine will lift your spirits and positively influence the rest of your day. Take care of yourself and allow happiness to follow.  

 

 

How to Accomplish your Goals



Let’s embrace the new year by developing a game plan for those resolutions of yours. Here are our best tips so you can accomplish your goals this year!

1. Write it down 

This first step to self-development is self-awareness. Acknowledge exactly what you want to achieve. Once you make a physical note of your goals, you’ll have better chances of accomplishing them. Whether you write them on paper, the computer, or your phone, keep this where you will consistently be reminded of your goals. 

2. Break it down  

Now that you know what you want to get done, can you revise your goal to be more specific? Say your goal is to “be healthier”, but what does that really mean? Break it down further into general tasks.  

Now, the goal should look something like this: “I want to be healthier by building a workout routine and incorporating healthier meals into my diet.”  

3. Make it actionable  

It’s time to get even more specific. You know the tasks you need to do, but how are you going to make it all happen? It’s time to think about the realistic steps that are needed.  

The revision: “I will build a workout routine by finding manageable workouts, creating a schedule and sticking to it. I will incorporate healthier foods by researching healthy recipes and meal planning.”  

4. Plan it out 

Now that you have a solid plan, when will you get it done? Once you figure this out, write your specific tasks in a calendar to further manifest your goals.  

Example: “I will research workouts on Sunday, make a workout plan for the week ahead every Sunday night, and set an alarm to wake up for my workouts Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This Saturday, I will find healthy recipes and shop for ingredients then cook for the week ahead every Sunday.”  

5. Hold yourself accountable 

The steps are clear and planned out. How can you make sure you follow through with these steps to success? Try setting alarms to keep yourself reminded on what you need to get done each day. Use relevant apps that will further your progress and motivation. Remind yourself why you want to accomplish these tasks and what it will feel like when you do.  

6. Make it happen! 

From here on, it’s all about your attitude. Will you tell yourself “I don’t feel like working out today” or will you tell yourself “I’m tired but doing this workout will wake me up and kick-start my day.”

Do what you can to be kind to yourself and stay disciplined at the same time. Keep your mentality in check and think about the positive results that will follow. The only thing stopping you, is you.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Winter Safety Tips



Here are some precautions to take for the winter season regarding your home and vehicle!

 

Vehicle Precautions:

  • Drain your cooling system and add new coolant at least once a year before temperatures drop
  • Check brake fluid levels and brake pads for any necessary replacements
  • Replace worn tires with all-weather tires and check air pressure weekly (Don’t mix tire types)
  • Replace worn wipers and wiper fluid especially if they cut through ice and snow
  • Have an emergency kit with jumper cables, water, food, blankets, a flashlight, flares and first aid
  • Always keep at least half a tank of gas in your car for long drives
  • When it’s raining, create more space in-between vehicles than normal
  • If possible, avoid driving under extreme weather conditions

 

Home Precautions:

  • When using a space heater, be sure to keep it at least 3 feet away from materials that will burn
  • Turning up the thermostat temporarily won’t heat your home faster, but it will raise your bill
  • Double check your carbon monoxide alarms and fire alarms to ensure they are working properly
  • Clear out gutters to ensure proper drainage system for stormy weather
  • Seal any gaps in window or door frames to avoid water intrusion and unwanted air transmission
  • Make an emergency kit including food, water, blankets, portable lights and a first aid kit
  • If you decorate this season, turn off all lights and blow out candles when unacquainted
  • Keep mistletoe and holly out of reach from pets; if ingested, they could cause severe problems

7 Free Smartphone Apps for Emergency Situations



1) Medical ID (Android & iOS) 

Available on the pre-installed iOS application, Health, Medical ID allows users to access personal information such as medical conditions, allergies, and blood type without having to unlock the phone. You can specify the information you’d like to share in case of an emergency, including your emergency contact. For Android users, Medical ID is available to download on the app store.  

2) First Aid American Red Cross (Android & iOS) 

This app provides instructions on how to deal with many emergency situations such as asthma attacks, concussions, heart attacks and more. There are detailed step-by-step guides and videos that make it easy to give someone proper medical attention as soon as possible. It even works without internet connection. 

3) Life360 (Android & iOS) 

You won’t have to worry about where your loved ones are with this app. You can actively check the location of those you add onto the app and receive real-time alerts about their whereabouts. A subscription also unlocks more features such as local crime alerts and driving reports that recommend how to be a safer driver in the future.  

4) SirenGPS (Android & iOS) 

SirenGPS features a panic button that you can press when you need to contact the police on behalf of a fire, an injury or any other emergency. Because it utilizes your phone’s GPS, you don’t have to waste time explaining your location. Like Medical ID, you can add useful medical information and emergency contacts. The app can also warn you about current threats in your immediate vicinity.  

5) FEMA (Android & iOS) 

Stay updated on natural disasters like fires, floods, tornadoes and more with the Federal Emergency Management Agency app. It offers helpful information such as emergency kit lists and guides on what to do in case of these disasters. Based on your location, the app also shows you where there are emergency shelters nearby, FEMA representatives, and where to apply for disaster assistance.  

6) Zello (Android & iOS) 

Turn your phone into a walkie-talkie with Zello. If you are connected to the network or Wi-Fi, you can make calls to anyone who has the app. Although it doesn’t yet work without a connection, it can be particularly useful for when the connection is weak like at a concert festival or when cellular towers are running on backup power.  

7) Emergency SOS (iOS) / SOS (Android) 

Available on the iPhone 7 or later, this built in feature allows you to make an emergency call without unlocking your phone. Just click the power button 5 times (3 times for Android) and you can swipe to access Medical ID or to make a call to emergency officials. Once the emergency call is over, your emergency contact will receive a text with your current location. Go to settings to activate this feature. 

 

We hope this information was useful. Stay safe everyone! 

 

Why Choose an Independent Agent



More Options 

Independent agents partner with a variety of providers and shop the insurance market for you. We can offer you quotes from more than one agency and find you coverage when another company can’t provide it. We do the work for you, so your job is to simply choose which one works best! 

Better Rates  

We partner with insurance companies such as Progressive, Kemper Preferred, and Safeco, to name a few. We can work with them to find you the best deals. If your current insurance raises your rates, you may be inclined to renew with them just to save time and energy. However, when you find insurance through us, we can find another insurer that better matches your price range for the same coverage. 

Insurance Experts 

Just like any other agent, we are licensed experts. What sets us apart is our extensive knowledge of multiple insurance agencies. Once we understand what you need from us, we have an idea of which insurers will be your best fit. We save you time, money and the stress! 

We Are Your Advocate 

We know dealing with insurance can be stressful, but we make sure you know exactly what your policy entails. If you run into any issues, we are here to address your concerns and we can contact your insurance provider on your behalf.  There will be no surprises when you do business with us! 

Consultants for Life 

We are always kind, professional, trustworthy and willing to educate our clients. A lot of our business comes from referrals by our amazing clients and we believe this is because we genuinely value our relationship with every one of you. We can insure you, your friends and the newest members of your family! We’ll always have you and your loved ones covered.  

Quality Customer Service 

We’ve heard stories, and the truth is, getting insurance can be frustrating, but we care about our lasting relationship with you. Oftentimes, insurance agents must follow their company’s strict customer service guidelines whereas independent agents can be more flexible in order to meet your business needs. Customer loyalty is important to us and ultimately, we do what we can to make sure you stay satisfied.  

Gain A Client 

So many of our wonderful clients own their own businesses too. When we need services, we tend to reach out to these personal connections for our own business needs. When the opportunity arises, we’ll even refer your business to our network. We love supporting local businesses and you just might find a new client through us!

Tips for Staying Safe this Halloween



  • Make sure your child’s costume does not impair mobility, hearing, or sight 
  • Prepare your kid with a flashlight, glow sticks and/or reflective tape  
  • Avoid walking in the streets! Unfortunately, pedestrian deaths are common on Halloween night 
  • If you plan on giving out candy this year, clear the pathway up to your door and keep it well lit  
  • Do not use more decorations than your electrical system can handle 
  • Use battery-powered candles for your carved pumpkins if possible, to avoid potential fires 
  • If decorations go missing, your insurance may cover them. Keep receipts in order to get reimbursed  
  • Your insurance may cover any damages on your yard, so document the yard with pictures for claims 
  • Your pets may be unpredictable tonight. Keep them inside, and away from the front door 
  • If your beloved pet is going trick or treating with you, keep a close eye on him or her!
  • Make sure your pets don’t find any candy on the ground; it may very well be toxic 
  • Check the candy to make sure your little one isn’t allergic to any of the sweets they collected 
  • Peak trick or treating hours are from 5:30 – 9:30pm, so plan accordingly
  • Stay extra cautious and drive slowly, especially when there is a wave of pedestrians 
  • It’s Halloween! The kids are excited, the pets will be energetic, and the roads will be unpredictable.

Please stay safe and have fun! Happy Halloween!