What to Do When Meeting Your Partner’s Friends or Family

If you feel nervous about meeting your partner’s friends or family, we can’t blame you because it is a huge step in your relationship. You want to make sure you give the best impression to the people important to your partner, but you need to remember that it is a happy occasion, not a test of your person.

Here are ways you can make the meeting a more pleasant experience.

Find a familiar face in the room

Your partner’s best friend is also your best ally in social situations like these, but if that friend is not present, you should look for someone most sympathetic or friendly to you. Maybe not everyone in the room will like you, but some people will make the effort to make you feel welcome.

Don’t respond to jokes and provocations

There will be a few people in the room who will seem hostile to you and even make jokes about your partner’s exes. It is not the time and place to get angry and respond to challenges. Just laugh it off but ignore provocations; most likely that person will get weird looks anyway and you will appear more levelheaded than them.

Answer positively

When you are asked by family and friends how your partner is treating you, you should always answer positively. Even if you are currently going through tough times, other people have no business sticking their noses in and you have no right to divulge private issues either. Even if your partner’s friends and family know their bad side, you should focus on the positive only.

Don’t drink too much

If there’s booze during the meeting, you should probably limit yourself to a glass or two. You don’t want to give away your secrets and give a bad impression to family members when you’re tipsy. Even if someone does get drunk during the meeting, you and your partner should act like responsible hosts and stay sober. If your head is clear, you can keep up with conversations better and read the mood in the room more effectively.

Don’t talk about serious topics

The first meeting should be light and friendly, not a debate or a time to show off. Avoid discussing controversial topics that require you to take sides. If a person asked you for an opinion on a hot topic, just say that you don’t know much to form an opinion as of now, but you respect everyone’s take on the subject.

If someone asked you about marriage and having kids, politely tell them you are still getting to know your partner and that you will both make that decision together.

Don’t be afraid to ask about your partner. There will be people in the room who will be more than willing to tell stories about your partner. Even if you’ve heard that story before, you should still look excited and appreciative.

How to Manage Messy Cable Wires in Four Simple Steps

Wire are essential to most electronics, especially ones that need a constantly running power supply to carry out their functions. In many offices, having wires can be as much of a liability as much as a necessity.

If you work from home and have a dedicated home office for your work, one of the biggest problems you can encounter is finding out how to sort all the wires you have not just for your computer, but also for your lamps, phones, as well as other types of equipment.

The good news is that there are ways to keep them sorted and organized neatly. Here’s how you can arrange your messy cable wires:

Use a wire wrap

Loose wires aren’t just messy to look at, but they can also be a hazard for you or anyone wandering into your home office if you’re not careful. One way to make your cables more manageable is by binding them together using twist ties that you can usually find in most electronic packaging.

With larger wires, adjustable rubber cable ties can let you bundle together power cords both thick and thin. Alternatively, you can also use plastic zip ties on your power cords, but since they can’t be adjusted once snapped into place, it’s best to use them carefully.

Label your cables

Having plenty of wires in such a small space can be difficult to sort through if you don’t know what they connect to, even if they are color-coded so no one can mistake them for the other.

The best way to do this is to simply label the ends of cables and wires in your home office in Singapore. While there are many products available that let you do this, you can also do the same with a masking tape and leaving a folded tab in order to write the purpose of the said wire on.

Sort with binder clips

If you don’t like spending as much on keeping thinner cords sorted, you can use binder clips as a more budget-friendly alternative – simply clip the wires to the back or the edge of your desk. Unlike with zip ties or adjustable cable ties, you can even get better utility out of binder clips by positioning cords into the clamp loops before positioning them back in the metal clip.

Use a dedicated basket

If you really don’t like having to deal with long cables all the time, the best thing you can do is to simply roll your cables in loops, tie them, and place them in a basket where they will be tangle-free. Ideally, when tying the cables, you want to make sure you can adjust them according to length, especially when you need to move certain appliances and equipment around.

How to Deal With Constant Fatigue and Have More Energy

Many people take constant fatigue in stride as part of their daily lives, but they’re also less likely to be aware that doing so can have a serious effect not just on their productivity, but also on their overall health and well-being. If you do happen to experience the following symptoms, there’s a good chance that you’re also suffering from fatigue:

  • chronic tiredness or exhaustion
  • lack of motivation
  • mental blocks
  • impaired decision-making
  • moodiness
  • poor concentration

Why Do You Suffer From Constant Fatigue?

Prolonged mental or physical exertion, or illness, are the biggest reasons for fatigue. While this is normal for many people, especially considering factors like lifestyle, social, and general well-being issues, this can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition for some.

However, the difference between fatigue and simply being tired or sleepy is that while the latter is usually resolved with a nap or seven to eight hours of full, uninterrupted sleep, the former often takes more than this.  Here are some ways to fight fatigue, especially when you’re often stressed out at work:

Cut down on your current committments

There’s a good chance that you have too many things that require a lot of your time and attention both personally and professionally,  and being streched thin can cause fatigue both physically and mentally. This is even more true if these committments have deadlines.

Narrow down and focus on priorities

Start with a to-do list and prioritize with just three things to do at a time rather than focusing on everything at once. If you’re taking on rather complex tasks or projects, break them down into simpler steps.

If a project or committment takes more time than the others, set aside a part of your schedule for just that. This allows you to finish things more consistently, which cuts down on any self-criticism or guilt that could stress you out even further.

Stay hydrated

Not drinking enough water can lead to serious problems with your physical and mental performance, so it’s important to keep that water bottle full and within arm’s reach. Improving your diet also plays into a factor of improving symptoms of constant fatigue, since it’s likely that you’re not getting the nutrients you need after an extended period of working on commitments, tasks, and projects.

Set aside recovery time

Taking time off for rest and recovery is the most essential part of getting past constant fatigue, whether it’s a few hours, a day, or even a full holiday. Once you’ve taken your mind off of the daily challenges for a while, you’ll be able to tackle them better since you’ll be well-rested by that time.

Lose Weight Through Your Love Hormones

Most of us love to eat and sometimes we eat for reasons other than hunger. It may be out of stress or other emotional reasons which isn’t new to anyone. Alex Korb PhD and neuroscientist at UCLA have discovered brain circuit for eating overlaps and interpersonal relationships, where neurobiology suggests correlation of improving social relationships and losing weight.

Ever wonder why our appetites diminish when we’re in love? Oxytocin, a neurotransmitter responsible for social relationships is released through physical and social interactions with people. Release of oxytocin produce more positive feelings like happiness, generosity and trust.

In the same way, it also lessens negative emotions like stress and anxiety; amazingly, experts have found that eating release oxytocin in brain areas where there is rich dopamine and that basically explains why eating is a pleasurable act. In addition, we get comfort by eating which itself, copies the feeling of comfort we get from family and close friends. Experiment on rats (Morton 2012) even shows that oxytocin is the leading cause of weight loss for overweight rats!

Another study in 2013 that oxytocin help reduce snacking in humans particularly on eating chocolate cookies. So, if you are trying to lessen your snacking or even lose weight, you might want to boost your oxytocin a.k.a love hormones.

Experts suggest the best way to do it is to better your relationship with family, partner and friends. Sounds like a simple suggestion but problems with these connections often cause emotional and stress eating. Korb say that while you’re in the process of working on relationships, the following ways to encourage serotonin (one of your happy chemical quartet) production that doesn’t involve eating:

Embrace a family, friend or partner. According to studies, the act of hugging decreases blood pressure. Ask for a long embrace and release more oxytocin! In Colombia, even men with men greet often with a warm hug which shows that physical touch from friends or family can be a positive thing that impacts our emotions and mind.

Indulge in a massage. As previously mentioned, physical contact can increase your oxytocin and if you’re not in a relationship, relying on a soothing massage can help you release large oxytocin too! Moreover, lounging around team rooms and indulging in a hot stone massage which, by the way, is what Singaporeans love to do to de-stress on a holiday, can help you unwind.

Have conversation with human voice. There are things written text can’t give that phone calls and in-person talks can—oxytocin. An oxytocin study conducted US scientists revealed that a mother’s phone call can feel as comforting as an actual hug. Now, it may not necessarily be your mother but it tells us that a human voice, someone dear to you, can have the same smoothing effect as cuddle.

Do random acts of kindness. This can exemplify saying nice things to a friend (and genuinely mean it). According to bestselling author Dr. David Hamilton acting kindly creates emotional warmth that causes the production of oxytocin, one of the hormones that makes us feel happy.

What are Carcinogens and Where Do They Come From?

You might have read health articles that are telling you to avoid certain food and chemicals that contain cancer-causing carcinogens, but what do we know about these substances and why do they cause cancer?

What is a Carcinogen?

Carcinogens are substances and exposures that can cause cancer. They can be physical, chemical or biological in nature, and when accumulate in large amounts in the body for a long period, can cause damage to the cells in the body.

Although carcinogens are not the only cause of cancers, it is thought to be the primary reason for such cases. As of today, carcinogens are classified into five categories based on their sources; these are, diet, smoke, radiation, pathogens, and environmental or occupational hazards. These carcinogens can be found in the diet, naturally-occurring phenomena, medical treatments, pollution and household and workplace exposures.

Why are They Linked to Cancer?

Cancer is still considered a mystery despite the advances in medicine in the last several years. However, there are studies that confirm that one factor that increases the risk of developing cancer are the exposure to carcinogens. The damage caused by carcinogens to the cells over a long period of time can cause the growth of cancer cells.

Cancer is not just one disease, but has many types, depending on where it starts. It’s a condition where the cells grow out of control and crowd out the normal, healthy cells. Not all carcinogens cause cancer, however, and most of them can only cause the disease after a prolonged exposure at high levels. The genetic makeup of the person is also an important factor when assessing the risk of developing cancer from such exposures.

What are the Categories of Carcinogen?

Carcinogens are identified primarily through laboratory tests and epidemiologic studies. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are over 900 probable carcinogens, but only 100 of these are carcinogenic to humans.

Some of the known carcinogens that you need to watch out for are the following: acetaldehyde, aflatoxins, arsenic, asbestos, beryllium, cadmium, coal, coal tars, ethanol in alcoholic drinks, formaldehyde, chronic hepatitis B or C infection, HIV-1, HPV, leather dust, iron and steel founding exposure, outdoor air pollution, prolonged exposure to paint, salted fish, processed meat, tobacco or smoking, UV radiation, wood dust, prolonged exposure to sunbeds or sunlamps, soot, and many more.

Exposure to the carcinogens listed above does not mean you will automatically develop cancer, but prolonged exposure at high levels and your body’s response will determine that. Some people have healthier bodies that are resistant to these carcinogens, because their bodies can easily repair damage to their cells than the others.

Baking Cookies for Beginners

Decorating cookies is an art that needs a lot of practice and knowledge about the ingredients used. If you don’t want to go through the messy trial and error process, here are tips for decorating cookies.

Start with the simplest design. Even with a recipe, sometimes you need to know how to estimate the ingredients needed to get the color and consistency right. That is why you should practice with simple designs first to hone your basic skills.

Plan your designs. All designs, even food decoration, go through a certain process. The most important of which is planning how many cookies you need to make, what texture to work on, what colors you need, and other decorations. If you need to sketch a design, do so. You should also list down everything you need to avoid forgetting ingredients.

Freeze the cookies before baking. To make sure that your cookies retain their shape after baking, and make decorating easier as a result, you should place the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for at least five minutes.

Be mindful of the thickness of the dough. Do not make your cookies too thin because that will make decorating trickier. Thinner dough results in uneven surfaces and inconsistent shape with your cookies. You might end up using more or less of the icing than what is written on the recipe.

Use a craft knife to remove bumps. Before you start decorating, make sure that the cookie surface is flat. You can sand or scrape the bumps using a craft knife or scalpel.

Practice placing icing without piping. Piping takes a lot of practice to get right even if it looks convenient. There are other ways to add seamless icing without it if you can make a stiff icing consistency.

Use food markers. One way to make designing easier is to utilize edible food markers. This is less messy than piping the design because you are sure you’re getting the correct shape and color. If you want to use other designs, you should also look for dried icing stamps.

Insert a pin when piping isn’t used. To avoid the getting a crusty icing on the tip of the piping, insert a pin into the tip. It can even be used to remove air bubbles by tapping it gently on the surface.

Remember that icing darkens when it’s dry. To achieve the same consistency and color in all your cookie designs, you need to use more than one batch of the same color. Sometimes what is written on the recipe might not be enough to decorate all cookies. You need to make more than what you think you need just in case.

Work by batches. If you need to decorate a lot of cookies, it would be less messy if you work by color. That way, you do not need to change the icing in the piping frequently.

How to Stay Healthy With Your Partner

If you haven’t already noticed, couples tend to adopt each other’s health and eating habits. Some like to go to the gym together and others like to eat a lot together as well. So for better or for worse, you will most likely have similar health choices with your partner. If you’re starting to go to the unhealthy side of the spectrum though, there’s no need to worry! Here are some tips to help you live healthy together.

Show your partner the benefits

One of the best ways to start is to show your partner the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle Whether he eats junk food and fast food all day or he doesn’t really care if he’s eating right or not, start by highlighting the positive impact of simply being healthy.

If he starts to get sick often, has difficulty sleeping, or feels exhausted all the time, show him how he can change all that by starting to live a better lifestyle. By then, your partner should already be convinced!

Make the transition smooth

If you and your partner have little to no experience with healthy choices, don’t turn your life around in an instant. You really don’t have to make changes overnight. Let’s say you eat junk food between breakfast and lunch, and also between lunch and dinner.

What you can do is substitute the junk food for fruits during your breakfast-lunch snack and then limit your junk food intake in the afternoon. After a week, you can start eating fruits for both snack times and completely eliminate your junk food intake. 

Cook and eat at home

First of all, you’re more likely to eat healthier when you’re cooking at home. You can basically control the portion sizes of each dish and you also know what ingredients have been used. Again, you won’t have to make big changes here too.

You can start, for example, by simple adding more vegetables or healthier ingredients to meals that you already know how to cook. Remember, you don’t need to learn a whole new recipe just so you can eat healthy! When you’re at home, remember to always eat at the dining table as well. If you eat in front of the TV, you might get distracted and eat more than necessary.

Be exercise buddies

No “healthy living” list would be complete without making exercise a point. Go for a jog in some park around Singapore, lift weights together in an ActiveSG gym, do sports, and etc. There are a lot of physical activities you can do out there and rest assured each one will be more fun with a partner. Plus, if you become exercise buddies, you can be responsible for each other’s progress and motivate each other a lot better.