Recent General Posts

7 (totally doable) New Year's resolutions that will change your life

12/31/2018 (Permalink)

General 7 (totally doable) New Year's resolutions that will change your life Taking 10 minutes a day to do something you enjoy (like cuddling with your pet) is an easy goal with big return.

Goals that take just 10 extra minutes a day (or less), and can lead to big improvements in your health and happiness.

Does the New Year mean a new you — or another failed New Year’s resolution? Probably the latter for most of us, psychologists say, because thinking the flip of a calendar is enough to motivate us to ax all of our bad habits and behaviors is actually really unrealistic.

First of all, we’re not always as committed to those resolutions as we need to be to actually be motivated to stick with them.  Instead of setting discrete, measurable goals for ourselves, we often set broad intentions, like exercise more. We don’t think clearly enough about how we will implement this change.

Plus, there’s the fact that we only have so much willpower we can turn to help us stick to the new habits. When people try to make multiple changes, they put multiple demands on that limited willpower and end up failing.

That means the more willpower it takes to skip the afternoon cookie break, the less you’ll have left to help you stick to your resolution to hit the gym that evening. Willpower — a type of mental energy — is actually fueled by glucose and can be strengthened and fatigued, just like our muscles.

What does work when it comes to resolutions is setting goals that are specific and attainable, so you know exactly what you need to do to accomplish it — and you do it.

Here a few such resolutions you can try in 2019 that each take 10 extra minutes a day (or less), and can lead to BIG, impactful improvements for your health, happiness and well-being.

  1. SET A DAILY INTENTION

It can be as simple as deciding not to overreact if your kids or another family member gets on your nerves — or take a walk over your lunch hour instead of not leaving your desk. If you feel like you’re living on auto-pilot, starting your day by setting a daily intention can help you feel more in control of your life and your actions. And over time, those intentions can each serve as a small step toward big changes, she says.

  1. CROSS OFF THE TOUGHEST TASK ON YOU TO-DO LIST FIRST

Figure out the toughest, most important or most intimidating task you want to get done by the end of the day and tackle it first.  That way it’s done, so it’s not hanging over your head or stressing you out the rest of the day.

  1. START A BELLY BREATHING HABIT

Shallow breathing keeps our bodies in that high-stress, fight-or-flight mode. But deep belly breathing sends a message to our brains to relax. Slowing down your breath can slow down the chatter in your head, and reduce stress and anxiety. (You may also find yourself thinking more clearly and sleeping better)

How to do it: You can literally do this anytime and anywhere. Just, stop. Focus your attention on your breath. Let all your air out and take a deep inhale, then exhale, then repeat.

  1. TAKE THE STAIRS INSTEAD OF THE ELEVATOR

Stairs are a great way to quickly get the body moving, the heart rate up, and increase your metabolic rate – no gym required. It’s not the only change you’ll need to make if you have big weight-loss goals or want to get from the couch to a marathon finish line — but it can be the first step to just get in the habit of moving more, which can encourage you to be more active in other areas of your life, too.

    5. APOLOGIZE AUTHENTICALLY

Whether you got in a tiff with a friend, family member or colleague, get better at apologizing by doing what you can to reconcile the conflict, rather than hold a grudge.  It takes little risk and little time, but it can be intrinsically rewarding in a big way.  Being able to say you’re sorry and mean it, makes it easier to get back to a positive mood after going through something difficult.

  1. TELL A FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND ONE THING THAT WENT WELL EVERY WEEK

Too often we get hung up on the little things that go wrong from day to day, rather than focusing on everything that’s going right and what we have accomplished.  Talking (out loud) about something that we’ve achieved helps us remember our true potential and the impact we’re having on the world around us.

  1. TAKE 10 MINUTES EVERY DAY TO DO SOMETHING FOR YOU

It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of work emails, after-school carpool schedules and life’s countless obligations. Spending 10 minutes of quality you-time could mean reading a magazine, meditating or playing with your pet. Focus on activities that not only make you feel good, but also relieve stress and improve your well-being (diving into a bag of potato chips or mindlessly scrolling through your Facebook feed are NOT the goal).

And whichever resolution you choose, remember to be committed, celebrate the small successes as you do big ones and go easy on yourself.  Be ready for setbacks and forgive yourself when you fail (which you WILL do).

Are You Allergic to Your Pet? Breathe Easy—You Can Still Keep Your Animal Companion!

12/26/2018 (Permalink)

Although many people have discovered the beneficial effects of caring for a furry friend, the fact remains that roughly 15 to 20% of the population is allergic to animals.

The result? Countless pet parents in unhappy, unhealthy situations—and their beloved pets are the cause! Allergen is the medical term for the actual substance that causes an allergic reaction. Touching or inhaling allergens leads to reactions in allergic individuals. Symptoms can include red, itchy, watery eyes and nose; sneezing; coughing; scratchy or sore throat; itchy skin, and most serious of all, difficulty breathing.

The most common pet allergens are proteins found in their dander (scales of old skin that are constantly shed by an animal), saliva, urine and sebaceous cells. Any animal can trigger an allergic response, but cats are the most common culprits. People can also become allergic to exotic pets such as ferrets, guinea pigs, birds, rabbits and rodents. There is no species or breed to which humans cannot develop allergies. Fur length and type will not affect or prevent allergies. Certain pets can be less irritating than others to those who suffer from allergies, but that is strictly on an individual basis and cannot be predicted.

Once the diagnosis of a pet allergy is made, a physician will often recommend eliminating the companion animal from the surroundings. Heartbreaking? Yes. Absolutely necessary? Not always. Keep in mind that most people are allergic to several things besides pets, such as dust mites, molds and pollens, all of which can be found in the home. Allergic symptoms result from the total cumulative allergen load. That means that if you eliminate some of the other allergens, you may not have to get rid of your pet. (Conversely, should you decide to remove your pet from your home, this may not immediately solve your problems.) You must also be prepared to invest the time and effort needed to decontaminate your home environment, limit future exposure to allergens and find a physician who will work with you. Read on for helpful tips:

Improving the Immediate Environment

  • Create an allergen-free room. A bedroom is often the best and most practical choice. By preventing your pet from entering this room, you can ensure at least eight hours of freedom from allergens every night. It's a good idea to use hypoallergenic bedding and pillow materials.
  • Limit fabrics. Allergens collect in rugs, drapes and upholstery, so do your best to limit or eliminate them from your home. If you choose to keep some fabrics, steam-clean them regularly. Cotton-covered furniture is the smartest choice, and washable blinds or shades make good window treatments. You can also cover your furniture with sheets or blankets which you can remove and wash regularly.
  • Vacuum frequently using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arresting) filter or a disposable electrostatic bag. Other kinds of bags will permit allergens to blow back out of the vacuum.
  • Install an air purifier fitted with a HEPA filter. Our modern, energy-efficient homes lock in air that is loaded with allergens, so it’s smart to let in some fresh air daily.
  • Use anti-allergen room sprays. These sprays deactivate allergens, rendering them harmless. Ask your allergist for a product recommendation.
  • Clean the litter box frequently. Use low-dust, perfume-free filler. Clumping litter is a good choice.
  • Dust regularly. Wiping down the walls will also cut down on allergens.
  • Invest in washable pet bedding and cages that can be cleaned often and easily.
  • Decontaminating Your Pet

  • Bathe your pet at least once a week. Your veterinarian can recommend a shampoo that won't dry out his skin. Bathing works to wash off the allergens that accumulate in an animal’s fur.
  • Wipe your pet with a product formulated to prevent dander from building up and flaking off into the environment. Ask your veterinarian to suggest one that is safe to use on animals who groom themselves.
  • Note any symptoms of dermatitis exhibited by your companion animal. Dermatitis often leads to accelerated skin and fur shedding, which will up your allergen exposure.
  • Brush or comb your pet frequently. It’s best to do this outdoors, if possible. (The ASPCA does not recommend keeping cats outdoors, so make sure your feline is leashed if you take him outside.)
  • Taking Care of Yourself

  • If possible, have someone other than yourself do the housecleaning, litter box work and pet washing, wiping and brushing. If you must clean the house or change the litter, be sure to wear a dust mask.
  • Wash your hands after handling your companion animal and before touching your face. The areas around your nose and eyes are particularly sensitive to allergens.
  • Designate a “pet outfit” from among your most easily washed clothes. Wear it when playing or cuddling with your companion, and you’ll leave other clothing uncontaminated.
  • Find a physician, preferably an allergy specialist, who will make sure that your pet is the cause of your allergies and will help alleviate your symptoms. Medications and immunotherapy (desensitizing shots) can often allow you and your companion animal to remain together happily ever after.
  • Should You Be Concerned About Cracks in Your Foundation?

    6/25/2018 (Permalink)

    General Should You Be Concerned About Cracks in Your Foundation? This photo shows one kind of slab leak, a slow leak from a pin hole.

    The foundation underneath your home serves a very important purpose. It’s what keeps your house aboveground, deters moisture, and insulates your home against the cold weather. When that foundation starts to form cracks, it should make any homeowner concerned. This is because properly developed foundations are created to withhold natural settling that occurs when a house ages. This means that if you see cracks in your home’s foundation, something is not right. Because of its seriousness, SERVPRO of West Riverside City wants to help educate others on how serious cracks in a home’s foundation can be. 

    What’s the big deal with having cracks in a home’s foundation?

    It doesn’t matter where the cracks are located or how big or small they become, finding a crack in the foundation is never a good sign, as it means that the foundation itself is moving. Because the foundation acts as the platform for a house to be built on, having the foundation move around only leads to structural problems and damages to your home. When cracks start to form, it can lead to many unwanted scenarios or events. Here are just a few: 

    1. Water damage.

    If there are cracks in your foundation, that means that the cracks can act as an entranceway for water to enter your home and ruin the basement and other parts of your house. Along with that, the water can help make the cracks larger and spread at a faster rate, which only means more damage to your home. 

    2. Degrading foundation.

    When a foundation starts to degrade, the water entering can cause the foundation to erode at a faster pace, which can also cause serious damage to a home. 

    3. Termites.

    Nobody wants to deal with termites. Unfortunately, cracks in a house’s foundation can help invite them into your home. The cracks make it very easy for them to gain access to your home. Once the termites are there, the repercussions are costly and no fun. 

    How do cracks form?

    All three items mentioned above are clearly things that no homeowner ever wants to deal with. Oftentimes the damage is not as bad if the cracks in the foundation are found earlier on. So what should a homeowner do? It helps to know the background as to how these cracks are formed in the first place. Here are a few ways cracks can form on your house’s foundation: 

    1. Earthquakes.

    Living in Southern California, earthquakes are a common occurrence. Along with the damage they can do to your personal items inside your house, earthquakes can also affect the foundation of your home. The stronger the earthquake, the weaker your foundation can become. Along with that, smaller earthquakes can also make current cracks worse, so beware of the possible damages caused by earthquakes. 

    2. Improper mix solution.

    The actual creation of a house’s foundation is very important as to whether or not cracks will form. If the foundation mixture has too much sand or water, it will not set properly, which overtime, can cause the foundation to erode.  

    3. Exposure to extreme heat. 

    An intense amount of sunlight exposure can cause concrete to expand during the day. When the sun goes down, the concrete can go back to its normal position. Having this constant expansion and shrinkage occur can cause your foundation to crack. 

    4. Leaks in the plumbing. 

    Having to deal with water leaks in your house is a pain and often very time consuming. But when a leak happens, don’t forget to check your home’s foundation. If there is an excess amount of water leaking into your basement, this can cause pressure against the foundation, making it more vulnerable to cracks. 

    5. Droughts or floods. 

    Southern California’s recent weather has caused quite a bit of chaos. First, there was the statewide drought. Then El Nino brought possible flooding issues to some homeowners. Both cases are no good for a house’s foundation. Droughts and floods can change the typical soil pressure around the foundation, which can then cause it to move and eventually crack. 

    How Water Can Damage a Home’s Foundation

    Water can have a huge impact on a home. Whether it’s a pipe leak or a flood, the damage it can bring to the home is overwhelming.  But on top of that, water can create major problems with a home’s foundation. Here is how water plays a major role in a home’s foundation damage. 

    1. Soils make a difference. 

    We can’t always escape water. At some point, rain or snow will hit your home. But there are certain soils that drain better than others. Those made out of loam or sand typically have good drainage, which means these soils don’t provide an issue with foundation damage. However, soils made out of clay are expansive and tend to absorb water around them. When the soil expands, it surrounds the foundation of a home and creates a pressure against the foundation. As this pressure starts to build against the foundation wall, cracks start to form. 

    2. The absence of water hurts, too.

    The absence of water can actually damage your foundation as well. In times of drought, the previously saturated soil under the foundation shrinks. This leaves a void in the soil that supports it, which can make the foundation drop or sink, causing damage to the foundation as well as the structure it supports. 

    So, what can I do to prevent it? 

    After reading about all of the terrible effects and damages a cracked foundation can have on a home, you may be wondering to yourself, “what can I do to prevent all of this from happening to my home?” Fortunately, SERVPRO of West Riverside City has compiled a list of tips to help you prevent water damage and a cracked foundation to your property. 

    1. Clean your gutters.

    Cleaning your gutters on a regular basis can help ensure good drainage. This in turn can help prevent cracks to your foundation.

    2. Test your sump pump.

    In order to avoid cracks forming within your foundation, be sure to test your sump pump at least once a year. If it’s storm season in your area, be sure to check it more frequently.

    3. Fix the water leaks.

    Any visible leaks should be repaired as soon as possible, in order to prevent any future water damage. Be sure to check for dark spots on ceilings or pipes, as it can also be an indicator of water damage. Evidence of water damage has the ability to create cracks in the foundation. If your home shows any signs of water damage, be sure to contact SERVPRO of West Riverside City, as we are leaders in the water damage removal process. 

    How Cracks in a Home’s Foundation Can Create Slab Leaks

    Oftentimes, a crack in a house’s foundation can lead to a slab leak in your home, which is another thing no homeowner wants to deal with. Fortunately, SERVPRO of West Riverside City has lots of experience in dealing with slab leaks. 

    Recently, SERVPRO of West Riverside City received a call from a homeowner who realized that the carpet in their bedroom was very wet in a specific area, which had no connection to plumbing. Unsure of what to do, the homeowner reached out to their insurance agent who referred him to SERVPRO of West Riverside City. 

    When we received their call, we immediately sent out our Project Manager to inspect the damage. After looking around the area, he realized that the homeowner had a slab leak that ended up affecting the bedroom, bathroom and laundry room. He reached out to Crew Chief and his team of technicians started to get the project underway immediately. 

    The SERVPRO of West Riverside City team had to remove the wet baseboards in all the rooms and the padding in the bedroom, but they were able to save the carpet by floating it. They then set up dehumidifiers and fans to help the rooms dry out. 

    The homeowner was very happy and appreciated all of SERVPRO of West Riverside City’s help. They were thrilled that we were able to save their carpet and grateful for our quick service. They let us know that if they’d call us for their future water damage needs. 

    If your home has been affected by a cracked foundation or has any other signs of water damage, give SERVPRO of West Riverside City a call! We are happy to help with any water damage problems. 

    Emergency Ready Plan

    8/14/2014 (Permalink)

    General Emergency Ready Plan Emergency Ready Profile with SERVPRO West Riverside City

    Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation, and can help minimize how water and fire damage affect your business.