How to Spend a Rainy Memorial Day Weekend

edceee-78881-unsplashEven though the technical first day of summer is still about a month away, many consider Memorial Day Weekend to be the official kickoff to the summer season.  Families all over the state often take a day trip to the beach or have a backyard barbecue which are great options.  However, this year the Sunshine State is not forecasted to be so sunny.  What to do when rain comes to town for the long weekend?

Luckily, there is no shortage of fun, indoor activities for the family.  Here are some ideas on what to do this weekend if there is a washout for the local parade or barbecue.

  • Head to the theater. Movies are always a great rainy day activity and many anticipated movies usually come out over Memorial Day Weekend.  Browse for showtimes and purchase tickets online in advance to make sure you have a spot during the busy weekend.  Also consider checking out a local theater for any plays or other performances going on!  This can be a unique twist on the theater.
  • Learn something. Visit your local museum or science center.  It can be a great opportunity to learn about science, history, art, culture, and more.  If you have younger children, many museums have interactive sections geared towards the little ones so they can learn while having fun.
  • Have a friendly competition. Turn off the electronics and break out the board games or cards!  This is great entertainment for large groups if you need to move the party inside.
  • Get sporty. For some activity, head to the local bowling alley, indoor golf, or arcade.  Many areas are adding indoor sports complexes with a variety of activities so check Google to see if any of these are in your area.
  • Get your nerd on! It’s cool to embrace your inner nerd and what better place to do it than Megacon?  If you can make it to Orlando for Memorial Day weekend you can attend this event which is an homage to all things pop culture.  Enjoy the events and the guests that participate in often impressive cosplay.
  • Remember the reason for the holiday. If a sunny day is in the cards on Monday, many places will sponsor parades and other tributes.  You can also visit your local memorial garden and place decorations and wreaths for fallen veterans.  If it’s a rainy day, consider making some crafts with the kids to decorate with or honor those who sacrificed by writing a letter to someone currently serving.

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There are definitely lots of options when it comes to finding something fun to do over the three-day weekend.  Whatever you decide to do, enjoy time with family and friends and be safe!

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7 Fun Ideas for Mother’s Day

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It’s that time of year again. The weather is warming, dreams of summer vacation are on your mind, and kids are excited about getting out of school.  While thinking about these wonderful things, it is important to remember another occasion – Mother’s Day!

While you likely appreciate your mom every day, this is a great time to take a moment and do something special with her to show her your appreciation and gratitude for all she has done for you.  Here are some fun ideas on how to spend Mother’s Day with your best friend since birth.

  • Get packing!  Mother’s Day is a great time to plan a weekend trip.  Check out some travel sites and pick a destination neither of you have ever been to before to experience together.
  • Find something new.  Does your mom like to shop ’til she drops?  Hit local thrift stores to see if you can find that hidden gem you never knew you needed or head to outlet malls to take advantage of some discounts.
  • Brunch it up.  Visit a restaurant you have both been wanting to try.  Be sure to do a quick Google search for Mother’s Day specials; many places have these.
  • Get some fresh air.  Is Mom a nature lover?  Visit a local park or go camping together.  You are guaranteed to get some good quality time.
  • Game on!  Is your family competitive?  Get all of the siblings together with mom to have a game day.  Just be sure to make sure Mom wins a few games on her special day!
  • Pamper yourselves.  Treat your mum to a pedicure, massage, or facial.  This is a great chance for you both to relax together and not have any worries on your mind.
  • Get a hobby.  Does your mom like to garden?  Maybe she enjoys visiting local museums.  Spend the day doing some of her favorite hobbies with her.  You might discover a new hobby for yourself!

Whatever you end up doing for Mother’s Day Weekend, hopefully it will be filled with great memories and happy times.  Let us know what you did for Mother’s Day at socialmedia@lelandmanagement.com.  We love to hear from you!

The Benefits of Being Thankful

giving-thanks-2Once again, the holiday season is upon us!  While there are many exciting and joyous times ahead, sometimes the stress of the season can get to us and cloud the purpose behind some of these festivities.  Let’s take Thanksgiving, for example.  Many of us get anxious about purchasing groceries, cleaning our homes in preparation for guests, and then cooking what is often the largest meal of the year!  What if we tried to take a moment to slow down and appreciate this holiday for what it is intended to be – a day to be around our loved ones and to think about what we are grateful for.

Being thankful is not just about being polite.  There are some real benefits to it that are backed up by science!  Spending just five minutes each day focusing on what you are grateful for can improve your physical and emotional health more than 10%.  This impact is the same as what you would feel if your income doubled.  Additionally, those that focus on being thankful often have better social lives.  Showing gratitude in our day to day lives makes us kinder and more appreciative which tends to have a positive effect on how others perceive us.

Thankfulness can also make us more optimistic and less materialistic.  Sometimes during this time of year, we can get caught up in the value of objects, but if you make it a point to practice gratitude in your daily life, you may find that you focus more on things like family, friends, and hobbies instead of material objects.  This can help improve your general outlook on your own life and circumstances.

With so many benefits associated with being thankful, what better time a year to start practicing?  Consider keeping a journal for the rest of the year and each day write a couple of lines of things you are grateful for.  Take your growing positivity and share it with others!  Consider working to get your neighborhood together for a Thanksgiving celebration.  You could do a potluck to spend time together or perhaps invite neighbors that might be alone during the holidays over to share in your celebrations.

This is also a good time to help the community.  Your association could consider hosting a food drive or get a group of volunteers together to help out at a local shelter or soup kitchen.  This is something that people of all ages can participate in and it can help remind you of all you have to be grateful for!

The holidays only come around once a year and can fly by in a blur of activity.  Try to take a moment to close your laptop, put down your cell phone, and truly enjoy the special things that happen this time of year and most of all, enjoy spending extra time with family, friends, and neighbors.  That is something to truly be thankful for!

 

 

Three Natural Therapies for Falling Asleep Easier

iStock_72421373_LARGE-500x333Not being able to fall asleep can be very frustrating, especially when you consistently struggle to get a good night’s rest. Insomnia and other sleep disorders can affect your health, and while sleep medications can bring on the zzz’s, you should not be relying on medications to help you sleep in the long term.

Try these techniques to help prepare your body for sleep:

Mind-body Therapies – Techniques such as yoga, meditation, tai chi and deep breathing techniques can help you relax and calm your thoughts. These techniques foster a greater mind-body awareness.

Natural supplements – Certain natural supplements and herbs can help reduce anxiety and help your body prepare for sleep, with less risk of developing a dependence on using them than if you were to take sleeping pills. Some popular natural sleep aids include melatonin, magnesium, chamomile tea and L-theanine. Try not to take the supplements every day, and only take them when you need extra help falling asleep.

Get On A Sleep Schedule – When you stick to a sleep routine, your brain learns these patterns and can better prepare you to fall asleep (kind of like the famous Pavlov’s dog experiment). Stick to the same bedtime every day (weekends included) and wake at the same time every day to set your biological clock. Also, develop a routine to help train your brain that it is time for bed: put on pajamas, drink some chamomile tea, read a book and brush your teeth. Your brain will learn these cues and prepare for sleep.

Source: UCF College of Medicine

How to Make it Easier to Spring Ahead

Over the weekend Daylight Saving Time took an hour of sleep away from us.  While many people enjoy the extra light in the evenings, it often takes people a few days to adjust to the change.  Here are some tips to help you ease into the time change.

  • clock-alarm-clock-bell-dial-38297If you feel sleepy in the afternoon after the time change, go ahead and take a short nap if possible.  Just do not time this too close to bedtime.  Try to avoid sleeping in an extra hour in the morning and give your internal clock some time to adjust.
  • Now is a good time to start a habit that will help you far beyond Daylight Saving Time – try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.  While getting some extra sleep on weekends is tempting, regulating your sleep schedule will help you get the most out of the time you are asleep and help make falling asleep and waking easier.
  • Dim lights in the evening and open curtains when you wake up.  You can also take advantage of dimmer switches to keep your light level less bright in the evening.  This will help relax you in the hours leading up to bedtime.
  •  Exercise at some point during the day.  Even something as simple as walking can lead to better sleep.
  •  Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed.  Though alcohol may make you sleepy, it can interfere with your sleep cycle.  Also avoid large meals too close to bedtime.
  • Come up with a bedtime ritual to help you relax and get sleepy before bed.  This might include a warm bath, reading, or soft music.

Following these tips will not only help you ease through the Daylight Saving Time transition, but they are good practices to follow all year long to promote better sleep quality.

Three Myths About Sleep Aids

Sleep plays a vital role in your health and overall quality of life. The amount of sleep you get can impact your relationships, job performance and overall happiness. Insomnia is fairly common. Nearly 50 percent of Americans report occasional insomnia, and almost 20 percent struggle with it every night.sleeping-man

In our quest for some shut-eye, we sometimes sabotage our own sleep. If you are relying on any of the methods below, you could be inadvertently robbing yourself of sleep.

Having a “nightcap” before bed

It’s a long-standing misconception that alcohol helps you sleep. While a nightcap might help you feel sleepy, as the alcohol metabolizes in your system, it really messes with your ability to stay asleep. Alcohol before bedtime will cause recurrent awakenings and suppresses the rehabilitative stage of sleep, known as REM. Don’t cheat yourself; avoid alcohol before bed.

Watching TV to fall asleep

Watching TV or using your phone in bed is one of the worst things you can do when trying to fall asleep. It’s all tied to the blue light emitted by these screens. It prevents the release of melatonin from the pineal gland in your brain, which is what makes you feel sleepy. This is especially a problem for adolescents who take their phones to bed with them.

Using sleeping pills

Long-term reliance on sleeping pills is not the answer to your sleep problems. While it is OK to take an over-the-counter sleep aid if you’re having a few nights of bad sleep, you should not be relying on it nightly. If you are taking sleeping pills, try to wean yourself off of them slowly by lowering the dose and then start to reduce the number of days that you take it. If your sleep troubles persist after two to four weeks, talk to your doctor.

Source: UCF College of Medicine

Why Your 2017 Goal Should Be Behavior Change, Not Losing

change-your-mind-to-lose-weight-500x334Instead of making lofty promises to lose weight this New Year, you can be much more successful if you focus on changing your behavior.  The reason most resolutions aren’t achieved, or are only short-lived, is because we don’t define how exactly our behavior will change.  Our goals are often vague, unstructured or don’t define actionable steps.

Set SMART Goals

The most effective goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. For example, if your primary desire is to lose weight, a SMART goal would be to keep a food journal and write down everything you eat, each day, for a week.

Once you have your SMART goal, take steps to monitor your behavior and adjust as necessary.

Plan For Slips

It would be unrealistic if we didn’t anticipate slips, or lapses, as we work on building new behavior. The most important thing is not to be hard on yourself when slips happen. Reflect on what contributed to the slip and find ways to navigate through the challenges.

Reward Yourself

Define what success looks like for you and reward yourself for the behaviors that support your goal. For example, at the end of the week if you met your goal six of the seven days, treat yourself to a movie, pedicure, shopping or whatever you like.

Seek Support

If you find yourself continually coming up short on weight loss goals, or if the idea of starting a weight-loss plan is too overwhelming, you may want to consider enlisting some support. Health care providers can advise you on diet, physical activity and medications that may help.

You may also want to consider a weight management support group. It’s empowering when you are successful and when other people recognize that success.

Source: UCF College of Medicine

3 Easy Ways to Eat More Meals at Home

Most Americans today aren’t following the government’s recommended dietary guidelines. In fact, they’re not eating nearly enough fruits and vegetables, and they istock-460260009-500x333consume too much sodium, sugar and saturated fats. They also go out to eat more often than they should.

Although it is possible to eat healthy away from home, studies have shown that most people don’t, choosing foods with more calories, fat and saturated fat than what they’d get at home. The USDA Economic Research Service found that restaurant food has a significant impact on caloric intake and diet quality. Meals and snacks from restaurants contain, on average, 134 more calories than the same food prepared at home.

To eat healthier, cook more meals at home. Follow these tips to make food prep a breeze:

Meal Plan

It might take you 15 minutes or so to plan out all the meals you and your family will eat for the week, but at least you won’t be standing in front of the fridge at dinnertime wondering what to eat. By doing so, you’ll also avoid the temptation of going out to eat.  With your list in hand, you can do just one grocery trip for the week to get all you need. Another timesaver!

Sign Up For A Meal Planning Service

You can reduce time spent planning and shopping by paying a meal planning service to do it for you.  Most of these services incorporate well-rounded meals and deliver foods uncooked, with accompanying recipes. Many offer meals to fit special dietary needs as well.

Although some services deliver cooked meals, by seeing the raw ingredients you can be sure of exactly what you are eating. This is a fun way to try new foods and eat more veggies.

Pack Your Lunch

Brown bagging it is an easy way to ensure a healthy lunch and reduce your caloric intake. In fact, eating fewer lunches out will save you, on average, 158 calories per lunch. But don’t get in a turkey sandwich rut. Consider packing healthy leftovers, salads, bento box-style lunches and more to keep things fun! Just search online for “lunch box planning” and you will have no shortage of fresh ideas.

Source: UCF College of Medicine

Don’t Fall Into the Pit

pitfalls-1Being on the board of a homeowners’ association or condo association can be a very fulfilling experience.  Many board members enjoy getting to know their neighbors better, offering guidance on association matters, and playing an active role in the operations and health of the community.  Most board members take their positions seriously and truly want to do an excellent job.  However, being a board member can be challenging at times and there are certain mistakes that are easy to make and can be detrimental to an association.  This is why it can be advantageous to work with a community association manager (CAM).  CAMs can help board members avoid common pitfalls to ensure the association runs smoothly and legally.  Here are some of the common mistakes boards can make:

  • Not following the governing documents: Sometimes boards do not carefully read their documents and then fail to abide by them. This can sometimes happen if a new board is elected and they try to follow a previous board’s example as opposed to reviewing the declaration and by-laws of the association. Typically, this is unintentional, but it can cause a lot of potential issues. It is extremely important to follow the documents as they are written both from a legal standpoint and to ensure fairness for all residents of the community. An association manager can assist with questions a board might have about documents. CAMs will also review the documents and help advise boards when a policy or procedure may not be in line with the by-laws.
  • Becoming overzealous: Board members are understandably excited about their position and sometimes in their ambition to make positive changes in their community, they can make large decisions too quickly. Smaller changes can lead to big changes. It is best to weigh any major policy changes very carefully. As mentioned before, documents need to be reviewed before procedures change. Also, there is a risk of alienating fellow residents if a major change is implemented too quickly. Sometimes hasty decisions can backfire. For example, sometimes a new board may decide to fire all current vendors believing it is in the best interest of the association. However, in doing this, all ongoing projects lose momentum and it becomes impossible to determine which vendors were actual problems and which were not. Take the time to speak to your association manager. In the case of vendors, if you are unhappy with someone your CAM can likely recommend alternate qualified vendors for your association. They can also give you advice about how to implement changes within the community.
  • Holding improper meetings: All board meetings must be documented and noticed. Anytime a quorum of board members gets together and speaks about association business, this is considered a board meeting. Boards often may do this at a casual lunch or other social gatherings not realizing this is a violation of association law. Conversations at social gatherings need to steer away from any type of discussion about the community. If you have questions, speak to your CAM to help clarify what is and is not okay to discuss amongst your fellow board members when there is not an official meeting taking place.
  • Mismanaging the association budget: Budgets can be a complicated issue for any community. Too often, boards make errors in judgment when it comes to association funds. Common mistakes are spending too much too quickly, not establishing funds for emergencies and other incidentals, and keeping costs artificially low in order to please homeowners. It is crucial to look at finances in the long-term. While a board may want to add an amenity, execute a requested repair, or fulfill other homeowner requests, it is important to think how the association might be impacted in five to ten years from a large financial decision today. Boards should review prior year budgets and learn from them. Also, as hard as it may be to consider raising assessments, sometimes it is necessary to continue to meet your fiduciary responsibilities. CAMs usually have a lot of experience assisting boards in different types of associations. They can likely provide guidance and advice throughout the budget process and also help make sure that any work that is completed is done so at a reasonable price.
  • Losing patience: Being a board member can be a very stressful position. As rewarding as it can be, there are times when it can feel thankless and frustrating. Sometimes board members may feel like they are hearing a broken record when they get similar complaints from multiple homeowners. It can be easy to lose patience and become aggravated with explaining a situation multiple times, but try to remember that to each member, this is a new conversation. Residents come to boards with their concerns because they are the trusted representatives of the association. As hard as it can be sometimes, it is vital to maintain a respectful rapport with the homeowners in your association. Having poor relationships can make things challenging during board meetings. Community association managers can assist with the stressful task of listening to owner concerns. They often act as the middleperson between the owner and the board and can typically field most questions and concerns before it ever needs to make it to a board member. Many boards find this to be one of the best parts of working with a community association manager. It is beneficial to residents as well since they can become familiar with one designated contact.
  • Not knowing when to seek legal advice: This can be a very tricky topic. Boards do not want to overuse their attorneys since this can become costly, but there are definitely times when legal advice should be utilized. If you are dealing with a challenging situation with a homeowner that could potentially turn into a lawsuit, this would be a time to seek legal counsel. Additionally, when statutes change, it might be a good idea to consult the association attorney to see if the board needs to do anything to be in compliance with the law. Talk to your association manager if you need help on finding the right balance for your community.

Volunteering for a board comes with a large amount of responsibilities and decisions that have to be made. It can be very easy to make common errors in judgment that can cause a lot of issues down the road. Reviewing these tips and keeping an open line of communication with your association manager are good ways to ensure you have checks and balances in place to make sure your association continues to thrive and operate successfully.

 

Why Calcium Supplements Don’t Guarantee Women Strong Bones

Women are at higher risk than men to develop osteoporosis, or weakening of the bones. In an effort to prevent this, you may have been advised to take calcium and/or vitamin D supplements. While thistock_90374421_large-333x500is is good advice if you’re not getting enough calcium or vitamin D in your diet, it may not protect you from getting brittle bones.

Recent research shows that a thyroid condition, hyperparathyroidism, is linked to weakening bones in women and is more common than once thought. When your parathyroids aren’t working correctly, your body can’t get the calcium it needs. If you have this condition, no amount of supplements or change in diet will help.

If you are experiencing hyperparathyroidism, you probably wouldn’t know it. That’s because many times there are no symptoms, and the symptoms that do show, like depression, kidney stones, muscle fatigue, bone and joint pain, and memory loss are often confused with something else.

If you have high blood calcium levels, you should have follow-up testing for PTH and vitamin D levels. Together these three tests can confirm hyperparathyroidism.

If hyperparathyroidism is confirmed, surgery is most often the recommended treatment. The affected glands are removed, and the healthy ones continue to regulate calcium.

Source: UCF College of Medicine