We are in an age of increased internet use, and the online world is booming. Millions of people use the internet to check their schedules, emails, bank accounts, make purchases and to engage with others. With online growth comes the increased risks associated with oversharing and failing to protect private information.
We’ve all seen the repercussions of unsafe internet usage in the news. The data-mining firm Cambridge Analytical recently came under fire for its misuse of 50 million Facebook users’ data mined from those who agreed to the terms of an online personality test. Thousands of people have dealt with cases of their private photos or information being spread on the internet by a third party. And, the number of online hackers and scammers is only rising.
So how can you protect yourself while still participating in the digital world? Here are a few important points to remember:
- Make a password and make it good. Having a password on your technology, important documents, or various web accounts may seem like a hassle, but it’s essential for your protection. If you lose your phone or laptop without a password, anyone who picks it up can get in and access your information. Creating a password makes accessing your personal information much harder.
- Read the fine print. Resist the urge to accept whatever agreement pops up on your computer when trying to access an application or site. Reading the fine print is important for understanding with who and where your data could be shared. You may find that the dangers of accessing that page outweigh the positives of using the product. If so, decline and go elsewhere for your online needs.
- Avoid scams. If you get a call, text, or email saying that there is a problem with an important account of yours, and if you are asked to share your social security or bank account information to fix it, be sure to check the validity of that statement with a verifiable source. Instances of imposters pretending to be account managers are common, and their ability to convince anxious users to quickly turn over their personal information makes them incredibly dangerous.
- Use trusted sites. If a website is safe to use, it will usually say so at the bottom of the page in some form. It is important to only access pages that are considered trustworthy, as some sites can be vehicles for computer bugs, viruses or hackers.
Interviews can be intimidating, no matter who you are. Consider these tips next time you’re prepping for a big interview, and let me know if you have other interview tips for success!
- Bring a printed resume. Despite being an incredibly important resource for the interviewer, many interviewees forget or do not think to bring a printed copy of their resume to their interviews. Even if you have already emailed them a copy, be sure to print and bring with you a clean copy of your resume, as this shows the interviewer that you are prepared and capable of anticipating the needs of those around you.
- Make eye contact. Maintaining an appropriate amount of eye contact with the person who interviews you is important because it signals that you are present and focused.
- Don’t fidget. Toying with your hair or clothes is a nervous tick that many people bring to their interviews. These actions often have the adverse effect of making you look nervous or insecure, and therefore it is important to be aware of what you are doing with your hands.
- Be polite. It seems obvious to say that you should be on your best behavior during an interview, but it is worth reemphasizing. Thank your interviewer, and anyone else you spoke to, for their time, use a professional tone and be sure to dress appropriately for your meetings.
- Ask questions. Nothing shows a potential employer that you are interested in them better than having questions ready for your interview. Asking intelligent questions displays your smarts while also showing that you’ve done your research and have genuine interest in the work.
I hope that these tips bring you great success in your job hunting!
If you have been reading my blog, you probably know by now how much I love animals. Animals of all kinds are fabulous, but dogs have a special place in my heart. As much as dogs make an excellent household pet, they can provide comfort and joy in a more official capacity as a therapy dog. Different than service dogs, which help individuals perform tasks they cannot do for themselves because of a disability, therapy dogs travel to facilities such as hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, and schools to provide comfort, companionship and relieve stress.
News of the positive effects of therapy dogs is spreading: especially in health care. Some hospitals have even implemented therapy dog programs as part of their patient experience initiatives. Benefits of interacting with a therapy dog include: lower blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health, the release of calming endorphins (oxytocin) and more. A therapy dog can be trained to do anything from comforting an older individual in a nursing home, to aiding a college student in relieving stress during final exams, to cheering up a child in a hospital wing.
If you’re interested in registering your dog as a therapy dog, or just want to learn more about the benefits of therapy dogs, visit the American Kennel Club for more information!
To the relief of parents and physicians across the country, flu season seems to be coming to an end. And just in time, because allergy season is here!
Allergies can be described most basically as the immune system reacting to a substance or substances it doesn’t recognize by making you feel unwell. Wheezing and shortness of breath are two of the most common allergy symptoms.
Some individuals suffer from seasonal allergies, or allergies that are strongly affected by the shifts in pollen and other environmental conditions accompanying seasons changing. Seasonal allergies begin to cause problems for many people in the spring in the form of watery, red or itchy eyes and sneezing. Other common allergies are animal, drug and food allergies, all of which cause the body to negatively react to stimuli exposure.
If you have seasonal allergies that are beginning to bother you as we head into spring, try taking over-the-counter allergy medication prior to spending a lot of time outdoors. Hydrating and eating healthy are also important for helping your body to fight off any sickness or symptoms. No matter who you are, suffering from allergies is no fun. Above all, the best way to better your allergies is to get an understanding of what triggers them and to avoid that trigger when at all possible.
Aromatherapy is an age-old treatment that helps sooth the body and mind and can be incorporated into your daily life in a variety of ways.
Here’s a few ways to add these relaxing scents to your day:
- Candles. Most people like the smell of candles, but don’t realize the level of relaxation they provide. Freshly scented candles are a great way to add zen to your workspace or your home.
- Oils. With so many ways to use essential oils, they’re a great way for someone to learn more about aromatherapy! Water them down with coconut oil, and some cam be applied to the skin like perfume. Added to steam, they can bring an extra level of relaxation. The uses are endless, and the little bottles are highly concentrated and long lasting.
- Massage. If you enjoy getting a massage now and then to relax, look for an aromatherapy massage the next time you go. It’s all the usual rejuvenation of a massage with the bonus of scents for further relaxation.
- Diffuser. Diffusers are easy to use, and a great way to bring pure, essential oil aromatherapy to your home. Just add water to your diffuser, a few drops of your favorite oils, and turn it on! The diffused aromatherapy oils will soon make you and your house feel peaceful. Try lavender oil if you want to relax and peppermint oil if you’re looking for a boost!
- Jewelry. For those who like the idea of using essential oils, but aren’t sure you want to apply it to your skin, aromatherapy jewelry is the perfect solution. Jewelry of all shapes, colors, and sizes is made to hold the scent of essential oils, allowing you to enjoy your aromatherapy in style.
As busy as we all might be, it’s important to slow down and reflect on all we have to be grateful for. Giving back in ways big and small is a great way to get involved in your community and improve the lives of those around you.
Here are a few fun ways to create positive change in your community:
- Feed the hungry. In every town or city, regardless of where you live, there are people struggling with food insecurity. Volunteer at your local soup kitchen or food bank or organize a food drive to help provide meals for those in need.
- Plant a garden. To provide more locally-grown vegetables and fruits, as well as to assist in neighborhood beautification, many people are starting community gardens in their neighborhoods. Try out your green thumb and make some flower beds for people around you to enjoy. You can even invite friends to join in the fun.
- Tutor a student. For those who like to work one-on-one with others, tutoring a student in a subject you excel at is a great way to advance someone’s education. Remember: knowledge is a gift!
- Join a philanthropic organization. There are so many incredible philanthropic organizations and groups focused on every topic from building houses for the homeless, to helping women in times of need or crisis. Pick a topic you are passionate about and see what opportunities there are to join in with like-minded individuals to enact positive change.
- Fill a need. If you have noticed a need within your neighborhood or community that you don’t see being met, take initiative and start a committee or volunteer group to take on the problem. Philanthropic work is often most effective when it is creative.
I’d love to hear about how you choose to get involved in your community!