I've always hated January. The drab weather, the biting cold and the Christmas cheer over. I used to cling to my Christmas tree until February when it was more of a dry stump than a festive decorative item and spent the month wailing for the month to be over.
Part of why I always hated January was also school-related. In secondary school January is the month where Christmas-hungover teachers squeeze in the last tests before the term ends; and in university it is the month in which all exams take place - as if the month wasn't depressing enough. Coupled with fog weighing down, darkness wrapping up the land and a bitter-cold chill cascading through the streets, it was the perfect recipe for a deep-seated depressive episode.
Even after I graduated from school and uni, the month never managed to fully pick up and be anything else than the most depressive time of the year, but this year I have a plan to make it less daunting and more enjoyable - yes, you read correctly, I am attempting to bring light into the darkest of the month, and do you know how I will attempt to do it? By embracing the darkness and not moaning about it.
Do you already have a face mask for every occasion? One for Christmas, one for date-night, the little black one? Quite unbelievingly (and involuntarily), face masks have become THE fashion accessory of 2020 and will most likely remain an integral part of our lives for the next year at least. But is there actually a difference in quality between cloth masks and disposable masks? Patriot Medical Devices have the answers for us in the guest post below.
COVID-19 left us in need of masks on a scale like never before. Cloth face coverings were the creative and economic solution for many. Being washable and reusable, they allow community members a cheap and convenient way to mask up. Let’s face it, they’re much more fashionable too! So, how do these cloth masks compare to others?
In theory, any mask worn correctly is better than no mask. In covering the mouth and the nose it prevents, to some extent, the exchange of respiratory droplets. However, the level of prevention largely depends on the type of mask. It is important to first differentiate between a non-surgical face mask and a surgical mask. Surgical masks are tested to meet certain standards and approved for clinical use. A cloth-mask would classify as a non-surgical face mask. While there is no testable standard for them, the CDC still recommends cloth masks as a mode of infection prevention in the community setting. The historical use of cloth masks and prior research shows that cloth masks are still effective in reducing infection rates.
While surgical masks are overall more effective, and are considered the gold standard by the CDC, the benefits of cloth face masks should not be overlooked. In reality, most of us are not actually using our disposable masks just once. We’re throwing them back into our purses and pockets, and then fishing them out the next time we need them. This is where cloth masks have their time to shine. We can throw the dirty one we just wore in the laundry to disinfect it, and then pick up a clean one for next time. It is important to note that not all cloth masks are created equal. If you are using a cloth mask, consider the fabric, number of layers, and fit. The most effective cloth mask will have a fabric with a tight weave, multiple layers, and one that cups tightly around the face. This will most securely block your respiratory droplets from contaminating other individuals and surfaces.
If you are opting for a disposable mask, be sure to check whether it is a surgical mask or a non-surgical face mask. Surgical masks will offer the most protection, both for yourself and others. Surgical masks are tested by The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). They are tested for bacterial filtration, particle filtration, synthetic blood splatter, flammability, and breathability. Surgical masks are sorted into three levels, ATSM 3 offering the highest degree of protection. If you’re looking for a quality, comfortable mask, Patriot Medical Devices makes ATSM 3 surgical masks that offer the highest level of protection against particles and fluids!
For my English and American readers, this post may be a little bewildering, but I've been recently asked various times why I put up my Christmas tree so early (mid-December) and here's why.
In Austria, can you believe it, it is customary to only decorate the tree on the 24th of December, maybe the 23rd. I have never quite understood why, as the day of Christmas Eve is stressful enough without having to trim the tree, right?
When I first had my own Christmas tree in our first flat, I put it up two weeks prior to Christmas, and I've done so ever since. I know that in America and the UK, it is pretty much normal to put up the tree so early, and I can only advocate it, so why do I do it the British-American way and not adapt to the Austrian way?
I am a sucker for Christmas, like my mother. For me there is nothing more wonderful than the festive season and I cannot get enough Falalalala in the running up to Christmas. I love it all. Christmas music, punch, choosing presents for everyone, wrapping, baking cookies, putting up fairy lights, choosing a tree - it is an immense joy for me and our entire family.
The Christmas tree symbolises this festive cheer perfectly, in my opinion, as it twinkles with lights, shows off my most precious baubles and emanates that Christmassy forest smell I love so much. So why not make the most of it?
As much as I love Christmas, I love pre-Christmas even more. The run-up to the holiday, the time of cocoa, snuggling up, lighting the advent wreath, opening the calendar, enjoying looking at the tree while watching Christmas movies. It's truly the most wonderful time of the year. A Christmas tree makes every living room cosier - in fact, I chose to put up THREE Christmas trees this year, one in the kitchen, the balcony and the living room - so I bring in this Christmassy warmth as early as a real-life tree allows (and I absolutely hate fake trees, I mean, what's the point).
So while most Austrians can only admire their trees from the 24th December to the 6th January, I can relish the Christmas season already, and my heart warms every time I look at the twinkling tree, hailing Christmas.
We survived the coronavirus, thank God! A few weeks back my sister was tested positive after they had an outbreak at her work and everyone in my family (except for my Mum, the medical wonder), caught it. Even our four-month-old daughter, Lily.
Thankfully, we all only had mild cases, actually like a mild cold. Lily had a high temperature for one day and threw up a few times, but that was it. To be honest, I've had colds that were worse than that, but the mental impact of the two weeks were indescribable for me.
I never really feared the coronavirus. I took it seriously and am an advocate for the measures taken to prevent it from spreading; but it never really touched my life personally and I didn't expect it to be a big deal for me.
Until it suddenly was very personal. I had actual panic attacks, being completely catatonic that I or Lily might die, up to the point where I was convinced that would actually happen. Even after she was brought to the children's hospital to have her checked through (just as a precaution), I was convinced she would have to die - or I would and leave her alone.
Inching towards thirty, I have noticed that my body and, particularly, my skin do not forgive as readily as ten years ago.
While aging may not be the most pleasant experience, the memories, experiences, and life lessons we learn along the way are invaluable. But what if someone told you there are ways to stop, or at least limit, the symptoms of aging. With help from specific vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, we can help rewind our body’s biological clock by replenishing valuable nutrients that we lose with age. That being said, aging is inevitable, and symptoms are almost impossible to avoid altogether. If anything, utilizing this collection of nutrients can help improve quality of life and raise bodily optimization.
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