Stress…what stress?

April is Stress Awareness month. I don’t know about all of you, but there has definitely been enough stress in my life lately. The end of the school year always brings around a new crop of stress and now that the weather is improving, I think we all try to cram as much into the daylight hours as we can. Between work and families and other activities, it is no wonder we are a society of stressed out individuals. Here are some great ways to manage your stress and anxiety.

  • Sleep. Often the root of our stress and anxiety is that we sacrifice sleep to “get things done”. This starts a vicious cycle interrupted/disruptive sleep and more anxiety. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
  • De-clutter. Physical clutter leads to mental clutter. Take some time to tidy up, you’ll be surprised and how that can help your stress and make you more focused.
  • Gratitude. Showing gratitude and being thankful can provide you a much needed center and make you feel less overwhelmed.
  • Food. Eat well balanced meals and don’t fall into the junk food trap. Eating well does wonders in providing calm and clarity.
  • Breathe. Long deep breaths send signals to the brain that it is OK to relax.
  • Play. Even when your to-do list is long, stopping for a moment to do something fun totally for you makes everything seem a little more manageable.
  • No. Remind yourself that it is OK to say No.
  • Acceptance. Put your stress in perspective and accept that you can’t control everything.
  • Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and makes you feel good and more focused.
  • Talk. Find a friend that can understand what you’re going through with no judgements and let people help where they can.

Stress is always going to be a part of our lives, but we shouldn’t let it take over our lives.

Wishing you a calm and stress free day!

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(Almost) April Fool’s Day

Spring is in the air! Nothing puts me in a good mood more than warm temperatures, blooming flowers, and the sun shining except maybe a good prank. With April Fool’s Day only a couple days away here are some clever (and kid-friendly) April Fool’s Day pranks! Enjoy!

  • Fill your child’s glass with Jell-O (Add a straw to the cup for the best effect)
  • Freeze your child’s morning cereal
  • Add food coloring to the milk
  • Swab the inside of the bathtub faucet with gel food coloring. When your child goes to take a bath they’ll get a colorful surprise.
  • Put a piece of clear tape over the sensors of the TV remote and game console remotes.
  • Poke tiny pinholes into a plastic water bottle using a sewing needle. Wipe down the bottle and set it on the counter. When someone picks it up their hand will cause a light spray of water to go everywhere.
  • Set the clocks in the house an hour or two early.
  • Put googly eyes on the food in your refrigerator
  • Hide bubble wrap under a rug and wait for someone to step on it.
  • Block the spout of the shampoo bottle.

**All of these pranks are meant in good fun with no harm intended. Prank responsibly!

april fools day

 

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February is American Heart Month

We have been so spoiled by the amazing weather, it is hard to believe it is February. Don’t worry, Mother Nature is about to remind us that we still have a bit of waiting to do for spring. Since the weather is reminding us that is in fact February and not May, we thought it was a good time to remind you that February is American Heart Month.

Here are some things to keep in mind about heart disease*:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women.
  • Almost half of all Americans have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking.
  • In the US someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds.
  • Every 60 seconds, someone in the US dies from a heart disease-related event.
  • Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year.
  • 90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
  • Direct and indirect costs of heart disease total more than $320.1 billion.

Those statistics are just the tip of the iceberg of the information out there, and they are pretty eye opening. So, the big question is, what can you do so you don’t end up as a statistic? Here are some great tips to get heart healthy.

  • Healthy eating
  • Physical activity
  • Weight management
  • Stress management
  • Quit smoking

Start implementing healthy habits in your life and be a good example for your children or children close to you, so when they are grown these statistics won’t exist for them.

Here is to a healthy and happy future for us all.

america-heart-month

*Statistics from www.cdc.gov and www.theheartfoundation.org

 

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Winter isn’t over…are you prepared?

While we have had a stretch of nice weather the last few weeks here in Eastern Iowa, we aren’t out of winter just yet. You never know how the weather can change during the end of January through March, so if you don’t already have a winter emergency kit in your car, hop to it and get one in there NOW. Here’s a list of some things to include along with some helpful tips to keep you safe during these last months of winter. This is not an all-inclusive list, so use your judgement and pack anything else you deem necessary.

Winter Car Emergency Kit

  • Windshield scraper
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Water
  • Non-perishable snack food
  • Extra hats, socks and gloves
  • First Aid Kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Fluorescent distress flag
  • Cell phone charger
  • Shovel
  • Battery powered radio
  • Blankets

After you have your kit packed here are some tips to remember in case you end up stranded.

  • Tie your fluorescent distress flag on your antenna or hang it out your window. If you are stranded at night keep your dome light on to make you more visible.
  • Stay in your vehicle. Your vehicle is shelter from the storm, if you attempt to walk to get help you could easily become lost.
  • Only run the engine for 10 minutes every hour and make sure the exhaust pipe is free of snow, opening a window while the engine is running is a good idea as well.
  • If you have a passenger make sure one of you is awake at all times to watch for help.

Being prepared can always help in these situations as well. Make sure your vehicle’s gas tank is at least half full and that the tires are properly inflated and it always helps to have someone knowing which route you will be taking to your destination.

No one ever expects to be stranded in their car, but is it always better to be safe than sorry! Spring is just around the corner, let’s make sure we finish out the winter season safely!

winter-driving-tips

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Our Year in Review

Whew! How are we down to the last few days of 2016 already? We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, enjoyed some time with friends and family and were able to slow down for a few moments to enjoy this crazy, fast-paced life we are all living!

As we finish up this year and prepare for the next, we thought we’d take a look back and let you know what has been happening at Ludovissy and Associates for the last year.

2016 was a year of change for the agency. With Dave transitioning into retirement, Jon and Troy have taken on the day to day responsibilities of running the agency and all of the satellite offices. They have adjusted well, and the offices are running as smoothly as ever. Speaking of satellite offices, on October 1st of 2016 Ludovissy and Associates entered into a partnership with Tujetsch Agency in Guttenberg, IA. Mike Tujetsch and Brenda Burr are running things in Guttenberg and doing a fantastic job of adjusting to all of the changes that have been thrown at them.

2016 also brought with it a few new faces joining the ranks in the Dubuque and East Dubuque offices. Hayley Taylor and Jim Mitchel joined our Dubuque staff this year and Eric Graham can be found over in our East Dubuque office. All three are such a great addition to our staff.

At the end of November long-time staff member, Joanie Miller, retired. After over 20 years at the agency, Joanie was ready to start a new chapter of her life and all of us here wish her well in her next adventure.

With all of the changes, of course there are lots of things that remain the same. If you stop in our Bellevue office you will still see Susan’s smiling face, and at any given time you’ll find John, Jeff, Ann, Dena, Peggy and Amber holding down the fort in Dubuque. These people keep the agency running and continue to provide the customer service you have come to expect and deserve.

On that note, we all would just like to take a moment to thank you for making this year one to remember; we are excited to see what 2017 brings.

We hope all of you have had a blessed 2016 and we look forward to seeing you in 2017!

 

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DIY Christmas

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends and had the chance to relax a little bit. If you are like any of us here at Ludovissy and Associates you are heading full force into the Christmas season. It seems to come around so fast these days, doesn’t it? Anyway, we thought we’d veer away from a serious blog topic this month and get in the Christmas spirit with this list of DIY Christmas decorations. Get the whole family involved and create some wonderful decorations while you’re creating lasting memories. Enjoy!

Glitter Vase

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 Christmas Garland

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Tea Light Snowman

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Candy Cane Vase

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 Peppermint Candy Trays

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Lighted PVC Candy Canes

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Christmas Kitchen Towels

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Mason Jar Lights

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 Snowman Milk Jugs

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 Christmas Wreaths

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Trick-or-Treat

Is anyone else astonished by how quickly the year has flown? I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that it is already fall, Halloween is only a few days away and pretty soon we’ll be in full-on Thanksgiving and Christmas mode!

We all want our little ghosts and goblins to have fun on Halloween, but we also want them to be safe. Keep these things in mind as your little ones are out trick-or-treating this year.

  • Make sure costumes are the appropriate length/size. This helps prevent trips and falls.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather. We all know Iowa weather is unpredictable, make sure you can add layers under costumes in the case of cold weather.
  • Use face paint whenever possible and avoid masks. Masks can obstruct a child’s vision.
  • Walk on sidewalks whenever possible.
  • Put away electronic devices and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up.
  • Never dart out into the street from between parked cars.

If you aren’t trick-or-treating this year but will be out and driving keep these tips in the back of your mind.

  • Drive slowly, especially in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited and aren’t always paying attention, make sure you are.
  • Take extra time to look for children in intersections, on medians and curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways slowly and carefully.
  • You should never text and drive, but especially on Halloween eliminate the distractions.
  • Be alert especially during trick-or-treat times. (Check local papers so you are aware of trick-or-treat times).
  • Be patient. Remember how much fun this night was when you were a kid. A little inconvenience is a very small price to pay for the enjoyment and safety of the children.

Have a happy and safe Halloween from all of us here at Ludovissy and Associates!

ludovissy-halloween

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