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Considering homeschooling your children due to COVID- 19?

In-person vs. Online Learning

Back-to-school 2020

Due to the lasting effects of COVID- 19, school districts nationwide are considering postponing in-person instruction until later in the year. Some districts are even considering starting in-person instruction after labor day (which falls in September of this year). Other parents and public school officials are concerned that students have already missed out on months of critical instruction due to the global impacts of the novel coronavirus that began in the US in March of this year.

Recently, a large school district in Indiana opened for in-person instruction. The result — was the school having to quarantine teachers and students on the first day. It appears that a returning student tested positive for the coronavirus, but not before engaging with other teachers and students.


Could homeschool, virtual learning, and distance-based instruction be the answer to the uncertainty? It appears that homeschool and other distance learning options are better alternatives for many families and school districts nationwide. So far, the majority of school districts nationwide are opting for distance learning and online instruction instead of in-person learning.

 

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If you’re considering home school due to COVID- 19 this year, you’re not alone. Currently, there is a heated public and political debate about whether America’s public and private schools should open later in the year or — if they should even open for in-person instruction at all.

Why more parents are choosing home-based learning this year:

  • School closings due to COVID- 19
  • Lack of quality instruction
  • Parents want to instill values
  • Child has an illness

More parents are considering homeschool this year. Primary concerns are COVID and lack of quality instruction in both rural and metropolitan areas.

How home school works

Home school, in simple terms, is happens when school-aged children are taught at home by their parents. There are some home school groups and associations where other adults act as teachers for groups of students. When children attend home school, their parents also become teachers. As a result of their new role as teachers, homeschooling parents use a combination of learning techniques geared towards educating children outside of a traditional classroom environment.

Parents who home school use the same steps as teachers in a traditional classroom to select curriculum and themed learning activities for the school year. Some of today’s home school students take part in age-appropriate field trips while others are able to participate in organized sports that are normally reserved for public and private school students.

For parents, deciding what curriculum to choose seems to be the most daunting task related to homeschooling. Get ideas on what curriculum to choose for your child by visiting your state’s board of education website. Online school options that offer learning packages often include pre-packaged curriculum options to choose from by age or grade level. Online learning providers like Time4Learning  make it easier to organize your child’s school year, track grades, measure progress, and automatically create printable transcripts for transferring and graduating students.


Home school 2020 —->>> How to get started

Today’s home school options include a variety of distance-based learning alternatives. The term “home school” includes parental-led home instruction, tutor-led instruction, online learning, public school-at-home, and distance learning. What all of these non-traditional options have in common is that learning takes place outside of a traditional classroom environment.

For many parents who have traditionally relied on public and private school options for K-12 education, the concept of homeschooling can feel new and daunting. With the global COVID-19 pandemic not showing any end in sight, many Americans are opting for home school, virtual school, or some combination of the two as a way to keep their children safe from the novel coronavirus pandemic that is showing no signs of slowing down.

The good news is that with home school becoming the more popular option is that that are more resources available than ever to help you get started. Now that you understand the basics about how homeschooling works, let’s look at a few home school methods that are available for today’s parents and students.

education resources by state

Back-to-school | 2020


Homeschool + Distance Learning Options


Guided Learning

Guided Learning – Working parents and parents who are new to the concept of homeschooling will appreciate the simplicity that guided learning options have to offer. Most guided learning interactions are simulations set up on a computer, tablet, or other compatible mobile devices. Guided learning activities allow for a parent to select an activity for their child to complete. Parents can choose the appropriate grade level and also select the intensity level of each lesson based on the learning habits of their child.

 


Tip: when setting up a guided learning activity for your child, if you notice that he or she is completing the activities faster than you expected, chances are the intensity level is too easy for them and needs to be adjusted to present a greater challenge. It’s important to monitor how your child responds to the change in intensity level when setting up guided learning activities. You want them to feel challenged, but not completely exhausted by their self-guided learning sessions.


Unschooling

Another popular method of homeschooling called “unschooling” is gaining in popularity as parents and educators realize that many children have the ability to choose their own learning path. Unschooling involves providing your child with a group of activities to choose from and letting them choose the activities they want to participate in for the day, week, or set time period.

Today’s unschoolers are excited learners and excelling at a rapid pace as learning becomes a fun adventure instead of a chore for them. Choosing this pathway requires a mutual bond of trust established between parents and their school-aged children.


Tip: Parents and students have to work together to establish reasonable goals and a system of measurement to track progress based on the child’s individual learning plan. Unschooling families can benefit from resources sites including their local state board of education website, unschooling groups online, and local school district support.



Free and Paid Homeschool Options


Public school-at-home – Offered by many state school districts. This option is based on the school districts curriculum and instruction methods for in-person learning. Public school-at-home options during the pandemic may include in-person learning, online learning, or 100% distance-based learning options.


Online learning options – Popular online learning providers offer full-year curriculum and instruction programs for distance learners. Popular online learning providers like K12 and Time for Learning, provide an easy-to-follow learning pathway for parents and students.


Home School Clubs + Associations



National Homeschool Association | NHSA

The National Homeschool Association is a member-based advocacy group that provides information, referral, and other support options for home school families. Membership in the NHSA provides parents and other home-based educators with access to home school courses for both home school teachers and students.
The NHSA provides information in their monthly newsletter on home school rules, laws, and regulations, and also offers a one-stop shop for new home school parents. The annual membership fee to join the NHSA has temporarily been reduced from $39.00/yr to $10.00/year.
visit the NHSA website


Home School Legal Defense Association | HSLDA

Learn about homeschooling requirements by state, special needs programs, important information for high-school students (and beyond). How to choose the right curriculum and planning your school year. Members get legal education on homeschooling laws and regulations along with educational support. The HSLDA provides parents and home-based educators with a variety of resources, tools, and strategies that make homeschooling a breeze.
learn about the HSLDA


Georgia Homeschool Education Association | GHEA


Information and resources for parents within The State of Georgia who suddenly find themselves homeschooling as a result of COVID- 19. Find videos, testimonials, how-to-guides, and community resources, state laws, policies, and important information for driver education and athletic participation programs for home school students who live in Georgia.
visit Georgia homeschool association

 


K12.com – Online Learning Platform | Grades K-12

K12.com is one of the leading online education providers for distance learners who require a non-traditional learning experience. This online platform offers a combination of learning options that include distance-based and in-person learning options for enrolled students. K12 offers non-traditional routes of study for advanced learners, college-prep students, and wide-variety of personalized learning options for non-traditional learners.
visit k12.com online


Education.com – Resource & Information Site | For Parents + Educators


Learn about homeschooling requirements by state, special needs programs, important information for high-school students — and beyond. The Education.com website can help you learn how to choose the right curriculum and planning your school year. Members get legal education on homeschooling laws and regulations along with educational support.
go to education.com


Time4Learning – Online Learning Platform | Grades K – 12

Time4Learning is another leading online education provider that offers education, curriculum, and instruction for students grades K-12.This online learning platform provides a complete teaching option that includes customized progress reports, teaching strategies, and individual learning plans for elementary through high-school aged students.
Getting started with Time4Learning only takes a few minutes as this intuitive learning platform does most of the work for you. Sign up for the Time4Learning affordable monthly subscription and begin your home school journey with ease!
visit time4learning online

Click the link below to find resources provided by the United States Department of Education.


education resources by state


 

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Michelle S. Loyd

msloydwrites

Writer, marketer, influencer, #gamechanger. Freelance writing + blogging. Popular topics: psychology, mental health, digital marketing, information technology. Follow @msloydwrites on social!

 

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July 10, 2020
by: msloydwrites

Feel like 2020 has been a rollercoaster ride so far?

When you ask most people, they will probably tell you that 2020 has been something of a rollercoaster — to say the least.  Out of the blue, we’ve all been hit with a global pandemic, worldwide social unrest, rampant unemployment, the rise of hate speech on social media platforms, and countless other stressful factors that have most of us eagerly looking forward to 2021. And it’s only July. 

With so many unexpected things going on at once, there is no wonder that issues with mental health are on the rise.  Chronic mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder affect around 43 million people annually. 

These statistics were discovered before the events of the recent past that have caused many of us to experience levels of stress we could have never imagined before. 

National Alliance On Mental Health
NAMI – US Mental Health Statistics

“Millions of people are aected by mental illness each year.  Across the country, many people just like you work, perform, create, compete, laugh, love and inspire every day.”

National Alliance on Mental Health 

If you’re among the millions of people who suffer from chronic anxiety, you know how debilitating the effects of anxiety can become over time. Having anxiety can make you feel like you’re constantly having to look over your shoulder and become hypervigilant to avoid a potential catastrophe. In this article, we provide you with ten tips to help relieve the symptoms of chronic anxiety naturally in everyday situations.


Symptoms of Everyday Anxiety 

According to the National Institue for Mental Health (NAMI), almost twenty-percent of adults in the United States suffered from an anxiety disorder within the last year. This means that nineteen percent of adults in the US struggle with chronic anxiety each year. The negative effects of anxiety can become debilitating or morph into physical conditions that can begin to affect your health over time.

Wondering what suffering from chronic anxiety actually feels like? People who suffer from issues with chronic anxiety report a range of uncomfortable symptoms that can last for days, weeks, or even years without assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Following is a list of anxiety symptoms as reported by the Mayo Clinic. Take note of any recurring symptoms and seek the advice of a medical professional if you feel anxious, depressed, or not like yourself. Your primary care doctor can provide you with a series of tests and assessments that can detect and diagnose issuers with medical or mental illness. If your primary care physician diagnoses you with a mental illness like an anxiety disorder, they can also provide you with treatment options that include lifestyle changes, medication, and therapy. 

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12 Symptoms of Chronic Anxiety

1. Feeling nervous, restless or tense
2. Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
Data Source: The Mayo Clinic
3. Having an increased heart rate
4. Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation) 
5. Sweating
6. Trembling
7. Feeling weak or tired
8. Trouble concentrating or thinking 
9. Having trouble sleeping
10. Gastrointestinal (GI) problems
11. Having difficulty controlling worry
12. Urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

If any of these sounds like you, the good news is that — there is help available. The first step to feeling better is to contact your primary care physician to let him or her know you’ve been having ongoing issues. There are online doctors and mental health professionals who can help if you’re stuck at home because of the coronavirus. 

 

10 Tips for Reducing Everyday Anxiety


Anxiety Reducing Tip #01

Focus on the positives.

Many people suffer from anxiety because they haven’t learned how to accept both the ups and downs in life. With all things being equal, we can expect to have good days and bad days in our lives. In this case, we should teach ourselves how to focus on the positives — even when the going gets rough. If you aren’t sure where to begin, talk to a licensed medical professional or therapist. Popular behavioral therapy techniques like cognitive-behavioral therapy have been shown to get results in a little under twenty weeks for some. 


Anxiety Reducing Tip #02

Choose your attitude

Do you believe in the concept of mind over matter? Your brain does. Your brain operates based on the information that you supply it with. This means that if you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re having a bad day, chances are you’ll end up having a bad day. Stop negative self-talk by choosing your attitude and making a conscious choice to focus on the positives. Remember that there are always three sides to any situation — your version, their version, and the truth. Allow yourself to account for the potential unknowns and choose to take the high road to reduce anxiety. 


Anxiety Reducing Tip #03

Contact a therapist

If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed, sad, depressed, or just not yourself lately, seek support from a licensed mental health professional after scheduling a check-up with your primary care provider. If your physician provides you with a clean bill of physical health — and you’re still feeling run-down or down in the dumps, the next step to take is to enlist the support of a licensed therapy professional.


Anxiety Reducing Tip #04

Exercise

If you’re feeling anxious, the last thing you probably want to do is exercise. Moving your body can help temporarily take your mind off ruminating thoughts or worries about the past, or what may be coming in the future. Exercising helps to center your mind and eases anxiety naturally when pleasure chemicals are released in the brain.


Anxiety Reducing Tip #06

Take a break from the internet

The hostile climate of social media is beginning to take a serious toll on the hearts and minds of social media users. Do your psyche a favor and set time aside to completely disconnect from the internet. This means no checking your phone, laptop, tablet, or any other available device. Taking the time to reconnect with yourself and your family can help to ease the added stress and anxiety that today’s social media activity can heighten.


Anxiety Reducing Tip #07

Distance yourself from toxic people

Spending time with people who seem to have everyone’s best interest at heart (except yours) is a great way to drain your energy. Another side-effect of spending too much time with toxic people is that you feel like you’re not accomplishing the goals that you’ve set for yourself in life. If you’re having trouble identifying the toxic people in your life — here’s a clue:

 

Toxic people specialize in dashing the hopes and dreams of the people around them without providing a fair, realistic, or alternative solution.

You can find toxic people everywhere you go. Don’t be surprised to find toxic relationships in close friendships, dating, and married relationships, in the workplace with co-workers, and even in employer, employee relationships. 


If you or a loved one are in a toxic relationship that has progressed into verbal, emotional, or physical abuse, contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline for support.


Now that you have an idea of how to spot the negative nellies in your life — whether or not you stick around for their next negative update — is completely up to you. However, be prepared for your mental health and other critical areas of your life to suffer if you refuse to distance yourself from the negativity of toxic people.


Anxiety Reducing Tip #08

Be honest with yourself

The best way to get what you want out of life — is, to be honest about what you want. This starts with telling yourself the truth about even the smallest details. Learn how to be honest with yourself and not be swayed by the ideas and opinions of others who loudly critique your ideas and tell you why you “shouldn’t think this way.” We all get to choose our own pathways in life. Those that are supportive of your individual goals and dreams will also be supportive of self-honesty. Being honest with yourself helps you keep your life on track and avoid the pitfalls of negative people and situations that don’t make the cut.


Anxiety Reducing Tip #09

Drink water

The majority of our bodies are made up of water. Whether you like the taste of water, don’t have time to drink water, or whatever excuse you’re telling yourself lately to keep from drinking the proper amount of water — water is indeed the elixir of life. Water powers the most important part of your body. Your internal organs like your heart, lungs, kidneys, etc. need water to stay hydrated so your body systems can flow. Not drinking enough water can result in dehydration. Severe cases of dehydration can lead to more serious health concerns that could have been avoided by simply taking care of yourself. Using apps on your phone that reminds you to drink water, and keeping a stash of water nearby are two great ways to make sure that you get the amount of water that you need for top performance.

Anxiety Reducing Tip #10

Rest

I’m not sure when burning the candle at both ends became the new normal. I do understand that burning the candle at both ends is the quickest way to throw your body into a negative cycle that can lead to fatigue, health issues, and severe mental health issues like burnout. Having experienced the effects of workplace burnout myself, I can tell you that it’s definitely not a walk in the park. Getting the proper amount of rest is one of the best ways that you can honor your body.

Conclusion

As a life-long anxiety sufferer, I can honestly say that I’ve practiced each one of these tips — together and individually — and consistently get results. The reality is, that no matter what is going on in our world, including global pandemics and charged political climates, we still have to make self-care a priority. Even more so now than ever. The best way to stay mentally fit and alert is to learn to recognize the symptoms of burnout, overwhelm, and anxiety in your life — as soon as they happen.

 

 

Waiting too long to take care of your mental health can lead to the development of more serious issues. Medical issues can be aggravated due to unmanaged mental health issues. Many people aren’t aware that prolonged instances of unresolved anxiety in the body can have devastating effects on your mind and body — if left unchecked. Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. 

 

Related – How to Organize Your Life Using Free Apps From Google Play and The App Store

coronavirus (COvid-19) resources

US Small Business Administration – COVID Relief

198 Free Tools To Help You Coronavirus

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization

 State + Local Health Departments – United States

**Contact your state, county, municipal or local government for details on available resources in your area. Some resources and relief options are area specific. 


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Looking for easy ways to beat stress and anxiety? Getting more organized could be the answer. 

 

Have you been thinking about getting more organized — and you’re not sure where to start?

You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we talk about how to organize your life using apps for creating lists, organizing your personal finances, and managing your physical and mental health.

Getting more organized can help ease stress and anxiety as you become more confident by knowing that you’ve prepared yourself to handle any situation.

Using apps for organization can give you a birds-eye view of important tasks and responsibilities in your life at a glance.

Free organization apps can help you develop a process for organizing the most important parts of your life.

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There are free organization apps available to help you manage business expenses, household expenses, appointment reminders and calendars automatic bill pay, health, and wellness apps that remind you to exercise and nourish your mind and body.

The following are examples of free apps that can help you organize your life. Some of the apps mentioned here have freemium options that provide in-app upgrades and unlock additional features. All of the apps mentioned here are available as a free download on the App Store or Google Play Store for Android. Today’s apps are downloadable powerhouses for our phones, tablets, desktops, and laptops that can help keep our lives on track at the click of a button. 

Free list-making apps for home, school, + business

Trying to remember too many details at once can become overwhelming. Many people aren’t aware that we make mental notes of millions of details and pieces of information every day.

As a matter of fact, according to Information Theory, “our brains the human body sends 11 million bits per second to the brain for processing. Yet, the conscious mind seems to be able to process only 50 bits per second.” This means there are potentially massive amounts of unprocessed data floating around inside of our heads. Using lists, apps, and other organization tools can help us to make more sense out of all of this available data.


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Using lists and list-making apps for organization may feel strange at first. Over time, you’ll feel more relaxed as you begin to take control of your time.

Examples of some of my favorite free apps for making lists are listed below.

Twitter – Keep up with business contacts, partners, leads, and competitors using Twitter lists. The lists feature on Twitter makes it easy to keep up with important people, contacts, and top brands. Organizing important contacts into Twitter lists is as easy as creating a new customized list from your Twitter profile. Once you create your list and find the username (handle) of the person you want to add to your list. The last step is to click the more button on their Twitter profile to add them to a scroll-able and shareable Twitter list. That’s it! 

 

Google Docs – Using docs makes it easy to brainstorm writing ideas,  marketing content and exchange files with team members. Creating a Google doc or spreadsheet only takes a few minutes and anyone who has an active Google account can use docs. I use Google Docs to create blog posts, web pages, notes, and reports. Docs is free-to-use for individual and business users. Google also offers an additional suite of features and integrations for docs users that makes it easier for business and professional users to communicate. A current list of Google Docs features and integrations can be found by clicking here

 


Free list-making apps we love!

Monday

Clickup

Google Keep

Evernote

Slack

Free apps for organizing business  and personal finances

You don’t have to be rich or wealthy to put your finances in order. Learning to budget and track your finances is an easy organization step to take. Start by keeping track of your income and spending to discover how much you’re bringing in versus how much you’re spending.

Personal finance apps make it easier to track and manage your income and expenses. Looking at the numbers on screen may give you a different perspective on what is considered a necessity, expense, etc. Taking control of your finances can help you feel more in control of your life and less susceptible to unexpected financial negatives like becoming past-due on bills, getting evicted, or having your car repossessed.


Popular Business and Finance Apps

Quickbooks

Mint

Credit Karma

Fidelity

Self


Health and wellness apps reduce stress, anxiety

Using health apps like food trackers and mental health apps can help you to reduce anxiety at work and at home by reminding you to take care of important medical and mental health-related needs.

There are health and wellness apps that provide calorie counters, step counters, food trackers, water intake, and more.

Popular therapy apps like Betterhelp give at-home users the option to chat live with a licensed therapist any time of the day or night. Therapy apps like Betterhelp and mindfulness apps like Fabulous, and Welltory are making it easier for us to interpret important signals from our minds and bodies that are telling us it’s time to slow down.

With the heightened levels of stress impacting millions of people simultaneously worldwide, it’s critically important that we each learn how to practice self-care. You may think you don’t have time to fit in a daily practice of self-care, however taking 5-10 minutes out of your day to devote only to you isn’t too much too ask.


Free Health and Wellness Apps

Welltory

Fabulous

Betterhelp

RegainUS

Dr. On Demand


Everybody has its own unique language. If you learn to listen to your own body language, you may be surprised at what you find. As parents, employers, and caretakers, many of us know our spouses, partners, friends, and children’s body language better than our own.


 

 

Exercise

Drink Water

Learn Your Limits

Honor Your Emotions

The more you pay attention to your physical needs you may find in a few days or weeks that you feel much better. When your body or mind is pushed to their limit — even a small improvement can make a difference.

Be proactive and avoid burnout and other stress-related issues by learning to listen to the signals your body is giving you.

Using free apps to help organize your life is an easy way to start. For example, when you have a headache, this may mean you’re dehydrated, overwhelmed, tired, or even hungry.

Using health reminder apps like Welltory or the water reminder app will remind you at regular intervals to drink water, stretch, exercise, and take deeps breaths. It may seem like these things come naturally, however, the prolonged effects of stress can throw our mind and body systems out of whack and we can find ourselves “tuned out” as a result.

It’s important to understand that each one of our bodies has its own way of telling us what’s going on. Learn to read your own body language to make sure you’re providing your body with the proper amount of food, rest, exercise, and nutrition. Using free apps can help.


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Related Reading: 10 Tips For Relieving Anxiety In Everyday Situations.

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“Some of the most beautiful chaptes in our lives won’t have a title until much later.”


It’s’ easy to keep a positive attitude when things seem to be going your way. But what do you do when things seem to be going completely in the opposite direction of what you expected? Enter COVID-19. The coronavirus is a disease that stems from a family of viruses named SARS-CoV-2. This novel and never seen before coronavirus is responsible for the worldwide outbreak and global pandemic that has brought the entire world to its knees. As a result, many of us are on lockdown, quarantine, or self-quarantine in a worldwide effort to slow the spread of the virus.

The key to keeping a positive attitude during trying times like these — is to stay focused. While this may sound like it’s easier said than done — staying focused during trying times is the best way to get through a rough patch while keeping your sanity intact. In this article, we talk about 4 ways to stay focused on the positives when everything in your life seems to be out of control.

1. Be honest with yourself.

If preserving good mental health and sanity is your goal during times of uncertainty, being honest with yourself is the quickest way to put things in perspective. Being honest with yourself clears a mental path for “real” solutions that can help keep you focused and moving forward regardless of what obstacles may lay ahead.

It’s okay to not know what’s coming next. The important thing is to know that you are mentally prepared for any challenge that may arise and that you can overcome it. Not being honest with yourself places you in danger of missing important facts or information that you need to stay safe and mentally alert during these uncertain times.

2. Practice extreme self-care.

It may seem strange to talk about self-care when everything in your life is turned upside down, but it’s necessary. Taking the time to spend at least a few minutes doing what you love is a great way to take your mind off negative circumstances happening around you and gives you a fresh perspective on the situation.

Self-care doesn’t look the same for everyone. Some of us like to snuggle up with a good book, journal our feelings, or spend time cuddling pets. For others, self-care may look like a candlelit bath, indoor exercise, or talking on the phone with a trusted friend. Whatever self-care happens to look like for you — when times are tough, more self-care is needed than ever before.

3. Follow a regular schedule.

The last thing you need in times of uncertainty — is more uncertainty. Create a daily schedule for yourself and your family so that everyone knows what is expected of them throughout the day. Examples of important tasks to add to your daily schedule are — breakfast, lunch, and dinner, exercise, work, and school-related activities, bathing and grooming, and downtime.

Following your daily schedule gives you a sense of normalcy in your life that is often missing during times of crisis and uncertainty. Keeping yourself and your family on track is the best way to avoid falling into disorganized chaos, boredom, or depression as we all struggle with adjusting to our “new normal.”

 


“Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. When nothing is certain — anything is possible.”


4. Stay focused on the positives.

While it may be tempting (and easy) to look at all the negative aspects of an uncertain situation, it’s not really necessary as the negatives speak for themselves. Focus on what’s going right and give yourself a pat on the back for keeping your shit together in the meantime. Otherwise, you may find yourself quickly falling into a spiral of negativity and self-defeating thoughts. These kinds of thoughts can make a bad situation feel ten times worse. Stay positive — regardless of the chaos that is happening around you.

In the meantime, keep following the medical advice of your local representatives and public health officials and remember — we’re all in this together. Stay focused, stay alert, stay safe.

-msloydwrites

 

About Michelle S. Loyd — msloydwrites 😘

Michelle S. Loyd, BA, MHRM, MISM

Freelance Writer. Marketer. Influencer. #GameChanger

Ms. Loyd is a mental health advocate who personally understands the daily struggles of others living with mental health concerns including anxiety.

Michelle currently enjoys writing uplifting and informative articles on the topics of mental health including anxiety, bipolar, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression.

Other topics of interest include — artificial intelligence, psychology, technology, artificial intelligence, and space exploration. 

These articles provide a humanistic view of the challenges today’s society is facing together with realistic expectations and manageable options for change.

Connect with @msloydwrites online!

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Feeling confused about which news updates to follow, believe, or even understand about the Coronavirus?

(You’re not the only one. )


If you’ve been wondering where to get the latest accurate news updates about the recently declared worldwide pandemic, COVID-19, we’ve put together a few resources to make it easier for you. Remember to use verified resources and not gossip or hearsay when making important decisions regarding using social distancing, shelter-in-place, and self-quarantine measures.  In this article, we’ll provide you with information on where to get the latest and most accurate coronavirus updates — straight from the source. Here’s the list.

Resource #1 – World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a global organization that works to promote health and safety worldwide. The WHO is responsible for diagnosing, monitoring, and providing public health information on public health issues that affect the world at large. The latest global pandemic of COVID-19 was declared by the WHO.

**This organization updates global information related to the coronavirus every 24 hours on its website.


Resource #2 – Centers For Disease Control (CDC)

You’ve probably heard about the CDC before now, if you aren’t sure who they are or what they do, here are the basics.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquartered in Atlanta is the US branch of the US Department of Health and Human Services. According to the CDC homepage, the organization’s mission is to protect the health and safety of US citizens at home and abroad. The CDC works in concert with state, federal, and global agencies to diagnose, assess, and counteract public health issues.

**This organization updates the information for COVID-19 regularly on its website.

 


Resource #3 – Twitter’s Social Networking Site 

While it may seem strange to reference Twitter in finding the latest coronavirus news, it’s really a useful and up to the minute tool. If you have a Twitter account, you can find local resources that apply to your specific, county, state, region, or city. Many school districts and public health facilities are updating their communities online using this popular social media platform.


Examples of related accounts to follow for coronavirus news on Twitter are:

Local Health Departments
School Districts
State Websites
World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control

You can also follow @msloydwrites organically curated Twitter list — for a real-time stream of updated and reliable sources.

**Information on Twitter is often updated in real-time and may not be verified in advance. Always check with official sources to verify information found on this or any other social networking site.


 


Join The Conversation!

While these aren’t the only sources providing regular updates on the coronavirus, due to their interest in public safety as it relates to containing COVID-19, they are likely to be some of the most accurate.

If you have information to share about available resources in your area that are reporting reliable information feel free to share in the comments below or @msloydwrites on Twitter in reference to the article.

For the moment, we’re continuing to follow the advice of local, state, and public authorities including the WHO recommendations outlined below. Stay safe everyone!

-msloydwrites


Recommendations and advice from the World Health Organization

 

  1. Wash Your Hands Frequently
  2. Maintain Social Distancing
  3. Avoid Touching Eyes, Nose, And Mouth
  4. Practice Good Respiratory Hygiene
  5. If You Have A Fever, Cough, And Difficulty Breathing – Call Your Healthcare Provider Immediately.

Want to get more updates like these?

Subscribe to the blog or follow @msloydwrites on Twitter for more updates.


About Michelle S. Loyd — msloydwrites 😘

Michelle S. Loyd, BA, MHRM, MISM

Freelance Writer. Marketer. Influencer. #GameChanger

Ms. Loyd is a mental health advocate who personally understands the daily struggles of others living with mental health concerns including anxiety.

Michelle currently enjoys writing uplifting and informative articles on the topics of mental health including anxiety, bipolar, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression.

Other topics of interest include — artificial intelligence, psychology, technology, artificial intelligence, and space exploration. 

These articles provide a humanistic view of the challenges today’s society is facing together with realistic expectations and manageable options for change.

Connect with msloydwrites online!


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mental health awareness


 

Are you still confused about how mental health care and insurance work together? 

If you are — you’re definitely not alone. As the importance of self-care and improved mental health care are a few of the hot topics of the day — there’s no wonder that health insurance companies and major employers are making the investment into employee behavioral health care benefits.

In this article, we discuss the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act MHPAEA including who’s covered, who’s required to provide benefits and how substance abuse and drug addiction factor into the equal opportunity health care act.

Let’s start with the basic provisions of what the MentalHealth Parity and Addiction Act and what it covers.


Mental Health Parity & Addiction Equity Act – Benefits, Services, and Eligibility

The Parity Act (enacted in 2008 and amended in 2010) requires large employers who provide health insurance benefits to their employees to provide comparable benefits for medical and mental health care services under their group benefits plans.

A major component of the act changes how mental health care benefits are assigned. The MHPAEA federal law enacted in 2008 makes it possible for group health benefits plan subscribers to receive equal coverage for medical and mental health care. This includes all financial payments for deductibles, co-payments, and annual out-of-pocket limits. 

Many employers (and employees alike) aren’t fully aware of the provisions included in the federal act that now offers coverage for mild to severe mental health treatments at the same coverage level as other medical health care based services. 

Eligibility — So, who’s eligible for coverage under the MHPAEA? People Insured through their employer (or other large group health plans) are eligible for coverage under the act. People who are uninsured or underinsured (including those who qualify for state benefits like medicare or medicaid) can also receive mental health coverage under the MHPAEA.

 

An important change to the Parity Act happened in 2010. They amended the act in 2010 to include behavioral health coverage for individual insurance plans. 

Want to learn if your employer covers mental health services under your insurance plan? Contact your insurance benefits provider directly to learn more about what type of coverage you have.

MHPAEA Benefits – Equal benefits with no lifetime limits for mental health disorders, mental illness, substance abuse disorders. People are eligible to receive medical/mental health treatment from licensed and board-certified providers in their state of residence.

 

Covered mental health services include: counseling, psychotherapy, medication management, referrals, case management. 

 



Mental Health Services – With over 43 million people in the US suffering from mental health disorders annually, the MHPAEA was introduced at an opportune time. As we become more aware of the mind/body connection, we’re learning that mental health care and physical health are equally important.

Gone are the days where mental health was considered a secret or stigma. Under the MHPAEA, consumers, employees and employers alike are finally getting the mental health services they need.


According to the NationalInstitute for Mental Health (NIMH), the following are statistics related to the prevalence of mental illness and mental health disorders in the United States. 

The NIMH reports that at least 46.6 million adults in the United States live with mental illness annually. 

(5) Common Mental Health Disorders In The United States 

  1. Anxiety – a nervous disorder characterized by severe anxiousness, unease, panic attacks, and compulsive behaviors. 
  2. Depression – a medical condition that causes sadness and loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy. Also known as major depressive disorder (MDD). 
  3. Post-traumatic stress disorder – a condition of severe mental and emotional stress in response to a traumatic event or psychological shock. They associate PTSD with sleep disturbances, flashbacks, and anxious behavior. 
  4. *Bi-polar disorder – a mood disorder marked by periods of emotional highs and lows that vacillate between elation and depression. 
  5. *Schizophrenia – a serious and long-term mental disorder characterized by faulty perception, inappropriate actions, and a fragmented mental state. 

*Conditions marked with an asterisk are “severe or serious” according to medical and mental health professionals. Severe conditions require a higher standard of care that involves intensive monitoring, psychotherapy support, and inpatient hospitalization. 

Serious mental health effects can limit or impair functioning and lower the quality of life of someone who has serious mental health issues. A person with mental health issues may have trouble concentrating, completing everyday tasks like self-care routines, and maintaining employment. 


Who “Doesn’t” Benefit From The MHPAEA?

Self-Employed, Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, And Other Independent Workers

People who are self-employed won’t benefit from the MHPAEA. They don’t qualify for coverage under the federal parity regulations. Other mental health options for people who are self-employed can be found through free, reduced, and low-cost mental health care options.

Popular online providers like BetterHelpDoctor On Demand, and Talkspace offer online access to licensed medical doctors including psychiatrists and other mental health professionals online.

Uninsured – People who opt for no health insurance coverage at all aren’t able to take advantage of the provisions included in the Mental Health Care Parity Act. This is because individuals with no insurance coverage aren’t eligible to receive services under an employer plan, individual plan, or state-sponsored plan.

If you find yourself in this situation, don’t be afraid to seek free or low-cost mental health care services from public health care clinics or online — instead of opting to bypass mental health care. 


Upcoming: Free and Low-cost healthcare options for freelancers (and self-employed writers and marketers).

 

msloydwrites

Writer. Marketer. Influencer. #Gamechanger 

msloydwrites

Follow @msloydwrites on social media for more updates on hot topics like these!

 

What Happened to Last Year’s Resolutions??

As we bring 2019 to a close and reflect on our accomplishments, how did you do? Did you meet the goals that you set for yourself at the beginning of the year? If not, did you at least make steady progress toward your goals? Every step counts — congratulations on making it through another busy year. Whether you met the goals that you set for yourself this year, or you still have more work to do you, we can all agree that 2019 was a whirlwind year!

We’re pleased to say that one of the most controversial topics of our time — mental health care — is finally getting the attention it deserves. In this article, we touch on a hot topic in mental health news — mental health care in the workplace. Keep reading to learn what we’ve discovered about mental health in the workplace this year — plus get links to some of the best mental health resources available online.

Chronic Mental Health Issues + Workplace Stress

If you suffer from issues with chronic mental health like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), then you already know how hard it can be simply getting out of bed each morning. When we add in the daily responsibilities of caring for families, children, and spouses, mental health issues can become amplified even more. What’s even scarier about this part — is that we haven’t even mentioned going to work yet. (Or, taken care of ourselves.) 

Unless you’re declared fully disabled by a doctor or other licensed medical authority, chances are that you have to learn to live and work — with the painful symptoms of chronic mental health. For people suffering from symptoms of anxiety, sometimes just the “thought” of going in to work itself, can trigger a panic attack. So what do you do when you have no other alternative? You grin and you bear it — right? This is absolutely the worst thing you can do for your mental health.

We’ve learned this year that taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. We also learned that workplace burnout is a real thing and now has an official diagnosis in the latest version of the AmericanPsychological Association’sDSM-5. Lack of either form of health care can cause debilitating physical and mental symptoms that only get worse over time — if left untreated. Work stressors are a leading factor in contributing to the negative effects of mental health symptoms for today’s employees. Some studies have even shown that people experience more medical episodes like panic attacks and heart attacks on Sunday evenings and Monday mornings at the beginning of the workweek.

Mental Health Care Is Becoming A Priority for Employers

Medical doctors, therapists, and mental health advocates are bringing mental health awareness to the forefront of medicine and making it a priority. According to Inc. magazine, top companies are taking notice and making better mental health care a priority. Big brands like Starbucks have spoken openly about making changes to improve their mental health care. There have even been legal standards created to assure that people who suffer from chronic mental health issues have access to the same mental health and medical health benefits via their health insurance providers. These regulations fall under the MentalHealth Parity Act.

The Effects of Workplace Stressors on Mental Health

We are just beginning to learn that the effects of traumatic experiences in our lives can contribute to the development of complicated mental health issues like complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). It may surprise you to learn that exposure to traumatic experiences isn’t limited to our personal and private lives. Traumatic experiences can also happen in the workplace. When issues that affect employees’ welfare or mental health state are left unaddressed, complex mental health issues can develop as a result. The following are examples of workplace issues that can contribute to the development of chronic mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and workplaceburnout.

Workplace conditions that can contribute to mental health decline or burnout:

Underemployment / Low Pay

Working a full-time or part-time career and still being unable to cover living expenses (paycheck-to-paycheck) can take its toll on your psyche. 

No Advancement Opportunities 

People in positions where advancement is thwarted often experience negative mental health effects. Examples where this is common are “glass ceilings”, nepotism, sexism, and racism.

Overworking 

Contrary to popular belief working long hours with lack of breaks, sleep, or eating is not a recipe for success — It’s a recipe for burnout.

Sexual Harassment 

People who experience sexual harassment by a coworker, supervisor, manager, or company owner will probably experience high levels of anxiety. 

Devalued Employees / Contractors

Employees often feel devalued when they have little or no access to proper equipment or training to complete their jobs.

 


The bottom line is — your mental health care is critically important to your overall well-being. (This is true both inside and outside the workplace.) When you’re preparing to set next year’s resolutions, be sure to put your mental health care at the top of your list. If you want to learn more about how mental health care is affecting people in the workplace (and where to get help) — subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates on our upcoming Mental Health in The Workplace series beginning in January 2020.

Wishing you the happiest of holidays and good mental health!

~ msloydwrites


Mental Health Parity Act (For Employers and Employees)

Online Therapy Options for Rural, Remote, and Telecommuting Employees

Learn How to Create A Work Environment That Promotes Good Mental Health

Medical Health vs. Mental Health Care — Which is More Important?


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Hire msloydwrites…

copywriting, ghostwriting, blogging, marketing, social media, customer experience, user experience, mental health, psychology, business services, writing tips, writing community, community building, influencer marketing, Twitter marketing, Instagram marketing

Introduction

Are you a writer, marketer, or business professional that spends a lot of time using Google Docs? If you’re a regular Docs user, chances are you’d like to learn more about shortcuts that cut your productivity time in half. In this article, we provide you with a few shortcuts to help you write blog posts, business docs, and other web content even faster — using Google Docs. Let’s start with the basics. 

Google Docs – The Basics

The Docs program is a free online word processing program that makes it easy for people to create, collaborate, and share documents. Docs comes in especially handy for distributed teams that need access to a universal document storage system. Google Docs syncs with many popular business applications and also has built-in collaboration features that let users communicate within Docs.

Users from any location can login to their individual Google accounts and work together on shared projects. Project collaborators can create documents (together) from anywhere they have a solid Internet connection (and access to the Docs application). Docs is available as a built-in app for Chromebooks, Android Devices and Tablets, and is available for download on all the major mobile app stores. This powerful word-processor and communication platform is one of the most popular programs around for writers, marketers, and productivity focused business professionals.

Google Docs – Shortcuts

There are several hidden functions built-in to the Google Docs platform to help increase the quality of your content. These productivity boosters come in the form of keyboard shortcuts., apps, extensions, and plugins. In this section, we’re going o lool at keyboard shortcuts.

Google Docs keyboard shortcuts work for computers including — PCs, Apple Macs, and Chromebooks.

Some of the shortcuts (provided below) also work across mobile Android and iOS devices. The following are examples of some of the best shortcut features available for computer users. Google provides built-in shortcuts for text formatting, document formatting, image formatting, and more. Let’s look at a few examples.


Keyboard Shortcut Examples for Chromebooks, PCs, and Macs

Ctrl + / = opens all shortcuts menu (so you don’t have to remember them)
Ctrl + Alt + 3 – Format documents quickly using the
Ctrl + Alt Test
Ctrl + B bold
Ctrl + K insert web link

Click here for a full list of all Docs shortcut features.


 

Easily Post Content to WordPress from Docs – Mammoth.docx Converter

Post your content directly from Docs to WordPress using one of the best WordPress plugins designed for easy document transfers. Mammoth.docx converter can be a lifesaver if you’re a content-based agency or marketing agency that posts blog content regularly using WordPress. The mammoth addon that lets you post Google Docs content directly from Docs to your WordPress website — with formatting and images intact.

Get the Mammoth.docx plugin to connect Google Docs to your WordPress website.

  1. Download the WordPress plugin.
  2. Manage the plugin settings from the WordPress menu.
  3. Open a Google Doc, edit the document as normal (including formatting and images).
  4. Download the Doc and save as a Microsoft Word .docx file.
  5. Add a new post in WordPress
  6. Scroll to the bottom of the page,
  7. Select the option to upload the document to WordPress.

When you scroll up, you’ll see your fully edited and proofread document ready for publishing on your WordPress blog!

Final Thoughts 

Now that you have the inside scoop on how to use Google Docs to boost your productivity, you can feel more confident when writing for blogs, websites, email campaigns and more with ease. Need to hire a writer? Contact msloydwrites today!

Ready to take your digital marketing strategy to the next level (without breaking the bank)?

If you’re looking for new and innovative ways to reach your target audience, and you’re not already using LinkedIn — you’re missing out on an amazing resource! In this article we provide tips and tricks on how to use LinkedIn as a marketing tool in 3-easy steps.


Unlimited Web Hosting from Bluehost for only $3.95!


Step #1 – Create Your Business Profile

The first step that you need to take to use LinkedIn effectively as a marketing tool is to create a  killer profile. Take full advantage of the Bio section, pay special attention to the headline and current position sections. These are the sections that potential clients and partners will see first that can make or break your engagement.

Step #2 – Build Your Network

Find the people who matter most to your business. Start by browsing your contacts list. Once you’ve sorted through your contacts begin searching for groups and networks that you belong to offline like alumni and employee groups. Members of these groups are more likely to share your content and feel comfortable with doing so because you already have a common interest.

Step #3 – Share High-Quality Content

In order to successfully  break through the noise  of social media, you have to provide the ultimate user experience. With millions of accounts active on LinkedIn and other social media channels, producing anything less than stellar content is not an option!


Final Thoughts

Create content that answers your audience’s questions and provide value in your marketing campaigns before asking for the sale. Focus on building your customer’s experience and letting them know why you are the best (of the best).


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#marketingtips #marketingtipsforwriters #msloydwrites


 

How Google Keep Boosts Your Productivity


#marketingtips #marketingtipsforwriters

Have you ever tried using Google Keep for organizing your business, home, or office? I have, and I highly recommend Google Keep for writers and marketers at all levels to help increase productivity and organization — at all levels.

Google Keep has helped me to become more organized. I can find content easily using built-in tools and tricks that Google has installed to make using Keep easier. That’s the good news.

The even better news for docs lovers is that Google Keep plays nicely with Google’s existing suite of apps. As a bonus you can even use Keep as a sidebar option inside the popular Google Docs word processing platform! #winning

The Keep app is free to download on the App Store, Google Play, and can also be easily accessed directly by visiting the keep website on a desktop, laptop, or tablet. The app is multi-functional and highly user-friendly.

If you already  have a Google account through Gmail or another connected @Google service, you can be up and running within a matter of minutes.

(New Google users, don’t worry if you don’t already have a Google account.)

Google Keep – Getting Started

Setting up a new Google Keep account is easy — and it only takes a few minutes.  New users can create a Google account once you’ve downloaded and installed the app.

Follow the prompts on your device screen to register for a new account. From there, you’re all set to go!


3 Little-Known Ways to Use Google Keep 

Use with Firefox Tabs

Organize Social Media Posts

Color Code, Pin, and Search Notes

1. Use with Firefox tabs

Firefox sports a nice add-on for the Keep extension as well. The Firefox add-on let’s you take Keep notes from anywhere you are on the web to share and review later. Firefox also has a split-screen option for viewing keep notes alongside open web brower windows.

2. Organize your social media posts (fast!)

Using Google Keep makes it easy to organize your social media posts. Create, curate and share social images and content across multiple devices and platforms. Use Google Keep to plan and manage social posts for individual or bulk scheduling. Keep also has handy built-in features so users can collaborate on a shared social media projects with teams.

Google Keep has built-in options for:

  • Reminders
  • Collaborate
  • Color-coded notes
  • Adding images
  • Archive
  • Checkboxes
  • Copy to Google Docs

 

ProTip: Use Google Keep notes to add line breaks for Instagram posts.

3. Color code and pin notes

Color coded notes make content easily searchable. (I assign a color to each category of my notes on Keep.) Google keep has an option to pin important notes so that you can keep track of them more easily. This is one of my favorite features of the app!

By the way, did you know that Google Keep Notes are searchable? This is great news for getting things done faster – especially if you happen to close a note before you’re finished editing and anxiety begins to set in << Like I have.

 

Google Keep is a multi-purpose note-taking app that can be downloaded for free on the app store, android, google play, amazon stores.

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Follow the link to collaborate with msloydwrites!  >>>>


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