How to Attract Birds

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Songbirds’ natural habitats are dwindling, and you can help by making your backyard a safe haven for all of your favorite birds. When you provide birdseed, set out a birdbath and create nesting spots, your yard becomes much more inviting, and you’ll be amazed at how many different species you can attract.

Steps

Providing Food

  1. Research birds in your area. Find out what types of birds live in your area or migrate there and are likely to come to your property. You may want to obtain a field guide to the area so you know which birds you want to try to attract. Bear in mind that you’ll be attracting different species depending on the season.
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    • It’s difficult to attract just one type of bird, so aim instead to create an atmosphere that’s healthy for many different species. For example, you might love cardinals and decide to put out seed they’re known to love, but it’s likely to bring in an array of birds.
    • There may also be some species you don’t want to attract, such as the common sparrow, pigeon or crow. While it’s difficult to ensure they won’t come around, you can choose certain types of seed that don’t attract them as much as songbirds.
  2. Choose a bird feeder. The type of feeder you choose will influence what bird species you attract. No matter what, your bird feeder should have a few essential qualities: it should be difficult for squirrels to access, it should keep the food dry, and it should be easy to clean. Bird feeders need to be washed out regularly so the food inside doesn’t begin to harbor fungus and disease. Here are the most common types of feeders:
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    • Tray feeders are simple, flat trays that allow birds very easy access to seed. The downside is that the seed is also accessible to squirrels, and unprotected from the weather.
    • House feeders keep seed in a contained area and dispense it as the birds feed from a small tray at the bottom of the feeder.
    • Window feeders attach to your window with suction cups, offering a full view of bird activity.
    • Suet feeders are designed to offer suet cakes, which attract different birds than seed feeders do.
    • Hummingbird feeders dispense sugar water through a tube.
  3. Provide seed and other food. Do you know what species you’re hoping to attract? If you’d like to invite an entire range of native species, it’s a good idea to have more than one type of feeder and offer a variety of foods. Here are the best foods to feed birds:
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    • Sunflower seeds are popular among all seed-eating birds, so they’re a good choice if you want a wide variety of species. However, the shells must be raked up frequently, and sunflower seeds are also attractive to squirrels.
    • White proso millet is a tasty treat for cardinals, quail, sparrows, doves, and crows. It’s also attractive to house sparrows and other animals.
    • Safflower seeds are good for attracting cardinals, chickadees, doves, sparrows, and grosbeaks.
    • Corn is a favorite among nearly all birds, but it’s important to use only as much as can be eaten in a day or two, since it attracts all sorts of animals. It’s also important to be careful about the source of the corn, since cheap corn is often contaminated with pesticides that are poisonous to birds. Don’t feed birds corn from a plastic bag or corn that has been dyed red.
    • Peanuts are also very popular, but easily contaminated if they’re left out for too long.
    • Suet, the fat around cow and sheep organs, attracts woodpeckers, nuthatches, wrens jays and starlings.
    • Peanut butter is a good food to provide in the winter, since it’s highly nutritious. Make sure it doesn’t contain additives.
    • Hummingbirds love to drink sugar water.
  4. Know what foods to avoid. Birds can easily be poisoned by food that’s contaminated or contains ingredients that are hard on their systems. Be sure to buy high-quality seed or suet. Some manufacturers of bird food take shortcuts to offer cheap bags of food, so it’s worth it to spring for a more expensive brand. Here are a few foods to avoid putting out:
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    • Fillers like red millet, golden millet and flax. Birds don’t enjoy eating these seeds, but you’ll often see them used as fillers in cheap mixes. Be sure to check the ingredients.
    • Bacon drippings or other meats. These often contain nitrates and other ingredients harmful to birds.
    • Bread, crackers or other processed carbohydrates can have ingredients that are harmful.
  5. Install the feeder in a safe location. If you want the feeder to be near enough for you to view it from your house, place it within three feet of your window. Placing it further away is actually dangerous for birds, since they’ll be flying toward the feeder at a faster speed and may collide with the glass (a situation that kills millions of birds every year). The feeder should also be far enough away from tree cover so as to prevent squirrels from being able to jump from a tree to the feeder.
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  6. Keep the feeder maintained. It’s important to change the food frequently and clean the feeder with soap and water every few weeks. If you don’t, fungus and bacteria can contaminate the feeder and the food, potentially killing birds who eat it. In addition to cleaning the feeder, keep these pointers in mind:
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    • Food that has fallen to the ground should not be left to sit there, as it can attract insects and other undesirable animals.
    • Pay closer attention to the feeder during rainy times, since if the food gets wet the seeds could sprout and begin to harbor fungus and bacteria.
  7. Provide grit for the birds. Birds don’t have teeth to chew their food, so some species swallow bits of sand to grind the food in their gizzard. You can help by offering crushed eggshells; this serves a dual purpose by giving the birds calcium needed for egg-laying. Be sure to bake the eggshells to kill Salmonella and other pathogens before offering them.
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    • Crushed oyster shells are another good choice.
    • You could also scatter small pebbles near the bird feeder.

Creating Nesting Spots

  1. Plant native species. Use a local field guide or call your local Audubon Society chapter (if you live in the US) to find out what grows naturally in your region, and add these plants to your garden. They likely than non-native species to attract birds. A good variety of native trees, shrubs, and grasses will provide natural shelter for birds.[1]
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    • Evergreen trees and shrubs, such as hollies, make great homes for birds over the winter.
    • Many birds are attracted to fruit and berries, so consider planting an apple tree or planting a blueberry bush.
  2. Offer shelter. Different species nest in different places, so again, it’s a good idea to conduct research on the type of bird you wish to attract. If you are planning on buying a birdhouse or building a nesting box, take note that boxes with different holes, shapes, and orientations will attract different species.
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    • Make sure that your nest box has adequate ventilation, and is supplied with a “baffle” and reinforcement ring at the opening that will prevent predators from entering.
    • You can also provide nesting material such as string, hair, or other fibers. You could also stuff mesh bags with pieces of yarn or string, straw, pet fur, hair from your comb, small bits of cloth, and anything a bird can use to make a nest. Hang the bag near the nest boxes in spring.
  3. Create a nesting spot using natural materials. If you’d like to create a more natural nesting spot, an easy way to do it is to allow your yard to grow a little more wild. Let the grass grow long in a certain spot, and build a brush pile in the area. This simulates the type of area where birds tend to nest in the wild.[2]
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    • Heap up fallen branches into a large pile instead of chopping them up to burn or throw away.
    • Create small nesting sites under your bushes by raking mulch around their bases, especially in the fall.
    • Don’t remove dead trees unless they are a danger. Standing dead trees are important nesting and foraging spots for many species, especially woodpeckers, which eat the insects that infest dead trees.

Making Your Yard More Inviting

  1. Provide a water source. Birds are attracted to the sound of dripping or moving water. You can buy a birdbath or create a shallow pond with a fountain. Make sure it’s close to the ground and not made of slippery material. If you’re short on time or resources, you can hang a water-filled container with a hole on the bottom above a dish. Try not to place the water source near trees or bushes where cats can hide before pouncing. Also, make sure the water is not more than 1 inch (2.5cm) deep.[3]
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    • During the winter, you might want to provide a heated water source, since birds would otherwise have to thaw icy water using their own body heat.
    • Make sure the water you provide doesn’t grow stagnant or harbor algae. Find one that’s easy to clean.[4]
  2. Don’t use pesticides on your lawn. They’re harmful to birds in more ways than one. First, they kill vital sources of food for some bird species. Second, the chemicals in the pesticides can be dangerous for birds to ingest. In order to attract birds to your property, use natural forms of insect control instead of chemicals.
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  3. Keep cats away. Cats are one of the major predators of songbirds, killing millions every year. No matter how hospitable your yard otherwise seems, having a cat prowling around will keep many species from feeling welcome. If you’re dedicated to attracting birds, keep your cat away from their feeding, drinking and nesting areas.
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Video

Tips

  • Different birds like different nesting boxes. Go on the internet and find some bird house plans for birds around you.
  • Try to buy bird houses made by companies that mainly sell bird-related items. They will be better-quality houses that are more protective.
  • Keep your feeders, houses and water sources clean.
  • Also try to feed a variety of seed and suet.
  • If you don’t have the motivation, time, or resources to create a bird sanctuary in your yard, you can always contribute to a “communal” bird sanctuary. Donate money and/or volunteer hours to conservation organizations such as The Nature Conservancy that buys tracts of land and saves them from development.
  • Don’t be discouraged if birds don’t immediately come to your sanctuary. Birds are often wary of changes in their environment and will take time to adjust to the new feeder or bath.
  • Don’t rake the leaves. Birds will forage for insects hiding under dead leaves in the spring.

Warnings

  • Avoid touching the birds eggs/nest if you come across them.
  • Don’t place nestboxes too close together. Each bird will establish its own territory, and conflict will ensue.
  • Never give a bird dryer lint that contains dye or chemicals (used in the process of making clothing non-flammable) for nesting material. It is very dangerous. Otherwise it is acceptable.
  • During winter, never add antifreeze to the water. Antifreeze is highly toxic and will kill any bird, animal, or pet that drinks it, and can cause severe damage or death in humans as well. Antifreeze also tastes sweet, which can serve as incentive for any animals that even happen to smell or taste it. You can buy heaters designed to defrost ponds, fountains, or birdbaths. Floating a tennis ball in the water will also allow you to break and remove ice easily.
  • Try to avoid using chemical pesticides – parents that are foraging for food will bring poisoned insects back to the nest and entire generations of baby birds can be killed because someone sprayed poison on their sweetcorn. Become an organic gardener!

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

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How to Simplify Your Life

Simplifying doesn’t need to be complicated. Learning to create a quieter, more balanced space in your life can help immensely, and taking little steps is the best way to make it happen. Eliminating clutter, getting organized, simplifying your relationships, and learning to take the time to slow down and appreciate the little things can help to keep you sane. You can start today.

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Steps

Eliminating Clutter

  1. Decide what stuff is unnecessary. Simplifying doesn’t need to be complicated: Identify what’s most important to you and eliminate everything else. Imagine you had to pack everything you owned in an hour to move across the country for ten years, or for the rest of your life. What would you take? What would be essential? Cut your possessions down to the bare essentials and get rid of everything that’s merely taking up space.
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    • If you tend toward hoarding for nostalgic or emotional reasons, try to evaluate your attachment to stuff. Start a “get rid of” pile of things and take them immediately to the thrift store to donate. Old candlesticks that haven’t seen a candle since Reagan was in office? Toss them. Stack of Billboard Magazine from the mid-70s? Toss it.
    • In general, if you have not used an object in 18 months, you are likely not going to.
  2. Do quick cleans. Walk through your house with a big basket. Fill it with necessaries. Crank up something good on the stereo and give yourself 15 minutes to de-clutter and see how much you can get done. Throw away garbage, gather clothes and put them in the laundry. Be judicious. If it’s not necessary, throw it in the garbage.
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    • Focus on the high-traffic areas, like the living room and the kitchen. If dishes are piled up in the sink, you’ll feel stressed out and messy, even if the rest of the house is clean-looking and tidy. If you’ve only got a little bit of time, focus on the most important spaces.
    • Don’t worry about getting the dirt out of every corner and “cleaning” every surface. Just focus on tidying. Put things away, straighten things up, make the place look right.
  3. Do big cleans every season. A couple times every year, you should do a more thorough cleaning to get rid of accumulated stuff and simplify your living space, as well as cleaning the house of dirt and grime. Pet hair, dust, and other debris can accumulate in even the tidiest spaces, making it important to do thorough cleaning: Vacuum, shampoo the carpet, clean the toilets, scrub the walls, wash the windows. Get the dirt out!
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    • Go through desks and clear out the paper archives, too. Clean out drawers to get rid of that hidden clutter. Move toward eliminating paper waste and digitizing important documents. This will simplify your living space. Go paperless.
  4. Shrink your wardrobe. Find your favorite, most versatile clothing items and donate the rest. If it’s worn out, get rid of it. If it doesn’t fit anymore, get it to someone who can wear it. If you’ve always meant to wear it but just never seem to find the occasion, give it up. Pare down what is in your closet.
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    • If you’ve got a big war-chest of clothes that you’re attached to, consider simplifying by season. There’s no reason you should be digging through sweaters in the middle of summer, so pack up all your seasonal clothes in separate tubs and put them away until that season rolls around. Out of sight, out of mind.
    • Throw “n Lady” parties or other get-togethers in which you can all throw old or ill-fitting clothes into a pile with a bunch of friends and trade. Maybe that pair of jeans doesn’t work for you anymore but would look great on someone else. Anything that’s left at the end of the night, donate.
  5. Stop buying new things you do not really need. Just because you found a good deal on something does not make it necessary to buy. Simplify by stopping the additional accumulation of junk in your life.
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    • Before you buy anything new, ask yourself:[1]
      • “Do I really need this?”
      • “Is there a sustainable alternative?”
      • “Do I have a family member or friend who already provides this service or product?”
    • Avoid buying new books. If you read a book, and will re-read it, by all means buy that book. But most books people read once, and that is it. Instead, go to the library. You will have more space for things you actually use.
    • Avoid buying new housewares – make do with what you have. If you need a new microwave, that is one thing. But instead of a pastry cutter, simply using two knives you already have will save space. Alton Brown famously promotes that the only “uni-tasker” in the kitchen should be the fire extinguisher.
    • Research rental options in your town. Consider renting a leaf blower that you use only once in fall, rather than buying one. Tool-libraries are increasingly common, allowing you to use what you need for a short time, then return it.
      • The flip side of this is to share what you have with your friends, family, and neighbors. If you start this practice, you may reduce the need to buy, store, and organize so many tools and “conveniences.”
  6. Downsize. Have a small but comfortable home and learn to live with less. Buy less, savor quality more, and put the spare money in the savings account for a rainy day or a reward vacation.
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    • Consider renting rather than buy a home or items you need to use. Then the repairs, rates, and dry rot are someone else’s problem, not yours.
    • Own fewer items but make sure that what you do own has greater versatility. Objects able to do double or even triple duty are the most desirable. Remember that working to pay for objects is not an ideal approach to living happily; review your priorities.
  7. Create white space. Having empty space in your home, your room, or your office can help to relax you and create a feeling of simplicity. Don’t clutter your walls with entertaining stuff, let the emptiness be calming and elegant. Let simplicity trump adornment.
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    • White space doesn’t need to be “white.” If you don’t like the feeling of a sterile, super-clean living space, then natural wood, exposed brick, or other patterns are perfectly simple and effective at relaxing you. White space doesn’t have to actually be white, just free of clutter. No shelving, movie posters, or hanging frames. Simple lines and clean empty spaces on the walls.
  8. Make your bed every day. It only takes five minutes and it can do wonders to change your mood. Your bedroom looks much more elegant, simple and tidy with the bed made and cleaned up. Taking little steps like making the bed can help to de-stress you and simplify your life.
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    • If it’s simpler for you to leave your sheets in a pile, so be it. The point is taking little steps to simplify your experience of the day. Maybe instead you spend meditative time making your coffee every morning, grinding the beans, heating the water, and pouring it into the press pot. Maybe you start the day by tidying the kitchen and listening to the radio. Have a routine.

Getting Organized

  1. Plan what you can, or embrace your inner chaos. For some of us, there’s no point in thinking about planning for a trip until the hour before you’re about to leave the house. What’s the use in stressing out for three days over packing? Alternatively, others have to lay out every day’s wardrobe in advance, calculating the benefits of every item, until you can be confident that you’ve got everything you need.
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    • If you tend toward procrastination, don’t tell yourself you need to change your ways, unless it’s getting in the way of your productivity or your ability to finish things on time. If it works for you, it works. Make sure you schedule enough last-minute time to finish tasks, and you’ll let those deadlines produce your best work. Simple and easy.
    • If you stress about unfinished tasks, do them ahead of time to put them out of your mind. Don’t abandon the packing half-way because you started early–finish it off and call it done. Simplify by doing it now, getting it done, and relaxing. Simple and relaxed.
  2. Split household chores evenly. A common source of complication and stress is a messy living space and disorganized methods of handling it. Finding the time to do the laundry, wash all the dishes, cook meals, and take care of other essential chores can be a big hassle if you don’t go about it in a simple, organized way. Get together with your family or your housemates and agree on simple ways to divide up the chores and simplify the work around the house.[2]
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    • Separate tasks by day. Make everyone contribute to the litter-box cleaning and the laundry-doing, but not every day. Let someone take the messy jobs for a while and switch over to other jobs for a while on a rolling basis. Write up a schedule everyone agrees on and post it in the kitchen for simple, easy access.
    • Separate tasks by preference. For example, if you just can’t stand doing the laundry and tend to let it pile up, strike a deal with your roommates — if they handle the laundry, you’ll agree to cook a big meal for everyone three nights a week (when they’ve got to work late) or to consistently wash the dishes. Find a way to balance things for your situation.
  3. Streamline your finances. Nothing gets more complicated than money. If you can, simplify your finances as much as possible by consolidating your debts and creating as few payments as possible for each month. Create a budget, based on how much money you’ve got coming in every month, and calculate your average expenditures of known and estimated amounts. Stick to the plan and spending gets simpler.
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    • Set your bills up to debit automatically from your account. If you’ve budgeted accurately, you should never have to worry about paying bills again. What could be simpler?
    • Make saving money your default. If you’re not sure how to approach the task of simplifying your finances, err on the side of saving. The less you spend, the less you’re thinking about money.
  4. Keep in mind the adage: “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place.” Assigning a place for each object simplifies life dramatically. It is a key component in making a space less frustrating, more beautiful and pleasurable.
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    • It creates calm. If keys go in the key bowl by the doorway, it prevents last-minute panics for finding them. This creates calmness and gives you power in a chaotic world.
    • Your space is more pleasurable. A workbench that has your tools visible, orderly, and organized is more enjoyable to work at than one that requires a massive hunt for the right screwdriver.
    • Your living space brings more joy to others. For instance, couches are for sitting on, not for holding laundry. Disorganized spaces have a way of putting off visitors; laundry on your couch suggests your pants are offered a better seat than your guests. Organized spaces also make it more likely you will invite others over.
    • You enjoy and use what you have. If your pantry is a mess, you may not realize you have five pounds of flour, and end up buying more rather than using what you have.
    • Assigning spaces starts with a single step. Some people can get overwhelmed by the thought of everything being in the absolute perfect spot, and being afraid to be wrong. It is better to just try something rather than do nothing. Besides, there is usually more than one way to organize and simplify…do what works for you.
  5. Prepare quick meals. The end of a hard day of work is probably not the best time to find yourself wrist-deep in homemade coq-au-vin. Find recipes that are quick to prepare, and search online for quick meals that you can use with the ingredients already in your house. Spend the spare time enjoying the meal and your family rather than over-complicating the cooking process.
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  6. Simplify your parenting. Don’t make lunch, don’t clean the dirty clothes, don’t put the toys away. Expect your children to start doing things for themselves at age-appropriate stages. In the long run it isn’t easier to “just do it” for your children, as it teaches your children that you’ll always do it and that they don’t have to. Do tell your children where they can find the things to do tasks for themselves — show them how the first few times, but then let go.
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    • Create a chore chart for all children to follow and complete weekly. Involve them in its creation and they’ll be more ready to buy into using it.
    • Stop over-scheduling. Kids historically have not been shuttled to after-school activities as much as they often are today. It is OK to have days when your children do not have ballet, ice hockey, Girl Scouts, or oboe lessons.

Simplifying Your Relationships

  1. Identify bad friendships, and work to fix them or end them.
    • Do not waste time keeping up with friends who bring you down, waste your time, or bore you. Start by cutting out the relationships that do not uplift you. Cut your address book down to the good friends who you want to spend time with, and do not waste your time with people you do not really enjoy.
    • You do not have to be rude or invite drama into this process. For example, you do not have to make ugly Facebook updates about how you are making big cuts from your contact list. Just stop making the extra effort. Take away the water and the plant will shrivel. .
    • Relationships are often in flux; honor this. Your co-worker becomes a friend, you have a falling-out with Maria, and maybe you develop a crush on that cute redhead. Aim for simplicity, but understand that emotions, relationships, and all we go through can be confusing.
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  1. Make the effort to spend time with people you like. Keep a close group of friends who mean a lot to you and make an effort to spend time with them. It is also OK to have friends and acquaintances that may not be your best friends, but bring you a lot of happiness.
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  1. Learn to tell people “no”. One way that our lives get complicated is being “agreeable.” We think it helps to simplify if we let other people make the call: where to eat for lunch, what responsibilities to take on at work, whether or not you’re available to drive your friend to the airport. Being a doormat won’t help you to simplify your life, it’ll just get you a face full of other peoples’ boot prints. Don’t let yourself be tread on. Stand up and learn to say no.
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  2. Spend more time alone. Maintaining relationships, romantic and otherwise, gets complicated. When you’re focused on other peoples’ quirks and habits, you’re focused less on yourself and what your needs are. You’re complicating your life for others instead of simplifying it for yourself. It’s not selfish to want to spend time alone, working on you.
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    • Consider going on a vacation by yourself, traveling solo to a place you’ve always wanted to visit. Rely on your own skills to navigate and get you through. Maybe try a solo retreat to a monastery of some kind to get really introspective.
    • Romantic relationships are complicated. The less you’ve got to deal with negotiating them, the simpler life becomes. If you’re constantly in a state of flux because of relationships, romantic or otherwise, consider spending some time working on you. Stop dating, for a while, until you feel like your life has become simpler and more organized.
  3. Spend less time on social networking. Clutter doesn’t have to be physical. The psychic clutter of status updates, Tweets, and Instagram posts can do a lot to drag you down and complicate your life. Don’t worry about liking everybody’s newest posts or keeping a constant check on your different feeds. It’ll be there when you’ve got a free second, and you probably won’t even miss it.
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    • If you’re feeling ambitious, consider ditching social media entirely. Make face-to-face interactions your priority, and schedule catch-up sessions and phone calls with old friends who you can’t keep in touch with, rather than stalking their profile online.

Slowing Down

  1. Put your phone away. Nothing will distract you and keep you unfocused more than checking your telephone for messages every two minutes. Texts, emails, Facebook updates and other little messages will be just as compelling an hour from now.
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    • When you’re with friends or family, put your phone on silent and keep it tucked away somewhere. Better yet, keep it in the car. Don’t look at it. Make a rule at your next get together that the first person to check their phone picks up the tab. Stay focused on your phone and have a simple evening.
    • Increasingly, people are experiencing a phenomenon known as FOMO: the fear of missing out. What if you don’t get that status update before everyone else? What if someone beats you to a witty comment stream message? What if your crush texts and you can’t respond right away? Don’t let “convenient” technology create complicated stress in your life. Be willing to miss out momentarily to enjoy the moment you’re experiencing in the real world.
  2. Stop reading self-improvement manuals, books, and blogs. Other people’s advice about living can often be a source of distress. Simplify by giving up the idea of perfection. Be confident that you’re a good partner, a good parent, and a good person. Trust yourself more and do what comes naturally.
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  3. Work from a manageable to-do list. For many people, having a little guide through the day makes it a whole lot simpler. Come up with a manageable to-do list and stick to it as closely as possible. What do you hope to accomplish by the end of the day? By the end of the week?
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    • For some people, it might even be helpful to come up with more substantial lists of long-term goals and plans, to help prioritize accomplishments. Simplify your long-term career and life prospects by outlining where you’d like to be in your job in five years, or where you’d like to be living. What do you need to do now to get there?
    • Record your day if you’re not sure where the hours are disappearing to. Keeping a calendar can also simplify your day because you don’t have to rack your brains to remember everything continuously.
    • Celebrate each accomplishment of the day. Working from a to-do list can be a lot more enjoyable if you take a bit of time to celebrate what you’ve done. Cleaned up the kitchen and straightened your room and done your work for the day? Time for a glass of wine in your sparkling tidy kitchen. Treat yourself.[3]
  4. Declutter your digital packrattery. Unplug! Do a massive purge of the things that are cluttering up your computer, start keeping things simple and maintain a regular purging regime.
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    • Place timers on electronic things that suck your time without you noticing. If you can spend more hours than you’d like online, install a timer, and use it. You might be surprised at your level of intensity. Even if you simply add in enforced regular breaks, your use of the technology will instantly simplify.
    • Try to keep your email box empty. Answer, file, or delete emails upon reading.
  5. Do one thing at a time. Multi-tasking helps to make some people more efficient, but it also serves to clutter up activities for others. Focus on finishing one thing at a time and getting it checked off your list. Don’t worry about what you’ve got to do tomorrow, or later today, just focus on doing the best possible job this minute.[4]
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    • In an old Zen story, an elder monk chastised some novices for talking while they were supposed to be doing their work. “When it’s time to talk, just talk,” he said. “And when it’s time to work, just work.” The next day, at lunch, the novices saw the elder monk eating lunch and reading the paper at the same time. They approached him to remind him of his lesson. Why was he not just eating, or just reading, as he had instructed them? “When it’s time to eat lunch and read the paper, just eat lunch and read the paper,” he said.
  6. Leave your work at work. Don’t let the complication of your work day mess up your after work life. Don’t bring any work back to the house to complete later–stay until you can finish for the day. If you’re feeling stressed out after a work day, do something relaxing the minute you get home so you don’t have to burden your housemates with complaints about the day. Don’t spread the complicated stress around. Simplify.
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    • Cut down your hours as much as you can afford to, if your job is a significant source of complication in your life. If you want to simplify, cutting back on work is one of the easiest ways to do it. Less money, less clutter.
    • Stop working weekends. Even if you love your work, dragging work into your weekends starts unbalancing the proportion in your life. You might not feel it right now, but eventually, this will lead to burn out and/or passion reduction. Block off every weekend for the next six months. Not a single one of those weekends can include work from now on.
  7. Meditate for 15 minutes each day. Just fifteen minutes. It’s half a sitcom, or half a wait in line at the DMV, but it can help to make all the difference in your stress levels and your ability to simplify your life and remain calm. Take the small step of spending quiet time, just sitting, in a comfortable space. Focus on your breath. Relax your body and let your mind calm itself. Watch your thoughts.
    Simplify Your Life Step 26.jpeg

Video

Tips

  • Make sensible choices about pets. For example, dogs need more attention than cats because they must be exercised every day. On the plus side, however, this exercise can be a form of unwinding and reconnection with the outside world for you.
  • Limit worrying. It changes little but saps energy, creates stress, and complicates matters. Instead, draw up action lists and proactively deal with your worries. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Light a candle instead of cursing the darkness.”
  • When faced with a situation, ask yourself “what would a wise person do?” Take a minute to consider this. It may give an option to help you deal with something in a different way.
  • Everyone says “be yourself”. There’s a reason for this oft-repeated cliché — when you deny your real self by pretending to be someone you’re not, you waste energy keeping up that façade. If you’re more true to yourself, then you’ll be much happier inside, and much less complicated.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

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How to Hold a Handstand

Doing a handstand requires you to have a mastery of strength, technique, and balance. Whether you’re a cheerleader, a gymnast, or a yogi, learning to do a handstand can help you get centered, learn balancing techniques, and move on toward more advanced skills, such as the front walkover or the front handspring. Once you’ve learned how to do a handstand, however, you will want to know how to be able to hold it for a long period of time without falling over. To do this, you’ll need to build your upper body strength, grip the ground, and kick all the way up before you begin.

Steps

Maintaining Proper Form

  1. Get into your handstand using the proper technique. The first thing to do if you want to be able to hold your handstand is to use proper technique when you get into the handstand position. If you don’t start off with a strong foundation, it will be difficult to hold your handstand for very long. Here’s what you’ll have to do:
    Hold a Handstand Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • Stand up straight with your arms up over your head, as if they are glued to your ears.
    • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
    • Step forward with your dominant leg. Think of this as being halfway in the lunge position.
    • Tip your body forward while keeping your back straight. Your non-dominant leg should go up first.
    • Plant your hands down on the ground, shoulder width apart.
    • Lift your non-dominant leg all the way up to meet your dominant leg.
    • Straighten your legs and keep your back and body straight.
  2. Make sure to kick all the way up. One way to hold your handstand longer is to make sure that you kick all the way up with your non-dominant foot when you begin the handstand. Most people think that they’re kicking up all the way when they go into the handstand, when in fact, they’re only going up about 80-85% percent of the way. This is because they get scared that they’re going to fall forward. However, if you aim to kick all the way up so that your body is straight, or even so that your feet are kicked up over your body a bit, it’ll be much easier to stay straight or to adjust your body a bit than if you did not kick up enough.
    • Have someone film you doing a handstand or just watch you do it to tell you if you’re really kicking up as much as you can.
    • You can also practice doing a handstand about a foot in front of a wall, so that the worst thing that will happen if you kick up too much is that you touch the wall with the tips of your feet. This will also give you a better sense of how far up you can really kick.
  3. Press your fingers into the ground to maintain a strong grip on the ground. You may think that all of the power lies in your wrists, when in fact, what’s most important is that you press into your palms and the pads of your fingers to gain your strength, almost as if you’re pushing the floor away while gripping it at the same time.
    Hold a Handstand Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • If you put all the pressure in your wrists, then you’re likely to injure yourself while also making it much more difficult for yourself to stay balanced. If you put too much pressure in your wrists, then you will lose your balance and fall back on your feet.
  4. Shift your weight on your fingers and hands to stay balanced. The trick to holding a handstand isn’t staying perfectly still once you get your body up there, but in knowing how to use your body to adjust in small ways to keep your balance. One way you can hold your handstand is to counteract the way your body is moving with your hands. If your legs are falling forward, over your head, then you can press into your fingertips a bit more to help move your body back to center. If you feel yourself falling down to the standing position, then you can press a bit more into the bottom of your palms to adjust your body to be straight again.
    Hold a Handstand Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • You can also even walk on your hands slightly to counteract the direction your body is falling. If your legs are falling over your head, you can walk your hands forward slightly; if your body is falling backward, then you can move your hands back down a bit.
    • If you feel your body listing to the side, move your hands over to that side. Use your hands to balance the direction of your body, and you’ll be able to hold the handstand for longer.
  5. Avoid arching your back. Another thing you want to avoid is arching your back. Not only can this cause injury, but it can lead you to fall forward, because arching your back will make your legs move over your head. Instead, focus on keeping the part of your body from your shoulders to your waist straight. You may not think you’re arching your back when you really are, so you can ask a friend or a spotter to check for you.
    Hold a Handstand Step 5 Version 2.jpg
  6. Keep your toes pointed. Keeping your toes pointed will keep your body balanced and will keep your feet fully in line with your back and body. If your feet are flexed, it’ll be harder to control them, and they’ll be more likely to fall over your head a bit. Instead, focus on keeping nice, pointed toes from the moment you get up into the handstand until the second you come down.
    Hold a Handstand Step 6 Version 2.jpg
  7. Squeeze your butt. Another thing you can do to hold your handstand is to squeeze the muscles in your butt, so that your butt is flexed while you do the handstand. This will keep your strength centered and will make it easier for you to maintain control over your handstand. You can practice doing this when you’re standing up, first, to get the hang of it before you go into a full-on handstand.
    Hold a Handstand Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • If you’ve forgotten to squeeze your butt, you can do it once you’re in your handstand and feel yourself losing balance.
  8. Squeeze your legs together. Another thing you can do to hold your handstand is to make sure to squeeze your legs together. Ideally, there should be no or very little space between your legs, and they should be parallel to each other. Keeping your legs together can keep you from letting one leg fall over or fall down, leading you to lose your balance.
    Hold a Handstand Step 8.jpg
    • However, you can also keep your balance by putting your legs into the splits — but that should be purposeful.
  9. Remember to breathe. A lot of people freeze up when they go into the handstand position, because they get nervous or want to hold their concentration. When this happens, many people forget to breathe and just let out all of their oxygen. Well, if you don’t do this, you won’t stay up there for long, and you’ll be making it much more likely for yourself to get dizzy. Make sure to take nice deep breaths, in and out, using your diaphragm, and focusing on breathing just as much as as you focus on keeping your body straight.
    Hold a Handstand Step 9.jpg
    • If you breathe purposefully, you’ll feel in control of your body, and you’ll feel like holding a handstand is much more manageable. In yoga, for example, purposeful breathing is the key to any pose, especially the handstand.
  10. Keep your arms locked by your ears. You should check to make sure that your arms are locked by your ears. If they’re too far apart, not parallel, or even too far above or below your ears, then it’ll be hard to hold your handstand for very long. The next time you do a handstand, check to make sure that your hands have the proper form. This can help you maintain your handstand for longer.
    Hold a Handstand Step 10.jpg
  11. Keep your shoulders over your hands. Another thing you should do if you want to hold your handstand is to make sure that you’ve kept your shoulders over your hands. Having your shoulders over your hands can help you maintain your balance, and ensure that your body is pretty much in a straight line, from your arms all the way down to your legs. Most people tend to place their hands a little bit above their shoulders when they do a handstand, so you should be vigilant about keeping them in line.
    Hold a Handstand Step 11.jpg
  12. Do a split to stay balanced. Some people don’t like to keep their legs together and instead prefer to put their legs in the split position in order to maintain their balance. If you have one leg over your head and one leg behind it, it can be easier for you to shift your balance by moving one leg slightly down or the other leg slightly up to keep your body even. Sometimes holding a handstand with both feet together can be a bit of a challenge because both of your legs feel “stuck” together, and they tend to fall or stay up as a unit, which can make it harder to control your balance.
    Hold a Handstand Step 12.jpg

Improving Your Strength and Balance

  1. Practice doing your handstand against a wall. Another thing you can do to practice holding your handstand is to do it against a wall. Leave about half a foot to a foot of space between you and the wall, and kick fully up into your handstand, so that you know you have some support if you fall over. If your legs fall forward too much and touch the wall, just gently push them away from it again.
    Hold a Handstand Step 13.jpg
    • This can help you gain confidence in holding your handstand and can show you that nothing bad will happen if you fall out of it.
    • Practicing against a wall can also be more efficient because you don’t have to start from scratch every time you fall over; if your feet touch the wall, you can just lightly kick them back up over your head instead of falling down.
  2. Practice basic skills on a balance beam. If you’re a gymnast, then you should already be familiar with the balance beam. You don’t have to practice a handstand on the balance beam to improve your balance. In fact, just walking on the balance beam, standing on one leg at a time, pivoting, or even doing a cartwheel on it, or a round-off off of it, can get you more in touch with your balance, and can help you see how to move your body to stabilize your position.
    Hold a Handstand Step 14.jpg
    • Just spending an hour a week on a balance beam can really work wonders on your balance, whether you’re a gymnast or not. If you’re not a gymnast, then you can practice balancing on a narrow surface, such as a concrete bench, as long as you have enough room to move safely.
  3. Build up your arm strength. You may have a hard time holding a handstand simply because you lack arm strength. Your biceps, triceps, and forearms are crucial for holding up your body weight and helping you maintain a strong handstand. If you want to build up your arm strength, you can try a number of exercises in order to make them strong. Here are a few exercises you can try:
    Hold a Handstand Step 15.jpg
    • Holding a handstand against a wall for 10 seconds, for 5 repetitions at a time.
    • Holding a handstand against a wall and doing shoulder touches. Hold your handstand, and then lift up one arm quickly and touch the shoulder on the same side of your body with it. Then, repeat this with your other hand. Do this about 10 times on each side for 2 repetitions.
    • The plank position. The plank position is a yoga pose and is the starting position for the push-up. Get on the ground and push up through your palms, so that your back and legs remain straight, and hold the position for at least 10 seconds. Repeat this 3 times or transition into doing 2 sets of 5 push-ups.
  4. Build up your core strength. Your core, or your abs, is essential to holding a handstand, as well as maintaining any balancing pose. If you want to be able to hold a handstand, you can work on strengthening your core so you have a more solid foundation to work with. You can work on doing a daily arm and core workout to get stronger for your handstands. Here are some exercises you can try to build up your core:
    Hold a Handstand Step 16.jpg
    • The basic sit-up. Simply lie on your back, raise your knees, cross your arms over your chest, and reach up toward your knees, and then back down to your back. Do 2 sets of 20.
    • The banana. For this exercise, you can lie on your back, lifting your hands up over your head and raising them a few inches off the ground while doing the same with your feet, until your body is in a “banana” shape. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat this exercise once.
    • The bicycle. Get on the floor with your hands behind your head and neck, and “cycle” your legs up in the air. Raise your elbow to the opposite knee as it moves toward your head, and repeat with the other elbow. Do the bicycle for 30 seconds at a time.

Video

Tips

  • When rolling out of the handstand do it on a soft surface because it probably hurt the first couple of times.
  • Try to get someone to be your “wall” and then once you feel like you can hold it, make them let go.
  • Consider that you’re using an “invisible wall”. Place your hands a few inches away from this wall, aim not to touch it and when you reach the handstand position, and think that you’re touching the wall, as a way to give you better balance. This will help you to visualize doing the handstand carefully.
  • This takes a lot of practice to be able to do a good handstand and if you don’t get it its OK. Some people can’t hold a handstand.

Warnings

  • When rolling out be careful of neck and back.
  • When doing handstands have a boundary around to protect you and other people.
  • Make sure there is space around you so you and other people won’t get hit. If they get hit, they can hurt very badly.
  • If its starts to hurt stop rolling out.

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How to Make Crispy Cream Cheese Wontons

Wontons have a crispy outside and a creamy, delicious inside, especially when filled with delectable cream cheese.

Serves 8 to 10 people with 2 to 3 wontons each.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (230 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 ounces (55 grams) green onion, finely minced
  • 1 package of wonton wrappers
  • 2 to 4 cups of corn oil to use for frying
  • Sweet and sour dipping sauce (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Steps

  1. Prepare the filling. Take ½ cup of cream cheese and let it sit out in room temperature for around thirty minutes to soften it a bit. Remove the end and top part off one green onion. If the green onion is a thick one, slice the thick stem in two. Now, finely mince the green onion and add ¼ cup of the minced green onion to the cream cheese. Add a few grinds of black pepper and salt and mix together thoroughly.
  2. Fill and fold the wontons. Take a wonton wrapper and lay it in front of you and spread thinly about ½ to 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture in the middle of the wonton sheet. Take a little water and coat the edges of the sheet with your finger. Fold over into a triangle, sealing all the edges securely. Continue filling and folding until you finish your cream cheese mixture.
  3. Fry the wontons. Heat your frying oil to 325-350ºF (160-175ºC). You will know when the oil is hot enough when you start to see smoke rising from the oil surface or little squiggly lines in the oil. Drop your wontons slowly into the hot oil. Since you can eat the cream cheese filling uncooked, you only need to fry the wontons until they turn golden brown. This might take about thirty to fifty seconds or up to two full minutes, depending on your oil temperature.
  4. Drain and serve. Carefully remove the golden wontons and place on a paper towel to let the oil drain off. The wontons will still be cooking a few moments even after removing them from the oil. Once they dry off a bit, they are ready to eat and enjoy.
  5. Finished.

Video

Things You’ll Need

  • Wok or large skillet
  • Strainer

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

How to Make a Hula Hoop

Hula hooping is a fun activity that can be a great cardiovascular exercise, burning up to 200 calories per 30 minutes of use.[1] Hula hoops purchased at a store can be too big, too small, or too light for your personal preference. Use the following steps on how to make a custom hula hoop that measures up to your individual needs.

Steps

Preparing for Assembly

  1. Figure out your measurements. To determine the exact length of irrigation tubing you need to construct your hula hoop, stand up straight and measure the distance from your feet to your chest (or anywhere between your belly button and your chest). This measurement is the diameter of your ideal hoop, you then need to calculate its circumference to know how much tubing you need. (circumference = pi (π=3.14) times the diameter: c=πd).
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • The average diameter of an adult hula hoop is 40”, so the circumference is 40 x 3.14 = 126”.
    • The average diameter of a child’s hula hoop is 28” making the circumference about 28 x 3.14 = 88”. [2]
  2. Make a trip to the hardware store. You’ll need three things, all of which can be found in the plumbing section:
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • ¾” (19mm) 160 psi (or any other pressure rating) irrigation tubing
    • A PVC pipe cutter
    • One ¾” (19mm) PVC tube connector
    • If you don’t want to buy a PVC pipe cutter, you can use regular scissors. However, scissors require more effort to cut the PVC pipe.
  3. Alternatively, use a hacksaw instead of a pipe cutter. If you have one already and you are handy with it, a hacksaw is another option – you just may need to debar any sharp ridges using sand paper or a utility knife.
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • In which case, you’ll need sandpaper or a power sander. If you use a power sander, you’ll need goggles to protect your eyes. As you can see, a pipe cutter is the easier way to go.

Assembling a Traditional Hula Hoop

  1. Cut the irrigation tubing. Use the pipe cutter, hacksaw, or scissors to cut the tubing to your desired length. It will take a bit of effort to cut through, so take your time and be careful.
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 4 Version 2.jpg
  2. Soften one end of the tubing. Boil a large pot of water and insert one end of the tubing into the water for 30 seconds. The end of the tubing should be soft and pliable prior to fastening to the other end of the tubing.
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    • If that’s not handy, you can use a blow dryer; however, this may take longer and involves the dryer being held up the entire time. Usually, just having a pot of boiling water available is easiest.
    • After heating, work quickly while the tubing is still warm and pliable.
  3. Place the PVC tube connector into the softened end of the tubing. Push down hard on the connector to ensure a solid joint. The two should fit snugly, with the connector going nowhere.
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • Be careful not to push the connector too far down into the tubing. The other end of the tubing will need to fasten to it. It should stick out about halfway.
  4. If you’d like, place “weights” or sound makers into the hula hoop. If this is for a child or for exercise purposes, having something inside the tubing can make hula hooping even more enjoyable (or more of a workout). Here are some ideas:
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • Small beans (about 20-30)
    • Corn kernels
    • Water (a cup or so)
    • Sand
    • Rice
  5. Dip the other end of the tubing into the boiling water. If you have objects inside the tubing, manage it carefully so it doesn’t come spilling out the other end. This part should only take a few minutes.
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 8 Version 2.jpg
  6. When ready, couple the newly softened end onto the end with the PVC connector. Just like you did in the steps above, seal the tubing into a hoop shape by connecting the last two exposed ends.
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 9.jpg
    • Again, work quickly. The tubing is more pliable the warmer it is. As it cools, it will contract and form a strong seal, keeping the hoop together.[3]
  7. Decorate the hula hoop. Add some personal flare, such as glittered tape, paint or any other enhancements you’d like. It can be drawn on with permanent or special craft markers, too.
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 10.jpg
    • You can easily make candy-cane like, traditional hula hoop stripes with colored electrical tape. It’s smoother than duct tape and blends into the texture of the tubing better.

Assembling a Collapsible Hula Hoop

  1. Get your materials together. You need everything in the above section plus a few other things. The entire list includes:[4]
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 11.jpg
    • 3/4 inch (19.05 mm) 160psi irrigation tubing
    • A PVC pipe cutter
    • Four 3/4 inches (19.05 mm) PVC tube connectors
    • Bungee cord
    • Uncoated coat hanger wire
    • A power sander (optional, though preferred)
    • Several pairs of pliers
    • A couple of friends (it will be much easier)
    • A pair of goggles
  2. Measure how much tubing you need and cut it into four equal pieces. Stand up straight and measure the distance from your feet to your chest (or anywhere between your belly button and your chest). This measurement is the diameter of your ideal hoop. You then need to calculate its circumference to know how much tubing you need. (Circumference = Pi (3.14) times Diameter (C=pD))
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 12.jpg
    • The average adult hula hoop is 40” in diameter, or 125.6” long. Each piece would then be about 31” long.
    • Constructing a hula hoop for a child? Then you’ll likely need around 26” in diameter, or 87.9”. Each piece would then be about 22” long.
  3. Make unique markings on each end. This will help you know how the pieces fit back together. It’s sort of like a puzzle, where each one is similar but fits best into a certain other piece. In total you’ll need 8 markings, one for each exposed end.
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 13.jpg
    • This can be done with the edge of a knife, scissors, or even with a pen. Don’t want to make a permanent mark? Use tape.
  4. Put on your goggles and start sanding the ribs off of one end of each of the connectors. If you’re using a power sander, there’s going to be dust and grime floating up around you everywhere, so be sure to wear goggles or a mask. If you don’t have a power sander, you can do it manually – it just requires a lot of patience and more time.
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 14.jpg
    • Take a break from sanding and see how the connector fits into the tube. There should definitely be resistance, but when you’re finished it should snugly fit inside the tubing. Keep sanding until each connector reaches this point.
  5. Heat one end of each quarter of tubing. This can be done with a blow dryer, hot water on the stove, or an open flame (but an open flame is harder to control and can result in melting). When they become soft and pliable, place the non-sanded ends of the connectors each into a section of tubing, leaving the sanded ends visible and sticking out.
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 15.jpg
    • The connectors should be inside the tubing up until about their halfway point. Any further and they won’t be able to do their job of connecting.
  6. Using your markings, fit the hoop together. You’ll be sort of disassembling it in a second to make it collapsible, but for now you need it in its circular form. The warmed tubing should go over the unsanded ends of the connectors, fitting snugly.
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 16.jpg
  7. Insert the bungee cord to make it collapsible. Here’s how:
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 17.jpg
    • Get an 8” long piece of uncoated metal coat hanger. Use it to open the hoop at one of the four exposed points.
    • Snake the bungee cord through the entire hula hoop until it comes out on the other side.
    • Pull it taut. Very, very taut. This is where having friends is helpful. You can either pull both ends, or clamp one down to the tubing. Either way, make sure it’s stretched to it’s maximum as this will hold the hoop together when spinning.
    • Overlap the ends of the cord and wrap the wire around and around it, digging the wire into it.
    • Using pliers, squeeze the wire against the cord. When secure, cut the ends of the cord off.
  8. Assemble and collapse your hoop. It will take a little effort to pull apart, and that’s good. That means it will keep spinning and stay together. Assemble and disassemble the hoop, making sure it works properly.
    Make a Hula Hoop Step 18.jpg
    • If it doesn’t, odds are your bungee cord isn’t tight enough. If it’s too loose, it will collapse on its own when spinning and likely pinch you. Tighten the bungee cord more, reapply the wire, and try again.
    • When it works, take your hula hoop on the go with you – it’s easy to pack and perfect for traveling.

Things You’ll Need

For a Traditional Hula Hoop

  • 160psi irrigation tubing
  • PVC cutter or hacksaw
  • PVC connector
  • Large pot
  • Water
  • Protective gloves
  • Tape (optional)
  • Sand or beads (optional)
  • Paint or electrical tape (optional)

For a Collapsible Hula Hoop

  • 160psi irrigation tubing
  • PVC cutter or hacksaw
  • PVC connector
  • Large pot
  • Water
  • Protective gloves
  • Bungee cord
  • Pliers
  • Sander
  • Wire hanger
  • Tape (optional)
  • Sand or beads (optional)
  • Paint or electrical tape (optional)

Sources and Citations

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How to Meditate

The goal of meditation is to focus and quiet your mind, eventually reaching a higher level of awareness and inner calm. It may come as a surprise to learn that you can meditate anywhere and at any time, allowing yourself to access a sense of tranquility and peace no matter what’s going on around you. This article will introduce you to the basics of meditation, enabling you to begin your journey on the path of enlightenment and bliss.

Steps

Sample Techniques

Preparing to Meditate

  1. Choose a peaceful environment. Meditation should be practiced somewhere calming and peaceful. This will enable you to focus exclusively on the task at hand and avoid bombarding your mind with outside stimuli. Try to find a place where you will not be interrupted for the duration of your meditation – whether it lasts five minutes or half an hour. The space does not need to be very large – a walk-in closet or even your office can be used for meditation, as long as it’s somewhere private.
    Meditate Step 1.jpg
    • For those new to meditation, it’s especially important to avoid any external distractions. Turn off TV sets, the phone or other noisy appliances. If you play music, choose calm, repetitive and gentle tunes, so as not to break your concentration. Another option is to turn on a small water fountain – the sound of running water can be extremely calming.
    • Understand that the meditation space does not need to be completely silent, so there should be no need to reach for the earplugs. The sound of a lawnmower running or the dog barking next door shouldn’t prevent effective meditation. In fact, being aware of these noises but not letting them dominate your thoughts is an important component of successful meditation.
    • Meditating outside works for many meditators. As long as you don’t sit near a busy roadway or another source of loud noise, you can find peace under a tree or sitting upon some lush grass in a favorite corner of the garden.
  2. Wear comfortable clothes. One of the major goals of meditation is to calm the mind and block out external factors. This can be difficult if you feel physically uncomfortable due to tight or restrictive clothing. Try to wear loose clothing during meditation practice and make sure to remove your shoes.
    Meditate Step 2.jpg
    • Wear a sweater or cardigan if you plan on meditating someplace cool. If you don’t, the sensation of being cold will consume your thoughts and you will be tempted to cut your practice short.
    • If you are in the office, or somewhere that you can’t easily change your clothes, do your best to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Take off your shoes and jacket, open the collar of your shirt or blouse and remove your belt.
  3. Decide how long you want to meditate. Before you begin, you should decide how long you are going to meditate. While many seasoned meditators recommend twenty minute sessions twice a day, beginners can start out doing as little as five minutes, once a day.
    Meditate Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • You should also try to meditate at the same time each day – whether it’s 15 minutes first thing in the morning, or five minutes on your lunch hour. Whatever time you choose, try to make meditation an unshakable part of your daily routine.
    • Once you have decided on a time frame, try to stick to it. Don’t just give up because you feel like it isn’t working – it will take time and practice to achieve successful meditation – right now, the most important thing is to keep trying.
    • Although you will want to keep track of your meditation time, it is not beneficial to be constantly checking your watch. Think about setting a gentle alarm to alert you when your practice is up, or time your practice to end with a certain event – such as your partner getting out of bed, or the sun hitting a certain spot on the wall.
  4. Stretch out. Meditation involves sitting in one spot for a certain period of time, so it is important to minimize any tension or tightness before you begin. Doing a couple of minutes of light stretching can really help to loosen you up and prepare both your body and mind for meditation. It will also prevent you from focusing on any sore spots instead of relaxing your mind.
    Meditate Step 4.jpg
    • Remember to stretch your neck and shoulders, especially if you’ve been sitting in front of a computer, and don’t forget your lower back. Stretching out your legs, particularly those on the inner thigh, can be helpful when meditating in the lotus position.
    • More information on specific stretching techniques can be found here.
  5. Sit in a comfortable position. As stated above, it is very important that you are comfortable while you meditate, which is why finding the best position for you is essential. Traditionally, meditation is practiced by sitting on a cushion on the ground, in a lotus, or half-lotus position. Unless your legs, hips, and low back are very flexible, lotus postures tend to bow your low back and prevent you from balancing your torso around your spine. Choose a posture that allows you to be balanced tall and straight.
    Meditate Step 5.jpg
    • However, you can also sit without crossing your legs, on a cushion, chair, or meditation bench. Your pelvis needs to be tilted forwards enough for your spine to be centered over the two bony bits in your butt, the spots that bear your weight. To tilt your pelvis into the right position, sit on the forward edge of a thick cushion, or place something about thick under the back legs of a chair. Meditation benches are usually built with a tilted seat. If not, put something under it to tilt it forward between a half inch and an inch.
    • The most important thing is that you are comfortable, relaxed, and your torso is balanced so that your spine supports all of your weight from the waist up.
    • Tilt your pelvis forward. Then, starting from your bottom, stack up the vertebrae in your spine, so that they are balanced one on top of another and support the whole weight of your torso, neck, and head. It requires practice to find the position that allows you to relax your whole torso almost completely, only slight effort being used to maintain your balance. Whenever you feel tension, relax the area. If you can’t relax it without slumping, check the alignment of your posture and seek to re-balance your torso so that area can relax.
    • The traditional hand placement involves resting your hands in your lap, palms facing upward, with your right hand on top of your left. However, your can also just rest your hands on your knees or leave them hanging down by your side – whichever you prefer.
  6. Close your eyes. Meditation can be performed with the eyes open or closed, however as a beginner it may be best to first try meditating with your eyes closed. This will block out any external visual stimulation and prevent you from becoming distracted as you focus on calming your mind.
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    • Once you have grown accustomed to meditation, you can try practicing with your eyes open. This can be helpful if you find you are either falling asleep or concentrating too hard with your eyes closed, or if you are experiencing disturbing mental images (which happens to a small proportion of people).[1]
    • When your keep your eyes open, you will need to keep them “soft” – that is, not focused on anything in particular. However, you don’t want to go into a trance-like state either – the goal is to feel relaxed but alert.[2]

Meditation Practices

  1. Follow your breathing. The most basic and universal of all meditation techniques, breathing meditation is a great place to start your practice. Pick a spot above your navel and focus on that spot with your mind. Become aware of the rising and falling of your abdomen as you breathe in and out. Don’t make a conscious effort to change your breathing patterns, just breathe normally.
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    • Try to focus on your breathing and only your breathing. Don’t think about your breathing or pass any sort of judgment of it (e.g. that breath was shorter than the last one), just attempt to know it and be aware of it.[1]
    • Some mental images which might help you include: imagining a coin sitting on the spot above your navel, rising and falling with your breath; imagining a buoy floating in the ocean, bobbing up and down with the swell and lull of your breathing; or imagining a lotus flower sitting in your belly, unfurling its petals with every intake of breath.
    • Don’t worry if your mind starts to wander – you are a beginner and, like anything, becoming good at meditation takes practice. Just make an effort to refocus your mind on your breathing and try to think of nothing else. Drown out the chatter and attempt to clear your mind
  2. Clear your mind.
    • To mediatate, you must focus on one thing maximum
    • It might help to focus on one thing if your a beginner, and clear your mind completly as an everyday meditater
  3. Repeat a mantra. Mantra meditation is another common form of meditation, which involves repeating a mantra (a sound, word or phrase) over and over, until you silence the mind and enter a deep meditative state. The mantra can be anything you choose, as long as it is easy to remember.
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    • Some good mantras to start out with include words like one, peace, calm, tranquil, and silence. If you want to use more traditional mantras, you can use the word “Om” which symbolizes omnipresent consciousness, or the phrase “Sat, Chit, Ananda” which means “Existence, Consciousness, Bliss”.
    • In Sanskrit, the word mantra means “instrument of the mind”. The mantra is an instrument which creates vibrations in the mind, allowing you to disconnect from your thoughts and enter a deeper state of consciousness.[3]
    • Silently repeat the mantra over and over to yourself as you meditate, allowing the word or phrase to whisper through your mind. Don’t worry if your mind wanders off, just refocus your attention and return to repeating the word.[4]
    • As you enter a deeper level of awareness and consciousness, it may become unnecessary to continue repeating the mantra.
  4. Concentrate on a simple visual object. In a similar way to using a mantra, you can use a simple visual object to fill your mind and allow you to reach a level of deeper consciousness. This is a form of open-eye meditation, which many people find easier when they have something to focus their gaze on.
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    • The visual object can be anything you wish, though many people find the flame of a lit candle particularly pleasant. Other possible objects include crystals, flowers, and pictures or statues of divine beings, such as the Buddha.
    • Place the object at eye level, so you don’t need to strain your head and neck to view it. Gaze at it and nothing else, until your peripheral vision starts to dim and the object consumes your vision.
    • Once you are focused entirely on the object, with no other stimuli reaching your brain, you should feel a sense of profound serenity.[5]
  5. Practice visualization. Visualization is another popular meditation technique, which involves creating a peaceful place in your mind and exploring it, until you reach a state of complete calm. The place can be anywhere you like – however, it should not be entirely real, it should be unique and personalized for you.
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    • The place you visualize could be a warm, sandy beach, a flower-filled meadow, a quiet forest or even a comfortable sitting room with a roaring fire. Whatever place you choose, allow it to be your sanctuary.
    • Once you have entered your sanctuary, allow yourself to explore. There’s no need to “create” your surroundings, they are already there. Allow them to come to the forefront of your mind.
    • Take in the sights, sounds and scents of your surroundings – feel the fresh breeze against your face, or the heat of the flames warming your body. Enjoy the space for as long as you wish, allowing it to naturally expand and become more tangible. When you are ready to leave, take a few deep breaths, then open your eyes.
    • Know that you can come back to this same place the next time you meditate to visualization, or you can simply create a new space. Any space you create will be unique to you and a reflection of your individual personality.[6].
  6. Do a body scan. Doing a body scan involves focusing on each individual body part in turn and consciously relaxing it. It is a simple meditation technique which allows you to relax the mind as you relax the body.
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    • Close your eyes and pick a starting point on your body, usually the toes. Concentrate on whatever sensations you can feel in your toes, and make a conscious effort to relax any contracted muscles and release any tension or tightness. Once the toes are fully relaxed, move on to your feet and repeat the relaxation process.
    • Continue along your body, moving upwards from your feet to your calves, knees, thighs, buttocks, hips, abdomen, chest, back, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, neck, face, ears and top of your head. Take as long as you want.
    • Once you have completed the relaxation of each individual body part, focus on your body as a whole and enjoy the sensation of calmness and looseness you have achieved. Focus on your breathing for several minutes before coming out of your meditation practice.[7]
  7. Try heart chakra meditation. The heart chakra is one of seven chakras, or energy centers, located within the body. The heart chakra is located in the center of the chest and is associated with love, compassion, peace and acceptance. Heart chakra meditation involves getting in touch with these feelings and sending them out into the world.
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    • To begin, close your eyes and rub the palms of your hands together to create warmth and energy. Then, place your right hand on the center of your chest, over your heart chakra, and place the left hand on top.
    • Take a deep breath and as you exhale, say the word “yam”, which is the vibration associated with the heart chakra. As you do this, imagine a glowing green energy radiating from your chest and into your palms.
    • This green energy is love, life and whatever other positive emotions you are feeling at that moment. When you are ready, take your hands from your chest and allow the energy to escape from your palms, sending your love to your loved ones and the world.
    • Feel your body from the inside. Can you feel the energy field in your body, especially in your arms and legs? If you don’t feel it, it’s fine. But think: How are we able to move different parts of the body? It’s the energy field that flows in our body. Focusing your attention on that energy field will not only help you stay in the present but also will help you connect with your Being and flow of life in you.
  8. Try walking meditation. Walking meditation is alternate form of meditation which involves observing the movement of the feet and becoming aware of your body’s connection to the earth. If you plan on performing long, seated meditation sessions, it is a good idea to break them up up with some walking meditation.
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    • Choose a quiet location to practice your walking meditation, with as few distractions as possible. The space doesn’t need to be very large, but you should be able to walk at least seven paces in a straight line before needing to turn around. Remove your shoes, if possible.
    • Holding your head up with your gaze directed straight ahead, and your hands clasped together in front of you. Take a slow, deliberate step with your right foot. Forget about any sensations or feelings in the foot and try to concentrate on the movement itself. After taking the first step, stop for a moment before taking the next. Only one foot should be moving at any given time.
    • When you reach the end of your walking path, stop completely, with your feet together. Then, pivot on the right foot and turn around. Continue walking in the opposite direction, using the same slow, deliberate movements as before.
    • While practicing walking meditation, try to focus on the movement of the feet and nothing else, in the same way that you focus on the rising and falling of your breath during breathing meditation. Try to clear your mind and become aware of the connection between your foot and the earth below.[1]

Meditating in Everyday Life

  1. Practice mindfulness in your everyday life. Meditation doesn’t have to be limited to strictly defined practice sessions, you can also practice mindfulness throughout your day to day life.
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    • For example, in moments of stress, try to take a few seconds to focus solely on your breathing and empty your mind of any negative thoughts or emotions.
    • You can also practice mindfulness while you eat, becoming aware of the food and of the sensations you experience as you eat.
    • No matter what actions you perform in your day to day life, whether it’s sitting at a computer or sweeping the floor, try to become more aware of your body’s movements and how you feel in the present moment. This is living mindfully.[8]
  2. Follow a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle can contribute to more effective and beneficial meditation, so try to eat healthily, exercise and get enough sleep. You should also avoid watching too much television, or drinking or smoking before meditation, as these activities can numb the mind and prevent you from achieving the level of concentration necessary for successful meditation.[9]
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  3. Read spiritual books. Though not for everyone, some people find that reading spiritual books and sacred writings can help them to further understand meditation and inspire them to strive for inner peace and spiritual understanding.
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    • Some good books to start with include A Profound Mind: Cultivating Wisdom in Everyday Life by the Dalai Lama, The Nature of Personal Reality by Jane Roberts, “A New Earth” by Eckhart tolle and One-Minute Mindfulness by Donald Altman.
    • If you wish, you can pick out any nuggets of wisdom that resonate with you from any spiritual or sacred texts and reflect on them during your next meditation session.
  4. Take a guided meditation class. If you are unsure about where to begin when it comes to meditating at home, it may be a good idea to take a guided meditation class with an experienced teacher first.
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    • Meditation classes exist for most types of meditation, but you could also try going on a spiritual retreat where you will get a chance to sample different types of meditation and find out what works best for you.
  5. Try to meditate at the same time every day. It is important that you make an effort to do your meditation practice at the same time each day. This way, the meditation will quickly become a part of your everyday routine and you will feel its benefits much more profoundly.
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    • Early in the morning is a good time to meditate, before your mind becomes consumed with the stresses and worries of the day.
    • It is not a good idea to meditate directly after eating though, as you may feel uncomfortable and this will interfere with your concentration.
  6. Understand that meditation is a journey. The purpose of meditation is to calm the mind, achieve inner peace and, eventually, reach a higher spiritual dimension, often referred to simply as being.
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    • However, it is important to realize that it may take years of practice to achieve the level of awareness or higher consciousness experienced by yogis and monks. This does not matter.
    • Meditation is a journey, akin to climbing a mountain, where every step along the path of enlightenment brings you closer to the summit.
    • When starting off, you shouldn’t be too concerned with the quality of the meditation itself. As long as you feel calmer, happier and more at peace at the end of your practice, you will know that your meditation was successful.[10]

Video

Test Your Knowledge


Tips

  • It is easy to lose track of time while meditating. Being concerned about time can be distracting to meditation. Some people find it liberating to set a timer and let it be concerned about how long you have to meditate. Choose a gentle timer. If it is too jarring, the anticipation of the alarm can be distracting.
  • Make some effort to be mindful of your mood and thoughts when not meditating. You may notice that you feel calmer, happier, and sharper on days when you have meditated, and notice a decrease in these qualities when you have not.
  • Do what works best for you. What works for some people might have other techniques that might not work for you. Don’t let that get you down. Remember to relax!
  • Meditation practiced over a long period of time has been shown to have many beneficial results and is well worth continued practice. Benefits include: Increased mindfulness and awareness, reduced stress, calmer and more relaxed moods, improved memory and focus, and an increase in grey matter (brain cells) in various parts of the brain.
  • If you want to meditate, and feel exhausted, tired, sore, or anything, even just unrelaxed, to the point where you try but don’t succeed, try doing something relaxing. A walk, or run, then a shower or a bath. As all will relieve stress. Then go back, and try again.
  • Don’t allow your inner voice to creep in through the back door of your mind. Observe it, but don’t associate with it.
  • With good posture, it will be easier to breathe as your lungs will have more space. In fact, you may notice how most of the muscles in your torso work to help you breathe, from the muscles in the base of your pelvis to the ones in your neck, centered on the main breathing muscle, the diaphragm. They work just a little, assisting the diaphragm. If you notice this, it’s a good sign you have established a good posture. The right posture is easy and comfortable. You almost feel like you are floating.
  • What you do with a silent mind is up to you. Some people find that it is a good time to introduce an intention or a desired outcome to the subconscious mind. Others prefer to “rest” in the rare silence that meditation offers. For religious people, meditation is often used to connect with their God(s) and receive visions.
  • Don’t expect immediate results. The purpose of meditation is not to turn you into a Zen master overnight. Meditation works best when it is done for its own sake, without becoming attached to results.
  • The benefits of meditation can be experienced long before the practitioner has been successful in maintaining focus or clearing the mind, simply as a result of the practice.
  • If you find it difficult to meditate for the length of time you have chosen, try a shorter time for a while. Almost anyone can meditate for a minute or two without experiencing intrusive thoughts. Then, as the ocean of the mind calms, you gradually lengthen your meditation session until you have achieved the desired length of time.
  • Some benefits of meditation that are less observable for most people include: falling asleep more easily, more ease in fighting addictions, altered states of mind (which are most prominent in people who have spent over 1,000 hours meditating such as Buddhist monks).
  • Breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth will help regulate breathing.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

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How to Renew a Canadian Passport

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Canadian passports are issued to residents of Canada for the purpose of international travel and identification. Depending on circumstances, Canadian passports need to be renewed every 2, 5, or 10 years. Check the expiration date on your passport to learn when yours expires, and try to renew no later than one year after that date so you qualify for the simpler renewal method. If you are under 16 years old, or if your previous passport expired more than one year ago, you will need to fill out a new application form instead of a renewal form.

Steps

Using the Simplified Renewal Application

  1. Check whether you qualify for renewal. Instead of going through the full application process, which includes resubmitting proof of citizenship, many Canadian adults may fill out a simplified form instead. If every item on the list below describes your situation, you may follow the instructions in this section.[1] Otherwise, skip to the general application section.
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    • The last time you applied for a Canadian passport or a renewal, you were at least 16 years old.
    • You own a Canadian passport that is not damaged, and has not been reported lost or stolen.
    • That same passport is either still valid or expired no more than one year ago.
    • That passport was issued to be valid for 5 or 10 years exactly. (The difference in time between the issue date and the expiration date is 5 or 10 years.)
    • Your name is still exactly the same as it appears on page 2 of that passport.
  2. Print the adult simplified renewal form. Download the simplified renewal form from the Canadian government website by clicking this link. Print the form at home, or find a location near you with a publicly accessible printer. Copy shops and libraries are good places to look.
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    • If your pdf viewer allows you to fill out forms before you print, you may do so. Type using all capital letters.
  3. Fill out section 1 of the form in dark ink and capital letters. Use a black or dark blue pen to fill out section 1. This section lists personal information, such as your physical description and contact information. If you have any questions, look further down the form at section H. In certain situations, this section may require additional forms.
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  4. Fill out the remaining sections of the form. Continue to use dark ink and capital letters. Note that section 3 of the form is only required if you were born outside of Canada between February 15, 1977 and April 16, 1981. All other numbered sections are required for all applicants.
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    • Note that a passport valid for 10 years costs additional fees, as described below and in section C of your form.
    • If you are required to fill out section 3, and you do not have a certificate of citizenship issued in 2007 or later, print and fill out this form as well.
  5. Have two photos taken that match Canadian passport requirements. You are required to have a commercial photographer take your photo and give you two identical copies to include with your application. The photo should include your face and shoulders, with eyes open and a neutral expression (no smiling). It should measure 50 mm wide X 70 mm high (2 inches x 2 3/4 inches).
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    • Any place that advertises passport photo services should be able to follow the correct instructions. If it is located outside of Canada, let them know that they should follow Canadian passport photo requirements. You may wish to print these instructions for them.
    • The back of one photo should list the name and address of the photography studio, and the date taken. You do not need the photographer’s signature for a renewal application.[2]
  6. Attach your previous passport, asking for a return if necessary. You will need to mail (or give in person) your previous passport along with your application. This passport will be destroyed if you do not specify otherwise in section 2 of your renewal form.
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    • Note: Your passport will be marked invalid as soon as the passport office receives it. If your passport contains a valid visa you intend to use for travel, include a letter stating that the visa should be returned to you intact.[3]
  7. Pay the renewal fees. If you are delivering your application in person to a passport office, you may pay in person using any credit card, debit card, prepaid card, certified cheque (not a personal cheque), or money order.. If you are mailing your application as described below, you should either fill out section D of the renewal form to pay by credit card, or include a certified cheque or money order.[4]
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    • Cash or personal cheques are never accepted. Debit cards are not accepted by mail. Prepaid cards may only be mailed if they include embossed (raised) lettering or numbers.[5]
    • If you are in Canada, a 10 year passport will cost C$160, while a 5 year passport will cost C$120.
    • If you are in the United States or a U.S. territory, a 10 year passport will cost C$260, while a 5 year passport will cost C$190.
    • If you are located outside Canada and the U.S., or you wish to pay for additional services such as faster processing time or copies of documents, see this page for additional fee information. Note that not all services are available in all regions, as described in the footnotes to that page.
  8. Mail these documents in one envelope or present them in person. You have now prepared a completed renewal form, two passport photos, your old passport, a method of fee payment, and any additional forms that apply to your specific situation. Check to make sure all of these documents are present.
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    • To present in person within Canada, find a passport office or receiving agent by clicking this link. Note that a receiving agent, unlike a passport office, may charge an additional fee, and will not be able to provide all extra services, such as urgent pickup.[6]
    • Mail documents from Canada or the U.S. to “Passport Canada Program, Gatineau QC K1A 0G3, Canada” or, if using a courier service instead of ordinary post, to “Passport Canada Program, 22 de Varennes Street, Gatineau QC J8T 8R1, Canada”/
    • If you are located outside Canada and the U.S., find the nearest consulate or embassy by clicking this link and ask them for mailing instructions.
  9. Allow 10–20 days minimum for your new passport to be issued. A passport office will attempt to process your application in 10 days, while a receiving agent will likely take 20 days. This does not include the time it takes for your application and passport to travel through the mail. Your passport application may take longer if the office is receiving a large number of applications.
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    • You may pay additional fees for Express (2–9 days processing) or Urgent (24 hour processing) if you need your passport soon.
    • If you dropped off your application in person, your new passport will be mailed back to you unless you have made specific arrangements to pick it up or applied for urgent service. If you mailed the application, your new passport will be mailed back to you via traceable mail.
  10. Sign the passport once it is received. When the new passport arrives, sign with ink in the space provided on page 3. Include contact information for someone in case of emergency on page 4.
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Using the Adult General Application Form

  1. Check whether you qualify for the simpler method first. Canadians adults who are at least 16 years old who own a recently valid passport may be able to renew their passport rather than fill out a new application form. Check the requirements at the start of the Simplified Renewal section for more details. If you do not meet those requirements, continue with this method.
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    • Applicants under 16 should use the child general application method instead.
  2. Download the adult general application form. Download the form by clicking this link. If you do not have printer access or the download does not work, you may wish to request the PPTC 153 form from a local passport office instead.
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  3. Fill out the form in dark ink, using capital letters. If you are able to fill out forms on your computer’s pdf viewer, you may do so before printing. Alternatively, you may print the forms first and fill them out in capital letters using black or dark blue ink.
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    • Note: If you don’t know how to fill out a section, leave it blank for now. The requirements for supporting documents and Declaration of Guarantor are described below.
  4. Decide on a payment method. If you are going to a passport office in person, you may pay then using a debit credit, credit card, money order, or certified cheque (not a personal cheque). If you are mailing in an application, either include a certified cheque or money order with the application, or fill out section D, Credit Card Information. Debit cards are not accepted for mail applications. Cash and personal cheques are never accepted.
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    • To find out how much you owe, check the official page for up to date information and additional services you can purchase. As of July 2014, a standard 10-year passport for an applicant located in Canada costs C$160, while a 5-year passport costs C$120. Fees are higher for applicants outside of Canada.
  5. Have two photos taken that match Canadian passport requirements. Find a commercial photographer that offers passport photo services and request two identical copies of a new photo to include with your application. The photo should include your face and shoulders, with eyes open and a neutral expression (no smiling). It should measure 50 mm wide X 70 mm high (2 inches x 2 3/4 inches).
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    • If the photographer is located outside of Canada, let them know that they should follow Canadian passport photo requirements. You may wish to print these instructions for them.
    • Note: The name and address of the photographer or photography service must be included on the back of one of the photos. Handwriting, stickers, or stamps are all acceptable.
  6. Provide a birth certificate or proof of citizenship. Only original documents are accepted, not photocopies. If you were born within Canadian borders and have a birth certificate, it will be accepted. Otherwise, learn about your other options:[7]
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    • If you were born inside Canada but do not own your original birth certificate, visit this website for information on obtaining it.
    • Alternatively, submit a certificate of citizenship, which can be obtained through a separate application process
    • If you have been issued one of the following, you may submit that instead: certificate of naturalization, certificate of retention of Canadian citizenship, certificate of registration of birth abroad.
  7. Submit your previous passport or another document. If using your previous passport as document to support identity, it cannot have expired longer than one year ago. Alternatively, use another government-issued, valid document with your name and signature. This document must contain your full name as it appears on your passport application.
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    • This must be issued by a government office within Canada, not another country.
    • This document may be a photocopy instead of an original, although both sides must be photocopied.
    • Examples include a driver’s license, non-driver’s license, government employee ID, or certificate of Indian status.[8]
  8. Have a friend or family member complete additional requirements. This person will be your “guarantor” who certifies that you are telling the truth on your application. This must be a Canadian citizen who has known you for at least 2 years, and received their current, valid Canadian passport when they were at least 16 years old. You are not legally allowed to pay someone to be your guarantor.[9]
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    • The guarantor fills out section 2 of the general application form.
    • The guarantor writes the following on the back of one of your passport photos: “I certify this to be a true likeness of (your name).”
    • If you are submitting any photocopied documents (not originals), the guarantor signs and dates each page.
    • If no one qualifies to be your guarantor, request a Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor form (form number PPTC 132) by contacting a passport office as described here.
  9. Include additional forms. If you have an existing passport or travel document, include it with your application. If you have changed your name or if you are replacing a lost, stolen, or damaged passport, fill out the linked forms as well.
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  10. Deliver your documents in person or by mail. To present in person within Canada, find a passport office or receiving agent by clicking this link. Note that a receiving agent, unlike a passport office, may charge an additional fee, and will not be able to provide all extra services, such as urgent pickup.[10]
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    • Mail documents from Canada or the U.S. to “Passport Canada Program, Gatineau QC K1A 0G3, Canada” or, if using a courier service instead of ordinary post, to “Passport Canada Program, 22 de Varennes Street, Gatineau QC J8T 8R1, Canada”/
    • If you are located outside Canada and the U.S., find the nearest consulate or embassy by clicking this link and ask them for mailing instructions.
  11. Sign the new passport once you receive it. Allow at least 10–20 days for your application to be processed, plus mailing time each way. When the new passport arrives, sign with ink in the space provided on page 3. Include contact information for someone in case of emergency on page 4.
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    • Note that you are expected to pick up your passport in person if you delivered the application in person.

Using the Child General Application Form

  1. Use this method if the applicant is under 16 years old. Even if the applicant hold a previous passport, anyone under 16 must fill out the general application form instead of using the simplified renewal process.
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  2. Download the child general application form. Download the form by clicking this link. If you do not have printer access or the download does not work, you may wish to request the PPTC 155 form from a local passport office instead.
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  3. Fill out the form in dark ink, using capital letters. The child’s parent or legal guardian may legally fill out the form. If you are able to fill out forms on your computer’s pdf viewer, you may do so before printing. Alternatively, you may print the forms first and fill them out in capital letters using black or dark blue ink.
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    • Note: If you don’t know how to fill out a section, leave it blank for now. The requirements for supporting documents and Declaration of Guarantor are described below.
  4. Decide on a payment method. If you are going to a passport office in person, you may pay then using a debit credit, credit card, money order, or certified cheque (not a personal cheque). If you are mailing in an application, either include a certified cheque or money order with the application, or fill out section D, Credit Card Information. Debit cards are not accepted for mail applications. Cash and personal cheques are never accepted.
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    • To find out how much you owe, check the official page for up to date information and additional services you can purchase. As of July 2014, child passports for applicants located in Canada cost C$57. Child applicants located in the United States are charged C$100 instead.
  5. Submit the applicant’s birth certificate or proof of citizenship. You will need to submit the original document, not a copy, although it should be returned to you once the application is completed. If the applicant was born outside of Canada, you will need a certificate of registration of birth abroad, or the applicant may apply for a certificate of citizenship.
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  6. Leave the proof of parentage blank unless the legal parent has changed since the last passport was issued. You do not need to submit new proof of parentage if the proof submitted for an earlier passport still applies.
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    • If the applicant is in the foster care system, see detailed instructions at this link.
  7. Have the other parent or another relative or friend complete additional requirements. The applicant’s “guarantor”, or person vouching for them, must be a Canadian citizen older than 16 with a valid, adult, Canadian passport. This can be one of the applicant’s parents or guardians, as long as he or she meets this requirement and is not the same person who filled out the application form.
    13457777 28.jpg
    • Have the guarantor fill out the Declaration of Guarantor section of the child application form. This is section 6.
    • Have the guarantor sign the back of one passport photo, and write “I certify this to be a true likeness of (applicant’s name)”.[11]
  8. Include additional documents if necessary. You may need to fill out additional forms if the child is requesting a change of name or replacing a missing or damaged passport. Include custody documents or other documents relating to legal access to or guardianship over the child.
    13457777 29.jpg
  9. Deliver your documents in person or by mail. To present in person within Canada, find a passport office or receiving agent by clicking this link. Note that a receiving agent, unlike a passport office, may charge an additional fee, and will not be able to provide all extra services, such as urgent pickup.[12]
    13457777 30.jpg
    • Mail documents from Canada or the U.S. to “Passport Canada Program, Gatineau QC K1A 0G3, Canada” or, if using a courier service instead of ordinary post, to “Passport Canada Program, 22 de Varennes Street, Gatineau QC J8T 8R1, Canada”/
    • If you are located outside Canada and the U.S., find the nearest consulate or embassy by clicking this link and ask them for mailing instructions.
  10. Learn whether the new passport should be signed. Children under 11 should leave the signature section in their new passport blank. Children over 11 should sign the signature section on page 3 only if their signature also appears, printed, on page 2. No one else should sign the child’s passport.[13]
    13457777 31.jpg

Tips

  • Remember to verify the accuracy of the information once the new passport is received. Check to make sure the name, address and photos are correct. If there are any errors, contact Passport Canada immediately.
  • If you are located in Bermuda, American Samoa, the Midway Islands, Puerto Rico, or the US Virgin Islands, follow the instructions and fee structure for applying from the United States.
  • If you wish the place of birth section to be left blank on your new passport, fill out and sign this form.
  • If you wish to request a passport with a different s listed than your previous one (male or female), include this form, which includes both French and English forms. This may result in a shorter, 2-year passport being issued. There have been reports of further difficulties involved with this process, especially if the s section is left blank.

Warnings

  • Your full face must be visible in your passport photo or your application will be denied. You may only wear head coverings or hats if they are for religious purposes and do not cover any part of your face.
  • Your old passport will be destroyed unless you specifically request it to be returned.
  • All documents not in English or French must be translated into one of those languages by a certified translator, or your application may be rejected.[14]

Things You’ll Need

Note: All of these are described in more detail in the instructions. A link to the correct form for each method is provided early in each section.

  • Current passport
  • Correct form
  • Two recent passport photos
  • Fees

Sources and Citations

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How to Make Lavender Water

Lavender water is commonly used to scent linens or clothing. A little spray before ironing will perfume most fabrics with the fresh scent of lavender. You can also use it as an air freshener or furniture spray. If you have trouble sleeping, spray a little on your pillow to help you relax and drift off at night.

Steps

Using Lavender Flowers

  1. Gather your supplies. Lavender water made from lavender flowers won’t smell as concentrated as lavender water made from essential oil. Essential oil is the distilled, concentrated essence of lavender made from the flowers. When you use the flowers themselves, the resulting water is very light, but still quite aromatic. Here’s what you’ll need:
    Make Lavender Water Step 6.jpg
    • A bunch of lavender stems fresh or dried (for a total of 2 tablespoons of buds)
    • 1/2 cup water
    • Glass bowl
    • Spray bottle
    • Funnel
    • Fine-mesh strainer
  2. Strip the lavender buds from their stems. Lavender flowers grow as little buds along straight stems. To make lavender water, you don’t need the stems; the buds contain the floral scent. To remove them from the stems, hold a stem over the glass bowl. Gently pinch the stem at its base, and run your fingers from the base to the tip. The buds will fall off into the bowl.
    Make Lavender Water Step 7.jpg
    • You can also buy dried lavender buds that have already been removed from their stems. Look in gourmet food stores or herb shops.
    • This is a great way to use lavender plants that may be growing in your yard.
  3. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Pour it into a small saucepan and place it over high heat. Heat the water until it comes to a full boil. Don’t leave it unattended for too long, or the water will begin to evaporate.
    Make Lavender Water Step 8.jpg
  4. Pour the boiling water over the lavender buds. Carefully pour it over the buds so that the buds can begin steeping in the hot water. The heat will draw out the oils from the flower, and the water will become scented with lavender.
    Make Lavender Water Step 9.jpg
  5. Cover the bowl and let the buds steep. Leave the buds to steep for a few hours or overnight. The process is similar to making tea. Let the buds continue steeping until the water cools.[1]
    Make Lavender Water Step 10.jpg
  6. Strain the buds from the water. Set the fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. Pour the water into the strainer to strain out the buds. Discard the buds; they won’t have a scent now that their essence is gone.
    Make Lavender Water Step 11.jpg
  7. Funnel the water into the spray bottle. Place the funnel over the opening of the spray bottle. Pour the lavender water into the spray bottle. The water is now ready to use on your linens, as air freshener, or as a tool for aromatherapy.
    Make Lavender Water Step 12.jpg
    • If you want the water to have a longer shelf life, you can mix in one ounce of either witch hazel or vodka. Shake the bottle well to distribute it throughout.
    • You may also store it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.

Using Lavender Essential Oil

  1. Gather your supplies. Lavender water is so easy to make that it only requires a few basic supplies. Most of these can be found at craft stores or health food stores. If you have trouble finding anything, check online and consider ordering it. Here’s what you’ll need:[2]
    Make Lavender Water Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • Lavender essential oil
    • Distilled water
    • Witch hazel or vodka
    • Glass jar with a lid
    • Spray bottle
    • Funnel
  2. Add your ingredients to the glass jar. When you’re making lavender water, the most important thing to get right is the ratio of the ingredients. Using just the right amount of lavender will ensure that your water smells divine but not overpowering. Mix up the following ingredients in the glass jar:
    Make Lavender Water Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • 3 ounces of distilled water (you can use tap water if you don’t have distilled)
    • 1 ounce of witch hazel or vodka (this acts as a preservative and helps the lavender oil distribute throughout the water)
    • 10 drops of lavender essential oil
  3. Shake up the jar. Make sure the lid is tightly screwed on, and shake up the jar to mix the lavender oil with the water. The witch hazel or vodka will help the oil mix well with the water.
    Make Lavender Water Step 3 Version 2.jpg
  4. Funnel the lavender water into the spray bottle. Place the funnel over the opening in the spray bottle. Carefully pour the lavender water through the funnel and into the bottle. If you have extra lavender water that won’t fit in the bottle save it in the jar until you run out of liquid in the bottle.
    Make Lavender Water Step 4 Version 2.jpg
  5. Use your lavender water. Spray it on your linens, your clothing, your furniture or your pillow. Lavender water has a calming effect, and using it is an excellent way to freshen up your environment and relieve stress.
    Make Lavender Water Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    • Using lavender water is also a good natural way to relieve headaches.
    • Spray it on our skin before going outdoors as a natural insect repellent.

Tips

  • Use within 6 months of production.
  • This mixture should be kept in a cool, dark environment.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

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How to Enjoy a Day Off

Finally, you get a day off of school or work, but now you’ve got to decide what to do. Would you like a relaxing day at home, an exciting day starting a new project, or even organizing a trip outside? Even if you’re the kind of person who normally enjoys a relaxing or productive day off, consider trying out the other kind once in a while.

Steps

Having a Relaxing Day Off

  1. Start the day out comfortable. Turn off your alarm. Get up whenever you feel like it, and treat yourself to a relaxed breakfast. If you enjoy cooking, try something special like blutwurst with eggs and hashbrowns, gingerbread waffles, owl-shaped pancakes, breakfast frittata, or a full english breakfast.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 1 Version 2.jpg
  2. Keep away from your phone and email. Having people constantly trying to get ahold of you can be exhausting, and yet many people compulsively check their phone and email even if it stresses them out. If necessary, let people know in advance you will not be available on your day off, and put off reading messages until tomorrow.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • If you know this will be difficult, leave all your electronic devices in a drawer, far from where you plan to spend your day.[1]
  3. Find a comfortable area. Choose a spot where you can spend several hours relaxing. If your home is full of errands or stressed people, try a cafe with a relaxed atmosphere, or a park. If the weather makes going outside unpleasant, make a cozy spot inside your home.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 3 Version 2.jpg
  4. Play with your pets. If you have an animal at your house, spend some time playing with it. Find a way to play with your cat, dog, or bird. If you enjoy crafts, make a cat or dog toy.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 4 Version 2.jpg
  5. Read a book. You might have books you’ve been wanting to read for a long time, or that you read a long time ago and would love to read again. If you need to find a new book to read, look up your favorite authors online to see if they’ve written anything new, or get ideas from websites such as whatshouldireadnext.com.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 5 Version 2.jpg
  6. Unwind. Find a relaxing activity that you don’t normally do, to make the day feel special. Meditate, have a bubble bath (even if you don’t have any bubbles), or go through an old music collection and rediscover some old favorites.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 6 Version 2.jpg
  7. Treat yourself to pleasant meals. Find a delivery place near you so you don’t have to leave the house, or go out to a nice sit-down meal if that’s what you enjoy. If you like to cook at home, pick something that you’ll enjoy cooking.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 7.jpg
  8. Invite some friends over. If it’s a holiday, your friends will likely have the day off as well. Even if not, they may have free time for part of the day. Invite them over to watch a movie, play board games, or eat a meal with you. Don’t overload yourself with too many guests, though; today should still be about relaxing.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 8.jpg

Planning an Excursion

  1. Look for attractions near you. Maybe there’s a movie or play you’re interested in seeing, or a museum you’ve never been to. Sometimes, you can have fun acting like a tourist in your own town, especially if you’ve been too busy at work to appreciate it.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 9.jpg
  2. Spend time in nature. Natural areas can be great for relaxation if you spend most of your days indoors or in a city. Have a picnic, take a bike ride, or stroll through a park near you. You could even look up campgrounds and nature preserves near you if you’d like to go on a day trip, although remember there will probably be traffic if today is a holiday.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 10.jpg
  3. Walk around a neighborhood you’ve never been in before. If there’s a town or neighborhood near you that you haven’t spent much time in, go take a look without having a specific plan. Pick an area with shops and restaurants, and take a look at anything from bookstores to nightclubs.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 11.jpg
  4. Create experiences, not just new stuff. People usually find experiences more memorable and interesting than objects.[2] If you do enjoy shopping, go with friends to make it a more memorable experience, or leave the credit card behind and window shop somewhere fancier than your normal locations.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 12.jpg
  5. Avoid frustrating experiences. Try to avoid traffic, overcrowded areas, and other sources of stress on your day off. These are especially common problems if today is a holiday, but you may be able to find a small, out of the way park or neighborhood with less of a crowd.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 13.jpg
    • If this is limiting your options, have a picnic in your backyard.

Using a Day Off for Personal Projects

  1. Try some arts and crafts. Paint, draw, make pottery, or try out any other art form. Have fun with it, and you might end up with something you can display in your home.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 14.jpg
  2. Learn a new hobby. There are thousands of hobbies you’ve probably never heard of, and your friends probably have a few they’d be eager to introduce you to. Try solitary activities from cup stacking to robot building. Find a friend to learn some competitive or collaborative hobbies, from the ancient strategy game go to joint quilting projects, where you each embroider squares to join together.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 15.jpg
  3. Listen to a lecture, podcast, or audiobook. Find a podcast to listen to, on just about any topic you’re interested in. Educate yourself with a free online lecture series from a site such as Academic Earth.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 16.jpg
  4. Attend a one-day class. In cities, you can often find classes on cooking, crafts, or other topics nearby. You can also search online for regular book clubs, sports associations, or other clubs in your area as well. Although most of them probably won’t be meeting today, you may find something fun to do on your weekends, and you may not even have the energy to search for them once you get back to work.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 17.jpg
  5. Catch up with friends. Even if you are the type of person who gets anxious on your day off, realize that keeping in touch with your loved ones is an important “task” just as much as your projects and to-do list. Find someone you haven’t spent time with in a while, and invite them over or have an online conversation.
    Enjoy a Day Off Step 18.jpg

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

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