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Eight Ways to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Confort Zone

Life moves at such a pace that it’s easy to fall into a steady but monotonous routine. Some people call it a “rut,” but we prefer thinking of it as a “comfort zone.”

Here are eight great ideas for breaking out of your comfort zone. They can be a great way to expand your perspective and even refuel your curiosity about the world.

  1. Cook something new for dinner. It can be a great way to expand your palette, and even learn a new recipe. Go way out of your comfort zone by trying a specific cuisine like Mexican, Italian or Creole.
  2. Mix up your music for a week. We all like certain genres and artists, but switching it up for a week can show us the perspectives of new singers and songwriters. Get some ideas from streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, Google Play or Apple Music. Who knows? You might even find a new favorite type of music!
  3. Take a whole day to be offline. This can be a major challenge for anyone who is tied to their phone, tablet or computer. But take a day to disconnect: Spend time outside, read a book, or have meaningful conversations with the ones around you. See how it feels to be “off the grid” for a day!
  4. Travel Alone. Whether you’re traveling locally or abroad, see the world on your schedule and at your pace, allowing you to absorb it in your own way. It might be a big commitment, but take time to do exactly what you want to do.
  5. Meet new people. It sounds simple, but you have to go out of your way to make conversation. Every person has a unique life story, with a different perspective and point of view. Connect with new people and keep an open mind.
  6. Take an improv class. For many people, this is a huge trip outside of the comfort zone. It’s easy to be intimidated by acting a part or trying to be funny on the spur of the moment. But taking an improv class can be a great way to open up in an environment that is judgment free. It’s a perfect place to practice!
  7. Try a new look. Breaking your routine can be as easy as a new haircut or color, makeup, or clothes. Trying a new look can be scary, but very rewarding. You will feel more free and open and you might even find a new favorite look!
  8. Spend “alone time” every day with no technology or distractions. Set aside a period of time when you’re not working, talking, or watching a screen. You don’t have to meditate: Just take some quiet time to listen to your mind and work through your thoughts. It should be a priority each day.


Donating Blood is an Easy Way to Volunteer

The hand of a blood donor squeezing a medical rubber ball

Each day, thousands of people across the nation give blood. It can be nerve-wracking (especially for those who are scared of needles), but giving blood is actually one of the easiest and most important things you can do to help make a positive impact on someone’s life.

At Monitronics, we understand the importance of blood donation. The “bloodmobile” from Carter Bloodcare visits our headquarters twice a year – including this Wednesday, June 22 – allowing our employees to do their part. They understand that the need for blood is constant and contributions are important in order to maintain a reliable and healthy blood supply.

Facts About Blood Needs

It’s easy to see how important it is to donate:

  • Every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • Approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S.
  • The most requested blood type is O-Negative because it can be transfused to patients of all blood types. It is particularly important in emergency situations when the blood type of the patient is unknown. Only 9 percent of people in the U.S have type O-Negative blood.
  • The average human has 10 pints of blood in their body and they donate about 1.
  • There is a major blood shortage in the U.S, especially during the summer months. Blood is being utilized as soon as it is donated.
  • Red blood cells can be safely donated every 56 days and double red cells every 112 days (conditional on being at least 17 years old and 110 pounds).
  • 8 million people a year donate blood in the U.S.
  • A single donation can potentially help more than one patient.

Donating Doesn’t Take Long

Blood donation takes about 10-12 minutes. It is a simple four-step process: registration, medical history, donation, and refreshments. Before giving blood, make sure you have a light snack and are thoroughly hydrated. Drink plenty of water both before and after.

Through Carter Blood Drive, Monitronics allows employees to go through the donation process right at work. In the past year alone, our employees have saved around 114 lives just by donating blood! As a company, we strive to impact the community in meaningful ways and we love to see that our efforts have a direct positive impact on those around us.

For more information about blood donation and service centers near you, visit www.redcross.org.

5 Interactive Resources to Help You Keep Your Weight-Loss Resolution

Sneakers, water-towel-and-earphones-on-the-wooden-background

Maybe your first New Year’s resolution should be to achieve the rest of your New Year’s resolutions. Data from the Statistic Brain Research Institute reveals that 45 percent of us will make some kind of New Year’s resolution, although only 8 percent will succeed.

So let’s focus on two important goals for 2016: weight loss and fitness. A survey by Details magazine found that for two out of every three people who make New Year’s resolutions, health and fitness are on the list. The fact that January is Healthy Weight Awareness month adds even more incentive.

If it’s best to use the buddy system in any exercise or weight loss plan, here are five high-tech buddies that can help you keep your resolution. Working together, they can help form a structure for health, fitness and weight control that will keep you on track for 2016:

1. Smartphone apps. iPhone users can start with Apple Health. It’s a centralized hub for all your health data, pulling information from a wide range of apps to give you a better overall picture of your health. Naturally, Android users are also covered: For example, Google also offers a similar health and fitness tracker that gives you a snapshot of what you’re doing and how you’re doing. Beyond that, the number of apps is almost overwhelming. Find the ones that work for you.

2. Wearables. Whether it’s Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin or any other manufacturer, wearables can give you data ranging from how many steps you take each day to whether your diet is matching your overall weight and fitness goals. When you select a device, find one that suits your specific needs. If your preference is walking or jogging, think about a GPS that shows time, distance and pace. People who need to start with the basics can use a heart-rate monitor to track the intensity of their workouts or the number of calories they burn.

3. Nutrition websites. Weight loss specialists have traditionally recommended keeping a journal that helps you recognize what you’re eating, how much you’re eating and when you’re eating it. Naturally, you can do that online now. Many sites work in concert with apps or devices and give you an up-to-the minute snapshot. Others offer advice and support through nutritionists and a community of people who share your goals.

4. Exercise websites. Fitness and weight loss plans depend a great deal not only on selecting the right exercises but also using the correct technique. There are a number of sites that will suggest exercises that are appropriate for what you want to achieve and even provide guidance from personal trainers. Some cost money (such fitocracy.com or fit.net), while others are free (such as muscleandfitness.com or bodybuilding.com). For the latter two, don’t be intimidated by the name: there are plenty of tips and strategies for beginners.

5. Video. Watching is learning, so don’t be afraid to go to sites like YouTube or Vimeo for more information. You may have to sift through blatantly promotional material, but you’ll also find everything from nutrition and diet tips, ideas for various exercises, and encouragement from real-life success stories.

Big changes can be challenging, but they are completely doable if you make a weight loss plan and take it one step at a time. The great part of living in this day and age is that once you make the commitment, there’s no shortage of help at your fingertips.

4th of July BBQ Ideas

4th of July BBQ Ideas

Monitronics wants to know: what are you doing for 4th of July? Will you be hanging out at home, entertaining friends and family? Or will you be away? There are so many options for fun on the 4th of July, and we have some great suggestions for different ways to celebrate our nation’s independence, while Monitronics makes sure your home is safe and secure.

  • Are you headed out to enjoy the festivities in your hometown? Check your local papers for information on fun events you may not even know exist! In some areas, locals show up and march in the parade, while others host potluck picnics, festivals and even BBQ competitions! Do a little research, and you may find something fun and unique that you never knew went on right in your own backyard.
  • Hosting a backyard barbecue is a great way to unleash your inner domestic deity. Make sure you’ve created comfortable places for people to sit and chat, and then let yourself go wild with the decorating: Choose a theme, put fresh flowers and candles everywhere, make flag centerpieces like this flowery one or this easy one, and do whatever makes you a happy host!
  • Keeping kids occupied on the 4th of July is easy as pie! Plan some fun crafts, like this 4th of July wand or this stunning patriotic wreath. You can also play games, or teach kids interesting facts about the holiday and our nation’s history. If you’ve got a crowd of kids, organize them into a parade, complete with balloons, flags and bikes decorated with streamers and ribbons.
  • Speaking of pie, here are some great recipes to try at your barbecue. Follow these links for Easy Coleslaw, Creamy Guacamole with Bacon, Corn Muffin Poblano Cups, and yes, even Strawberry Pie.
  • Don’t forget to have games at your backyard barbecue! Click here for a great list of suggestions, including old classics like bocce, horseshoes and badminton as well as some new, not-yet favorites such as Beersbee and Giant Jenga.

Monitronics wants you to have a great 4th of July! While you’re doing what makes you happy, and whether you’re enjoying your grill, your vacation, your town or just hanging out with your family and friends, you can trust us to take care of your home. Learn more about Monitronics home security systems by visiting our website, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.


Celebrate National CPR Month by Learning How to Save a Life

Celebrate National CPR Month by Learning How to Save a Life

Monitronics is interested in everyone’s safety, whether it’s inside or outside the home. Since June is National CPR Month, now is a great time to go over the appropriate techniques for CPR. If the need ever arises, you’ll be glad you did.

CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, keeps blood and oxygen flowing when someone’s heartbeat or breathing has stopped. It’s a good idea to become trained in CPR, because you never know when you might be in a position to save someone’s life. There are a number of organizations that offer CPR training and certification, and you can register online for classes in your area by contacting the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.

There are different ways to perform CPR. Some are appropriate for infants and young children, while other methods apply to older children and adults, and even pets.

Adults and children 9 years or older

For this group, the first step of CPR is to “shake and shout.” See if the person will revive with just a raised voice and a hearty shake before you attempt anything more invasive. If that isn’t effective, it’s time to call 911 and move on to CPR.

If you completed CPR training in the past, you might have learned to think “ABC,” for Airway-Breathing-Compressions. However, current thinking suggests a “CAB” strategy: Compressions- Airway- Breathing.

  • First, if an AED (automated external defibrillator) is available, use it to check the patient’s heart rhythm. Follow the instructions to administer one shock to the patient.
  • Next, lay the patient on his back and kneel next to him. Place the heel of your hand in the center of his chest, and place your other hand on top of it, lacing your fingers together. Align your shoulders over your hands, keeping your elbows straight.
  • Begin compressions, pressing down hard at a rate of at least 100 times per minute, allowing the chest to fully rise back up between compressions. To ensure you keep in rhythm, a good tip is to give compressions to the beat of the disco tune “Staying Alive.”
  • After 30 compressions, begin rescue breathing. Tilt the person’s head back by gently lifting the chin with the palm of your other hand on the forehead. This should clear the airway, at which point you should pinch the nostrils shut and cover the person’s mouth with a CPR mask or your mouth. Give two rescue breaths, lasting about one second each, and make sure the person’s chest rises each time. After two breaths, give 30 compressions, and then continue repeating this sequence: two breaths, 30 compressions.
  • Keep performing CPR until help arrives or the person begins to breathe on his own. If he does begin breathing, have him lie on his side until emergency help arrives.

Babies and young children

For a baby or young child, the instructions are different. First, you should never shake an infant or little child. Instead, tap on the bottom of the baby’s foot to see if he is responsive. If not, skip the AED and go immediately to rescue breathing.

  • For a young child, pinch the nose and place your mouth over the child’s mouth, forming a seal. For an infant, create a seal over the nose and mouth with your mouth.Give two rescue breaths, blowing in for one second each time, so that the chest visibly rises.
  • To perform compressions on an infant, use two fingers on the center of the infant’s chest. For a child, use one or two hands. Press down about one-third or one-half of the chest depth, at the rate of 100 times per minute, but only do it 30 times before repeating the rescue breathing.


Believe it or not, you can also perform CPR on your pet.

  • Small Pets. Wrap your hand around the sternum and heart, giving 30 compressions, then two mouth-to-snout rescue breaths. Make sure the chest recoils completely after each compression.
  • Medium to giant-sized pets. Place the pet on its side, and use the two-handed technique, with your hands on the widest part of the chest. The rest of the process is the same, with 30 compressions and two breaths.
  • Some dogs require special handling. For narrow-chested dogs such as greyhounds, use two hands, directly over the heart. For barrel-chested dogs such as bulldogs, place the animal on its back and use the same technique as for humans.

Possibly averting a terrible tragedy may be as simple as learning how to properly perform CPR. Reducing the possibility of a break-in is as easy as installing a home security system from a Monitronics authorized dealer. Monitronics is in the protection business, so while you’re taking care of those you love, you can trust us to take care of your home. Learn more about our home security systems by visiting our website, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.