Category: General

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General

Is 65 No Longer the Year to Retire?

When did your parents retire? If they had average incomes and good health, we would expect you to say age 65. That is the traditional age for people to hang it up, take their pensions, and put up their feet.

65 has long been seen as the age to stop working. In fact, for many Canadians, there was no choice in the matter. Up until 2008, most Canadian provinces had mandatory retirement rules that allowed businesses to fire workers that age and up, without any possibility of liability. This caused many successful careers to come an early end, even though the people in question were more than capable of carrying on.

Things have changed quite a bit in the past few decades. Thanks to advances in medical science, humans are living longer than ever before. They are also retaining their mental faculties and physical abilities for a greater period. As a result of this (and occasionally, financial necessity), a good percentage are continuing to work even after becoming eligible for their monthly government cheques. Expect to see an increasingly grey work force in the years to come.

One downside from this increased longevity is that there will be more seniors in need of medical care for a longer period. That could put a significant strain on federal finances going forward, and may result in younger generations having to shoulder a greater burden of the costs. No one has figured out the best answer to this looming issue.

The plus side, however, is quite significant: it is clear that for many people, remaining active in their golden years helps to maintain physical and mental sharpness. It can also be a benefit for society at large because the accumulated wisdom and experience of these workers remains accessible to us all for an additional period of time.

General

Your Winter Survival Guide

It’s almost mid-November and you know what that means: snow! Did I just hear a chorus of groans with one faint “Yes!” in the background? Many Canadians are indifferent towards winter. Let’s face it, it’s part and parcel of living in this country. And, believe it or not, there are actually people who love this time of year, mainly because of the (potentially) great skiing.

Then there are people like you and me. We mourn the loss of fall and pray for the arrival of spring. Staying inside is not our bag during the summer, but winter? Yeah, I’ll just curl up in a blanket and watch TV, thank you very much.

OK, bottom line: there is nothing we can do about winter, but here are some tricks that can help you survive it:

Stay Active

Exercise is very important and a lot of people gain weight over the winter because they cut back. Even if you don’t want to go outside, join a gym or get an exercise bike. Staying fit will also help you beat the winter blues, so get at it!

Prep for Winter Storms

We usually get at least one major winter storm each year that causes power outages and everyone to stay at home. If your electricity does go, you need to be prepared to spend a few hours in the dark. Make sure you have flashlights, extra warm clothing, and keep all of your devices charged on a regular basis, just in case.

Keep Healthy

Bundle up when you go outside, be sure to wash your hands regularly, and get a flu shot. Winter is tough enough without getting sick, so take a few minutes to keep yourself healthy.

Go on a Vacation

OK, this one is obvious, but it’s also the most effective! Aloha!

General

Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

There’s an old saying that cats are not the pets for owners who like to do things with their animals. That’s not totally fair: cats can and do play, but only when they feel motivated to. If you really want to have a faithful companion that is always up for a game of fetch, well, get a dog.

Cats sleep a lot. You have probably looked at yours during one of those seemingly endless periods of slumber and wondered if there was something wrong with her. The answer is probably not because it is common for domestic cats to enjoy quite a bit of shuteye, as much as 16 hours or twice as much as the average human.

So why does an animal that is not exactly busting its hump most of the day need so much time to re-energize? Well, wild cats must spend a good amount of time and energy hunting down their next meal. That can wear you out, so they nap to conserve energy for the next round. Your house pet still has that instinct in her genes, so she follows suit even though the only hunting that must be done is the location of the food bowl.

Cats are often thought of as nocturnal, but if you set up a hidden video camera to see what she was up to at, say, 3AM, you would probably be disappointed to find her conked out. Felines are actually what is known as crepuscular, meaning that they are at their most active in the time before sunrise and sunset. As you can imagine that leaves a lot of extra time to lie around doing nothing.

You can help to keep kitty active by playing with her. However, when cats want to rest, they will slink away and do just that, so don’t be disappointed. You can always go and hang out with the neighbor’s dog.

General

How to Get Over Your Cold Quickly

Thanksgiving is now behind us and that means we are heading into the winter season. Which is also the cold and flu season, alas. Having a cold stinks; there is no other way to put it. When they strike, you want to be rid of a cold as soon as possible. While the length of a cold has a certain amount to do with the time that the virus takes to exit your system, you can help to speed it up a bit by doing some of the following:

Keep drinking those fluids

If you are feeling sick to your stomach because of a cold, it is tempting to not eat or drink anything. That, however, is actually a mistake. Staying hydrated helps to break up any congestion you are experiencing. Water is always good, and you can also drink herbal tea or juice. If you feel the need for tea or coffee, stick with decaffeinated for now. You should also try to avoid alcohol until you feel better.

Get plenty of rest

Your body is in healing mode at the moment, so you can give it a good assist by taking it easy. Exerting yourself while you are in recovery will likely just drag out the cold out even longer. Cancel your plans, put up your feet, grab the electric blanket, and catch up on Netflix.

Add moisture to the air

The air tends to be rather dry during winter, and it can just make you feel worse. Using a humidifier or vaporizer to add humidity to the air will help to break up your congestion.

Use pain relief

Congestion can lead to headaches and other issues that cause pain. There are various effective over-the-counter remedies for this, including ones designed specifically for people with colds. If your throat is bothering you, you can also gargle with salt water. Both of these suggestions should help you to feel some relief while you recover.

General

Is It Weird to Prefer Dogs to Humans? Some People Don’t Think So

You have probably heard of people who dote on their dogs. In fact, you might actually be one of them. The pet care industry has grown at a staggering rate in the past couple of decades. People occasionally treat their dogs to luxuries that some human beings cannot afford to give to their own children. This sort of behaviour can seem more like crazy than love to certain individuals. However, for others, dogs are as important to them as children. Sometimes even more important than their actual children.

The notion of the company of dogs being preferable to other human beings can seem outright misanthropic and strange. However, there is often a reason why the individual feels this way. While they cannot offer the same intellectual stimulation as a human being, domestic pets, particularly dogs, are fiercely loyal. They also love unconditionally, and do not engage in this sort of subterfuge that human beings often subject each other to in their dealings, both professionally and in private.

Dogs also ask for comparatively little when stacked up against human beings. If you provide them with food, shelter, and a friendly, loving hand, the dog will be happy to stay with you for its whole life. Human beings demand more than just the basic essentials of life from a partner and when such a relationship breaks down, it can be quite devastating for those involved. Think about times when you have ended a relationship or been dumped; it likely took some time for you to get back on your feet again.

If someone has been through enough painful breakups in their life, they may reach a point where they do not wish to have any kind of relationship of substance with another human being. In instances such as that, the comparatively basic and simple pleasures offered by the companionship of animals can seem infinitely preferable.

General

Ways You Can Make Your Workplace More Productive and Successful

Every workplace has its own particular vibe and energy, and no two are completely alike. However, there are certain things that are standard in workplaces where everything is running smoothly and efficiently. If your workplace is not all that it could be, it might be that you are deficient in one of the following areas:

Be sure to communicate frequently

Just because a number of people are in the same office, it does not necessarily mean that they are communicating meaningfully regarding the business of the day. While not everyone will be working on the same project, it is good for everyone to be up-to-date when it comes to company procedures, interactions with clients, and other information that will positively or negatively affect the day-to-day operations of the company. Weekly and even daily scrums can help to achieve this goal.

It is also important to keep up with email and instant message correspondence with your coworkers and supervisors. Failure to do so will impede operations and can also be seen as a sign that you do not respect or care about these individuals.

Try to keep work engaging

Not every aspect of every job will be exciting and rewarding, but is it important to try to cultivate an atmosphere in the office that is enthusiastic and energetic. This helps everyone to be busy and productive, which benefits both the company and everyone who works there. It also makes a long work day fly by much faster.

Know each team member’s strengths

The best way to do the shop efficiently and accurately is to utilize the team members who have the appropriate talents for the task. Break each assignment down into its component elements and then choose the people who have demonstrated the best ability to tackle each of them. Assign the tasks appropriately.

General

Could You Use a Massage?

Are you feeling tense? Are your muscles sore? Could you really use something that could make you feel more relaxed?

There are various ways to relax; some people rely on drugs, legal or otherwise, which often have a pronounced downside, including side effects and long term harm to important organs. However, massages are wonderful ways to induce relaxation and are excellent for both body and mind. When administered by a trained massage therapist, there are also no health risks of any kind.

In addition to help with muscle cramping, pain, and general stiffness, massages also help to heal your mind by reducing stress. That form of natural relaxation can be very helpful for anyone experiencing anxiety and/or depression.

Massage is also an excellent way to combat insomnia, a very common problem that many people struggle with. Most of those individuals with sleeping issues cannot calm their mind and body into a state where continuous, beneficial sleep is possible; massage can help to bring that about.

Massage also makes it easier for you to get your proper amount of weekly exercise. People who are stiff and sore lack the motivation to exercise. A massage can leave you feeling limber and ready to go. You are also less likely to become injured during exercise or even regular activities when your muscles are relaxed.

Massage also allows some people to maintain their jobs. Certain positions can be detrimental to the body and these issues can be more pronounced with select people. Receiving a massage a couple times a month can provide relief from and, in some cases, even prevent these problems from occurring in the first place. People with sedentary jobs, such as office work, where they don’t move around much during the course of a day, can benefit greatly from the miracle of massage.

 

General

How to Live with Pain

Pain can be a very disruptive force in anyone’s life. Chronic pain can be particularly debilitating as it not only causes physical discomfort, but also can lead to such mental health conditions as depression. The following suggestions can help you to deal with moderate chronic pain, but should not be used solely in place of advice from your physician.

Meditation

Learning how to meditate is a valuable skill because it trains your mind to be more focused. This makes it easier to put less emphasis on the pain and discomfort you are feeling. The pain will then seem more manageable and less debilitating.

Meditation can also help you to relax. Stress is not good for your body and it can also increase pain levels.

Exercise

Exercise is very good for us in many ways and can also help to decrease pain naturally. Moving around helps to keep you limber and fit, while also keeping your muscles stretched and mobile. The endorphins you generate while exercising can make you feel quite good and that will also help to counteract feelings of pain.

Eliminate Smoking and Tobacco

Both cigarettes and alcohol might seem like fast acting remedies for pain, but are actually just adding to the problem. Alcohol reduces your ability to enjoy quality sleep, while cigarettes negatively impact the circulation system. Both of these can lead to heightened pain levels.

Support Groups

Spending time with someone who is undergoing the same problems as you can be an excellent way to feel better and more hopeful about your own situation. An empathetic response from someone who truly understands carries more weight than words from someone who has not experienced the same hardships. People in support groups can also share advice on what does and does not work for them, which can be very valuable.

 

 

General

References: An Important Part of Your Job Search

Many job seekers spend a huge amount of time on their résumé and that’s good: nothing will get you knocked out of the running faster than a shoddy résumé filled with errors and a lack of basic style.

However, a lot of those same people are not paying the appropriate amount of attention to references. A lot just list friends or people they used to work with, sometimes not even bothering to get the person’s permission before doing so.

Here are some important things to consider when coming up with your list of References:

Do You Have Their Permission?

As mentioned, it is imperative to get someone’s permission before you list them as a reference. Can you imagine being called out of the blue by a company wanting to know whether you would recommend a friend’s abilities? Even if this was not an annoyance, you wouldn’t have given any consideration as to what you would say and could end up tanking that friend’s chances. Always get the OK first.

Choose Relevant People

Don’t pick someone just because they are an old friend who will definitely say something good about you. If they are not somehow related to the vocation you are seeking to join, all of the positive words in the world won’t mean very much. They can still vouch for your  character, but even that would carry more weight if they have some experience in that field and know directly how you perform on the job.

Coach Them

There is nothing wrong with telling a reference what you would like them to say. Is there an aspect of your previous job performance that is especially relevant to the new position? Have them emphasize this by including it in their answers. You can also tell them what you definitely don’t want mentioned.

General

How Much Should I Walk Per Day?

You don’t have to be a news hound to have heard TV commentators, doctors, and fitness experts talking about the importance of making walking a daily part of your life. We all may not be able to get to the gym every day or have time for a comprehensive health program, but almost all of us walk. It might not seem like much, and could simply be to and from work, but walking has very definite benefits.

Reduces Belly Fat

You may find yourself regularly walking, but the scale is not showing  the sort of fast, positive results you hoped for. The needle has moved only slightly down and yet, you are noticing that your pants do not seem as tight as they have been recently. This is entirely possible as walking can help to improve your body’s response to insulin, even after just a short time and only a small number of pounds.

Walking is a Gateway Drug

OK, that’s not the best description, but it can be quite accurate. Maintaining a regular walking schedule and proving to yourself that you can continue to do it shows that you have the discipline and drive for regular exercise. Build upon this success by expanding your fitness repertoire.

Better Mood

Therapists always recommend exercise to patients suffering from depression because it helps generate those “feel good” brain chemicals that improve mood. You don’t have to be depressed to benefit from walking regularly; a good mood can become even better after exercising.

Fights Constipation

Do you occasionally have trouble going to the bathroom? There are many things you can try to fix this common issue, but one of the first should be additional walking. This basic form of exercise provides a wholly natural way to help get your system moving and keep you regular.