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.

General

How to Spot a Pathological Liar

There’s no two ways about it: Donald Trump lies repeatedly. This is an especially troubling situation for a man with that amount of power and further erodes the degree of confidence that people have in government.

Do you know someone who, shall we say, likes to bend the truth? There are different degrees of lying; a little white lie every once in a while usually does little damage and can often save someone from getting hurt feelings. However, a pattern of lying can be quite destructive, not only for the liar but also their friends, colleagues, and loved ones.

Here are some things to look out for if you suspect someone is a pathological liar:

Narcissism

Pathological liars tend to have a very high opinion of themselves and their lies often revolve around ways in which others seem to share that elevated view.

Low Self-Esteem

This may seem to contradict the narcissism, but pathological liars also tend to suffer from low-esteem. They know they are not qualified, not worthy, etc, and try to cover that up by constantly spewing falsehoods that make them seem superior in the eyes of others.

Angry and Abusive

People with this personality issue tend to have trouble tempering their anger. They may fly off the handle over almost nothing, and that needless anger can cause them to become violent. Even if they don’t physical lash out at people, pathological liars can also engage in verbal abuse.

Selfish

Pathological liars also tend to be quite selfish. This is not surprising as it fits in with the patterns caused by other common behaviors, such as narcissism.

If you know someone who displays tendencies such as these, tread carefully. At the very least, do not take what they at face value, particularly if it could have a serious effect on your life.

General

Trump Won’t Stop Lying: Get Used to It

It wasn’t so long ago that a politician caught telling a lie would be in terrible trouble. He or she might be able to bail themselves out with an apology, but, in many cases, depending on the lie, they were finished. Washed up. Out the door.

With Donald Trump’s presidency, those days seem like a millionaire years ago. A shameless, possibly even pathological, liar, Trump is not new to deceit. As a private citizen, he lied with impunity and his money and power allowed him to get away with it in many cases. Those who thought his position as president would temper this behavior must be holding their heads in pain.

The Toronto Star reported that the past week has been Trump’s most dishonest yet: 33 lies in seven days. If you are keeping a running tally, the Star reports that as 447 whoppers during his six months and one week in office.

What does it say about modern American society that the president lies repeatedly while almost no Republican is willing to call him on it, and his supporters don’t seem to care as long as their backward agenda is implemented?

A change in this dire state seems unlikely while Trump remains in power. However, it was precisely this approach (with some help from Russia) that allowed Trump to win an election almost no one thought was possible for Republicans to claim. It’s an example that other politicians will happily emulate and one wonders what it will take to get us back on track.

The answer seems to lie with the public. We need to stop taking everything said and reported at face value, while also checking the validity of the sources providing our information. Good rule of thumb: if you’ve never heard of the source, there’s probably a good reason for that. Social networks also need to put better mechanisms into place to spot and remove (or at least de-emphasize) fake news.

In the meantime, let’s keep hoping for this.

 

General

Choosing An Eco-Friendly Paint

Just because a paint is green doesn’t mean it’s eco-friendly.

There’s much more to choosing a paint than picking the perfect colour. Paints can vary by gloss, durability, and even eco-friendliness. Not all shades of green are good for the environment.

Recently, people have become increasingly aware of the risks posed by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in commercial paint. Volatile organic compounds are carbon-based solvents that get released into the air and react with other elements. They’re there for a reason: VOCs help make paint spreadable and allow it to stick to your walls. But VOCs aren’t good for the environment or for people, as they contribute to air pollution and can lead to a variety of health issues, including breathing issues, headaches, watery eyes, and nausea. Some volatile organic compounds have been linked to a risk of cancer.

Recognizing the demand for safer alternatives, many paint companies have jumped on board the eco-friendly movement and started offering low-VOC or VOC-free paints. This is great news for painters and do-it-yourselfers. However, it’s important to make sure the green paint you’re buying actually lives up to the name.

Recently, the United States Federal Trade Commission caught four major paint companies promoting eco-friendly paints without the facts to back it up. The guilty brands were Benjamin Moore, ICP Construction, YOLO Colorhouse, and Imperial Paints.

According to the FTC, these companies had no evidence to support claims that their products were emission-free or contained zero volatile organic compound. Some made explicit claims their paints were safe for babies, pregnant women, and other groups sensitive to air pollution. A few even had photos of babies and pregnant women right on the packaging! No wonder the culprits were slapped with charges.

As consumers, it’s unnerving to know companies would try to get away with this kind of deception. Fortunately, there are ways to double-check whether the paint you’re buying is truly free from potentially dangerous solvents. Paints with an official green seal certification are guaranteed to have been tested on their claims.

It’s also important to do your research when it comes to any claims about VOC content in paints. Sometimes, a paint only one VOC free during application, not after drying. Other times, the paint contains traces of VOCs. If you’re looking for a paint that’s truly safe and eco-friendly, read the fine print on the can.

Colors, General

Should I Hire Professionals to Do My Painting?

Whether it is your interior in need of freshening up or an exterior in need of a new layer of protection, painting is part of owning a home. Many people like to do as much of their own work as possible, and that is admirable. However, painting is an area that gives some people pause. There is little room for error, so that can leave some wondering whether they shouldn’t reach into their savings and hire some professionals to do the job.

Are you wrestling with that decision? Here are some things to consider:

Time Crunch

Do you need to get the work done quickly? Most painting services will send several people to do the job. That, combined with their experience, all but guarantees they will get it done faster than you, while also offering the degree of quality required.

Safety Risk

Do you have very high ceilings or is your house especially large? That will mean the use of ladders and scaffolds. If you are afraid of heights or do not have experience doing this sort of work, you might want to have professionals do it.

Physical Exertion

Painting can be a great form of exercise, but is not recommended if you have health issues where physical exertion should be avoided.

Family and Work Responsibilities

If you have a family with little children and pets, you know that it can be quite a challenge to keep them out of certain areas. Parental and work responsibilities often leave people with little spare time and, when they do have a few moments, they are often tired. Painting is time consuming and can be quite difficult. If you think you’re not up to it, given your current workload, definite hire a pro team.

When You Want High Quality Work

Is this particular area of your home quite important to you? The best painters do such good work that you don’t notice any aspects of the painting. If it needs to look great, you need to consider professionals.

Colors, General

How Often Should I Paint My Home’s Exterior?

You may have passed a home today and thought, “Jeez, they really should give it a new paint job.” If a home’s exterior is faded, cracked, or peeling (or all of the above), then, yes, it’s definitely time to head to the local paint store.

Ideally, you want to stay ahead of the game. That means ensuring that your house looks attractive, while also doing well by the exterior surfaces. The question of how often to paint can depend on several factors:

  • The materials. If you have aluminum siding, consider setting aside home maintenance money so that you can re-paint every five years. Wood siding should be 3-6 years, while areas covered with stain are 4 years. Painted brick? You should be good for 15 years or more.
  • The area you live in. Different areas have weather that can be harder on your paint. Prolonged summer heat can lead paint to bubble and crack. Direct sunlight produces fading, while humidity and harsh weather can also take their toll.
  • Preventive maintenance. Regularly inspect your home’s exterior for signs of rot, mold, or termites. If any of these are evident, get ahead of the problem by dealing with it immediately.

Exterior painting can be quite involved, between the amount of paint and time required, as well as working around the weather. However, the longer you leave it, the more time-consuming and expensive it will be because the prep work will take all that much longer.

Giving your home a nice paint job every few years cannot help but increase its curb appeal. Even if you are not planning to sell at the time you do the work, you will already have it done, should the decision arise to place your home on the market. Getting a house ready for sale can be quite a lot of work, but at least you won’t have much to do on the outside.

Don’t let your home get to this stage!
Colors, Designs

Seeing Red at Home

No, that title does not refer to getting into arguments with your spouse. We are here today to discuss the colour red. We recently needed to repaint a couple rooms in our home and I wanted to try something different. We had previously been quite conservative in our design choices, but I was feeling that it was time to be a little daring.

Red is not a colour people often associate with home decor, but it definitely has its place. When people wear red, you notice. It can be quite sensual to look at and is a colour often associated with sex. Now, that doesn’t mean turning your home into the red light district, but red can also add a degree of energy and flare. That’s what I was hoping for when I started investigating various red shades for our den and guest room.

People sometimes complain that red feels overpowering; it can be. However, like any shade, you should keep in mind the effect you’re going for, as well as the contents of the room. I didn’t want a paint colour that seemed oppressive; I just wanted to enhance a part of our home that has felt rather drab.

In addition to being eye-catching, red is a wonderful colour for adding contrast. If you have China you wish to showcase, putting them in front of a red background really makes the ivory coloured hue of the dishes pop.

I understand the trouble involved in choosing a new colour and then finding out it doesn’t work for you. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly. However, I really felt the need to stretch our design boundaries and I think red is just the accent we need to add some new character.

If barn red seems like too much, you can always try Pagoda Red, which most people feel is more brownish than crimson.