Monthly Archives: December 2014

Mix and Mingle

The holidays are a busy time of year when it comes to social events. It can also an intimidating time of the year if you lack a confidence and are shy. Whether it’s a casual neighborhood gathering or a formal office party, starting up conversations with people you either don’t know or don’t know well can be difficult and leave you feeling anxious and nervous.

Here are some ways to put the social butterflies at rest.

  1. Be open to conversation. Start by smiling and making eye contact and adding in hello. Being friendly and open will help get conversations started.
  2. Don’t spend too much time on your smartphone. If you’re looking at your smartphone too much you may miss a cue that someone may be interested in starting a conversation with you. People may assume that you are not interested in a conversation and may be less likely to approach you.
  3. Join an ongoing group conversation at the social event. At social gatherings people often walk around, moving in and out of different conversations. See if you can join a group that is discussing a topic that interests you.
  4. Ask questions. This is a great opportunity to catch up with coworkers, friends or family on what they have been up to. Be careful it doesn’t turn into an interview -like conversation, and try to share some experiences and stories of your own.
  5. Step out of your comfort zone. Once you start a conversation with someone and you feel comfortable talking with the, you may feel like sticking with them all night. Try to take a risk and strike up a conversation with someone else. You may find someone else that has similar interests as you and have some great conversations.
  6. Stay out of the kitchen. Don’t avoid the social get together by staying away. Get immersed in the event.
  7. Avoiding social situations will only worsen your anxiety. If you’re shy, talking to others will be difficult at first. Things may not go completely smooth, but it will get easier – just keep practicing.
  8. Don’t be too tempted to drink before the party to calm your nerves. Arrive at the party and settle in for a bit before going for a drink. You’ll find you have calmed a little even without alcohol.
  9. Trying to control or hide your anxiety at a party may make it worse. Accept the uncomfortable feelings, and try the tips above to keep calm.

‘Tis the season to enjoy friends, coworkers and family at social gatherings galore – you can enjoy them as well. Take a breather now and then by stepping outside or away from it all. Relax yourself, then go back in there and join in the fun. You may surprise yourself on how you have become a little less shy. Take things slow and follow the tips above.

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Self Diagnosis – Why we shouldn’t

The internet is a vast source of information that we often turn to when searching for information on health problems or physical symptoms we may be facing. Experts have found that many of us will search online for health related information. This can be a concern – not everything you read online is necessarily accurate or applicable to your specific situation.

Many individuals will not take the time to get a proper diagnosis to a health or physical problem. It can be time consuming with visiting doctors and specialists, going for tests and taking time off work. Cost can also sometimes be a factor. All reasons to lead many to self diagnose their ailments by using the internet.

Here are some potential issues that you need to consider before self-diagnosing your condition

  • The diagnosis may be wrong.
  • The diagnosis may cause unnecessary anxiety.
  • Self-diagnosis may convince you that nothing is wrong – having you skip the visit to the doctor.
  • Without proper clinical diagnosis and medical attention, your condition may worsen.
  • In the case of a serious illness, a delay in proper medical treatment may lead you to serious complications.

A self-diagnosis can lead to misdiagnosis. The internet can be misleading and also confusing. There are hundreds of serious health conditions that share a number of similar symptoms. Choosing the wrong self-diagnosis can also lead to the use of drugs and drug abuse – using drugs that aren’t needed and in turn may cause more harm. The self-diagnosis can be misdiagnosed and leave you feeling anxious and worried about something that just may not be true. The added worry and anxiety can cause additional problems like abdominal pain and ulcers which may cause more misdiagnosis.

You also need to be aware of where exactly are you getting your information. Is it medical website, someone’s personal blog, social media? Is it credible? So, when it comes down to it, there really is no substitute for visiting your family doctor and taking the steps to determine what your health or physical issues are and how they should be properly treated. You can always use the internet to find more information on the issue, with the recommendation of valid websites from your doctor of course.

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Fighting Fit

It’s that time of year again, cold and flu season. Germs are everywhere and on everything you touch. You spend your days at work, then off to the gym and you are touching multiple items that will carry germs. Illnesses like the flu and colds are caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. What can you do to protect yourself from getting sick? There are some key ways to protect yourself from germs you find at work and at the gym.


Wear Flip-Flops in the Shower
Protect your bare feet from germs and fungus such as athlete’s foot. Wearing flip-flops in the shower will eliminate the direct contact you have with the floor in the shower, sauna and change rooms. Fungal infections can happen anywhere when you have bare feet.

Use Reusable Water Bottles
When you drink from your own reusable water bottle and not the drinking fountain you are eliminating your risk to Norovirus, a highly contagious intestinal virus that can easily be spread through communal water fountains. Be careful not to keep opening and closing the bottle either as you can easily transfer germs from your hands to your mouth.

Disinfect Regularly
Your gym bag can be a great place for germs to hide especially when you think of where you put it. Car floor, change room floor, public washrooms, all great places to pick up germs. Take the time to regularly wash out and disinfect your gym bag. Keep a bottle of disinfectant spray in your car or gym bag that can be used even before the bag enters your house.

Use Your Equipment
Whenever possible, bring your own equipment to use at the gym. An easy one is your own workout mat or yoga mat. Even if you can manage your own kettle bell or bar bells, you’ll be less likely to pick up something from someone else. Be sure to sanitize your equipment as well.

Keep Your Distance
A crowded fitness class can be an easy way to catch the flu. When possible try to keep about 2 arms length away from anyone else. When you head to the cardio or weight equipment, if the gym isn’t too busy, pick a machine that is not right beside someone else.


Clean and Disinfect
Wipe down your work area often. Pay attention to computer keyboards, desks and telephones. Germs accumulate quickly on and around these areas so you want to make sure they are cleaned often.

Beware of the Office Kitchen
An office kitchen can carry the most germs. Almost everyone goes in there and touches something. Be sure to wash your hands well before and after handling food and touching places like the refrigerator door handle and microwave oven.

Watch out for Those Doors
Door knobs and handles can breed germs. If possible use a tissue or paper towel when you have to open a door. Otherwise, wash hands or use a hand sanitizer after touching door handles.

Another popular spot in the office building for germs is the washroom. Try not to touch anything unnecessarily. Wash hands before you head back to work to prevent the spread of germs from the restroom to other areas of the office.

Shaking Hands
A courteous handshake is part of doing business. Make sure to wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer after this gesture to prevent the spread of germs. Avoid touching your face right after a handshake.


Wash your hands regularly. The best way to combat germs is to wash your hands after doing any activity. You especially want to make sure you wash your hands before and after you eat.

Avoid touching your face. Any surface can contain germs. You’re hands are always busy touching something. Avoiding touching your face because germs you come in contact with can wind up in the openings of your nose, ears and mouth.

By being aware of your surroundings and what you may be touching, you won’t have to hide out for cold and flu season to stay germ free. The key to staying healthy is continuing with your healthy lifestyle, healthy food, healthy amounts of exercise and definitely washing your hands often.

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Superfoods for Energy

Is your day just dragging on and you can’t seem to keep your eyes open let alone accomplish some major tasks? Try changing up what you eat to boost your energy levels and help you sail through your day.

An excess of sugars or foods that are high on the glycemic index can drain your battery quickly and leave you feeling sluggish and tired. Try to stay away from “white” breads and refined grains and choose items that may be higher in fibre. Flaxseed, fish oils and lean protein are your better choices to boost your energy. Try some of these superfoods:

  • Brown Rice – it’s better for you than the white variety and will help make you feel fuller for longer.
  • Oats – they are high in calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamins E and B and high in protein. It will help keep you feeling full and aid with stress and tiredness.
  • Broccoli – has lots of cancer-fighting properties as well as being a great energy provider. It also contains lots of fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C.
  • Lentils – not only are they are colourful and add to a nice look to your plate, they will help keep your energy levels high.
  • Almonds – almonds are an easy and quick snack that contains vitamin E, B, magnesium and iron, all which help boost your energy.
  • Leafy Greens – iron is key to your energy levels. Not enough iron will keep you feeling fatigued. Add some romaine, spinach, or kale to your diet and increase iron, and vitamin C levels leaving you with added energy.
  • Coconut Oil – try a spoon full of oil to boost your energy. Coconut oil is quickly processed into energy.
  • Bananas – this snack can boost your energy level while taming that sweet tooth of yours. Bananas are high in vitamin B6 which helps produce energy more quickly.
  • Quinoa – contains B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and iron. Quinoa will fill you up and energize you as well.

Keep some these foods on hand. Pack them in your lunch and when you start to feel a slump in the day, get some of these pick me up snacks. For a nearly instant energy boost that lasts, eat a healthy snack that contains protein and a complex carbohydrate. If you eat the right foods, you’ll have an energized, productive day.

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