You’ve got 25,000 mornings. What will you do with each one?

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Dieters beware. The office is a danger zone.

Dieters beware. The office is a danger zone.

Excerpted article By Lisa Lillien, a.k.a. Hungry Girl

It’s one thing to stick to your diet in the comfort of your own home: You’ve stocked up on cut veggies and fat-free Greek yogurt, and the only person who sees you write in your food journal is your partner, who’s pretty nonjudgmental about the whole thing. But dieting at the office – with the endless supply of home-baked goods in the communal kitchen and the frequent fast-food lunch breaks – is another thing altogether.

I wish I could tell you to keep up the good work at home and let your guard down when you’re at the office, but because you’re probably spending half of your waking hours at work, that’s not going to fly. Outsmart the whole scenario by doing the following:

Eat Breakfast, Seriously

Everyone from your kindergarten teacher to your know-it-all best friend has extolled the virtues of eating breakfast. Studies have shown that if you eat breakfast, you’re likely to consume fewer calories overall throughout the day. Plus, eating in the morning can jumpstart your metabolism.

Bring Your Lunch

This isn’t exactly rocket science, but the BEST thing you can do to follow your diet at work is to bring a bagged lunch. If there’s anything that derails a diet, it’s feeling that fierce mid-day hunger and not having healthy food handy. Then it’s “hello vending machine!”

The beauty of brown-bagging is twofold:

  1. Packing your own lunch puts you in complete control of your afternoon meal.
  1. A healthy balanced meal will keep you from feeling snacky an hour later.

If You Have to Go Out for Lunch

I get it – you’ve been cooped up in the office all day or you feel the need to socialize with your coworkers or you’ve been bringing sandwiches from home all week and you can’t stand eating another meal at your desk.

There’s nothing wrong with supporting your local lunch economy every now and then. And there are some surprisingly smart options at major fast food chains.

Pack Snacks

Not only will packing your own snacks help keep your hunger at bay, but it’ll give you something to munch on when you’re summoning all your willpower to avoid that birthday cake in the break room. And make sure to pack a few craving busters for the tempting foods you encounter at the office. Those pastries will look a lot less inviting when you’ve got a dessert-flavored snack bar at the ready.

A breakdown of pain management treatments

Pain management is a branch of medicine aimed at reducing patient suffering and boosting quality of life. While some experts distinguish between pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches to treating pain, Dr. Fiona Campbell, a pediatric anesthetist based in Toronto and the incoming head of the Canadian Pain Society, breaks the strategies into three areas: pharmacological, physical and psychological. Marc White, a medical researcher and president of the Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability says there is good evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of these alternative options for treating some subsets of the population.

Pharmacological: The drugs and medications available over the counter or through a doctor’s prescription. These methods tend to receive the most research funding and better coverage within Canada’s medical system, making them easier to access for people who don’t have private health insurance. Examples of the drugs include anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen, narcotics.

Physical: These interventions range from behavioural modifications, such as exercise or physiotherapy, to more invasive procedures, such as surgery or steroid injections. Examples for the intervention include steroid injections, exercise, physiotherapy, massage, acupuncture, heat/cold application

Psychological: Mental techniques tend to focus on a person’s relationship with pain, engaging with the behaviours, feelings and thoughts that accompany physical suffering. Techniques include psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness, meditation, hypnosis, relaxation techniques

Sources: American Psychological Association, American Chronic Pain Association

 

Alberta website lets people see ER wait times, rates quality of care

Albertans can now check how long it will take to see an emergency room doctor, as well as overall quality of care at 16 emergency rooms across the province.

The Health Quality Council of Alberta says its website is designed to make access to emergency room information easy for health-care providers, decision-makers and the public.

Much of the information is already publicly accessible, but council CEO Andrew Neuner says it’s important to bring all the data into one easy-to-use website.

The website uses simple graphs and colourful icons to help users track down information in 18 categories, including how long to see an emergency room doctor, number of people who leave an emergency room without seeing a doctor, and overall quality of care.

The website can be found at http://focus.hqca.ca.

Neuner says it’s hoped people will recognize areas that are performing well, have conversations about how to improve, and that measures will improve over time through that process.

“I think the bigger message that we’re trying to deliver here is that by working with patients and providers, we’ve pulled together the most important measures so that there’s a single source of truth,” said Neuner.

 

BC VIEWS: Flu fallacies are costing us all

BC VIEWS: Flu fallacies are costing us all

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press.

Hospitals around B.C. are struggling with the annual influx of influenza sufferers, many of whom are making matters worse for everyone by crowding into emergency waiting rooms.

In this “information age,” there are so many misconceptions around seasonal influenza that it’s hard to know where to start. First, in most cases there is no cure or prescribed treatment that can be offered at hospitals or clinics.

Frail elderly people, and those with chronic conditions or secondary infections may need medical support. The rest of us should learn to prevent contact, treat ourselves and avoid spreading these fast-mutating viruses around.

Many people still don’t understand what “the flu” is. No, it’s not generally associated with throwing up, contrary to every statement by every hockey coach who has ever spoken on TV. (Professional athletes and coaches have medical doctors on staff, but apparently they never listen to them.)

Influenza is a respiratory illness with chest and nasal congestion, which can last for weeks. Young children may vomit, often because they can’t control their coughing.

I won’t go into all the nonsense people hear about the flu vaccine. Suffice it to say it is the best current effort of modern medicine. This year’s vaccine targets the A/California, A/Hong Kong, B/Brisbane and B/Phuket strains, which emerged globally last year as the vaccine formula was finalized. It’s not perfect, but little in science is.

“Flu shot didn’t work. My kids are throwing up,” is a classic comment from a parent who really should do some studying. A good place to start would be a call to the B.C. Nurseline, 8-1-1, for reliable non-emergency health advice, available around the clock.

The kids more likely have what is erroneously called “stomach flu,” or to be accurate, norovirus. This is another contagious winter malady, featuring diarrhea as well as vomiting. No, there’s no cure for that waiting at the ER either. It’s particularly dangerous in hospitals and care homes, where quarantine and intensive cleaning are the main responses.

Taking virus-infected people to hospitals or clinics unnecessarily has the added impact of exposing medical personnel, who are already overworked at this time of year.

Our website editions carried a story last week about a medical clinic in Pemberton, where doctors posted a letter on the door calling on employers to get a clue too.

“People seeking sick notes – who otherwise wouldn’t see a doctor – end up in physicians’ offices, walk-in clinics and emergency department waiting rooms,” it said. “There, they may spread germs to pregnant women, frail elderly people, cancer patients and babies – all of whom are vulnerable to communicable diseases.”

They warn that “sick note” visits are not covered by B.C.’s Medical Services Plan. If local employers continue to demand sick notes, the clinic will invoice them $50 per visit, which is “standard practice for non-medically necessary services for third-party organizations.”

The doctors offer some advice that may sound familiar:

“In most cases, the best remedy for a patient with an isolated illness (such as a gastrointestinal virus, influenza or a common cold) is to stay home, rest and drink fluids.”

Remember the common cold? It’s technically called rhinovirus, and it also changes as it spreads through the population as a generally milder version of influenza.

People don’t talk much about getting colds any more. Now everything tends to be called the flu.

One last point: the contagious period for influenza begins when you catch it, a couple of days before you know you’re sick, and extends for about five days after symptoms emerge.

Things Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Things Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Excerpted article BY JENNA GOUDREAU

So what do successful executives and entrepreneurs do when they are rested and fresh? From Vanderkam’s study of morning rituals, we outline the following 12 things that the most successful people do before breakfast.

1. They wake up early.

Successful people know that time is a precious commodity. And while theirs is easily eaten up by phone calls, meetings, and sudden crises once they’ve gotten to the office, the morning hours are under their control. That’s why many of them rise before the sun, squeezing out as much time as they can to do with as they please.

In a poll of 20 executives cited by Vanderkam, 90% said they wake up before 6 a.m. on weekdays. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, for example, wakes at 4 a.m. and is in the office no later than 7 a.m. Meanwhile, Disney CEO Bob Iger gets up at 4:30 to read, and Square CEO Jack Dorsey is up at 5:30 to jog.

The bottom line: Productive mornings start with early wake-up calls.

2. They exercise before it falls off the to-do list.

The top morning activity of the rich and powerful seems to be exercise, be it lifting weights at home or going to the gym. According to Vanderkam, Xerox CEO Ursula Burns schedules an hour-long personal training session starting at 6 a.m. twice a week; Christies CEO Steve Murphy uses the mornings to do yoga; and Starwood Hotels CEO Frits van Paasschen runs for an hour every morning starting at 5:30.

“These are incredibly busy people,” says Vanderkam. “If they make time to exercise, it must be important.”

Beyond the fact that exercising in the morning means they can’t later run out of time, Vanderkam says a pre-breakfast workout helps reduce stress later in the day, counteracts the effects of high-fat diet, and improves sleep.

3. They work on a top-priority business project.

The quiet hours of the morning can be the ideal time to focus on an important work project without being interrupted. What’s more, spending time on it at the beginning of the day ensures that it gets your attention before others (kids, employees, bosses) use it all up.

Vanderkam uses the example of business strategist Debbie Moysychyn, who dealt with so many ad hoc meetings and interruptions throughout the day that she felt she couldn’t get anything done. She started thinking of the early mornings as project time, and chose a top-priority project each day to focus on. Sure enough, not a single colleague dropped in on her at 6:30 a.m. She could finally concentrate.

4. They work on a personal passion project.

Novel-writing and art-making is easy to skip when you’ve been in meetings all day, are tired and hungry, and have to figure out what’s for dinner. That’s why many successful people put in an hour or so on their personal projects before they officially start their days.

History teacher Charlotte Walker-Said told Vanderkam she spends the hours between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. working on a book about the religious politics of West Africa. She can read journal articles and write several pages before dealing with her teaching responsibilities at the University of Chicago.

Carving out the time in the morning to write, and making it a habit, meant she would actually follow through. Vanderkam cites one study of young professors that showed writing a little bit every day rather than in intense bursts made them more likely to get tenure.

5. They spend quality time with family.

We may exalt the family dinner, but there’s nothing that says you have to have a big family meal at night, says Vanderkam. Some successful people use the mornings to invest in family time, whether reading stories to the kids or cooking a big breakfast together.

Judi Rosenthal, a financial planner in New York, told Vanderkam that unless she’s traveling mornings are her special time with her young daughter. She helps her get dressed, make the bed, and occasionally they work on art projects together. They also make breakfast and sit at around the table and chat about what’s going on. She calls those 45 minutes “the most precious time I have in a day.”

6. They connect with their spouses.

In the evening, it’s more likely you’ll be tired from the day’s activities, and time can easily be wasted with dinner preparations and zoning out in front of the TV. That’s why many successful people make connecting with their partners a morning ritual.

Besides, as Vanderkam wonders, what could be better than pre-dawn sex to energize you for the day? After all, regular sex may make you smarter, boost your income, and burn calories.

Even if they’re not getting frisky every morning, many couples use the early hours to talk. For instance, BlackRock Managing Director Obie McKenzie and his wife commute from the suburbs into New York City every morning. They spend the hour-plus trip discussing their lives, finances, household to-do lists, and plans for the week.

7. They network over coffee.

Especially if you like to make it home for dinner, the mornings can be a great time to meet with people for coffee or breakfast. Plus, networking breakfasts are less disruptive than midday lunches and more work-oriented than boozy cocktail parties, Vanderkam notes.

Christopher Colvin, a New York-based lawyer and entrepreneur, started a networking group for Ivy League alums called IvyLife. Most days he wakes at 5:30 a.m. to walk his dog and read, but every Wednesday he attends an IvyLife networking breakfast. “I feel I’m fresher and more creative in the mornings,” he told Vanderkam. “By the end of the day my mind is more cluttered.”

8. They meditate to clear their minds.

Type-A personalities typically demand as much from others as they do from themselves, so it can be difficult for them to disconnect from their mental to-do lists and calm their minds. Before they head out the door, many successful people devote themselves to a spiritual practice such as meditation or prayer to center themselves for the rush of the day.

Manisha Thakor, a former corporate executive who founded and now runs MoneyZen Wealth Management, practices transcendental meditation to clear her mind. She does two 20-minute sessions a day, the first before breakfast and the second in the evening, and focuses on breathing and repeating a mantra in her head. She’s found it to be “one of the most life-enhancing practices” she’s ever experienced, she told Vanderkam.

9. They write down things they’re grateful for.

Expressing gratitude is another great way to center yourself and get the proper perspective before heading to the office. Writing down the people, places, and opportunities that you’re grateful for takes just a few minutes but can make a real difference in your outlook.

Pharmaceutical exec Wendy Kay told Vanderkam she spends a good chunk of her morning “expressing gratitude, asking for guidance, and being open to inspiration.” When she gets to work, she always has a clear vision for herself and her staff.

10. They plan and strategize while they’re fresh.

Planning the day, week, or month ahead is an important time management tool to keep you on track when you’re in the thick of it. Using the mornings to do big-picture thinking helps you prioritize and set the trajectory of the day.

Banking exec turned teacher Christine Galib wakes at 5 a.m. on weekdays, exercises, reads a few Bible verses, and reviews her tasks for the day before making breakfast. She told Vanderkam this ritual makes her days more manageable and effective.

11. They check their email.

While time management gurus may suggest putting off email as long as possible, many successful people start the day with email. They may quickly scan their inboxes for urgent messages that need an immediate response or craft a few important emails that they can better focus on while their minds are fresh.

For instance, Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project,” wakes at 6 every morning before her family’s up at 7. She uses the time to clear her inbox, schedule the day, and read social media. Getting these tasks out of the way from the start helps her concentrate better when she moves on to more challenging projects, she told Vanderkam.

12. They read the news.

Whether it’s sitting in the corner diner and reading the papers or checking the blogs and Twitter from their phones, most successful people have a pre-breakfast ritual for getting the latest headlines.

For example, GE CEO Jeff Immelt starts his days with a cardio workout and then reads the paper and watches CNBC. Meanwhile, Virgin America CEO David Cush uses his mornings to listen to sports radio and read the papers while hitting the stationary bike at the gym.

By the time they get to work, they have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in the world. Then, they can get down to the business of changing it.

 

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