Pets Can Grieve

Pets are often credited with human characteristics that they actually don’t have. However, it is clear that they can grieve the loss of both a human and another animal in their life. Of course, they don’t do it the same way that we would, but there are definite signs you can see when your pet is experiencing a sense of loss.

Loss of Interest in Regular Activities

One of the signs of depression in humans is a loss of interest in activities that they previously enjoyed; this can also happen with pets. For example, if your dog is no longer eager to go running in the park or your cat will no longer play with her toys, this can be a sign of grieving. This is especially true if the animal previously enjoyed these activities in the company of a fellow cat or dog.

Try spending extra time with your pet, and maintain as normal and non-disruptive of a schedule as possible. This can help to bring her back to the way she was prior to the death, but will likely take some time.

Disruptive Behaviors

Some dogs may howl or bark excessively as a sign of grief. While the animal may feel the need to express itself, be careful not to encourage these behaviors. Discover a way that clearly lets the animal know that this activity is wrong and unacceptable. If this is reinforced effectively enough, they will hopefully stop.

Constant Searching for the Missing Friend

The pet may have trouble processing the idea that their companion is dead. This can result in them constantly checking areas that the missing animal often enjoyed. There is no easy way to cure them of this behavior, except to hope that they eventually stop after realizing the animal is no longer coming back.

Stop Being Frustrated!

Being frustrated is, well, frustrating! It stinks when things don’t go your way, especially when the reasons are beyond your control. Being consistently frustrated is not good…and that applies to both body and mind. Being in a state of high anxiety can be good for a short period; with our senses and emotions heightened, we are sometimes in a better position to deal with emergency or “fight or flight” situations. However, being constantly frustrated is not beneficial in any way. It can damage interpersonal relationships and take a toll on you as a person.

Do you find yourself becoming frustrated more and more often? Here are some suggestions that can help you to overcome this common, but troubling, state:

Avoid Things (and People) That Trigger You

Are there certain events or individuals that consistently leave you feeling frustrated? If so, do your best to avoid them. This can be tricky and awkward to pull off, but it is worth the effort and occasional embarrassment. There are times when it is fine (and even advisable) to put yourself first, and this is one of them.

Make Some Changes

This is a good time to think about what does and does not work in your life. The latter are guaranteed to make you feel frustrated, so what can be done to change them? There are some things in life that cannot be fixed and those will require some alternative strategy. However, for ones that can be altered, get to work on that. Be patient – change can sometimes require time, but is usually always worth the investment.

Walk Away

Sometimes when you are at the height of frustration, it becomes nearly impossible to think rationally. When that is the case, taking any kind of action is a bad idea because it will likely just make things worse. Walk away and think about the situation once you have calmed down. You will be in a better place and more likely to come up with something that works.

 

Marketing on the Web Requires Special Knowledge and Skills

Remember the early days of the web? People would put up websites covering their personal interests and then, as more and more of the population got online, businesses really started to follow suit. Those early pages were threadbare affairs that often had little more than the name of the store, a picture of the exterior, an address, and a phone number.

However, things evolved quickly. Business owners soon began to realize that the web could be a hugely significant way to not only generate traffic to their store, but also create online sales. Some were savvy enough to figure out the best way to do this, but many struggled initially.

Fortunately, experts emerged and offered their services on how to best take advantage of the e-marketing phenomenon, which really took flight with the rise of Google. That company’s importance as the predominant search engine, and their increasingly significant methods of penalizing those using underhanded methods, left many unsure of how to proceed.

This is where digital marketing agencies come in. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consists of precise strategies that allow companies to generate high search engine rankings, while adhering to the rules set out by organizations like Google. Digital marketing agencies must have this expertise in their arsenal in order to ensure that their clients receive the rankings they need to generate traffic and sales.

But how do you know if a digital marketing agency has the skills and up-to-date knowledge to deliver? If you are looking for SEO in Kitchener Waterloo, TrafficSoda – digital marketing agency is an excellent choice. The company has extensive experience helping area companies of all types attain their online marketing goals. They also employ people who are well versed in the world of digital marketing, stay on top of the latest developments, and know how to successfully revise their approach when needed.

Hydro Bill Out of Control? Try These Money Saving Tips

One of the key ways to keep your personal books balanced is to practice smart financial planning. That means studying each of your costs every month and thinking of ways to bring them down in a manner that will cause minimal impact to your preferred lifestyle. There has been much in the news about hydro costs (especially if you live in Ontario), but in addition to government subsidies, there are other ways you can help to lower that monthly total:

Get a smart thermostat

Remember the days when your dad constantly complained about the temperature in the house, turned down the thermostat, and then you would secretly turn it back up? Do you use electric heating, such as baseboard heaters? Nowadays, a smart thermostat means that you can set it and essentially forget it. The temperature will automatically adjust to stay within a certain range that you want. It will even automatically turned off at night or when you are not home. The savings on your electrical charges can be substantial over time, more than justifying the installation costs.

Do things in the evening

Most areas have the day split into different times known as Off-peak, Mid-peak, and On-peak. The latter represents the time of day when electricity charges are the highest, typically between 11 AM and 5 PM. The Off-peak time is usually 7 PM until 7 AM; try to do things that require a lot of power during this time period as it will be the cheapest.

Be sure to unplug things

Just because you are not using something does not necessarily mean it then ceases to use power. Battery chargers, charging bases, smart TVs, and other modern electronic devices continue to use power when plugged in. Unplug them when they are not in use; a plug bar makes this process a snap.

Does the Change in Seasons Negatively Affect Your Mood?

I wish it could be fall all year round.

As a Canadian, I am supposed to love the winter. At least, that is the stereotype. However, I have never liked winter. In fact, I absolutely hate it. Ice, snow, and cold temperatures just suck the life out of me. My mood always seems low in the winter and even the fun things in life do not resonate to the same degree.

I figured it was just a character quirk until I discovered that some people are indeed negatively affected by particular seasons. This is known as a Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, and it is a fairly common problem. The “Winter Blues” are actually a real thing.

As it is triggered by the changing of seasons, Seasonal Affective Disorder begins and ends at predictable times. That places it in stark contrast to most mental health problems, which rarely have such clear beginning and end dates.

Psychotherapy is a good treatment for SAD, and it can be supplemented by light therapy. One of the reasons people get depressed during the winter is the comparative lack of sunlight and often gloomy conditions. SAD lights help to provide a simulation of what it is like during the sunnier times of the year. This can help to bring up the person’s mood and is easily performed in their home.

While winter seems to be the time of year that the most people have trouble with, SAD can affect your mood in any season. As with anything, this varies from person to person, and can also have an adverse effect on mental health problems an individual already has. For example, someone with bipolar disorder tends to be more manic during the warmer spring and summer seasons, while their depression increases during the fall and winter.

If you think you might be suffering from SAD, make an appointment to see your Doctor for an evaluation.

How to Support a Depressed Person in Your Life

Depression is an increasingly common problem in the world, but that does not make it any less serious. Even if you have not suffered from depression yourself, chances are that it has touched your life in some respect through the sufferings of either a friend or relative.

If you have not experienced depression first hand, it can be difficult to understand what people who have this problem are going through. It can also be particularly tricky if you live with them under the same roof. Here are some tips that can help:

Be a compassionate listener

It is tough to know what to say to someone who has depression. However, do not feel bad about that: even therapists spend a number of years learning how to treat people with this affliction. What you can do is be a compassionate and attentive listener. People suffering from depression often feel that no one cares about them, so the fact that you are willing to listen can actually mean a lot. Let them know that you are there for them.

Encourage them to get help

When all is said and done, the person most qualified to help someone suffering from depression is a therapist. Your friend or loved one may feel that there is no one out there to help them, so it is your duty to let them know that that is not the case.

Help them to take the steps necessary to access the help available in your community. If they are reluctant to go to the appointment, offered to accompany them.

While you are performing this service for your friend or loved one, do not forget to take care of yourself. It will not do anyone any good for you to suffer physical or mental decline because of the stress that comes from helping this person.

Should Grandpa’s Sadness Be Of Concern?

Do you find that your grandparents are seeming to be sad more often than not? Depression among senior citizens is a common problem, but one that is frequently misdiagnosed due to the symptoms often resembling issues at that period of life, side effects from medication, etc.

People in their golden years can be plagued by physical and cognitive issues that make normal functioning that much more difficult. Also, when one is nearing the end of life and feels burdened by regret, this can also lead to chronic depression.

Here are some other factors that can contribute to the problem:

Lack of Exercise

Getting up and moving not only aids our bodily processes, it can also help us on a cognitive level. If you don’t exercise regularly, you will feel worse on both a physical and mental level. As seniors are usually dealing with mobility and energy level problems, it can be tempting to just stay in bed instead of going for a walk or partaking in other basic forms of activity.

Lack of Sleep

Even seniors in good health will find that their amount of sleep, and the general quality of that rest, goes down as they age. Sometimes it may be because of more frequent bowel movements, or could be a general restlessness that prevents deep and satisfying sleep. Your physical and mental well-being both suffer without a proper night’s slumber.

Isolation

Physical complaints, inability to drive due to sight loss, and living in a nursing home can cause a person to feel isolated. That lack of regular contact with friends and loved ones can lead to a feeling of isolation and lack of value. Those thoughts are almost always a recipe for depression.

If your grandparents or other seniors you know are experiencing any signs of depression, talk to them and offer your assistance. They will almost certainly appreciate it.

Should the Government Regulate Junk Food?

No one likes to be told what they can and cannot eat. Food is one of the key personal freedoms, but should it be? As the world struggles with an increasing obesity rate and overburdened health care systems, it seems at times like we are our own worst enemy.

Governments around the world regulate the sales of alcohol, tobacco, and, increasingly, recreational marijuana. Some have also instituted “soda taxes” that increase the cost of pop in order to encourage people to choose healthier alternatives. However, there has been no concentrated effort to extend such a plan to junk food as a whole.

Given that this segment of the food industry is quite substantial, any such plan would immediately run afoul of the many lobbyists employed to represent the major companies involved.

However, groups like the World Health Organization are becomingly increasingly vocal in their attempts to get governments more involved in addressing the problem. It’s tough to argue from a financial perspective: decreasing the number of people with chronic health issues brought about by poor lifestyle choices will also dramatically decrease the amount of money countries must direct towards healthcare.

That argument for action has suggestions on how to make this economically viable, like providing financial incentives for those involved in the production of healthy foods. They also advise other measures, such as tightening the regulation of fast food advertising aimed at children, and making it less profitable for companies that focus their means of production on unhealthy, highly processed foods.

These are encouraging ideas and one hopes they will increasingly come into play around the world. In the meantime, however, education seems to be the best choice. Helping people to fully realize the risks that a bacon double cheeseburger has on their well-being might encourage more consumers to think twice.

The Joys of Drinking Green Tea

Have you noticed that the world is obsessed with coffee? You have no doubt seen how busy Starbucks always seems to be and, if you live in Canada, the line outside Tim Horton’s suggests that this is the last day coffee will be available ever again.

People love their coffee, and by definition, caffeine. However, a steady diet of caffeine consumption is not good for your blood pressure and it can compromise your sleep patterns. That means you start the workday all groggy and unable to think, so you reach for a coffee and…you can probably see where this is going, right?

Green tea does not have as much caffeine as regular coffee. In fact, you can also get decaffeinated green tea. Frankly, it is better for you to be having at the office, or anywhere else, than your regular coffee fix.

Caffeine can jump start your brain, but this effect does not last unless you keep drinking it. As mentioned, regular green tea contains some caffeine, but also offers the amino acid L-theanine, which can reduce anxiety. It also increases the production of dopamine and alpha waves, both very beneficial to brain function.

Many drinks containing caffeine also include sugar, a very good way for you to gain weight. By contrast, green tea increases your metabolic rate, which also adds to the amount of fat that you burn.

Green tea also contains anti-oxidants. These can help reduce the chances of you getting various types of cancer. The catechin compounds in green tea can also help to reduce the possibility of getting neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

It may not look as sexy or offer as many sweet and addictive flavors as you can get at the local designer coffee establishment, but green tea really should be a regular part of your daily routine.

When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie…or a Nice Light Salad

One of the most romantic things you can do for your significant other is plan a special, candle lit meal for two. Usually these types of dinners are rich, heavy and generous with the alcohol. While this type of decadence may seem like a great way to celebrate, reward, or just connect, it may lead you to fall asleep before the real romancing starts, or if you manage to stay up, you won’t be feeling your best which definitely defeats the purpose. Here are some meal ideas to make you feel cool and heat things up:

  • Crab cakes and a light salad: especially good for summer, try adding apple to the salad for extra brightness. You can prepare most of it in advance, which will keep clean up to a minimum. Try serving it with a white wine spritzer made with a citrusy sauvignon blanc.
  • Flank steak flat breads topped with sautéed bell peppers: this cut of beef is super lean, but it still feels like a treat because it’s steak. You can add little chipotle to the peppers for a nice spiciness without making you sweat. Try it with sangria made with red wine a no-sugar added cranberry or cherry juice.
  • Pasta with pesto, cherry tomatoes and bocconcini: have your own Lady and the Tramp moment with something a little healthier (even better if you make your own pasta and pesto from scratch). This is also a great way to showcase heirloom tomatoes when they’re in season and make the meal look extra special. Go full Italian and try it with a Campari and Soda: the bitterness will offset the sweetness of the tomatoes.

With all of these, the best plan of action is to prep as much before hand as you can, so that you can spend more time romancing and less time in the kitchen. Showering your loved one with indulgences may seem like a good idea (and I’m not saying never do it), but taking care of their body while treating them to something lovely lets them know that you’re thinking of their overall well being too, showing commitment and caring.

I Like to Move it Move it (Not Really Though)

They say that after dealing with death and divorce, moving is one of the most traumatizing events a person goes through, and after my last move, I’m inclined to agree. I don’t have a lot of advice to offer about boxes, bubble wrap or any of that jazz, but I can tell you how what we ate made a difference in how well the move went. Moving days are hectic, which in and of itself makes eating healthy more difficult, but add to the fact that all your dishes are impossible to get to and you’ve probably spent the last week making sure to have as little food in your place as possible (less to move) and you’ve got a recipe for a day spent eating infrequently and unhealthily, which, aside from being bad for you, will also deprive your body of much needed nutrients while you’re making it work even harder than usual:

  • The day before, pack up plastic bags full of veggie sticks, almonds and pretzels for easy to reach snacks that you can munch as you load and unload your belongings
  • Start they day with a protein and carb filled breakfast to make sure you have enough energy to last in case you miss out on lunch hour (though the snacks should help here). If you can, try to have just enough yogurt (single serving cups, drinkable ones, or single serving tubes are great here) and granola bars for you and anyone else in the household that is moving (look for lower sugar varieties, to avoid crashing). If you’re helping someone move, try a veggie filled omelet with brown toast, or make your own breakfast burritos filled with lots of black beans.
  • While moving, it’s important to stay hydrated, be sure to have lots of water bottles on hand, especially in the summer
  • For dinner? I say go ahead and order that pizza! You’ll want to reward anyone who’s helped you move, and frankly, you’ll have done so much lifting, walking and stressing that the extra calories won’t be felt. You should still make an effort to add as many veggies as you can and avoid super fatty meats (most places will offer chicken-a much leaner choice than pepperoni). You’ll be so tired from moving that the any sluggishness you feel from a big pizza dinner won’t really be felt.

 

 

How to Handle it When Things Get out of Hand at the Farmers’ Market

Farmers’ Markets are one of the best things period. Nothing beats being able to buy your food directly from the source. Not only is it cheaper, but your body will thank you for providing it with something that hasn’t had to sit on a truck, and then shelf, for several days. The only real problem I have with these heavenly spots is buying too much! This is especially easy to do in the summer months when everything is in season and local farmers are showing off new and exciting varieties of my favs. If you’ve got the same problem, here are some ways to make sure none of your bounty goes to waste:

  • Create your own frozen food section: simply wash and prepare fruits and veggies (e.g.: pitting cherries, hulling strawberries or stripping kernels from corn cobs) and spread them on a sheet pan so they freeze individually instead of in big clumps. Once they’ve frozen, you can store them in a freezer bad and enjoy long into the winter
  • Pickles or Jams: not only are they a great way to preserve seasonal produce, they are infinitely customizable, so your creations will not only be local, but also unique. Bonus: jams are a particularly good way to use berries that are starting to slide towards mushiness
  • Add fruits and veggies to dishes where that don’t usually call for them. Add cauliflower to mashed potatoes, make your kebobs a 70/30 split between produce and protein.
  • Have containers of chopped up fruit ready to go in the fridge, so that when a snack attack strikes, you’ll be ready and the inconvenience of prepping fresh produce won’t be an issue-this is especially great for kids who are home from school for the summer
  • Got a friend or family member going through a tough time? Consider making them a produce heaving casserole or salad. They’ll appreciate not having to cook, and the bringing something healthier than the traditional cheese and carb loaded comfort food will give them a chance to care for their bodies without having to think about it, or feel guilty for taking the time for self care

 

 

 

Tips for Health