5 Tips to Help Avoid Personal Burnout

For a long time, I was overweight, had high blood pressure and my doctor was concerned about my triglyceride levels.

The solution to this was simple: eat less and exercise more. However, that’s easier said than done. I’m not a Type-A personality and that’s probably the only thing that keeps my stress levels under control.

COVID-19 came along and some of life’s bus(y)ness was put on hold. My weight was at an all-time high, and it was time to do something about it. I started exercising regularly and eating less. Over the space of about six months, I was able to take off twenty-five pounds.

I still have some room to shrink and continue to maintain good habits. In addition to the weight-loss, there are other benefits. My blood pressure is under control. I’m still taking medication, but I’m not experiencing times where the numbers are high. I’m sleeping better and have more energy. And I am not stressed about things.

I’ve learn some lessons. These five behaviours are important for keeping stress under control.

1. Get enough sleep and rest.

Sleep is as important to a healthy lifestyle as eating properly and exercising. Studies have suggested that too little sleep may increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and depression. Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the simplest things you can do to stay healthy.

2. Exercise.

Regular physical activity provides many health benefits: reducing heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and many other diseases and metabolic conditions. Regular exercise is also beneficial for weight reduction and maintenance and may improve brain chemistry to reduce depression.

3. Get rid of the excess pounds.

There are many benefits to losing weight. Keeping at the ideal weight for your height will help maintain lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. You will also lower your risk of health problems such as type II diabetes and heart disease, as well as increase your life expectancy.

4. Eat a balanced diet.

A well-balanced diet is a necessary part of preserving health and reducing stress. A balanced diet includes fruit and vegetables. milk and dairy products, quantities of carbohydrates, vitamins, salts, and minerals. A resource, such as Canada’s Food Guide has all the information you need to help you eat healthy.

5. Take care when you’re ill.

Regardless of age, people are wise to undergo annual physical examinations. While annual physicals cannot ensure that a person will not become ill, the examinations often enable doctors to spot diseases in the early stages. In many cases the early detection of disease can make possible the cure or diminishing of disease.

Often, illness is the body’s way of telling you to slow down. It’s important to pay attention to the message. If you have a cold or flu, take the time to recuperate.

As I write, this is a wake-up call to me. I need to work harder to get my health and fitness under control. If you find yourself dealing with stress and burnout, look to see which of the above behaviours need adjusting.

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Inexpensive Personal Income Tax Software for Canadians

Now that we’ve finished with the season to be jolly, ‘tis the season to file income tax returns. If you’re looking for powerful, but inexpensive income tax preparation software, check out StudioTax.

StudioTax is bilingual personal Income Tax preparation software made by Canadians for Canadians. StudioTax was initially distributed using a donationware licensing model. As the popularity and functions of the program have improved and increased, they no longer offer it for free (with one exception). However, the cost is $15.00 for a single license good for the maximum number of returns (20) allowed by the Canada Revenue Agency.

They still offer the software free for users whose total income is less than $20K and for northern residents (NT, YT, NU). In this case you don’t need a license or need to activate StudioTax 2021 to Netfile and print your returns.

If you are concerned about the security of your personal information from cloud-based applications, StudioTax gives you full control over your security. StudioTax installs on your computer’s hard drive, saves your returns on your computer’s hard drive, and absolutely NO information, personal or otherwise, leaves your computer, apart from what you file with the CRA.

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Toss These 28 Items to Kick-Start Your Decluttering Process

Out of Clutter, Find Simplicity.
From Discord, Find Harmony.
In the Middle of Difficulty Lies Opportunity.
—Albert Einstein (Three Rules of Work)

Everybody deals with clutter at some time or another. You don’t have to hold on to it forever. Free up space and simplify your life by decluttering your home.

Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of organizing your home? Start small with one room at a time and it will be a whole lot easier.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I love it?
  • Do I need it?
  • Is it essential?
  • Does it enhance my life?

Sort your things into 3 piles

  1. Keep
  2. Give
  3. Toss

Start with the easy stuff, things that are clearly garbage:

  1. Empty grocery bags
  2. Plastic, glass, or cardboard storage containers you might use someday
  3. Medication past its expiry date
  4. Coupons that have expired
  5. Clothing you haven’t worn in a year
  6. Toys your children have outgrown or no longer play with
  7. Cosmetics that have dried up and you no longer use
  8. Food that has spoiled
  9. Food past its expiry date
  10. Broken items that aren’t worth repairing
  11. Old take-out menus
  12. Old maps and travel guides
  13. Broken or rusty tools
  14. Bills that have been paid
  15. Old greeting cards
  16. Toiletries and soaps that have dried up
  17. Tax records that are past their retention date
  18. Old magazines
  19. Books you no longer read
  20. Shoes that are worn out
  21. Sports equipment you are no longer using
  22. Dried up paint and painting supplies
  23. Outdated household chemicals
  24. CD’s and DVD’s you no longer listen to, watch or are broken
  25. Worn kitchen, bath, and bed linens
  26. Plants that are dead or near dead
  27. Hobby supplies that you haven’t used in more than a year
  28. Partly used candles
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When Being Right Is Wrong

There was a time in my life when I just had to be right. I would go to great lengths to prove to the other party(s) how right I was. Funny thing, no one ever thanked me for setting them straight. For all the knowledge I had :P, people rarely asked me to enlighten them.

It can take a long time to figure out you’re just being a jerk! Now I try hard to keep my trap shut. I’m not perfect and sometimes slip back into know-it-all-ness, but the predictable response back reminds me that it’s not always right to be right.

Gail Blanke suggests four questions to ask yourself next time you’re feeling “right”:

1. Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?

Which is more important? Which is healthier? Which brings you closer to those you love and care about? Which moves you toward the person you are meant to be—your true self? Looking at the two options through this lens can make the choice very simple.

2. What’s more important to me: making someone wrong for the moment or having a great long-term relationship?

If you look at what drives the deterioration of many relationships, it’s often a breakdown of kindness. As the normal stresses of life pile up, and other distractions crowd-in, you might put less effort into a relationship and let disagreements and unkindness destroy a great relationship.

3. What would happen if I let go of the urge to correct and concentrate instead on the rewards of connecting?

The ‘need to be right’ keeps us holding on to old hurts rather than moving forward and making the best of things. It prevents self-growth and learning. For your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of your relationships with family, colleagues, and others, letting go of the ‘need to be right’ can free up much space, time and energy for the deeper joys and riches of connections

4. Can I let someone else be right for just a minute before I say what I think?

Now, I’m not suggesting that you always keep your opinions to yourself. People close to you need to know what you’re thinking. But if you spend more time listening than you do speaking, so that the people you’re speaking to feel understood and bonded with you, when you do speak your mind, they’ll be listening much more closely. 

Constantly finding fault with what others are thinking can be exhausting — and destructive. So, stop fuming over how right you are and instead, focus on building a relationship.

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Celebrate the Twelfth Day of Christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, twelve drummers drumming…

We come to the last day of the Christmas celebration and ideas for ending Christmas slowly. You could if you chose, bang a lot of things, including drums. Or maybe, get twelve drummers together and make an unholy racket.

However, there is a traditional celebration for this day, Twelfth Night.

In medieval times, Twelfth Night was celebrated with balls and parties, complete with Twelfth Night cakes with a trinket hidden inside to choose the “king” to preside over the night’s revelries.

In Elizabethan times, a Lord of Misrule presided over the partying while the nobility acted as servants – a world deliberately turned upside down for a night. You could try crowning a Lord of Misrule at your Twelfth Night Party, or you could just have a nice afternoon or evening where you open your house to friends and family to come together one last time for the holidays.

A customary practice on the Twelfth Night is taking down the Christmas decorations, including the tree. Make a party of this and have everyone help take down the tree and Christmas décor. It’s a fun activity that will keep everyone busy. Plus, your guests will be cleaning up your house at the same time!

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Celebrate the Eleventh Day of Christmas

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, 11 pipers piping

Okay, maybe bagpipes aren’t your thing. (Though, as a Scot, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t love them.) Most people appreciate music in some form or another. Make today about the music.

  • Have one last listen to your favourite seasonal music before putting it all away for another year.
  • Break out your favourite playlists and accompany your New Year’s Day activities.
  • Maybe dust off a musical instrument and see how much your remember how to play.
  • Make a resolution to learn to play a new instrument.
  • Find community music groups that are looking for new members. There are many that don’t require “professional level” skill, just a desire to make music.

William Congreve wrote, “Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast.” It can lift you up, energize, relax, calm, inspire and much more, depending on your choice. Choose to make music an intentional part of your life.

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