Posts Tagged "Health"


Panic over coronavirus is ‘very human,’ but experts say the risk is low – National

by BBG Hub

On Monday, Ontario health officials announced the province’s second “presumptive” case of the new coronavirus, which also marks the second case in Canada.

The female patient has been in “self-isolation” since arriving in Toronto from Wuhan, China last week and the risk to Ontarians and the rest of the country remains “low,” according to a statement from public health officials.

The message was the same after Canada’s first presumptive case of the coronavirus was confirmed on Jan. 25 — Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said person-to-person transmission had been reported in close contact only.

However, fear and misinformation continue to spread. In fact, some B.C. pharmacies told Global News that they sold out of surgical face masks after the first “presumptive” case was announced.

This reaction is very “human,” said Steven Hoffman, director of the Global Strategy Lab, but it’s neither helpful nor proportionate to the current risk level.

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“Whenever there’s a situation where we don’t have the full information and … people are dying, there’s going to be fear,” he said.

“People are jumping to worst-case scenarios, which isn’t productive.”

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Although the respiratory illness has sickened at least 2,000 people and killed dozens around the world, Pierre Talbot maintains that the individual risk for Canadians remains quite low.

“The virus is not [doesn’t spread] as quickly as influenza — coronaviruses don’t spread very quickly in general,” said Talbot, director of the neuroimmunovirology laboratory at the National Institute of Scientific Research.

“And in this case, we have small cases, but it will be constrained by a quarantine.”

Coronavirus outbreak: Second ‘presumptive’ case of virus reported in Toronto

Coronavirus outbreak: Second ‘presumptive’ case of virus reported in Toronto

The coronavirus spreads the same way as influenza, “by coughing and sneezing from one person to the other,” said Talbot. Transmission of the virus requires being in very close in contact — less than two metres — with an infected individual.

The public reaction to the coronavirus is “far from” the relative risk, Talbot said.

“I think the epidemic will die out in the next few weeks.”

Below, experts explain the possible factors contributing to widespread fear of the coronavirus in Canada.

Humans aren’t good at ‘perceiving risk’

The threat of the coronavirus could seem more ominous than it is because it’s not isolated to one location or one group of people.

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“There is the sense that it could infect anyone and, indeed, it could,” Hoffman said.

He sees a similar phenomenon with terrorism, which scares people to a similar degree: “there’s public perception that it can happen anywhere, to anyone, without notice.”

2nd ‘presumptive’ coronavirus case reported in Ontario, 1st case confirmed

The important thing is for individuals, public health officials and the media to always put news and information about the coronavirus into the appropriate context.

“For example, we have more than 2,000 cases … but every year, the seasonal flu kills up to half a million people [around the world], and yet, how many people don’t even bother to get the flu shot?” he said.

“Humans are very bad at properly perceiving risk and acting on risk.”

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Placing these situations in perspective is “so important” for quelling fear, said Hoffman.

Devon Greyson, assistant professor of communications at the University of Massachusetts, said the same panic occurred during the H1N1 influenza pandemic.

“Unknown risks are difficult to weigh, and often feel scarier to people than actual known risks. We are seeing this now when people panic about the novel coronavirus but haven’t gotten the flu shot.”

“In Canada we usually see about 3,500 flu deaths each year, but influenza seems familiar to people so it does not feel as scary as a new virus.”

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Fear-mongering and misinformation

Sensationalist headlines and lack of regulation online could also be contributing to an inflated sense of fear.

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“There are certain media outlets that I’ve seen that have put crazy headlines designed to attract attention and cause harm,” said Hoffman. “There are also several other news outlets which are actually being really responsible and really helpful.”

Public awareness is needed in these circumstances, Hoffman said, but balance and responsible reporting are key.

Canadian coronavirus patient had symptoms on plane

Canadian coronavirus patient had symptoms on plane

“The fact that the person who was affected [in Canada] knew about the coronavirus and knew what to do if [they] developed symptoms … that’s because of measures implemented by the government at airports, as well as the media,” he said.

“It really highlights the important role journalists play in all of this.”

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Canadian public health officials are have expressed concern about the spread of misinformation, especially online.

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Officials told The Canadian Press they were keeping an eye on social media because misinformation has become a threat to illness prevention.

“In health care in general right now, we are struggling a little bit to combat misinformation about health care from social media and from all fronts and I don’t suspect this will be any different,” said Dr. Sohail Gandhi, president of the Ontario Medical Association to the Canadian Press.

“We have a media staff that are actively monitoring different emerging trends … If they feel there is too much misinformation particularly on one matter, we will speak out against that.”

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Greyson said both misinformation and disinformation are a concern.

“We are already seeing fearful misinformation, including inaccurate conspiracy theories, spreading on social media. Some of this is deliberate disinformation on behalf of people who hope to make a profit off of this outbreak (such as those peddling unproven dietary supplements), but most of the volume is scared individuals sharing misinformation that can erode trust in public health, ultimately raising risks for spread of an outbreak instead of reducing risk,” Greyson said.

Greyson recommends Canadians instead rely on “scientific and trustworthy” sources of information, like the World Health Organization, the Public Health Agency of Canada, or the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Canada’s public health reaction

All things considered, Hoffman said the response by Canadian public health officials has been impressive.

“I make a living on criticizing government responses to public health issues, and in this case, there’s not very much to find fault in what they’re doing,” he said.

“They’ve developed protocols and they’re following those protocols to a tee. That’s exactly what you want to see.”

First point of contact for those concerned about infection should be Ontario Health: Sunnybrook

First point of contact for those concerned about infection should be Ontario Health: Sunnybrook

However, Hoffman hopes that in the future, the government will take steps to create protocols for slowing the spread of misinformation on social media.

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“To the extent that part of public health’s job is to manage the fear of outbreaks, then we need to develop even better approaches in light of the social media age,” he said.

“We probably need a new playbook to deal with the kind of pandemic of fear that we’re seeing [online].”

— With files from the Canadian Press

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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How awarding perfect attendance can backfire on children: experts – National

by BBG Hub

Awards for children who never miss a day of school are commonplace in Canadian schools, but now, some experts worry it might be teaching children the wrong lesson.

Research has shown that chronic absenteeism is a predictor of poor academic performance and higher dropout rates. To mitigate those risks, some schools track students’ attendance and give out perfect attendance awards.

Although this practice may boost attendance, Nikki Martyn, program head of early childhood studies at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto, worries about the adverse long-term effects.

READ MORE: Self-regulation — What adults can learn from these zen pre-kindergartners

“As humans, we’re not perfect, and trying to attain that actually doesn’t do well for us because it limits us,” she told Global News.

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“It gives us this idea that we have to be in control all of the time. We can’t be vulnerable, we can’t take risks and we can’t have failures — but all of those things are important for learning.”

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In some circumstances, perfect attendance awards can actually be demotivating, as proven by a 2019 study at Harvard University.

What are young kids taught about violence against women?

What are young kids taught about violence against women?

Researchers randomly chose 15,239 students in California between the grades of 6 and 12 who had perfect attendance for at least one month in the fall term. They then split them up into three groups.

The first group received a notice saying that, if they achieved perfect attendance in the next month, they would win an award. The second group received a notice saying that they’d won an award for perfect attendance in the previous month, and the third group did not receive any letters or awards.

For students who were already low-performing academically, the impact of the awards was clear: seeing their peers receive praise for never missing a day of school only made them less motivated to succeed at school than they were before.

READ MORE: End of gender reveal parties and more family activism — Parenting trends in 2020

Martyn said perfect attendance awards can cause children to feel shame over something that could be totally out of their control.

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“Maybe they need a mental health day or they’re feeling burnt out or they’re stressed or they’re being bullied. There are many reasons why children need to skip school sometimes,” she said.

“As a society and parents and educators, we need to be able to support them. We need to teach children how to understand what they need.”

Pressure to be perfect

Incentivizing kids to never miss a day of school could encourage them to ignore their own needs in the pursuit of perfection.

“In general, we want to avoid that word ‘perfect’ for young people,” said Dr. Shimi Kang, an expert in youth mental health and founder of Dolphin Kids, an educational program that teaches children social-emotional skills.

Rates of perfectionism are on the rise in young people — particularly young girls — and it can be linked to anxiety, depression, poor body image and poor relationships, said Kang.

Advice for parents as students balance school pressure, anxiety and mental health issues

Advice for parents as students balance school pressure, anxiety and mental health issues

“We know that children who have high absenteeism rates at school are … missing out on the very important social, emotional, academic learning and community, so you definitely want to encourage attendance and discourage absenteeism,” she said. “But having a focus on the record … is not exactly the right place to put the focus.”

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Kang offers a “thoughtful attendance award” as an alternative.

“I think we should award … the person who is actually brave enough to say, ‘you know what, I can’t make it today,’” she said. “That way, we’re training people who have an ability to take care of themselves.”

READ MORE: The growth chart debate: ‘This is not how kids grow’

This, Kang says, would better address the mental health crisis happening around the world.

“One in four people on this planet have mental health issues. Stress is the number one health epidemic identified by the World Health Organization. Stress impacts our physical body, our blood pressure, our sugar levels, our sleep, our mental health,” she said.

“It is a huge burden on society when people don’t know how to manage and take care of themselves.”

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Children can have suicidal thoughts at very young age: psychologist

Children can have suicidal thoughts at very young age: psychologist

Martyn points out that mental health discussions are happening, but not enough of them are in the classroom.

“[Awards like these are] basically telling our children that they’re not good enough,” Martyn said.

“It’s only been in the last number of years that it’s a discussion to take mental health days at work … that hasn’t translated to the classroom.”

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A symptom of a larger problem

There could be many reasons a child is chronically absent from school.

John Ippolito, an associate professor in the faculty of education at York University in Toronto, believes it’s the responsibility of teachers and administrators to determine those reasons and, if possible, offer help.

In his work, Ippolito has done extensive research on the relationships between families and schools — particularly minority and marginalized families, which can often face “challenges that make regular attendance more difficult.”

READ MORE: Parents are using tech to ‘track’ their kids’ locations. Does it cross a line?

These challenges could include poverty, cultural and linguistic barriers, or a lack of safe and affordable transportation.

“These can all make it hard for kids to get to school,” he said. “[They can lead to] a communication breakdown between the home and the school.”

He recommends that schools adopt “programmatic systematic interventions” to prevent further breakdown with families.

“This can create a dialogue forum to begin to nurture open relationships between the school and the families, so that those families … who are marginalized feel much less afraid to come in and ask the school about the resources available,” he said.

Communication between teacher and student is key

Moving forward, Martyn hopes teachers and administrators will begin to foster more open communication with students and their families.

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“I’d like to suggest that we better support children so they learn resilience,” she said. “How do we support children to deal positively with adversity?”

READ MORE: Hockey? Swimming? Here’s how much parents spend on extracurricular activities — Ipsos

This can include asking students questions like “if you’re sick, what are the things you can do?” or “can you get your homework?”

Teachers should be showing kids how to “positively fight” through adversity, said Martyn.

“Not for the sake of making somebody else feel better, but fight back because it’s in our best interest, because we want to do well and we want to succeed and we like that feeling.”

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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How to make healthy eating resolutions stick throughout the year – National

by BBG Hub

For many of us, January is all about giving things up: Maybe we’re going to stop eating meat and embrace a plant-based diet. Or we’re ready to kick excess sugar to the curb after a holiday season awash in sweets. Or we’re committed to avoiding fast food.

Starting the year with noble goals for eating well is a modern rite of passage. But it’s just as common to ditch those grand plans within just a few weeks.

This year, how can we do it right? If we’re pledging to make better food choices, which strategies can help us stick with them?

Start small

The consensus among experts is clear: It’s tempting to begin with dramatic gestures, but the key to achieving lasting change is setting goals that are small enough that we won’t scrap them by Valentine’s Day.

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READ MORE: Want to be happier in 2020? Make mental health a priority

Manageable, measurable goals can create long-term change, says Laila Azarbad, associate professor of psychology at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.

When people set lofty goals, they can get discouraged after a couple weeks.

“Our self-efficacy, that belief in our own ability, tanks,” she says. “And that’s a huge predictor: If you don’t feel confident in your ability to make the change, you’re going to discontinue trying.”

Picture this, says Dana White, a sports dietitian and clinical associate professor at Quinnipiac University: You want to lose 20 pounds and you know that every afternoon you visit the office vending machine for a snack to boost your energy. So, begin packing a healthy afternoon snack — not something punitive, but something healthier that you’ll enjoy — and have that instead of a vending machine candy bar.

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How good are plant-based diets for the environment?

It’s a measurable, specific change that won’t be unpleasant. Once that new behaviour is in place, you can add another small but meaningful change.

The same thinking works if you’re eliminating animal products: Rather than going cold turkey (cold tofu?), begin by replacing one dinner per week with a vegetarian meal. Plan it for a night when you won’t be rushed and can make an appealing recipe, or budget for going out once a week to a vegetarian restaurant.

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Then track that change for three weeks, says Anna Baker, assistant professor of psychology at Bucknell University, who researches the connection between behavioural factors such as self-management and health outcomes.

“You hear that it takes 21 days to create habit. There’s debate about whether it’s 21 exactly, but you need a certain amount of time of continuing to do something before it becomes a habit,” Baker says.

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“Once you do kind of get used to that change and you’re doing it regularly, then you can add in another thing.”

If you make that one good shift for three weeks, congratulate yourself. Then maintain that behaviour and add another small change, like drinking more water.

It’s tempting to try making a half-dozen changes all at once, White says. But by focusing on individual, small, unhealthy behaviours and “really identifying what the triggers are that lead to those behaviours,” she says, people “can have a tremendous amount of success without torturing themselves.”

Don’t be too hard on yourself

Accept that mistakes are a normal part of building a new habit. If you know an event is coming up where you’ll want to divert from your eating goals, accept that you may slip a bit.

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Study says regular exercise can help prevent certain types of cancer

Study says regular exercise can help prevent certain types of cancer

Aim for “consistency, not perfection,” says Baker. “You have to plan in advance that you’re going to screw up. We’re not perfect.”

Enlist friends

Lastly, “tell everybody you know that you’re doing this because social support is huge,” Azerbad says.

“If you’re going out to eat and they know you’re trying to change your diet, they can help choose a restaurant that will accommodate you,” she says.

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And the need to save face may keep you on track.

“Once you put it out there on social media and you tell everybody that ‘I’m going to do this… you feel that people are watching,” Azerbad says.

“We don’t want other people to see us fail.”

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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Want to be happier in 2020? Make mental health a priority – National

by BBG Hub

Three weeks ago, you may have written down a list of new year’s resolutions with goals like “save $20 a week” or “meditate for 20 minutes each day.”

It’s also highly likely that you’ve already abandoned your resolutions — according to one 2017 survey, 80 per cent of people drop their resolutions by February.

That’s why, this year, we’re hoping to take the focus away from making resolutions and, instead, put it towards resetting the most important parts of our lives.

READ MORE: Forget making resolutions — here’s how to reset the new year

When it comes to your mental health, happiness expert Gillian Mandich says it’s all about starting the new year at a slow, gentle pace.

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“When we get busy at the holidays, things get so hectic that we’re just rushing from one thing to the next and we aren’t able to put as much intention into what we’re doing,” Mandich told Global News.

“When we talk about resetting, it means stopping for a moment to take stock, take inventory of where you are, how you’re feeling, if you’re feeling the way you want to feel or if you’d like it to change.”

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Alberta documentary sheds light on men in the oilpatch and mental health

Alberta documentary sheds light on men in the oilpatch and mental health

Once you do that, you can look forward to the future and determine what you want your life to look like at the end of the year.

“You can determine what type of life you want to create and work towards that, as opposed to being reactive and just taking things as they come,” said Mandich.

“Being proactive [means] deliberately choosing where you want to go and how you want to feel this year as much as possible.”

Here, Mandich and other mental health professionals offer some tips and tricks for resetting your approach in 2020.

Take the good with the bad

All your emotions and feelings are important — even the bad ones.

“If you’re feeling sad, angry, frustrated, anxious … all of those feelings are totally OK and part of the human experience,” said Mandich.

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The next time you inevitably have a bad day, focus not on closing yourself off from the world but investigating what made you feel that way.

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“Get clear on where those feelings are coming from and then you can go from there,” she said.

“The first step is really that awareness piece: what is in your life or your environment, and who are you surrounding yourself with? [Who and what] are contributing to the feelings that you’re having?”

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can make decisions about who and what you want to keep in your life for the new year.

Write things down

You can use anything from an app to a journal to a document on your computer. The important part is that you’re documenting your plans for the future.

“When we talk about resetting our mental health, part of it is planning for how you want to feel,” said Mandich.

“Research shows that when we write things down, we’re more likely to follow through with it.”

READ MORE: How to talk to your kids about the death of a loved one

Another way you hold yourself accountable is to share your plans with a trusted friend or family member.

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“That can really help to make your goals more realistic,” she said.

“Write it down, plug things into your calendar and then … every week or every month, check back in. Create a habit where you start to regularly check in with your feelings and course-correct throughout the year.”

Keep this simple mood-booster in your back pocket

Caring for your mental health doesn’t mean trying to be happy all the time, but boosting your mood can make the difference between a bad day and a good day.

Christine Korol, a registered psychologist at the Vancouver Anxiety Centre, recommends something called “behavioural activation,” which is when you “track what you are doing and how it makes you feel.”

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Lack of friendships impacts men’s mental health — here’s how to deal with it

In addition to tracking your actions, try to add “ACE activities” to your day-to-day life:

  1. Achievement: An example of this would be doing the dishes or finishing your taxes.
  2. Closeness: You could call a friend or go get a coffee with someone you love.
  3. Enjoyment: This could be as simple as listening to your favourite music. “Enjoyment is really important for busy people who cut out all fun to stay on top of their to-do list,” said Korol.

Korol believes this is one of the “most effective treatments” for depression and low mood.

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Consider seeing a therapist

“Mental health is the accumulation of your thoughts, feelings and actions,” said Rana Khan, a registered psychotherapist at Couple Therapy Toronto. “Now let’s break that apart, and you can see where you stand.”

Once you do that, you’ll be able to determine more clearly whether 2020 is the year you should see a therapist.

  1. Thoughts. Are you having too many thoughts? Are you have too few thoughts? Are your thoughts really dark and negative? Do you think that whatever you think never happens? If so, you might need to talk to someone about those concerns.
  2. Feelings. Do you find that your feelings match the situation that you’re in? Are you able to be happy when others around you are happy? Are you able to be sad when others around you are sad? Do you get angry when the situation doesn’t call for anger? If you find that feelings don’t match the setting, you might need to talk to someone about those concerns.
  3. Actions. Do you know why you do the things you do? Do you have reasons for acting the way you act? If you don’t know why you do the things you do and struggle with that, you might need to talk to someone about those concerns.

READ MORE: Vast majority of workers with mental health issues keep it secret from their boss: study

If you’re uncomfortable seeking professional help, there are some tools — Khan recommends exercise or journalling — you can try on your own.

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“See if they help you cross the finish line. If you aren’t able to, that is completely OK,” he said.

“There are people who can help you cross that finish line, and that’s when you can seek that extra support.”

This year, we’re hoping to take the focus away from making resolutions and put it towards resetting some of the most important parts of our lifestyle: everything from our finances to parenting and more. Each day this week, we will tackle a new topic with the help of the Global News’ ‘The Morning Show.’ Read them all here

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Drinking tonight? Here’s how alcohol could affect your sleep – National

by BBG Hub

If you’re dying for a good night’s sleep, you might want to rethink the glass (or two) of wine you have with dinner.

In a recent survey by Mattress Advisor, 25 per cent of people reported feeling restless and waking up often throughout the night after drinking, 23 per cent reported feeling hot while they slept and 19 per cent reported nausea and vomiting.

What’s more, 55 per cent of respondents said they thought they got a good night’s sleep after drinking, but Susan Bondy, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Toronto, said this is likely because of alcohol’s drowsy effect.

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You might fall asleep quickly, she said, but alcohol can hurt your rest in several ways throughout the night, leaving you grumpy in the morning.

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The actual science behind how alcohol affects your brain is difficult to understand, but Bondy describes alcohol as “one of the messiest psychoactive substances.”

“Some drugs interact with very specific neurotransmitter receptor sites and very specific systems,” she said. “Alcohol actually interacts with a ton of them, so it’s very difficult to … predict exactly what the effects will be in a specific person.”

Dry January trend sparks nationwide discussions around effects of harmful alcohol consumption

Dry January trend sparks nationwide discussions around effects of harmful alcohol consumption

How drinking affects your sleep will also depend on your tolerance and the dosage. Alcohol could have a stimulating effect on one person, and a sedating effect on another, Bondy said.

Here are all the ways alcohol can negatively impact your trip to dreamland tonight.

Drinking will make your sleep worse

Drinking in large quantities before bed will undoubtedly cause you issues later in the night.

It will affect your “sleep architecture,” which is what Bondy calls the time you spend in deep sleep versus the time you spend in light or dreaming sleep.

“The proportions of time change,” she said. “You spend a lot more time in light sleep and then you slightly wake up and you’re aware of being awake. It’s related to insomnia.”

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It will also reduce the quality of your sleep.

“At the end of the night, you haven’t had a deep sleep, which restores brain function, solidifies your memory [and more],” said Bondy.

Alcohol has also been proven to affect different hormones, like melatonin, which is “well understood to be related to constituting the circadian rhythm, and alcohol has an adverse effect on melatonin levels,” she said.

“People are not well advised to use alcohol as a remedy for mood, for sleep or for anything else, because it’s probably going to have counter-intuitive effects.”

How it affects your body

Ashley Little is a sleep content specialist at Mattress Advisor and one of the lead authors of the survey.

In her research, she found that there are lots of physiological ways alcohol can contribute to a worse sleep.

In a normal sleep cycle, over the night, you’re going into rapid eye movement (REM) sleep about every 90 minutes and you’re cycling through all the sleep stages naturally, in a healthy way,” she said.

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“When you drink alcohol, you’re getting less REM sleep in the first few sleep cycles, so it’s actually suppressing the amount of time you’re spending in REM.”

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Then, later in the night, your body tries to compensate for that, which can cause a lot of disruption.

“Another thing is people have to pee more when they drink before they go to bed, so you’re waking up having to make a bathroom run,” she said.

There are no ‘quick fixes’

Whether you’re bracing for a hangover or hoping to cancel out the beer you had while watching the game, no amount of water or greasy food will reverse the damage done.

“There really is no quick fix,” said Bondy.

It doesn’t even matter if you try to space out your drinks over the night — it’s your blood alcohol level that matters.

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“It goes away gradually, and during that time, you have very severe irritant chemicals in your system,” she said.

“Adding water lightly dilutes the alcohol content, but it doesn’t actually remove [or] reduce the number of molecules of alcohol in systems that have to be dealt with.”

Some people take pain relievers in anticipation of a midnight headache, but Bondy advises against this.

“Many of those interact very badly with alcohol.”

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Fine whines: Does complaining always work? – National

by BBG Hub

Complaining about something — whether it’s about an item missing from your food order or your partner’s behaviour — isn’t always easy. 

While many of us scoff at the idea of someone constantly airing their grievances, expressing dissatisfaction in a meaningful way can actually increase happiness levels, studies show

Customer alleges Samsung tried to silence him after complaint

Constructively complaining can also be an indicator of high self-esteem, research out of Clemson University in South Carolina found. 

“When people complain strategically, that’s where the true benefit comes from,” said Robin Kowalski, a psychology professor at the university.

“People who are effective complainers… are the ones who do it in moderation, and are selective in the audience to their complaint.”

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When complaining is constructive

Kowalski has studied why we complain and how to do so effectively for 30 years, after she was told by a supervisor that she’s a successful complainer. 

In 2014, Kowalski and her colleagues asked more than 400 university students to write down complaints they had about current or former partners for a study

How to make an effective complaint over bad products and services

How to make an effective complaint over bad products and services

They found that those who complained with purpose, looking to achieve a result or cause change, had higher levels of happiness than those who were annoyed without a strategy.

Tactful complaints that are done with intention, with mindfulness at its core, can actually give you the results you’re looking for, Kowalski said. 

Using social media to complain

Amanda from Toronto has no problem complaining to a company or store if they don’t provide the service she’s paid for. (Global News has agreed to withhold Amanda’s last name for privacy reasons.)

She holds businesses to account on social media platforms like Twitter to solicit a response so they can fix an issue.

“It’s really about, here’s the problem I have as a consumer,” she said. “What can you do to help me?”

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Amanda recalls the time she tweeted at a home appliance store about a poor customer experience when they shipped damaged products for a kitchen renovation that were worth thousands of dollars. 

Consumer complaints about wireless and internet services continue to grow

Revealing the problem on social media in a public way caused the store to leap into action and replace the products they sent, she said. 

“I’ll complain looking for a solution as opposed to complaining just to make a complaint public,” Amanda said, adding that social media adds more weight to complaints since others can see them.

It’s important to be reasonable in your complaint, as you should only complain if you have a real issue that requires a solution. But understanding your rights as a consumer can give you the confidence to actually vocalize your dissatisfaction, she said.

Know what you want — and why

Those who are able to complain only when they have a clear objective in mind — not because they are simply upset in a moment — often have a better sense of self and self-esteem, Kowalski said. 

This is especially true when it comes to complaining in public, like at a restaurant. 

Someone who is more confident in themselves will only complain if something is truly wrong with their meal, as opposed to complaining about food only so others will think their standards are high, Kowalski explained. 

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People who like to complain even when there isn’t a real problem may be participating in what psychologists call “impression management,” which is trying to control how others see you, Kowalski said. 

Her research has found this tactic is also used to elicit sympathy, like complaining that you are sick when really you are feeling fine. 

How to complain effectively 

Venting and constantly expressing anger for attention or without an objective can make you feel worse, research out of Iowa State University found. 

But holding complaints in, especially when it comes to your relationships or even your workplace, can also have negative impacts on your health.

Kowalski’s research from the mid-90s shows that some may hide their feelings if they are worried about how others will perceive them. This is particularly true if someone has a high need for approval. 

Learning how to complain in a constructive way can help to improve your relationships and have your needs met, said Amy Cooper Hakim, a psychologist based in Boca Raton, Fla., who specializes in workplace relationships. 

“If we complain in a constructive manner, we’re doing so to improve a particular situation for ourselves, or for others,” Hakim said. 

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Before you make a complaint, first decide whether it’s worth complaining at all. Ask yourself: will this bother me in the next five minutes, or five hours? 

If something is not going to be a problem for you within a few hours, it might not be worth bringing up, Hakim said. But if it’s going to be an ongoing issue, you should address the problem and figure out how to solve it. 

Picking and choosing your battles may make your complaints seem more legitimate to others, as you won’t be known as someone who constantly complains, she said. 

Fighting all the time? How to know if your relationship is worth saving

She also recommends trying to take emotion out of the situation, even though that can be hard to do.

“When we are emotionally invested and angry, we come off in a certain way where we could perhaps be seen as a whiner,” she said. “But when we can specifically look at the fact of the matter… we [should] focus on that.” 

Also, consider the relationship you have to the person you are complaining to, she said. Complaints should be framed differently depending on if you are speaking with your boss, versus a close friend.

“You can appeal to someone’s soft side if they know you, if they have experienced something similar,” she said. “Think through who you’re speaking to before you just speak.”

Complaining a lot could mean that you are very effective at it, but Hakim recommends using those skills wisely. If you become known as a complainer it can weaken your arguments. 

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For Amanda, she doesn’t see complaining as a bad thing, but rather a sign of empowerment, especially for consumers.

“It’s just holding companies and people accountable for the products and services they provide,” she said. “I’m asking for something that’s reasonable.”

[email protected]

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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U.K. company gives non-smokers 4 more vacation days to promote healthy workplace – National

by BBG Hub

Despite the well-documented health effects of smoking, many Canadians still leave work to do it every few hours.

In fact, according to Statistics Canada, roughly 4.9 million people smoked cigarettes either daily or occasionally in 2018.

The trends are similar in the U.K., which is why a Swindon-based company has announced it will provide non-smoking staff four extra days of vacation per year.

READ MORE: U.S. raises legal smoking age to 21 in effort to curb tobacco use

In a Facebook post shared on Jan. 2, KCJ Training & Employment Solutions said it would implement the “new non-smoking policy” at the beginning of 2020.

“We’re proud to incentivize our staff to quit smoking and to create a healthy workplace within our KCJ offices,” read the post.

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KCJ was congratulated for the initiative, with one person calling it a “brilliant idea,” but the company can’t take all the credit.

In 2017, Japanese marketing firm Piala Inc. implemented the same policy, rewarding non-smokers with six extra days of paid holiday.

The decision was “pretty popular,” Hirotaka Matsushima, the firm’s corporate planning director, previously told Global News.

Cigarette alternative heats tobacco instead of burning it, health-care experts skeptical

Cigarette alternative heats tobacco instead of burning it, health-care experts skeptical

It remains to be seen whether Canadian companies will enact a similar policy, but some people, like Toronto resident Elizabeth Keyes, are all for it.

“My dad has worked at a factory for over 30 years now, and it is his pet peeve that smokers are able to go out and take breaks,” she previously told Global News.

“And what he does is hard labour. While he’s inside working, they are outside taking 15- to 30-minute breaks every day. Yet they get paid the same.”

She added that it’s not just about the smoking break, it’s also about getting to socialize with co-workers.

Do smokers end up getting more time off?

KCJ managing director Don Bryden is a smoker himself, so he knows it hurts productivity.

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“It’s been taken on and embraced within the company by both smokers and non-smokers,” he told the BBC in an interview.

“I’m not saying stop [taking smoke breaks], but if you say it’s three 10-minute smoke breaks a day, that equates to 16 and a quarter days a year based on an eight-hour working day.”

READ MORE: Quebec pledges new regulations for vaping by next spring

On average, each smoker costs an employer around $4,200 in productivity each year, according to 2013 statistics by the Conference Board of Canada.

The study also found $3,800 of that total was due to unauthorized smoke breaks and $414 due to increased absences.

Each daily smoker and recent quitter took almost 2.5 more sick days in 2010 compared to employees who have never smoked, according to the board.

Damage to your health

The negative health effects of smoking — for both regular and social smokers — are well-documented.

A 2017 study found that social smokers have the same elevated risks for high blood pressure and high cholesterol as their counterparts who smoke daily.

“Not smoking at all is the best way to go. Even smoking in a social situation is detrimental to your cardiovascular health,” Dr. Kate Gawlik, a clinical nursing professor and lead author of the 2017 study, previously said in a statement.

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“One in 10 people in this study said they sometimes smoke, and many of them are young and already on the path to heart disease.”

The study looked at 39,555 people, and more than 10 per cent of respondents who participated labelled themselves as social smokers — meaning they don’t smoke every day. Another 17 per cent called themselves current smokers, who lit up at least once a day.

Among current and social smokers, 75 per cent had high blood pressure and roughly 54 per cent had high cholesterol.

READ MORE: How dangerous is vaping? What we know about its health risks

The health impact is another reason KCJ has implemented the policy.

“Remember: a healthier workplace is a happier workplace,” Bryden told the BBC.

— With files from Global News’ Katie Dangerfield and Carmen Chai

[email protected]

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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What causes a pinched nerve and how to treat it – National

by BBG Hub

If a “pinched nerve” sounds painful it’s because it often is.

A pinched or “compressed nerve” can cause pain, feelings of numbness, tingling or weakness in the affected area.

Pinched nerves often occur when there’s too much pressure from surrounding tissues applied to a nerve root. Because a system of nerves is present throughout the body, a pinched nerve can happen anywhere along the course of the nervous system, Stanford Health Care points out, including the neck and back.

“The cause of this kind of thing is often nothing to do with trauma,” said Lynda McClatchie, a Mississauga, Ont.-based physiotherapist and adjunct lecturer at the University of Toronto.

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“Most of the time, [a pinched nerve] starts for no obvious reason and then it can persist for inordinate amounts of time.”

McClatchie says a common reason people experience pinched nerves is because they spend much too much time with “their lower back rounded forward.”

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This is because many of us sit at a desk all day, drive in a car, sit on a sofa watching TV or sleep on our sides.

In other words, pinched nerves can be caused by cumulative activities and certain postures.

“Then when somebody is washing their foot in the shower and suddenly can’t get back up, it’s [because of] all the other stuff that they’ve done in the days and weeks before,” McClatchie said.

Of course trauma or a injury can cause a pinched nerve, too.

How to treat a pinched nerve

Some people first treat nerve pain at home with ice or an anti-inflammatory medication.

A pinched nerve may go away on its own, but if it’s causing you great discomfort, doesn’t go away in a few days or worsens, it’s a good idea to see your doctor or physiotherapist, McClatchie said.

Windy, humid weather can make chronic pain feel worse, study finds

Windy, humid weather can make chronic pain feel worse, study finds

The tricky thing about pinched nerves is that symptoms may not occur at the actual location where the nerve is affected, but instead in another part of the body. This means you can feel pain in your toe, for example, that stems from your back, McClatchie said.

What’s more, nerve pain can move around.

“It could be in the back then radiating right down a leg all the way to the foot, or it can skip whole locations,” she said. “I see a woman at the moment who one day has pain radiating down her left leg, and tomorrow it’s all on her right side.”

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A physiotherapist can help determine where the pain is coming from, and give you proper exercises to treat it.

Is sleeping on the floor actually good for your back? Experts weigh in

“The goal is obviously lessening that irritation so that the nerves settle down and people don’t have the same pain anymore,” McClatchie said.

If your pinched nerve is related to posture, McClatchie says repositioning is key.

“You want people to be cognizant of not slouching for sustained periods of time, and getting into a different postural position,” she said.

“That may involve using a supplemental lumbar support, like something small to shove in their chair like a towel.”

Ways to prevent a pinched nerve

McClatchie says getting to the root of the pain problem will help you prevent a pinched nerve from coming back.

If you have compressed a nerve from sitting too often, for example, you will likely experience that pain again unless you address the underlying issue.

Swearing helps to increase pain tolerance: study

Swearing helps to increase pain tolerance: study

“Research shows that this kind of problem tends to be episodic,” McClatchie said.

“When the source of the problem isn’t addressed, it tends to become more frequent or more intense and these episodes last for longer.”

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A physiotherapist can give you exercises to address the cause of your pinched nerve, which will in turn help prevent its occurrence.

One exercise McClatchie suggests is a “sloppy push-up.”

“You set yourself up like you’re doing a normal push-up — elbows up not like cobra [pose] — and you want all the work to come from your arms, and all the muscles in your back, butt and legs to stay completely relaxed,” she said.

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“You push yourself up and try to get your arms as straight as they can go, but your hips stay down as you’re facilitating that arch.”

She says people can do eight to 10 in a row daily. If this movement is hard for you, it can indicate you need to work on your back.

McClatchie also suggests people engage in physical activity as often as they can. Movement will help counteract the sitting so many of us do on a day-to-day basis.

The key, however, is to always consult a doctor if you’re in pain or unsure of what’s causing you discomfort. Every body is different and you never want to further irritate an injury.

[email protected]

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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The keto diet was ranked one of the worst diets for 2020, so why is it still popular? – National

by BBG Hub

In a recent ranking of the best and worst diets by the US News & World, the ketogenic (keto) diet was ranked one of the worst out of 35 diets.

And yet, according to a recent survey of registered dietitians, the keto diet remains the most popular in the United States.

Fast, short-term weight loss is probably the reason the keto diet remains so popular, registered dietitian Shahzadi Devje told Global News.

UBC study reveals cheat day in popular diet may cause some harm

“Any diet that’s trendy, promises to make you lose weight quickly and look fit will get your attention,” she said.

“Personal testimonials of keto ‘success’ continue to flood the internet, but this doesn’t equate to reliable and trustworthy scientific evidence.”

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By mandating foods high in fat and low in carbohydrates, the keto diet sends the body into a state of ketosis.

Once there, the body burns fat instead of sugar for energy. Advocates claim the diet promotes weight loss and boosts energy, but experts on the US News & World Report panel are worried about its potential negative effects.

The organization said each of the diets was given ratings out of five in the following categories: “how easy it is to follow, its ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss, its nutritional completeness, its safety and its potential for preventing and managing diabetes and heart disease.”

The keto diet did not score well in any of those categories. In the safety category, it was given an overall rating of two out of five due to its high fat content. One expert warned that those with severe diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease should not follow this diet.

Can you reverse Type 2 diabetes by changing your diet?

Can you reverse Type 2 diabetes by changing your diet?

The highest rating given to the keto diet was in the category of short-term weight loss, for which it received a 3.8 out of five. Experts on the panel noted “the low-carb plan is generally a quick, effective weight-loss strategy.”

That’s exactly why nutrition experts like Dr. David Jenkins worry about the keto diet: it may promote quick weight loss, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a healthy way to live.

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Jenkins, a professor of nutritional science in the faculty of medicine at the University of Toronto, fears the diet cuts out too many healthy foods in addition to unhealthy ones.

‘Keto crotch’ — What the keto diet can do to women’s vaginal health

“You’ve got carbs on the positive side of health and on the negative side of health,” he said. “If you just cut out the lot, you’re cutting out the good, the bad and the ugly.”

UN report: Changing your diet can help save the planet

UN report: Changing your diet can help save the planet

Registered dietitian Lauren McNeill agrees.

“The greatest risk I see to a keto diet is cutting out or severely reducing the foods that we know from decades of research have extensive health benefits, such as whole grains, legumes, fruits and certain vegetables,” she said.

“Some of the healthiest populations that we know consume these foods on a regular basis, and there’s no shortage of research showing their benefits on potential risk reduction of cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, Type 2 diabetes and even weight management.”

The only time a doctor would recommend the keto diet

Thus far, the only proven clinical use for the keto diet is in children with epilepsy.

“This diet may be quite useful if the drugs aren’t working well, but these are controlled conditions,” Jenkins said.

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Devje supports this claim.

“There’s substantial evidence showing that a ketogenic diet reduces seizures in children,” she said.

Red meat health impacts: Dietitian weighs in on recent study

Red meat health impacts: Dietitian weighs in on recent study

“There is some thinking that perhaps such benefits may extend to other brain disorders (like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis) … but I was not able to find any human studies to support recommending the keto diet to manage these conditions,” she said.

It’s important to note that in children with epilepsy, there can be adverse side effects.

“Their fibre may be down (because fibre is commonly found in carbohydrates), which can lead to constipation,” said Jenkins.

The case for ditching diets altogether

The healthiest diets, as determined by health and nutrition experts in the US News & World ranking, were the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet and the flexitarian diet.

However, registered dietitian Stephanie Hnatiuk doesn’t consider the keto diet more or less “dangerous” than other restrictive ways of eating.

It can be extremely challenging to stick to the keto diet for longer than a few months, which can lead people to what Hnatiuk calls “yo-yo dieting.”

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Keto diet plan — breaking down the low-carb, high-fat diet

“A person loses some weight on a diet, is unable to keep up with it and ultimately quits the diet, leading them to regain the weight they lost and often more,” she told Global News.

Instead, Hnatiuk encourages her clients to abandon diets altogether.

Will the keto diet cause your skin to break out?

“We need to start thinking about our overall dietary patterns in a more long-term, sustainable way,” she said. “Avoid the short-term diets, challenges or things that promise a quick fix. Instead, simply make small changes to improve our eating habits.”

This can include reducing added sugars, cooking more meals at home and adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet.

“Over time, these [will benefit our health more than] an endless stream of short-term fad diets,” said Hnatiuk.

[email protected]

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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The best (and worst) lip balms to combat the harsh weather of winter – National

by BBG Hub

Harsh winter weather can wreak havoc on your skin, especially your lips.

“In general, with the humidity in the air dropping, you have an increase in trans-epidermal water loss,” dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett of DLK Cosmetic Dermatology and Laser Clinic previously told Global News.

“Because of this, people will see flaky skin and are sometimes more irritated and sensitive.”

The best mascaras on the market, from drug store to luxury brands

Wind and snow — two elements of the season Canadians know very well — only exacerbate the problem.

A lot of people try to compensate by loading up on lip balm, but all balms are not made equal.

Reporters at Global News tried out some of the best and organized them by price: $10 and under, $20 and under and $20-plus.

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$10 and under

Credit: Laura Whelan

Credit: Laura Whelan

Name of product: Burt’s Bees beeswax lip balm
Retail price: $5
Available at: A variety of retailers
Product specialty: Made with vitamin E and peppermint oil, which is meant to protect and soothe dry lips.
First thoughts: This is the first lip balm I’ve used which doesn’t feel too wet or oily. It moisturized my lips perfectly while retaining the shape of the balm.
End of the day test: My lips felt like heaven after using this just a few times on my first day. I found myself feeling them and being shocked at how smooth they felt.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter?: Absolutely. It’s a very reliable brand and it’s a quick-action balm. It sets right in and makes a world of difference after only seconds of being applied. It’s not too oily and it tastes great. My only complaint is that it has no sun protection qualities. Other than that, it’s perfect for the winter season when lips are particularly dry.
Give it a score out of 5: — Adam Wallis

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Name of product: Vaseline Lip Therapy
Retail price: $3
Available at: A variety of retailers
First thoughts: This looks messy, and it’s unclear how it differs from a tub of Vaseline.
End of the day test: My lips felt better.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter?: Would NOT recommend. The tin is hard to open with your fingers (after taking off your gloves in the cold). Then your fingers get goopy from using the Vaseline, and you need to wipe off the excess and clean your hands somehow. Way too messy.
Give it a score out of 5:— Josh Elliott

Name of product: Nivea Essential Caring lip balm
Retail price: $3
Available at: A variety of retailers
Product specialty: Intensive care and with made natural oils.
First thoughts: It goes on very smooth and you can feel it moisturizing instantly.
End of the day test: My lips felt moisturized all day and it didn’t leave them feeling sticky.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? I would recommend this product for the winter because one of the special ingredients is shea butter, which I really like. It doesn’t really have a scent so it’s a good choice for people who don’t like scented balms.
Give it a score out of 5: 4 — Katie Scott

Name of product: TO112 Honey, I’m Balm
Retail price: $8 each or a pack of 3 for $24
Available at:
Product specialty: It uses beeswax to create a moisture-locking barrier.
First thoughts: I love the minimal packaging, how few ingredients there are and the eucalyptus and lemon grass scent it has.
End of the day test: Between the few times I had to reapply, the balm kept my lips moisturized by creating a waxy barrier. I definitely felt like my lips were nourished while being protected, and they were super soft throughout the day.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? Why or why not?: Yes. It’s most useful for the dry winter months because the wax helps hold in moisture, rather than soaking into the skin or drying up too quickly.
Give it a score out of 5: 5 — Meaghan Wray

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Name of product: Blistex DCT (Daily Conditioning Treatment)
Retail price: $3
Available at: A variety of retailers
Product specialty, if there is one: SPF
First thoughts: I love the fact this lip balm also includes SPF 20 because I often forget about protecting my lips. The DCT balm also has cocoa butter, aloe and vitamin E and it has a light scent as well. My one pet peeve? The application — I hate having to dig into the product with my fingers.
End of the day test: My lips were not only hydrated, but I found myself only reapplying once at the end of the night. I also used this balm overnight and found it super hydrating — my lips were not cracked or chapped in the morning.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? I think when it comes to lip balms, it’s better to stick with the classics. Even if you don’t like the idea of using your fingers for application during the day, I would use this overnight.
Give it a score out of 5:— Arti Patel 

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Name of product: Eos Visibly Soft vanilla mint lip balm
Retail price: $4
Available at: A variety of retailers
Product specialty: Formulated with shea butter and vitamins C and E. It’s also hypoallergenic.
First thoughts: I associate this lip balm with Miley Cyrus promoting it in music videos circa 2013, when the egg-like packaging was considered new and innovative. It’s been a few years and these colourful lip balms are everywhere. The twist-off top on the ball-shaped balm is easy to use and I appreciate the amount of product in each package.
End of the day test: The formula is just not hydrating enough, so I found myself applying it multiple times throughout the day. I feel like I would have been so much better off sticking with any other product than this one. It’s better than using nothing, but that’s not saying much.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? No, buy any other lip balm. The packaging is fun, but that’s it.
Give it a score out of 5: 2 (and that’s being generous) — Olivia Bowden

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Name of product: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Organic Lip Balm Naked
Retail price: $3
Available at:
Product specialty, if there is one: Organic and non-GMO
First thoughts: It seems practical.
End of the day test: My lips felt better.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? Would definitely recommend. This product is clean, easy to use, virtually tasteless and moisturizes your lips. It’s also organic, which is a nice plus.
Give it a score out of 5: 5 — Josh Elliott

Name of product: Hurraw! unscented lip balm
Retail price: $4.99
Available at: The Detox Market
Product specialty, if there is one: Bee-free, shea-free, soy-free and palm-free
First thoughts: It has a smooth application but it being unscented makes it kind of boring. It’s very plain.
End of the day test: My lips felt soft and moisturized.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? I would recommend this lip balm for the winter because it kept my lips moisturized and there was no dryness. I would recommend it to someone who doesn’t like a flavoured balm and just wants it for the moisturizer.
Give it a score out of 5:— Katie Scott

Name of product: Chapstick Classic Original
Retail price: $3
Available at: A variety of retailers
Product specialty, if there is one: None
First thoughts: “Ah, old faithful.” This was the lip balm back before there were a zillion kinds available. Putting it on (and tasting it) is a trip down sensory memory lane.
End of the day test: My lips didn’t feel better, but they weren’t chapped. Chapstick does the job.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? It’s a satisfactory lip balm that’s been on the market for years, and it’s kept lips moisturized for decades. It wouldn’t be around if it didn’t work. That said, there are plenty of other options available now, so if you’d like to go for something a little more high-end, it might give better results.
Give it a score out of 5: 4 (minus one point because it’s just OK) — Chris Jancelewicz

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Name of product: Scentuals 100% Natural Lip Conditioner Vanilla Tangerine
Retail price: $4
Available at:
Product specialty: All natural and made with organic shea butter
First thoughts: The smell — a mix of fresh citrus and soothing vanilla — is totally refreshing, but the shape of the tube threw me off. I think it’s supposed to mimic the shape of human lips (like a long oval), but it requires a few swipes before you hit all the spots on your mouth.
End of the day test: I was pleasantly surprised by this organic balm. It really locked in moisture, despite my constant nervous lip-biting. At the end of the day, they were still soft!
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? Yes! It withstood the walk-to-work-in-zero-degree-weather test, so I’m impressed.
Give it a score out of 5: 4 — Meghan Collie

Name of product: Carmex classic lip balm
Retail price: $3 for one, $8 for a three-pack
Available at: A variety of retailers
Product specialty: A squeezable medicated balm that promises long-lasting protection. Made with cocoa butter and menthol.
First thoughts: This goes on very easily and I like the squeezable tube. The texture is easy to spread on lips and makes them feel instantly hydrated.
End of day test: Carmex’s classic lip balm actually kept my lips feeling good for hours. Unlike other products, I didn’t feel the need to reapply within an hour of first use. I also like the smell.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter?: Yes! For the price point and quality, I would highly recommend this lip balm. It’s small and easy to throw in jacket pockets or purses.
Give it a score out of 5: 4.5 — Laura Hensley

$10 to $20

Credit: Laura Whelan

Credit: Laura Whelan

Name of product: L’Occitane Ultra Rich lip balm
Retail price: $12
Available at: Hudson’s Bay
Product specialty: The ultra-moisturizing formula repairs and protects dry and chapped lips.
First thoughts: The consistency is so luxurious and thick, and isn’t sticky, but I knew I wouldn’t like the kind of plastic tube applicator right off the bat.
End of the day test: I had to continuously reapply to my lips to keep the moisture and didn’t find it helped heal my chapped lips. It kept soaking into my lips too quickly without seemingly doing any moisturizing.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter?: No, because I think there are more affordable lip balms that do a better job and are easier to apply if you’re out and about. This didn’t have a lasting healing effect I was hoping for.
Give it a score out of 5: 2 — Meaghan Wray

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Name of product: Glossier balm dotcom universal skin salve
Retail price: $15 USD
Available at:
Product specialty: This is a cult favourite that claims to be hydrating and “do-everything.”
First thoughts: This was my second attempt at using this cult favourite, and once again, I am not 100 per cent convinced. The tube is easy to use and the product itself isn’t overly-scented. It is hydrating, but I found myself reapplying this product at least three to four times a day. Sometimes, my lips would just chap.
End of the day test: I get very dry lips in the winter and I would say this product is hydrating. However, it is not enough to last all day.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter?: I understand the appeal and to be honest, I think this lip balm is more of a beauty favourite (they have great flavours) versus finding a product that works for very dry, chapped lips.
Give it a score out of 5: 3 — Arti Patel

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Best travel destinations for winter season lovers

Name of product: Nutritic Lips by La Roche-Posay
Retail price: $14
Available at: Shoppers Drug Mart
Product specialty: Meant for very dry lips, formulated with biolipids and ceramide.
First thoughts: As tubed lip balms go, this one contains a thicker stick, which I prefer so it doesn’t get lost in the abyss of my bag. After applying the balm my lips felt smooth and hydrated. However, I felt that I needed to apply it a couple of times to get the full effects. It’s unscented and light, which works best if you’re wearing it under lipstick.
End of the day test: Honestly, I had to apply this several times throughout the day for it to continue to work. If your lips are very dry, you might be annoyed at how often you have to apply it. I would say it works best if you’re trying to get an extra boost of hydration while wearing it under lipstick, as opposed to fixing super dry winter lips.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? It’s not the worst balm and it will certainly help if you’re looking for winter relief.
Give it a score out of 5: 3 — Olivia Bowden

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Name of product: lululemon basic balm
Retail price: $16
Available at: lululemon
Product specialty: Designed to combat dryness, this lip balm is made with shea butter and natural oils that “lock in moisture” before, during and after a workout.
First thoughts: Not a fan of the smell as I find it a bit plastic-y. To test the product’s specialty, I used this lip balm before heading to the gym. It goes on easily but is a bit thick. It’s clear, but creates a light gloss aesthetic.
End of the day test: This product is not long-lasting. After my gym class, I needed to re-apply the balm. Even during non-workout use, I found this product to only last less than an hour before needing to reapply.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? No. I’m not a fan of the smell, texture and don’t feel like it offers enough hydration.
Give it a score out of 5: 3 — Laura Hensley

$20 or more

Credit: Laura Whelan

Credit: Laura Whelan

Name of product: Kosasport Lipfuel Hyaluronic Lip Balm
Retail price: $24
Available at: Sephora
Product specialty, if there is one: This is “ultra-hydrating.”
First thoughts: Looks expensive, is expensive. Cool packaging.
End of the day test: My lips felt moisturized, almost ridiculously so — so they deliver what they promise.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? Why or why not?: Yes, if you’ve got the cash to spend on it, this lip balm will keep you moisturized even in the coldest weather. It felt like I had armour on my lips!
Give it a score out of 5: 4/5 (-1 point for the cost, which is astronomical). — Chris Jancelewicz

Name of product: Agave+ Intensive Vegan Lip Mask
Retail price: $34
Available at: Sephora
Product specialty: A vegan lip mask that’s lanolin free and made with agave nectar, mangosteen extract and açaí.
First thoughts: I was excited to try this product knowing it’s a cult favourite. I love the sleek matte black packaging, and I was impressed by the heaviness of the product as I put it on my lips.
End of the day test: If I’m being honest, this mask didn’t have the long-lasting affect I thought it would. It definitely goes on thicker than a normal balm, but I needed to reapply a few times after waking up to ensure consistent moisture.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? Probably not, given the price point.
Give it a score out of 5: 3 — Meghan Collie

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