Posts Tagged "Lifestyle"

27Jan

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.”


READ MORE:
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.


READ MORE:
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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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25Jan

‘I’ll be silently judged’: Why millennial women ‘age up’ to be taken seriously at work – National

by BBG Hub

When Lauren gets ready for work, she thoughtfully picks out every item to wear.

The 27-year-old, who asked Global News to only use her first name, has a public-facing role at an Ottawa-based nonprofit. She’s expected to present herself professionally, she says, and wears either a blazer, dress or skirt everyday.

“I do this especially because I look young for my age and am often mistaken for being in my early 20s or even late teens,” she said.

“Meanwhile, my 40-year-old male boss comes to work every day in a T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers (or cargo shorts and sandals in the summertime) and no one bats an eye. His ‘professional’ look when doing presentations is simply throwing a blazer on top.”


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For some millennial women, or women who look even younger than their actual age, dressing for work can be a process. Many workers want to look put-together, approachable yet authoritative, and avoid wearing anything too revealing.

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Dressing professionally for some even comes down to hair. There have been stories of Black people not being hired because of it.

To combat this, some women try to “age up” through their wardrobe choices in an effort to be taken seriously, by wearing glasses, hiding tattoos and applying make-up.

For Lauren, sporting nice shoes and wearing glasses helps.

“I don’t feel I’d be taken as seriously otherwise,” she said.

“People see figures of authority as old, male, and white. I am only one of those things, so for a lack of a better term, I feel I really have to look like I have my sh*t together to be heard.”

Communicating through clothing

When women enter male-dominated workplaces, there is often a norm around how things get done and how people behave, says Tanya van Biesen, the executive director of women’s workplace organization Catalyst Canada.



Different work environments have different standards of dressing.






Would a career change really make you happier?


Would a career change really make you happier?

In office environments, dressing norms often include wearing things like blazers, dress shirts and suits — items associated with masculinity and power. To fit in, women may conform to this style of dressing to be taken “seriously,” van Biesen said.

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“You could also argue that men have been forced inside a box to dress in a certain way, and that women have been granted more latitude in terms of what they can wear to to work,” she added.

In more casual or laid-back workplaces, it may be perfectly OK to dress in jeans and T-shirts. What you wear, however, signals whether or not you “belong” in certain spaces, writer Erika Thorkelson explained in an essay for the Walrus.

“We are told that if we internalize the right dress codes, we can overcome whatever systemic obstacles lie before us,” Thorkelson wrote.

“Endless blogs and magazine articles attempt to teach us how to dress for success.”

Dress affects all young people — not just women

The pressure to “dress for success,” though, is not just an issue millennial women face, van Biesen says. It’s one faced by all young workers.

Layer on intersections of gender, race and ethnicity, and certain groups can face more pressure to dress “appropriately” than others, she adds.


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“We talk a lot about ‘bringing your whole self to work,’ but I do still think at least in North American culture… we police each other into these pretty narrow bands into what is ‘acceptable dress,’” she said.

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“And that policing is caused by ‘the normative group,’ but that normative policing happens by both men and women.”

In Lauren’s office, she says women employees face extra pressure to not only dress a certain way, but perform professionally while maintaining a “positive attitude.”

“If I want to get ahead in this world where workplaces are designed for men, I don’t have the luxury of showing up in a T-shirt and jeans,” she said.






Navigating social media and the workplace


Navigating social media and the workplace

While she believes she would still feel compelled to dress professionally if she were a young man, she believes her youthful appearance and gender identity compound this pressure.

“I think for men, it’s seen as ‘bonus points’ to dress professionally, whereas for women it’s sort of an expectation,” she explained.

“Dress fashionably and flatteringly, but don’t be too sexy. Wear make-up, but not too much. If I don’t hit the nail right on the head, I’ll be silently judged and dismissed.”

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






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25Jan

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.

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“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.

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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?”

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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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24Jan

Bored of your closet? Here’s how to refresh your look in 2020 – National

by BBG Hub

If you started 2020 hoping for a fresh start, you may have thought about buying a whole new wardrobe.

That makes perfect sense, in the opinion of stylist Lisa Kisber.

“One of the ways you can feel fresh … is to take that on with your wardrobe,” she said.

“Obviously, how you dress can affect how you feel.”


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Thankfully, said Kisber, you can refresh your style without spending a dime.

“After the holidays, we’re all sort of on a tight budget, but you still want this sense of renewal,” she said.

Her big idea is to re-purpose your spring and summer clothes for the colder weather.

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Fashion in the (deep) freeze


Fashion in the (deep) freeze

“We’re getting pieces out from your summer wardrobe and trying to winterize them so that you can have that sense of newness without actually having to go out and get a whole new wardrobe,” she said.

An easy way to add more energy to your day-to-day is to incorporate bright colours into your winter outfits.

“People tend to shy away from colour when it comes to winter, but … when it comes to energy, we all have that drain on energy with the long nights and short days,” she said. “It’s one of those times of the year that can just be draining.”

Below, Kisber and stylist Talia Brown Thall share their tips for resetting your closet in 2020.

Don’t spend on trends

Trends come and go, but classics are forever.

This is Kisber’s top piece of advice for refreshing your wardrobe.

“If you’re looking to buy trends, don’t spend a lot of money,” she said. “If you’re looking to buy classic, well-fitting, right-for-your-body pieces, those are the pieces you should invest in.”


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This is especially true if money is tight, said Kisber.

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Save your money for pieces that “you’re going to be able to wear for years to come,” she said.

“Sometimes people buy trends because everybody’s wearing them, but they don’t necessarily feel great in them … If you are not an animal print person, if it makes you feel funky and weird, why buy animal print?”



Invest in comfort and confidence

Brown Thall, once Meghan Markle’s stylist, says her number one priority is making sure her clients feel confident.

“You want to make sure [your clothes] look fresh, you want to make sure they excite you, you want to make sure it fits and you want to make sure it makes you feel good,” she said.

“If you love what you’re wearing, it speaks volumes to everybody else around you. People can always tell when you’re not comfortable.”

To that end, Brown Thall always suggests the option of tailoring to her clients.

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“Most things can be altered so easily, and it’s cheaper than buying all new,” she said.

“If you love it, you should make it yours again and re-love it.”

Do your research

Climate change is a growing concern for Canadians. When it comes to fashion, so is sustainability.

Kisber recommends that you research a company’s sustainability practices (if there are any) before you commit to shopping with them.

“Why not buy from brands that are doing things that are good for the earth?” she said.


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If sustainability is your top priority, Kisber suggests a low-buy or no-buy year.

“Keep [your shopping] to a minimum or keep it just to really trendy pieces,” she said. “It’s all about finding a balance.”

She also recommends secondhand and thrift shopping as a “great way to make sure we’re not caught feeding the process of manufacturing.”






Interior design trends for 2020


Interior design trends for 2020

Thall Brown agrees.

“I definitely think about all my clothes [before I buy them]. I want to think about it; I want to love it,” she said.

“I’m not saying that you should be adventurous and buy colour … you have to know what you’re comfortable in. If you’re not comfortable with a bright red coat, then don’t buy that.”

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Don’t keep everything

In Thall Brown’s work, she often sees clients keeping clothes that don’t fit simply because they remind them of something else.

“If you want to keep something, I suggest you box those pieces and put them somewhere else for the time being,” she said. “If five years from now, you still haven’t gone back to them, somebody else in the world can really use them.”

“Clothing shouldn’t become so emotional.”


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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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22Jan

Utah bans conversion therapy: ‘This measure will truly save lives’ – National

by BBG Hub

The discredited practice of conversion therapy for LGBTQ2 children is now banned in Utah, making it the 19th state and one of the most conservative to prohibit the practice.

Supporters navigated a winding path to passage and some dissent remains, but barring it in Utah could give a boost to similar efforts in other right-leaning states, said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

“It’s really given people a lot of hope,” said Minter, whose group has pushed for bans around the U.S.

Virginia is considering a ban, Minter said, and the issue could also come up this year in Texas and Kentucky.

READ MORE: Calgary city committee moves forward with steps to ban conversion therapy

The change in Utah comes after the state hammered out a regulatory rule that had the support of the influential Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Leaders had opposed a previous version because it didn’t have certain exceptions for clergy.

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Republican Gov. Gary Herbert took the unusual step of calling on regulators after a proposed law was derailed by changes made by conservative lawmakers. State officials confirmed the rule became final late Tuesday.



The original sponsor of the proposal, GOP Utah Rep. Craig Hall, applauded the rule going into effect, saying in a statement that it prohibits dangerous practices while protecting health-care professionals.

“This measure will truly save lives,” he said.






Calgary city councillors lobby for ban on conversion therapy


Calgary city councillors lobby for ban on conversion therapy

Conversion therapy is a practice used to try to change sexual orientation or gender identity.

Many people who have been through it say it deepened feelings of depression and increased thoughts of suicide. The new rule bans Utah therapists from subjecting LGBTQ2 minors to the practice that the American Psychological Association has said is not based in science and is harmful to mental health.

Still, the ban has drawn pushback in Utah. Opponents argued it would prevent parents from getting help for children with “unwanted” gay feelings and keep therapists from even talking about sexuality with their kids.

The rule could become an issue during the 2020 legislative session.

READ MORE: Could Calgary ban conversion therapy?

Utah’s predominant faith, known widely as the Mormon church, opposes same-sex marriage and teaches that intimate same-sex relationships are a sin. But it also urges members to be kind and compassionate to LGBTQ2 people.

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The religion holds tremendous influence in Utah, where the majority of state lawmakers and nearly two-thirds of the state’s 3.1 million residents are members.

The faith got behind the conversion therapy ban after supporters included assurances that church leaders and members who are therapists would be allowed to provide spiritual counselling for parishioners or families.




© 2020 The Canadian Press






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21Jan

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.






How good are plant-based diets for the environment?


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.

READ MORE: Should you switch careers? What you need to know before taking the plunge

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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21Jan

The best time to buy things in 2020: You love to shop, so why not get the best deal? – National

by BBG Hub

If you’re a savvy shopper, chances are you like scoring a serious deal.

But between Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Boxing Day and Travel Tuesday, it can be hard to know exactly when the best time is to make a purchase.


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So when is it a good time to buy a new phone or book that vacation?

Here, experts share their shopping tips so consumers can get the best deal possible.

Laptops, cell phones and technology

It may feel as if a new cell phone model comes out every week, but knowing the product cycle of a brand can help you save money.

Sylvain Sénécal, a marketing professor at HEC Montréal, said manufacturers often have sales around the time of a new product release. These vary based on brand, but he gives the example of Apple iPhones: when a new model comes to market, older models are often slightly discounted.

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“Maybe some retailers also have [older] products left over, so they will discount those products,” he said.

New models of electronics often come out in October or early November, personal finance and travel expert Barry Choi said. If you can hold off on buying a device as soon as it’s released, you can often get a deal on Black Friday, which is in late November.






Tips for Thrift Store Wardrobe Shopping


Tips for Thrift Store Wardrobe Shopping

“I knew that Google always had a sale on Black Friday, so I didn’t buy their new Pixel phone on launch day,” Choi said. “I waited a month and a half and I was right: it was $250 off.”

Plus, most manufacturers often scale back on deals until big shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Sénécal added. This means if a TV or speaker is going to go on sale, your best bet outside of old-model sales is on these days.

“We won’t see many big discounts from brands because they’re waiting for that moment; they know that people will shop seriously during these specific days,” he said.

“There’s no need to put out discounts just before.”

Appliances

Sénécal said new appliances are often brought to the market in the fall.

This means manufacturers will often mark down existing models to make room for new ones during this time, resulting in discounts for consumers who are happy with an older make.

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Choi said you can often still score deals from brands like LG in January and February.

“If you want a discount on older models you can get a deal because a lot of merchants are trying to push out their inventory,” he explained.

Gym memberships

Gyms and workout studios will often offer new clients deals before the new year, but Choi suggests waiting until January or February before taking advantage of deals.

The reason? Many people pay for memberships in early January before discovering how often they will actually use the gym, which can be a bad financial decision.

Instead of signing up for a year-long membership on Jan. 1, try the gym or workout studio for a month to see if you like it, Choi said. Come February, you’ll know if the purchase is worth it.








How to understand your money and get a grip on your finances


How to understand your money and get a grip on your finances

“If you give it that month, six weeks, then you really get a good idea and know if you’re committed,” Choi said.

Flights and travel packages

You don’t need to book a vacation a year in advance in order to get a discount. Choi says if you’re looking for a tour, booking a season ahead is often enough for a better rate.

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For a summer tour, start searching in the spring. Likewise, any fall tours should be booked in the summer.

When it comes to airfares, Choi says airlines have sales throughout the year. By subscribing to airline newsletters, you can be notified as soon as a seat sale is happening.

“Airlines always have different deals, like Boxing Day, Blue Monday — but those are one-day events,” he said.


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Travel companies like G Adventures, however, often have sales during specific times of the year, including in January.

“Companies such as Air Canada Vacations, Sunwing [packages], they both frequently have discounts at this time of the year where you can save anywhere from 20 to 50 per cent off depending on where you want to go and what type of property you’re looking for,” Choi said.

The more flexible you are with your travel dates and location, the better. Choi said if you have a specific date in mind, like March break, you’re less likely to score a deal.

“If you’ve got some flexibility, you’ll be able to save money in some way.”

Winter clothing

Winter clothing can go on sale as early as Black Friday, but nearly every retailer clears out cold-weather gear starting on Boxing Day.

Choi said these deals often extend into February and March, meaning you can still get discounts well into the new year.

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Money123: How to build credit from scratch

The problem with waiting until January, however, is that stock is typically low. This means your clothing size may sell out in December, so waiting to save a bit more money on a further markdown will be useless.

Choi said it’s best to buy winter clothing as soon as it’s reduced so you get what you need.

Late December and early January is also a great time to buy any winter sporting equipment, he said. This can include skis, snowboards and skates.

“A lot of merchants are again trying to clear them out as they’re trying to bring in bikes for the spring,” he said. “They want to get rid of the excess stock, and of course, that means big discounts.”

Holiday decorations

Come Dec. 26, Christmas-related items typically go on sale. These include wrapping paper, decor and holiday-themed gift sets.


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The same goes for other holidays, like Valentine’s Day or Easter, when retailers clear out candy, gifts and cards.

Choi previously told Global News that anything a store has overstocked for the holidays is a good option as well, which could include clothing, toys, video games or electronics from big box stores.

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“Quite often, you see big sales on those items because they’re just trying to clear everything out that they didn’t sell for over the holidays.”

Pro tips

For online shopping, Choi suggests using a browser extension like Honey or Dealhack. These tools scan the internet for deals and promo codes and automatically apply relevant discounts to your purchase.






Money123: Retail tactics that get you spending


Money123: Retail tactics that get you spending

You can also sign up for retailers’ newsletters to get notifications when they are having sales, Choi said. Sometimes brands will even send out discount codes to subscribers or special offers.

Sénécal warns, however, not to get too spend-happy on days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. While you can certainly score some great deals, many items won’t be marked down as significantly as the select, promoted products are.

“The idea is to attract consumers with a couple of these big deals, but obviously there’s a limited quantity of these items,” Sénécal said.

“People go and visit the store or the website to look for that specific product, but then if it’s not available anymore, they still see all these exciting deals. So maybe they’ll settle for the second-best option that’s 30 per cent off, not 60.”

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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20Jan

The biggest lawsuits filed by the royal family — from planted cameras to leaked nudes

by BBG Hub

In October, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle launched a lawsuit against U.K. newspaper the Mail on Sunday and its parent company, Associated Newspapers.

The royals claim the paper committed a misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018 when it printed a private letter reportedly written by Meghan to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.

Shortly after, Prince Harry launched another formal legal claim against two other U.K. tabloids over alleged phone hacking.

READ MORE: Meghan Markle’s estranged father accuses her of ‘cheapening’ royal family

“Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences — a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son,” Prince Harry said in an official statement published to the Sussexes’ website in 2019.

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It continues: “There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behaviour, because it destroys people and destroys lives. Put simply, it is bullying, which scares and silences people. We all know this isn’t acceptable, at any level. We won’t and can’t believe in a world where there is no accountability for this.”






Prince Harry breaks silence on decision by him and Meghan step back from Royal roles


Prince Harry breaks silence on decision by him and Meghan step back from Royal roles

The question in these lawsuits, said Vancouver lawyer Rose Keith, is whether Meghan Markle had a “reasonable expectation of privacy” when she wrote that letter to her father.

“Our understanding of privacy and our experience of privacy has changed from 20 years ago, [because of platfirns like] social media,” said Keith.

What could happen in Harry and Meghan’s lawsuit

Keith admits the U.K. processes are different than those in Canada, but she predicts a number of factors would affect the outcome of the suit, regardless of location.

“One of them is whether the person [Meghan was communicating with] is in a position of trust,” she said. “If I were communicating with my parents, I would have an expectation of privacy in that situation.”

READ MORE: Prince Harry speaks out about decision to step back from royal roles with ‘great sadness’

Were this the argument made by Harry and Meghan’s legal counsel, the defense may argue that “[Meghan] would have no expectation of privacy in those circumstances because she’s estranged from her father,” said Keith.

Meghan Markle’s status as a public figure of interest could also come into play.

In law, there are two different standards: an objective standard and a subjective standard. The former is the reasonable person in that person’s circumstances, and the latter is the person’s personal feelings on things.

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Prince Harry and Meghan drop royal duties and HRH titles


Prince Harry and Meghan drop royal duties and HRH titles

“If you’re a public figure, what objectively do you think a reasonable person would expect in terms of privacy?” said Keith. “I still think that Meghan, in writing to her father, would have an expectation of privacy, but I don’t know all the factors.”


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Although the subject matter of these lawsuits is certainly unique, this isn’t the first time members of the royal family have made legal claims against media and other corporations.

“There is a history of members of royal families around the world being involved in court actions against certain parts of the media, said Edward J.T. Wang, a Vancouver-based lawyer and royal commentator.

Other lawsuits filed by royalty

In 1993, the U.K. tabloid the Daily Mirror published photographs of the late Princess Diana exercising at a gym, taken on a hidden camera.

“The Daily Mirror apologized, paid £200,000 to charity and £1,000,000 towards the Princess’s legal fees,” said Wang. “The gym owner refused to settle but finally did a week before the trial was going to begin [in 1995].”

In 2004, Her Royal Highness the Princess of Hanover (born Her Serene Highness Princess Caroline of Monaco) obtained a judgement from the European Court of Human Rights condemning the German Constitutional Court for allowing publication of certain pictures.






Prince Harry, Meghan won’t use HRH titles, will no longer be working members of royal family


Prince Harry, Meghan won’t use HRH titles, will no longer be working members of royal family

“The European Court said there had been no ‘legitimate interest’ in the princess’s private life and that there was a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights,” said Wang.

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In 2012, the French magazine Closer and the Italian magazine Chi published photographs of Kate Middleton sun-bathing topless while on vacation in France at a chateau privately owned by then-Viscount Linley (now the Earl of Snowdon).

“In September [of the same year], the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge filed criminal complaints in France for invasion of privacy,” Wang said. “This led to a trial and the conviction of six people related to the magazines, as well as fines of €100,000 against the magazine Closer, and €45,000 each against the owner of the magazine and the editor.”

The royal family’s evolving relationship with the media

For a long time, before the advent of social media and the 24/7 news cycle, the royal family was able to make “quiet arrangements” with the press, said royal historian Carolyn Harris.

The U.K. media would be willing to avoid certain topics in exchange for privileged access to royal events.

One example is the abdication crisis of 1936, when the British press kept quiet about King Edward VIII’s relationship with American socialite Wallis Simpson.

READ MORE: Prince Harry, Meghan will no longer be working members of the royal family

“That is, until it became a constitutional crisis with the abdication,” said Harris. “In contrast, the American press was much more willing to cover the story of this growing relationship. In some ways, Canadians knew about this before the British did.”

Now, news spreads to all corners of the globe so quickly that the royal family lacks leverage, making it more difficult to keep private matters out of the hands of the media.

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“Some previous means which the royal family used to manage the press simply do not work in the modern day, as was possible in the past,” Harris said.






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Who foots the bill for Harry and Meghan’s security in Canada?

Harris wonders if it was the first ever royal family documentary — initiated by Prince Philip and filmed in 1969 — that was a turning point for the monarchy.

“The question now is whether the 1969 royal family documentary was simply in keeping with the times, making the royal family more relevant, or whether they opened the door to further invasive press coverage in the future,” she said.

“The documentary is now seen as rather embarrassing; it’s not shown in public.”

READ MORE: The Swedish, Spanish and more: Getting to know royalty around the world

Now, Harris thinks it will be very difficult for members of the royal family to maintain their privacy, “simply by how quickly news stories and photographs travel once they appear on the internet,” she said.

“It can be very difficult to ensure that they could get photos to disappear [once they’re on the internet], a challenge that William and Catherine faced in their lawsuit relating to events in the south of France early in their marriage.”

It will be much more difficult for new generations of the royal family to control what’s printed about them, said Harris — something Harry and Meghan know all too well.

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— With files from Global News’ Meaghan Wray

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






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20Jan

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

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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19Jan

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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