Relaxation is Important for Everyone

Are you the type of person who feels like you are always running a mile a minute? Modern life can be very fast-paced and unrelenting at times. Responsibilities pile up: work, children, extended family…it can often seem like there are no hours left in the day to do anything other than finish what needs to be done.

Such a pace and lifestyle can inevitably take a toll on a person. Humans weren’t designed to have such a frenetic life for extended periods. We all need to have some downtime in which we can recharge.

Do you find yourself never having enough time to relax? If this will help motivate you: it has important health benefits!

Accelerated Aging

You may be getting things done, but it might also be costing you your youth. Lack of adequate relaxation causes aging on a cellular level; relaxing helps to slow aging.

Heart Health

Constant stress and lack of relaxation often leads to high blood pressure, which is bad for your heart.

Mental Health

Our brains need to relax and re-charge. If are frequently on the go, or in a near-constant state of worry, you are more likely to develop debilitating conditions like anxiety disorder and depression.

Tension Headaches

Do you suffer from frequent headaches? There can be a number of reasons for this, but inadequate amounts of relaxation can also play a part.

Nausea

Do you find your stomach to be “tied in knots”? This is usually the result of stress and anxiety. Medication can help, but it is better to simply learn relaxation techniques that will allow you to calm down and feel better.

Insomnia

Can’t sleep? Lie in bed tossing and turning with your mind constantly turned on? Inadequate sleep is detrimental to your health and daily performance; relaxation can help to lull both mind and body into a state where you can get the quality sleep we all need.

Are Canada Geese Getting Out of Hand?

We see them all the time: a row of Canada geese slowly sauntering out into the road, while drivers in both lanes sit and fume while the birds inch across. The geese are also nearly ever-present in parks looking for insects and hissing or charging at anyone who gets too close to their babies or nests. If for some reason you don’t see a goose one day, you might well step in the fecal mess they leave behind.

The Canada Goose is one of our national symbols and a protected species (learn more about them here), but are less respected south of the border. In several areas of the United States, it is legal to hunt these geese out of season when the population is considered to be excessive.

Like most animals, Canada Geese are especially vigilant during nesting season and there are many reports of people being attacked, even though they were not intentionally disturbing nests. The birds have posed a continual problem at the University of Waterloo campus, which even has its own Goose Watch website, but they can be a much more serious threat to aircraft.

Most city-dwellers co-exist amiably with wildlife, but Canada Geese seem to be pushing their luck at times. Their aggressive tactics and damage potential exceed typical annoyances, like skunks and raccoons, in the eyes of some citizens. It’s not just on this side of the pond either; even some UK residents are saying they have had enough. Not everyone feels that way, however, and some are expressing distress over the way the birds are being culled.

What is your take? Have you ever almost had an accident in your car or on your bike because of Canada Geese? Do you find their feces to be a continual annoyance and do you worry about the associated health hazards?

Fire Safety Tips for Your Home

There have been some terrible fire tragedies in the news lately. In some cases, it was the fault of the building materials or other factors beyond the control of the residents. However, many fires result from situations or neglect inside the home that could have been avoided through due diligence.

Here are some fire safety tips for your own home. Take a few minutes to read the following and make any changes needed to help ensure the safety of everyone involved:

  • Smoke detectors. Make sure you have smoke detectors outside of each bedroom and on each level of the home (that includes the basement and attic). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing and cleaning the device. Check the batteries at least once a month and replace the unit every 5-10 years.
  • Fire extinguishers. These are a safety asset for any home. Make sure to buy one that has been approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. Also, choose a size that you can easily carry. The number on the unit indicates the amount of fire you can put out (the higher the number, the greater the amount).
  • Power cords. Make sure that cords are in good working order. Frayed cords can give a person a shock, and can also start fires. Also, make sure that any cords connected to devices that can cause harm or start a fire are not within the reach of children. Never break off the third prong of a plug so that it will fit an old outlet. Do not place extension cords under rugs or behind baseboards. Unplug any heat producing products when not in use.
  • Safe use of electrical products. Do not place heat-producing products near flammable materials. Make sure that lampshades are not too close to light bulbs. Never leave any cooking appliances unattended. Do not bring laptops or smartphones to bed with you because they contain lithium batteries that have the potential to ignite.

Should I Put in a Fire Pit?

There is something about camp fires. Even people who don’t like the camping experience will often talk fondly about the time they spent sitting around the fire. It is a great place to have lengthy, fulfilling conversations and almost everyone enjoys roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. Maybe it is because of some primordial connection to our ancient ancestors, but warming ourselves by an outdoor flame and also using it to cook just seem like basic activities for a human being.

Fire pits are a way you can enjoy this in your own backyard. They are quite inexpensive to build and can provide a wonderful place for you to finish off an evening with friends and family.

Fire pits can be permanent or portable; for our purposes, we will stick to the former. When choosing your stones, make sure to pick ones that can withstand the heat. Some stones will eventually splinter when subjected to such heat on a regular basis.

You can also choose between gas and wood. The former is convenient, but somehow not as traditional and welcoming. The downside is that you will need a good supply of firewood.

Check your local regulations when it comes to where you can place the fire pit. It must be a certain distance from your own home and that belonging to your neighbour(s). It just makes sense; sparks can sometimes travel on the wind and the last thing you want is for a roof to catch fire. Avoid pine and cedar as they tend to produce sparks.

It is also a good idea to have some outdoor lighting near the pit. The fire may be bright, but the area around it will remain dark. You don’t want people tripping and hurting themselves while on their way to or from the pit.

Remember to be patient when starting your fire. Never use flammable liquids!

Be Careful With Your Home Security Code

Home security services provide a welcome sense of relief for many homeowners. I know that if I plan to go away for certain period of time, there is little need to worry: if someone does break in, they will almost certainly set off the alarm and the police will be there soon.

However, your security system will not help you if someone outside the family knows the security code. This was recently made clear to neighbors of mine. The family (we’ll call them the Mitchells) went to Europe on a trip for four weeks, but their youngest son saw this as an opportunity to impress some girls at his job. This teen (we’ll call him Max) decided to give the family home code to these girls and told them to go ahead and use the house for a hangout.

I’m not sure how Max thought this would be a good idea. Well, clearly he didn’t think at all. Suffice to say it was not. The girls moved in and turned this expensive home into a party hangout. The Mitchells had asked friends a few streets over to occasionally check on the place, but these people had been busy and forgot for the first two weeks. By the time two of these friends stopped by, it was too late: the girls and their partners had been sleeping in the Mitchells’ bed, things were broken, there was food and spilled liquor on the upholstery, and cigar butts littered the floors.

The friends called the police and the teens were evicted, but the Mitchells’ privacy had been invaded to a terrible degree. Needless to say, Max was in big trouble and is grounded for the rest of the year.

So, learn from the Mitchells’ mistake: if you doubt whether your children can be trusted with the house code when you are not around, change it before you depart.