You choose whether to be happy or miserable

Imagining that someone else has all the luck and opportunity slowly eats away at our mental strength and resourcefulness

You choose whether to be happy or miserableMy daughter has a Facebook friend whose life seems perfect. She lives in a gorgeous house, has a really rewarding career, and she and her family go on all kinds of exciting adventures. No matter where they are or what activity they’re involved in, the whole family appears carefree and joyful! This friend is constantly…

Talking to my elders about coping with anxiety

When crisis strikes, I instinctively wonder if there are any parallels and guidance I can take from my elders’ lives

Talking to my elders about coping with anxietyThere’s no shortage of anxiety right now. The reasons are ample: little children are aware of the climate change crisis; adolescents are boldly marching with Greta Thunberg to draw attention to the need to decarbonize our world; for months, financial analysts have been speculating on when the great stock market boom would end; the job…

The benefits of letting go of stuff

There’s no U-Haul behind the hearse to carry it all anyway

The benefits of letting go of stuffNearly 25 years ago, I declared a war on stuff. I was helping to clean out the house of a favourite relative who had died and there were moments when the sheer volume of stuff threatened to overwhelm us. Everything had to go, right down to the last nail in the shed. It was then…

Cookies and the meaning of life

Cookies and funerals remind us that our lives are greater than our physical presence in the here and now

Cookies and the meaning of lifeI do not enjoy attending funerals. And yet, I frequently come away from a funeral feeling peaceful and uplifted, in a subdued sort of way. A well-celebrated funeral puts me in touch with humanity, and reminds me that each life has a transcendent meaning. As a funeral I once attended illustrates, the transcendent meaning of…

The ritual and love of Christmas at Skelhp

Whales, glorious sunsets, warming fires, close-knit family, a hand-cut tree, elaborate toasts – and plaid!

The ritual and love of Christmas at SkelhpThe humpback whales were still breaching and blowing as we crossed by ferry from Little River to Powell River on our way back to Skelhp after a week with friends. In mid-December, the big ocean visitors begin their travels south, and once again the local orcas and sea lions become the dominant residents of the…

Are you one plum pudding away from a Christmas meltdown?

The pre-Christmas preparation can turn the jolliest of elves into Scrooges

Are you one plum pudding away from a Christmas meltdown?I have a holiday cocktail napkin that reminds me to keep a sense of humour during the busy weeks leading up to Christmas Day. The napkin depicts a spotless 1950’s kitchen where a mother and daughter are preparing to take Christmas dinner out of the oven. The little girl looks excited about the feast ahead,…

In a world of buzzword parenting, what’s a parent to do?

Well-known risk factors undermine children’s health and development, but there are protective factors you can employ

In a world of buzzword parenting, what’s a parent to do?Helicopter parenting. Tiger parenting. Free-range parenting. These are buzzwords we hear all the time that are supposed to describe the ‘best’ approaches for parents to take raising their children. We all want the best for our children, and parents happily and eagerly adopt the latest, greatest advice. Even governments enact legislation that promotes one approach…

Cool the hype around genetics and health care

We are a long way from identifying definitive biomarkers to illness and personalized gene therapies are likely generations away

Cool the hype around genetics and health careBy Nicole Letourneau and Suzanne Tough University of Calgary Genetics will save the day – that’s the message you see constantly in the media and even in academic literature. But it's a message that can distract us from providing quality care now. Newspapers herald breakthroughs in finding genetic biomarkers for autism. Magazines trumpet finding a…

Children of Morta full of fun, despite sloppy narrative

Video game review: In this roguelike game, you take on the role of not one hero but an entire family

Children of Morta full of fun, despite sloppy narrativeChildren of Morta Developer: Dead Mage PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One The gameplay in Children of Morta really shines. It's fast, fun, satisfying and continually fresh. Unfortunately, that exposes the shaky story and weak world-building of this new game. In Children of Morta, you take on the role of not one hero but an entire family, the…

Talk is not cheap, but it can save your marriage

Resentment over wrongs, disagreements over the kids and financial worries can be breeding grounds for some of the worst adult behaviour

Talk is not cheap, but it can save your marriageThey loved each other so much. Everyone thought they were a perfect couple. Of all the couples in their circle, they definitely had the advantage, communicating so well with each other. That’s what we all thought – until they got divorced! When that perfect couple is at an impasse, why start fighting like children? Communication…

Farm industry upheaval brings a way of life to an end

Prairie towns and villages are becoming relics of the past. Formerly bustling main streets are lined with boarded-up businesses, inhabited by aging retirees who carry the memories of a bygone era

Farm industry upheaval brings a way of life to an endWhat do you think is Canada’s riskiest business? Childhood on our family farm taught me the answer to that question. Despite years of heartbreaking disappointments, my father was a perfect example of the adage “hope springs eternal.” Each spring, he would sing happily on our tractor while seeding wheat, barley and oats. Then we hoped…

Caregivers don’t need a pat on the back; they need more support

Governments must begin to accept their responsibility to improve caregivers access to support services and patient care resources

Caregivers don’t need a pat on the back; they need more supportAre you aware of the significant contributions that family caregivers make to society? In 2012, eight million Canadians – 25 per cent of the population! – provided care and 2.2 million Canadians received that care in their homes – most often from family. In 2009, the estimated value of family care was more than $25…

Siblings who become caretakers often lack adequate support

Individuals with developmental disabilities live longer than ever and that means the responsibility for care is shifting to siblings

Siblings who become caretakers often lack adequate supportA combination of better medical care and good lives in the community mean longer life expectancies for individuals with a developmental disability. That’s good news. But many are outliving their parents, who have taken care of them over their lifetimes. Once parents are no longer able to provide the same level of support or care,…

Families are key members of patients’ hospital care teams

Wards are staffed based on caring for a sick but otherwise self-sufficient patient population. The reality is patients need family caregivers in the hospital

Families are key members of patients’ hospital care teamsFamily care is a key part of hospital care, so let's start talking about it that way. When a loved one is admitted to hospital, family caregivers want to offer comfort and support at the bedside. But in order to perform their healing role, they need to be recognized as key members of the hospital…
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