The importance of social connection in a time of isolation

Social isolation has become a defining feature of modern Western societies and there’s a growing concern about its effects

The importance of social connection in a time of isolationWhen people look back at this pandemic, they will remember many things, but perhaps most of all they will recall the changes in social behaviour. There’s the obsessive washing of hands, not touching our face, forgoing handshakes, hoarding toilet paper, wearing masks, working from home and, of course, social distancing – or, more accurately, physical…

Why baking is therapeutic in times of crisis

Arts and crafts provide healthy ways to deal with our disrupted daily lives, says U of A occupational therapist

Why baking is therapeutic in times of crisisBy Rob Curtis Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine University of Alberta There’s a good reason people are buying all the baking supplies in grocery stores and posting their freshly made bread, buns and desserts on social media as the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, says an occupational therapist and associate professor at the University of Alberta. “Engaging…

Taming the irrational beast called anger

When strong negative emotions kidnap the thinking brain, we become scarcely more coherent than a wild animal

Taming the irrational beast called angerYou may have seen a video recently of a man punching a fellow pedestrian who he felt took his photo without authorization. Once the video was released, the man came forward and apologized for what he called his uncharacteristic behaviour. Whether it’s a result of stress, the state of the world or a variety of…

Suffering from chronic pain? Don’t give up hope

Many people have ongoing pain where there is no obvious injury, or continue to have pain at the site of an injury long after it has healed

Suffering from chronic pain? Don’t give up hopeChronic pain impacts the lives of many Canadians every day. Thousands wake up every morning to pain, deal with it throughout the day and don’t even escape its clutches as they sleep. Neuropathic pain is a very common chronic condition that poses a challenge for doctors. It's the result of a primary lesion or dysfunction in…

Depressed after weeks of COVID-19 lockdown?

Entrepreneurs can feel extraordinary pressure. But there are steps you can take to find an emotional equilibrium

Depressed after weeks of COVID-19 lockdown?I was in a funk this week and couldn’t shake it. I was disillusioned, grumpy, lethargic. I was tired of being stuck with my family, sick of hearing the news repeat itself, worried about one of my investments and fed up with a lack of progress on some projects. At least one whole day was…

Human cost high from pandemic-driven joblessness

As government responds to COVID-19, it needs to think about the non-financial consequences of being out of work

Human cost high from pandemic-driven joblessnessGovernment needs to keep the non-monetary aspects of work in mind while supporting those rendered jobless by the COVID-19 pandemic. Concern about COVID-19 has ravaged Canada’s labour market. Staggering unemployment numbers and the number of applicants for federal aid for laid-off workers dominate headlines. The unprecedented effort to make up for lost wages has been admirable and…

Women are twice as likely as men to experience mood disorders

Not only are women more likely to have a mood disorder, but women experience different symptoms than men

Women are twice as likely as men to experience mood disordersAlmost anyone can attest to the fact that men and women are different in many ways. Scores of books – which have achieved varying degrees of success and acclaim – have been published that attempt to quantify and explain the differences. In the field of psychiatry, gender differences are an important phenomenon as men and…

Campground cops could help us regain a simple summer pleasure

Campground cops could help us regain a simple summer pleasureMost springs, Canadians are overjoyed just to hear the words “sun” and “temperatures in the pluses.” But this year, they’ve been supplanted by one simple phrase: “We’re flattening the curve.” We are feeling cautious optimism that the very worst of the COVID-19 threat has passed, and that our country is beginning to gain some ground…

Is a hypochondriac faking it?

A hypochondriac is suffering a disorder of the mind rather than a disorder of the body

Is a hypochondriac faking it?Almost every physician has got one – the person who repeatedly comes in with a concern about having or getting a serious illness. They obsess about health related issues and behaviours and may frequently check their body for signs of illness. Physicians often complain these patients, with their unending problems, are a nuisance and clog…

Staying connected and building spirit in isolation

We’re living proof that people are naturally active and creative, when given the time. COVID-19 has given many of us that time

Staying connected and building spirit in isolationThe COVID-19 crisis has been a challenge for many of us. We’re used to interacting freely and going where we want to go. Now many of us are forced to work from home and others are not able to work at all. Our movement is limited, we have to practise social distancing and we’re constantly…

We need physical distance, not social distance 

Don’t let physical distancing make loneliness worse. Here are three tips to reduce isolation and increase connection

We need physical distance, not social distance The message is simple: Work from home, don’t meet in person – or if you must get together, keep your social distance! But as we increase our efforts to fend off the spread of COVID-19, we need to watch that we aren’t worsening another threat to public health: loneliness. The ‘loneliness epidemic’ has seen rates…

When the night is dark and full of terror

Worrying about the world isn’t fixing anything and it’s certainly hazardous to your emotional well-being. So redirect your thoughts and activities

When the night is dark and full of terror“The night is dark and full of terrors.” This phrase has been stuck in my head since I began binge-watching the series Game of Thrones. It’s a bit like getting a song stuck in your thoughts that just won’t go away. You find yourself humming it regardless of the tasks you’re attempting to do. This…

Those with ADHD need to speak out

Many people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) still find it very scary to talk about their struggles

Those with ADHD need to speak outYou may be surprised to know that many people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) still find it very scary to talk about their struggles, or even share that they have ADHD. Unfortunately, past experience has taught them that talking about their ADHD opens them up to a great deal of unsolicited advice and judgement…

Canada mishandling mental illness crisis

Thousands of patients are on wait lists. Meanwhile, the human and economic costs of mental illness keep rising

Canada mishandling mental illness crisisFor the past decade, Bell Canada has used the month of January to support awareness of mental health issues. Its extensive media campaigns have encouraged Canadians to talk openly about mental health and break the uncomfortable stigma that still tends to hover over such conversations. There’s plenty of data to document the prevalence of Canada’s…

Coping with panic attacks

Getting enough sleep and regular exercise and avoiding stimulants such as caffeine are among the effective treatments available for panic disorder

Coping with panic attacksPanic. Your heart races, palms sweat and body shakes. You feel as though you’re choking and losing your breath as a bout of dizziness overtakes you. This is out of control. Imagine feeling this way on a regular basis. People with an anxiety disorder called panic disorder experience recurring panic attacks – brief but intense…
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