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Understanding Ontario’s Film Classification System

You have probably seen ratings symbols appearing on movie posters and ads in Ontario newspapers, but do you know what they mean? Previously known as the Ontario Censor Board, the Ontario Film Authority was first established in 1920. While the board became rather notorious in the ‘70s and ‘80s for censoring or banning movies that were passed intact in other parts of Canada, the practice of cutting and rejecting movies mainly only happens now with explicit pornography containing violent or degrading sequences.

The OFA’s mission is to serve primarily as an information service. They accomplish this in two ways: classification and information pieces.

In Ontario, movies can receive the following classifications:

Ratings have two important purposes. They provide viewers with an advance idea of the film’s content, which allows them to make an informed choice about the movies they see. Classifications also restrict films with more mature content to viewers the board feels would be old enough to understand what is being shown and not be traumatized by it.

An increasing number of adults favour being allowed to choose what they watch. Rating movies instead of cutting or banning them is a preferable alternative that allows those of legal age to view what they wish in the form the filmmakers intended.

Another aid provided by the OFA is information pieces. These are content warnings included with a film’s advertising alongside the rating. Each classification has set parameters for what is permissible within that rating regarding adult language, sexual content, violence, nudity, and horror. If the film’s content strays beyond those parameters, but not enough to warrant a stricter classification, the warnings provide advance notice of this to patrons. Some of the warnings employed are Coarse Language, Graphic Violence, Sexual Content, Nudity, Frightening Scenes, Gory Scenes, Disturbing Content, Language May Offend, Tobacco Use, Substance Abuse, and Not Suitable for Young Children.

Shake Off That Christmas Gloom

It may seem odd to be sad at Christmas, arguably the most joyous time of the year for many. However, it can and does happen for a lot of people. If you’re reading this post, I’ll assume that you fall into this category and are hoping for a positive change in the 2017 season. I can’t guarantee you will go through the entire holiday without any despair at all, but the following tips helped me feel more grounded and they can work for you, too.

Unrealistic Expectations

Many of us are taught from childhood that Christmas celebrations are guaranteed to be the happiest time of the year. If something goes wrong, it simply must be your fault.

Life is not the same as you see in movies, and neither is Christmas. Things will go wrong, people will fight, food will turn out badly, people will give and receive awful gifts, etc. Christmas is basically everyday life with an extra glossy coat of paint and more types of unhealthy food to choose from.

Comparing is a Loser’s Game

How often do you compare your life with that of other people? How often do you feel better following those comparisons? We’ll bet the answer is not very often.

Everyone is on a different journey and at a different stage of their life, so comparisons make no sense. Some people make a point of announcing just how happy and blessed they feel this time of year…probably because they just think they should. It doesn’t mean much in the end, so don’t feel bad when your Christmas doesn’t measure up.

Keep Up Healthy Habits

Sure, it’s fine to eat and drink a bit too much this time of year. However, try to continue eating properly the rest of the time, and keep getting that daily 20-30 minutes of exercise.

Lose That Cold Quickly So You Can Enjoy the Holidays!

Nobody likes getting a cold. In fact, on the scale of the Worst Things That Happen in Winter, colds rank only slightly higher than sliding off the road into a ditch. As of this writing, it is only a month until Christmas, so we are very much into the cold and flu season now. Being sick over the holidays not only ruins things, it makes friends and family want to keep their distance from you!

So, what can you do? There is no magical pill that will make a cold go away, so they have to run their course. However, there are ways you can help to speed up that process.

Fluids, Fluids, and More Fluids

When you are feeling sick, about the only liquids you want to ingest are coffee to help you stay conscious and, maybe, some hot decongestant mixture. However, you should not only maintain your regular daily dose of water, but heighten it. Keeping hydrated helps to not only fight congestion, but allows your body to function as best it can, a key in helping you clear the virus faster. BTW, that coffee is actually dehydrating you, so stick to things like water, orange juice, and herbal tea.

Humidity

It can get remarkably dry indoors during the winter, which is ironic considering all of that frozen water making life hell outside. Dry air just makes a cold seem even more tiresome. Use a humidifier to moisten the air as this can also help to break up decongestion.

Medication

Speaking of relief from congestion (and all of the unpleasantness that comes with it), you can visit your doctor for a prescription or use one of the many over-the-counter offerings available from your local pharmacy. This can also help reduce the headaches and other pain that colds induce. Be sure to read the directions and do not overmedicate yourself; that won’t make you feel better any faster. If anything, it will simply cause you more problems. Gargling with salt water can help to relieve sore throats.

Stay in Bed

Nobody wants to work when they feel sick, but people often haul themselves into the office anyway because they don’t want to get behind or have no sick days left. This is a bad idea because you can not only infect co-workers, but you are probably also prolonging the length of your illness.

You’re sick, so take advantage of the legitimate excuse to stay home and rest. Binge watch some shows, read a book, or simply do nothing at all.

Feeling Out of Sorts?

Do you usually have no shortage of drive and energy, but things have just not been same lately? If this is becoming the norm for you, something is likely up. Have a read through the following, which might explain why you are feeling off:

Exercise

Humans function the best when they are active. We should have at least 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity per day. Have you fallen off of the exercise wagon? Try to exercise more because both brain and body will benefit.

Sleep

Are you getting the same amount of sleep? Some people pride themselves on being able to function with little sleep, but it’s really not wise. At the very least, your performance will suffer and your body will also not be at its peak. You really need at least eight hours of sleep per night, so make whatever changes are necessary to make this possible.

Weight

One reason you may feel tired is that there is now more of you to lug around. The heavier you are, the more you have to work. That means you need more energy to do anything and everything. Eat right and exercise, and you will lose weight and definitely notice the benefits. It will also prolong the health of your heart, circulation, and other functions.

Breakfast

Are you taking the time to have a nutritious breakfast every morning? It really is the most important meal of the day. Make room in your schedule to have it at the beginning of every day, whether you are going to work or just lazing around the house.

Depression

In addition to recurrent feelings of sadness, one of the hallmarks of depression is a loss of energy and purpose. See your family doctor and, if that does not, produce an answer, consider making an appointment with a mental health professional.

How to Dispose of Your Old Medications

When we receive a prescription from a doctor, it is customary for us to continue taking the pills until they are gone, even if we start to feel better a few days in. However, many people do not follow that advice and they end up with half-finished bottles of pills. These then sit in their medicine cabinets sometimes for years on end. Some like to hold onto these pills so they can just use them the next time they get sick. However, medications do not last forever. Some of them lose their potency, and thus their use, over time. Some others become toxic and should not be used at all past a certain point.

OK, have we now convinced you that you should take all of your pills? That means it is now time to get rid of the old ones. However, do not flush them down the toilet or throw them in the garbage. Old drugs must be disposed of in a certain fashion for safety reasons.

Drugs flushed down the loo end up in rivers, with that water then sent to treatment plants. While the water coming into your house has been treated for your safety, these processes do not catch and remove pharmaceutical drugs. Thus, the medications you are flushing away will end up in someone’s water. Or fish and other animals that live in or near water. Even though diluted, they can still have a negative effect.

You are probably thinking, well, I’ll just throw them in the garbage then. Wrong — pills and capsules melt when exposed to moisture and that can end up as runoff that goes into rivers and you have the same problem again.

Fortunately, the answer is quite easy. Get all of your outdated and unused medications and bring them to your local pharmacy. They will dispose of them in a proper and safe manner at no cost to you.

Tired of Being Shy? Try These Tips!

Would you describe yourself as being a shy person? There are many introverts in the world and some find it challenging to be comfortable around certain individuals or groups. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that, though it can make life a bit more complicated and difficult.

Are you tired of being shy? Would you like to be a bit more outgoing and talkative with strangers? If so, try out the following suggestions:

Look people in the eye

In some cultures, eye contact is considered rude. However, in the West, it is a show of respect. Certain shy people have trouble maintaining eye contact with others, but it is a necessary skill when it comes to feeling comfortable in social and work situations.

Try maintaining eye contact with people you are already comfortable with. Watch the rhythms; staring at someone nonstop can be creepy and inappropriate. You will learn through doing to know when eye contact is appropriate and when it is fine to occasionally look away.

Test and experiment

If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable in groups, think of occasions where you can dip your toe into the water. These should be low stakes; in other words, if you feel uncomfortable, getting up and leaving does not matter. Try these a few times and you will gradually become more and more comfortable spending time with groups of people.

See a therapist

Being shy is not a psychiatric condition, though extreme versions of it (eg. being so intimidated that you do not ever leave your home) do exist. If you feel that your shyness is an extreme case, it is a good idea to talk about it with a therapist. They will have a number of ideas on how you can start to feel more comfortable and overcome this challenge once and for all.

Some Tips on How to Keep Your Cool

Do you blow your top? Flip your lid? Raise the roof? We will wager that even the calmest Buddhist monks lose their temper once in a while. Everyone gets mad, but the question is how often you do it and whether the anger is valid. As adults, we should be able to moderate our emotions so that we do not flip out over things that are not worth getting upset about. However, thanks to a number of different reasons, some people get angry on a regular basis. This can do considerable damage to both their physical and mental health, as well as their ability to interact with friends, coworkers, and loved ones.

Do you have trouble keeping a cool head? There are some things that can help:

Know when to walk away

The next time you feel your blood boiling, take a step back. It is impossible to come up with a rational solution to a problem when you are very upset. Walk away from the situation and come back to it when you are feeling calmer.

Get some exercise

Exercise causes the creation of “feel-good” endorphins, chemicals that are a byproduct of physical activity. These also help to calm you down and make you feel more serene. So you are not only doing a good thing for your body, but also for your mind.

Do not hold a grudge

If you are involved in a situation and things ultimately did not work out, try to just let it go. Holding onto a grudge is a recipe for periodic bouts of anger.

See a therapist

There are therapists out there who specialize in helping people who cannot control their temper. The therapist will meet with you, discuss your problem, and come up with ways to help you stay calmer and more balanced.

Is Interpersonal Communication in Decline?

Chances are you have seen it, and even perhaps recently: several people sitting at a table looking at their phones and not talking to each other. A couple decades ago, a scene like that would probably only be imaginable in a science fiction movie. However, it is depressingly familiar now.

If you like people watching, it is a lot less interesting these days because half the people who go by are just looking at their phones. It is like we are turning into an army of zombified clones.

Ironically, cellphones were supposed to make communication easier. They have succeeded in that respect to some degree; when was the last time you had to run around looking for a payphone? However, when smartphones came along and made it possible to browse the Internet, your phone’s purpose suddenly took on a whole new dimension.

It is no longer just a phone, but a small computer that you carry with you at all times. Smart phones became the centre of entertainment for many people and led to a new form of addiction. How many times a day do you look at your smart phone? You might be rather horrified to hear the number.

One result that is clear is that interpersonal communication is in decline. People spend so much time now looking at screens, the old tradition of “let us get together for coffee sometime” has morphed into “let us get together at the coffee shop, sit at the same table, but say virtually nothing to each other.”

Some people now communicate only by texting, even when they and the recipient are in the same home. That has further led to a significant decline in the quality of conversation because people get sick of typing words that have more than four or five characters. It is a sad state of affairs that is likely to continue getting worse.

How to Deal With Difficult Clients

Talk candidly with any business owner and they will likely have a view of clients somewhere along the lines of “cannot live with them, cannot live without them.” It is true that clients are the lifeblood of many businesses, but that does not mean that the relationship between each side is always a smooth one.

Are you struggling with a particularly difficult client? Here are some things you can try that might help:

Consider your approach

Sometimes what you say is not always as important as how you say it. When trying to smooth over any conflict, the remedy is always important, but how you present it can also make a major difference. Think about your past dealings with this client, what did and did not work, and go from there.

Think about your reputation

There are no doubt some clients who you would like to tear strip off of, but think about the possible repercussions of such a drastic action. If you go scorched-earth on someone, it can prompt them to badmouth you throughout your industry. That can lead to serious reputation problems and possible loss of business. Think seriously about whether it is worth it; chances are, it is not. Take it was a learning experience and move on.

Make sure you do the homework

When trying to work out a situation, make sure you take the time to have all of the details and know them inside and out. The fact that you are being this thorough demonstrates to the client that you care about their business and are sincere about fixing the situation.

Admit your mistakes

If the problem arose from a mistake on your end, it is important to own up to it. Trying to fob the blame off on the client will just make the situation even worse and possibly irreparable.

Warning Signs That You Might be Experiencing Depression

Depression can strike any of us. Regardless, there is still an unfortunate stigma attached to this condition which can prevent people from seeking help. While depression is an increasingly common diagnosis, many people still adhere to the old stereotype that depression is a form of insanity. This is not correct and not fair.

Do you think you might be suffering from depression? Here are some warning signs:

Compromised Brain Functions

Do you usually pride yourself on having an excellent memory? Depression can cause both long and short-term memory to be adversely affected.

Your concentration level may also not seem as good as usual. As a result, you might feel less sure of yourself and have trouble making decisions.

Low Energy

Are you usually the type of person who can’t wait to start the day, but you are now having trouble getting out of bed? Energy levels tend to drop due to depression.

Sleep Problems

People who normally get a sound sleep may find that they now have bouts of insomnia. Conversely, they may discover that they are sleeping longer, but not feeling any more rested.

Feeling Hopeless

Are you usually optimistic about life and your career, but now no longer see the bright side? Do you find there is nothing to look forward to in life?

Eating Problems

Are you now overeating, particularly “comfort foods,” in an attempt to make yourself feel better? Or are you no longer eating enough?

Physical Pain

In addition to mental anguish, depression can actually cause instances of physical pain, such as muscle aches and even headaches.

Thoughts of Suicide

Do you ever feel so despondent that you think about killing yourself? Is it just a passing thought or have you actually come up with a plan?

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please consider seeing a therapist to discuss your situation.