Travelling Post Pandemic

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

Due to the worldwide pandemic, I was unable to travel to Italy with my family in September of 2020.  Italy has been hit hard by COVID-19 – over 4 million cases and at the time this blog was published, just under 130 thousand in my ancestral home lost their lives to the virus. The fact that my much-anticipated trip was postponed was nothing compared to the hardship the Italian people have endured. Like Italy, other popular tourist destinations have been hit hard by SARS CoV-2, but there are signs that the travel industry is getting ready for a comeback. 

While travel agents tell me that travel won’t be exactly the way it used to be, they insist that it will offer people the escape they need after months of feeling boxed in. Here are some trends industry insiders say they expect:

  • Personal travel – while travel is traditionally all about the destination, tourism experts now say the focus will be more on the individual and relationships. People will want to travel to visit friends and loved ones. Voluntourism and peace tourism will also be factors. Voluntourism is a form of tourism that allows travellers to do volunteer work in another country, usually for a specific charity. It enables the volunteer to connect with other people, make new friends, and give back. Peace tourism is also expected to be big. Peace tourism is a form of travel that is motivated by, and linked to, conflict resolution. Having gone through the stress of COVID, and in some cases, loss due to the virus, many people are seeking peace. The idea is that when people travel, it helps them meet new people and get to know new cultures, new values, and new ways of seeking solace.
  • New rules – in some cases it will not just be your traditional passport that is required; certain destinations may require a vaccination passport or certificate. Masks and social distancing will also be rules in many countries. 
  • Eco-tourism – research suggests that COVID-19 has forced many people to not only reflect upon human health, but also on the health of the planet. For this reason, the world’s top environmental experts predict that there will be a renewed focus on protecting the planet and trying to avoid further climate change. Travel agents believe this will also translate into more people being interested in eco-tourism. Eco-tourism is travel to natural areas that focus on environmental conservation. Such travel experiences tend to involve educational opportunities, like learning about the local wildlife.
  • Longer travel – taking a one or two-week vacation used to be typical, but that is expected to change. People are now talking about taking longer vacations. Those who have been working from home throughout the pandemic and won’t be returning to their actual company office anytime soon, will stretch their vacation and simply mix work with some play. Making sure the destination has available Internet and electrical needs for any office devices will have to be a top priority for these travellers if they have to do work from their vacation spot.
  • Staycation – while the desire to travel is not unusual given the world has been on lockdown, there are still a significant number of people who are nervous about travelling post pandemic. A lot of my friends have said they will enjoy a staycation this summer. For example, I have a friend who lives in Toronto, and she plans to travel to the east coast of Canada this summer as opposed to abroad.

Right now, many countries still have restrictions in place. In fact, some are still dealing with a third wave of COVID-19.  Guidance from the CDC in early June 2021 was to avoid non-essential trips. Today, there are still challenges associated with travelling, including the possibility that foreign countries could suddenly change restrictions, stranding travellers overseas.

Whether it’s a vacation or staycation, wherever you want to go this summer, remember to plan carefully and stay safe!

The Upside of Lockdown

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

Scientists and sociologists have played a big role in establishing a link between social relationships and health outcomes. Countless studies show that both short and long-term interactions have a positive impact on mental health, health behavior, and ultimately mortality risk. More people are now aware of this connection between social relationships and health due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and specifically lockdowns.

I don’t have to tell you all the downsides to having to live in a locked-down society, but what I do want to share is the upside of lockdown. I am not saying what works for me will work for you, but I felt my experiences were worth sharing.

Missing Dinner Parties?

I’m a social person so I miss my family, dinner parties, and outings with friends like many people do, and I have had days where I just want to scream, “Can this be over now please?”. However, when I started to look at the restrictions as an opportunity to capitalize on free time I didn’t have before, I found it easier.

Here’s what I’ve been up to during the various stages of the pandemic:

  • Meditation – No longer able to join my girlfriends for weekly group meditation sessions, I decided to look for opportunities online to continue to explore mindfulness. I discovered Palouse Mindfulness and the MBSR course they offered online for free. The program was founded by the well-respected Jon Kabat-Zinn, a retired professor from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. I know many of you are thinking if it is free, it can’t be that good. Well, that’s what I thought yet I still decided to give it a shot. So glad I did because I couldn’t have been more wrong. I completed the 8-week program and now I want to tell anyone who has the slightest interest in meditation about this course, especially those who are just starting out on their meditation journey. The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MSBR) meditation course is for those who are serious about the practice. I say this because there is homework, there are videos to watch, there is practice, practice, practice involved. To reap the full benefits, you simply can’t cut corners. For me, it took about an hour and a half each day, including weekends, to get through the videos, articles, worksheets, and practice sessions. I choose to do a lot of it in the evening but parts of it can be weaved into your day. For instance, some practices can be done while you are going on a walk outside or while doing the dishes and other household chores. A bonus is that when you submit all your work, you can get a certificate that is a pre-requisite for enrolling in other meditation courses. 
  • Sewing – At the beginning of the pandemic, I dusted off my late mother’s vintage sewing machine. When I was growing up, I could sew a little but nothing like my mom. The 1957 Singer was not operational, but I managed to get it into a repair shop before a complete lockdown. I remember the day I picked it up from the repairman at the curbside. I was so eager to use it; hoping it would become not only a good tool to pass time, but also bring back memories of my mother. My hopes have been fulfilled. I started out learning how to make masks and have managed to keep my family and some of my neighbours stocked with this form of PPE. I then moved on to combining my interest in protecting the environment with designing and creating women’s accessories. Over the last several months I have made tote bags and purses from old jeans, as well as iPad cases, eyeglass cases, scarves, eye-makeup remover pads, and other women’s accessories from recycled fabrics. It’s been a great creative outlet and feels good because I know my mom would be impressed. Okay, and maybe a little shocked. Note, I realize I am not the only one that’s gone crafty recently. For instance, check out Sam’s Custom Crochet. Samantha is a young woman with a career, but she has decided to develop this side-enterprise to pass the down-time during the pandemic.
Masks made on Vintage 1957 Singer Sewing Machine
  • Courses – As an extension of my interest in the environment, I decided I wanted to explore more about climate change, as well as the circular economy. I did some research and discovered that there are courses (again online) that you can take for a few hundred dollars that cover environmental studies. These courses are offered by some of the world’s most talked about institutions, like Harvard. In fact, the first course I took was on the “Health Impacts of Climate Change.” In my case, I had a bit of an advantage. In my role as a communications consultant (ktmlc.com), I have worked with environmental technology companies. Still, I learned a great deal. Once I was finished that course, I took another through a University in The Netherlands. It was on “Circular Fashion”. Again, I learned a lot and met new people from around the world. I am now searching for more courses to take.
  • Pets – I have been wanting to add another dog to our family for a while but never seemed to find the time to sit down and research breeds. I want to make sure whatever breed we choose is compatible with our sheltie. The pandemic gave me the time to start the research, not only online but on the street. Walking my dog has always been a priority, but the walks have become more frequent since the pandemic. Sometimes our little Sprite gets 3 walks in one day. On those walks it has been amazing how many passersby have dogs. You likely know that the pandemic has led to high demand for pets – and dogs are at the top of that list. This has meant that I have been able to see a variety of breeds at the puppy stage and ask the owners questions (from an acceptable distance). I have now narrowed it down to two breeds and I am on one waiting list so far. There is no guarantee I will get a pup anytime soon due to the overwhelming demand, but at least there is a chance now that I am on a list. Currently, I am trying to get on a waiting list for the other breed we are interested in. 

To summarize, the lockdown can give you time to do the things that you always put aside or that you feel you don’t have time for. There will be a day when we get back to some sort of normal and I can already hear people complaining that they are “rushed” off their feet and have “no time” to themselves. Now is our chance to take full advantage of the free time. 

Flaunting KrishLynn Designs

This is the section of Madaleno Magazine where we get to shamelessly flaunt a business that we really like. This blog features KrishLynn Designs.

KrishLynn Designs is a relatively new business venture that just happens to be the work of a very good friend of mine, Janice Lynn. While this may seem a little too close to home, I truly love this business for two main reasons, so I had to flaunt it. 

First and foremost, KrishLynn Designs caters to an under-served market – older women. Because we live in a world where fast-fashion dominates and where the market is trend-driven, older women have difficulty finding clothes that suit them. If you are 50+ you probably have been demanding more flattering styles and better fitting outfits. KrishLynn meets such demands.

Secondly, KrishLynn Designs cares about quality and convenience. When was the last time you wore something silky and were able to just toss it in the washing machine to clean it? That’s right, no hand washing required. After wearing the beautiful blue blouse in the image below just one time, I spilled some sauce on it, but after tossing it in the washing machine, the stain was gone – and the blouse looked as if I just got it out of the packaging it came in. 

Janice Lynn and her partner, Dr. Krishan Sachdeva, developed the line following many discussions about women’s clothing. While on a trip to his native India, Krishan took Janice to clothing manufacturers and looked at many different types of textiles. Janice Lynn always dreamed about designing her own line of women’s clothing, while Krishan who retired from his medical practice and surgical duties was looking for a new business venture to sink his teeth into. KrishLynn Designs was born shortly after that trip and has developed into a unique East meets West clothing line. 

While KrishLynn Designs is in its infancy and is a small clothing label, the designs can be purchased online, are sold at select boutiques, and will be on sale at the label’s own retail store, which is opening in Durham Region soon. 

How to Write Better Emails

Some people don’t give writing emails much thought. Marketing experts say it’s just so easy to quickly fire off a message. Over 306 billion email messages get sent every day, but how many get misinterpreted or fail to get any attention? One recent survey within the telecom industry suggests 65 percent get ignored. I would say it’s even more important to make sure you hit the right tone when communicating through email. After all, it is a lot harder to convey your meaning in a short email than it is with verbal cues. 

If you want to sound professional, have people understand you, and get quick responses to your messages then you should consider what makes a good email message.

Here are some tips on writing a better email:

  • Subject line – this can be the most important part of your message. Your subject line is what usually entices someone to open and read your email. On the other hand, a generic subject line like “Hi” or “Quick Question” can deter people from reading or result in your email landing in the spam folder. Spend as much time thinking about the subject line as you think about crafting the body of your message. In a future blog I will be discussing good email subject lines, including some great examples.
  • Opening – be polite. Include a quick, appropriate greeting to acknowledge the reader before getting into your main message. Of course, this doesn’t apply if you are part of an ongoing email chain.
  • Body – the body of your email should be clear and concise, so it doesn’t leave the reader guessing. The average businessperson receives about 90 emails each day so any messages that are wordy, convoluted, or aren’t well-formatted can get passed over. Structure your email with a lot of white space; keeping paragraphs two to three sentences in length. Offer up all pertinent information, such as contextual information, data, other people’s contact information, etc. to help avoid unnecessary back-and-forth. Try to emphasize one big idea. For example, “The one thing I need from you right now, is…” or “the main thing to keep in mind is…”
  • Delivering Criticism – be respectful when you are delivering any kind of criticism. For example, “Thanks for all your hard work. We are almost finished, but the final two pages of the report don’t feel quite complete. Here are a few adjustments I think we can make.”
  • Closing – just like you should start with a friendly greeting, you should end with a friendly sign-off. Some of the most common are “Thanks”, “Regards”, and “Best wishes”. When possible, end with words that the reader will really appreciate, such as “no rush with this”, or “this is for your information only. No action is required.”

Email has been a vital business tool for a long time; however, marketing studies show that it has also caused a lot of confusion and tension in the workplace.  A few extra minutes dedicated to writing email messages is therefore time well spent.

Flaunting – Glowing Ginger Sign Company

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

 

This is the section of Madaleno Magazine where we get to shamelessly flaunt a business that we really like. This blog features the Glowing Ginger Sign Company.

What do you get for someone who has everything? How about something personal. Glowing Ginger Sign Company offers an opportunity to create a personalized gift for someone special in your life.

Glowing Ginger Signs is a studio where you can hand-paint a beautiful wooden sign based on your own concept or on an idea that owner, Kimberly Silvestri offers up. Kimberly helps her customers every step of the way.

I had the opportunity to go to Glowing Ginger Signs with a group of girlfriends this past winter and we had a blast. First, I signed up about 10 ladies for a private class, then Kimberly reached out to each of us individually through email and phone to discuss what we wanted to make. She then created templates so that we were ready to get to work painting as soon as we arrived at the studio in Newmarket.

Kimberly is very welcoming, accommodating, and artistic. Oh, and kind too. On the day our group was in the Glowing Ginger studio, she made fresh popcorn for those of us who worked up an appetite.

Glowing Ginger offers scheduled and private workshops. Even those who are not artistically inclined walk away with amazing creations. You can see some of the various works of wood art on the studio’s website https://glowingginger.com or search for @glowingginger on Facebook.

My creation can be seen above. It says “welcome” in Norwegian and was a gift for my husband, to honor his ancestry. The other image is wood artwork by two of the ladies in our group.

It is also worth noting that if you like the signs, but would prefer not to do the painting yourself, you can simply order a custom sign from Kimberly and then go pick it up at her studio.

Glowing Ginger Signs is at 482 Ontario Street in Newmarket, Ontario.

Flaunting Thrift Shops

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

 

A Forbes article published late last year outlined how fast the fashion resale market is growing. In fact, it indicated that thrifting grew over 20 times faster than the traditional retail market between 2016 and 2019.

ThredUp, which is one of the world’s largest online thrift stores releases a consumer report every year. The San Francisco based company was about to release this year’s report on second-hand fashion when COVID-19 hit; however, I can tell you that last year’s data shows that consumers are becoming so environmentally conscious, they are gravitating more towards used items.

In Aurora Ontario, just 30 kilometers south of the city of Toronto, there are two stores worth checking out. Style Encore is located in the south end of the town in the Aurora Shopping Centre plaza. The plaza has a long history, having served residents in the town and surrounding communities since 1961. Style Encore just opened in 2019. The shop carries well-known brands for up to 70 percent less than the original price. Those brands include  Chico’s, Anne Taylor, Nine West, Ralph Lauren, and Wilfrid to name a few. One of the nice features of the store is that while they have a ton of clothing, they also carry a lot of accessories. As busy as this store gets, I have never had to wait long for a dressing room, and I find the staff very accommodating.

Unlike consignment stores, Style Encore pays cash on the spot for items. Keep in mind, clothing has to be current style, in good condition, and freshly laundered.

Just a five-minute drive away from Style Encore you will find The Millionaire’s Daughter on Engelhard drive in Aurora. It’s the perfect name for this furniture and décor consignment store because it carries all kinds of high-end treasures. Actually, The Millionaire’s Daughter has three other retail locations: Oakville, Hamilton, and Kitchener. The stores are large and have an expansive display of items that include furniture, china, wall décor, and all sorts of vintage trinkets.

I discovered both The Millionaire’s Daughter and Style Encore purely by accident and I visit both a few times a year. Thrifting for me is much more about protecting the environment than it is about money, but I will admit that getting a deal on something that looks brand new is a nice feeling.

If finding a deal and helping the planet sounds good to you, then I encourage you to check these two places out.

Remember every time you thrift shop, you are taking our precious planet into consideration. If you already have a favourite thrift store, please let me know, I’d like to check it out.

 

 

 

 

Books by Women for Women

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

Ladies, you can be truly great. Just in case you ever start to forget that, I have assembled a list of books that can help remind you.

 

 

YOU Are a BADASS

This book by Jen Sincero is really a how-to guide to be the best you can be. It’s funny and includes handy personal exercises anyone can do to help create a joyful life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GIRL STOP APOLOGIZING

Author, Rachel Hollis encourages women to stop apologizing all the time. It’s a habit many of us learned from an early age, but we can break the habit and feel a better sense of control over our lives.

 

 

 

 

WOMEN WHO THINK TOO MUCH

Some of us overthink everything. In fact, thinking too much can take over our lives and make us miserable. Dr. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema wrote this book to teach us how to stop overthinking and enjoy each day.

 

 

 

 

A Life

Although the length of this book can seem a little overwhelming, I had to include it because Ruth Bader Ginsburg is so inspiring. The 107th Supreme Court Justice is what many refer to as a “trailblazer”. Her passion for justice and equality is truly motivating.

 

 

 

 

 

#GirlBoss

If you think you aren’t a leader, give #GirlBoss a read. You might change your mind. It was written by Sophia Amoruso who before launching Nasty Gal and Girlboss was broke and homeless. It’s an honest and relatable account of an average girl trying to reach new heights.

 

 

 

 

The Self Love Experiment

Here’s a book that could help you put an end to self-sabotage and gain the confidence you need to reach your goals. The Self Love Experiment is full of examples and teaches us that it’s okay to put ourselves first sometimes.

 

 

 

Take your pick ladies and start reading. You will be glad you took the time.

 

Earth Day Thoughts and Digitization

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

This is a short blog, but something I feel strongly about…

I think most agree that this new life of quarantine would be much harder without digital communications. In fact, digitization has proven to be crucial during this time of crisis. It can also make a big difference in the other massive dilemma our world is facing – climate change.

I believe if we use digital tools the right way, along with constant innovation, we can impact our planet in a positive way. I have already experienced this first-hand with one of my clients; a company that provides IoT technology to monitor and reduce energy inefficiencies in commercial and industrial buildings. A more familiar example is Starbucks, they use a Microsoft based platform to manage energy. One report, I recently read, suggested that IoT could reduce carbon emissions by about 15% by 2030.

Earth Day (April 22) is a day to reflect upon our planet and what we can do as companies and individuals to make a difference in terms of preserving and protecting it. We can’t let the Pandemic set us back in our efforts to decarbonize.

COVID-19 makes it hard to breathe – Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) makes polluted air for us to breathe.

Let’s not forget about fighting greenhouse gases so we can all breathe easier once the Pandemic subsides.

Fashion Innovation to Tackle Climate Change

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

 

When we break down the basic supply chain of a garment, we have to consider crop production, fiber production, clothing production, and distribution. To bring seed to life requires machinery that is fueled in order to operate, to make fibers, spinning and chemical processing is needed, and garment making calls for power for factories, machines, temperature controls, lighting, and office equipment. As for distribution – freight transportation, which requires fuel power, is expected to triple by 2040.

The good news… more innovators are stepping forward to disrupt traditional processes in the fashion industry to help create a more circular, environmental system. A circular system is designed to eliminate waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, as well as regenerate natural systems.

Here are some innovators you should take a look at:

  • The French company Fairbrics has created carbon-negative synthetic fiber. They sequester and convert carbon dioxide into polyester pellets to make textiles. This sustainable alternative to traditional fabrics still looks and feels just like virgin polyester.
  • tentree is a Vancouver based corporation that sells activewear that is produced from various blends of sustainable textiles. The company plants ten trees for every piece of clothing that is purchased, hence the name.
  • Established in Portland, Oregon, Pact has started to develop a hold in the fashion space. Pact is known for using eco-friendly organic cotton. The production of organic cotton eliminates the need for harsh chemicals and is a soft, comfortable fabric. Organic cotton uses over 90 percent less water than traditional cotton production.
  • Dresst is a Toronto clothing rental business that makes it possible for you to always dress in something new but not be a contributor to what has become our throw-away society. Dresst sources high quality, on-trend fashions. They rent outfits at affordable prices.
  • The NYC-based brand Rag & Bone oozes cool. I had to include them not only because I love New York City, but because Rag & Bone is hip in so many ways. The company marries British style with modern design. The staff makes clothing for women and men. They have a denim recycling program, so you can take in an old pair of jeans and they will turn them into a new pair. How neat is that? Aside from having their own website, Rag & Bone is available on Amazon.
  • Yoga Jeans is a Quebec company that specializes in designing and producing comfy, form-fitting jeans in a sustainable way, including the use of BCI cotton, and water conservation practices.

There are many other great fashion innovators in terms of protecting the environment, but I hope this list of options inspires you to consider sustainable brands and do your own search to find that perfect eco-fit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suggested Reading While You are in Isolation

 

 

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

Now that most of us are staying home and practicing social-distancing, we have time for some of the simple pleasures in life, like reading a good book. In fact, over the last few days, I have been asked a number of times about what I am currently reading, so I put together this list of suggested reads with various genres and tastes in mind.

Take a quick look – perhaps some of these are unfamiliar to you.

Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert- This romance is an easy read and a good reminder that happy endings are possible even when things look bleak.

Dear Girls by Ali Wong- This book by comedian, Ali Wong is a funny collection of letters to her daughters that cover all sorts of life situations, including dealing with dating and navigating a male-dominated profession.

Braving The Wilderness by Brene Brown- This book is about cultivating true belongings in our communities and within organizations. It calls on us to be who we are as opposed to changing to fit in. Social scientist Brene Brown PhD., LMSW, outlines a path to true belonging. She employs a mix of research and creative storytelling to make her point.

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou- Bad Blood is a fast-paced, wild story about secrets and lies at a multi-million dollar tech startup.

Twigs in my Hair by Cynthia Reyes: This book is a great read for both gardeners and non-gardeners. It dives into the lifelong passion author, Cynthia Reyes has cultivated for gardening. Her profound story not only includes a journey through gardens but also creatures. There is a deeply personal side to Twigs in my Hair. Without giving too much away, what would you do if you had a passion for gardening and suddenly couldn’t do it any longer?

The One You Love by Paul Pilkington- I like a good mystery so I had to include this one on the list. It is a gripping suspense mystery with a British twist.

How Dogs Love by Gregory Berns- I love dogs and so do a lot of my friends. If you are isolated and have a pet, this is a great read. Neuroscientist, Gregory Berns provides wonderful insights into the canine brain and the bond that can occur between humans and pets.

Whether you prefer romance, mystery, science, or some other genre, consider using the downtime to enjoy a good book, it can be a comforting escape in times like this.

 

Isn’t Blogging Dead?

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

It seems that whenever I mention blogging in a group setting there is someone who blurts out, “Isn’t blogging dead?” A substantial part of my living is made off of blogging for companies, so I apologize if I sound a little sensitive to the question but here’s the thing – when it’s dead, I won’t be talking about it anymore.

Talking about blogging

Blogging is not the same as it was when it became mainstream in the early to mid-2000s, but it is very much alive because it has evolved. Blogging is not just sharing information or spewing off the latest on your favorite subject, it is a valuable marketing tool. About 70 percent of business to business buyers say they read a company’s blog before actually purchasing.

The tools available today to enhance blogs keep readers engaged. It is true that you have to employ the best writing and digital practices, including SEO to get people reading your material, but the blog has come a long way since its inception. By the way, many people lay claim to writing the first blog so I can’t tell you who the pioneer is in this case. Today, there are over 600 million blogs worldwide, some are effective – and some are not.

Although a lot of readers skim blogs as opposed to reading every word, good marketers make blogging a priority. According to HubSpot, one in 10 blog posts are “compounding.” This means that organic search increases their traffic over time.

Visuals in blogs

Today more bloggers are getting visual. They are including photos, charts, infographics, and videos. Generic images were part of the first wave of jazzing up your blog, but today, specific images; images that directly relate to what you are talking about are what people expect. Blogging has also become a great way to entice more social media followers.

Check out this link to a blog I wrote for Sumac, a non-profit software provider, to see a simple example of how visuals can enhance a reader’s experience: https://www.sumac.com/5-reasons-donors-leave-and-how-to-get-them-to-stay/

Blogging serves a valuable purpose for businesses. It can position your company as a leader in the industry. It can also help forge relationships. I am not suggesting it is all you need, but it is a good piece of the puzzle. The big issue is being consistent. In order to be successful at blogging, the writer has to maintain good blogging practices and should blog often. Of course, this can take time; lots of time, which is why I do so much blogging for others. The company’s I serve don’t have an employee that they divert from another task to blog or they don’t have qualified staff, so they turn to outside help.

Whether you have staff that can blog, or you hire a freelancer, practices such as posting inbound links directly in your blogs and using SEO techniques will help drive people to your website. Additionally, posting links of your blogs to your social sites is an important marketing tool. You want to give your social followers a reason to click through to your website.

 

About the writer: Teresa Madaleno is a former broadcast journalist. She owns and operates KTML, a small communications consulting firm in the GTA.

 

Energy Medicine: Don’t knock it until you’ve really tried it


Writer: Teresa Madaleno

Energy Medicine or EM is the use of energy fields as a form of therapy, to help improve imbalances in the human body. There was a time when conventional medical practitioners considered it “nonsense” but today many experts in the medical field are taking it more seriously. The reason for this is anecdotal evidence and scientific studies.

The National Institutes of Health, Neurology India, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, as well as other well-respected publications have published papers that support the practice of energy healing to bring the body’s systems back to homeostasis, which essentially means a stable equilibrium.

The Human Energy Field (HEF) has been described as an intricate mix that includes individual electrically charged moving particles such as ions, biophotons, and molecules, which create standing waves. When there are disturbances in the energy patterns of HEF, this can be a sign of aging and disease. However, the theory is that when these energy particles are exposed to Energy Medicine, whether that is acupuncture, Reiki, Vibrational Therapy, Magnetic Stimulation or Healing Touch, the disrupted patterns return to their original harmonic state. Today, many doctors embrace the fact that humans are composed of information energy interacting with environmental energy that impacts both physical and emotional health.

I am a recent participant in the energy healing practice (as a patient). While I am too much of a rookie to say what the long-lasting impact might be, I can report that I feel better after my sessions. For example, I almost postponed one of my recent energy healing appointments because I was so tired I could barely drag myself to the practitioner. I forced myself to go and after the appointment, I felt a renewed sense of vigor. Generally, I am not a good sleeper but did sleep well that night and woke up the next day with an immense amount of energy that carried me through the day.

It has been suggested by some medical researchers that the future of EM will depend on how adept Western medicine is at merging physics with biochemistry. Western medicine relies on physics to diagnose and then turns to biochemical tools to treat.  It is true that quantum physics drives the energy behind diagnostic equipment but the idea of a cellular and molecular communication system involving energy fields is not really a big part of Western medicine. Those who research alternative therapies say there needs to be more focus on doctors understanding of the overlap between the endocrine and chakra systems, as well as how EM enhances the body and mind.

 

 

 

 

 

Independent Book Stores Alive and Thriving in Canada

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

Courtesy:politico.ca

Despite what some people may think, the independent bookstore is not dead. In the early 2000s, Indy bookshops took a real hit because so many people were turning to the new trend of e-books. However, like most forms of technology, the e-book craze wore off and books are now popular again. During the e-book frenzy, some independent bookstores did disappear while others stood their ground and keep on going.

To prove my point, I went looking for independent bookstores and was amazed at how many are alive and thriving in Canada. If you love the look and feel of a book, and you live in this amazing country or if you travel on a regular basis within Canada, you should check out all the great independent bookstores on the list below.

  • The Bookshelf– this bookstore in Guelph, Ontario opened up in 1973 and was a favourite spot for writers and authors from the get-go. It has evolved over the years. In 1980 it became the Bookshelf Café, Canada’s first bookstore/restaurant. Seven years later the shop added a cinema. Today, the store includes a music venue, the eBar, complete with craft beer, and dancing every Saturday night. https://bookshelf.ca/home

 

  • Whodunit?– who doesn’t love a good mystery? Winnipeg, Manitoba’s Whodunit bookstore is a good place to search for mystery books both old and new. The specialty bookstore opened in 1994 and offers a wide range of crime fiction. Today you can purchase books from Whodunit online. If you live in the area, you can join the stores Mystery Reading Club or Writers’ Group. http://www.whodunitcanada.com/home

 

  • Mable’s Fables– this bookstore for kids was established in Toronto, Ontario back in 1988. It is a colourful two-level store full of books and toys. There are a lot of events here, including signings, writing courses, baby classes, book parties, and kid’s story times. https://www.mabelsfables.com

 

  • Munro’s Books– considered one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores, Munroe’s Books is situated in a heritage building in Victoria, British Columbia. In 1963 Jim Munro and his first wife, Alice (yes, as in the great Canadian short story writer who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013), opened the store on Yates Street. The store relocated to a larger building in 1979 and then moved to its current location, 1108 Government Street, in 1984.

 

  • Café Books– this quaint bookstore in Canmore, Alberta features a broad selection of new and used books, as well as a tearoom decorated with antiques from Europe. http://www.cafebooks.ca

 

  • A Different Drummer– located in Burlington, Ontario, A Different Drummer has been an independent bookstore for over 40 years. The shop has a wide selection of books and a lot of interesting events. http://www.differentdrummerbooks.ca

 

  • Argo Bookshop– this is the oldest English-language bookstore in Montreal, Quebec. Located in the Shaughnessy village, it opened up in 1966. It has a curated selection of both fiction and non-fiction books. Argo focuses on books on marginalized groups and books by marginalized authors. https://www.argobookshop.ca/?q=h

 

  • Turning the Tide– located on the main street in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Turning the Tide brands itself as an alternative bookstore. It opened about a decade ago and has become a favourite stop for locals, including university and college students. It offers a selection of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, cookbooks, children’s books, graphic novels, magazines, and movie rentals. Turning the Tide also hosts a book club called, Revolutionary Minds. https://turning.ca

There are many other independent books stores in Canada, like Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge, Ontario, Black Cat Books in Lennoxville Quebec, King’s Co-op Bookstore in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and The Never Ending Story in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland. The list of Indy bookshops goes on and on. For those who like the way a book looks and feels in their hands, it is comforting to know that independent bookshops are flourishing despite the advancement of technology. According to the latest research, consumer’s value community and personal contact – something independent bookstores give them.

Books and Remembering the Past

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are an avid reader you are likely in constant pursuit of a new book – something fresh and compelling. Research suggests that books make us happier so no wonder 700 million were sold in the United States last year.  As it turns out, you can even gain joy from reading the same book over again.

Many readers have reported that some of the books that they have read in the past make them feel nostalgic. They can bring back wonderful memories of childhood, friends, and family.

I decided to share 12 books I remember from my past and that I have gone back to read a second time.

  1. Charlotte’s Web
  2. The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  3. Anne of Green Gables
  4. Winnie the Pooh
  5. Macbeth
  6. Lord of the Flies
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird
  8. How to Make an American Quilt
  9. Out of Africa
  10. The English Patient
  11. Lord of the Flies
  12. The Giving Tree

Some of the books on my list are common favorites. I actually have many more that I could add but I would love to know what books you remember from your past, or that you have gone back to read a second time.

As a matter of interest, The Giving Tree and Winnie the Pooh are among the all-time best selling children’s books.

 

 

 

 

Flaunting – Vintage Spice

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

Spicy, rich, flavourful and full of variety is the best way to describe my experience at Vintage Spice in Aurora.

I call Vintage Spice a well-kept secret because I live in Aurora and although the restaurant has been open for over a year, I only know one other person who has been there. I have wanted to try it for months and finally did on my birthday. It was a cold, January afternoon – perfect for warm, spicy mulligatawny soup. The biggest challenge I faced was in choosing my meal since the menu is so extensive.

I am far from being an expert when it comes to Indian cuisine but the staff was friendly, patient and helpful, making the experience easy.

I ordered the mixed-chicken sampler. It comes with three different types of chicken: mild, medium spice, and super spicy. I highly recommend the medium. The dish also includes a variety of steamed and grilled veggies. By the way, this dish is for two people, unless of course, you want to take some home with you. The chicken was moist, juicy and full of flavor.  I also ordered bruschetta naan, which was served warm and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

Coconut Curry, Shrimp Curry, Lamp Chop Marsala, Chicken Tikka Masala, Mirchi Prantha, Chilli Cilantro Naan, Garlic Naan, and Goat Curry are all on the menu along with a selection of desserts, including Kulfi, a popular frozen dairy dessert.

If you have never tried Indian food, this is a good place to start since there is variety and the staff is really helpful.

Vintage Spice is located at 15229 Yonge Street in Aurora and is open between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. for lunch and 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. for dinner.

Bon Appetit!

Writing Made Easier

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

What to write?

Stop trying to sound smart if you want to sound smart. Here is the reality – a good idea is relatable when it is delivered in clear, concise language. Many people get into trouble when they try to use big words or long, descriptive sentences.

The following are simple tips to help you if you struggle with writing copy.

  • Direction– make sure that before you sit down to write that you have something interesting to say otherwise you are bound to struggle.
  • Simple Words– short and simple is the best way to go so write “near” instead of “in close proximity” and write, “ help” instead of “facilitate”. Readers grasp simple words right away and can move on.
  • Sentence Length– keep sentences short because they are faster and easier to read.
  • Voice – use active voice. Passive can be boring. While it is true that you can’t always use active voice (subject, verb, object), you should use it as much as possible. “Sue read the book in one day” is active, but “The book was read by Sue in one day” is passive.
  • Fluff – avoid fluffy words such as “very” and “really”. These types of words do not add any meaning to a sentence and in business, they often scream desperation.
  • Repetition– unless you are writing a speech and want to drive a point home, for example, Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, then do not repeat yourself over and over again. When you repeat yourself in web copy, in a blog, in a marketing plan, in a proposal and so forth, you risk putting people to sleep
  • Edit– rewrite, cut parts out, edit, edit, edit. One of the best ways to be sure your copy is clean is to walk away from it for 24 hours and take a fresh look the next day.

The above list includes common sense approaches that can make writing easier, especially if it isn’t your forte. These tips can also turn non-writers into writers as they start to discover that people are finally reading their copy.

What is and isn’t news?

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

So you want/need some media attention!

If you own a business, feel passionate about a cause or want to bring an issue out in the open, the media can be a great communication tool, but just because you think you have something important to share with an audience doesn’t mean journalists, assignment editors and news editors will agree that you have a story worth telling.

In order to get media attention, you have to understand what news is. Getting a story published in a newspaper or having it broadcast on a newscast isn’t going to happen just because you want it to or because you hired a PR firm to help you. It simply doesn’t work that way. You have to think like a journalist and the organization they work for.

Every time a story idea comes across a reporter’s desk, the first question that comes to them is – Why would my audience care about this? They then put themselves in the position of the audience or reader and answer that question. Clearly, if there is no answer the story idea dies.

When my clients have a hard time with this I ask them to go through some basic questions:

  • Is it new?
  • Is it unique?
  • Is it timely? (Related to something else in the news right now)
  • Is it shocking?
  • Does it involve conflict?
  • Does it involve emotion?
  • Does it solve a big problem?
  • Is it scandalous?
  • Does it involve Hypocrisy?

You might not like the above questions, but the truth is a “yes” to any of these questions means you stand a chance of getting your story/message heard and if you answer “no” to all of the questions your chances are slim.

All is not lost if you come up with “no”. We live in the social media age where blog posts, tweets, and Instagram, which can include photographs and video, help us share our messages. Content marketing on our websites can also go a long way in telling stories. In these cases, reporters are not required.

It is true that anyone can post, tweet, and send out news releases. This means we are in a very big pool of people all fighting for attention and getting traditional media attention is still important for many companies. While some can afford fancy events, or the release of pricey research studies to attract attention, others may have to use data from phone or e-mail surveys to grab media coverage. With a little thought and planning, questions in a simple survey can result in new and interesting information that sheds light on an issue that is newsworthy to reporters.

It’s all about being thoughtful, creative, and at the same time realistic, about your expectations. It is also important to remember to take baby steps- if it is your first attempt at working with the media, don’t discount local coverage. In other words, you don’t have to make the front page of the New York Times – sometimes coverage in your local newspaper or in a small trade magazine can lead to great things.

 

The Dawn of Facial Recognition

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

 

Facial recognition used to be a make-believe concept that we only witnessed in the movies but it is quickly becoming reality.

This usable reality is now in a number of technology devices. Many phone companies have or are working on some type of built-in facial recognition. The question is when will it be mainstream? The answer is not a simple one because there are always kinks to be worked out when a new type of technology is emerging. I can tell you what is currently happening with facial recognition.

According to a report in Forbes, facial recognition technology was just three days old at Washington Dulles Airport when it caught an imposter trying to enter the U.S with a fake passport. Without the technology, the passport may have passed through the airport system.

People who visit the National Soccer Hall of Fame in New York are now treated to a custom-tailored tour thanks to facial recognition software. The moment a fan enters the hall they are encouraged to check in to share their hometown, favourite team, favourite soccer position etc. Based on their information, gesture technology will recognize guests using facial recognition software, which will personalize each visit based on their individual preferences. This particular type of facial recognition technology has been used by the LPGA and will be used during the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo.

As odd as this might sound, there are schools in the UK that have started using facial recognition to take attendance. It is believed that this frees up teachers so they can spend more time teaching and less time figuring out who is and isn’t in class. Technology experts suggest this idea will spread to other countries.

While it isn’t available just yet, MasterCard is believed to be working on a way to allow customers to pay with a selfie. They hope that it will prevent fraud.

It probably won’t surprise you to know that law enforcement has been using this kind of technology for a while now. The FBI and Homeland Security use facial recognition all the time to identify threats.

There are several other examples but the point is, facial recognition is not something that is going away; it is revving up. The real issue becomes regulation. Many people are understandably concerned about invasion of privacy as there aren’t any regulations on facial recognition. When used for authentication, it seems to represent a security improvement, but when used in a broader sense, opinions vary among industries. Many believe that there is no stopping facial recognition but no matter what the application, the public should be thinking about pushing for transparency and ethical guidelines now before this new tech becomes common.

Bullying and Myrtle the Purple Turtle

 

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

To anyone who has been bullied, you know it can feel awful. Bullying isn’t confined to a schoolyard or the playground; it can happen in the boardrooms of small, medium, and large companies. It can also happen in personal relationships with people who are supposed to be on your side or who proclaim to love you. Being bullied can have serious consequences – it can impact a person’s self-esteem, social interaction, the choices people make in life and a person’s overall well-being. While it is not the first time for suicide to be linked to bullying, I was heartbroken to hear of the 9-year-old Colorado boy who took his life this summer after being bullied.

As someone who was a victim of bullying at a young age, I would like to see more education around the subject. I think talking about bullies and the issues that instigate bullying should happen as soon as little ones start to learn the skill of reading. They need to learn that they are allowed to be themselves without being ridiculed.

Recently, I bought a copy of Myrtle the Purple Turtle by Cynthia Reyes. I  wanted to include it in the book section of this blog because it is a beautiful tale that teaches youngsters the importance of being themselves. Myrtle discovers very quickly that it is okay to be different.

Myrtle the Purple Turtle is the story of a young turtle who never really thought about the fact that she was a different color than other turtles. One day she bumped into another turtle who refused to believe that Myrtle was a turtle because she’s purple. This led to self-doubt until Myrtle learned she looked exactly how she was supposed to look. I plan on giving this book to my niece’s children (Eleni and Donato) who are currently two and four. My wish for them is health and happiness, as well as a life that is devoid of bullies. However, if they should come across people who try to intimidate them, I hope no matter what age they are, they remember that just like Myrtle the Purple Turtle, they are perfect just the way they are.

You can get a copy of Myrtle the Purple Turtle through amazon.ca

 

 

 

 

Short Stories to Consider Reading

When I talk to people about reading they often say, “I would love to read more but I just don’t have the time”.  While I can certainly relate to the fact that we live in a fast-paced world,  I try to remind people that they don’t have to commit to a 500-page novel; they can read short stories. Some of the world’s most successful authors have published books of short stories. These little gems are what I call “no pressure reading”. You can easily read one or two short stories and then put the book down for a few weeks without losing track of a storyline. When you have time, you can then go back and read another story. Many short story lovers find that they get through one story so quickly that it inspires them to read the next. Before they know it, they’ve read the whole book.

Here are some books of short stories you might want to consider:

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  • You Think It, I’ll Say It– this collection of short fiction by Curtis Sittenfeld focuses on gender, as well as Trump-era politics. It features a host of vivid female characters – many relatable. Sittenfeld is the author of five novels, including Eligible and American Wife.
  • Good Trouble– a book of eleven stories that includes vulnerable characters and raw emotion. The author is Joseph O’Neill who is known for his Award-winning novel, Netherland.
  • The Largesse of the Sea Maiden– this collection contains a series of stories about an older man reflecting on life. It marries sadness with unexpected humor. Acclaimed fiction author, Denis Johnson who died in the spring of 2017, is the author.
  • This is How You Lose Her – Junot Diaz takes a tender and funny approach in the stories that make up this book. The stories teach us about the weakness of the human heart.
  • Anything is Possible – this collection of short stories focuses on people trying to figure out themselves and others. Author Elizabeth Strout explores a wide range of human emotions in this book.
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris crafted this collection of stories that are hilarious. You Can’t Kill the Rooster is a story about his brother who talks constantly in a hip-hop slang that is confusing to his father.

Of course, there are so many other short story books to choose from. Give them a chance – you might be surprised at how quickly you read through them.

Storytelling in Business

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

 

 

Storytelling is a very important part of running a business today. Whether you are standing on a stage, writing a blog, or putting together a case study, you need to get your point across with good storytelling. So what is good storytelling in business?

There are really three elements you have to keep in mind when you are trying to get attention for your brand through storytelling. First you have to be clear in illustrating your point. State up front what your message or idea is. Most people feel like the world needs a lot of background information in order to understand yet in business the truth is that we need to get to the point right away. If we don’t get to the point quickly, we lose the audience.

Another important element is proof.  The best way to help a consumer, investor, or potential business partner understand your vision, concept, product, or service is to provide proof of its value. One way to do this is through case studies. Case studies are really just examples. Yes, they can be boring so some people present examples in the form of video or testimonials – and these can be effective too.

Lastly, it doesn’t hurt to give people simple, easy to follow instructions. This can demonstrate how easy it is for the audience to implement or use whatever it is you are selling.

Standing in front of an audience singing your company’s praises or writing a blog that touts how unique your product is will do little to impress people, but telling a story about how your product or service worked for someone else carries a lot more weight. Storytelling can be creative, entertaining, and even humorous depending on the product or service you provide and the audience you are catering to so before you formulate your story, make sure you know your audience well.

 

 

 

 

PR-How do I start?

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KTML solutions

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

I enjoy working with small businesses. I think it has something to do with my tendency to cheer for the underdog. Current data suggests that about 50 to 55 percent of small businesses die by year four or five. The top reason they fail – inexperience.

Some of that inexperience has to do with promoting their company, message, product, services etc. When a small business owner comes to my company (KTML Communications) all excited and eager to “get noticed”, here is what I ask them.

  • Are you ready?
  • Have you established your identity?

Often times, the response is a blank stare. This is when I know the potential client needs to take a step back and assess. They may not be ready for PR, at least not yet.

Being ready means that your product or service is the best version of itself. Being ready means you are confident it can and will get good reviews. No reporter or blogger will be interested in you or your company if you are not ready. If you are not ready, you could experience negative press. Make certain you are ready before starting PR.

Before you can tell the world who you are and what you are all about, make sure you know exactly who you are and what you are all about. You need to know your values, your company culture, who your competitors are and what makes you different from them, and if you are doing anything that is unique.

In a nutshell, you have to fix you/your company before you can tell your story. Now don’t panic. While it is true that KTML can’t fix you, my communications company can guide you to people who can teach you how to get ready and establish your identity. 

Once you are ready and are comfortable with your identity you can start PR . We would  be happy to tell you how.

So you can be a survivor. It just takes thought and careful planning and of course, some long hours.

My Ancestral Home: Castropignano – Campobasso, Molise-Italy

 

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Rome, the capital of Italy, is a popular tourist attraction with its inspiring art, architecture and culture on full display. The ancient ruins, including the Roman Forum and the Colosseum help visitors imagine a time long ago when the Roman Empire ruled. Rome gets about 30 million tourists per year, but there are so many parts of Italy that are beautiful and worth seeing.

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Take a 3-hour drive southeast of Rome towards the Matise mountains and you will be entering Campobasso, the region of my ancestral home. To the northeast it is bordered by the Adriatic Sea, on the North by Abruzzo, to the southeast, Apulia, and Campania in the south. Here there is a mixed landscape with towns, cities and villages that run through hills and cliffs. Situated at an elevation of 2-thousand feet above sea level is a quaint little town called “Castropignano”. Due to its elevation it is often called the “Balcony Over The Biferno River Valley”. From the town you can see a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding towns and hillsides. This is where the Madaleno family home is located.

Quaint street in Castropignano

Quaint street in Castropignano

Castropignano is a very small town with three interesting historical monuments: Evoli Castle, Church of San Salvatore, and Ruins of the Church of San Nicola.

Evoli Castle

Evoli Castle

Evoli Castle was built in 1362 by nobleman Giovanni d’Evoli. He was the founder of a large herding practice called “transhumance”. Transhumance is the practice of moving livestock from one grazing area to another in a seasonal cycle – normally to lowlands in winter and highlands in the summer. In 1636 Giambattista d’Evoli transformed the castle into a residential palace with elaborate works of art and furniture. Over the centuries transhumance and the society/culture associated with it declined. In the early 19th century the castle was stripped of everything and abandoned. Within a few decades it was in ruins; however, it’s charm and mystery remains a draw to this day.

For many centuries Castropignano has been known as an agricultural community, producing high quality wine, cheese and olive oil. When it comes to food, tradition is important here. Residents try to stay true to their roots when it comes to mealtime; using fresh ingredients and focusing on a lot of fruits and vegetables.

Antonio Madaleno Teresa's Nonno

Antonio Madaleno
Teresa’s Nonno

 

Family solidarity is everything in Castropignano. This is very different from our Canadian “nuclear family” mentality. In Castropignano extended family is extremely important so everyone is included, not just mom, dad, and the kids. This is one of the reasons any kind of celebration can become big. My late Nonno (grandfather), brought this tradition of family solidarity with him when he moved  to Canada. Our gatherings at his house always included the whole family, as well as many friends, especially at mealtime.

 

Events are always big in Castropignano even though the town is small. Last year (2014), an old tradition was carried out in the streets of Castropignano to honour the institution of marriage. You can see in the link below how big the event became.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCupu4eMhnc

There are many small towns and villages across Italy that are worth noting, Castropignano is just one of them. If you are travelling this great country and find yourself in the Molise Region, visit this little town and take a step back in time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Treat Your Pet During the Pandemic

 

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

 

Caring for each other, even if it means from a distance, is so important during times of crisis. You have likely heard a lot of stories about people helping each other in various ways due to the COVID-19 outbreak. What we don’t hear much about is how pets are coping with the upheaval.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has indicated that there is no evidence that family pets pose a risk for spreading COVID- 19. Researchers in China have said that cats can get Coronavirus and spread it to other cats yet not spread it to humans. Here in North America scientists say they aren’t sure about that. Clearly, more research needs to be done, but what I want to talk about is your pet’s mental well-being during this unprecedented time.

We are not living as we normally do. We are practicing social distancing, self-isolation, working from home, as well as limiting travel and shopping. Some people are exhibiting signs of anxiety, frustration, and even depression. Let’s not forget that our pets pick up on this and thus become stressed as well. While we need to do things to care for our own mental health during this difficult period, we should consider that our pets may need help too.

Signs your pet is stressed

When I brought my little Sprite home 9 years ago, I had no idea how important a role he would play in my life. I had other dogs throughout my lifetime, but this precious sheltie became a part of our family just at the right time. A year prior to getting our furry boy, I was diagnosed with two chronic health problems. I have good days and bad days, but Sprite always senses when my physical pain intensifies. He has brought me an immense amount of comfort on some of my worst days.

Sprite’s routine has changed as a result of COVID-19 and he’s been a good boy, but I know he is confused some days and I have heard about pet owners who have had difficulty with caring for their animals lately due to behavioral problems. I decided to look into the impact the virus was having on pets and discovered that veterinarians have experienced an increase in calls lately. Many of the inquiries have been about behavior that is out of character.

All pets are different and can show various behavioral signs when they are anxious. However, here are some of the most common signs that veterinarians say can indicate your pet is feeling stressed:

  • Barking or whining
  • Rapid blinking
  • Excessive shedding
  • Yawning, drooling, licking a lot
  • Panting when they aren’t hot
  • Suddenly urinating inside
  • Hiding
  • Not eating

 What to do for stressed pets

The experts say the best approach to keeping your pet relaxed is for you to relax. Beyond that, maintaining a routine can be really helpful. For example, canine behavior specialists suggest feeding your dog at the same time every day, walking the dog at the same time every day, and reserving time to have fun with your pet at a specific time each day.

Exercise is a good stress reducer for humans, and it works for animals too, so activities like walking and fetching will go a long way in keeping your pet happy. Keeping a safe place in the house that your pet can have as his or her own, can also be calming. I have a couple of friends who say they have used music to calm their pets. You can have music or a television on low volume as you do chores or work from home.

Veterinarians say while extra petting and fussing over your pet may seem like the right thing to do in times like this, going overboard with attention can also stress them out. Like humans, they don’t want to be smothered 24/7.

If you find your pet is suddenly behaving badly and is out of control, don’t hesitate to call your vet. I’m sure he/she will be glad to guide you.