Stress is all around us. From annoyances such as sitting in a traffic jam or missing a bus to serious stress-inducers like losing a job or the grave illness of a loved one, we face stressful situations throughout our lives.
When we experience stress, our bodies respond by making hormones that speed up our heart rate, make us breathe more rapidly, and release a burst of energy. This is called the stress response or the fight-or-flight response. It prepared our ancient ancestors to protect themselves when their lives were in danger—for example, from an attack by a wild animal they were trying to kill for food. Today we rarely find ourselves in those types of life-and-death situations on a daily basis, but our bodies still react to stress in the same way. A little stress can help us excel in a sporting event or finish an important project on schedule, but too much stress too often or for too long can have negative effects on our health, causing headaches, back pain, upset stomach, or difficulty sleeping. It can also weaken our immune system, making it harder for us to fight off disease.
The first step in controlling stress is to determine what is causing the stress in our lives and looking for ways to reduce it. We’ll never get rid of all of our stresses; some stress is a fact of life, so the next step is to learn healthy ways of managing the stress to reduce its harmful effects. Some of the things that can help fight the effects of stress include: • Eating a healthy diet • Getting regular physical activity • Doing something you enjoy, such as spending time on a hobby, watching a movie, or listening to calming music • Keeping a journal and recording what makes you feel stressed and what relaxes you • Expressing your feelings to someone you trust—a family member, friend, or professional counsellor • Learning relaxation techniques
There is no single relaxation technique that is right for everyone. You may have to try several until you find what works best for you. Here are some common ones: • Concentrate on your breathing. Take slow, deep breaths and turn your mind away from what is causing your stress. Feel the air entering and exiting your body in a controlled manner. This can be particularly helpful for some people, but it may not be appropriate for those with respiratory problems or heart failure. • Try silently repeating a short phrase or prayer while focusing on your breathing. This may be particularly helpful for people who feel connected to a religion or spiritual path. • After a few minutes of focusing on your deep breathing, direct your attention to one part of your body and mentally release any tension you feel there. Once you have released the tension from that spot, focus on another part of your body. Continue the exercise until you have released the tension from your whole body. • Imagine a soothing scene, place, or experience that has personal meaning for you. Relax and enjoy the serenity this vision brings. • Focus on the moment. Sit comfortably and turn your attention to that very moment in time. Don’t let your thoughts drift to the past or the present. Live in the now, even if only for a little while. • Try yoga, tai chi, or another of the ancient arts that combine rhythmic breathing with a series of physical positions or flowing movements. • To get the most benefit from relaxation techniques, combine them with other positive coping methods such as positive thinking, finding things to laugh about, getting enough sleep, and reaching out for support from family and friends.
Posted by London Drugs at December 8, 2020 1:16 pm
Christmas is right around the corner! With all the toy options out there, you may be wondering what in the world to get the kids on your list. We’ve compiled some of the hottest toys and games to help make your life easier! From STEM toys that sneak in a bit of educational learning, game room essentials like tabletop air hockey for the competitive kids, and wacky multi-player games that bring on a lot of laughs, these toy options are sure to entertain for hours of fun!
The Upside Down Challenge Game (for ages 8+)
In the Upside Down Challenge Game, players compete to do challenges like giving high-fives, writing their name, and catching a crumpled up ball of paper, all while their vision is flipped upside down, while wearing the upside down goggles. Even the simplest tasks become difficult when the world is flipped upside down! The game contains 1 pair of upside down goggles, 25 challenge cards, 5 create your own challenge cards, instruction sheet, and 1 pad of paper to draw on. You can even play friends on Zoom, provided that each person has their own Upside Down Challenge Game!
Chow Crown (for ages 8+)
Get the family laughing together with the Hasbro Chow Crown Game. The musical electronic crown in this game is fitted with six forks, and once it’s on the player’s head, the participant has to grab as many bits of food as possible without using their hands. Once the music stops and the crown stops spinning, it’s the next person’s turn. This Hasbro Chow Crown game is also an ideal way to introduce unfamiliar healthy foods to kids who are reluctant eaters.
Throw Throw Burrito (for ages 7+)
Throw Throw Burrito is what you get when you cross a card game with dodgeball. Try to collect matching sets of cards faster than your opponents while simultaneously ducking, dodging, and throwing squishy airborne burritos at one another! The cards you collect earn points, but getting hit by flying burritos loses them. Make sure you clear some space at home to play (and put away any breakable ornaments and antiques!)
National Geographic STEM (for ages 4+)
Your kids can become a shark scientist with the National Geographic Shark Tooth Dig Kit STEM Toy! Using the kit, they can identify teeth from the Sand tiger, Otodus, and Crow sharks and learn awesome shark facts with the included learning guide. Plus, they can dig and discover 3 real shark tooth fossils, each from a different shark species. This kit also makes a great homeschool lesson!
If your child is not into sharks, there is also the Break Open 2 Geodes STEM Kit. Geodes are naturally forming volcanic rocks that contain amazing crystal formations inside. The kit includes geodes that can be cracked open to discover beautiful minerals.Kids love these treasure-filled rocks, as it encourages an appreciation of nature and geology in your child with this extraordinary science kit. Plus, they can learn all about geodes and minerals with the full-color educational learning guide included.
Race against the shot clock with Ambassador Electronic Arcade Basketball. Two baskets let you challenge friends to one-on-one competitions, and the electronic scoreboard keeps track of your points. The spring-powered basketball launcher makes it easy to take multiple shots in seconds. A loud buzzer lets you know when each round is over so you can bask in each victory. This Ambassador Electronic Basketball Arcade Game boasts a compact size for convenient tabletop placement. The game also features a large LED scoreboard display with countdown timer and buzzer, spring-loaded shooters, automatic point counter and cool sound effects!
Ambassador Tabletop Air Hockey and Football (for ages 6+)
Bring the fun of the arcade home with Ambassador Tabletop Air Hockey. The compact size fits neatly on a dining room table or coffee table, and the simple setup snaps into place for effortless assembly. Scoreboards on both sides let you keep track of goals throughout each match. This Ambassador wood tabletop air hockey game uses AA batteries to power the airflow, so there’s no need for power cords or a nearby wall outlet.
There is also Ambassador Tabletop Football. Traditional hand grips let you control the action for perfect goals, and the manual scoreboard makes it easy to declare a victor. A snap-together design makes assembly a quick, simple task. Colourful players and a bright green field add extra fun to each match. Both of these games make excellent addition to your family room, game room or basement!
Hauck Speedster Go Cart (for ages 4-8)
The Speedster Pedal Go Cart is the ultimate gift for the energetic kid on your list, as it encourages physical activity, builds strength, endurance and co-ordination. Along with the durable features and sporty design, the Hauck Speedster Pedal Go Cart gives an authentic driving experience and lets the driver control the pedal speed. The Speedster’s quick response and sharp handling will excite young racers. Features include sporty graphics on the front fairing, an adjustable bucket seat, four spoke rims with 10″ EVA wheels, a 3-point steering wheel, double touch Handbrake and a steel tube powder coated frame.
Craftsman Deluxe Game House (for ages 6+)
Have a board game lover in the family? They will love the Merchant Ambassador Craftsman Deluxe Game House! The convertible design lets you test your skills at chess, checkers, backgammon, mancala and six other iconic board games. Dice, ball markers and other playing pieces provide everything you need to set up each game, and the mahogany wood finish gives this set traditional beauty. Packaged with instructions, this Merchant Ambassador Craftsman Deluxe Game House makes it easy to master each board.
MD Sports Table Tennis & Air Hockey Table
For the older kids and teens on your Christmas list, the MD Sports Table Tennis is an awesome choice. It is an official tournament size table, measuring at 9 x 5ft, has durable 15mm thick playfield for consistent ball bounce, a sturdy 35mm diameter arch style legs with stability panel and lockable casters, and 35mm oversized apron with protective corner caps for additional support. Plus, it conveniently folds for single play mode and compact storage.
You also can’t go wrong with the MD Sports Air Hockey Table. This table contains a sleek overhead scoreboard with arcade sound effects, a reinforced frame construction for improved durability and stability, 120V AC Motor for strong and consistent air flow and has adjustable leg levelers for perfectly balanced play surface. It also includes two pushers and two pucks.
Squishmallows (great for all ages!)
Squishmallows are the softest, cutest, cuddliest plush around! They have a super soft, marshmallow-like texture and make great couch companions, and bedtime buddies. With a variety of characters, youngsters (and even adults!) can collect them, as each Squishmallow has its own unique name and storyline to add to the fun.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’m all about the holiday season. Come Nov. 1, I switch from pumpkins to Christmas trees – I’m a sucker for a theme. My favourite thing to do is come up with fun photo ideas featuring my two little boys, Aiden and Carter. I’ve turned them into snowman cookies, created Christmas scenes, dressed them up as reindeer – the list goes on.
With all the effort I put into holiday photos, you would think I would be on top of gifts early as well. Wrong – usually that part just sneaks up on me somehow. But not this year! I wanted to beat the rush, skip crowded malls and leave plenty of time for packages to arrive. For our extended family, we decided to order personalized keepsakes from the London Drugs Photolab. They create truly unique and thoughtful gifts that I knew my family members would love.
With social distancing, it’s been tough to go without seeing our extended family who live in other provinces. We were hoping to visit my in-laws in Nova Scotia at Christmas, but that isn’t looking likely. So even though we can’t be there in person, we wanted to make our gifts special. For a few years, I’ve created photobooks and canvases as presents for family members – whenever I’m stuck for ideas, I try to come up with something personal to give them.
I used the Photolab a few months ago to make a custom face mask for Aiden to wear when he went to school, so I knew the quality of their personalized gifts would be good. Side note – I love the cute Christmas masks, like Rudolf the Reindeer or their Christmas sweater pattern. I think I might end up buying some matching ones for a Christmas photo. These would be a great gift too, but you would need to give it early so they could be worn the whole holiday season!
We did a family photoshoot in the fall, so I knew exactly which photos I wanted to use for our holiday presents. The Photolab website is so easy to use – you can choose any photo and text, and within a matter of minutes you can customize the product that you want.
This was my favourite gift that we ordered – a 114-piece heart puzzle with a matching tin for storage. I wanted it to be something the kids could do with their grandparents, as well as for them to display in their home – that’s why we chose the one with the matching tin. I’m going to create an Instagram photo with this one, incorporating the Instagram double-tap heart – keep your eye out for it soon over on @PunsAndLittleOnes!
This turned out so cute and I feel like it will be a great keepsake. My boys loved putting together a puzzle with their own faces on it – when Carter saw it coming together, he yelled, “It’s me and Aiden!” I can’t wait until they can actually put together the puzzle with their grandparents in person.
Did you know that there has been a major resurgence in popularity of puzzles this year, with everyone spending more time at home? It’s the perfect cold winter day activity. The Photolab also has 1,000 piece puzzles available for true puzzle lovers – and we are very tempted to order again and get the customized playing cards, which are great stocking stuffers too.
Can you ever have too many coffee mugs? I don’t think so. The London Drugs Photolab has many different styles available, as well as a wide variety of holiday and winter themes. These can all be personalized with photos and text. With our mug, I went for an 11 oz designer mug with a single photo on it. I love the two-tone style, with blue on the inside.
These can be ready for pickup in up to 24 hours. They’re also dishwasher and microwave-safe. And at a price point of $15.99 per designer mug, these are super affordable and a thoughtful gift for just about anyone on your list.
We ordered a sports water bottle for Aiden to take to school – he’s so excited to show it off to his friends. The Photolab even has stainless steel tumblers, beer steins, and latte and espresso mugs that you can add your own photo to. I think we might order a few more of these water bottles for everyone in the house – that way, Carter can have his own too.
Other creative gift ideas
These were just a few of the customized photo gifts you can order from the London Drugs Photolab. Here are a few others that might be perfect for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list:
Photo calendars. They have a small one perfect for your desktop, or a year-at-a-glance style calendar for a wall in your home or office.
Personalized Christmas tree ornaments. They have so many to choose from, like beautiful wood ornaments, crystal, metal and ball ornaments. They can be customized with a photo, message or date.
Cozy photo blankets. You can either customize these with one photo or a collage, and they come in cozy textures like Sherpa and fleece. These days, I’m always wrapped up in a blanket, even during the day while I’m working from home at my desk. I know I would love a gift like this!
Personalized key chains. This creative gift idea would make a great stocking stuffer, and your loved ones can carry around photos of the family anywhere.
How to quickly & easily order your holiday gifts
Although we ordered online, there are three ways you can order holiday gifts from the Photolab:
Using the London Drugs Photolab app, available for iOS and Android
When ordering, you’ll have the option to either have your order delivered conveniently to your door, or easily pick up your order in-store at your closest London Drugs. Many of their stores also have the option of curbside pick-up. If you select delivery or are planning to mail packages, remember to place your order soon!
This guest post has been sponsored by London Drugs.
Posted by London Drugs at November 18, 2020 5:07 pm
When it comes to making truly unique gifts for your loved ones, it’s all about adding a little personalization…and a lot of heart! In honour of Make a Gift Day on December 3rd, our Photolab Experts are sharing their tips for crafting your own holiday gifts that have that personal touch your giftees will surely appreciate this holiday season.
While you may be familiar with gifts like our mugs, which can be customized with your own photos, did you know we can also customize those items with your artwork too? Our free Take and Create Books offer easy-to-use templates inside that will help you design your own personalized bookmarks, buttons, face masks and 11oz mugs featuring your drawings!
Look for our Take and Create Books the next time you’re in the Photolab, or download online!
Just pick up your free Take and Create Book from your local London Drugs Photolab (or download it online here), pull out the art supplies, and stretch your creative muscles filling in the templates! Or let the kids have some fun with drawing in their own designs. Once you’re all done, bring the book with the coloured-in templates back to your local Photolab so we can scan them and print them on your desired item. Or, if you have a scanner at home, you can simply scan and upload the image files to our Photolab online!
Or you could colour in your own design for one of our 11oz mugs, using the template below – also found in the Take and Create Books.
Ready to start crafting your own uniquely personalized gifts? Visit your local London Drugs Photolab to pick up your free Take and Create book or download it here! Don’t forget – you can always personalize mugs, and much more with your own photos too.
To get ahead this holiday season, our Photolab Experts encourage you to order your personalized gifts early to ensure they arrive in time. Don’t worry though – for those procrastinators, we have a great selection of our Photolab products available for same day or next day pickup, up to Thursday, December 24th including:
Sometimes, trying to workout out at home is hard, especially when you’re surrounded by comfortable couches, your cozy bed, and a TV tempting you with all your favourite shows. But with many people not feeling safe yet to head to the gym, your home can be a great alternative to get fit. We’ve compiled some tips to help you get motivated and transform your home into your personal fitness space.
1.) Designate A Space Don’t let the size of your available space fool you! You’d be surprised at how good of a workout you can achieve, even with the smallest of spaces. Your bedroom, your living room, or even a hallway can be enough for a good old sweat session. If you are wanting to use another room to exercise in, move furniture around to make space. The key is making sure that you have a designated spot for all of your fitness equipment. This can be under the couch, or even in a corner of the room. You can even get yourself some storage crates, a decorative trunk, or furniture that doubles as storage your for weights, resistance bands, foam rollers, yoga mat, kettle bells, or other fitness accessories you may have. This is a great way to ensure your fitness gear is easily accessible for you, any time you want to work out. If your place is just too small for storing any fitness equipment, it’s time to get creative. Soup cans make great substitutes for dumbells, a laundry detergent jug can be used as a kettle bell, and you can use a sturdy chair, coffee table or even the edge of your couch to do dips.
TIP: If you can, plan your workout space near a window, so that you can open it for fresh air if you get too hot or the room starts to feel stuffy. You can also consider using an air purifier.
2.) Plan Ahead After you’ve created a designated space for you to workout in, plan your workout schedule ahead of time. This can be marking it on your calendar, setting reminders in your phone, or even getting a white board for your kitchen and plotting it out on there. Whether you’re starting off with 2 days a week or want to work out 5 days a week, having a calendar to plan ahead will help you stay consistent, have goals to work towards, and make fitness a priority. It can also help you keep track of what kinds of workouts your are doing and when to switch it up. Plus, nothing is more satisfying than crossing off your completed workout in your calendar!
TIP: If possible, work out first thing in the morning, so that it is over and done with, before your other daily responsibilities get in the way. If finding a solid time slot is tricky, you can always break it up into smaller chunks. Two 15-minute workouts or even three 10-minute workouts can be just as effective as one 30-minute exercise routine!
3.) Get into the Zone Get pumped and in the mood by creating a playlist of all your favourite songs to listen to as you workout. Portable bluetooth speakers are a great piece of equipment to use, as they can be taken anywhere. Changing into workout clothes is also a way to help you get into the fitness mindset. As well, remove all potential distractions. Turn off your TV, put your phone on silent, and let people living with you know you are about to begin your exercise routine – or better yet, ask them to work out with you! You can even FaceTime or Zoom with friends and family for a virtual workout session. Sometimes, having a friend or family member to do it together with can be the push you need to get started.
TIP: If none of these things help you to get into the zone, turn on your TV and use the commercials to squeeze in a workout. Try doing as many dumbbell reps, squats, burpees, etc. as you can until the commercial break ends. Then try to beat your record at the next one.
We hope you’ve found these tips helpful, and if you enjoy the outdoors, read this blog on taking your workout outside in chillier weather. Not going to the gym doesn’t mean you have to stop your fitness routine. With some motivation, planning, and a little creativity, you can ensure you never miss a workout!
Posted by London Drugs at November 18, 2020 3:29 pm
As the days get shorter and autumn moves toward winter, many people notice that they have less energy and their mood is less positive. The changes may be as subtle as not wanting to get out of bed in the morning or a yearning to return to the fun days of summer. For others, it goes beyond being a little down and may include feeling depressed most of the time and losing interest in activities they normally enjoy. These people may be suffering from a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
The symptoms—whether mild or severe—are likely to be due to a sensitivity to the lack of sunlight during the shorter winter days, which disrupts the body’s internal clock and affects hormone levels that, in turn, affect mood and the desire to sleep more.
You can fight back against this natural shift by taking some steps to combat your body’s response to the lack of sunlight. Here are a few suggestions that can help:
1. Get as much sunlight as you can Spend more time outdoors. Bundle up and go out for a walk or participate in winter sports. It can be difficult to get enough natural sunlight during the winter and, unfortunately, regular indoor lighting doesn’t replace natural sunlight. If you can’t get outdoors for some reason, there are lights called light therapy boxes or SAD lights that have special fluorescent tubes that reproduce the sun’s beneficial rays. Doctors often recommend using one of these light boxes for 30 minutes a day to boost mood.
2. Be physically active
Exercise releases endorphins—the body’s feel-good chemicals—that help lift mood. Exercise also relieves stress, increases energy, and can improve both physical and mental wellbeing. Something as simple as a daily walk—or a visit to the gym or participating in indoor sports if the weather isn’t cooperating—can have a significant impact on mood. Being physically active also helps fight winter weight gain that can have a negative effect on mood.
3. Eat well Healthy eating benefits both physical and mental health. Be sure to include fruits and vegetables in your daily eating plan. Some foods, such as chocolate, have been shown to relieve anxiety and improve mood temporarily, but that comes with a caution: while candy, cookies, and similar high-carbohydrate foods may make you feel better while you’re eating them, they can make you feel worse later when your blood sugar drops. If you want to treat yourself, try a small piece of dark chocolate and a cup of calming herbal tea.
4. Get cozy
Finding comfort in simple things such as dressing in warm pajamas and curling up in a blanket on a soft couch and watching a favourite TV show, reading a book, or just talking with friends and family can make you feel content and grateful.
5. Don’t forget to have fun Wintertime doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. You may not be spending time at the beach or in the pool, but many communities have winter festivals that can be lots of fun. You can participate in outdoor sports or even indoor sports at local community centres. You can also look for a good book to read, check out the new movie releases, play board games, or binge-watch a favourite TV show with like-minded friends.
6. Consider volunteering Sometimes helping others can make you feel better about yourself. If you can’t get out to a local organization to donate your time, try cleaning out your closets and donating things you no longer need.
When you’re so SAD
If your winter blues start to affect all aspects of your life, you may be suffering from SAD. This is more than just a passing low mood; it is a medical condition and should be treated. The first step is to recognize the symptoms of SAD.
Common symptoms are: • Difficulty sleeping • Difficulty taking initiative • Feeling less social than usual and isolating yourself from family and friends • Depressed mood most of the day • Loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy • Struggling to stay focused • Constant fatigue and lethargy
Serious cases may cause feelings of hopelessness about the future and sometimes suicidal thoughts. If you experience these symptoms of depression, even if they are mild, it is important to talk with your primary healthcare provider. If the lifestyle tips listed above don’t help resolve your blues, prescription antidepressants may provide the help you need. The bottom line is: don’t suffer; help yourself and get help from others when you need it.
Posted by London Drugs at November 13, 2020 2:59 pm
Wishing you a safe and happy Diwali, however you’re celebrating! 🕯️Win 1 of 2 $50 London Drugs gift cards! Simply tell us how you’re celebrating Diwali this year in the comment section of our Facebook and/or instagram post.
Participating and entering in this promotion is considered a complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant. It is also an acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.
No purchase necessary. Limit one (1) entry per social network per contest. Limit one (1) prize may be won per household. Two (2) winners will be drawn from all combined social media platforms. Entries must be received no later than 11:59 pm Pacific Time on Nov 16, 2020 11:59pm PST. London Drugs is not responsible for entries that become lost or misdirected.
Contest is open to all residents of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba who, as of the date the prize draw is made: (i) have not won a London Drugs contest since Nov 16, 2019; (ii) have reached the age of majority in the province in which they reside as at Nov 14, 2020 (iii) are not employees of London Drugs, their respective advertising and promotional agencies, the independent judging organization (if any), or any family member living with any such employee.
The winners will be randomly chosen on the day the contest ends (see dates below) in Vancouver, British Columbia, from all eligible entries received per contest. To win, selected entrants must have correctly answered the skill-testing mathematical question on the entry for on the online entry form and must sign London Drug’s declaration and release confirming compliance with the contest rules and acceptance of the prize(s) as awarded, releasing London Drugs from liability in association with the contest and prize and consenting to the use of their name, photograph, voice and statements for promotional and publicity purposes.
There will be 2 (two) prize(s) awarded to 2 (two) winners: each receiving a London Drugs gift card valued at $50. Prize(s) must be accepted as awarded, are non-transferable and no substitutions are permitted. London Drugs reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value should any prize become unavailable for any reason. Prize will be awarded at the closest London Drugs location to the winner.
Contests dates: Nov 14 – 16, 2020 11:59pm PST Draw Date: 12:00 PM Pacific Time, Nov 18, 2020
Selected entrants will be contacted by email, or social network they were drawn from. No correspondence will be entered into except with selected entrants. If the winner does not respond then she/he will be notified for the second time, 3 (three) days after the first notification. If the winner still does not respond within 3 days of the second notification, a new winner will be chosen in the same manner until a winner is successfully contacted.
The chances of winning a prize will depend on the number of eligible entries received. Decisions of the judges in respect of all aspects of this contest including, but not limited to, eligibility of entries and correctness of answers given to the skill-testing question, are final.
London Drugs, their respective advertising and promotional agencies, the independent judging organization, and their respective agents are not liable to an entrant in any manner relating to the contest or the awarding and use of the prize(s).
The right is reserved by London Drugs to terminate this contest, in whole or in part, and/or modify, amend or suspend the contest, and/or these rules in any way, should any cause beyond the reasonable control of London Drugs or its agents affect the proper administration thereof.
Statement of Declaration and Release
All selected entrants will be required to sign the Statement of Declaration and Release attached before they can be declared a winner and receive a contest prize.
Posted by London Drugs at November 13, 2020 2:42 pm