No one knows workplace pressure like Canada's all-female diving team the FAB IV. With judges, cameras and hundreds of people watching, they must execute near-flawless synchronized and solo dives in some of the biggest competitions in the world, such as the 2015 Pan Am Games and the 2016 Summer Olympics, to name a couple. Partners Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion (10m synchronized diving, individual 10m platform) and Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware (3m synchronized diving, individual 1m and 3m springboard) made a quick trip to Toronto from Montreal to talk about their passion for the sport. Though they spoke specifically about diving, the knowledge they've gained is applicable to almost any career.
Work with talented people who challenge you Ever heard the phrase "If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room"? The general idea applies to diving, too. "We have the advantage of training with divers who have had a lot of success internationally," says Filion, "so we push each other to be better."
Visualize your desired result The warm-up before each event consists of running through the motions of the dive on the ground, "like a simulation," says Abel. Visualizing the dive before it's performed is the best preparation. Just do you It's impossible to control another person's actions, even in a sport that relies so heavily on teamwork. When Ware and Abel get on the springboards, "we just focus on our own dives," says Abel. "If Pam does her dive and I do mine, everything's going to be OK."
Don't take yourself too seriously Competing at such a high level in front of hundreds of people is a stressful undertaking, but the FAB IV divers know how to enjoy the moment and have fun. "If you take it too seriously, something's going to go wrong," says Benfeito. To loosen up prior to competition, the women often sing and dance. Accept that mistakes happen No matter how much the divers train and visualize, imperfect dives happen. "Sometimes, I have a bad day and it will be my fault that we don't do well," says Ware. "Sometimes, it will be Jennifer. I'm not going to blame her if she dives poorly, and I hope she won't blame me." Abel agrees: "It's part of the game. You see what went wrong and come up with a solution, but you still have to keep diving the next day."
We polled family doctors from across the country, and they laid down the law on eight things they wish we'd do—or stop doing.
According to our panel of general practitioners, Canadians aren't always doing what they should to make the most of doctor visits—and skipping out on these crucial tactics could lead to a delay in diagnosing serious conditions. Here's what our experts say you should add to your patient checklist.
1. Stop feeling shy
Many of us hesitate to talk to our physicians about sensitive issues (think substance abuse or sexual health—or even gender identity). But honesty and openness are important, both for fostering a good doctor-patient relationship and for ensuring that you get the best care, says Dr. Laura Pripstein, medical director of the Sherbourne Health Centre in Toronto and a staff physician on the family health team. That's why it's OK to try out a doc before committing. Dr. Pripstein recommends booking an initial visit to see if your potential doctor is a good fit. "You want to see if this person seems like someone you can talk to, someone you feel comfortable with," she says. And if you don't think your doctor understands or respects your concerns, don't be afraid to find someone new. "If you feel you can't ask questions that might be embarrassing, you don't have the right provider," says Dr. Pripstein.
2. Don't come to your appointments unprepared
Get the most out of your time—and your doc's—by arriving at your appointment with a clear plan for what you want to discuss, says Dr. David Ross, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. "It's good to have patients think about their problems from when the issue began, then look at it chronologically to the present," says Dr. Ross. Making a prioritized point-form list in advance helps ensure that you don't forget anything or mix up the order of events, he says. Then, work with your doctor to address the most serious issues first.
3. Choose your family doc over the walk-in clinic whenever you can
Yes, a clinic is convenient, but what we gain in easy access, we lose in familiarity. "I think it's really valuable if people can connect with a family physician who they'll be able to see long term, rather than just looking for the quickest way to access care," says Dr. Maurianne Reade, a physician with the Manitoulin Central Family Health Team in Mindemoya and M'Chigeeng First Nation, Ont. A family doctor will know your medical history and will keep it in mind when suggesting treatment—so, for example, if you've recently taken several courses of antibiotics for a UTI, your physician will likely look for a different course of action if you come in with another infection. According to the most recent statistics, about 4.5 million Canadians don't have a regular family doctor. If that's you, contact your provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons, or check to see if your region has an online registry (Ontario has Health Care Connect, while Quebec launched a web-based family doctor finder last year). "It's important to know that we doctors are privileged to share in your stories and to help you through difficult times," says Dr. Reade.
4. Share what's happening in your life
There's a reason your doctor wants to know where you're working, if you're dating and how the kids are—and it's not just because she likes you. (Though she does, we're sure.) Physicians need a picture of their patients' lives beyond their specific health symptoms and conditions, especially when they're first getting to know you, says Dr. Stephen Wetmore, the family medicine chair at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University in London, Ont. "Doctors need to know these things to understand how your lifestyle and habits may be influencing your health," he says. So when you're talking about your exercise habits, your health history and whether you smoke, drink or use drugs, mention your employment status, family obligations and intimate relationships, too, says Dr. Wetmore.
5. Be a better googler
Doctors know you do it (hello, late-night web searches), but they would prefer you to ask about good sources of information, rather than going rogue online. They also want you to be honest about your fears if you've read something particularly upsetting. Physicians can't address your concerns or point you in the right direction if they don't know what your fingertips have been up to. "The thing we want our patients to do is ask us for the most reliable Canadian websites to go to as resources," says Dr. Heather Waters, an assistant professor of family medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton.
6. Don't think your symptoms are "no big deal"
If you've noticed you are having more headaches than usual or are sleeping more or are eating less, you might not think to tell your doctor—but you should. There's no set of rules for determining which symptoms are worthy of investigation or discussion, says Dr. Wetmore, but make a note to mention anything that is new or has changed since your last appointment. "You should bring up things like sudden weight loss or fatigue that seems excessive," he says. "It could be a sign of a larger problem, or the cause of a developing problem." Evenif it doesn't end up being serious, seeing your doctor will help ease any anxiety you might be feeling, and that's worth the visit, too.
7. Talk about what you're taking
Tell your physician about any herbal medications and alternative treatments you take, says Dr. Mel Borins, a University of Toronto associate professor and author of A Doctor's Guide to Alternative Medicine: What Works, What Doesn't, and Why. It's important for patients to share what's working for them and for doctors to be open-minded about therapies outside their own practice or traditions, he says. This is also a concern when it comes to conventional meds, especially if you're pregnant; there are only 23 medications specifically approved for use during pregnancy— yes, out of every available drug—which can leave women feeling anxious about taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs when they're expecting, says Dr. Robyn MacQuarrie, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Bridgewater, N.S. But don't stop taking your meds as soon as your pregnancy test comes back positive. "It's really important to talk to your doctor instead of stopping cold turkey," says Dr. MacQuarrie. Physicians can help you determine the risks and benefits of using different drugs, and they can let you know when the effects of not taking a medication while pregnant may be worse than taking it— which is the case with some antidepressants.
8. Avoid diagnosing yourself
You know doctors don't like it when you come in prepared with a diagnosis you've made thanks to the aforementioned Dr. Google. But do you know why? It's not because they think you're encroaching on their territory! Rather, they worry that a serious medical problem might get missed or you'll cause yourself unnecessary anxiety over something not serious. That's because not everyone has the most common symptoms of a particular condition. Plus, men, women and different ethnicities can have varying symptoms for the same problem. For instance, Dr. Reade's community has a large proportion of people with diabetes, which can affect the warning signs of cardiac disease, a major killer in Canada. Instead of the usual pain or pressure on the left side of the chest or arm, men and women with diabetes may instead have spells of profuse sweating with weakness. And, of course, women who don't have diabetes can have differing symptoms, too; sometimes, a heart attack can feel like acid reflux or come with sudden nausea, vomiting and lightheadedness. So always tell your physician if your symptoms are surprising or strange—like a headache that feels different than usual, for example. And if you're worried about a specific diagnosis, be sure to bring that up, too.
While every Canadian faces his or her own unique set of health hurdles, there are a number of ailments that have become pervasive in Canada. Though medicine has advanced over the years, our modern lifestyles have introduced a new set of health challenges. Here are some of the top health problems that Canadians face today.
I absolutely love pine nuts. Always have, always will. They're super buttery and rich-tasting, fill the kitchen with a sweet nutty aroma as they toast away and add great flavour to both sweet and savoury recipes. The only caveat?
They're expensive! They're usually about twice as much as walnuts or almonds in the grocery store.
So why are they so expensive? •
They're labour-intensive to harvest: Pine nuts, which are actually not nuts but seeds, are the
edible seeds harvested from pine cones. The seeds are nestled in the pine cones and have to be removed from between the scales of the cones which makes them
time-consuming to extract. This labour intensive process explains part of its high cost. •
There are shortages of the crop: Continuous harsh weather conditions, deforestation and climate change has taken its toll on global forests. This, in turn, is creating shortages of the crop.
Why are they still worth purchasing? •
Because they're incredibly delicious! I like to think of pine nuts as a
luxury product, like I do certain types of expensive cheeses or cured meats. I enjoy them that much more when I do have them but don't consider them an everyday purchase item. • They're
irreplaceable in some recipes: if you want to make
a classic Italian pesto or
Italian pignoli cookies, for example, you'll really have to use pine nuts to get that authentic taste. • They have a
high energy content, contain heart-healthy alpha-linolenic acid, and are a good source of protein. • You can
freeze them so they don't go to waste if you don't need them all right away. Because of their high fat content, pine nuts do go rancid quite fast when left in your pantry. To freeze them,
store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 9 months. You can add them straight from the freezer to your skillet or oven to
How to substitute pine nuts: Pine nuts can be replaced by a variety of nuts in most recipes. The end-result won't taste exactly the same, but you'll end up with a tasty variation nonetheless. For something like pesto, for example, you can substitute pine nuts for an oily nut like
walnuts or almonds. The same goes most recipes, just experiment with different kinds of nuts to see what tastes the best to you.
Photography by Jennifer Bartoli
Want an in-demand job with a healthy future? Look no further than the skilled trades in Canada. "There is an incredible amount of opportunity in the trades industry in Canada right now," says Peter Harris, editor-in-chief of Workopolis, who reports on trends and changes in the Canadian job market.
"Trades workers need not be subject to the boom-and-bust cycles of provincial economies, because trades jobs are evergreen and also come with a great deal of freedom of mobility," he says. For example, in every city across the country, homeowners are always looking for reliable, affordable work on their homes: renovation, plumbing, electrical, roofing and more, says Harris.
Positions in the skilled trades offer another bonus: These roles are far more insulated from being sent offshore and to automation, says Harris. "[These are] the two biggest threats to many career paths," he says. Furthermore, Canada faces a shortage of one million tradespeople by 2020, as many people in that field will be retiring, he says. "The average age of welders is 57, and large numbers of trades workers across the board are also into their 50s."
Defining the "best" trade is highly subjective; it depends on where you live and what you consider most valuable: lots of demand, high pay, flexibility to set your own hours or whatever you feel is vital to a good job. That said, based on the job opportunities being posted online in the skilled trades, Harris says the most sought-after employees are in these five vocations.
1. Construction workers Whether it be working on new home construction, infrastructure (like roads) or commercial enterprises, construction workers are in high demand in Canada. Construction is considered a cornerstone of Canadian industry and it represents about seven percent of the Canadian workforce, according to the Canadian Construction Association. While positions may be plentiful, construction work is often seasonal and contract-based.
2. Vehicle repair In the past year, the number of job postings for the mechanic trades has spiked 94 percent over June 2013, says Harris. As anyone who has ever owned a car knows, auto mechanics tend to be perennially busy. According to Human Resources Skills Development Canada, this job is also called automotive service technician, helpful keywords if you're searching for post-secondary education programs, which tend to use this title instead of "car mechanics."
3. Maintenance worker Although maintenance work comprises a very broad array of specialties, these jobs are in high demand across the country, says Harris. Not just hands-on repair (although it can include these skills), maintenance work encompasses operations, planning and information management skills as well. These jobs are posted under a variety of names, such as maintenance technician, maintenance mechanic, maintenance specialist and, of course, maintenance worker.
4. Electricians Electricity is vital to life as we know it in Canada. Licensed electricians lay out, assemble, install, test, troubleshoot and repair electrical wiring, fixtures, control devices and related equipment in buildings and other structures, according to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Electricians are highly sought-after in commercial, industrial and residential spheres. There are many positions open with electrical contractors, maintenance companies and industries, and there are also ample self-employment opportunities.
5. Heavy machinery operators (such as a backhoe, bulldozer) Wherever there's a freshly paved road or newly built construction, a heavy machinery operator isn't far behind. Operators work backhoes, bulldozers, graders and other heavy-duty construction vehicles. Another term that describes this trade is heavy equipment operator, which is the terminology post-secondary schools and colleges use to designate program offerings. Like construction work, these roles can be plentiful across the nation, but also tend to be seasonal.
The best winter accessories are both fashionable and functional, which is why we love the Alder Headband. Staying warm never looked so amazing.
This Alpaca headband's soft, thick yarn and easy pattern make it a satisfying quick knit. The headband is designed using a simple two-by-two rib pattern with a unique twist. And it's so practical as an ear warmer, you might be tempted to make it in several winter colours.
The Alder Headband pattern is easy to follow and suitable for the beginner to intermediate knitter. Creating the twist may seem intimidating to new knitters, but the clear instructions guarantee great results. The headband is knit flat and sewn together. You may hide the seam at the back of your headband with one of Americo’s Ilo leather plackets for a special finishing touch. If you decide to do this, simply cut the placket in half lengthwise and sew onto both sides of your seam with a yarn needle and fingering/sport weight yarn.
Finished size: 20 inch (51 cm) circumference x 5 inch (13 cm) width. One size fits many.
10 stitches and 16 rows = 4 inches (10 cm) in 2x2 rib stitch, slightly stretched, using 7 mm (US 10.75) size needles or size needed to achieve gauge.
K, k: knit
P, p: purl
Ribbed/rib/ribbing: a pattern stitch – has vertical columns of knit and purl stitches, side by side, with elastic properties.
Examples: (K1, P1) aka 1 x 1 ribbing, (K2, P2) aka 2 x 2 ribbing etc.
Using 7 mm (US 10.75) size needles, cast on 24 stitches.
R1 (RS): P1, (k2, p2) to last 3 sts, k2, p1
R2 (WS): K1, (p2, k2) to last 3 sts, p2, k1
Work a total of 34 rows from cast-on edge or until work measures 8.5 inches.
Divide for the Twist:
Row 35: RS: p1, (k2, p2) until 15 stitches remain, k2, p1. Place the remaining 12 stitches on a stitch holder to be worked later. Turn your work and with wrong side row facing:
Row 36: WS: K1, (p2, k2) to last 3 sts, p2, k1.
Repeat these 2 rows, five more times for a total of 12 rows or until work measures 3 inches (8cm) from divide. Place these stitches on a second stitch holder. Break yarn, leaving a 6 inch tail.
Return to first set of stitches that are on a holder (right side facing), transfer to needle and rejoin yarn leaving a 6 inch tail.
R1 (RS): P1, (k2, p2) to last 3 sts, k2, p1
R2 (WS): K1, (p2, k2) to last 3 sts, p2, k1
Repeat these 2 rows, five more times for a total of 12 rows or until work measures 3 inches (8cm). Place these stitches back onto a stitch holder.
Next row will be the cross over row.
With the right side facing, cross the first set of 12 stitches over the second set of stitches (right over left) and slip all stitches from the 2 holders onto the working needle. The row is now re-joined with 24 stitches back on the needle, and with a twist in the centre.
Keeping in the rib stitch pattern, work the second half of the headband for 34 rows.
Americo Original is a Canadian yarn company and online knitting shop with its own line of quality yarns, knitwear patterns and accessories. Americo’s yarns are made exclusively in the Andean highlands of South America, using only natural fibres, including luxurious wool, llama, alpaca, cotton, linen, silk and cashmere. Americo and its in-house design lab are based in Toronto, offering international shipping from its online store: americo.ca/shop.