6 Ways to Manage Stress at Work

Here’s how to cope with anything thrown your way at work.

Workplace stress touches most of us at one time or another. In fact, according to the American Institute of Stress, 80 percent of us feel stressed at work. Deadlines loom. Bosses make unrealistic demands. Restructuring means anxiety over job security. Although stressors may be an inherent part of work life, buckling under the pressure doesn’t have to be.

There are plenty of reasons to manage your workplace stress rather than accepting it as part and parcel of having a busy career. For starters, stress takes a heavy physical toll. It can cause headaches, stomach upset, irritability, depression and even elevated blood pressure.

Along with its emotional toll, prolonged job-related stress can drastically affect your physical health. Constant preoccupation with job responsibilities often leads to erratic eating habits and not enough exercise, resulting in weight problems, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels

Stress doesn’t exactly make you more productive on the job, either. It can strip away your ability to concentrate and process complex thoughts. Stress can make it difficult to find the motivation to complete tasks, which creates a negative feedback loop when you’re under pressure to perform.

1. Know what stresses you out.

Sure, you’re stressed. But do you actually know why? Many of us walk around on edge without ever taking a moment to uncover the source of our stress on a deep level.

Let’s say you often struggle to meet deadlines. Being behind the curve at work can be anxiety-inducing. Can you identify the underlying problems? Maybe a chatty coworker distracts you more frequently than you thought, or you’re lured away from your tasks by social media. Now that you’ve identified the root of the issue, you can work on regaining your focus.

2. Respond to stress in positive ways.

If you respond to stress by coming home, opening a bag of chips and flinging yourself at the couch where you’ll binge-watch Netflix until you crawl off to bed, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

Here are some better ways to combat stress:

3. Don’t skip a vacation.

It’s tempting, especially when job stress is high, to push onward and be a martyr. We all like to come across as committed to our work. But is your commitment really shining through if you’re stressed out all the time and less productive as a result?

Trust us. You need a vacation. Taking time off to rejuvenate ultimately makes workers more productive. It can also reduce symptoms of stress like sleeplessness, fatigue and headaches. Return to work relaxed and refreshed and you’ll be better equipped to get things done.

4. Act on what you can control, accept what you can’t.

How often do you find yourself thinking, Ugh! I should be getting my act together!

All those “shoulds” tend to pile up on a person, creating stress. But learning to tune in to that interior monologue allows you to focus your thoughts. Mindfulness and a practice called radical acceptance can help.

Radical acceptance encourages you to look at distressing events as though you’re a casual observer with no stakes in the game. You begin by simply describing what happened, and your role in it, in the most objective terms possible. Then you assess what you had control over in that particular situation, and what you didn’t.

Mindfulness challenges you to accept the things outside of your control. Why stress over things you’re powerless to change? It also helps you shift your emotional response from negative to neutral, or even productive, by teaching you to channel your energies toward acting (taking ownership of the things you do have control over) rather than simply reacting.

5. Ask for help when you need it.

Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re in the weeds. Everyone gets overwhelmed from time to time, and there’s no shame in asking for help when you truly need it.

We tend to view asking for help as admitting defeat. But put yourself in your manager’s shoes. Would you rather an employee make excuses for not completing a project on time or to your satisfaction, or have that employee ask for help before disaster strikes?

There are a few caveats to asking for help. First, make certain you’ve put in your best effort before you seek out assistance. Second, prepare any questions you have in advance. If you simply go to your boss with a complaint without offering any solutions, you’ll sound like you’re whining rather than being proactive about solving a problem. Most of all, be sure you know the answer to the question your boss is likely to ask: What do you need from me?

6. Remember what you love about your job.

When you’re stressed out, it helps to take a few deep breaths and remember what you love about your job. Maybe the work is fulfilling, or you have great coworkers, or you’re actually living the dream of being what you always wanted to be when you grew up. It’s impossible to feel both grateful and fearful or angry at the same time, so remind yourself from time to time that there are good things about your job even when the stressors are mounting.

Of course, if there’s nothing to love anymore, it may be time to consider moving on. Work stress is a fact of life, but if coping strategies aren’t working and you don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, it may be time to hit the job boards in search of a better fit before stress takes a serious physical or emotional toll.

Fall Prevention – Personal Risk Prevention

In the previous Maturity Matters Newsletter, we discussed how to reduce the potential of a fall by attending to the environmental risk factors looming inside and outside of your home. In this edition, we will introduce the biological influences and lifestyle changes you can make to remain safe in later years.

While the impact and consequences of falls are significant – it is important to realize that falls are not inevitable! There is much we can do to mitigate the risks and add to our longevity and well-being.

Biological Factors
These refer to factors relating to overall aging, as well as the effects of chronic conditions, acute health challenges, medications and their interactions, end of life issues, and gender differences.

TIPS

  • Review your medications and supplements with your health practitioner on a regular basis.
  • Consult with your health practitioner to manage conditions that could cause dizziness.
  • Manage your blood pressure and pay attention to the potential for postural hypotension that can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure when standing up and transferring.
  • Have your eyes and hearing tested annually.
  • Visit a podiatrist to keep your feet in good condition.
  • Make sure you are taking adequate amounts of vitamin D and calcium.
  • Work with a rehabilitation therapist to address balance and gait problems.
  • Use proper mobility aids such as walkers and canes, and keep them in good working conditions.

Lifestyle Factors
The good news is that the lifestyle factors are those actions that exist within your control!

TIPS

  • Keep as active as you can!
  • Exercise (home or group programs) to improve strength, endurance, flexibility and balance.
  • Work with a health specialist to develop an exercise program that fits your health status and abilities.
  • Add physical activities that you enjoy into your daily routine.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Wear shoes that fit well with non-slip soles.
  • Review our previous edition listing environmental factors to attend to inside and outside of your home.

This edition included some simple tips and strategies to help keep us strong and engaged. The fear of falling can often keep older persons prisoners in their own homes – this doesn’t need to happen! When we reduce the environmental risks, respect and respond to the biological influences, and then introduce positive lifestyle activities, we can continue to live an active, connected and safe existence throughout our lifetime.

Rhonda Latreille, MBA, CPCA
Founder & CEO
Age-Friendly Business®

Oatmeal Choco-Cranberry Cookies

12 Servings/25 Mins.
Ingredients-2 very ripe bananas, peeled, 1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract, 1 cup (250 mL) large flake oats, 2 tbsp (25 mL) ground flax or chia seed, 1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground cinnamon, 3 tbsp (45 mL) mini chocolate chips, 3 tbsp (45 mL) dried cranberries.

Directions-In a bowl, mash bananas until smooth. Stir in vanilla. In another bowl, stir together oats, flax and cinnamon. Stir into banana mixture until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips and cranberries. Scoop dough into 12 mounds onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. Flatten each slightly and bake in 350° F (180° C) oven for about 12 minutes or until cookies are firm to the touch. Let cool before removing from baking sheet.

Nutritional Info Per Serving (1 cookie)-Calories 73, Protein 2 g, Total Fat 2 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 13 g, Fibre 2 g, Total sugars 5 g, Added sugars 2 g, Sodium 1 mg, Potassium 120 mg

Recipe developed by Emily Richards, PH Ec. Reprinted with Permission from ©Heart and Stroke Foundation 2012.

Remember to Give

“For it is in giving that we receive.”

St. Francis of Assisi

Happy Holidays from All of Us at

Age-Friendly Business

Tax Planning Tips for End of 2018

Now that we are nearing year end, it’s a good time to review your finances. 2018 saw a number of major changes to tax legislation come in force and more will apply in 2019, therefore you should consider available opportunities and planning strategies prior to year-end.

Below, we have listed some of the key areas to consider and provided you with some useful tips to make sure that you cover all of the essentials.

Key Tax Deadlines for 2018 Savings

December 31, 2018:

  • Medical expenses

  • Fees for union and professional memberships

  • Charitable gifts

  • Investment counsel fees, interest and other expenses relating to investments

  • Student loan interest payments

  • Political contributions

  • Deductible legal fees

  • Some payments for child and spousal support

  • If you reached the age of 71 in 2018, contributions to your RRSP

January 30, 2019

  • Interest on intra-family loans

  • Interest you must pay on employer loans, to reduce your taxable benefit

February 14, 2019

  • Expenses relating to personal car reimbursement to your employer

March 1, 2019

  • Contributions to provincial labour-sponsored venture capital corporations

  • Deductible contributions to a personal or spousal RRSP

Family Tax Issues
  • Check your eligibility to the Canada Child Benefit
    In order to receive the Canada Child Benefit in 2019/20, you need to file your tax returns for 2018 because the benefit is calculated using the family income from the previous year. Eligibility depends on set criteria such as your family’s income and the number and age of your children and you may qualify for full or partial amount.

  • Consider family income splitting
    The CRA offers a low interest rate on loans and it therefore makes sense to consider setting up an income splitting loan arrangements with members of your family, whereby you can potentially lock in the family loan at a low interest rate of 2% and subsequently invest the borrowed monies into a higher return investment and benefit from the lower tax status of your family member. Don’t forget to adhere to the new Tax on Split Income rules.

  • Have you sold your main residence this year?
    If so, your 2018 personal tax return must include information regarding the sale or you may lose any “principal residence” exemptions on the capital gains from the sale and thus make the sale taxable.

  • If you’re moving, think carefully about your moving date
    If you are moving to a new province, it’s worth noting that your residence at December 31, 2018 is likely to be the one that your taxes are due to for the whole of the 2018 year. Therefore, if your move is to a province with higher taxes, putting your move off until 2019 may therefore make sense, and vice versa if you are moving to a lower tax province.

Managing Your Investments
  • Use up your TFSA contribution room
    If you are able, it’s worth contributing the full $5,500 to your TFSA for 2018. You can also contribute more (up to $57,500) if you are 27 or older and haven’t made any previous TFSA contributions.

  • Check if you have investments in a corporation
    The new passive investment income rules apply to tax years from 2018 and you therefore need to plan ahead if the rules affect you. They state that the small business deduction is reduced for companies which are affected with between $50,000 and $150,000 of investment income, therefore the small business deduction has been stopped completely for corporations which earn passive investment income of more than $150,000.

  • Think about selling any investments with unrealized capital losses
    It might be worth doing this before year-end in order to apply the loss against any net capital gains achieved during the last three years. Any late trades should ideally be completed on or prior to December 21, 2018 and subsequently confirmed with your broker. Conversely, if you have investments with unrealized capital gains which are not able to be offset with capital losses, it may be worth selling them after 2018 in order to be taxed on the income the following year.

Estate and Retirement Planning
  • Make the most of your RRSP
    The deadline for making contributions to your RRSP for the year 2018 is March 1, 2019. There are three things that affect how much you may contribution towards your RRSP, as follows:

    • 18% of your previous year’s earned income

    • Up to a maximum of $26,230 for 2018 and $26,500 for 2019

    • Your pension adjustment

Remember that deducting your RRSP contribution reduces your after-tax cost of making said contribution.

  • Check when your RRSP is due to end
    You should wind-up your RRSP if you reached the age of 71 during 2018 and your final contributions should be made by December 31, 2018.

Other Considerations
  • Make your personal tax instalments
    If you pay your final 2018 personal tax instalment by December 15, 2018, you won’t pay interest or penalty charges. Similarly, if you are behind on these instalments, you should try to make “catch-up” payments by that date. You can also offset part or all of the non-deductible interest that you would have been assessed if you make early or additional instalment payments.

  • Remember the deadline for making a taxpayer-relief request
    The deadline is December 31, 2018 for making a tax-payer relief request related to the 2008 tax year.

  • Consider how to minimize the taxable benefit for your company car
    The taxable benefit applied to company cars is comprised of two parts – a stand-by charge and an operating-cost benefit. If you drive a company car, it’s worth considering how to potentially minimize both of these elements. The taxable benefit for operating costs is $0.26 per km of personal use, therefore you should make sure that you reimburse your employer where relevant, by the deadline of February 14, 2019.

Contact us if you have any questions, we can help.

Financial Planning for Business Owners

Financial Planning for business owners is often two-sided: personal financial planning and planning for the business.

Business owners have access to a lot of financial tools that employees don’t have access to; this is a great advantage, however it can be overwhelming too. A financial plan can relieve this.

A financial plan looks at where you are today and where you want to go. It determines your short, medium and long term financial goals and how you can reach them. For you, personally and for your business.

Why do you need a Financial Plan?

  • Worry less about money and gain control.
  • Organize your finances.
  • Prioritize your goals.
  • Focus on the big picture.
  • Save money to reach your goals.

For a business owner, personal and business finances are connected. Therefore both sides should be addressed: Personal and Business.

What does a Financial Plan for a Business include?

There are 2 main sides your business financial plan should address: Growth and Preservation

Growth:

  • Cash Management- Managing Cash & Debt
  • Tax Planning- Finding tax efficiencies
  • Retaining & Attracting Key Talent

Preservation:

  • Investment- either back into the business or outside of the business
  • Insurance Planning/Risk Management
  • Succession/Exit Planning

What does a Personal Financial Plan include?

There are 2 main sides your financial plan should address: Accumulation and Protection

Accumulation:

  • Cash Management – Savings and Debt
  • Tax Planning
  • Investments

Protection:

  • Insurance Planning
  • Health Insurance
  • Estate Planning

What’s the Financial Planning Process?

  • Establish and define the financial planner-client relationship.
  • Gather information about current financial situation and goals including lifestyle goals.
  • Analyze and evaluate current financial status.
  • Develop and present strategies and solutions to achieve goals.
  • Implement recommendations.
  • Monitor and review recommendations. Adjust if necessary.

Next steps…

  • Talk to us about helping you get your finances in order so you can achieve your lifestyle and financial goals.
  • Feel confident in knowing you have a plan to get to your goals.

Health and Dental Insurance

Private Health Services Plans

An HSA (Private Health Services Plan) is a Canada Revenue Agency approved method to provide medical, dental, and vision benefits in a tax efficient manner. A corporation can write off 100% of the costs related to its HSA and all expenses reimbursed are tax-free to the employees.

Medical, dental, and vision are the standard categories offered to employees in an HSA.

 

 

The Buy-Sell Agreement a.k.a. The Elephant in the Room

Financial independence and the idea of being “your own boss” leads many Canadians to go into business for themselves in a passionate attempt to bring their dream to reality. In order to raise the start-up capital and resource the business with the necessary skill sets to give the company the best chances of success, it often involves more than one shareholder.