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Planning a country escape these school holidays? 4 ways to avoid clogging up the emergency department

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-riley-1499452">Katherine Riley</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rebekkah-middleton-314433">Rebekkah Middleton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a></em></p> <p>Winter school holidays are either here or coming up, depending on where in Australia you live. Maybe you’re planning a <a href="https://www.tra.gov.au/en/domestic/domestic-tourism-results">rural escape</a>.</p> <p>Rural tourism is crucial for job growth and sustainability of small rural towns. However, for rural emergency departments, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/listen/programs/am/holiday-medico-shortages-in-rural-and-remote-australia/103266540">school holidays</a> are often the busiest times.</p> <p>No-one plans a trip to the emergency department on holidays. But if you need health care, there are often other ways of accessing it than turning up at a rural hospital.</p> <p>Here’s why it’s so important to leave rural emergency departments for life-threatening illness or injuries, and some other options for seeking care.</p> <h2>We’re short of doctors and nurses</h2> <p>The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/rural-remote-australians/rural-and-remote-health">reports</a> a significant shortfall of nurses and specialist doctors in rural towns compared with staffing levels in big cities.</p> <p>This means many small rural emergency departments only have nurses on staff, with doctors on call or consulted remotely from a larger hospital.</p> <p>In a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1755599X2300143X">study</a> published earlier this year, my colleagues and I discovered this dynamic was especially challenging for rural emergency nurses when critically ill patients presented.</p> <p>One nurse told us: "We need more staff. I mean, I look at these emergency TV shows, and you see them in Kings Cross at the big hospitals there or overseas, they get a phone call […] there’s a resus coming in. Everyone’s standing around the bed with all their signs on, the airway/circulation/team leader […] and here, we have two people. It’s just so different. It’s just a false sense of reality. It’s ridiculous."</p> <p>So emergency departments should be used for <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Hospitals/Going_To_hospital/Publications/keep-ed-emergencies.pdf">emergencies only</a>. These include:</p> <ul> <li>sudden collapse</li> <li>chest pain or pressure lasting more than ten minutes</li> <li>breathing difficulty</li> <li>serious mental health condition</li> <li>uncontrollable bleeding.</li> </ul> <p>When emergency departments are used responsibly, this can reduce the pressure on staff. It ensures the most seriously ill receive the care they need promptly.</p> <h2>What are my alternatives?</h2> <p>Here are four ways you and your family can be better prepared for your rural holiday and avoid an unnecessary visit to the emergency department.</p> <p><strong>1. Pack your scripts and medical history summary</strong></p> <p>Bring essential scripts and medications with you. This reduces the need to visit the local emergency department and ensures you have what you need during your stay.</p> <p>Do you have a chronic condition or have had a recent illness or surgery? Make sure you speak to your GP before you go. They can provide a medical health summary that includes your recent treatments and medications. Alternatively, if you have access to <a href="https://www.digitalhealth.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/my-health-record">My Health Record</a>, ask your GP to prepare a shared health summary and upload it to your record. If you need medical care, this summary will assist in a timely assessment.</p> <p><strong>2. Call Healthdirect, NURSE-ON-CALL or 13HEALTH depending on where you are</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/how-healthdirect-can-help-you">Healthdirect</a> is a 24-hour telephone health advice line (known as NURSE-ON-CALL in Victoria or 13HEALTH in Queensland). By calling the relevant number, you will be connected to a registered nurse who will ask a series of questions and provide evidence-based advice and guidance. The Healthdirect website also offers an interactive <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/symptom-checker">symptom checker</a> to advise whether you should see a GP, go to an emergency department, or manage your symptoms at home (or in this case, on holidays):</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au">Healthdirect</a> - 1800 022 222</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/nurse-on-call">NURSE-ON-CALL</a> (Vic) - 1300 60 60 24</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.qld.gov.au/health/contacts/advice/13health">13HEALTH</a> (Qld) - 13 43 25 84.</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>3. Need a GP? How about GP telehealth services?</strong></p> <p>For minor health concerns or non-urgent issues, <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/how-emily-took-advantage-of-one-of-the-few-good-things-to-come-out-of-covid-20240507-p5fpg3.html">GP telehealth services</a> are a remote-access option that can be used when away from home. Before you go away, check with your GP to see if they offer a <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/health-technologies-and-digital-health/about/telehealth">telehealth service</a>.</p> <p><strong>4. Go to an Urgent Care Clinic</strong></p> <p>The Australian government has funded the opening of <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/find-a-medicare-ucc/about">Urgent Care Clinics</a> across the country. These clinics provide medical assessment and care for urgent illnesses or injuries. They have been created as a solution to divert people away from busy emergency departments. But these Urgent Care Clinics are not suitable for people experiencing emergency or life-threatening conditions.</p> <p>Urgent Care Clinics are ideal for illnesses and injuries that would require urgent treatment such as gastroenteritis, minor infections, lacerations and back pain. Check <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/find-a-medicare-ucc">here</a> to find your closest clinic.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Please keep the emergency department for life-threatening illnesses or injuries, and if needed, call 000 for an ambulance immediately.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/232262/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-riley-1499452">Katherine Riley</a>, Lecturer, School of Nursing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rebekkah-middleton-314433">Rebekkah Middleton</a>, Associate Professor, School of Nursing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/planning-a-country-escape-these-school-holidays-4-ways-to-avoid-clogging-up-the-emergency-department-232262">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Domestic Travel

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10 ways to make those stage 3 tax cuts count

<p>You’re already used to living without these extra dollars. So, you won’t miss them by continuing to do so. Consider the various options available and which best suits your circumstances, then devise a plan of action to put that money to work.</p> <ol> <li><strong>Check tax brackets</strong></li> </ol> <p>Not only are some income tax rates falling, but the thresholds for others are increasing - potentially pushing you into a lower tax bracket.</p> <p>For example, Alice currently earns $130,000 and this tips her into marginal tax rate of 37 per cent. </p> <p>The Stage 3 changes will increase the 37 per cent tax threshold to $135,001. As such, Alice drops to a lower tax bracket. Not only this, her new tax bracket will have its marginal tax rate reduced from 32.5 per cent to 30 per cent. It’s a double win for Alice!</p> <p>This shouldn’t change your money habits but is still good to know.</p> <ol start="2"> <li><strong>Update your plan</strong></li> </ol> <p>Check <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/about-ato/new-legislation/in-detail/individuals/individual-income-tax-rates-and-threshold-changes">what your new tax rate will be</a> to calculate your new take-home pay (or simply look at your first full pay cycle in the new financial year).</p> <p>Plot your new income into your household spending and investment plan. Now you know what you have to play with.</p> <ol start="3"> <li><strong>Check your pay</strong></li> </ol> <p>Most employers use digital payroll systems which automatically update tax rates. But not all do. And even then, mistakes can happen.</p> <p>From July, double check that your pay is adjusted correctly. </p> <p>If you notice a mistake, speak up – not only will you and your colleagues benefit, but you could save your employer from costly penalties for an innocent mistake.</p> <ol start="4"> <li><strong>Monitor expenses</strong></li> </ol> <p>Don’t let ballooning expenses wipe out any tax cut gains. </p> <p>Avoid pre-spending those gains too. The additional income is spaced out over each pay; it’s not a lump sum you can blow on a spending spree.</p> <ol start="5"> <li><strong>Automatic redirects</strong></li> </ol> <p>Consider setting up an automated redirect of the difference in your pay as soon as it hits your account. </p> <p>The money could be diverted into a high-interest savings account or used to top up your emergency fund.</p> <ol start="6"> <li><strong>Super contributions</strong></li> </ol> <p>Tax cut cash can be used in combination with super contribution rules to supercharge retirement earnings.</p> <p>Low income earners may be eligible for <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/super-for-individuals-and-families/super/growing-and-keeping-track-of-your-super/how-to-save-more-in-your-super/government-super-contributions/super-co-contribution">government co-contributions</a> while <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/super-for-individuals-and-families/super/growing-and-keeping-track-of-your-super/how-to-save-more-in-your-super/spouse-super-contributions">spouse contributions</a> can offer further tax benefits.</p> <p>This may be particularly useful for anyone <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/super-for-individuals-and-families/super/growing-and-keeping-track-of-your-super/caps-limits-and-tax-on-super-contributions/concessional-contributions-cap#ato-Carryforwardunusedcontributioncapamounts">trying to catch-up</a> after time out of the workforce (e.g., raising kids or caring for relatives) or repaying <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/about-ato/research-and-statistics/in-detail/super-statistics/early-release/covid-19-early-release-of-super">early withdrawals during COVID</a>. </p> <ol start="7"> <li><strong>Pay down debt</strong></li> </ol> <p>Every extra dollar spent paying off debt will save on future interest and clear it faster. </p> <p>Prioritise higher interest debts (like credit cards). Consider consolidating multiple debts into one with a lower rate (e.g., your mortgage) to reduce total interest and simplify repayments.</p> <ol start="8"> <li><strong>Invest in yourself</strong></li> </ol> <p>The old saying goes “you’ve got to spend money to make money”. Nowhere are the returns typically better than from self improvement.</p> <p>That could be undertaking new qualifications or additional training, enabling you to secure pay rises or transition to a higher-paying industry.</p> <p>Or it may be investing in your health and wellbeing, to reduce medical expenses, improve job prospects and productivity, and enhance your decision-making abilities (including about money matters).</p> <ol start="9"> <li><strong>Lodge returns promptly</strong></li> </ol> <p>This applies to every tax year: the sooner you lodge your tax return, the sooner you access your tax refund.</p> <p>Even if you’re facing a tax bill, getting it done sooner means less interest accruing and no late payment penalties.</p> <ol start="10"> <li><strong>Revisit strategies</strong></li> </ol> <p>While making changes to incorporate these tax cuts, take the opportunity to re-evaluate your overall finances. </p> <p>Revisit investment strategies to ensure they are delivering optimal returns. Check superannuation thresholds and performance. Scrutinise total tax liabilities (for instance, lower tax rates may mean you won’t qualify for the same level of tax deductions). Make updates where necessary.</p> <p>Keeping on top of your finances will mean better bang for your buck now while streamlining your affairs in future years.</p> <p><em><strong>Helen Baker is a licensed Australian financial adviser and author of On Your Own Two Feet: The Essential Guide to Financial Independence for all Women. Helen is among the 1% of financial planners who hold a master’s degree in the field. Proceeds from book sales are donated to charities supporting disadvantaged women and children. Find out more at <a href="http://www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au/">www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au</a></strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>Disclaimer: The information in this article is of a general nature only and does not constitute personal financial or product advice. Any opinions or views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent those of people, institutions or organisations the owner may be associated with in a professional or personal capacity unless explicitly stated. Helen Baker is an authorised representative of BPW Partners Pty Ltd AFSL 548754.</strong></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Money & Banking

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Young woman exposes "hate" response to Origin's Welcome to Country

<p>The young woman who delivered the Welcome to Country at the State of Origin has opened up on the "overwhelming" response to it, revealing how she has "received a lot of hate".</p> <p>Savannah Fynn, 22, was invited to deliver the Welcome to Country and while it was generally well received, it also led to radio host Kyle Sandilands slamming the practice in general, saying the practice had become “overused and lost its impact”.</p> <p>Since then, Fynn revealed that she has received an overwhelming amount of hate online, with some even jumping to criticise her appearance. </p> <p>“I was just so worried I would stutter or mess up my words because I’d never spoken in front of that many people,” Fynn told <em><a title="www.dailytelegraph.com.au" href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/stellar" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-tgev="event119" data-tgev-container="bodylink" data-tgev-order="stellar" data-tgev-label="lifestyle" data-tgev-metric="ev">Stellar</a></em>.</p> <p>“But once I finished, I felt a moment of relief. I ran straight over to my nan, obviously one of my Elders, and I gave her a big hug and a cuddle. It’s definitely an overwhelming feeling, getting all this attention. It’s not something I’m used to at all."</p> <p>“I’m a very quiet person so this is a big change. Even though it’s all positive, I struggle with taking compliments and I get a bit shy. I’m kind of ready for it to die down!”</p> <p>“As sad as it is, being a lighter skin colour, I’ve received a lot of hate for that,” the 22-year-old university student said.</p> <p>“A lot of people have picked on the way I look, the way I speak, even coming down to having blonde hair. My hair is actually dark, I’ve just dyed it blonde."</p> <p>“I think people also get very confused as to what an Acknowledgement and Welcome actually is. We’re not welcoming you to Australia; obviously you live here."</p> <p>“We’re welcoming you to the traditional owners of that land and acknowledging the traditional land. And in terms of comments about overuse, I feel you have to respect everyone’s opinions, even if you may not agree."</p> <p>“Being a First Nations person, I find it wonderful seeing my culture embraced. But obviously you can’t please everyone.”</p> <p>Fynn is aiming to be a young role model and hopes to show “young Indigenous people that we can get up and speak”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine </em></p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 24px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', HelveticaNeue, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-kerning: inherit; font-variant-alternates: inherit; font-variant-ligatures: inherit; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-variant-position: inherit; font-feature-settings: inherit; font-optical-sizing: inherit; font-variation-settings: inherit; font-size: 18px; vertical-align: baseline;"> </p> <p> </p>

TV

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Worrying pattern of cancellations shows Australian TV's grim future

<p>As the future of free-to-air Australian television continues to be more and more "uncertain", a worrying pattern of dozens of cancelled programs show how the industry has been in trouble for quite some time. </p> <p>In recent years, dozens of seemingly popular shows have been axed across three major networks with thousands of people across the industry preparing themselves for further cancellations, pay cuts, job losses and career changes.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/exclusive-34-axed-aussie-shows-revealed-as-future-of-free-to-air-tv-uncertain-224725084.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Yahoo Lifestyle</em></a>, 34 shows across Seven, Nine and Ten have either been axed, put on an indefinite hiatus, or quietly removed from TV schedules with no mention of it again over the last five years. </p> <p>Many Aussie TV staples such as <em>Millionaire Hot Seat</em>, <em>The Bachelor</em>, and <em>Australian Ninja Warrior</em>, which were all once the highest rated shows on television, have been binned due to declining viewership and dwindling ratings. </p> <p>Channel Ten's <em>The Masked Singer</em> has also become a casualty in the TV wars, as host Dave Hughes <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/entertainment/tv/hughesy-spills-the-beans-on-major-shows-set-to-be-axed" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shared</a> that he simply hadn't received a production schedule for the new season of the show, only to discover it had been shelved. </p> <p>In an attempt to breathe new life into the channels, newer shows like Shaynna Blaze’s <em>Country Home Rescue</em> or Kate Langbroek’s <em>My Mum, Your Dad</em> premiered, but have only survived for single seasons after failing to grab an audience. </p> <p>Even revived classics like <em>Big Brother</em>, <em>Celebrity Apprentice</em> and <em><a href="https://oversixty.com.au/entertainment/tv/channel-10-axes-another-show-amid-ratings-crisis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Gladiators</a></em> haven’t been able to survive as they now face growing competition from streaming giants like Netflix and Stan.</p> <p>As the list of cancelled shows continues to grow, one seasoned lighting director, who asked to remain anonymous, told Yahoo Lifestyle that job insecurity for casts and crews is a major concern. </p> <p>They said, “Every year the breaks between jobs are getting longer and longer to the point a lot of us (crew) are now leaving the industry. Ten years ago we’d be booked consistently with jobs locked in 12 months in advance for all of the networks, now everyone’s scrambling to try to get on a three-day pilot shoot. Everything is so uncertain.”</p> <p>Below are all of the free-to-air shows from the last five years that haven’t been renewed.</p> <p id="channel-seven"><strong>Channel Seven</strong></p> <p>Big Brother (2001-2008, 2012-2014, 2020-2023)</p> <p>SAS Australia (2020-2023)</p> <p>This Is Your Life (1975-1980, 1995-2005, 2008, 2011, 2022-2023)</p> <p>Blow Up (2023)</p> <p>Million Dollar Island (2023)</p> <p>We Interrupt This Broadcast (2023)</p> <p>The Voice: Generations (2022)</p> <p>Big Brother VIP (2021)</p> <p>Holey Moley (2021)</p> <p>Ultimate Tag (2021)</p> <p>Wife Swap Australia (2012, 2021)</p> <p>House Rules (2013-2020)</p> <p>Plate of Origin (2020)</p> <p>Pooch Perfect (2020)</p> <p id="channel-nine"><strong>Channel Nine</strong></p> <p>Millionaire Hot Seat (2009–2023)</p> <p>My Mum, Your Dad (2022-2023)</p> <p>The Beach House Escape (2023)</p> <p>Rush (2023)</p> <p>Snackmasters (2021-2022)</p> <p>Australian Ninja Warrior (2017-2022)</p> <p>Beauty and the Geek (2009-2014, 2021-2022)</p> <p>Celebrity Apprentice (2011-2015, 2021-2022)</p> <p>Country Homes Rescue (2022)</p> <p>This Time Next Year (2017-2019)</p> <p>Australia’s Most Identical</p> <p id="channel-ten"><strong>Channel Ten</strong></p> <p>Gladiators (1995-1996, 2008, 2024)</p> <p>The Bachelor (2013-2023)</p> <p>Studio 10 (2013-2023)</p> <p>The Masked Singer (2019-2023)</p> <p>The Traitors (2022-2023)</p> <p>Would I Lie To You? Australia (2022-2023)</p> <p>The Real Love Boat (2022)</p> <p>The Bachelorette (2015-2021)</p> <p>Bachelor In Paradise (2018-2020)</p> <p><em>Image credits: Ten / Seven </em></p>

TV

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10 ways to cruise as a senior

<p>Just because you’re older, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience all that a cruising holiday has to offer. Follow our simple tips for a fun filled holiday on the water.</p> <p><strong>1. Choose the right ship</strong></p> <p>Cruise ships today carry anywhere from six to 6,000 people. The larger megaliners tend to be geared towards families with plenty of crazy rides and high-energy activities. They’ll also probably be crowded with kids. Smaller boutique ships operate at a slower pace and are generally stocked with an older crowd. Do your research and find one to suit you.</p> <p><strong>2. And the right cabin</strong></p> <p>Do you need an accessible cabin? Do you want to reduce walking with a cabin close to the elevators? Is it important for you to have some outside space of your own? These are all important questions that you’ll need to answer when you book. The right cabin can make or break a cruise.</p> <p><strong>3. Pick an appropriate itinerary</strong></p> <p>You’ll need to decide if you want to visit new places every day or spend more time onboard the ship. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Port heavy itineraries, where you’re stopping at a new destination every day, can be tiring. On the other hand, you might get bored with too many days at sea.  Think realistically about your needs and make the right choice for you.</p> <p><strong>4. Research your dates</strong></p> <p>One of the best things about being a senior traveller is that you are (generally) no longer bound by things like school holidays. By avoiding these times you’ll not only save money, you won’t be on a ship with an unusually high proportion of children. When cruising in the Caribbean, you’ll also need to keep in mind the US college holidays so you’re not trapped with a bunch of boozy spring breakers.</p> <p><strong>5. Allow extra time</strong></p> <p>It’s a sad fact of ageing that you’re not as quick on your feet as you used to be. That means you’ll need to factor in extra time for just about everything. Ships can be huge, so you don’t want to be rushing to make a dinner reservation or spa appointment. This applies on shore too. If you’re really late, the ship will leave without you so don’t cut it too fine.</p> <p><strong>6. Choose the right shore excursions</strong></p> <p>Before you book, have a chat with the shore excursions team and get a good idea of the physical requirements. What they consider minimal walking might not be the same as what you consider minimal walking. These tours aren’t cheap, so you want to be sure that you can enjoy everything it involves.</p> <p><strong>7. Look at onboard activities</strong></p> <p>You might not want to get off at every port (which can be exhausting) but still want to be entertained onboard. And adventurous activities like skydiving simulators and giant waterslides may not be your thing any more. Many cruise lines offer fantastic enrichment programs onboard where you can listen to world-class lecturers, learn new skills or watch performances from the likes of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts or the Lincoln Centre.</p> <p><strong>8. Give yourself time to relax</strong></p> <p>You’re on holiday! If you want to spend a day in bed, watching movies and ordering room service then do exactly that. Don’t feel any pressure to be up and about every day.</p> <p><strong>9. Travel with the right companions</strong></p> <p>Solo, couple, friends or family, there’s a cruise for every group. Cruising is hugely popular with multi-generational groups as there something for everyone to do, but it might not make for the most relaxing holiday. If you’re a solo traveller, you can book a single cabin all to yourself or find a room mate with any number of matching services. Just think carefully – because once you’re onboard with your travel buddy, there’s no getting off.</p> <p><strong>10. Think about medical care</strong></p> <p>Be realistic about any medical needs you may have. Most ships have a decent medical centre, but if you are spending multiple days at sea or cruising to very remote destinations and something happens it might not be enough to help you. If you are concerned, choose cruises that stay close to shore or visit developed countries where you can get proper treatment quickly.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Cruising

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5 ways to fake a clean bathroom

<p>Got a friend popping around for a catch up, and, your bathroom is less than sparkling? Don’t stress. Follow our foolproof tips to fake it so no one knows you didn’t have time to do a proper clean.</p> <p><strong>1. Scrub the loo</strong></p> <p>The toilet is often a telltale sign that your bathroom is in need of a clean. If you haven’t already invested in a leave-in cleaner for your bowl, simply get in there with some toilet cleaner and give a good squirt under the rim. Leave it to do its job while you get on with the rest of the bathroom.</p> <p>Then when it’s had a few minutes to soak, give it a once over with the toilet brush. Grab some toilet paper (or an antibacterial wipe) and give the rim and the top of the toilet a once over to remove any dust.</p> <p><strong>2. Eliminate any obvious mould and grime</strong></p> <p>Find yourself some good-quality mould spray that you can apply and then leave to work its magic while you move on to other areas of the bathroom. After 10 minutes (check your packet for the optimal time) you should be able to spray it with warm water from the shower and then wipe it clean.</p> <p><strong>3. Do a quick dust bust</strong></p> <p>Grab yourself a clean cloth or antibacterial wipe and go over the shelves and basin to get rid of any dust or dirt you can see.</p> <p><strong>4.Change your bathmat and hand towel</strong></p> <p>There’s nothing like a fresh and clean bathmat to trick your guests into thinking that you’ve just finished scrubbing the bathroom. Add a clean hand towel to complete the look.</p> <p><strong>5.Add a sweet scent</strong></p> <p>Give your bathroom a look of freshness by popping a small vase of flowers in there. You can also try a scented candle on top of the toilet to give off a nice scent and hide any odours.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Home & Garden

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5 ways your sleep affects what you eat

<p>We know a good night’s sleep is good for us but logging in those hours of sleep can be a difficult task. Without quality shut-eye, our productivity decreases, immune system weakens and even our dietary health is negatively affected.</p> <p><strong>You eat more when you sleep less</strong></p> <p>A Mayo Clinic study comparing the eating habits of people who slept as much as they needed and those who only slept two-thirds of their required rest time for eight days, found the subject who were sleep-deprived ended up eating an average of 549 extra calories each day.</p> <p><strong>You snack more, especially at night</strong></p> <p>A lack of sleep can lead to decrease in physical activity and an increase in snacking behaviour. Such behaviours typically leads to weight gain.</p> <p><strong>You crave extra carbs and fatty foods</strong></p> <p>The foods we’re snacking on aren’t usually the healthy variety. A 2013 study found that when we’re tired we not only crave unhealthy, -carbohydrate, and high-fat foods but we’re less likely to consider the consequences of such food choices over time.</p> <p><strong>Disrupted sleep cycle equal changing eating patterns</strong></p> <p>Your internal clock guides both your sleep patterns and your eating patterns – aka when you feel hungry during the day. A 2011 study found that people who are “late sleepers” tend to delay their meals throughout the day and end up consuming more calories than the average meal. Those late-eating habits affect sleep and perpetuates the cycle.</p> <p><strong>You don’t eat the right foods</strong></p> <p>A 2013 study found that sleep-deprived subjects ate half the fruit and vegetable servings of a normal sleeper. This meant losing key nutrients from their diet, which can lead to dietary imbalances and effect the regular functioning of the body. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Body

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"Taken way too soon": TV star's brother breaks silence after shocking death

<p>The grieving brother of slain TV star Johnny Wactor has broken his silence over his brother's untimely death. </p> <p>Johnny Wactor, 37, was <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/soap-star-killed-in-robbery-gone-wrong" target="_blank" rel="noopener">killed</a> in Los Angeles in the early hours of Saturday morning when he intercepted a group of men trying to steal the catalytic converter from his vehicle, and was shot dead at the scene. </p> <p>Now, Wactor's brother Grant has shared more details on the events surrounding his Johnny's death, telling <a href="https://people.com/general-hospital-actor-johnny-wactors-brother-speaks-out-on-killing-taken-way-too-early-8654340" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>People</em></a> magazine that he had finished a shift working as a bartender at the time he was shot. </p> <p>After his shift finished at about 3:25am local time, he walked to his car with a female co-worker  when he noticed that his car had been “jacked up or lifted in some way”.</p> <p>Initially, the actor thought his car was being towed away, but quickly realised the people surrounding his car were not tow-truck drivers.</p> <p>Grant said his brother physically shielded his female colleague to prevent her from being hurt and had his hands up in the air when he was shot.</p> <p>“He did not confront them,” he told the publication. “He did not try to stop them. He was just trying to diffuse the situation by stepping back.”</p> <p>After the shooting the men fled the scene in a different car, and LAPD officer Jeff Lee said the suspects were “still outstanding”.</p> <p>Grant Wactor said his family were “hoping and praying” that the killers were found and brought to justice.</p> <p>“We just want (them to be found) as quickly as possible and correctly,” he said, describing his brother as “a good person”.</p> <p>“He was taken way too early, and no one should be taken like this at all,” he said.</p> <p>“He touched a lot of people. He believed in his core values to the end, and he lived life to the fullest the way he wanted to. And he was happy doing that.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram / Ouzounova / Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

Family & Pets

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4 ways to avoid foot pain when travelling

<p>Whether it’s caused by a hectic day of sightseeing or a mad rush through the airports, there’s nothing quite as annoying as foot pain when you’re on holidays. And when you consider how easy it is to avoid (so long as you take the correct preventative measures) you’ll feeling like kicking yourself for putting up with it for all these years.</p> <p>Here are four ways to avoid foot pain when travelling.</p> <p><strong>1. Choosing the right pair of shoes  </strong></p> <p>Out of all the fashion statements, shoes are probably responsible for more chronic foot pain than anything else. So make sure you choose the right pair of shoes for your trip. For example, if you’re going to be walking around all day sightseeing it might be an idea to ditch the stiletto heels for a pair of joggers (even if they’re not quite so aesthetically pleasing).</p> <p>Dr Robert Mathews from Cremorne Medical in NSW says, “I recommend wearing supportive shoe such as running shoes. If you want to wear something more stylish then consider buying some gel insoles to slip in your shoes, you can get a wide variety of these from your local chemist.“</p> <p><strong>2. Manage your feet on flights</strong></p> <p>Foot swelling can become quite a big problem on long haul flight, so managing your feet becomes crucial. Simple, preventative measures anyone can take, like wearing support stocks, standing up every so often to move around or even just flexing your feet and wriggling your toes, can make a big difference and greatly reduce the chance of swelling.</p> <p><strong>3. Slip, slop and slap</strong></p> <p>So many island holidays have been soured by the blistering pain of sunburnt feet. If you’re staying at a resort or near a beach and your feet are exposed, don’t forget to apply sunscreen everywhere. Otherwise you’re going to want to have some aloe vera gel handy!</p> <p><strong>4. Take time to rest</strong></p> <p>While you’re probably in a mad rush to see everything, fear of missing out can put significant strain on your feet. So make sure you set aside plenty of time every day to put your feet up and rest. It also might be worth considering some extra pampering, like a foot bath or even a half hour massage. You are on holidays after all, so why not treat yourself!</p> <p>Dr Matthews adds, “It may also be worth taking with you some thick band aids in case you develop any blisters from long walks.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Tips

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Yes, Australia’s big supermarkets have been price gouging. But fixing the problem won’t be easy

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/bree-hurst-174985">Bree Hurst</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/carol-richards-153226">Carol Richards</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hope-johnson-125018">Hope Johnson</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rudolf-messner-1373038">Rudolf Messner</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>A much-awaited report into Coles and Woolworths has found what many customers have long believed – Australia’s big supermarkets engage in price gouging.</p> <p>What <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Supermarket_Prices/SupermarketPrices/Terms_of_Reference">started</a> as a simple Senate inquiry into grocery prices and supermarket power has delivered a lengthy 195-page-long <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Supermarket_Prices/SupermarketPrices/Supermarket_Prices">report</a> spanning supermarket pricing’s impact on customers, food waste, relationships with suppliers, employee wages and conditions, excessive profitability, company mergers and land banking.</p> <p>The report makes some major recommendations, including giving courts the power to break up anti-competitive businesses, and strengthening the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).</p> <p>It also recommends making the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct mandatory for supermarket chains. This code governs how they should deal with suppliers. The government’s recent <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2024-510813">Independent Review of the Food and Grocery Code</a> also recommended making it mandatory for the supermarket giants.</p> <p>But at this point it’s hard to say what, if anything, the recommendations will mean for everyday Australians and the prices they actually pay.</p> <h2>Price gouging isn’t illegal</h2> <p>At the heart of the Senate inquiry was the question of whether Australian supermarkets were price gouging. According to the committee, the answer is a “resounding yes”, despite the evidence presented by supermarkets to the contrary.</p> <p>Price gouging is when businesses exploit a lack of competition by setting prices well above cost price. But the practice is <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/pricing/setting-prices-whats-allowed">not explicitly illegal</a>.</p> <p>The committee put forward a number of recommendations that could help reduce price gouging. These include making it an offence to charge excess prices and establishing a new “Commission on Prices and Competition” to examine price setting practices in different sectors.</p> <p>The committee also wants the ACCC to be given enhanced powers to investigate and prosecute unfair trading practices, and to be better funded and resourced.</p> <p>The committee says supermarket claims that price gouging does not exist should mean the giants have nothing to fear under tougher legislation. However, it says:</p> <blockquote> <p>the evidence brought forward by people willing to speak out about the business practices of Coles and Woolworths suggests that maintaining margins and increasing margin growth is occurring at the expense of suppliers, consumers, and best business practices, and without proper justification.</p> </blockquote> <h2>It’s unlikely we’ll see relief anytime soon</h2> <p>Will these recommendations actually deliver any relief on prices? It’s hard to say at this point. The recommendations put forward are comprehensive, but they’re unlikely to result in any short-term change for consumers.</p> <p>At any rate, the Albanese government does not support many of them. In the report’s additional commentary, Labor senators argue that Australian competition law already addresses excessive pricing by prohibiting misleading and deceptive conduct. They also don’t support establishing a new commission to examine prices.</p> <p>Rather, the report calls for a dramatic overhaul of current regulatory settings, which it says are “not appropriate or fit for purpose”. This is not going to be an easy or fast process.</p> <h2>What does the report mean for the Greens’ divestiture bill?</h2> <p>While the inquiry was underway, the Greens <a href="https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;page=0;query=BillId%3As1413%20Recstruct%3Abillhome">introduced a bill</a> which would give courts “divestiture powers”. This means a corporation could be ordered to sell some of its assets to reduce its market power.</p> <p>While the bill lacks support from the major parties, the committee suggested that such divestiture powers should be introduced specifically for the supermarket sector. Where abuse of market power was able to be proven, supermarkets could be forced to sell certain stores.</p> <p>While Australia does not have divestiture powers in this context, some other countries do. In New Zealand, the UK and the US, courts can force corporations that are abusing their market power to sell components of their business. Such powers are very rarely used, but the deterrent they impose can be <a href="https://theconversation.com/its-time-to-give-australian-courts-the-power-to-break-up-big-firms-that-behave-badly-226726">highly influential</a> on corporate behaviour.</p> <p>Labor rejects creating any forms of divestiture power in the report’s additional commentary. But the Coalition isn’t entirely against the idea, noting that it “does not believe the committee has persuasively found that divestiture powers should not be pursued at all” and that “divestiture powers should be targeted to sectors of concern”.</p> <h2>What’s next?</h2> <p>At this stage, the report suggests there’s only one action all political parties agree on at this stage: making the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct mandatory and ensuring its full enforcement. We’re unlikely to see much unity on the other recommendations.</p> <p>In a scathing commentary, the Coalition argues the report represents “a missed opportunity to address some of the structural imbalances in our supermarket sector that are impacting Australia’s growers, farmers, small businesses, and ultimately consumers”.</p> <p>While this is a harsh assessment, the reality is that unless these structural imbalances in our food system are addressed, we’re unlikely to see meaningful change.</p> <p>The report draws on substantial evidence to paint a troubling picture of the food system in Australia – in particular, how growers and consumers are struggling. The task for regulators is working out what mechanisms can be used to address the imbalance of power in the market, in a way that doesn’t force growers or Australian consumers to bear the cost.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/229602/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/bree-hurst-174985">Bree Hurst</a>, Associate Professor, Faculty of Business and Law, QUT, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/carol-richards-153226">Carol Richards</a>, Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hope-johnson-125018">Hope Johnson</a>, ARC DECRA Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rudolf-messner-1373038">Rudolf Messner</a>, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/yes-australias-big-supermarkets-have-been-price-gouging-but-fixing-the-problem-wont-be-easy-229602">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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5 ways to avoid going overboard on a cruise

<p>Falling overboard is the stuff of cruising nightmares (and it happens surprisingly more frequently than you might think. Just this year we’ve brought you two stories about passengers falling overboard, but this fishy fate is by no means unavoidable.</p> <p>Here are five ways to ensure you keep your feet dry.</p> <p><strong>1. Limit your alcohol intake</strong></p> <p>If the prices weren’t enough of a reason to go easy on the sauce on your cruise, perhaps the risk of tipping over the balcony will persuade you. Think of it this way – the effect of alcohol on a cruise is the same as the effect of alcohol on dry land, but when you’re on a cruise you’re travelling through sometimes heavy seas at about 20 knots.</p> <p><strong>2. Stay in your room during inclement weather</strong></p> <p>If your ship is sailing into dicey conditions, you’re better off keeping to your quarters. You never know how a cruise liner is going to stand up to the ocean’s wrath, and even if you want a good view of Mother Nature’s nasty side, you’re safer below deck. </p> <p><strong>3. Keep clear of dark corners</strong></p> <p>It’s not a very pleasant thing to think about, but when there are 4,000 passengers on a cruise they’re not all going to be good eggs. Be aware of your surroundings, just as you would be on land, and be sure to report any suspicious activity to a crew member.</p> <p><strong>4. Pay attention during the practice drills</strong></p> <p>Even if you’ve been on 20 cruises it’s a good idea to pay attention during the practice drills. This will reinforce what you need to do in an event of an emergency, and might just save your life (or someone else’s by knowing where to find the safety gear).</p> <p><strong>5. Don’t re-enact the <em>Titanic</em> scene</strong></p> <p>Because going overboard will make you look like anything but, “The king of the world.”</p> <p>Have you ever been on a cruise? Did you ever feel unsafe at any point? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Cruising

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Best friends on the way to a wedding identified in fatal crash

<p>The best friends who were on their way to a wedding when they were struck in a fatal crash in Brisbane have been identified. </p> <p>Lily Galbraith, 24, and Emma McLean, 23, were travelling in a silver sedan through the Legacy Way tunnel on Wednesday at 3pm when they were hit by a black Audi. </p> <p>Ms Galbraith, a South Australian nurse who was originally from the Northern Territory, died in the crash, while Ms McLean is still fighting for her life in hospital after suffering critical injuries. </p> <p>The driver of the Audi, who also died in the crash, has been identified as former police officer Bruce Daley. </p> <p>After the Audi collided with the sedan, police believe the impact of the crash then pushed the sedan into a small truck, causing serious injuries to the driver of the truck.</p> <p>Mr Daley, who was medically retired from the Queensland Police Service in December 2014, had posted online about relationship struggles and loneliness over several years.</p> <p>Inspector Hansel said speed would be a “focus” of the investigation, with claims the Audi hit speeds of up to 200km/h before the crash.</p> <p>The Nurses and Midwives Memorial Page Australia paid tribute to Ms Galbraith on Thursday. </p> <p>“Rest in peace, Lily. Thank you for your service. Condolences to your family, friends and colleagues,” the post read.</p> <p>“All the very best for Emma and sending love to her family as they wait to see how her progress is. We are also thinking of the bride, groom and any wedding guests also mourning.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram / Facebook</em></p>

Caring

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Kochie reveals the simple way to halve your grocery bill

<p>David Koch has revealed the simple trick to help you save big bucks at the supermarket as the cost of living crisis continues to hit hard. </p> <p>Kochie, who is the Compare the Market's economic director, calculated that Aussies can save up to $100 per trip to the grocery shop by making the switch to home brands. </p> <p>According to research of major Australian supermarkets, the average household can save big bucks by choosing not to buy well-known brands, which can lead to a saving of $5,000 per year. </p> <p>"So, when you're doing your supermarket shop, what's in a brand name? Well, let me tell you - plenty," Kochie said in a video posted to the Compare the Market Instagram account. </p> <p>"You are paying plenty more for that loyalty to a brand that you love."</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C57UwVrvSZ5/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C57UwVrvSZ5/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Compare the Market AU (@comparethemarket_aus)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Compare the Market took to a major supermarket and bought 25 items from big name brands, and another 25 similar items from a challenger supermarket selling cheaper home brands.</p> <p>Based on substituting big-brand products for lesser-known labels, grocery bills would fall from $201.19 a week to $103.51, taking the weekly saving up to $97.68.</p> <p>"Now, multiply that weekly shop over a whole year and that's a saving of over $5,000."</p> <p>"Almost three return economy airfares to London."</p> <p>Everyday Aussies are continuing to struggle with the rising cost of groceries, with the price of bread and cereal increasing by 7.3 per cent in the year to March, an official monthly measure of inflation showed. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Money & Banking

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"There's no way": Man receives $52 billion tax bill

<p>An American man has been left confused after receiving a letter from the government claiming he owed $52 billion in unpaid taxes. </p> <p>Barry Tangert got two letters in the mail from the state of Pennsylvania, opening the first to find a refund check from the federal government for over $900.</p> <p>His joy was short-lived though as he opened the second letter to find the income billing notice from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue claiming that he owed a jaw-dropping $52,950,744,735.28 ($34,576,826,561.47 AUD).</p> <p>“I knew it was an obvious blunder. I don’t even make over $100,000 a year, so there’s no way I could owe anywhere near that,” Barry Tangert told local outlet <em>News 8</em>.</p> <p>The total sum was so large it didn’t even fit on a single line on the document.</p> <p>Tangert immediately knew it was a mistake, with the astonishing number being more than triple the $11 billion America’s richest man Elon Musk says he owed the government in 2022.</p> <p>How the error made it all the way to his doorstep is still a mystery to Tangert.</p> <p>“I don’t know if it was a computer glitch in the transmission or if it was an input error from my tax preparer,” Tangert said, noting that his tax preparer filed an amendment after noticing an error on his 2022 return.</p> <p>He reached out to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue’s customer service line, which also provided little help to the baffled man.</p> <p>“The first thing he said was, ‘You had a good year.’ And I said, ‘I wish,’” Tangert said.</p> <p>Fortunately, the state department has since resolved the issue, which it chalked up to wrong numbers simply being put into the system.</p> <p><em>Image credits: WGAL News 8</em></p> <p> </p>

Money & Banking

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Stuck in fight-or-flight mode? 5 ways to complete the ‘stress cycle’ and avoid burnout or depression

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p>Can you remember a time when you felt stressed leading up to a big life event and then afterwards felt like a weight had been lifted? This process – the ramping up of the stress response and then feeling this settle back down – shows completion of the “stress cycle”.</p> <p>Some stress in daily life is unavoidable. But remaining stressed is unhealthy. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2568977/">Chronic stress</a> increases <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32886587/">chronic health conditions</a>, including heart disease and stroke and diabetes. It can also lead to <a href="https://theconversation.com/were-all-exhausted-but-are-you-experiencing-burnout-heres-what-to-look-out-for-164393">burnout</a> or <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5137920/">depression</a>.</p> <p>Exercise, cognitive, creative, social and self-soothing activities help us process stress in healthier ways and complete the stress cycle.</p> <h2>What does the stress cycle look like?</h2> <p>Scientists and researchers refer to the “stress response”, often with a focus on the fight-or-flight reactions. The phrase the “stress cycle” has been made popular by <a href="https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/2019/03/complete-stress-cycle-emotional-exhaustion-burnout">self-help experts</a> but it does have a scientific basis.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541120/">stress cycle</a> is our body’s response to a stressful event, whether real or perceived, physical or psychological. It could be being chased by a vicious dog, an upcoming exam or a difficult conversation.</p> <p>The stress cycle has three stages:</p> <ul> <li> <p><strong>stage 1</strong> is perceiving the threat</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>stage 2</strong> is the fight-or-flight response, driven by our stress hormones: adrenaline and cortisol</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>stage 3</strong> is relief, including physiological and psychological relief. This completes the stress cycle.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Different people will respond to stress differently based on their life experiences and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181835/#:%7E:text=The%20major%20findings%20regarding%20the,renin%2Dangiotensin%2Daldosterone%20system%20or">genetics</a>.</p> <p>Unfortunately, many people experience <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2023/01/polycrisis-global-risks-report-cost-of-living/">multiple and ongoing stressors</a> out of their control, including the cost-of-living crisis, extreme weather events and <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/family-domestic-and-sexual-violence/types-of-violence/family-domestic-violence">domestic violence</a>.</p> <p>Remaining in stage 2 (the flight-or-flight response), can lead to chronic stress. <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-chronic-stress-changes-the-brain-and-what-you-can-do-to-reverse-the-damage-133194">Chronic stress</a> and high cortisol can increase <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5476783/">inflammation</a>, which damages our brain and other organs.</p> <p>When you are stuck in chronic fight-or-flight mode, you don’t think clearly and are more easily distracted. Activities that provide temporary pleasure, such as eating junk food or drinking alcohol are <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acer.14518">unhelpful strategies</a> that do not reduce the stress effects on our brain and body. Scrolling through social media is also not an effective way to complete the stress cycle. In fact, this is associated with an <a href="https://www.apa.org/monitor/2022/11/strain-media-overload">increased stress response</a>.</p> <h2>Stress and the brain</h2> <p>In the brain, chronic high cortisol can <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4561403/">shrink the hippocampus</a>. This can <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1557684/#:%7E:text=The%20hippocampal%20formation%20plays%20a,%2C%20memory%2C%20motivation%20and%20emotion.&amp;text=Therefore%2C%20reduced%20hippocampal%20volumes%20should,in%20patients%20with%20major%20depression">impair a person’s memory</a> and their capacity to think and concentrate.</p> <p>Chronic high cortisol also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2907136/#:%7E:text=The%20prefrontal%20cortex%20(PFC)%20intelligently,brain%20regions%20(BOX%201).">reduces activity</a> in the prefrontal cortex but <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352289514000101">increases activity</a> in the amygdala.</p> <p>The prefrontal cortex is responsible for higher-order control of our thoughts, behaviours and emotions, and is <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00761/full">goal-directed</a> and rational. The amygdala is involved in reflexive and emotional responses. Higher amygdala activity and lower prefrontal cortex activity explains why we are less rational and more emotional and reactive when we are stressed.</p> <p>There are five <a href="https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/2019/03/complete-stress-cycle-emotional-exhaustion-burnout">types of activities</a> that can help our brains complete the stress cycle.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eD1wliuHxHI?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">It can help to understand how the brain encounters stress.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>1. Exercise – its own complete stress cycle</h2> <p>When we exercise we get a short-term spike in cortisol, followed by a <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax">healthy reduction</a> in cortisol and adrenaline.</p> <p>Exercise also <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469#:%7E:text=Exercise%20in%20almost%20any%20form,distract%20you%20from%20daily%20worries.&amp;text=You%20know%20that%20exercise%20does,fit%20it%20into%20your%20routine.">increases endorphins and serotonin</a>, which improve mood. Endorphins cause an elated feeling often called “runner’s high” and have <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33396962/">anti-inflammatory effects</a>.</p> <p>When you exercise, there is more blood flow to the brain and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6721405/">higher activity</a> in the prefrontal cortex. This is why you can often think more clearly after a walk or run. Exercise can be a helpful way to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/heart-disease/exercise-stress-relief">relieve feelings of stress</a>.</p> <p>Exercise can also increase the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3041121/">volume</a> of the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4915811/">hippocampus</a>. This is linked to better short-term and long-term memory processing, as well as reduced stress, depression and anxiety.</p> <h2>2. Cognitive activities – reduce negative thinking</h2> <p>Overly negative thinking can trigger or extend the stress response. In our 2019 research, we found the relationship between stress and cortisol was <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6987429/">stronger in people with more negative thinking</a>.</p> <p>Higher amygdala activity and less rational thinking when you are stressed can lead to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18628348/">distorted thinking</a> such as focusing on negatives and rigid “black-and-white” thinking.</p> <p>Activities to reduce negative thinking and promote a more realistic view can reduce the stress response. In clinical settings this is usually called <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/cognitive-behaviour-therapy-cbt">cognitive behaviour therapy</a>.</p> <p>At home, this could be journalling or writing down worries. This engages the logical and rational parts of our brain and helps us think more realistically. Finding evidence to challenge negative thoughts (“I’ve prepared well for the exam, so I can do my best”) can help to complete the stress cycle.</p> <h2>3. Getting creative – a pathway out of ‘flight or fight’</h2> <p>Creative activities can be art, craft, gardening, cooking or <a href="https://heartmindonline.org/resources/10-exercises-for-your-prefrontal-cortex">other activities</a> such as doing a puzzle, juggling, music, theatre, dancing or simply being absorbed in enjoyable work.</p> <p>Such pursuits increase <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00761/full">prefrontal cortex activity</a> and promote flow and focus.</p> <p>Flow is a <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.645498/full">state of full engagement</a> in an activity you enjoy. It lowers high-stress levels of noradrenaline, the brain’s adrenaline. When you are focussed like this, the brain only processes information relevant to the task and ignores non-relevant information, including stresses.</p> <h2>4. Getting social and releasing feel-good hormones</h2> <p>Talking with someone else, physical affection with a person or pet and laughing can all <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-happens-in-our-brain-and-body-when-were-in-love-198885">increase oxytocin</a>. This is a chemical messenger in the brain that increases social bonding and makes us feel connected and safe.</p> <p>Laughing is also a social activity that <a href="https://neurosciencenews.com/laughter-physical-mental-psychology-17339/">activates parts</a> of the limbic system – the part of the brain involved in emotional and behavioural responses. This increases <a href="https://www.jneurosci.org/content/37/36/8581">endorphins</a> and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27439375/">serotonin</a> and improves our mood.</p> <h2>5. Self-soothing</h2> <p>Breathing <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6189422/">exercises</a> and meditation stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (which calms down our stress responses so we can “reset”) via the <a href="https://theconversation.com/our-vagus-nerves-help-us-rest-digest-and-restore-can-you-really-reset-them-to-feel-better-210469">vagus nerves</a>, and <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17437199.2020.1760727">reduce cortisol</a>.</p> <p>A good <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4035568/#:%7E:text=We%20conclude%20that%2C%20in%20addition,self%2Dsoothing%20effects%20of%20crying.">cry can help too</a> by releasing stress energy and increasing oxytocin and endorphins.</p> <p><a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319631#:%7E:text=Possible%20benefits%20of%20crying%20include,of%201.9%20times%20a%20month.">Emotional tears</a> also remove cortisol and the hormone prolactin from the body. Our prior research showed <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29096223/">cortisol</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9216608/">prolactin</a> were associated with depression, anxiety and hostility.<em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/theresa-larkin-952095">Theresa Larkin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-j-thomas-1293985">Susan J. Thomas</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a></em></p> <h2>Action beats distraction</h2> <p>Whether it’s watching a funny or sad movie, exercising, journalling, gardening or doing a puzzle, there is science behind why you should complete the stress cycle.</p> <p>Doing at least one positive activity every day can also reduce our baseline stress level and is beneficial for good mental health and wellbeing.</p> <p>Importantly, chronic stress and <a href="https://theconversation.com/are-you-burnt-out-at-work-ask-yourself-these-4-questions-118128">burnout</a> can also indicate the need for change, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/wps.20311">such as in our workplaces</a>. However, not all stressful circumstances can be easily changed. Remember help is always available.</p> <p>If you have concerns about your stress or health, please talk to a doctor.</p> <p><em>If this article has raised issues for you, or if you’re concerned about someone you know, call <a href="https://www.lifeline.org.au/">Lifeline</a> on 13 11 14 or <a href="https://kidshelpline.com.au/">Kids Helpline</a> on 1800 55 1800.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/218599/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/theresa-larkin-952095">Theresa Larkin</a>, Associate professor of Medical Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-j-thomas-1293985">Susan J. Thomas</a>, Associate professor in Mental Health and Behavioural Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a></em></p> <p><em>Image </em><em>credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/stuck-in-fight-or-flight-mode-5-ways-to-complete-the-stress-cycle-and-avoid-burnout-or-depression-218599">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Mind

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How music is changing the way dementia patients think

<p dir="ltr">New research has proven that music truly is the universal language, with experts discovering how the power of music is helping those suffering with dementia. </p> <p dir="ltr">Music therapists have shown that music brings dementia patients back to the present, with some even finding their voice thanks to the nostalgic memories of the past. </p> <p dir="ltr">According to Registered Music Therapist and Managing Director of music therapy company Music Beat, Dr Vicky Abad, the power of music is not to be overlooked when it comes to degenerative diseases.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Music is a window into people’s pasts,” she said. “It builds on strengths and abilities against a disease that can strip a person of their dignity, abilities and quality of life.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The team at <a href="https://www.tricare.com.au/">TriCare Aged Care and Retirement</a>, who see the devastating impact of dementia each and every day,  also experience first-hand the impact music has on residents, with many noticing “unrecognisable” changes in personality when a nostalgic tune is played.</p> <p dir="ltr">Louis Rose, an 80-year-old dementia patient and TriCare resident, was diagnosed with dementia six years ago, and requires assistance with many aspects of day to day life. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, listening to music is one thing he can enjoy on his own.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I grew up in Mauritius and while we didn’t have a lot, we certainly had music. Listening to music has always been an escape for me and a way to relax,” Mr Rose said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“When your brain starts to slow down and you find yourself forgetting things, it can be quite frustrating and confusing. Listening to music has been a way to distract myself from what’s going on in my head, it has helped me so much.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Tamsin Sutherland is a regular live music performer at TriCare facilities across Queensland, and has been able to witness incredible moments with the residents as they come alive as soon as she starts to play. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Watching residents who are often non-verbal sing along to the words is incredible,” she said “It really is like they are coming back to life and reconnecting with who they once were. To be part of that is quite emotional for me.”</p> <p dir="ltr">According to Dr Abad, music can help prevent the restless behaviour that often leads to pacing and wandering, especially in the evenings, which are often difficult times for those battling the disease. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Sundowning usually occurs in the late afternoon as dusk approaches, a time that is also associated with what used to be a busy time period in people’s lives,” she noted. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Personalised music is a simple and effective tool to help residents feel validated in their emotions during this time and provides them an opportunity to experience a calmer state of mind”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Mind

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Heartbreaking twist after mum dies on her way to a wedding

<p>A mother has been killed in a horrific car crash while on her way to a wedding in regional NSW, just hours after announcing she was expecting her third child. </p> <p>Shellymaine Ah Foon, 32, her partner Troy, and their two young daughters, aged six and two, were on their way to a wedding in Mudgee, NSW when their SUV crashed at Aarons Pass, about 2pm on Friday. </p> <p>Foon was left with critical injuries and was taken to Mudgee hospital, but soon passed away. </p> <p>Her partner was seriously injured and airlifted to Westmead Hospital to undergo surgery after suffering several fractures to both limbs on his left side. </p> <p>Their two daughters were also taken to the same hospital. </p> <p>A family member, who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed the sad detail to 7News. </p> <p>“We spoke to Shelly on the Thursday night, and she told us she was pregnant,” she said. </p> <p>“She was meant to go for tests when she came back from Mudgee to see how far along she was.”</p> <p>Foon was remembered as a "social butterfly" who could “strike up a conversation with anyone.” </p> <p>“She was very family oriented, was always there for anyone who needed anything, she was very selfless with her time,” the family member said. </p> <p>“Her death has really impacted a whole community of people,” she added. </p> <p>A <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-loving-memory-of-shellymaine-ah-foon" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe</a> page has since been organised to help cover funeral costs, support Troy following his surgery, and help Foon's family, who are largely based overseas. </p> <p>“Troy won’t be able to go to work while he recovers,” the woman said.</p> <p>“He still has to undergo rehab, and he will be on crutches for some time.”</p> <p>Their two daughters have since been discharged from the hospital, and are in the care of family while Troy recovers. </p> <p>The family friend added that Foon's love for her kids was exceptional saying: “she was the light of Troy and her girls’ lives.</p> <p>“Their world has changed forever and the love their Mum gave them will never be replicated ever again.”  </p> <p>Police said investigations are still underway into the circumstances leading up to the crash, with the other driver taken to Mudgee Hospital with minor injuries. </p> <p><em>Images: 7News</em></p>

Caring

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No, taking drugs like Ozempic isn’t ‘cheating’ at weight loss or the ‘easy way out’

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clare-collins-7316">Clare Collins</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p>Obesity medication that is effective has been a long time coming. Enter semaglutide (sold as Ozempic and Wegovy), which is helping people improve weight-related health, including <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37952131/">lowering the risk</a> of a having a heart attack or stroke, while also silencing “<a href="https://theconversation.com/some-ozempic-users-say-it-silences-food-noise-but-there-are-drug-free-ways-to-stop-thinking-about-food-so-much-208467">food noise</a>”.</p> <p>As demand for semaglutide increases, so are <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/in-a-fat-phobic-world-ozempic-is-hardly-the-easy-way-out-20240401-p5fgjd.html">claims</a> that taking it is “cheating” at weight loss or the “easy way out”.</p> <p>We don’t tell people who need statin medication to treat high cholesterol or drugs to manage high blood pressure they’re cheating or taking the easy way out.</p> <p>Nor should we shame people taking semaglutide. It’s a drug used to treat diabetes and obesity which needs to be taken long term and comes with risks and side effects, as well as benefits. When prescribed for obesity, it’s given alongside advice about diet and exercise.</p> <h2>How does it work?</h2> <p>Semaglutide is a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GLP-1_receptor_agonist">glucagon-like peptide-1</a> receptor agonist (GLP-1RA). This means it makes your body’s own glucagon-like peptide-1 hormone, called <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glucagon-like_peptide-1">GLP-1</a> for short, work better.</p> <p>GLP-1 gets secreted by cells in your gut when it <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38218319/">detects increased nutrient levels</a> after eating. This stimulates insulin production, which lowers blood sugars.</p> <p>GLP-1 also slows gastric emptying, which makes you feel full, and reduces hunger and feelings of reward after eating.</p> <p><iframe id="tc-infographic-1031" class="tc-infographic" style="border: none;" src="https://cdn.theconversation.com/infographics/1031/c11b606581d4bc58a71f066492d7f740b52c04e1/site/index.html" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>GLP-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA) medications like Ozempic help the body’s own GLP-1 work better by mimicking and extending its action.</p> <p>Some studies have found less GLP-1 gets released after meals in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38218319/">adults with obesity or type 2 diabetes mellitus</a> compared to adults with normal glucose tolerance. So having less GLP-1 circulating in your blood means you don’t feel as full after eating and get hungry again sooner compared to people who produce more.</p> <p>GLP-1 has a very short half-life of about <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28443255/">two minutes</a>. So GLP-1RA medications were designed to have a very long half-life of about <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33567185/">seven days</a>. That’s why semaglutide is given as a weekly injection.</p> <h2>What can users expect? What does the research say?</h2> <p>Higher doses of semaglutide are prescribed to treat obesity compared to type 2 diabetes management (up to 2.4mg versus 2.0mg weekly).</p> <p>A large group of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36691309/">randomised controlled trials</a>, called STEP trials, all tested weekly 2.4mg semaglutide injections versus different interventions or placebo drugs.</p> <p>Trials lasting 1.3–2 years consistently found weekly 2.4 mg semaglutide injections <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36691309/">led to 6–12% greater weight loss</a> compared to placebo or alternative interventions. The average weight change depended on how long medication treatment lasted and length of follow-up.</p> <p>Weight reduction due to semaglutide also leads to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36769420/">reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure</a> of about 4.8 mmHg and 2.5 mmHg respectively, a reduction in <a href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/triglycerides">triglyceride levels</a> (a type of blood fat) and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38041774/">improved physical function</a>.</p> <p>Another recent trial in adults with pre-existing heart disease and obesity, but without type 2 diabetes, found adults receiving weekly 2.4mg semaglutide injections had a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37952131/">20% lower risk</a> of specific cardiovascular events, including having a non-fatal heart attack, a stroke or dying from cardiovascular disease, after three years follow-up.</p> <h2>Who is eligible for semaglutide?</h2> <p>Australia’s regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), has <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/safety/shortages/information-about-major-medicine-shortages/about-ozempic-semaglutide-shortage-2022-and-2023">approved</a> semaglutide, sold as Ozempic, for treating type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>However, due to shortages, the TGA had advised doctors not to start new Ozempic prescriptions for “off-label use” such as obesity treatment and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme doesn’t currently subsidise off-label use.</p> <p>The TGA has <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/resources/prescription-medicines-registrations/wegovy-novo-nordisk-pharmaceuticals-pty-ltd">approved Wegovy to treat obesity</a> but it’s not currently available in Australia.</p> <p>When it’s available, doctors will be able to prescribe <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36934408/">semaglutide to treat obesity</a> in conjunction with lifestyle interventions (including diet, physical activity and psychological support) in adults with obesity (a BMI of 30 or above) or those with a BMI of 27 or above who also have weight-related medical complications.</p> <h2>What else do you need to do during Ozempic treatment?</h2> <p>Checking details of the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36691309/">STEP trial intervention components</a>, it’s clear participants invested a lot of time and effort. In addition to taking medication, people had brief lifestyle counselling sessions with dietitians or other health professionals every four weeks as a minimum in most trials.</p> <p>Support sessions were designed to help people stick with consuming 2,000 kilojoules (500 calories) less daily compared to their energy needs, and performing 150 minutes of <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/tips-for-getting-active">moderate-to-vigorous physical activity</a>, like brisk walking, dancing and gardening each week.</p> <p>STEP trials varied in other components, with follow-up time periods varying from 68 to 104 weeks. The aim of these trials was to show the effect of adding the medication on top of other lifestyle counselling.</p> <p>A <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38041774/">review of obesity medication trials</a> found people reported they needed less <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28652832/">cognitive behaviour training</a> to help them stick with the reduced energy intake. This is one aspect where drug treatment may make adherence a little easier. Not feeling as hungry and having environmental food cues “switched off” may mean less support is required for goal-setting, self-monitoring food intake and <a href="https://theconversation.com/9-ways-wont-power-is-better-than-willpower-for-resisting-temptation-and-helping-you-eat-better-71267">avoiding things that trigger eating</a>.</p> <h2>But what are the side effects?</h2> <p>Semaglutide’s side-effects <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38041774/">include</a> nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation, indigestion and abdominal pain.</p> <p>In one study these <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33567185/">led to</a> discontinuation of medication in 6% of people, but interestingly also in 3% of people taking placebos.</p> <p>More severe side-effects included gallbladder disease, acute pancreatitis, hypoglycaemia, acute kidney disease and injection site reactions.</p> <p>To reduce risk or severity of side-effects, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36934408/">medication doses are increased very slowly</a> over months. Once the full dose and response are achieved, research indicates you need to take it long term.</p> <p>Given this long-term commitment, and associated <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/private-health-insurance/what-private-health-insurance-covers/out-of-pocket-costs#:%7E:text=An%20out%20of%20pocket%20cost,called%20gap%20or%20patient%20payments">high out-of-pocket cost of medication</a>, when it comes to taking semaglutide to treat obesity, there is no way it can be considered “cheating”.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Read the other articles in The Conversation’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/ozempic-series-154673">Ozempic series</a> here.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/219116/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clare-collins-7316"><em>Clare Collins</em></a><em>, Laureate Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: </em><em>Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/no-taking-drugs-like-ozempic-isnt-cheating-at-weight-loss-or-the-easy-way-out-219116">original article</a>.</em></p>

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10 ways to sneak in meditation into your everyday life

<p><em>Health experts share their tips and tricks on how to sneak meditation into your daily life without going on a yoga retreat.</em></p> <p><strong>Ways to meditate every day</strong></p> <p>Meeting deadlines at work, keeping up with friends, and trying to make time to exercise can be stressful – throw in a global pandemic and all its repercussions and it’s no wonder the majority of Australians feel that stress impacts their physical health (72%) and mental health (64%). But whatever the source of your stress, daily meditation can help you cope without having to change your schedule.</p> <p><strong>1. Try eating a meal without distractions</strong></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/04/1-lunch-mindful-eating-GettyImages-1263611134-770.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>When was the last time you did this? According to Rebecca Weible, founder of Yo Yoga!, eating without your phone, tablet or a book creates real awareness. “Take the time to notice each bite, including the taste and texture of your food,” she says. “This is also great for digestion and portion control.”</p> <p><strong>2. Unplug and take a walk</strong></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/04/2-walk-scooter-kids-parents-GettyImages-932349458-770.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>Sometimes slowing down is as easy as unplugging from the digital world, including your phone, social media and email and taking in your surroundings. Weible says to take notice of each step: “The first and last part of your foot to hit the ground with each step, your stride and your pace. See how long you can stay present.” Running is also a great way to unplug.</p> <p><strong>3. Try out some yoga moves</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/04/3-yoga-GettyImages-1051753046-770.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></strong></p> <p>Anyone can do yoga, trust us! “Yoga is a moving meditation as you are encouraged to be mindful of each part of your body in every pose and how you are moving from pose to pose,” says Weible. In yoga, you are forced to focus on your breathing and muscle control, which makes you totally present in the moment – a key to good meditation.</p> <p><em>Ensure you have the yoga mat best suited to your needs, <a href="http://gaiam.innovations.com.au/p/gaiam-yoga/mats?affiliate=GAIAM60" target="_blank" rel="noopener">starting with this extensive range from Gaiam</a>.</em></p> <p><strong>4. Really wake up in the morning</strong></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/04/4-waking-up-stretch-GettyImages-552008811-770.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>Sure, we all wake up in the morning, but before you hop out of bed for that shower or cup of coffee, Scott Rogers, principal advisor at Innergy Meditation, suggests you really wake before getting out of bed, which means sitting up and taking in your surroundings. “Notice the lighting, the temperature, how you feel,” says Rogers, “Close or lower your eyes for a few breaths – for a few minutes – and rest your attention on the sensations of your body breathing.”</p> <p><strong>5. Whenever you walk through a door, take a deep breath</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/04/5-walking-through-a-door-GettyImages-1063759498-770.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></strong></p> <p>Another way to bring focus and calm is to take a deep breath every time you walk through a doorway. This forces you to look around, see where you are, and again bring focus into your daily life. “Such moments insert an important wedge of awareness that helps reduce stress and steady the mind,” says Rogers.</p> <p><strong>6. Use Post-It notes</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/04/6-post-it-note-GettyImages-85007668-770.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></strong></p> <p>There is no wrong way or right way to meditate. A super-easy way is using Post-It notes. suggests Jackie Itzkowitz and Joel Granik, co-founders of Floating Lotus. “Put a Post-It note on your mirror in your bathroom to remind yourself to think about something you are grateful for,” explain Itzkowitz and Granik. “The fact you can walk, the exciting day you have ahead of you, or even the fact you are alive and well. Taking a moment to be mindful and aware of yourself and the things around you counts as meditating.”</p> <p><strong>7. Check your breathing</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/04/7-breathing-exercise-GettyImages-1143696586-770.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></strong></p> <p>This is a really easy one. “Take a moment to sit up tall with both feet on the floor, hands in your lap. You can close the eyes or leave them open,” suggests Weible. “Take a deep breath in through your nose counting to three, then let it out through your nose counting to three. Take another breath in counting to four, let it out counting to four. Repeat this pattern using a five-count. You can take as many breaths as you like, but three mindful breaths can go a long way towards making you feel less stressed and more at ease.”</p> <p>Add the healing benefits of aromatherapy to your breathing exercises <a href="https://gaiam.innovations.com.au/p/gaiam-wellness/relax/27-73273-gaiam-wellness-usb-mini-diffuser?affiliate=GAIAM60" target="_blank" rel="noopener">with the help of a Gaiam Wellness Mini Diffuser</a>.</p> <p><strong>8. Practise mindfulness</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/04/8-smelling-flowers-roses-GettyImages-455252101-770.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></strong></p> <p>This another meditation practice you can try anywhere. “Mindfulness meditation involves paying attention to our present moment experience and there is no time when we cannot be practising,” says Rogers. “But, we tend to forget or feel too busy to do so” So literally, slow down and smell the roses.</p> <p><strong>9. Try switching hands</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/04/9-yoghurt-spoon-GettyImages-1226825261-770.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></strong></p> <p>Most people have one dominant hand so Rogers suggests switching it up. “When you are ready to eat, place your fork or spoon in your non-dominant hand for your first bite,” he says, “This will slow down the process and engage attention. As you take your first bite, notice the sensory richness of sight, smell and touch.”</p> <p><strong>10. Forget about worrying</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/04/10-meditation-GettyImages-1157178955-770.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></strong></p> <p>This one is easier said than done but Itzkowitz and Granik say worrying is the one thing that can bring your meditating down. “Actually worrying about doing meditation wrong is the only thing you can do wrong,” they advise. “Be compassionate with yourself and let yourself relax.”</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; background-color: #ffffff;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box;"><span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, system-ui, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif, Apple Color Emoji, Segoe UI Emoji, Segoe UI Symbol, Noto Color Emoji;"><span style="font-weight: bolder;">This article, written by </span><strong>Felissa Benjamin Allard</strong><span style="font-weight: bolder;">, originally appeared on</span></span></span><span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, 'system-ui', 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; font-size: 16px; box-sizing: border-box; font-weight: bolder;"> <a style="box-sizing: border-box; color: #258440; text-decoration-line: none; background-color: transparent; transition: all 0.2s ease-in-out 0s;" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/mental-health/10-ways-to-sneak-in-meditation-into-your-everyday-life" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</span></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, 'system-ui', 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; font-size: 16px; background-color: #ffffff;"><em style="box-sizing: border-box;">Images: Shutterstock | Getty</em></p>

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Unique way couple raised $11K for their wedding

<p>When Andie Lickiss proposed to Pagan on New Years Eve in 2021, he had no idea that the pair would spend the next year collecting trash from their neighbours. </p> <p>With the cost-of-living on the rise, the couple were doing everything they could to save up for their dream wedding on September 2023. </p> <p>“We were both working two jobs, trying to save for a house, and everything is just so expensive,” Pagan told <em>7Life</em>. </p> <p>“We didn’t want the wedding to put us in debt.”</p> <p>While thinking of ways to cut corners and save more money, Pagan - who was a keen recycler and had been using a state government-run recycling initiative, Return and Earn, since 2018 - felt inspired to take her recycling to the next level after spotting a wheelie bin in her backyard. </p> <p>Pagan then took to her local community Facebook page to ask her neighbours for their unwanted bottles and cans to help with the cost of their wedding, with the initiative offering 10 cents per aluminium can, plastic or glass bottle deposited.</p> <p>“I had about 50 messages from people ... saying they will just stack them outside their house and we can come and collect,” she said. </p> <p>She then started mapping out the perfect route to pick up the recycling ,and not long after, the couple began their trash-collecting journey almost every day after work in their ute and trailer. </p> <p>“People might laugh because it is only 10 cents (per container),” she said. </p> <p>“But every little bit counts.”</p> <p>Over 19 months the couple recycled more than 100,000 containers, and made memories along the way, as they got closer to their neighbours who would donate cardboard boxes and wheelie bins full of empty cans and bottles. </p> <p>They also volunteered at local sporting events and spent weekends cleaning up fields and stadiums. </p> <p>Each dollar went towards their goal of $4,500 to pay for their dream photographer, with the couple sometimes pocketing more than $400 at a time when they cashed in each load. </p> <p>Within six months the couple had reached their goal, but they didn't stop there. </p> <p>“I couldn’t believe it,” Pagan said. </p> <p>“We just decided to keep going. The cost of living wasn’t getting cheaper.”</p> <p>Andie and Pagan cashed in cans and bottles right up until the week before their wedding. </p> <p>“We never told anyone how much we made,” Pagan said. </p> <p>“Our celebrant announced it at the wedding (and) the looks on everyone’s faces! They were so shocked, and our photographers caught it.”</p> <p>The couple collected a grand total of $11,127.50 with the help of their local community, and now Pagan encourages others to reach out and ask for help. </p> <p>“I hope that people who are doing it tough are not afraid to reach out and ask for help.”</p> <p><em>Images: 7News</em></p>

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