Bryson Blog

What are you doing to take care of yourself this holiday season?

Depending on when you ask I may say something like "me! I have no time for me!"

This is a question both for reflection and action. Between social gatherings, children's events, hosting, travelling, caring for elderly relatives, shopping, baking, cleaning, and everything else that may exist for you the joy of 'making the season bright', one can quickly leave us to feel overwhelmed, pressured, and burnt out.

What's normal is to want to avoid being a holiday-downer and instead suffer in silence. It can be challenging to speak up. Holiday marketing is all smiles and fun. Our social feeds leave us constantly comparing (The Facebook Effect does lead to depressed feelings), and we are supposed to be lit up and lively. Holiday Presents in the Shape of a Heart to Signify that there is more than giving gifts for the holiday season

Pretending to be jolly when you are not feeling that way is out of alignment with the spirit of the season. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you're probably not the only one!

In the spirit of the holidays, there is an opportunity to expand our compassion and how we relate to each other. We can take on caring for ourselves and each other in a new way. This time of year is an opportunity to slow down and engage in real conversations. To connect in new ways, be vulnerable (Brené Brown's TED Talk: The Power of Vulnerability), and be willing to listen openly.

So, how would I answer the opening question - "What am I doing to take care of myself this holiday season?"

  1. Taking on a 'less is more' attitude - while we still have a lot to do I am focusing less on the stuff and more on the people in my life.
  2. Sharing instead of pretending - I find that sometimes when I am feeling overwhelmed simply sharing it with another person releases it.
  3. Getting curious about others - I am curious by nature but a seemingly endless to-do list can keep me in-my-head. I look forward to just being with people and being curious about who they are.
  4. Cherishing the moments - there is a lot to be grateful for both at home, at work, and in the world.

And look, if you're feeling down and can't kick it there is support. The Ontario Mental Health Hotline is a free service and is available 24/7. They have a phone number and web chat which you can find here.

Finally, from the bottom of my heart and from the entire team at Bryson Insurance, we want to thank you for choosing us for your insurance needs. It is an absolute honour to serve and be trusted for your insurance needs.

Happy Holidays from the Bryson Insurance family,

Tracy Makris, President


Four Holiday Season Fire Safety Tips – An Insurance Perspective

For many of us, the holiday season is a time for laughter and celebration with family and friends.  It can also be a time where our décor and decorations can lead to minor mishaps or worse.  Here are a four safety tips to keep your family safe and sound.

Christmas tree fires

Keep your tree at least 3 feet away from any heat sources (fireplaces, radiators, heat vents).  Real trees need extra precaution.  The dryer the tree… the bigger the fire.

Having a stand with a water reservoir is key; but remembering to keep the reservoir filled is even more important.  Try putting a reminder in your digital calendar to prompt you to check water levels.

To see how quick a Christmas tree fire can get out of hand Global News recorded a live burn demonstration of a Christmas tree that was too close to a heat source.

Candle related fires

Candle sitting on a christmas tree is a fire hazardDid you know December is the peak month for candle-related fires?  To mitigate the risk, keep candles at least a foot away from other object in your house.  Trim the wick down to a quarter inch and – as a rule of thumb – only burn a candle for as many hours as the candle is wide (so a 4 inch candle should only burn for 4 hours at a time).

Burning other materials besides wood in your fireplace

During the holiday season, many people who own wood burning fireplaces find it easy to throw wrapping paper and dry tree needles in the fireplace.

Dry tree needles burn very quickly and can create sparks that can pop out of the fireplace and although not an additional fire risk, wrapping paper can contain metallic materials that once burned, can be harmful if inhaled.

Christmas lights and fire

Are Christmas lights a real fire hazard? As seen on the television show Mythbusters, Jamie and Adam busted the myth that Christmas tree lights cause house fires.

House covered in lights for the holidaysSo why is this still a concern? Well that is because of how we can get a little carried away with how we use Christmas lights – think the Griswold house in the movie Christmas Vacation.

Christmas vacation plugs in lights and sees how all bright

The risk starts to increase when there are multiple extension cords hooking together string-after-string of lights.  Keep it at 3 strings of lights per extension cord and avoid plugging extension cords together.

As insurance professionals, we have a safety-first lens on everything.  We know that a fire that is not put out quickly enough can lead to spending the holidays and beyond living out of a hotel room while you wait for your home to be fixed.

Keep safe this holiday season and enjoy your time with your family and friends.

Bundling Insurance to Save Money: Home, Auto and Beyond.

We have all heard the expression “don’t put your eggs in one basket” but, is that always true?
When dealing with your investments, you may want to follow that advice – a diverse portfolio can ensure that one bad investment will not sink your entire portfolio. But does it transfer to other areas like your insurance?

On the surface, it may appear so. You may believe that having multiple brokers and multiple markets keeps your price low and service high…..but what if you are actually costing yourself more money, time and effort for a worse overall insurance experience?

Here are some reasons why bundling your insurance is the right choice:

Save money with multi policy discounts Man holding piggy bank to symbolize saving money

By using the same insurance company, you often receive multi policy discounts. The more items you insure with one company, the more you are likely to save!

Save time while still shopping around

We do the shopping for you. Let us quote everything you need to insure with the leading Canadian insurers with your needs in mind. We want to get you the best value for your insurance dollars, no matter what is most important to you – low prices, extended coverage, excellent customer service or a combination of these.

Ease of doing Business

Need to switch your payment method or make changes to your policies – make one call instead of two or three.

Better Claims experience

What if your home and auto are damaged in the same windstorm? If your insurance is bundled, you only have to make one call to one insurance company and will most likey have one adjuster who will oversee your entire claims experience. No more multiple calls with multiple companies and negotiating multiple outcomes.

You get a better overall insurance experience

Imagine knowing the things you value most are insured at the best possible value with a brokerage that has your best interests at heart. Our reputation as a client-first brokerage was established by truly caring people who are genuinely concerned about helping those we are given the opportunity to insure. We treat our clients like family.
Call or email us today to set up a time to review your current insurance portfolio. Let us provide you with a quote and see if bundling your insurance makes sense.

Webinar: reduce the risk of suffering a cyber data breach

While many of the measures introduced by the Digital Privacy Act have been in force since the bill was first enacted in 2015, the government held off on enforcing mandatory breach reporting until the proper regulations were implemented but that date is getting close.

There has never been a more important time for Canadian businesses to focus on Ninja hanging from ceiling to steal data and commit a cyber data breachreducing cyber data breach risk. The federal government is mandating that all businesses that suffer a data breach notify anyone impacted - including customers, employees, and suppliers. It is a big deal. With this, there is good news and bad news - the good news are that there are actions you can take today to reduce the risk. The bad news is that there is no way to eliminate the risk entirely.

Compliance Bulletin - Mandatory Data Breach Notifications

Be proactive by taking the time to watch this webinar with Darnley of DarnIT IT Consulting as we discuss the most common ways cyber data breaches happen and share actionable ways to help reduce the risk to your organization suffering a data breach.