Spring Forward!

Happiness is the meaning and purpose behind life. But how can you help others towards happiness, and how can you promote it within yourself?

As buds burst from slumbering soil, the hopeful promise of Spring comes happily into focus.

Happiness and the Promise of Spring

The winter months in the UK are long and often dull, cold and wet. For many, the beginning of Spring signals a fresh start – the chance to look forward with excitement to the weeks and months ahead.

For sufferers of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), the coming of Spring brings with it a promise of happier, healthier times. The weather can have a stark impact on our moods, and there is no wonder that winter can be a difficult time for many. SAD is surprisingly common, with approximately one in three people suffering from symptoms during the darker days of the year. 

However, it’s important to remember that many mental health issues are not confined to one season; millions of people live with poor mental health throughout the year.

What Can I Do to Help?

Mental health problems don’t display themselves like broken bones or grazed knees. Therefore, it’s a good idea to be mindful that anyone who looks ‘fine’ on the outside may actually be suffering internally. 

We all have mental health: from the smiling barista who makes your morning coffee; the quiet postman who nods a ‘hello’ to you every day; the helpful sales adviser at the other end of the phone; the timid little girl who lives at the end of the road… Do we honestly know what anyone is really going through at any particular moment?

The easiest way you can help?

Be Kind

Kindness is an underestimated quality; showing kindness to another person costs nothing, but its value can be priceless to the receiver. 

It’s important to try to be kind – in whatever situation we find ourselves. So, instead of getting angry in a frustrating scenario, try to exercise a little patience and a kind word to make a positive difference.

Reach Out 

Be mindful of those around you and keep in touch with them – friends and family, distant relatives, neighbours and work colleagues. Pick up the phone or grab a coffee. 

Listen

Listening is another underrated quality, and the simple act of carefully listening to someone who is struggling can be of great comfort to them.

Point People Towards the Help They Need

People suffering from mental health problems in the UK can contact Samaritans 24/7 on 116123 or email jo@samaritans.org and the charity Mind also provides professional support.

The Importance of Self Care

It’s wonderful to be in a position to help another person. However, it’s so important to ensure that we keep a crystal clear focus on our own wellbeing too! After all, you can’t help other people effectively if you don’t look after yourself!

Take time out for you – meditate, exercise, socialise, eat well and sleep well. Spring in the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors, being mindful to the natural changes happening around you – the emergence of bright colours and floral scents.

Environment

It’s so important that you enjoy an environment conducive to health and happiness in both your home and workplace. Keeping your living space clean and tidy can have positive benefits to your overall wellbeing and quality of life. You can create an uplifting ambience in your home by diffusing Grapefruit essential oil; the fresh aroma brings the Spring season inside whilst also promoting healthy skin.

Spring Forward!

The gentle chirp and whistle of the dawn chorus; glowing daffodils with crisp, verdant stems; fresh, scented air and the cautious emergence of the sun… there are so many beautiful things to enjoy about the coming of Spring.

So – no excuses! Get out and about and encourage a friend or neighbour to join you. And bring nature inside – flowers, fresh air and natural oils to make for a healthier home. 

Above all, never underestimate the power within nature to transform, renew, heal and uplift – all throughout the year!

Have you got Spring fever yet?

As the snowdrops delight us, the daylight hours are longer and the green shoots of spring are all around us, our thoughts turn to outdoor activities. That could be brushing the dust off the bicycle, finding the golf clubs, or looking for your trusty gardening gloves. What you choose means engaging a set of muscles that you probably haven’t used for quite a while. So what are the top tips for easing your way back into outdoor activities after a long winter layover?
1. Be kind to yourself – the weeding / sweeping doesn’t have to be achieved in one day nor the 50km bike ride on day one! Little and often is the golden rule!

2. Plan the activity – it’s more fun with someone else whether it’s walking a new route, or turning over the soil in the garden – listen to music if you’re on your own or catch up on a podcast you’ve been meaning to listen to!

3. Warm up first before commencing – start with some gentle stretching and make it a routine part of the activity. You will regret it otherwise and will soon become familiar with DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) which is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenous exercise.

4. Try something new – it’s never too late to take up a new sport or activity – joining a club means that there are other newbies learning and it’s more fun too.

5. Enjoy yourself – whilst there is the “no pain – no gain” theory of pushing yourself to achieve, being outdoors for most of us should be joyful. The positive gains of being in the fresh air are bountiful – surrounding yourself with negative ions (those are the good ones) from the Earth’s natural enery – particularly abundant near water and trees. Your mental health will also benefit – movement at any level creates a more positive mindset and that will impact on your relationships, your work and your purpose. Go figure!

6. Remember to hydrate before your start your exerise, during to keep those hydration levels up and afterwards to flush away the build up of any lactic acid you may have generated. Stretching afterwards will help stimulate circulation, increase flexibility and relieve tension. This helps bring more oxygen to your muscles which can help reduce lactic acid production and rid your muscles of an accumulation of lactic acid!

Lastly, if you do ‘over do’ the exerise, as an advocate of wellness, I would encourage you to find a natural way of managing the pain – there are plenty to choose from such as essential oils and magnetic therapy. Certainly a better option than an pharmaceutical one!

What’s your Spring fever going to be?

blue city bike beside brown wooden fence

How to Get the Best Night’s Sleep

If you’re tossing and turning all night, hitting the snooze button more than once, then loading up on coffee in the morning, you might be among the many people wishing for a better night’s sleep. Sleep issues have become a common problem in our modern society. Over 68% of the UK population report that they have a bad night at least once a week and a quarter of them say that they experience poor sleep most nights. That’s a lot of missing sleep!

Maybe you’re wondering if you struggle with insomnia. How can you tell? The general definition of insomnia is that it’s an inability to fall asleep easily and/or stay asleep easily all night, even when you have a restful environment for sleep.

Everyone gets insomnia occasionally. Sometimes before a big test or important interview you might have trouble sleeping, and that’s pretty normal. But if you have issues sleeping on a regular basis, especially three or more nights per week, and if it’s been going on for months or even years, you probably have chronic insomnia.

When you don’t get enough sleep, the next day is usually pretty rough. You’ll typically feel drowsy, have trouble thinking clearly, have a hard time concentrating, and lack energy. You might even get irritable and angry easily, which doesn’t bode well for relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. Chronic insomnia can also lead to serious health issues such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, anxiety, and depression.

So how do you get back to sleep and move to a healthy sleep cycle? Here are some of the best tips to help you slumber peacefully all night, every night.

alarm-clock-1193291

Top Tips for A Great Night’s Sleep

Tip 1 – Turn off the TV and all electronics an hour before bed. The blue light coming from the screens of your television and devices suppresses the release of melatonin with is an important hormone for sleep. Keep your electronics out of your bedroom, if you can, and definitely make sure all electronic lights are out at night. Most people don’t realise that using electronics before bed can affect their sleep. Consider removing your phone from your room and not using it for your alarm. If you must keep your phone in your bedroom, be sure to turn it on “Airplane Mode” and turn off the Wi-Fi.

Tip 2 – Take some time to relax before bed. Good choices for relaxing activities include meditating, reading a calming book, or listening to peaceful music. Make sure your pre-bedtime activities are relaxing and make you feel sleepy.

Tip 3- Exercise every day. It can help you sleep better at night, so make sure to include at least a brisk walk in your daily schedule. Just make sure you don’t exercise at night, as it can “amp” you up causing you to have a hard time settling down for sleep.

Take sleep promoting supplements and herbs. These include magnesium, melatonin, and valerian (a herbal tea). Try them out to see if they’ll work for you and adjust the dose as necessary. ( Look for a good holistic store or health shop for advice ).

Tip 4 – Create a dark bedroom. Your body takes cues from your environment, so your bedroom needs to be dark in order for your brain to believe that it’s time for sleep. Train your circadian rhythm again to get back to a healthy schedule by ensuring that your room is always dark. If you can’t make it pitch black, wear an eye mask to block out the remaining light.

Tip 5 – Find out what’s causing you stress. This is especially important if you spend a lot of time thinking about your worries while trying to fall asleep or when you wake up in the middle of the night. Try writing a sleep journal right before bed to get it all out on paper, leaving your mind free to relax for the night.

Tip 6 – Review your pain relief. Are you taking unnecessary prescriptions? When was the last time you reviewed your daily / weekly intake of pain medication? Have you considered alternative therapies to manage your physical pain? When the body is stressed and/or in pain, it is much more difficult to relax and therefore sleep. Consider magnetic therapy (a magnetic eye mask also helps create the perfect calm and dark environment) hypnotherapy, Reiki, reflexology, acupuncture, Bowen technique, and aromatherapy using essential oils.

Tip 7 – Reduce your caffeine intake. Caffeine may be the cause of your insomnia, especially if you ingest it in the late afternoon or evening. Reduce your intake and keep it to a morning routine. Then you’ll give your body enough time to wind down in the evenings for rest. Alcohol is known cause of insomnia too. Consider your daily / weekly intake and make adjustments accordingly. Increase your hydration to at least 1.5 litres of still water per day. Try magnetising your water for maximum absorption and the right pH balance.

Create a bedtime routine. The human brain and our circadian rhythms love routine. By creating a routine, you’ll signal to your brain that sleep is coming soon. Keep to the same bedtime hours, if possible. After a while, you’ll notice your body is immediately triggered by the routine and starts to feel sleepy.

Tip 8 -Take a warm bath. Include it as part of your bedtime routine, adding in lavender essential oil to increase your sense of relaxation. Add in a little meditation and you’ll start to feel sleepy right away.

Tip 9 – Sip a cup of relaxing, warm tea. If you love tea, stock up on some that is known to promote relaxation, such as chamomile. An hour or so before bed, brew yourself a cup and sit in a calm place to sip on it. Make sure it’s caffeine free though. It might be a great thing to do whilst writing your sleep journal or taking a bath.

Tip 10 – Get help if you need it. If you’ve tried all these things and you’re still struggling to get to sleep, reach out to a holistic doctor, practitioner, or wellness coach. They can help you find out what is causing your insomnia, such as an imbalance of cortisol, adrenal, or other hormones. They can then help you find the solution to get back in balance and get back to sleep.

Sources:

https://www.sleepfoundation.org

https://sleepcouncil.org.uk

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-sleep-better

https://wellbeingliving.co.uk/2019/01/11/its-dry-january-yet-you-need-to-drink-more/

sleeping woman jan 19 blog

Are You Counting Down to a New You in 2019?

New Year, New You?

Where has the year gone? Now is a time of festivity and family; rest and relaxation. But it’s also the perfect time to take stock on the year that’s gone – to reflect on successes and failures, the good and the ‘could to better’.

No matter how 2018 panned out for you, 2019 can be better. 

Perhaps you have plans to travel in 2019? Or is your ambition to land your dream job? Maybe you’d like to start a family? 

Ultimately, achieving any of your future plans hinges on your own personal wellbeing. 

Wellbeing Wordle
New Year, New You?

Be SMART with Your New Years Resolutions

Have you been neglecting your personal wellbeing this year? Could your life be improved by making your physical and mental health higher on your list of priorities? In fact, the reality is that there is NOTHING more important than your own wellbeing; without this, we can’t help others. We can’t be the person that we need to be for our families and friends. We can’t function properly. We miss out on the richness of life.

Couple relaxing
Wellbeing

Now – right now – is the perfect time to commit to change. But it is so important to fully and carefully consider your resolution first.

It’s easy to get carried away and caught up in the excitement of making changes to our lives. We may therefore attempt to commit to radical and drastic diets or health regimes. But in reality, this can lead to disappointment and disillusionment. Just think how many new gym memberships are abandoned by the end of January. Instead, small, incremental changes can set you on the right road to long-term benefits.

Kickstart your Health and Wellbeing Journey in 2019

Our SMART guide to a happy and healthy new year…

SMART Goals
SMART Goals

Are your lifestyle changes…?

Specific: A massive lifestyle overhaul is rarely a good idea, and can often do more harm than good – to both your physical and mental health. In fact, rapid, radical change can be dangerous. Instead, focus on changing a few specific aspects of your life gradually. Seek professional advice if you are unsure as to where your focus should be, or how you should go about it.

Measurable: Monitor and record your progress regularly. Depending on your goal, this should usually be done on a daily or weekly basis. Many smartphone apps are available for this purpose. Keeping an eye on your progress will act to motivate you, but don’t get discouraged if you’re not making gains as quickly as you’d like; you may simply need to adjust your short-term targets. Get friends or family members to hold you to account!

Attainable: Do your research before setting your goals. Are you setting yourself up for failure and disappointment? Ensure your goals are realistic and in line with your current situation.

Relevant: What impact will making the change(s) have on your life? How will it enhance your wellbeing? Perhaps you constantly feel tired and lethargic – it affects your relationships, your work – indeed your very existence. Making changes to your lifestyle to help you feel more energised would clearly improve your whole life – and in turn positively influence other aspects of your wellbeing too.

Time Based: Set yourself a long-term end goal, and divide that into appropriate milestones. Put it all in writing. From this, you may wish to make even smaller short-term goals to help keep you motivated. Keep the long-term goal in sight and in mind at all times, and use the short-term goals to leverage a successful outcome!

2019 – The Year YOUR Wellbeing Became a Priority?

2019 – The Year YOUR Wellbeing Became a Priority?

There you have it – our SMART guide towards wellbeing in 2019. 

Don’t put off making your commitments or pin hopes in the future; make a conscious decision NOW to work towards a happier and healthier life in the new year.

So, will you look back on 2019 as the year that you made your physical and mental health a top priority?

What will your new years resolutions be? What are your tips for sticking to them?

New Year Fireworks
2019 – The Year YOUR Wellbeing Became a Priority?

Wishing you all a Very Happy and Healthy 2019!