Health

Already dreading New Year? How to make 2019 different from all the rest

Holistic Scotland Magazine columnist Leonie Gordon explains how we can set the start of 2019 apart and reset ourselves – from the comfort of our own homes

Are you already secretly dreading New Year and its resolutions, which you know you’ll break within weeks, or even days?

Are you ready for something different – to go deeper and break the cycle?

Towards the end of the year (every year), many of us turn (consciously or subconsciously) to reflecting on the past year’s successes and ‘failures’ and thinking about what we want for the year ahead.

We often use goals and New Year’s ‘resolutions’ to help us get to where we hope to be in the year ahead. And so often we have given up before we even begin.

But it’s time to reset the self-destruct button.

Leonie 1
Leonie Gordon

Wouldn’t you love to be able to have some space to retreat and be nurtured at this time of year instead, to allow the dust of 2018 to settle and your real dreams for 2019 to emerge naturally without all the heartache and effort?

And wouldn’t you love to be able to do that from the comfort of your own home with and to start now, with time to reflect on the past year, to let go of the ‘failures’ and celebrate the successes, in an online retreat designed to help you rediscover your energy, happiness and purpose, and to inspire you to shine your own unique light in the world?

Well, here is your chance to retreat in your own home over the next 50 days. Many years ago, I threw out New Year’s resolutions and, instead, started retreating, connecting in and creating my visions for the year ahead. That’s why, for the past five years, I’ve been supporting others to do the same in Aberdeenshire where I live.

So many people have said they would love to join in if only they lived closer to me and so this year I have created an online retreat.

This 50-day online retreat will gather an intimate circle of people who want to dive deep, loosen the grip of self-doubt and conditioning and connect into what they really long for to make 2019 their best year yet.

 

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You will connect to your unique creative life source that fires your hopes and dreams. Our creative flow is not something we can all turn on and off. It is a space within ourselves that we have to connect to and that shows us the path we long to follow.

There is a story about Michelangelo when he was working on David. It’s said he sat in his studio for months looking at the giant piece of marble that would eventually become his masterpiece. After a time, his patrons came to him and said, “We hear you have stopped working!” to which he replied, “I have been working every day.”

We will be gathering, meditating, visioning, dreaming, sharing and nurturing your ability to connect in and provide yourself with space to tap into your natural curiosity and creativity and let your own truth emerge.

May all your dreams come true

It takes disciple to be a free-spirit and truly live your dreams… We will identify those practices that you find inspiring and create new practices to support your unique vision for the year ahead.

If you feel the longing don’t hesitate, the course starts as soon as you jump in.


Included with the 50-day online retreat is:

  • 5 x 1 1/2 hour in-depth coaching calls/webinars providing teaching, resources, tools and deeper experiential dives.

In between these calls, over the 50 days you will also receive:

  • An online community where you can share the journey.
  • Call recordings for those who could not attend live.
  • Inspirations to help you digest the teachings.
  • Extra audio tools offering shorter practices for ongoing use.
  • Journal prompts
  • Creative and visualisation tools to create your vision for 2019.

Dare to start dreaming now!

Health

How to avoid headaches at work

Dr Daniel Fenton, clinic director at London Doctors Clinic, shares his top 10 tips for warding off headaches and migraines at work dan-fenton

We have all suffered the discomfort of a headache at some point in our lives, but anyone who’s ever experienced migraines knows all too well the misery and suffering this condition can cause.

According to the Migraine Trust, migraines are the third most common disease in the world, with an estimated global prevalence of one in seven people. It is also one of the most common health complaints we see as GPs, which isn’t surprising considering that over ten million people across the UK suffer with headaches on a regular basis.

These debilitating headaches often lead to people taking time off work. According to a new report by the Work Foundation, it’s estimated that absenteeism and presenteeism due to migraines results in 86 million lost workdays per year, which costs the UK economy a huge £8.8bn per annum.

Migraines are identified by recurrent disabling headaches – they’re much more severe than the average headache and are thought to be caused by temporary changes in the chemicals, nerves and blood vessels in the brain. Sufferers often begin having episodes from childhood and these can range from mild to extremely painful with vomiting and even temporary paralysis.

In line with the focus for this year’s Migraine Awareness Week, it’s important for businesses to cultivate a culture of mindfulness around migraines in workplaces, and to:

  1. understand that migraines are a complex neurological condition and that not everyone experiences the same symptoms, and
  2. make reasonable concessions for employees who get migraines, such as offering them flexible working hours and looking at how their physical environment can be adjusted to help avoid elements that may trigger a migraine.

So what steps can we take to prevent migraines at work?

  • Be mindful of stress and anxiety

Prioritise taking steps to reduce your stress or anxiety levels as this will lessen your headaches – be it through relaxation exercises, psychological therapy, a walk in the park or a long bath. A great way to feel calm when you need a quick solution is to take deep breaths from your diaphragm- set aside 10 minutes to inhale and exhale slowly and deeply, and your body should soon relax.

  • Manage the glare

It’s no secret that squinting causes headaches but what few office workers realise it that the glare from their screens can make them squint. Encourage migraine-prone employees to get glasses with glare resistant lenses, and to give their eyes regular breaks from the computer screen by looking away and focusing on an item in the distance for a minute or two.

  • Cut down noise

Noise is a migraine trigger so if you’re prone to migraines and can’t avoid noise at work, wear ear plugs or find a quiet breakaway spot to work in. If necessary, speak to your manager about reducing noise levels in the office.

  • Get more sleep

No surprises here – too little sleep causes headaches as well as grumpiness! Having a consistent sleep routine is vital for keeping migraines at bay. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, even on weekends. It may sound obvious but be careful with your consumption of caffeine, nicotine and alcohol and don’t over-indulge in exercise or food before bedtime – this could have a negative impact on your sleep and possibly lead to headaches.

  • Get moving!

If you sit, lie or slope about and don’t exercise you will get headaches. An aching head does not inspire us to get active but getting outside in the fresh air can help loosen tight muscles which cause migraines. Make it a priority to move – be that going for a morning run, walking part of your commute to work or pushing back your chair to do desk-er-cises during the day. Exercising will not only transform your life, but considerably reduce your migraines too.

  • Correct your posture

Bad posture gives you headaches so make a point of sitting up right, squaring your shoulders and straightening out whenever possible. Find a way to remind yourself to ‘straighten out’, such as setting an alarm or making a mental note to sit up straight whenever you drink coffee.

  • Eat regularly and check your diet

No matter how busy you are, don’t skip breakfast or lunch. Fluctuations in blood sugar can sometimes cause migraines so always have breakfast and aim to eat at regular intervals. Sugar and processed carbohydrates cause huge fluctuations in blood sugar so be careful of them.

Cheese, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol are known to trigger migraines in some people so if you’re a regular sufferer, cut these foods and beverages out one at a time for 2-4 weeks and assess if that makes a difference. If you can’t function without your daily Caramel Frap, consider switching to decaf or limit your coffee intake to one cup.

  • Drink plenty of water

Not drinking enough water will very often give you a headache and can lead to migraines. The first thing you should always do when you feel a headache coming on is have a good long drink of water! Make a point of keeping a water bottle on your desk and drinking from it regularly.

  • Supplement with vitamin B2

There are several herbal supplements you can take to improve migraines which are loaded with Vitamin B2. Clinical studies show that taking regular doses can reduce some types of migraines or prevent them altogether. Your local health food store or chemist should have a range of products available.

  • Trigger management

If it’s not very obvious what’s causing your migraines, keep a diary. Note when your migraines start, what you were doing at the time, how long they last and what, if anything, provides relief.  This can really help you and the doctor to work out what next.

Finally, if you are still getting migraines you should see a GP. There’s an array of things that can be done, that will make a huge difference to your quality of life.

So in summary you should: relax, give your eyes a break, wear ear plugs to block out noisy colleagues, get some sleep, get moving, SIT UP STRAIGHT, eat some breakfast, have a drink of water and take your vitamins!

For those people who struggle severely migraines, book them a visit or video consultation with a GP.

Offers

Win a spa break with Macdonald Hotels

Macdonald Hotels Spa Collection has launched a competition for one lucky winner to land a well-deserved spa break as part of National Spa Week 2018 (10-17 September).

It’s inviting people across Britain to nominate a friend, family member or themselves to win a spa day experience and overnight stay at a Macdonald Hotels Spa Collection hotel.

Emma Leadbeater, Macdonald Hotels Spa Director, said: “There’s no better cure for something getting under the skin than a facial! If someone you know just can’t catch a break –  if they keep missing their bus or their computer crashed, and they’ve lost a big piece of work, then this is your chance to make their day by entering our competition.”

The Macdonald Hotels Spa Collection is a group luxurious retreats, providing rejuvenation and relaxation in tranquil surroundings, where highly-trained staff use the finest professional products from ELEMIS as well offering bespoke treatments which are as individual as each hotel.

Nominations can be made by using the hashtag #CatchASpaBreak on Facebook or by emailing macdonald@bigpartnership.co.uk to explain the reasons why someone you care about really deserves a special treat.

Regular spa visits are used around the globe as an effective way to combat everyday stresses, whereas in the UK a spa treatment is still regarded as a rare treat – that’s why spas across the UK have come together during National Spa Week 2018 to provide an antidote to life in the 21st century.

Facial

On Monday, 1 October, five lucky winners will be informed that they have a free spa day in store, including lunch and an overnight stay for them and one guest.

Macdonald Hotels Spa Collection covers more than 20 locations across the UK and winners will be able to choose from any of the following participating hotels:

  • Macdonald Alveston Manor Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Macdonald Berystede Hotel & Spa, Ascot
  • Macdonald Botley Park Hotel & Spa, Southampton
  • Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Golf & Spa, Peebles near Edinburgh
  • Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel Spa, Chester
  • Macdonald Elmers Court Hotel & Resort, Hampshire
  • Macdonald Forest Hills Hotel & Spa, Aberfoyle
  • Macdonald Inchyra Hotel & Spa, near Stirling
  • Macdonald Manchester Hotel
  • Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa, Windemere
  • Macdonald Portal Hotel, Golf & Spa, near Chester
  • Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford

Find out more here

 

Health

5 easy ways to give yourself more energy

We all know what it feels like to be exhausted, lacking energy and lethargic, now here’s what to do about it!

Dr Emma Derbyshire shares her tips for boosting energy levels:

Care-free commute – many of us face at least an hour’s commute every day, often on public transport, with delays which do nothing for our mood or energy levels. But instead of focussing your energy on getting annoyed, use your commuting time to do something just for you. Read a book, practise mindfulness or meditation, listen to your favourite music or catch up on small admin tasks. You can’t control commuting woes, so just go with it.

Natural energy release – get up and dance, do star jumps or go for a walk and create some of those feel-good endorphins. You could also try a supplement such as Red Kooga’s Natural Energy Release, which works with the body to help increase alertness and vitality, boost energy and wellbeing and ward off fatigue.

Ditch the digital –  we are a nation addicted to our smartphones and laptops. But this digital dependency also impacts our energy levels. While we play with our phones, time ticks away and we become more sedentary. Seeing social media posts from others can also affect our moods. Try to allocate certain times during the day to check social media and emails instead of all the time.

Get moving – schedule in some movement time every day. It’s easy to get so involved in your work that three hours have gone past and you haven’t so much as stood up! We might think being in front of the screen hours on end makes us productive, but actually it makes us sluggish, while energy levels drop and productivity goes down. Get up from your desk, stretch, make a round of teas, talk to colleagues and get out for a walk at lunch – it will refresh you and leave you with more energy to tackle the afternoon!

What’s on your plate? – we all grew up with the phrase ‘you are what you eat’. And it’s true – we need to pay attention to foods which are going to give us sustainable energy and satisfy our body’s nutritional demands. Rather than just grabbing at food because we have a hunger to satisfy, nutrient-rich foods such as lean protein, oily fish, fruit and vegetables and complex carbohydrates (whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds) should be our go-to. They will help sustain our energy levels and see us through the day.

Health

10 ways to look after yourself when you’re stressed

According to research, four out of five British adults feel stressed during a typical week, while nearly one in 10 feel stressed all the time.

And when we’re stressed, it’s really easy to let things slide. We’re prone to lapse into poor sleeping patterns, make bad diet choices, and suffer from low mood and bad skin.

But, according to the experts, there are ways we can stay on top of things when it comes to wellbeing – even when we’re stressed.

  1. Eat little and often

“Balancing blood sugar is essential in lowering stress because the crashes in sugar levels (which happen through the day due to going long periods without food and not eating the right foods) stimulate the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol to be released,” says nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville, who is the author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar.

“Make sure you have a small meal every 2-3 hours that contains protein (eat breakfast, lunch and dinner plus a snack mid-morning and one mid-afternoon).

“Have a hard-boiled egg, 10-12 almonds, a small can of tuna and brown rice, for example. This will stop those roller-coaster highs and cravings for sweet foods. Because your blood sugar isn’t allowed to drop, your body will no longer have to ask you for a quick fix. As your blood sugar steadies, so will your mood swings – reduced adrenaline levels will automatically make you feel happier and calmer inside and feel less stressed.”asparagus-2169305_1920

2) Increase your intake of omega-3s

“To help prevent life getting so stressful, you need omega-3s – especially DHA  (Docosahexaenoic Acid),” says nutrition and weight loss coach Pippa Campbell.

“You won’t get the same mood boost from the omega-3s (Alpha-Lipoic Acid or ALA) in flax, walnuts and soy though, so eat about two servings a week of wild salmon or other oily fish.

“In addition, research shows that people who take a daily omega-3 supplement (containing DHA and EPA or Eicosapentaenoic Acid ) reduce their anxiety by up to 20 percent.”

3) Try ‘medium’ breathing

“Deep breathing is more like yoga breathing, which is fine for a yoga class but if you are stressed you can end up over-breathing and feeling dizzy,” says Pippa.

“I call medium breathing 4-1-6 breathing. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 1 second and breathe out for 6 seconds. Really try and breathe so that you can see your belly filling with air. Try and practise this even when you are not stressed as it can take some practice to make your ‘out’ breath longer than your ‘in’ breathe.  Do this for 5 minutes whenever you can.”happiness-1866081_1920

4) Get your heart rate up

“If you feel like you can’t escape your worries, it could be worth leaving the house and getting your heart rate pumping,” suggests nutritionist and fitness instructor Cassandra Barns.

“Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which make us feel happy and relaxed afterwards. Getting enough exercise can also help us sleep better, which then helps us cope with stress.

“However, if you’re very stressed, take care with the types and duration of exercise you choose. It may be best to avoid endurance exercise such as long-distance running, or very high intensity exercise such as spinning classes – unless these involve short intervals of high intensity with longer periods of rest. Intense exercise can have a net effect of raising your levels of stress hormones and making you more anxious, stressed and tired.

“Good types of exercise to go for can include weight training, interval training with longer periods of rest, moderate intensity aerobic-type exercise such as cycling, team sports where there is a good element of enjoyment too, or relaxing exercise such as certain types of yoga.”

5) Eat more protein 

Research from the Association of Comprehensive Neurotherapy has found that increasing your protein intake can help to alleviate feelings of anxiety. Tryto include protein with every meal and add protein-rich snacks to your diet, such as Greek yoghurt, eggs, almonds and tuna. To get an extra boost of protein, Natures Plus Vegan Power Meal is a great addition to your morning smoothie. eggs-1467286_1920

6) Get more sleep

“A good night’s sleep can be a great stress-reliever,” says Cassandra. “Unfortunately, of course, sleeping well can be easier said than done when you’re already stressed or anxious. Do what you can to get to bed early enough to get seven to eight hours’ sleep, make sure your bedroom is a calming environment, and set up a good wind-down routine in the evening, such as taking a warm bath.

“Take a magnesium supplement in the evening too. Magnesium is known as ‘nature’s tranquiliser’ as it’s associated with calming and relaxing properties – it may help you sleep as well as cope better with stress.”woman in bed

7) Keep a bedtime journal

“Keep a journal by your bed where you can write down what you need to do the next day at least an hour before bed,” adds Marilyn. “The aim is to stop the dialogue in your head which can end up stopping you from getting off to sleep or else waking you up in the middle of night remembering something that has to be done the next day.”

9) Have a good laugh

“Having a laugh is one of the best remedies for stress – it triggers healthy changes in our body,” says Marilyn. “Many studies show that laughter boosts our energy, decreases stress hormones, improves immunity and diminishes pain. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the natural feel-good chemicals that make us happier and relaxed.”smile-2928326_1920

10) Take control

“If you feel the symptoms of stress coming on, learn to get your priorities right,” Marilyn suggests. “There is nothing in your life right now more important than your health.”

“Learn to say no if you feel that you have taken on too much. Being assertive is invigorating and empowering. It also helps to make lists of what is or is not a priority and to tackle the priority tasks first. This will help give you a sense of control over your life.”