140 articles Articles posted in Health

Lockdown Stress and Ways to Deal With It

For many of us, life has gone back to normal in many ways. The kids have gone back to school, places are slowly starting to reopen and there’s a sense that things are getting better. People are learning how to stop worrying about the future. However, when I say “many of us”, I don’t actually mean me! Both kids are still home from school; in fact neither has been since 12th March 2020 and we’re homeschooling Sausage permanently from now on. Lockdown stress is still looming large!

We still don’t leave the house for anything other than shopping and medical appointments, we still wash all groceries and parcels that come into the house, still wear masks, distance ourselves from other people. We’re missing family like mad, but we just don’t feel like it’s worth letting our guards down just yet. Imagine isolating ALL THIS TIME and then catching COVID at the eleventh hour? I doesn’t bear thinking about.

Being indoors all this time means we’ve all needed to find our own ways to entertain ourselves and cope with the situation so that the lockdown stress doesn’t completely engulf us. For Sausage, it’s been all about anime, reading fan fiction, drawing and chatting to her friends. Burrito Baby has found happiness in reading Harry Potter and creating some epic worlds in Minecraft. Husband plays Call of Duty online and I’ve been listening to audiobooks, cross-stitching and baking to keep my mind off of everything.

With this in mind, I thought I’d share some tips for you to follow if you need help with avoiding stress, decompressing when you feel overwhelmed or just generally helping to pass the time if you’re still isolating at home:

Try a New Hobby

If you’re anything like me, there’s a list of things as long as your arm that you’ve said you’d like to try, but always punctuate it with “…but I never have the time!”. Well, I’ve never had MORE time than in the last 12 months and it shows – as well as the cross stitch and baking I mentioned above, I’ve done quilling, card making, sewing and a few other things besides. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to get into, there’s no time like the present!

Audiobooks

As well as taking full advantage of my free trial of Audible (which I promptly cancelled when my trial ran out!), my good friend Jeni recommended an app to me called BorrowBox. It’s available to anyone with a library card and allows you to borrow e-books and audiobooks, just like you would from your library, except it’s all digital. The app is absolutely free and there are no in-app purchases. The range of books can sometimes be limited, but I’ve managed HOURS of free audiobook listening with this app and I do love the escapism from lockdown stress that a good book can provide.

Declutter Your Life

Something I find INCREDIBLY cathartic and stress-relieving is decluttering, and this is one of those things that you can apply to various parts of your life. Whether it’s clearing out your kitchen drawers, tidying those cupboards that are just used for storing stuff you no longer use, organising the shed or garage or even going through your inbox and unsubscribing from all the newsletters and emails you never read. Clearing physical space is a really good way to help clear headspace and the knock-on effect of a declutter is huge for me.

Have you found something in the last year that has helped you through the isolation of lockdown? Are you like us and still doing your best to distance yourself from the world? Have you decided to permanently homeschool your kids once this is all over?

Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Self Care Rituals for Stressed-Out Mums

Self Care Rituals for Stressed-Out Mums

Is it just me or has 2020 been one of the most stressful years of your whole life?! The constant worry, the changing rules, remembering masks and hand sanitiser, homeschooling the kids, working from home… The list of additional stressors seems endless. With this in mind, I’ve been trying to do some things recently to improve my self-care, and it’s definitely helping. Here are just a few of my new rituals:

Self-Care Skincare Routine

I’ve never had particularly problematic skin, aside from the odd bit of dryness and the occasional hormonal pimple, so I’ve never paid much attention to a skincare routine before. However, my Mum has AMAZING skin, especially for someone who will be 60 in a couple of years, and that’s because she’s always made sure she looks after it, and I am inspired to do the same.

I’ve started using a hot cloth cleanser with Vitamin C to wash my face, which helps to exfoliate and make my skin look a LOT brighter. I’ve also been using a peptide serum before I moisturise, which seems to make my skin feel super soft. I then use a gel moisturiser, which sits much better on my skin than something oil-based and doesn’t cause spots. I’ve got to say, my skin looks better than it ever has, just by adding a couple of new things to my daily routine.

Yoga and Meditation

When I went on my mad exercise kick back in 2017, one of my favourite things to do was my weekly yoga class. Taking an hour to do something peaceful and relaxing, stretching my muscles and realigning my mind and body was amazing for me.

There would be a ten-minute meditation at the end of the class where we’d lay on the floor with our eyes closed and the teacher would coach us on proper breathing and clearing our minds, and I absolutely loved it. It was probably the closest thing to a tantric massage without being touched! Since lockdown happened, I’ve been doing yoga and meditation at home, and it’s really helped me to keep my mind and body healthy during this weirdness.

Finding a Hobby

Because of my health issues, our family has been isolating constantly since the beginning of March, which has meant that we’ve had a LOT more time on our hands. Obviously, I’m doing the usual working/cooking/cleaning/walking the dog, as well as homeschooling both kids, but that still leaves me with a few hours a day in which I actually have some time to myself.

I’ve taken up a few different hobbies to fill the time, and I actually feel quite fulfilled for the first time in years! As well as the baking and cooking that I’ve been doing a lot of, I’ve also taken up cross-stitch, which I absolutely love, and most recently I’ve started quilling! I’ll be sharing one of my latest creations here on the blog soon, and I’m quite proud of it.

Have you picked up any new hobbies lately? Have you been taking more time for self-care? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

Reasons to Quit Smoking This Year

Reasons to Quit Smoking This Year2020 has been one of those years that, if it were our child, would be sat on the naughty step for an indefinite time out. A lot of people have reached their limit, with restrictions, job insecurities, and concern about the state of the world. Many will be wondering how they could possibly quit smoking with so much going on all around them.

Quitting does not necessarily need to involve completely foregoing nicotine completely if you don’t feel ready. Instead, you might opt to switch to vaping. For more info, click the link to browse through our range of vape liquids. You might find a delicious one at a strength that suits you.

Detox from Chemicals

Cigarettes contain many toxic chemicals, such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, methanol, and even lead. None of these are good for you and have been known to cause various types of cancers and other illnesses. Getting rid of these chemicals can help to prolong your life and reduce your likelihood of gaining a smoking related illness. It is possible to restore your likelihood back down to that of a non-smoker, so the sooner you quit, the more positive effect you will have on your body.

Be a Better Role Model

Having young children means that your every move is being monitored and emulated. If your child sees you smoking, they may assume that means that there is nothing wrong with it and, therefore, be more likely to smoke as they grow up. This can even occur if you tell them about the health problems that can coincide with smoking, as they will still see you continue to do it, and so may not believe it to be as serious as you make out. The older your child is when you quit, the more likely they may be to smoke themselves. This means that quitting now is far better than leaving it even another couple of months.

Save Money

Smoking costs an extortionate amount of money. With a pack costing nearly £9 now, this means that a 20-a-day smoker will be spending roughly £63 per week on cigarettes. Over the course of a year, that comes to £3276! This money could be better spent elsewhere on bills, home improvements, saving for a mortgage or car, or even a family holiday abroad. Add into this that the cost of cigarettes is ever increasing, and it is clear that it would be better to jump off this toxic ship now before you haemorrhage more of your hard earned cash into something that is detrimental to your health.

Quitting smoking may not be easy, but it certainly is possible. Gaining the support of family and friends, as well as speaking to your doctor or local cessation team, can help you to achieve your goal. In the long run, you will have more money and be an overall healthier person without that white stick holding you back.

 

Five Signs of Anxiety a Counselor Will Spot

Five Signs of Anxiety a Counselor Will SpotPhoto by Tonik on Unsplash

Anxiety is one of the most common forms of mental illness, with an estimated 1 in six people suffering from some sort of anxiety. For many of us, anxiety os something that we live with on  day to day basis, barely recognising the varying symptoms that we’re dealing with. However, knowing the different ways in which your anxiety manifests itself can be half of the battle in dealing with it, so I’ve put together a list of five of the most common signs of anxiety that your BetterHelp counselor will spot, even if you don’t:

Hyperactivity

While you may just think you’re being motivated and getting things done, going on a sudden overactive kick of doing something could be a sign of anxiety. Cleaning the house from top to bottom, overexercising or even talking too much can all be ways that we try to distract ourselves while dealing with the excess energy that anxiety can produce.

Irritability

Most people associate feelings of aniety with fear and worry, but for many people, aniety can actually look like irritability and snappiness. This is often due to the racing thoughts and feeling on edge that the excess adrenaline in your system causes. If someone close to you seems snappy and less tolerant than usual, try to remember that it’s not your fault and could be due to their anxiety.

Hoarding

We’ve all seen the “Extreme Hoarders” programmes on TV, where people live in houses which are so full of stuff that they have to climb over a virtual assault course just to get to bed, but hoarding doesn’t always look like this. Often, people who are hoarding because of anxiety will pick one item which is significant to them and hold onto it because it gives them some sense of comfort.

Dissociation

Dissociation is a feeling of being disconnected from your thoughts, feelings, memories, and surroundings. Often, when people are dealing with Dissociation, they don’t even realise that this is what they’re dealing with, and it’s only when they explain their feelings to a mental health professional that they realise thi is what’s happening. It sometimes resolves itself, but seeking help from a counselor is vital. 

Physical Symptoms

There are many physical symptoms which can result from having anxiety, and it’s not uncommon for sufferers to belive they’re having a serious health problem, such as a heat attack, when these symptoms occur. Sweating, heavy and fast breathing, hot flushes or blushing, dry mouth, shaking, hair loss, fast heartbeat, extreme tiredness or lack of energy, dizziness and fainting, and stomach aches and sickness are ALL symptoms which can result from anxiety and can all make you believe you have a physical sickness.

Online Counseling – Five Key Benefits

If there’s one thing that many of us have learned durin glockdown, it’s that it is possible to do things differently. Everything from shopping to learning to medical appointments have moved online to help limit the spread of COVID-19, which is something that we should be utilising even more moving forward, even after the threat of a pandemic is gone. With that in mind, I’ve put together five reasons why you should consider online counseling:

Convenience

The top reason for having online counseling with a service like BetterHelp is that you can do it any time, anywhere. You don’t need to take time off of work for appointments if you can go online in your lunch hour for your counseling session, nor do you need to find childcare if you’re at home with the kids. Online counseling is ultra-convenient – you can even stick to your appointments if you’re on holiday or working abroad!

Comfort

Sometimes, going to a clinic or surgery for counseling can leave you feeling totally out of your comfort zone. However, with online counseling, you can do it from the comfort of your own home where you’ll feel totally at ease. You don’t even have to put shoes on, you can sit curled up in your favourite armchair and have a chat with your counselor. What’s not to love about that?!

Cost

When you visit a counselor in an office, part of what you’re paying for, aside from their expertise, is their overheads. They’ll have expenses like rent for thier office space, business rates, utilities, staff etc. When you see a counselor online, it’s likely that they work from a home office and their cost can be very low, which means they’re able to charge less for their services.

Options

When you visit a counselor in person, you’re often limited by the type of counselor you’re able to see. Different mental health professionals will have different methods of being able to help, and by using an online counselor you can access the type of help you need which you may not have been able to find otherwise. You also benefit from an element of anonymity by using a counselor who doesn’t live or work locally to you.

Travel

Even when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic, travel can sometimes be tricky. We live in a rural location with one, not very regular, bus route nearby. If our car is off the road, getting to appointments is basically impossible, which means online counseling would be a really good option for us. Having an online session means that we only have to travel as far as our PC to get to see a mental health professional.

4 Things You Should Know When Choosing Your First Pair Of Glasses

Many people dread the day when they have to buy their first pair of glasses. They see it as a sign that they are getting older and they want to delay that for as long as possible. This is why many people don’t go for an eye test when they know they really should because they don’t want to be told that they need glasses. 

Pixabay CCO License

However, it’s not a good idea to avoid eye tests and wearing glasses because your eye health is so important and if you neglect it, your vision will only get worse. You need to make sure that you have regular eye tests as you get older and if the optician tells you that you need glasses, listen to their advice. If you are worried about the way that your glasses will look or whether they will be comfortable to wear, it’s important that you spend time finding the right pair. There’s no reason that you can’t look great in your new glasses if you follow these simple tips to help you pick the perfect pair. 

Consider Your Wardrobe 

There are plenty of cheap frames out there but if you want something stylish, you need to consider your wardrobe and think about how you accessorise. For example, you can get some great Kate Spade glasses that are stylish and elegant, and come in a range of colours and designs. Don’t just think of your glasses as a practical item, think of them as an accessory like any other. Look at the different colours that you normally wear and any other accessories like jewellery. When you start choosing glasses based on your existing wardrobe, it’s easier to make sure that they look great. 

Know Your Face Shape 

When you are deciding on frames, you need to know your face shape so you can pick a style that suits you. There are a lot of different types of face shape, and certain styles of glasses work well for certain people. For example, if you have a square face, you should look for frames that are the opposite to that, so oval shaped glasses with soft curves work great. If you go for something that is very square and angular, this will just highlight the shape of your face too much. However, if you have a round face shape, you are better off with frames that are more angular and square. It’s important to remember that most people don’t fit exactly into one of the different face shapes and most of us are a combination of a few, so try out some different frames and find one that compliments your face shape. 

Consider When You Will Be Wearing Them 

This is something that people don’t always think about when they are buying glasses, but it’s so important. If you are wearing your glasses at work, for example, you should probably avoid any brightly coloured frames because it doesn’t look that professional. But if you only need them at home for reading, you can wear whatever you like. Some people need glasses for playing sports or working out, which means that they need to be very durable and secure on the face so they don’t keep falling off. It’s important that you consider how you will use the glasses when selecting your first pair. 

Understand Sizing 

You wouldn’t buy an item of clothing without knowing what size it is, so why would you buy glasses without considering the size? It’s important that you understand how the sizing works before you start trying on frames because, although the opticians can help you find the right size, they are only going on your feedback about what is comfortable. 

There are three main sizes to consider when buying glasses; the eye size, the bridge size, and the temple size. The eye size is the horizontal width of the lens and usually ranges from 40mm-62mm. It’s important that you consider the width of your face when deciding on the right eye size because your glasses will look odd if they are too wide or too narrow. 

The bridge size is the distance between the two lenses, usually between 14mm and 2mm. This is a very important size to consider because the glasses will be prone to slipping off if the bridge is too large. However, if the bridge size is too small, your glasses may be uncomfortable, especially if you are wearing them all day. 

The temple size, ranging from 120mm to 165mm, is the length of the arm pieces. It’s important that you try a few different lengths and find one that fits comfortably on your face and holds the glasses securely. 

Choosing your first pair of glasses can be tough, but as long as you have considered all of these things, you will be able to make the right decision. 

Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy – The 5 Levels

Diagnosing cerebral palsy - the 5 levels Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Cerebral palsy can come in several forms, all of which are characterised by differing levels of motor function impairment. While some cases of cerebral palsy are linked to developmental issues in the fetal stage of a child’s life, other causes include accidents during birth, after birth, or medical negligence at any stage of the fetus’ development, birth, or early life (see cerebral palsy lawyer Boston for more details on cerebral palsy due to medical negligence).

Diagnosis of cerebral palsy involves grouping and classifying the symptoms into three main categories, with a fourth category reserved for those patients who display a combination of symptoms from the first three main types of the condition. Whatever the diagnosis, the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) is used to describe and label the severity level of the condition. There are five levels.

Level one (I)

This is the least severe level of classification relating to motor function impairment. At level one, children are observed to be demonstrably capable of full independence. This means the child is able to perform necessary tasks unaided, with minor issues over coordination or balance.

Level two (II)

At level two, mobility is generally only affected on uneven surfaces, with independence otherwise retained. For example, children with a level two diagnosis may benefit from the use of handrails on stairs, but would otherwise be considered capable of performing daily tasks.

Level three (III)

Level three is where mobility becomes a more serious issue. Children with a level three diagnosis will generally require the intermittent or permanent use of mobility aids such as crutches or a wheelchair. However, stairs may not be an issue with the use of handrails.

Level four (IV)

Level four is considered to be the level at which mobility becomes a serious issue. Children with a level four diagnosis generally cannot balance or walk for a period of time that would be considered conducive with independence. Wheelchair use is required for daily mobility needs.

Level five (V)

Level five is where the child experiences severe restrictions on voluntary muscle control. This diagnosis means that the child is not expected to balance, stand, or walk independently, instead requiring significant daily assistance for all tasks (e.g. mobility, eating, hygiene, etc.).

A diagnosis may include tests such as vision and hearing examinations, monitoring speech development, and monitoring emotional and intellectual development. Brain scans may also be used to evaluate the child’s condition.

Struggling with Sleep Apnoea? Here Are Some Tips That May Help

sleep apnoeaAre you struggling with sleep apnoea? This condition means that while you are sleeping and your body is in a relaxed state, you suddenly stop breathing. When this happens, the sufferer is normally jolted awake and gasping for breath. Other suffers don’t even realise it is happening. This can happen more than once during a sleep cycle and can lead to many other health issues.

  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • An increased risk of coronary issues
  • Anxiety and other mental health problems

Sleep apnoea can occur for lots of reasons, although primarily it is directly linked to obesity and weight issues but also injuries, like ones sustained whilst serving in the military – want to know how is sleep apnoea rated by veterans affairs? Click the link to find out more.

If you suffer from sleep apnoea or you’re worried that you are, then seeking help from your doctor is crucial so you can get a diagnosis and subsequent treatment. But, what else could you do to improve your condition and get a good night’s sleep? Read on for some simple tips that may help.

Reduce your weight/maintain it

As sleep apnoea and weight issues go hand in hand, it makes sense that you consider changing your weight and maintaining a healthy one. Consider more exercise, reducing your salt and sugar consumption, eat more fruit and veg and drink more water. Of course, any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle should be met with your doctor’s approval first.

Try some breathing exercises

Sleep apnoea occurs to the lack of oxygen levels in your blood. Therefore, engaging in activities that improve your oxygen levels will certainly help. Consider trying a little yoga, diaphragmatic breathing exercises and even meditation.

Reduce your alcohol intake

We all like a glass of wine after a hard day, and a beer or two to relax with on the weekends. However, your tipple of choice could be impacting your ability to sleep and making your sleep apnoea worse. When we drink alcohol, the muscles in our throat relax – this is usually why we snore after a night of drinking – this can severely exacerbate the symptoms of sleep apnoea, so reducing your alcohol intake will hopefully make a difference.

Don’t sleep on your back

Sleeping on your back can trigger sleep apnoea, so consider sleeping on your side instead and see if it makes a difference. Consider talking about sleeping positions with your doctor.

Keeping Kids Healthy At Home

It can be difficult to find ways to keep the kids healthy and active when it’s necessary to spend most of the day at home. Many parents find themselves lost for ideas and feeling uninspired. With a little bit of imagination and some supplies you probably already have at home, it’s easier than you might think to get the kids up and active. Here we have some fun ideas to try out – you won’t hear them saying “I’m bored” for a while when they are enjoying these fun activities!

Make an Obstacle Course or Play Sports

Kicking off our guide to fun, healthy activities for children is the classic obstacle course. You might be thinking you don’t have enough space or the right equipment to set one up, but it’s quite likely you have everything you need already at home. An obstacle course can be set up in the garden using various outdoor toys, and rocks can be used in the place of cones. It’s also possible to do an indoor obstacle course – encourage your child to climb on the sofa, crawl under chairs or commando crawl under a blanket. You can also set things up for them to jump over, or use simple household items like cans of food as ‘dumbbells’.

Indoor sports are also possible with a little care. The hallway is perfect for practicing batting a soft ball, or playing football with a small, soft ball. You could even set up a net on the kitchen table to have a game of ping pong!

Work or Play in the Garden

healthy kids

Activities to do at home don’t have to be done inside the house – on a nice day, it’s great to get some fresh air and venture out into the garden. Kids can help with simple gardening jobs such as digging up weeds and tidying up, and they will also love to plant seeds and check on them each day. If the weather is nice, they’ll love using the hose to water the plants, and themselves!

Playing in the garden can be loads of fun too. There are many great toys out there which are perfect for using in the garden. If space and finances allow, a slide, trampoline, or swing set are great for kids to burn off excess energy. However, there are loads of great, cheaper options also available which will still entertain kids no end. Balls are always a winner amongst kids of all ages, and they will surely have hundreds of ideas on games to play with them. Simple toys such as hoola hoops always seem to be loved by children too – they are ideal for indoor or outdoor use.

There is plenty of toy ideas over at tncore.org if you’re stuck for ideas.

Follow an Exercise Video

Any kind of exercise of course comes under the category of healthy activities, but doing it from home might be new. Thankfully, YouTube is packed full of all kinds of exercise videos, many of them perfect for kids of all ages. Most of these online exercise classes don’t need any special equipment, and they can be done at any time. You can find anything ranging from aerobics to dance to yoga – there is sure to be something out there to interest your child.

Make a Treasure Hunt

Perhaps one of the most fun indoor activities to do with kids is setting up a treasure hunt! They can wait in one room whilst you prepare and hide clues, each of which leading to the next one. At the end, leave a simple treat to reward them for their hard work, such as their favourite snack.A scavenger hunt games can also be fun. Prepare a list of things for your child to find around the house, and sit back and relax as you wait for them to bring their goodies to you!.

Enjoy Active Games

Board games are a great way to pass time with the family, but there are also a few games out there which can help kids to be active. Twister is a classic, and is fun for the whole family to get involved! If you have a Wii Fit or similar, this is another great game to keep kids active whilst also having loads of fun at the same time.

Play Party Games

It doesn’t have to be someone’s birthday for kids to enjoy playing party games! There are loads of great party games which can be enjoyed on a rainy day spent indoors, and will also help get your child up and moving. Musical statues is always a winner, especially when your child picks out their favourite songs to dance to. To make it even more fun, call out the names of different statues to pose as when the music stops. Another wonderfully simple yet fun game is throwing a balloon around and trying not to let it touch the floor. This is a great game for one child to play alone or for siblings to enjoy together. The final fun party game idea is playing with and popping bubbles. Kids of all ages love bubbles – no one can be sad when there are bubbles around!

Busting Common Personal Injury Claim Myths

Personal InjuryPhoto by Harlie Raethel on Unsplash

Personal injury claims are often somewhat historic. Although timescales do apply to certain scenarios, the window in which to make a personal injury claim extends into years. The reason behind so many historic claims is misinformation – personal injury claim clients often mistakenly believe that they are not entitled to compensation for reasons that make sense to them, and they do not wish to face the embarrassment of being told they do not have a case. If you think you have a claim, speak to a personal injury lawyer. There are no wrong questions. Only answers. Now let’s take a look at some of the most common personal injury claim myths.

Few cases go to trial

There’s no one size fits all piece of advice on personal injury claims on whether the case will progress to court – all cases are unique. However, the chances are heavily in favour of your case being settled out of court. This should put your mind at rest regarding and worries you may have about appearing in front of a judge.

You won’t be chased by your lawyer all day every day

Some people worry that their case handler will be placing phone calls and sending letters non-stop, in the kind of way that takes over your life and leaves you wondering if it was all worth it. Suffice to say, lawyers are busy, sometimes with caseloads numbering in the hundreds. You will not be pestered.

Thinking you don’t have a claim

This is perhaps the most common cause of people not picking up the phone to contact a personal injury lawyer. The basic principle to remember is that if you have been injured in an accident either in the street or on a property that you do not own, the legality of who is in charge of your safety falls squarely on somebody else’s shoulders (known as liability). Just because you may think the accident could have been avoided if you had been paying more attention, the fact is that you were allowed to be put in a situation where an accident can occur. That is the bottom line.

You failed to gather any evidence

People may tell you that unless you took photos your case may not go through. This is not true. Personal injury solicitors are not new to how these things work. Seek advice to find out how your case can go ahead even if you did not take photographs of the scene of the accident.