148 articles Articles posted in Health

Improving Your Relationship With Exercise

Unfortunately, far too many people dislike exercise and would rather do anything other than head to the gym. However, regularly avoiding exercise can have a serious impact on both your physical and mental health, leading to all manner of issues from weight gain to fatigue, bone weakness and more. Thankfully, learning how to fall back in love with working out doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might expect, as there are just a few simple steps that you can follow to improve your relationship with exercise in no time at all. So, if you’re interested in finding out more, read on. Improving Your Relationship With Exercise

Image Source – Pexels

Eat An Energy Rich Diet

The food that you eat contributes massively toward your relationship with exercise, as failing to meet your energy requirements will no doubt leave you feeling too tired to get up and work out. It’s absolutely essential that you can take the time to overhaul your diet if you want to be able to exercise to the best of your ability, as you need to have a wealth of different vitamins and minerals to reach your full potential! A wholefoods diet is one of the best food plans to follow, as you can focus your meals around natural, energy rich foods such as brown rice, salmon and avocado that all contain a complex mix of beneficial nutrients. Complex carbohydrates, lean protein and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables will give you all of the energy that you need to smash every workout without feeling as though you’re running on empty. Find the right fuel and you’ll be able to fall back in love with exercise!

Find An Exercise Partner

Sometimes it can be really tough to motivate yourself to exercise regularly, so having a workout buddy to keep you in check is a great way to build a better relationship with the gym. Being on your own while working out means that you can stop and give up whenever you like, but having an exercise partner there by your side offers an extra ounce of accountability. If you want to find a workout buddy who has the skills and experience to improve your exercise capabilities then contacting a personal trainer is the ideal choice. A personal trainer has masses of knowledge on all things health and fitness, so they can help you to reach your exercise goals in the most efficient and proactive way.

Don’t Forget About Recovery

Once you get back into a routine of exercising regularly, it’s important not to forget about the importance of recovery. Taking time to have rest days is always essential, as you need to give your body the time to rebuild muscles and regain lost energy. Filling up your plate with healthy protein can boost your recovery, while deep relief gel can rid your muscles of aches and pains after particularly heavy workouts.

Improving your relationship with exercise has never been so simple when you can take the time to utilise the brilliant ideas described above.

Managing Chronic Illnesses: 7 Tools To Make Your Life Easier

Life with a chronic illness can be challenging for a multitude of reasons. Not only is your physical health suffering, but your mental and emotional health may take a hit as well. This is why it is so vital that you take as many steps as possible to mitigate the impact your chronic illness has on your life.

This may seem easier said than done, and to a certain extent, it is. Fortunately, there are many simple changes that you can make that could have a big impact on your quality of life. This article will explore some of the key ways to make your life easier while living with a chronic illness.  

Get Support From Friends And Family

The importance of support from those around you cannot be understated. After receiving your diagnosis, consider contacting some trusted loved ones and letting them know what’s going on. If you have to make any dietary or lifestyle changes, consider asking your household if they would be willing to join you. This can make changes easier to stick to and give you moral support when you need it.  

Seek Out Mental Health Support

One to one mental health support can be invaluable. There are a lot of stressors that come from managing a chronic illness and a lot of negative emotions. It is important that you work through your feelings with a qualified professional who can offer insight and equip you with healthy coping mechanisms.  

Find A Support Group

Talking to others in your position can be a great way to come to terms with your illness and get help and advice from people with first-hand experience. Ask your doctor or do some research to find a local support group for chronic illness sufferers. Try not to be discouraged if the first group doesn’t work out; it can often take several attempts before finding the right fit.  

Use Reputable Online Pharmacies

Ordering your prescriptions online rather than having to visit a pharmacy in person can be a lifesaver if your illness limits your mobility some or all of the time. It is crucial to find a reputable online pharmacy such as Chemist Click, who stock the full range of medications you need. Take a look at Chemist Click for an idea of the quality, cost and responsiveness you should be looking for.  

Adapt Your Home

It is a good idea to find ways to adapt your home to any change in mobility. For instance, consider putting in a downstairs bathroom, ramps or grab rails to help you around the house.  

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration will aggravate the symptoms of most illnesses. There are many ways you can up your daily intake of water. You could consider having a glass with each meal, setting a reminder alarm or getting a water bottle that denotes how much you should drink throughout the day.  

Eat Well

It is a good idea to find foods that may help alleviate the symptoms of your condition. For instance, ginger helps calm an upset stomach. Always talk to your doctor before adding anything new to your diet. You should also ensure you get a balanced diet with all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed.

Five Reasons to See a Private Doctor

Five Reasons to See a Private DoctorHere in the UK, we’re extremely lucky to have the NHS to help us to manage our health, However, the current pandemic means that our health service is under tremendous pressure at the moment and lots of non-urgent appointments are having to be postponed, due to a lack of resources. Many people have chosen to opt for private treatment, and lots of private ENT doctors have been busier than ever. Here are some reasons that you might want to opt for a private ENT consultation:

Faster Referrals

As mentioned above, the NHS is struggling right now and many referals can take up to a year. Once you’ve got a referal letter from your GP, finding an appointment with a private clinic, such as Harley Street ENT Clinic can be as simple as making a phone call and being seen within days. Knowing that you can get such prompt treatment can be a huge relief for some.

Choice

When you’re seen through the NHS, you don’t often get the choice of which doctor you see and although you’re still likely to see some of the best in their field through the NHS, seeing a private doctor does afford you the element of choice with the physician you see. Many private doctors have profiles online showing their exact education, experience and specialisms, allowing you to be very specific about who you choose.

Smaller Hospitals

Private hospitals and clinics are usually smaller and more intimate, and can feel a little nicer than visiting a huge general hospital. Waiting areas are smaller and parking is often easier to find. Many private hospitals also have facitilites in their waiting areas to allow you to have free hot drinks while you wait! It’s the little touches that make the difference.

Faster Testing

Many conditions will require a consultation, followed by testst such as blood tests, x-rays, MRIs or something else, and then another appointment to assess the results. This can be a really lengthy process through the NHS, but the timeframe can be reduced MASSIVELY with a private doctor. When I was trying to get a diagnosis of a trapped nerve in my neck a couple of hears back, the wait for an NHS was over three months, whereas our private cover helped me to get a diagnosis and treatment in a fortnight.

Newer Technology

Because of the funding available to private doctors through their patients fees, private hospitals are often equipped with newer technology and have doctors who are trained in the most up to date surgical procedures. That’s not to say that our National Health service isn’t one of the best in the world, but the private sector often attracts people with more advanced skills because they can earn more.

Tinnitus – Five Ways to Manage Your Condition

Ways to Cope with TinnitusAlmost everyone gets a bit of ringing in their ears from time to time, but chronic tinnitus can be incredibly difficult to cope with. There are medical treatments available for tinnitus and some excellent VIP Hearing Solutions which can help to make life with tinnitus more bearable, but there are also things that you can do on a day to day basis which will make your life easier. Here’s a few of them:

Avoid Stress

Sometimes worrying about tinnitus can make it more noticeable, so learning to relax can help provide relief. Slowing down the rate of breathing and relaxing your muscles are examples of simple relaxation exercises you can try. Yoga or pilates can also be a great help at getting your whole body to relax, as well as meditation and guided breating, which can all be done at home.

Avoid Silence

Believe it or not, tinnitus can often be worse when you’re in a completely silent space. Some people find that having the TV or radio on, providing some background noise, can help to tune out the ringing in their ears, and some people even invest in white noise generators so that they can have gentle noise like whale song or rainfall to help them to get to sleep.

Stay Generally Healthy

Obviously, being as healthy as possible is good for your general well being. If you find certain foods or drinks or activities seem to aggravate your tinnitus, consider reducing them. There are several therapies available now which have been shown to provide long-term and consistent relief from tinnitus. You should seek help from a tinnitus specialist who may be able to provide one of these therapies or help you choose a hearing device which can provide relief from tinnitus.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Many tinnitus sufferers find that their condition is worse when they haven’t had good sleep, so creating a good bedtime routine can be invaluable to dealing with it. Ensure you avoid caffeine for at least three hours before bed, avoid too much blue light from mobile phone or tablet screens, and try to actually get into bed to sleep in a darkened room at a certain time, rather than falling asleep on the couch while watching TV!

Avoid Loud Environments

Just as total silence can make tinnitus worse, so can extremely loud noises. Try to avoid very loud places like nightclubs and concerts, or if you simply cannot miss out, try to use earplugs or sound-blocking ear defenders to protect your ears. This also goes for very loud work environments like factories or building sites.

Protecting the Health of Your Ears

Protecting Your Ear HealthPhoto by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

For many people, ear health is not something they think about on a regular basis.  But if you want to maintain good levels of hearing into your old age and avoid the risk of needing to use hearing aids, there are a few proactive things that you can do to protect your ears. Here are five ways that you can get proactive about your ear health:

Avoid Cotton Buds

Cotton buds may be sold as a way to clean your ears but ENT surgeons strongly advise against using them to clean your inner ear. Aside from the fact that they can actually push wa further into your ear canal and cause blockages, jabbing at your eardrum is never a good idea. Opting for earwax removal through microsuction is a much healthier way to keep your ears clean and will protect the life of your hearing.

Watch Your Volumes

Spending time in very loud environments is one of the worst things that you can do your ears, but sometimes its unavoidable. Obviously, no-one epects you to wear ear-defenders to a nightclub or live gig, but if you also work in a loud envorinment then investing in some good sound blockers will go a long way to protecting your ears.

Limit Headphone Use

Listening to loud music through earphones and headphones is one of the biggest dangers to your hearing. To help avoid damaging your hearing, use noise-cancelling earphones or headphones – do not just turn the volume up to cover up outside noise and turn the volume up just enough so you can hear your music comfortably, but no higher. You should also try to never listen to music at more than 60% of the maximum volume – some devices have settings you can use to limit the volume automatically.

Get your Hearing Tested

Get a hearing test as soon as possible if you’re worried you might be losing your hearing. The earlier hearing loss is picked up, the earlier something can be done about it. You might also want to consider having regular hearing checks (once a year, say) if you’re at a higher risk of noise-induced hearing loss, for example, if you’re a musician or work in noisy environments.

Give Your Ears Time to Recover

If you are exposed to loud noises for a prolonged period of time, like at a concert or a bar, your ears need time to recover. If you can, step outside for five minutes every so often in order to let them rest. Research shows that your ears need an average of 16 hours of quiet to recover from one loud night out! Seems like a good excuse to stay in bed for the day!

Five Ways to Help a Trapped Nerve in Your Neck

Some of you may know that I’ve had a trapped nerve in my neck since 2019 and the process of being diagnosed and treated took some time. I had to have an MRI to diagnose it and then it took some time to find the right pain medication to keep the pain at bay. In the meantime, Husband was an absolute rock and helped me make changes which helped with my healing process, and today I’m sharing some of the steps we took to reduce my pain and discomfort.

Physio

Obviously, one of the most important things to help my recovery was seeing a physio who taught me lots of stretches and exercises that I can use to reduce the inflammation and decompress the nerve and I had weekly appointments for a few months. My friend was lucky enough to find that a physio comes to you in London, but living in the countryside meant I had to go to them!

Change Your Pillows

When the pain was at it’s most acute, I could barely lay down at all and I couldn’t lay flat without a LOT of pain (which made the MRI into a form of torture…) but once I found a pillow that worked for me, it made a lot of difference. My ideal pillow was a thick memory foam one, but that’s going to be different for every person, so trial and error is probably what you need.

Assess Your Workstation

Something that was greatly contributing to my pain was the fact that I do a lot of my work on a laptop, which means that I’m looking downwards at the screen. It may not seem like much, but doing this for several hours a day is more than enough to exacerbate a trapped nerve. I switched to a desk where the screen was at eye level and this took a lot of pressure off of my neck.

Reduce Mobile Usage

I don’t know about you, but most evenings are spent in front of the telly, with my mobile phone in one hand and the remote in the other. Husband once took a photo of my sitting position when I’m looking at my phone and the angle of my neck was clearly something that contributed to my pain. These days, if I’m using my phone of an evening, I try to hold it at face height or use my iPad instead.

Look at Your Furniture

Are you one of those households where everyone has their own seat in the living room? We are and the way I was slouching against the arm of the sofa meant that my arm was lifted at an awkward angle and putting pressure on my neck. Take a look at your furniture and see if there’s a way you can sit which is more neutral and supportive to your neck and back.

Five Ways to Improve Your Hearing

Having had glasses since I was 11, my eyesight is something that I’m very conscious of taking care of. I have regular eye tests to make sure that I have the correct prescription and try to limit screen time to avoid eye strain. However, in recent years, it’s also occured to me that I probably need to think about my hearing.

I often put the subtitles on as I realise I’m struggling to catch every word and although I don’t think I’m quite ready for hearing aids yet, a youth spent at gigs and in noisy clubs has probably done me few favours! With this in mind, I thought I’d take a look at some ways that I can naturally improve my hearing, and ‘m sharing some of my ideas so that you can benefit too.

Ear Wax Microsuction

Many people ignore the fact that cotton buds are actually really bad for your ears, and far from helping to clean your ear canals, they can actually cause ear wax to become impacted, which really affects your hearing. One way to deal with this is with ear wax microsuction – it’s a gentle, clinical way to remove ear wax which will improve your hearing and your ear health.

Headphone Usage

You know those warnings that come up when you try to turn your volume up when you have headphones on, telling you that it can damage your hearing? Believe it or not, they’re true! (sarcasm intended…). Using headphones at high volumes for prolonged periods can have a profound affect on your hearing so try to listen without headphones when you can and limit your volume if headphones are a must.

Quit Smoking

I know it seems like everything is a reason to quit smoking (I mean, seriously though, how many more reasons do you need?!) but smoking can drastically increase your risk of hearing loss – by almost double.

“That’s because blood flow and oxygen are crucial to maintaining healthy cells in your inner ear, and both are hampered by nicotine and carbon monoxide. Smoking also irritates the lining of your middle ear and disturbs the normal function of your Eustachian tube.”[1]

Think About Vitamins

There are a number of vitamins and minerals which are linked to good ear health, such as folic acid, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins. Obviously, the best way to make sure you get these is through a balanced and healthy diet, but if you feel like you might be lacking something, adding a good multivitamin supplement to your diet could be really beneficial.

Have a Hearing Test

Just like eye tests, hearing tests help you to keep abreast of your health and will help to identify any early signs of hearing loss. Hearing tests are cheap, quick and painless and will let you know if you need a little help with your hearing. You might think you don’t need one, but as with everything else, prevention is better than cure, so get your ears looked at before you have a serious problem.

4 Ways To Reduce Stress & Enjoy Life

Pexels

Life is short and each day is a gift. Therefore, you don’t want stress holding you back from living life to the fullest and enjoying your days.

There are four ways, in particular, that will help you reduce stress so you can put a smile back on your face. When you feel good you’ll be happier and won’t let every little issue that pops up get to you. These ideas will help shift you into a better place and allow you to get back to enjoying your life and being someone others want to be around.

1.    Exercise

Exercise and daily physical activity are some of the most important activities you can do if you want to reduce stress and be happy. Break a sweat to help you reduce anxiety and stop your mind from racing. Mix up your workout routine so you don’t become bored easily and are challenging different muscles. You’ll not only boost your mood and mental health but you’ll also get yourself into good shape so you feel confident about the way you look. Your clothes will fit, you’ll have more natural energy, and you’ll be enjoying life more.

2.    Get Outside

You can reduce stress and enjoy life by spending more time outside. Being outdoors in nature is an excellent opportunity to release tension and negative emotions and refocus your mind and energy. There are many activities you can do such as using your tractor to tackle some yard work or you can take your boat out for a cruise on the water. In either case, you should check the red diesel price per litre so you know how much you’ll need to spend to power this type of equipment. You’ll quickly be enjoying life as you soak up the sunshine and breathe in the fresh air as you work or play outdoors.

3.    Spend Quality Time with Friends & Family

It’s also important to maintain and nurture your relationships if you want to be happy and feel less stressed out. Being social will make you smile and you’ll likely soon be laughing when you’re hanging out with good friends or your family members. Call a friend up to get coffee or to go shopping or have a movie and game night with your loved ones. Get out of the house and socialise so that you can boost your mood and enjoy life.

4.    Find A Hobby  

All work and no play will make you feel anxious and overwhelmed. Therefore, reduce your stress and start enjoying life by finding a hobby you can do in your free time. For example, maybe it’s playing sports, learning photography, or painting and being artistic. It doesn’t matter what hobby you pick up as long as you find it pleasurable and it makes you feel good about yourself. You may even discover new talents or abilities you never knew you had and might consider turning your hobby into a career one day. Have fun learning and growing and challenging yourself in new ways.

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

Managing moods with wearable technology

When you’re feeling stressed out and overwhelmed it can be really difficult to take control of your mood and focus on more positive things. I’ve found that using wearable technology like the Hapbee band helps me to take charge of how I’m feeling and reduce my stress levels. 

With the band around your neck or your head, it sends magnetic signals to influence your moods. I can choose to feel positive with moods like Focus and Alert when I need to get things done during the day. And in the evening I can unwind by selecting Calm or Relax, which helps me to get a good night’s sleep and significantly reduces my stress levels. You can follow Hapbee on Facebook for more tips on dealing with stress and controlling your moods. 

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.