2019 Resolutions And Solutions

Old typewriter close up with "New Year Chapter One" typed on paper

I always look forward to the start of a new year for that feeling of a clean slate it gives and the opportunity to do better and more. I have always loved making resolutions too, not unrealistic or unattainable ones that I have no intention of keeping, but personal goals and exciting plans that help me shape how I want the year to go.

Last year didn’t work out at all how I had planned and while I am still dealing with some of the health issues involved in that, I am now in a much better place and ready to take on 2019. When thinking about what I want my resolutions to be, I quickly realised that it was all about self-care and wellness, which makes sense considering how sick I have been. Read More…

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

Chalk board graph with icons on an ascending rightward stepped graph

I was never one of those kids who was afraid of the dark. I loved the cloak of invisibility that it gave me. And while there is nothing I love more than a bright, sunny day, I have become pretty obsessed with darkness over the years – not in an ominous way (as in ‘going over to the dark side’), but in terms of the important role it plays in my wellness.

You really ought to stay in a hotel room with me, sometime, to fully understand my obsession with darkness. I travel with a roll of black gaffer tape, the better to ensure a good night’s sleep undisturbed by the cockpit’s-worth of blinking lights that many modern hotel rooms feature. My first task, on checking in (even before switching on the kettle and attacking the free shortbread), is to eliminate as many of those lights as possible with two neatly-snipped squares of gaffer tape. Message lights on phones. TV control lights. Aircon on/off lights. Charging electrical gadgets. And of course, the light ‘leaking’ through the edges of the curtains. Read More…

Total Wellbeing: The Term You’ll Be Hearing About A Lot In 2019

total wellbeing

There were whisperings of self-care throughout 2017, but it wasn’t until this year that the term really came into its own. Over the past few months brands, magazines and influencers have all tapped into the theme. It has its own dedicated week in November and a quick scroll of Instagram on a Sunday reveals that it even has its own hashtag, #sundayselfcare.  

But, what does self-care actually mean? Well, essentially it’s anything that encourages you to spend some quality time with yourself and leaves you feeling good, including taking a bath, putting on a face mask or reading your book, you name it. The NHS defines it clearly as ‘keeping fit and healthy, understanding when you can look after yourself, when a pharmacist can help, and when to get advice from your GP or another health professional.’

According to Mintel’s latest report, as we progress into next year self-care will evolve into ‘total wellbeing’. The report states, ‘Consumers are treating their bodies like an ecosystem and seeking solutions that complement their personal health and evolving needs.’ From the moisturisers we slather on to the sprays we use to clean our houses and the cars we choose to drive, total wellbeing spans across all aspects of our life.

“Consumers are looking externally to their surroundings and internally towards their physical and mental wellbeing, expecting holistic approaches to wellness,” says Gabrielle Lieberman, Director of Trends & Social Media Research Americas. “Developments in health monitoring, such as skin sensors or ingestible capsules, will satisfy consumers’ demand for this personalised approach, while also building on scientific research in these emerging fields.”

In terms of skincare it’s likely that you’ll be hearing a lot more about probiotics and the many benefits good bacteria can have on our complexions. Of course, pre- and probiotic skincare isn’t new. In fact, good bacteria has been used in formulations for a while, but up until now it hasn’t been highlighted. Brands such as Aurelia Probiotic Skincare have been championing ‘biotic’ ingredients and the bestselling Botanical Cream Deodorant is testimony to its efficacy.

When it comes to supplements, it’s likely that future formulations will be developed in spray form as this is the best way for the body to absorb most nutrients. And, it’s likely that our supplements will be tailored to our specific needs. Although, this won’t necessarily happen next year, you can expect to read a lot more about the importance of monitoring your vitamin and mineral levels as part of the total wellbeing approach. If you’re baffled by which supplements you should be taking, it is worth reading Shabir’s Essential 6 For Optimal Health.

Why You Should Take Micro Breaks Every 30 Minutes

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We all know that sitting for too long isn’t good for you. If you haven’t perfected your desk set-up and are hunched over your screen or slouched down in your chair it is even worse for you. However, a new study by Liverpool John Moores University revealed that we should be getting up and moving every half an hour.

The researchers discovered that sitting down for prolonged amounts of time can slow the blood flow around our body and to our brains. The study of a small group of men and women was split into three sessions to determine the best method for keeping the blood flow to the brain on an even keel. The first test was four hours of sitting and working at a computer screen, the second included a two and half minute walk on a treadmill every 30 minutes, the third session was an eight minute walk on a treadmill every two hours.

While taking an eight minute break every two hours did help increase blood flow to your brain, it wasn’t able to sustain it as well as taking a shorter break every half an hour.

The study didn’t look into the impact of low blood flow to your brain or whether it impacted productivity, but it did put more weight behind the theory that spending too much of your day sitting down isn’t good for you.

Previous studies have linked sitting too long with excessive weight gain, type 2 diabetes and other serious diseases. According to the NHS, many adults in the UK spend over seven hours sitting each day and as a result, it recommends we do at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. One study recently revealed that doing an hour of exercise each day could help ward off the effects of prolonged sitting.

If that feels you with dread, making small tweaks such as requesting a standing-desk at work, choose to stand rather than sit on the train et cetera. It goes without saying that swapping watching TV for playing tennis after work will also help improve your health. Whichever tweaks to choose to make, it’s definitely worth setting a reminder to get up more at work.

How Supplements Became The Best Step In My Skincare Routine

spoon of fruit and vegetables

After my health issues a few years ago it became pretty obvious that what was happening on my skin had a lot to do with what was going on inside my body. In fact, how my skin changed was the first sign that something was wrong, although I did not realize this at the time. As my health deteriorated, my skin progressively got worse until I felt like I looked just as badly as I was feeling (which was pretty awful). The funny thing is, I remember being obsessed with fixing my skin and wasted so much time and money on products and treatments when what I needed to do was focus on my health – the root cause of my skin problems. Read More…

Ayurveda: What Your Dosha Can Say About You

Ayuvedic tea

Health fads may come and go. But you can’t really argue with a mind-body health system that’s been around, so it’s said, for up to 5,000 years, when Indian monks were seeking new ways to be healthy. (For translation purposes, ‘ayur’ means life force, or vital energy, while ‘veda’ means science.)

Now, I’d always been interested in Ayurveda – in a magazine-reader-fun-questionnaire sort of way. You’ve probably done one yourself: answered a list of questions asking about body shape, energy levels, preferred foods, whether or not you tend to feel hot and cold, etc. I’d figured out that I was classified as ‘pitta’ – but never taken it much further than that. (Pitta is a ‘dosha’ – basically, doshas are your constitution. The other two are vata and kapha, more of which anon.) Read More…