What Doesn’t Kill You

Abstract stairs with open door on landscape background. Opportunity concept. 3D Rendering

Is it just me, or does the expression, ‘When one door closes, a window opens’ make you cringe, too?  I get that it’s a neat phrase designed to provide comfort – a slightly more creative alternative to ‘don’t worry, it’ll be OK’  – but the fact that it’s trite and meaningless is surely indisputable.

It suggests that, when a ‘door’ closes in your life, all you have to do is sit and wait while ‘windows’ fly open all around you.  For most of us, that simply doesn’t happen.  And when it doesn’t, you start getting paranoid, asking yourself: is it me?  And that can ultimately be more damaging than never having been offered the platitude in the first place.

If I’d been given £1 for every time someone said those well-intentioned words to me a couple of years ago when an important door in my life slammed shut, I’d be considerably richer than I am now. Read More…

Keeping Calm In The Storm

keep calm note with blue background and crumpled papers

For the vast majority of us, the corona virus pandemic is our first experience of being on what’s now referred to as ‘a war footing’. And rather like bombs dropping in the Blitz, we don’t know where, when and who the virus will hit next. So it makes sense that we’re anxious.

Like a ripple of stress, a bit of anxiety can be helpful in getting us to take sensible precautions. But this war zone is catapulting some of us into a degree of totally understandable anxiety that’s not helpful in getting through daily life – particularly because anxiety can suppress our immune system, which is our very best defence weapon in one-on-one combat against the virus.

This is not to minimise the potential effects of the pandemic but hopefully to give our minds some degree of calm so we can face the issues and manage them in the best way we’re able.

If you are used to working in an office environment, working from home can present its own challenges so there are tips on this too. Read More…

The Happiness Prescription

a few white tablets with happiness written on it on a dull grey foreground and a dull pink background.

GPs are recognising that at least half their patients need far more than a pill for every ill. For one woman, singing in a choir proved life-changing. Sarah Stacey reports.

Listening to the lightness and warmth in her voice, it’s hard to believe Arabella Tresilian, 44, has experienced such serious mental health problems that she once feared she was not well enough to look after her two young children. Treatment with medication and talking therapies was at best a BandAid. What finally transformed Arabella’s life was singing in a choir, a panacea enabled by the social prescribing initiative at her GP practice in Bath. GP Dr Michael Dixon describes social prescribing as ‘a radical rethink of medicine, planting health and healing in the heart of the community’..

Social prescribing aims to improve patients’ health holistically by referrals to link workers who spend time with them exploring different non-medical interventions, often provided by voluntary or charity organisations based in the local community. Activities might include music, art, sports, dancing, knitting, walking, group learning, yoga, fishing and cookery among many others. Link workers may also help patients address housing, legal and financial problems.

Read More…

Building Up Resistance

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Q. Our four-year-old daughter has spent four nights in hospital with pneumonia. She is taking a seven-day course of antibiotics with Calpol. What can we give her to build up her resistance?

A. When she finishes the antibiotics, pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends taking the herb astragalus to strengthen her immune system and fight infections. Try Eclectic Kids Astragalus Alcohol Free Tincture for Kids (£12). She should take a weight-related dose as directed three times daily for one month. Do not use astragalus if she has a temperature. Read More…