As we roll into June it signals the official start of Summer. Our thoughts may turn to long lazy days, and enjoying some sunshine especially if we are thinking of or have already booked our summer holidays.
But with those happy images it might also focus our thoughts on squeezing into skimpier summer clothes and swimwear, perhaps exposing parts of our bodies we might prefer to keep under wraps! Now is an ideal time to give ourselves a fairly short term goal – say 6 or 8 weeks – to make some positive changes like losing weight or toning up.
Generally in hypnotherapy we avoid talking about weight loss specifically but instead deal with weight management as a long term sustainable goal. This is because the main premise behind our method of dealing with weight is with lifestyle and behavioural changes as the way to make long lasting changes, however it can also be appropriate to have a shorter kick-start programme. It boosts confidence and may offer a route into those longer term lifestyle changes.
So, here are my top tips for weight loss:
1. Reduce your intake – use smaller plates to help fool the eye on portion sizes, our plates and portions have insidiously increased over the years and it will take a little time to readjust back
2. Eat consciously – get back in contact with your body and listen to the signals it is giving you, eat until you are satisfied rather than full. Also drink water, we are often more dehydrated than we know and mistake thirst for hunger
3. Stop emotional or disorganised eating, plan your meals rather than opting for poor food choices on an ad hoc basis. Ditch ready-made foods with added sugars, preservatives, chemicals and embrace fresh home-made food - make it easy on yourself and have these foods available in your cupboards.
4. Get over any feelings of ‘missing out’ – focus instead on how much better you will feel once those pounds start dropping off. We often prioritise short term desires (like having that piece of chocolate cake) over long term ones (losing weight)
5. Keep in mind that any feelings of deprivation will not last forever, it is an adjustment as your body gets used to smaller quantities – and remember this is only for a short period (unless you carry on post holidays in which case your body will have adjusted and will no longer send out those pangs anyway!)
6. Focus on what you can eat rather than on what you can’t – use spices to inject flavour as this will make you feel more satisfied, introduce plenty of ‘colours’ into your diet, explore new tastes. As the weather gets warmer it’s easier to opt for lighter meals including plenty of fresh vegetables, salads, berries - eat the rainbow!
7. Get some sleep – lack of sleep can push us to supplement low energy with quick hits from sugar and other carbs
8. Practise relaxation, mindfulness, meditation techniques, whatever works for you – reducing stress in our lives lowers the levels of cortisol (stress hormone) which effectively encourage our bodies to store calories as adipose tissue (fat!) in case we need to go into fight/flight mode
9. Limit your alcohol – drink a glass of water instead of a glass of wine, or have a spritzer instead. Be conscious of your intake: are you drinking for stress relief, due to peer pressure, habit?
10. Do some exercise that you enjoy – aim to move your body once a day be it a walk, jog, yoga, gym workout, class but do something that you enjoy. There is growing evidence that HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training) can get cells burning calories post exercise, these sessions are often only 10-15 minutes long and can be done anywhere. Invest in a personal trainer if you want to achieve specific goals, it can be money well spent in the long term
Finally, don’t get worked up if you have a set-back be it overindulging in alcohol or food. Simply pick yourself up and get back to it, after all if you fell over in the street would you just lie there or would you get up and get on?
If you would like more information about how hypnotherapy can help you achieve your goals, contact us. We have 6 week programmes for weight management as well as helping you reduce stress and focus on longer term goals email@example.com
Mental health has become big news. It’s being talked about by the medical and legal professions, the young royals, newspapers, it’s all over the internet in blogs and articles, and in institutions like the IoD and HSE. Stress is affecting many people so it is welcome that our own government is putting it high on the agenda and it is right that we should provide awareness and support for people suffering from the effects.
But how? And where is the money coming from to help people suffering physical and psychological symptoms as a result of excessive stress?
The NHS is already over-stretched and under-funded, falling back on sticky-plaster solutions like prescribing a record 64.7m antidepressants in 2016 (that’s an increase of 108.5% in the last decade) to treat a variety of mental health issues including depression, generalised anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and panic attacks. It can take months to see a psychotherapist on the NHS, in which time whatever issue you might be suffering from will probably develop into something bigger and take longer to treat, with potentially serious consequences https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/psychotherapy/availability/
As part of her commitment to the mental health agenda, Theresa May commissioned a report to gauge how big the problem is and how it can be handled. The result was Thriving At Work, published in October 2017 and authored by Dennis Stevenson (mental health campaigner and former HBOS chair) and Paul Farmer (Mind CEO).
One of the big positives is that it seeks to change the culture around mental health to create a more open and understanding society. They believe that employers are well placed to have a positive impact on our lives, and by encouraging a more open environment we should see a drop in the estimated 300,000 people who leave their jobs annually due to mental health problems, and reduce the associated costs to business which stand at £42bn per year, and £99bn to the UK economy as a whole. This also alleviates the pressures on the NHS, housing and welfare benefits.
Employers are encouraged to take ownership of their employees’ mental wellbeing by implementing a number of recommendations including creating mental health at work plans, developing awareness and introducing routine monitoring of employee mental health and wellbeing.
Mental health is often seen as the ‘woolly’ side of health, after all there’s no blood on the carpet and it is often a hidden condition until something snaps. Stress in itself is not a bad thing: stress gets us up in the morning, it motivates us to achieve things, to do better, to get things done. It is only when that pressure becomes excessive, when it causes an adverse reaction, that it becomes a problem.
As a business it is not your duty to relieve all stress from employees, that in itself is an impossibility and in fact would be detrimental to the health of the company, but there are areas that can be looked at to alleviate non-productive stress.
Common causes of stress at work include the organisation culture, management practices and support, job content and demands, physical environment, relationships with fellow colleagues and customers, role conflict. We all understand that working overlong hours, having a heavy workload, tight deadlines, job insecurity, lack of proper resources or management support, harassment, discrimination, poor work relationships are all stressors. It’s not that these will never happen, but by having a policy in place a company can provide a route to discussion which otherwise might not be available, exacerbating the problem.
If an employer notices any significant changes in an employee such as changes in their emotional state, mental acuity or behaviour, that should be a trigger to investigate. Having a mental health plan in place and making sure everyone is aware of it, is not about removing the stressors per se but rather enabling people to manage their stress so they are better able to cope, have more clarity of thought which will result in better decisions, better time management and ultimately more productivity – a win-win all round.
So what can a company do to start helping their employees, which will also benefit them in the long term?
A good start is to engage a professional with mental health expertise to bring the issue into the open, this reassures employees that it is a valued area and allows opportunity for discussion. Considering providing extra support in terms of time off/financial assistance for psychotherapy may be appropriate in much the same way as a company may offer health cover, dental treatment or gym membership. Making it the norm to have adequate guilt-free breaks in the day, and providing relaxation audios, breathing techniques, opportunity to break away from the desk are all valuable tools in building resilience to stress.
Finally, devising a mental health at work plan which includes regular monitoring and is openly accessed will help with staff retention and recruitment, putting them firmly at the front of the organisation.
Your mental health plan should contain…
1. Make a commitment: clear message that mental health matters, visible and understandable
2. Build your approach: assess mental health of all employees, assess improvements required and identify clear objectives for development
3. Positive culture: effective management standards, work environment is conducive to promoting healthy behaviour and limiting potential to cause ill-health, enable social activities/out of work activities/volunteering, provide appropriate avenues and frequency of communication
4. Support and training: information is freely shared, easily accessed. Line managers to receive training and employees educated to recognise signs
5. M anaging mental health: proactive approach to ending the stigma, mental health discussed openly, employees supported to reduce potential of experience stress and organisational changes made where risks are identified that may lead to stress or other mental health issues
6. Providing the right support: managers trained and confident in handling sensitive conversations, organisation prepared to make adjustments to work patterns/structures, provide confidential support
7. Helping people to recover: support employees who take time off work due to mental ill health, appropriate return plans and adjustments made
8. Going further: staff consultations, action plans to address major issues, regularly evaluation approach, reporting back to employees on progress
If you would like help with addressing mental health in the workplace, please do take a look at our dedicated website. We can arrange a meeting for a free assessment and discuss how your employees would benefit which in turn can improve productivity and reduce costs - and make your organisation a better place to work in: www.mind-yourbusiness.co.uk (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
or contact us: email@example.com tel. 01798 344879
"One of the country's biggest exam boards, OCR, has admitted to an error in Friday's English Literature GCSE exam, taken by around 14,000 teenagers. The mistake related to a question on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in which the family background of a key character, Tybalt, was mixed up. It suggested he is a Montague when in fact he is a Capulet."
And of course there was an outcry:
"...head teachers said the error was 'serious'. "
"Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said when candidates see errors in a paper it can undermine their confidence...This appears to be a serious error and it will have caused stress and concern to candidates."
"One pupil ... said: "I got to the question, I read it, and read it again and thought that doesn't make sense. It really threw me off - it had been fine until then, and then this happened... We had all tried so hard and made so much effort, and then for the board to mess it up, it's just terrible. It's so distracting - afterwards everybody was so worried and stressed that they had got it wrong. You don't expect something like that on your exam."
And a teacher tweeted:
"Our Year 11s have worked so hard studying Romeo and Juliet for their #gcse and have been completely let down by #ocr - please RT for them"But shouldn't we use these instances as a learning tool? Although they are rare they do happen and will inevitably happen again - after all these exams are written by humans who are not infallible despite the checks that are in place to prevent them. Do these instances not represent what happens in real life, life outside school and beyond into adult life? Real life is not perfect, people make mistakes, it happens.