Mental Health Awareness

May 12, 2021

This week we recognise Mental Health Awareness once again and as we attempt to push Covid-19 into the rear-view mirror of our lives we ask, how do we get back on the road to making a full recovery?

We all recognise that while we initially thought the disruption to our lives was going to be a steep hill, it soon emerged that it was more like climbing Everest. However, with that in mind what steps can we apply to support our mental health as we journey into the next chapter of life after lockdown.  

Zubin & Spring (1977) suggested 4 main factors that make us susceptible to suffering with poor mental health.  These were: 1) Genetics, 2) Childhood experiences, 3) Environment, 4) Lifestyle factors.    

Obviously as you go through that list it is obvious that you aren’t able to alter your genetics or your childhood and thus you’re only able to control your environment and your lifestyle factors.

So what can we do about lifestyle factors?

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Mindfulness - Take Action

Apr 21, 2021

We often get told that mindfulness is a hard skill to learn, especially when trying to combat stress.  And yes, we completely agree.  In times of high stress it's really difficult to commit to learning a new skill to cope and deal with that stress. 

Imagine if you woke up tomorrow and needed a filling in your tooth.  You go to the dentist and say: “What brushing and flossing can I do to sort this out?”  

The dentist looks at you puzzled and replies “the brushing and flossing is designed to help you avoid needing a filling rather than fixing one”

The point here is that healthy habits are designed to keep you well. Instead, humans have a tendency to de-prioritise healthy habits until something is broken. 

In the example of mindfulness the research shows that mindfulness practices help to calm our mind, ease stress and anxiety and over time literally change the size and shape of certain areas of our brain...

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The Willpower Muscle

Apr 08, 2021

Throughout our day we make 1000’s of decisions both consciously and subconsciously. When it comes to understanding willpower we have things that we would like to be doing and things that we definitely want to stop doing. In terms of willpower we can divide these into ‘will’-power challenges and ‘won’t’-power challenges.   For example, if you want to limit eating junk food or stop watching so much TV, these would be termed won’t-power challenges.  On the other hand if you want to exercise or floss your teeth everyday these would be will-power challenges.  

So the first step in your willpower success is to divide these mentally into things that you want to be doing and things that you want to stop doing.  With this list divided appropriately, you can then start the process towards change.

Willpower is a muscle:  If you think of willpower as a muscle the more willpower press-ups you do the...

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Plan To Fail

Mar 17, 2021

So we’ve all made it through the first quarter of 2021 and can see the sunrise of a new world balance, emerging between homelife and worklife. In that regard, we have to start planning new routines as the old ones fall away….

For some, lockdown was a significant challenge and for others it was a blessing. However, as there are glimmers in the distance of the office-cogs starting to rotate, how do we maintain some of the great work that you have put in and avoid falling back into old habits?

Previously, we discussed that habits were formed by 3 R’s - Reminder, Routine and Reward.  This habit formation principle is at the foundation of every established willpower challenge in your life.  Each is likely to have a reminder for you to do something (or not do something) and once accomplished some type of reward. 

So for those of you who are concerned with a new working routine and considering the possibility of hybrid working (half at home and half in the...

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The Power Of The Sun

Mar 04, 2021

As we start the steady climb toward Spring, we ask, why does the sun feel so good?

The sun’s rays are made up of different types of UV light.  In particular UVA, UVB and UVC.  UVC is filtered by the atmosphere which only leaves UVA and UVB.  The majority of sunlight reaching us is UVA and it is this ray that is responsible for premature ageing of our skin, leaving sun spots.  On the other hand UVB is responsible for the burning of our skin and that sudden urge to reach for the Aloe Vera!  

Whilst there are clear detrimental effects of having too much UVA and UVB on our skin there are definitely significant benefits of making sure that we get enough.

There are two main reactions that happen when we are exposed to the sun.  

The most obvious one is that the sun’s rays (UVB) help us to make vitamin D.  The parts of our skin exposed to the sun immediately begin to ramp up the vitamin D manufacturing process from cholesterol and...

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Don't Worry, Stay In The Present

Feb 18, 2021

People often ask us for ways to help them feel better during the day.  While the answer can seem complicated and involve a deep analysis of ones nutritional habits, sleep routine, exercise program, in fact it is often better just to pause and take a look at our thoughts. 

Let’s look at the premise that, if you can conceive it, you can achieve it.  On the surface that seems like a good thing, however what if we only conceive negative emotions and thoughts, what then?  It leads to worry and anxiety.

If we break down the word, worry, in a little more detail we can start to identify what we are worried about:

  1. Things that can’t be changed - past events
  2. Things that will never happen - future events
  3. Illogical deductive reasoning - wrong conclusions
  4. Petty miscellaneous things - did I leave the iron on?
  5. Real worries that we can’t do anything about - outside of your control
  6. Real worries that we might be able to do something about - maybe able to control...
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Failing My Driving Test

Feb 11, 2021

At 18 years old I was booked to take my driving test in three months time.  Each day I would go out and practice in the car until I knew that I was ready to take the test.  The only thing is, in the evening I would worry about what would happen on the day of the test.  Would I pass, would I fail, night after night I worried and worked through all the possible fails that could happen. 

Finally the day of the test came I got in the car and…. the test was awful.  My legs turned to jelly,  my brain slowed down to a stand-still and I bunny-hopped all around the block.   

You see although physically I was prepared to take the test, my mental preparation was working in the exact opposite direction.  I was planning to fail the test night after night - I was scared of failing but that was all I was working towards.    I was stuck in a fear cycle.  I was so scared of failing that all I could do was practice failing night...

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Did your new year’s resolve, dissolve?

Jan 25, 2021

As we approach the end of January we get a chance to reflect on just how we are doing and we ask ourselves did your new year’s resolve dissolve?  

As the new year’s clock strikes the final gong of midnight we are often motivated to make changes towards new goals. We started the month with great intentions, so as we near the end of January, how are we doing? 

The first couple of weeks are relatively easy for many as it’s new and exciting but as we head past week three, the excitement is wearing thin! In fact, research shows that in the US by the end of week two, 25% percent of people have already given up their resolution. So as you struggle to hold on to the waning pendulum of new habits, what can you do to keep it going? 

Can you become the 75%?

  1. Reflect - This is your opportunity to take a step back from your new goal, behaviour or routine and see if you are actually doing what you wanted to do. If you are, then great,  on the other hand...
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How to make changes that last

Jan 13, 2021

Did you stay up late on New Year’s Eve to make sure that last year did actually leave us?  If you did, were you disappointed that the new year was exactly the same as the day before? 

While the year transitioned and gave the illusion of something new, apart from the date what else changed?  You are the same person with the same set of skills and surrounded by the same people; nothing actually changed! So what can we do to make changes that last?

For most, the new year brings with it a sense of opportunity and a desire to make positive changes in habits and behaviours. The majority of these changes are usually focused around nutrition and weight, exercise and routine.  

When it comes to habit formation and real change there is one concept which is important - success.  Whether you want to change your posture, your desk setup or your entire life you want to avoid making changes that can’t be maintained. Smaller changes with achievable...

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Think 20, 20, 20

Jan 08, 2021

Screen fatigue? Try the 20 20 20 rule when working to help you rest your eyes, body and brain.

Every 20 minutes stand up for 20 seconds and look at a distance of 20 feet away.  

20 minutes: Standing every 20 minutes helps reset our posture, offload the discs in our spine and lengthens some of the muscles that get tight when we sit down.

20 seconds: This short period of time away from the screen creates a succinct but useful window to reset our brain and restore our concentration.

20 feet: By lengthening the focus of our eyes, we decrease eye strain which can occur when we stare at a computer screen for too long.

By consistently practicing this easy rule, you will alleviate the symptoms of stress on your body to remain focused and productive.

For more tips on working life well, follow Adam on LinkedIn

Author: Dr. Adam Greenfield, Co-founder of WorkLifeWell | Doctor of Chiropractic | Wellness Specialist

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