Friday, 25 November 2011

How To Beat The Winter Blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or more commonly known as SAD, or the "winter blues", is a form of winter depression that currently effects approximately 7% of the population every winter between the months of September and April.

The condition is caused by a biochemical imbalance in the hypothalamus as a result of decreased daylight hours and lack of sunlight during the winter months. This lack of light can lead to symptoms of SAD occurring in some people, such as:

- Depression

- Sleep problems

- Lethargy

- Over-eating

- Loss of concentration

- Social problems

- Anxiety

- Loss of libido

- Mood changes

If you notice that you are experiencing a variety of these symptoms during the winter months in particular, then you may be suffering from SAD.

The majority of people with SAD will also show signs of having a weakened immune system, thereby making them more vulnerable to illnesses and diseases.

Subsyndromal SAD, or the "winter blues", is a less severe version of the condition, including the symptoms of tiredness, lethargy and sleep and eating problems, but depression and anxiety tend to be absent or mild. A further 17% of the population suffer from this form of SAD.

Suffering from SAD is an unpleasant experience for many, and the majority of people won't even realise that they have it. Even if you think you may be experiencing SAD, there are treatments available that can make your Christmas a happier one!

The main treatment for SAD is light therapy, which enables your body to get the essential light and vitamin D it needs. However, light therapy is not currently funded by the NHS and can be an expensive form of treatment.

If you cannot afford such treatment, then why not try the following self-help treatments that are guaranteed to make you feel better in no time:

- Exercise outdoors if possible - this can be something as simple as walking yours or a neighbour's dog. The dog will love it and so will you!

- When the sun does shine, get out there as you will still get the essential vitamin D. We have some beautiful clear blue winter days.

- Prepare for winter by lining up some projects that can be completed during the winter months, such as online course/distance learning that will keep you busy and focused. You could also read that favourite book of yours, improve your cookery skills, invite friends around for dinner, or even - dare I say it - spring clean!

- Book a cheap winter holiday in the sun by registering with something like Travelzoo or Dealchecker. These companies trawl the holiday bargains each week and let you know by weekly email but you can log in anytime to find out what’s on offer – last week they offered a £299 all inclusive week in the Canaries - bargain!

So there are many ways of reducing symptoms of SAD, but if you feel you may be suffering from the condition, the first thing you should do is consult your doctor. Don't let SAD get you down this winter!

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Friday, 11 November 2011

What Makes You Spark and Sparkle?

Once you have established your own personal footprint of core values, you can then quite easily work out what to do more of and, what to avoid.

Some examples of typical core value are;

Respect, adventure, imagination, contribution, trust, vitality, experience.

In essence, if these words conjure up a feeling of true and meaningful depth for you, or perhaps move you in some way, you are beginning to find out what really matters for you.

This will begin to create a happier you, a happier life and will enable you to build up your emotional strength to deal with the rotten stuff when it happens.

We spend a lot of our time "doing" for others, and so it is easy to lose sight of who we are!

If you would like a full set of the core values please email me on with 'Values' as the title.

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Monday, 10 October 2011

Superfoods for a Healthier You - Spinach

When spinach comes to mind, those of us who are older than we'd like to admit will instantly be reminded of the pipe blowing, face-scrunching sailor, Popeye. According to our muscly friend, spinach has the ability to provide super-strength that will allow you to send people flying through the cartoon sky...

Although Popeye may have slightly overestimated the ability of spinach, he wasn't completely wrong about it being an excellent vegetable to regularly consume.

In fact, spinach is such a nutritionally beneficial food that researchers found that keeping ageing laboratory animals on spinach-rich diets significantly improved their motor skills and learning abilities.

The main benefits of this tasty, mild-flavoured vegetable include:

  • The flavonoid compounds in the leaves have been found to act as antioxidants, therefore protecting the body against stomach, skin, breast, prostate and many other types of cancer.

  • The high content of carotene means that spinach is a strong protector of eyesight, giving carrots a run for their money.

  • It is also particularly rich in vitamin K, which helps to boost bone strength and is thought to even prevent osteoporosis.

  • Spinach also contains peptides, which are aspects of protein that have been shown to lower blood pressure.

  • Its high vitamin E content is said to help protect the brain from cognitive decline as we age.

Due to its mild flavour, spinach is a perfect accompaniment to most foods when you are trying to improve the nutritional benefits of your meals. It is also fairly cheap and long lasting so that you can make the most out of it.

Superfood tip: The carotene in spinach is better absorbed when the leaves are cooked, rather than eaten raw, or perhaps try adding a little oil. The best way of retaining the antioxidants within the fruit is to steam or stir-fry.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Superfoods for a Healthier You - Bananas

As well as bananas being one of the most impressive superfoods available to us, they are also one of the cheapest fruits around, and you can find them in almost any supermarket - healthy and convenient!

This superfood offers a long list of nutritional benefits that are unknown to many, but this tasty fruit will see you saying goodbye to a variety of medicines with their effective medicinal properties, and much, much more.

One of the best things about bananas is the amount of sustainable energy they provide us with, and this is due to the sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with the fibre in the fruit.

Scientific studies have provided further proof of the fruit's energy-providing qualities by showing how just two bananas can provide enough energy for a 90-minute workout - so next time you head to the gym, you know what to do!

In addition to providing amazing amounts of energy, bananas are known for their abilities to protect our bodies against a variety of illnesses and conditions, including:

Depression - Recent studies have suggested that the tryptophan in bananas help combat depression. Tryptophan is a form of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and make you feel happier.

PMS - It is thought that the vitamin B6 found in bananas regulates blood glucose levels, which can effect your mood. So swap the ice cream and chocolate for a banana, ladies!

Anemia - The high levels of iron in the fruit help stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood, therefore reducing symptoms of anemia.

Blood pressure - The US Food and Drug Administration has recently allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and strokes.

Brain power - Research has shown that high levels of potassium can improve performance in students by making them more alert.

Constipation - The high fibre content of bananas improves bowel movement without the need to take laxatives.

Heartburn - The antacid effect bananas have on the body means that they provide a soothing effect for sufferers of heartburn.

Obesity - It would be too obvious to say that bananas are a healthier snack option compared to chocolate and crisps, however the high carbohydrate content of the fruit means that you will feel fuller for longer - this means that it is better to snack on bananas than other fruits.

Smoking and tobacco use - It is thought that the B6 and B12 found in bananas, as well as the potassium and magnesium in the fruit, allows the body to recover quicker from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress - It has been scientifically proven that stress reduces the levels of potassium in our bodies, therefore by eating something with such high potassium levels as bananas, we counteract the negative effects of stress.

The list goes on, however I think it is now clear that bananas are a useful fruit to have around! No wonder monkeys are such big fans.

Superfood tip: Hungover? Why not try and swap that greasy fry-up for a banana milkshake with honey? The banana itself calms the stomach and the honey helps build up depleted blood sugar levels, whilst the milk soothes and re-hydrates your body.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Finally! Guilt-Free Chocolate

Everyone is all too familiar with the nagging feeling of guilt that creeps up on us as we throw the empty wrapper in the bin. It always starts off as one square... two squares... a row... a half a pack... gradually followed by the shameful act of licking up the remains.

Of course, I can only be talking about chocolate.

Chocolate has always been known as a friend and a foe - it picks us up when we're down, but leaves us paying for it as we mentally calculate how many minutes on the treadmill it will take to burn off.

Many of you may have accepted this as a cruel fact of life, however some very clever and considerate people have provided us with a brilliant sollution that will have you eating chocolate on a daily basis - and this solution is known as raw chocolate.

I stumbled across this creation in a magazine and thought it too fantastic to not share with my fellow chocolate lovers. The Raw Chocolate Shop sells only raw chocolate and explains that by preserving the natural goodness of the cocoa bean, there are many nutritional benefits to be had by eating raw chocolate.

The only difference between raw chocolate and normal chocolate is that the cocoa beans used for normal chocolate are roasted at such high temperatures that it destroys the goodness of the beans, as well as other unhealthy ingredients being added.

Raw chocolate also does not offer the refined sugar that makes normal chocolate so bad for us in the first place.

As well as being considered a superfood and offering the first probiotic chocolate in the UK, raw chocolate is known to be a delicious substitute for normal chocolate.

It sounds too good to be true!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Superfoods for a Healthier You - Broccoli

It's no secret that broccoli possesses many beneficial qualities, but what exactly are these great qualities? The small green vegetable is most known for its high levels of protection against prostate cancer, as well as many other forms of disease.

There are many varieties of broccoli, however it is said that the darker the colour, the more beneficial nutrients the vegetable contains.

The sulphoraphane and indoles in the vegetable have strong anticancer effects, which allow the body protection against breast and colon cancer in particular.

Other fantastic nutritional benefits provided by broccoli are:

  • It contains chemicals that lower 'bad' cholesterol and protect the body against heart disease.
  • The high calcium content helps to build and protect bones.
  • It provides an excellent source of the antioxidants vitamin C and selenium.
  • It is estimated that approximately 3-5 servings per week offer protection against cancer.

Don't enjoy eating broccoli on its own? Why not try mixing some in with a stir fry for added flavour.

Superfood tip: When selecting your broccoli, look for heads with rich colour and avoid any with pale, yellow or brown patches on the florets. Frozen broccoli contains all the nutrients of fresh broccoli.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Superfoods for a Healthier You - Blueberries

These small berries offer a large amount of benefits with their impressive status of being the richest of all fruits in antioxidant compounds.

These vital compounds protect our bodies from a variety of cancers, as well as several other diseases.

In addition to their disease-fighting abilities, blueberries boast a list of beneficial qualities that could see you adding a punnet to your weekly shopping basket:

  • They contain a cholesterol-lowering compound.
  • They can help prevent coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancers.
  • They are high in vitamin C and help beat urinary tract infections.
  • Their carotene helps keep eyes healthy in the same way carrots do.
  • It is thought that blueberries contain such powerful antioxidants that they slow down the ageing process - a benefit to many!

With the many benefits offered by blueberries and their sweet taste, why not give them a go?

Their versatility enables them to be used in many meals and snacks, such as muffins, cakes, crumbles, pies and fruit salads. They also make a delicious accompaniment to yogurt and honey.

Superfood tip: eating blueberries raw helps to preserve their vitamin C content.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

My New 'Superfoods for a Healthier You' Series

Healthy eating brings with it many benefits, many of which are focused on physically improving one's self.

However, it is also important to recognise the need for a healthy diet in order to improve our mental wellbeing.

There are many foods with beneficial nutritional properties available to you every day, but the question is, which ones are the real superfoods?

Eating the right things in life is simple once you know what they are, and that's what you will be able to find out through my 'Superfoods for a Healthier You' series.

Through the series I will be telling you how you can make big improvements to your mental wellbeing by doing something as little as watching what you eat.

Healthy eating doesn't have to be an unpleasant experience; with the vast amount of superfoods in the world, you are more than likely to discover several things that you enjoy eating.

What's the saying again, you are what you eat? Well keep an eye out for regular posts of the series and witness the positive changes for yourself.

Friday, 1 July 2011

What is a Life Coach?

A life coach is an individual who supports and encourages people to fulfil their their potential and really make the most of their life.

A life coach can help to empower individuals to take control of their life, such as their career, confidence/self belief, finances, health, relationships, spirituality and work/life balance.

It can be easy to lose direction in our lives and life coaching aims to explore ways to enhance the skills, qualities and creativity we already have but may not be making the most of.

Life coaching often involves exploring our attitudes, beliefs and values, discussing our aims in life and setting appropriate goals to help us to reach them.

Unlike trying to achieve goals on our own, having a life coach should help keep us committed, motivated and focused.

Just like sports men and women have their own coach, a life coach helps us to become the best we can be in our own lives.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Site Updates

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Hotcourses, Floodlight, Trainingandcourses, and many others - find the best course that suits you and take the first step towards achieving your life goals. There's something for everyone! Explore life coaching today and you won't look back.

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