Corporate Wellbeing Specialist

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Sarah McGuinness / Blog (Page 4)
Teaspoon of sugar

How much sugar is too much sugar?

There has been plenty of media on sugar recently with news that most of us eat more of it than we should. I'll be frank and say I'm totally partial to a good piece of citrus slice on occasion, so I was interested to see that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently released new guidelines recommending that adults and children keep their free sugar intake to less than 10% of their total energy intake. To be clear, free sugars refer to sugars added to foods (such as glucose, fructose, sucrose and table sugar) and those that occur naturally in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates. It doesn’t include fresh fruits and vegetables, and sugars naturally present in milk, because according to the WHO there is no...

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Exercise is good for body and mind

Exercise! Great for the body and mind

We know exercise is good for your body, but just as importantly, it’s good for your mental health with many studies showing that improving your physical health also improves your mental health. Little or no physical exercise can increase the risk of depression, and a poor diet can decrease your sense of wellbeing, so regular exercise and physical activity should be part of any mental healthcare. There is a good reason why exercise is recommended for improving mood. It’s those endorphins; the chemicals our body releases when we get moving that contribute to a feeling of wellness post exercise. But it doesn’t stop with a post workout good mood. Exercise improves your alertness, makes everyday movement easier and improves sleep. Any amount of exercise is better than none, and for those who are...

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Stretch the mind and body

While there is plenty of research to indicate that getting your heart rate up and working with different weights and intensities is beneficial, we also know that the inclusion of more gentle, mindful exercise practices can also have a positive effect on your health and exercise levels. And winter can be the perfect time to try mindful exercise when you're looking for options to keep you feeling healthy and well over the colder months. Mind and body (also referred to as MindBody) practices have been around for a long time. In the last couple of decades exercise options in this area have increased, with a big surge in not just mainstream exercise facilities, but also in smaller studios offering specialist mind and body exercise options. For some people,  intensive...

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Workplace stress – fight or flight?

One of the benefits of being in the modern world is that on an average day is there is no need outrun an animal planning to eat us for dinner. Yet our bodies have retained a stress response mechanism called the fight or flight response, which is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival. The trouble is the stress we are often responding to today is not the type of stress we can literally run from, so we get stressed and stay that way. Workplace stress is an example of this in action, with office workers who are often already facing the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle having elevated stress levels from work related issues. The problem of workplace stress is...

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Depression, and how exercise helps

Most of us experience being ‘down’ at some point in our lives. In fact 17.9% of women and 10.4% of men have been diagnosed with depression at some time in their lives. And although we know it’s common, experiencing depression can be a lonely business, especially when you feel the pressure to put on a brave face, and often those around you don’t even know what’s going on. While a quick fix for depression would be great, the reality is that for many it is something that has to be managed, often for extended periods. For many of those with family and professional commitments, taking to bed to recover like you do when you have a bad cold is not an option (though very tempting some days)...

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Understanding personality measures: part two

Last time we discussed some of the general frameworks and models of personality. In this article we'll look at what underpins personality. [caption id="attachment_269" align="alignright" width="300"] Your personality is partly traits, and partly your individual experience of the world © Bluelela | Dreamstime.com[/caption] My notes here on personality are largely based on the work of Dan McAdams, a leading personality psychologist and professor at Northwestern University in the USA. I have found his approach to be both a useful and practical way to explain the somewhat complex realm of personality, and self awareness in general.McAdams describes personality as being essentially made up of three parts – traits, characteristic adaptations and life stories. Let’s look at these in more detail. 1. Traits The trait approach to personality uses common themes to...

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You can’t make a good decision on an apple

Well, technically speaking you can make a good decision on an apple. If the apple follows a decent lunch, that is. [caption id="attachment_179" align="alignright" width="300"] An apple a day won't keep hunger at bay, and will make decision making harder to do.  © Johnlric | Dreamstime.com[/caption] As a leader it can be incredibly difficult to eat well at work. The 11:00am meetings go for twice as long as they should, and the 1:30pm meetings loom even before you have had a chance to reach your desk. Pulled from pillar to post, you might consider yourself lucky to have had a nutritious apple for lunch. This is especially true when the trusty vending machine in the staff communal area is quietly calling your name. The problem with not stopping for lunch,...

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Understanding personality measures: part one

The Center for Creative Leadership recently published a study that found that the number one career derailer of leaders, regardless of culture, is “lack of accurate portrait of self”. That is, a lack of self awareness. [caption id="attachment_188" align="alignright" width="300"] Different personality measures will seek to define your personality in different ways. What kind of bird are you? © Cinc212 | Dreamstime.com[/caption] Being unaware of behaviour and the impact it has on others is probably the number one thing that brings most people undone. Having a sense of self is hugely important for our own self esteem and for how we interact with others. There are lots of ways to gain a more accurate portrait of yourself, and personality measures are up there with being one of the...

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The one thing the men in your life should be doing

There's one thing the men in your life should be doing in June, and it's free. Free! What is it? A health check.  As part of Men's Health Week, Unichem and Life pharmacies are offering men a free check to help them take stock of their health and wellbeing. It's part of a proactive approach to help men reduce the risk of a serious health issue, such as type 2 diabetes.  It's a bit of a generalisation to say this, but if the men in your life are anything like mine, they'll probably need a thousand reminders and the promise of a coffee date to get there. You might feel like a stuck record, but it'll be worth it. Better to know if they need to make changes...

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Five tips to staying sane through the silly season

While Christmas and New Year celebrations can be a wonderful time to take a break from the pressures of work and other commitments, it can also be a stressful time for many navigating the rituals of family, food, alcohol and other expectations. Here are our five tips to staying sane and enjoying the festivities this summer: Be mindful Practicing mindfulness is probably the last thing you’d think to add to your Christmas day, but it can be a helpful calming tool if you feel overwhelmed at any point. Mindfulness is about living in the moment and taking note of what’s happening. Examples include using your five senses to enjoy the festive foods on offer, watching the sun on water at the beach, and focusing on the feeling of...

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