Menopause

Today at a work away day, myself and other fellow managers attended a session on the subject of the Menopause!

Of all the subjects you would expect to be on the agenda, that certainly wasn’t one of them! It was quite funny seeing some of the men around the rooms expression, when they first saw it!

Being a women who was pre-menopausal from 45, and is now post menopausal, I was quite interested!

What was even more interesting, was the reaction of other ladies in the room! There were those of us in the room who absolutely could tell a few stories, in particular about the hot flushes, and those too young, but who were a little unsure or even nervous about it!

My husband is a manager for the same company, so for me it was a great opportunity to get him to fully understand why I need that fan on at night!

So who will suffer from the menopause?

The simple answer is any women!  Women from the age of 45-55 will start to experience the menopause.  The average age is about 51, but 1 in 100 women will get it before they reach 40.

The menopause is caused by a reduction of oestrogen in the body, and is a natural form of ageing!  Things such as cancer, radiation or chemotherapy, and hysterectomies can bring the symptoms on early.

You may have heard of women being ‘on the change’ in times gone by?  I suppose we are, as our bodies are changing!

Pre-menopausal

This is the first stage!  Its also known as perimenopausal, and is when the body starts producing less eostrogen.

Post Menopausal

You are classed as post menopausal, if you haven’t had a period for 12 months. This includes spotting, however light that may be!

So what are the symptoms?

Every women’s symptoms will vary, but below is a list of what you could expect:

  • Night sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of memory
  • Emotional
  • Anxiety
  • Heavy periods
  • Bloating
  • Hot flushes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Cystitis
  • Low Mood

Symptoms can start months or even years before periods stop, and can last for 4-8 years.  Although it can last many years longer!  I have friends who have had hot flushes for well over 10 years!

Every women will have different degrees of symptoms.  Some of them so extreme, it will impact on their day to day life.

What can you do to help relieve the symptoms?

This will vary, depending on the severity and type of symptom!

For me, it has been the night sweats and hot flushes.   I need to sleep with the fan on! I’ve even been known to stand outside naked in the snow to cool off! Don’t worry I had no neighbours then!

I also wear layers, so I can strip off more easily!

Memory loss has also been a bit of a problem, but that has been in short spurts!  At one time, I thought I was having the start of dementia!  I now make sure I put everything in my diary.  I make lists and keep notes of important things.  Now I have learned to recognise what it is, I’m more relaxed.

I think its important to understand that every women will go through, in some shape or form the same as you, so don’t be afraid to laugh it off, or talk about it!

A good diet and exercise will also help you, but if you are struggling, don’t be afraid to discuss the symptoms with your doctor.  They may be able to prescribe HRT or offer other support.  Unfortunately, as I had breast cancer when I was 42, I am not able to have HRT, as it is believed to increase my chances of getting it again.  Don’t let that put you off talking to your doctor.  Everyone’s symptoms are different.  They will be able to give you lots of advice and tips.

I have even see recipes to help with symptoms.  I’ve never tried them myself, but I do know someone who has and felt that they worked for her.

So why did we have a session on it today at work?

It’s probably not what you would expect on an agenda, but I have to say, I was so pleased it was.  I don’t think I heard anyone (and there were over 100 managers there today) walk out of the session, with anything but praise for it.

It’s important in the work place for managers to recognise and support staff who may be going through the menopause!  If they are not confident to raise it with them, at least know who else could.

You could be a really solid member of staff, but if you are struggling to sleep due to night sweats, your concentration dips, or you are having any of the other symptoms, it could impact on your performance.  By dealing with it openly, reasonable adjustments can be made.

I hadn’t thought about it until today, but most women hit the menopause at the same time as they are at the peak of their careers.  When you have worked so hard to achieve success, it would be a shame to think, it would be impacted by something brought on by mother nature.

So if you know a women who is being different to normal, think about why that might be?  Talk to them and offer them support!  They will really thank you for it!

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Be Kind!

Back in March this year, This Morning on ITV supported the ‘Be Kind’ campaign. It was targeted at children and parents to prevent bullying, and the sad consequences to their mental health !  In extreme situations even causing them to take their own lives.

With the use of the internet, it is far easier for people to bully others.  Most communication is carried out by email, text or social media.  You can now bully someone without seeing the direct consequences, or even caring.

Children often find it hard to know how to deal with bullies, or even tell them about it.  There are a lot of support groups out there now which help parents and teachers deal with this.  Its a terrible thought that we even have to consider this, but if we don’t tackle childhood bullying, it can lead to them continuing to bully others into their adulthood!

Lets first deal with What is a bully?

It’s someone who attempts to control another person through verbal abuse.  This can be the tone of their voice or the content such as teasing or threats.  Bullying can occur anywhere, in the workplace, school, home and clubs.  It can be carried out by anyone whatever their relationship with you.

Why do people bully?

There can be many reasons why people bully.  If you understand the reason behind it, it may help you deal with it.  The main reasons are:-

  1. The person may have been bullied before.
    Whilst this isn’t an excuse, if they have grown up with bullies, they may follow suit, as it is all that they have known.
  2. They are lonely.
    If they feel they are not important and have no-one in their lives, they may be seeking attention.
  3. They have personal problems.
    If they have personal problems this could impact on their own behaviours.  They may be more aggressive than usual.
  4. They have low self-esteem.
    What better way to make yourself feel better than to try and put someone else down!  Bullies with low self-esteem will try and find a weakness in someone.  They will fish to find what they think they can use against them.  Unfortunately, this can backfire if the victim is someone who is actually stronger!
  5. They are jealous.
    There can be many reasons for the jealousy, an ex has moved on, the victim is more successful or more popular than them, someones been promoted or even as simple as the car they drive.
  6. They are just arrogant and believe they are better than others.
    Some bullies just think they are better than everyone else, and can do what they like, treat people how they like and its ok.   Until they feel the consequence of their actions they will continue on the same path.
  7. They think they are impressing others.
    If you think back to the gang cultures, the bully is almost like a peacock.  They feel that by being a bully in front of others, it makes them more powerful and people will look up to them.  These are usual people who don’t have a lot else to offer so use this as a way of surrounding them with so called ‘friends’!
  8. They just see you as different.
    We are all different, but some people just don’t know how to handle this.  They will pick on this difference and try and use it against the other person.

So how do we deal with them?

In the workplace we are taught to challenge inappropriate behaviours, but how easy is this outside of work?

As I said above, bullies are trying to control another person.  Its all about power!  If you take away that control or power, they can’t bully you any longer!

I’m amazed at the lengths some bullies go to to try and find something to use as a potential weapon.  Turn that on its head!  How sad is it that someone has nothing else in their lives but to focus on you.  In fact it could be a compliment that they feel the need to dedicate so much time on you!

You don’t need to be the victim once you put their behaviour into that context.  Actual they are the victim.  To what, you may never know, only they will know why they feel the need to try and victimise another person.

I’ve listed some of the reasons above.  Sometimes the behaviour of the bully is just so far off the scale of normal that you really can’t be bothered to give them another thought.  This usually happens in isolated instances.

Last year we had a driver try to bully and intimidate us.  He had overtaken us on a blind bend with oncoming traffic.  My husband had to pull off the road and do an emergency stop.  The oncoming traffic were flashing lights too.  My husband also blew the horn.  While the driver was in the wrong, he felt the need to pent his aggression on us.  He did an emergency stop in front of us which almost caused another accident.  He then jumped out of the car and started getting aggressive at my husband.

It would have been so easy to rise to his behaviour.  Instead, I calmly informed him that his actions could have caused a serious accident.  I told him to get back into his car and move on.  When you put water on the fire, its amazing how little more the bully has to come back at you at.  I then took a picture of his car and reported it to the police.    If he had just continued on his journey we may have been annoyed at this lack of care on the road.  The fact that he stopped and did what he did then took it to another level!  By not rising to him and reporting him, we took back the control.

Obviously, when its long term bullying, that is more challenging.

If like me you are not from a background where you were exposed to bullying, when it first happens its a shock.  I was always brought up to respect others.  My father used to say ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything’.  That is not to say we were a push over.  Certainly not.  We were also brought up to talk to people with respect and dignity if there was a problem.  To not gossip behind others backs, or say things that are not true for your own ends.

In business they always say, look after those on your way up because you may need them on your way down.  This is so true.

I have come across people who gossip about others.  They take a half truth and twist it to make it sound something its not.  Its all about power and getting a reaction!  They then look around to see who is listening to them.  Often they assume others agree with them.  Often its not the case.  Others may just not want to get involved or question that person about it!

If you are a target of these bullies, think about what they are trying to achieve.  If its a reaction, don’t give it to them.  They can only continue if you give them reason to do it.  Don’t stoop to their level!  If they want to be nasty let them.  It will cause them more stress and unhappiness than you.

A bit of advice I was given once was, if you can look in the mirror and can honestly say you like the person you are, you can sleep at night knowing you have done the best for others and have caused no-one harm on purpose, then you have nothing to worry about.

I’m not saying the bully will have sleepless nights about their behaviour.   Some of them are just not built with the self awareness of what they are doing, or even care what harm they could potentially do.

Another piece of advice I was given is that if you can rise above the bully, you will come out as a stronger person, or in a stronger relationship etc.

Everyone in their life will experience a bully.  Just remember who you are, your values, and the truth.  You will eventually find their behaviour both sad and funny.  Once you get to that situation, they can keep trying new ways to get at you, but ultimately, they will fail as they have no control over you.

Remember the impact a bully will have on others around you too.  They may be targeting you, but their action could impact on someone close to you too.  Talk to them about the bullies actions, comments  and behaviours.  They may be uncomfortable too, but don’t know how to deal with it.

Bullies are very good as I said at taking a half truth and turning it around.  Those impacted may also be nervous about who to challenge.  Who do they believe?  How should they deal with it?  They may have many questions.

So next time you get a text, email or social media message that is attacking you, take a step back and consider it for what it is!   Don’t let it impact on you.  Bullies rely on causing emotional and mental destruction.  Don’t give in to them.  If it becomes unmanageable, then you can also raise it with the authorities.   This isn’t always possible especially when its in the home or work place, but by using some of my mechanisms above, whilst the person will continue to try and bully you, there will be no impact on you personally, unless its just to raise a smile at the persons latest attempt!

I’m a true believer in Karma!

And finally, don’t be a bully yourself.  Think about the consequence of your actions on others and how you would feel if you were in their shoes!

If you want to join the ITV This Morning ‘Be Kind’ pledge, you can do so at:

https://www.itv.com/thismorning/hot-topics/pledge-to-share-our-anti-bullying-message

Currently over 270,000 people have done so.

Stay to Group

I’m ashamed to admit it but after reaching target last year, I lost the drive and motivation I had getting there!

To begin with, I would gain only a few pounds.  I thought it was fine, especially as my hubby felt that my target weight was  too low.  I stayed to group every week and tried to pull it back.  One week I would lose, the next week I would gain.

Then life just got really busy and stressful.  I found that I didn’t have the time to stay to group.  Working away, late trains, birthday meals etc,  meant that I would run in and weigh, then leave.  I thought just weighing in was enough.  I had been doing Slimming World for over a year.  I know what to do.  Why did I need to stay?  It won’t change what I am doing.  Oh how wrong I was!

As I said, I have been doing Slimming World for over a year so I know about free and speed food, syns, and my Healthy Extra’s!  I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, and never cook in oil, eat the fat off meat or the skin on the chicken!  All said and done, my 3 main meals a day are on plan!  Ok lets think about this.  If all this is true, then why did I put over a stone back on?

The one main thing was breakfast.  Because I was always tired or in a rush, I stopped weighing my HEB’s!  I mean, we all know what 40 g of oats looks like don’t we?  I got complacent.  I thought I could guess how much I was having.  Then the other day, I went to put granola into a bowl.  There was hardly anything in the box left.  I was just about to pour it into my bowl when I thought out of interest I would weigh it!  It was 75g!  Wow.  That is more than double what I was allowed.

Lunch was always ok.  I can be honest with that!  I would have salad without dressings, using ham or roast skinless chicken and boiled eggs.  Perfect!

Dinner again fine.  Lots of fresh vegetables, lean meat and no sauces!  Oh hang on, there was the pre-packed burgers from the supermarket.  They were their finest range so must be healthier!  Ah, and I had that chilli and rice dish the one day!  We have had lots of Braai’s so there were those nibbles and garlic bread!

At work, everyone used to say how good I was as I never went for the biscuits or samosas.  One day recently there was a big box of samosas for staff.  One of my team was shocked when I asked her if she wanted one!  As we both went to get one, I was then tempted to have a spring roll too.  I even went back later that day for seconds!

My boss saw my staff member with the food and said to her she should have eaten it when I was at the gym so I didn’t know!  She was shocked when told I also had one!  If only she knew it was more than 1!

I might have prepared a healthy lunch, but I was now snacking during the day!  It is amazing how the extras can add up!

The long hot summer also meant more wine!  Whilst I was drinking mainly Slimline Wine, I was still having more syns than I am allowed!  In my head I was drinking a low calorie wine so it didn’t count!

When I look back, no wonder I have put weight on!  Going to weigh in was just to tick a box.  I was no longer passionate about my journey.

The day I stepped on the scales and saw a number I did not like, I realised I had to put a stop to it.  I decided staying to group had to happen.  I needed my motivation back.  I needed to listen to other peoples journeys and get ideas.  More importantly, I need to take an hour out of my busy stressful life just for me.

So at my first week back to group, with a heavy heart and close to tears, I listened to the group.  In previous sessions, I have been known to put food ideas onto my Tesco shopping app to try new recipes from the group.  I started doing this again!  I bought the magazine, and made a promise to myself to read it cover to cover!

I left group determined.  I went home and planned my meals for the week ahead.  I vowed not to have anything at work unless it was planned in.  I would save my syns for the evenings, and then only have them if I really needed them.

I chose the gym rather than work lunches out!  I cooked at home rather than a takeaway, even when time was limited and I was absolutely exhausted.

The following week, I walked back into group.  I was hoping for a big loss!  I know I have a long journey ahead of me to get back to how I was.  I stepped on the scales and saw a 3.5lb loss.  I was absolutely gutted.  I wanted more!

I feel stupid now feeling like that.   Most weeks I would have been overjoyed at that loss!  I wanted more because I am so desperate to get back to my target weight.  The reality is, it is going to take me a few weeks for that to happen.

I decided to buy myself a 12 week plan. That way, I could take the pressure off myself.  I could give myself small loss targets per week.  That way I won’t be disappointed.  I can also give myself treats without feeling deprived.

I really want target again.  When I get there I am also not going to fall back into the trap I am in now!

Nothing feels better than looking in the mirror and liking what you see.  I know to achieve this, I need to keep going to group.  I need to keep recipes ideas fresh.  I need to take time out for myself.

The next 12 weeks will be a journey but I’m going to do it.  I know I am because I know how much I really want it!

I feel like i’ve lost a friend!

After a busy day, or week, there is nothing better than relaxing with a good book.

I must admit, I am not a great reader.  Mainly because I just don’t have the time, but when I do, there is nothing better than being taken away into a different world.  It helps me switch off and forget about the stresses of normal life.

For me a good book needs to have characters that you can relate to, and a gripping story line.  When I say gripping, I am not talking about a thriller, or mystery, but something that draws you back to the book.

When I’ve had a busy time I like books that are fun, however I have also been known to read biographies, history books etc – books on Stalin and Di Vinci are 2 of my favourites, along with Richard Branson who I thought was so inspiring.

I have recently just completed a series of books from Sophie Kinsella.  Shopaholics is a serious of books which takes you through a period of Rebecca Bloomwood’s life.  There are 8 books in the series.  What is really clever is that you could independently read the books, or as I did read them as a series.

I have just finished the final book and feel like I have lost a friend.  Now that is the sign of a great book, or in this case a series.

In my head, I know what Rebecca looks like, her husband, daughter, family and friends.  I feel I know them personally.  I felt their pain, happiness and all their dreams.  I know what their homes, cars and clothes look like too!  Well in my head I do!

What is even more exciting is that I have now just found out that there is a movie based on the books!  I’m also a little nervous as the characters in the movie may not live up to my own expectations of them now!

So who is Shopaholic and what did she get up to that made the books so good?   I will give you a brief overview of each book, but I won’t go into too much detail.  It would only spoil the pleasure of your own experience reading them!

The Secret Dreamworld of a shopaholic

Dreamworld

We meet Rebecca Bloomwood for the first time in this book.  She is a single young lady, working as a financial Journalist.  When you know her, that in itself is quite funny.

Becky as she is known, lives in a flat with her best friend Suzie.  Suzie is from a very well off family, so doesn’t really have to work.  That said, she is a really loyal and supportive friend to Becky, who has as you may have guessed it has a problem with shopping!  Actually, to Becky, its not a problem.  She absolutely loves shopping.  The buy 1 get 1 free offers, or free gifts if you spend a certain amount, are just too tempting.  I mean they are a bargain.  Why wouldn’t you buy them?  Whatever they are?  You never know when they may come in handy!!

Considering her job, she has no financial planning skills for herself.  She has credit cards coming out of her ears, and cupboards full of things she doesn’t need, but couldn’t resist!

It is in this book we first meet Luke.  Initially, I didn’t see the pair of them together, but as it takes you through, they are a perfect match.  As with most relationships though, nothing ever goes to plan!

Shopaholic Abroad

Abroad

Life has certainly changed for Becky.  She has a fabulous job on morning TV, her bank manager has become quite fond of her and she has changed her thinking on shopping!  ‘Buy only what you need’! Ha Ha!!

Then she has the opportunity to go to New York and be a personal shopper!  What more could a shopaholic want than to help others buy clothes!

Ok, anyone that has been to New York will also know that for someone who loves shopping, there are a couple of temptations such as Saks and Bloomingdales, to name just 2!

Becky does have all the right dreams when she initially arrives.  She is going to do all the touristy things.  Of course she is!  Except those shops just keep getting in the way!

We follow Becky with her adventures and nightmares, as her shopping habits get her into even more trouble!

Shopaholic Ties the Knot

Tie Knot

Becky finally gets her man in this book – Luke.  With a wedding to plan, all her shopping dreams should come true, but as with Becky, nothing ever runs smoothly!

She is torn between giving her parents the dream wedding in her home town of Oxshott. or keeping her mother-in-law to be happy!

Her mum wants the wedding in the back garden with all her family around her.  Luke’s mum, who he has had a difficult relationship with, wants a society wedding in New York, in the best hotel – The Plaza.  Luke’s mum has plenty of money so she knows that this options would be absolutely spectacular.   Does she choose a wedding where money is no object, or a smaller more traditional affair back home with her true family and friends?

As in true Becky style, she doesn’t make it easy.  It was always going to be a difficult decision.  The trouble she gets herself into will have you in stitches.

Shopaholic & Sister

Sister

Out of all the books, the story for this one really surprised me.  I wasn’t expecting it at all!

Becky returns from honeymoon.  She hasn’t told anyone she is coming home, and is expecting a big reunion from her parents.  Instead they are distant, like they are hiding something from her.  Becky’s fears are confirmed when they announce she has a sister!

Becky’s dad had a child before he met her mum, which none of them knew about.

After the initial shock, Becky is delighted to have a sister.  She has planned this perfect sister relationship in her head.  The problem is, Jess is the complete opposite to her!  She hates shopping and wasting money.

You have to feel sorry for Becky in this book.  As she tries to build this perfect relationship with her half sister, things just don’t go to plan!

Shopaholic & Baby

Baby

If Becky thought New York was an adventure, wait till she realises she is going to be a mum!

After the shock she realises that she has another reason to go shopping!  I mean, babies need so much stuff don’t they!  Everything has to be so perfect for their new addition to the family.

It all starts to go wrong though when she hears about this amazing obstetrician to the stars.   She just has to have that doctor.  I mean, look at all the famous people she will meet and become fabulous mummy friends with!  What she doesn’t know is that this doctor was an ex of Luke’s, and  she still has desires on him!

Becky is hormonal as all pregnant women are, and starts to doubt Luke and her relationship.  This doctor is beautiful and intelligent.  Becky’s body is changing and she feels insecure.  It doesn’t help the games the doctor is playing either.  You can’t help getting emotional and feeling like you want to give her a big hug.

Who does Luke choose?  You will have to read it to see!

Mini Shopaholic

Mini

So the baby has arrived.  A beautiful little girl called Minnie.  What is more is that she is also a mini version of Becky!

The book takes you through early motherhood and the developing personality of Minnie.  As she gets more and more like her mum.   You can just imagine this little girl sitting on her mums lap or shopping in designer shops, in her pretty dresses with bows in her hair!

Finances become strained at an already difficult time for her and Luke.  They end up moving back in with her parents for a while too which adds more pressure.  In true Becky style though, there are many adventures to be had including arranging a surprise party for Luke on a budget!

This was truly a funny book!

 Shopaholic to the Stars

Stars

When Luke’s work takes them to Los Angeles, Becky sees an opportunity for her own career to take on as a stylist to the stars.

Luke is the agent to a big star, Sage Seymour.  Becky feels that they will become best friends and she too will become famous.

Becky becomes so focused on her dreams that she doesn’t see what is going on around her.  As her own marriage and that of her friend Suzie falls apart, she only sees stars in front of her eyes!

What should have been a dream time for her becomes a nightmare.  Slowly without her even noticing things start falling apart bit by bit until something shocks her back to reality.

What’s nice about this book though, is that throughout it, you see that Becky has started to mature.  I no longer see her as this young women, but a wife and mother, and a good daughter and good friend, who has just got lost.

Becky needs to make a choice, her career and fame or her friends and family?  Who does she choose?

Shopaholic to the Rescue

rescue

Becky’s poor choices in the last book cause this adventure!  She has to put things right!

Los Angeles didn’t turn out how she thought it would be, and she had paid a big price.  She potentially was going to pay a bigger one if she didn’t do something about it.

When Becky’s dad and Suzie’s husband go missing, there is only one thing for it.  She has to find them.  She has to build relationships too!

This book takes them to Las Vegas, for more adventures.

Secrets from the past are exposed, and her relationship with Suzie is really tested.

One thing that Becky is good at, is problem solving.  She might have off the wall ideas, but they do actually work some of the time!  She also never gives up.

You see Becky finally mature in this book.

I won’t spoil the ending, but I have to say by the end of it, I felt that I had lost a friend. No more Becky!

Summary

If you want a really good read, these books are for you.

Becky is someone you can really relate to!  The author Sophie has written it so well.  You are really drawn in to all her adventures.

Its not all plain sailing for Becky.  She will dig quite a few wholes along the way.   Whatever happens though, she has a true heart. That is what her husband Luke sees in her.

She may get lost sometimes, but don’t we all!

 

 

Is this current heatwave good for you?

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There are so many mixed messages out there at the moment!  We are currently experiencing one of the hottest summers I can ever remember.  With temperatures exceeding 30 degrees on some days, should we be running for cover?

Dangers of the Sun

It is well documented that the sun can damage our skin.  The fairer you are, the more damage it will cause.  Continued exposure to the sun can also be the cause of skin cancer.

When I grew up in the 70’s, it was common practice to get the maximum suntan you could.  We didn’t even really know or understand about suncreams back then.  For us it was often good lashings of oil!  The quicker you could a tan the better!

It probably wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s I actually took stock and started really using suncreams regularly.

Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibres in the skin called elastin.  Wrinkles and age spots appear.  Whilst we will all get these as we get older, the sun will speed up the process for us.  People exposed to the sun more, will look older than those that have taken precautions.

Did you know the sun also effects the soles of your feet?  Ladies, the one time of the year when we want to wear those beautiful sandals and you look at the heals of your feet in horror!  Its all linked! Lack of moisture equals dryer skin, equals cracked heals and feet!

The suns damage can be reversed you will be pleased to know.  Using suncreams, moisturisers, keeping hydrated (avoid alcohol) will all help.  For the feet, foot balms, oils and exfoliating will all reduce the dryness.

Keeping out of direct sunlight in the middle of the day is a sensible approach.  If you can’t, then make sure you are covered up.  Wear light layers and a hat.   Men who are getting a bit thin on top especially!

Get into the habit of applying suncream every morning when you have showered.  It will act as a moisturiser as well as protect you.

Having the right suncream for your skin is also important.  The fairer you are, the higher the factor you should go.  You can still get a tan using suncream.  What would you rather do?  Get burnt and then spend the rest of your holiday inside or covered up, or let you skin gradually tan with a good factor suncream?

Don’t compare yourself to others either!  I hear so many people saying to me ‘I wish I could get as brown as you’.  The sad thing is, they probably never will.  I am lucky, I have olive skin.  Without the sun, I will be darker naturally than some.  I can get away with a lower factor suncream as my skin doesn’t burn easily.

As you get older, your skin reacts differently to the sun, so don’t think ‘I never used cream as a child so why do I need it now?’  Understand your own skin type and look after it.  You will look much healthier for it.

Also, I know its obvious, bu don’t look directly at the sun as it will damage your eyes!  Wear sunglasses.  They not only protects your eyes, but help to reduce wrinkles!

Don’t forget your pets!

Just like us, our pets can get sunburn too.  Try and get them to lie in the shade.   Fido is a nightmare and constantly sits in the direct sunlight!  I continuously have to make him move.  It’s like children.  They don’t understand the dangers of the sun, so its up to us to help them.  Keep plenty of water around for them so they don’t dehydrate and please don’t exercise them in the heat of the day!

The good news about the sun!

Yes there is some.  It’s not all doom and gloom.  The sun is also actually good for us!

The sun is a good source of Vitamin D which promotes our well being.  When the sun hits our skin it triggers the body’s natural production of the vitamin D.  Vitamin D is vital for our overall health.  It protects against inflammation, lowers high blood pressure, helps our muscles, improves brain function and bizarrely  even though it can cause skin cancer, may even protect against some cancers.

Low levels of Vitamin D can cause heart disease, prostate cancer and dementia!

So how confused are you now?

It is understandable that with both bits of advice above, it can be confusing.  Should you be out in the sun or not?

Well I think the overall answer to that question is yes!  The sun makes us all feel so much happier.  We are more likely to be more active, sociable and generally all round more jolly!

The best advise though is to take precautions.  Use suncream, wear a hat, drink plenty of water and cover up if you feel you are burning!  Where possible find some shade to cool down in!

We have a long winter ahead of us, so enjoy the few months of good weather we have ahead!

 

 

Best laid plans!

For weeks leading up to the recent bank holiday, everyone has been saying it was predicted to be the hottest weekend this year so far.  May Day bank holiday was a scorcher, so if this was going to be even hotter – woo hoo!

As like many others, we had made a plan for the whole of the weekend based on this beautiful weather we were going to have!

Saturday – Hubby was to paint the fence – paint and new brushes were bought in anticipation, and I was going to clean the house and visit the butchers and supermarket to buy steak and salads for the Braai we were having for our neighbours.

Sunday – A lovely long walk somewhere in the Cotswolds with the dogs, then home to wash and clean car myself followed by a relaxing Braai.

Monday – A relaxing day, maybe a short walk with the dogs then home to start packing for our trip to Scotland and Italy later on in the month.  Probably a final Braai of the weekend.

So what actually happened?  Well I think someone forgot to tell the sun to come out!  Instead we had a mixture of showers, thunder storms, a little bit of sun and greyness!  It was all change for our plans!   The difficulty was, the weather seemed to change on the forecast daily!  From our amazing planned weekend, we then went to deciding very last minute based on the weather at that time.  So how did our weekend turn out?

Saturday – A trip to the butchers and supermarket for me, but this time to look for something to cook inside.  Sadly the housework was still on my agenda.  For hubby, a day relaxing at home on his computer and watching Rugby on TV.

Sunday – A lazy start and then a trip to get my car washed and cleaned inside.   We were hoping to call in on my parents but I couldn’t get hold of them!  On the plus side, my friends invited us over for Sunday dinner, so that was a really nice change to our plans.

Monday –  It was dry, woo hoo,  so we quickly took the opportunity to paint the fence!  I say ‘we’ as suddenly it became a job for both of us.   I have to say it does look amazing and very satisfying when you finally get the job done!

Being flexible and open to change

This weekend is, like so many others. With the great British weather, we can make as many plans as we like, but sometimes they just have to go out of the window.  Whilst we didn’t do half the things we planned, (I certainly didn’t even start to think about the Scottish and Italy trip), we did have fun.  On the negative side, I now need to fit a lot of jobs into my evenings after work, which is never my preferred way.

It is always good to have a plan but, trying to always stick to it can cause you a lot of stress and unhappiness.  This over time this can manifest itself, and bring on health problems such as depression and anxiety.

By being flexible, you are allowing yourself to experience new opportunities and skills.  If the sun had come out last weekend, I wouldn’t have gone to see my friends and had a fun relaxing evening.  If my husband had started the fence on Saturday, I wouldn’t have helped him on Monday.  You might be pulling a face at that comment, but actually, I had fun doing it with him, and I too can share the satisfaction of looking at it now its done.

This was one weekend, but if you think about your life in general, you will experience a lot of change, both in your personal and work life.  Some of them may not always be good changes, but by building up your resilience to change for the smaller things, it will help you cope with the bigger changes.

They say divorce, death and moving house are the most stressful things you experience in your life.  I’ve had all 3 of them and I can agree.  So, what can you do to help you get through these times?

  • Acknowledge the changeTrying to pretend it isn’t happening won’t help you. Understand what the change is and how it will impact you.
  • Write it downWrite down how you are feeling? Make a list of the positives and negatives of the change?  When you write things down, they sometimes don’t seem as bad as they did when they were just in your head!

    Keep a diary.  It is amazing how every day putting down how you are feeling, what you are thinking etc will help you.

  • Focus on the PositivesBy looking at the positives you can start to feel more relaxed and calm about the change.
  • Turn the Negatives into PositivesList next to your negatives at least 1 positive. For example, if you are getting divorced, think about something you didn’t like about the person – i.e. No more listening to them snoring!  The funnier it is the more relaxed you feel.   Could this be a new opportunity to meet new people, travel, have more time to yourself?
  • CryIt’s ok to show your emotion. Don’t bottle it up.  Having a good cry can sometimes make you feel better!  And that goes for men too!
  • Find a focusFor me, taking my dogs out for a walk really helps. If you don’t have a dog, you can still go for a walk on your own.   Exercise even just walking or the gym will help you.  Maybe read a book or play some music.  Anything that helps you relax.
  • AcceptanceAccept what you can’t change and focus on what you can.
  • Take Control
    By focusing on what you can change you once again take back control of your destiny.  You might not like the change but knowing about it means you can control what happens next.  Embrace it and make  the decisions you need for you!
  • Ask for helpIf you really don’t know what to do, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Use your friends, family or support groups.  Counselling is also a good way to get through major change.  Don’t be afraid to open up.  It isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of taking control.
  • Step Away from the alcohol

    Whilst alcohol will make you feel better in the short term, it can lead to you focusing on the negatives.   You may say things you regret especially on social media.  The hangover the next day doesn’t help either.  And do’t forget the calories will increase your chance of putting on weight which won’t make you feel good about yourself either!

  • Don’t comfort eat

    As with alcohol reaching for the biscuits, chocolates etc may make you feel good in the short term but the weight gain won’t.   Healthy eating will help your mental state much more.

Whatever life throws at you, remember you are the only person who can make that change work for you.  It might not be your choice initially, but once you know the impact, you can take control and decide on your own destiny.

So, the next time something doesn’t go to plan, think about what happened next.  Think about the positives that have come out of it.  This will help you when change comes your way and you are not expecting it!  Take back the control and move foreward!