Friday, 7 April 2017

Signs of Depression at Work. WHO World Health Day 2017: Depression

World Health Day takes place on April 7th each year and is sponsored by the WHO. This year, the focus is on depression. On World Mental Health Day last year October 10th 2016, the WHO launched a one year campaign entitled Depression: Let’s Talk.

New estimates on Depression released by the WHO in February claim that the rate of depression has increased by 18% from 2005-2015, and that it is the leading cause of disability. Lack of support and fear of stigma often deter people from seeking potentially life-saving treatment.



Working with depression is very difficult, as it prevents people from working to their full ability or gaining any job satisfaction. It can cause rifts within the workplace, when colleagues don’t realise that there is a problem. Depression may manifest itself in poor performance, which can create difficulty in group work environments, creating a cycle of unhappiness. We have gathered a list of some signs you may notice in a colleague who could be quietly suffering from depression. If you yourself are experiencing any of the below, it is worth talking to someone about how you feel and possibly looking for some further assistance.

  1. Timekeeping and Organisation: A common sign of depression can be a change in punctuality, or constant rushing due to tiredness. This can be noticed as being late for work, or failing to meet deadlines which they normally have no problem keeping. Is your colleague forgetting about some deadlines entirely? Disorganisation is a high indicator that a person is feeling stressed.

  1. Appetite: When someone is depressed or stressed, their appetite can often change. They could begin to eat significantly less or more, leading to changes in weight and/or energy. If a colleague is always very organised with their meals at work and has suddenly fallen into a disarray, this could be a sign of stress. Excessive snacking or lack of taking breaks to eat can be other indicators.

  1. Concentration: Any mental health problem can make it very hard to concentrate, and the workplace is be very demanding on a person’s mental resources. Even the simplest of daily tasks can be affected. If you notice that a colleague is suddenly finding it difficult to complete normal daily duties, it may be worth asking them if they are feeling ok, or if they need some help with their workload.
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  1. Mood: The workplace can be a stressful environment, however for many it is also a main social outlet. If someone seems to be avoiding the workplace banter or getting unreasonably moody with their colleagues, this could be a sign of a more deeply rooted issue. Does the person seem lethargic at work? Are they avoiding group situations?

  1. Not caring. . . . or caring too much: If someone is depressed, their moods may be a little uncontrollable, and their reactions to some situations can be unpredictable and not the usual. Motivation, or lack of, can be affected. They can experience feelings of being overwhelmed and helpless, or act nonchalant and unresponsive. They may even experience a mixture of the two. Either of these states can result in reckless behaviour in order to cope or get a quick fix of satisfaction. If an error at work is made as a result, this could be a perfect opportunity to approach the issue.

  1. Physical symptoms: When a person is mentally unwell, it has a direct impact on their physical health. Worrying can lead to a lack of sleep, which in itself has an array of effects on the body. Niggling pains, stomach problems, backaches and headaches are ways in which a mental health issue can physically manifest itself. If a co-worker has suddenly started to complain about any of these, it is worth asking them if they are ok or need help with anything. Take note of extra sick days being taken, or the employee not taking sick days even though they are unwell in order to manage their workload.

If you notice that a colleague may be suffering from depression based on any of the above points, you can start by asking if everything is ok. If the person insists that they are fine, or you are not in a position to approach this person, you can take a more indirect approach by leaving some mental health information in the canteen area or talking to HR or your boss about setting up a mental health promotion programme in the office. Workplaces which have a proactive approach to health and wellbeing can help employees get over problems like depression more quickly. Employers who are open and approachable will find their employees struggle less with acknowledging the problem and seeking help.

We want to keep your employees healthy, no matter what challenges they may face. 

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Otherwise, send us an email on info@fullhealthmedical.com or call us on +353 (01) 5549795 to speak to one of our team.






Friday, 31 March 2017

Happy Workplace Wellbeing Day!

Are you getting up to anything today to celebrate Workplace Wellbeing Day?? There are so many options. The Lunchtime Mile, a healthy lunch, a walking meeting. . . . . . the possibilities are endless. At the very least, read back over our posts from the last few days and see what you can squeeze in today to make your day just a bit healthier. It is never too late to start looking after your health!

Topics we covered this week (Click below to be directed):




Don't forget that for all of this week we are also offering a free one on one consultation with one of our experts. Get in touch with us on wellness@fullhealthmedical.com and we will organise a virtual consultation at a later time that suits you. Your staff are your most valuable resource. We can help you ensure that your workforce are healthy, resilient and productive. 





Thursday, 30 March 2017

Teeny tiny healthy changes you can easily make at work

At Full Health Medical, we are all about starting small and working towards a healthier you. With Workplace Wellbeing Day happening tomorrow, we are putting together some tips on how you can be as healthy as possible, without breaking the bank or altering your daily schedule. Drastic lifestyle changes happening within short periods of time are often unsustainable and short lived. By being patient and consistent, long term health goals are more achievable and less harsh on your body.  We have listed out some small health changes below which don’t take a huge amount of effort, but can make a very positive impact on your health. Ideally over time you should be able to mange most of these, but for now pick several, or even just one to get used to until you feel ready to progress.

1.   Aim to drink 2 litres of water per day. The recommended intake for water is 2-4 litres, however if you are new to this, just try to hit the bare minimum for now. If you don’t like the taste of water, flavour it with a sugar free cordial or some fruit. Another idea if you are really against the stuff is to pick a few times during the day to just throw a glass down the hatch, like a medicine. Eventually, you will get used to it.  Probably the best health habit you will ever develop.


2.   Have a good breakfast. We are conditioned into thinking that refined carbohydrates are the only breakfast choice. Most people admit to having toast or cereal, if anything at all. Added to that is high fat spreads and high sugar in breakfast cereals. Other options which are often healthier are porridge oats (hot or cold) and eggs. People who skip breakfast tend to weigh more than people who don’t, and even a small breakfast is beneficial for productivity, energy and mood.

3.    Pack your lunch, and snacks. By bringing a lunch and teatime snacks with you, you are better able to resist temptation and are in more control of your diet, and budget.

4.    Get your 5-7 portions of fruit and vegetables in. Like with water, if you are new to this start off with the minimum, which is 5.  If you do have tea breaks in work, substitute the biscuits for an apple and that’s one out of the way. Try to incorporate some vegetables in to your lunch like a little salad on the side or in your sandwich. Try to get 1 portion of fruit or vegetables in your breakfast so that you have one down.


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5.   Alternatives to tea and coffee. This one won’t apply to everyone, and I would never dream of depriving someone of their caffeine fix! However you need to look at what you are consuming. Look at the milk or sugar you are adding, how much is it boosting the calorie count of your favourite hot beverage? Also although we feel as though we “need” caffeine sometimes, too much can actually lead to heightened anxiety which is counter productive at work and bad for your health. The more we consume, the more we crave. If you have a lot of teas or coffees during the day, think about what you are adding but also consider cutting down slightly. You could spend the first week replacing one of your afternoon coffees with hot lemon and water, or a nice herbal tea. It is probably best not to suggest going cold turkey, for your own sake and for your colleagues!

6.    Get your steps in. If you are working at a desk for most of the day, the prospect of getting 10,000 steps in is very daunting. Start small, but start somewhere. Some smartphones already have a pedometer on their Health App that runs automatically. Sneak in your steps by parking a little further from the door, taking the stairs, going to a bathroom that is a little further away, walking around or pacing while taking phone calls, delivering messages personally rather than emailing and even go for a small walk on your break.  The chances of you getting all of the recommended 10,000 steps done while at work are slim, but you can still make a significant impact on your physical health by coming anywhere near it.
            


7.  Take breaks. This is so important. For your physical health, mental health, concentration, posture and energy. Look away from your computer, stand up, walk to the end of the hall and back, anything at all.  You may think you don’t have the time, but by giving your mind and body a break you will be improving the quality of your work and mood, leaving less room for mistakes and stress induced anxiety.


We are turning Workplace Wellbeing Day into Workplace Wellbeing Week at Full Health Medical! For all of this week, we are offering FREE CONSULTATIONS to employers and HR managers who want to improve the health status of their workforce. Email us on wellness@fullhealthmedical.com and one of our experts will arrange a virtual meeting a time which is convenient for you!



Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook

For anyone who loves cooking, it is hard to process that some people just don't like it so much. Until you remember that because of your love of cooking, your sink and drying rack are forever full! It's Workplace Wellbeing Day this Friday (March 31st), and we think that if you are going to take up any lasting health habits this week, food preparation is one of them. You can't out train a bad diet! Being able to cook for yourself is a vital lifeskill. Read below to see how you can turn this chore into something enjoyable and beneficial to your everyday life and health.

Yes at the start, cooking takes effort. And that’s not just the healthy stuff. Anything outside of throwing something into a microwave or oven means a little bit of work is required. But, the satisfaction of mastering even the most simple of meals is something which is comparable to little else. Being able to cook for yourself is one of the most valuable life skills you will ever develop.  It means that you can control your intake, eat what YOU want to eat, and adjust your diet if or when necessary. It is empowering.  Many look at food preparation as if it is a chore, and this is just not the case.  If you are really against cooking, have a look at the points below, hopefully they will alleviate some of the barriers.

Learning the skill

If you can’t afford to go to cooking classes or don’t have access, thank goodness for Youtube!! There are literally over 900,000 videos on how to slice a pepper. . . . never mind all of the 3 ingredient, 5 minute, easy peasy recipes that are available to suit every pocket and taste bud.

Read

So many people just don’t read instructions or recipes. Before you attempt a new recipe, thoroughly read the list of ingredients and method so that any nasty surprises are avoided. By doing this, you can decide on whether it is within your skill range and time allowance. Don’t set yourself up for failure by not knowing what you are doing.

Preparation

Make sure you have all of the ingredients together in view before you turn on an oven or hob. There is nothing like a hot pan and a missing ingredient to cite panic.  If the recipe says 1 diced onion, dice the onion before you turn on any heat and leave to the side so it can be quickly and conveniently added to your recipe.


Time

At the start, you do need to allocate some time to avoid feeling rushed and under pressure, the last thing you want is to be put off. That 5 minute recipe might take you 10, 15, or even 20 minutes and that’s ok. It is frustrating to do something you are not very good at (yet), and you need to give yourself a break.
Also remember you take the time to sit and watch a television soap, or to go on social media . The same time allocation and attention should be given to making sure your body is receiving its proper nutrition. You deserve it!

Likes and dislikes

Before you go crazy trying all sorts of different things, start with the most basic skills using ingredients you have eaten before and know you like (or kind of like. . . .). It is important to include as much variety in your diet as you can, but it is also important to learn to walk before you run. There is no point in trying to master a complicated recipe when you don’t even know if you are going to be able to eat it.
If you are particularly fussy or a plain eater, then it would be good to set up an aim of perhaps trying only 1 or 2 new foods each week.  Research ways it can be cooked, or better still pair it with something that you like. If you don’t really like it the first time, don’t totally dismiss it. Try cutting down to only small amounts regularly, and you may build up a tolerance or even a liking for it. This is especially important if your dislike for vegetables is causing you to consume less than the recommended minimum of 5 portions per day.

Bring the heat

So many foods are ruined by overcooking because people are so terrified of their food being undercooked. The more cooked your food is, the more nutrients disappear.  Vegetables are not meant to be baby food consistency for adults, and don’t even get me started on “very well done” steaks! Don’t be afraid to cut open a chicken breast if you aren’t sure. For beginners who are uneasy, it might be easier to cook using chopped meat such as in stir fries, or a lean mince.  Pay attention to the temperatures stated, and phrases like “high”, “medium” or “low” heat when using the hob.
Doing the dishes
Get over it! No one loves cleaning up, but it’s part of the package.  If you have just had a huge meal and are feeling lazy, of course you are not going to feel like cleaning up, but unfortunately it has to be done eventually! If this really bothers you, there are lots of “One Pot Wonder” recipes available. Batch cook so you only have to do one big clean up for the week. Put on some music, make a cup of tea or coffee, and just get it done. If you have a few minutes while something is being brought to a boil or simmering, start the process by getting the chopping board and a few utensils out of the way. Leave stubborn pots to soak, or if you are going to have nothing to do later or in the morning, they can wait. Don’t let your dislike of the clean up stop you from preparing proper meals for yourself or your family.

And finally. . . . . it’s just good for you


Being able to prepare a meal using some fresh ingredients is one of the best things you can do for your health, or your family’s health.  Most debilitating non communicable diseases such as heart diseases and cancers are influenced by diet, and can be prevented and/or treated with the same. Don’t underestimate how important it is to know how to nourish your body properly.  Talk to your GP about getting a check up, which can help you to figure out what exactly your body needs.


We are turning Workplace Wellbeing Day into Workplace Wellbeing Week at Full Health Medical! For all of this week, we are offering FREE CONSULTATIONS to employers and HR managers who want to improve the health status of their workforce. Email us on wellness@fullhealthmedical.com and one of our experts will arrange a virtual meeting a time which is convenient for you!