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An article from Health Plus on making New Year resolutions.

It’s thought that over 25% of the population makes New Year’s resolutions each year, with the top three resolutions all focusing on health and diet. Despite such optimism, only a quarter of those who set New Year goals, manage to stick to them. Here, Simon Bandy of nutritional supplement specialists Health Plus, highlights what health resolutions we should be setting and when if we really want to form new habits..


·  Eat porridge and risotto – If you want to get more vitamins and fibre into your diet, eating porridge or barley risotto is an easy and delicious way to achieve this. A nourishing bowl of something hot is just what you need on a chilly day. The goodness in these winter grains can help maintain blood glucose levels, keep hunger at bay and slow gastro-intestinal transit—fantastic benefits and all you have to do is eat!  

·  Get outdoors – The lack of sunlight during winter can disrupt our sleep and waking cycles. No matter the weather, try and get outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible. Country walks have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression, while other benefits include expending more calories (your body consumes more calories when it’s cold), and boosting the capacity of your heart; when it’s cold, the body seeks to maintain its internal temperature at a constant level of about 37°C, by increasing the flow of blood. The heart will therefore pump more quickly and become stronger. It’s also thought that practising power walking in winter can reduce illness as your body will gradually get used to the cold and strengthen its defences to attack winter germs.


·  Visit the farmers’ market – An easy way to kick-start your spring health goals is to increase your servings of non-starchy vegetables and fresh fruits. This is the perfect time of year to check out your local farmers’ markets and experience the health benefits that shopping locally can provide. The food there will have normally been grown locally, be in season, and picked that morning or the day before, so it’s fresher than anything you could get at a supermarket, and therefore higher in nutrients and antioxidants. Furthermore, you’ll be able to experience some amazing spring produce, such as artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, gooseberries, rhubarb and more (all of which have additional health benefits in their own right).

·  Clear the mind – Working on your mental health is important no matter the time of year. However, for those who may not have thought about their mind’s activity before, spring can be a great time to start, thanks to the warmer weather, lighter nights and the awakening of new life. The practice of mindfulness can benefit your health in so many ways from relieving stress and lowering blood pressure, to treating chronic pain, alleviating gastrointestinal difficulties, and improving sleep. Anyone can practice mindfulness and the charity Mind offers some great exercises and tips to get you started.


·  Quit smoking – A lot of people set New Year’s Day as the date to stop smoking. However, summer can be a much better time to quit; daily routines change with more sunshine, making us feel more relaxed, so smoking triggers are less frequent. Holidays home or away can also help as key components of your day change. That quick morning coffee and a cigarette may become a relaxed breakfast of juices and pastries, for instance, without the association of the cigarette. Activities also differ, distracting you from your usual habits and triggers.

·  Reduce screen time – Smartphones, tablets, computers, and televisions—too much screen time can really affect our health from reducing brain functionality, causing eye strain, promoting poor posture, and increasing the risk of obesity, heart disease and even depression. Summer is an ideal time to give our bodies a break and put some simple changes in place that can hopefully be carried through, or adapted, to suit all year round. Suggestions include: not eating in front of a screen—make the most of the warmer nights and enjoy alfresco dining; putting a ban on your phone and laptop—use the lighter evenings to read a book, go for a stroll, play a game of tennis, or take up a new craft hobby; and meeting face to face rather than texting or using social media to catch up—the days are longer in the summer so there’s more time for morning coffee chats or an evening drink in the local pub.


·  Love your liver – With Christmas around the corner your liver may be put to the test. Autumn is a great time of year to start introducing small changes to your diet that will not only benefit your liver over the festive season but will also help detox your body long term. Try cutting down on caffeine and setting yourself goals for drinking more water. Consider taking supplements like Liver Kind which are high in vitamins, minerals, artichoke and key amino acids—great for helping to detoxify the body and eliminate harmful chemicals.

·  Go to bed It’s not just children that should have a regular bedtime; adults can benefit too. A little structure when it comes to bedtime can aid weight loss, lower blood sugar and blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Going to bed and waking up at a regular time every day can also help maintain a well-functioning metabolism. Winter is the perfect time to introduce your body to a new routine; not only do the darker nights naturally make us sleepier, but our bodies also generally sleep better when it’s a little cooler.

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Check out my latest diary page on The Bad Back CompanyA Day in the Life of a Back Pain Sufferer as we Head into a New Year and another Lockdown…

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With us all facing another lock-down it’s easy to become quite low and despondent about the whole situation. But what if you could turn things around and make it advantageous.

I am a very positive person even with all I have gone through and have to deal with I keep a smile on my face and stay as confident as I can as there is always someone else worse off than me. But, this last month has even left me feeling pretty desperate.

My life is my family and with the lockdowns in London just before Christmas and both my children have someone in their family working in London it meant spending Christmas on our own with FaceTime as something to look forward to daily.

On Monday when then PM announced the new lockdown measures due to the new strain of COVID spreading so fast it did make you feel quite unsafe about going out at all. We are lucky enough to live in the country and can go on walks and see only a handful of people but people living in the city do not have this option which makes it even harder for them.

My son and his wife decided last year they were going to move out of London and near us and his sister in West Sussex. Just before Christmas, their contract was exchanged and the secret I had been keeping for a while ( until they had exchanged) could be shared with the rest of the family. We were ecstatic and when we saw they were only 2 miles away from his sister which is only 10 miles from us I was on cloud nine.

My husband and I were also able to celebrate together that we were to become grandparents again this July. What more could anyone ask. I had a fixed grin for some weeks. Of course, the grin isn’t so wide now as we cannot help our daughter with her 18-month-old during her second pregnancy and we cannot help our son and his wife who move into their home next week.

So, donned with my pen and writing pad I started writing a few things down over the Christmas period of what I could make to help out my family without even being with them. I have always love craft things and last year I made my granddaughter a sensory book for her first birthday. All made out of felt with lots of touchy-feely things on each page like you can see on the photo above. It took me months to make but the pictures on the faces of my daughter and her husband were enough for me to feel every hour spent on it was worth the effort. I have a lovely video which lasts quite a while of my granddaughter playing with the book and I quite often pop it on as it always puts a smile on my face. If you want to see any more of some of the craft items I make, I have a regular ‘Day in the Life of a Back Pain sufferer’ on The Bad Back Company’s blog.

Here are a few of my ideas I wrote down to start in January. I had kept my children’s nursery curtains from when they were babies as it was a lovely Sanderson nursery print and thought one of them might like them for their own nurseries but how do you split a pair of curtains? Well, one of my ideas was to make a quilt out of each curtain which is on my list for this month.

I also wrote on my ideas list that maybe we could put a hamper together for when my son and his wife move into their new home which I have immediately started putting together and I am also making a card for them. I love making cards and decided I could sketch a picture of their house onto a card for them to make it even more personal.

I decided that maybe I could help my daughter out by doing a load of batch cooking for her as my granddaughter does love my homemade fish cakes and courgette muffins. I knew it would help and make me feel more involved. I am about to make a batch today for her.

I can sit for hours looking for ideas on Pinterest that might spark another idea or something I see in a magazine. Last year I bought as many of the Christmas magazines as I could find as I love the Christmas editions and decided to put them away until Christmas Day so I had lots to read through over the Christmas period. They were a blessing in disguise and got my mind thinking of other ways to inspire me to maybe try something new that either myself, my family or someone else could benefit from.

The chances are if you are reading this then you have access to either a laptop, iPad or iPhone and the internet and so a brilliant way to find something new for you to get interested in is a magazine all about it.

Pocketmags is an online magazine company which sells subscriptions and single issues of lots of magazines for you to read on your laptop etc. We all like to feel of a magazine but with most of us not getting near a WH Smith or good newsagents for a long time I am sure you will not have seen nor heard of some of the magazines available on Pocket Mags website. The best thing is that you can buy single issues so you could read them through and see if you think it’s something you might be interested in. It might be that you want to learn more about your condition or start a new course but you are not quite sure about it. I am pretty sure you will find whatever you are looking for on the PocketMags website.

As many of you will have seen from previous posts that I have written I am an avid believer that writing helps you cope with chronic pain but that is for me personally. Reading is another of my favourite hobbies. I have always got a fiction book on the go and every afternoon when I go for my rest I read a chapter or two from my book to help me relax and give my body a rest.

I spent a full morning the other day on Pocket Mags website and went from A-Z of their Magazine Back Issues. My list is a page full so I will have to cut that right down but some on my list were Arthritis Digest, Easy Cook, Cross Stitch ( my daughter bought me a pack for Christmas) Knitting, Card Making, Family Tree and lots more. Some of which I will definitely write about on here.

It is only 6th January today and I already have a two page list of ideas on things to make, read, or help others with, to take me away from the difficult situation we are all in at the moment. If I only inspire one person to maybe start a new hobby or make a list like I have to help you over the next few months then I will feel this post was worth writing. I am of course always happy to help anyone who maybe going through a very difficult time.