Five health problems caused by stress



Stress can be a contributory cause to many conditions experienced by society today Some of these issues are widely known but others may come as a surprise and we examine five as well as two coping mechanisms that we hope will help. 

Depression and anxiety.

It is absolutely no surprise that stress is related to depression and anxiety. Stressful relationships, either at home or in the workplace will create the likelihood that sufferers will develop depression and, or anxiety, more so than those people who are less stressed.

Headaches.

It is widely recognised that stress is one of the most common causes of chronic migraines and tension headaches. Both are debilitating conditions and add to the likelihood of depression and anxiety developing.

Diabetes.

Stress can create unhealthy habits such as comfort eating and excess alcohol intake. In extreme cases, such habits if not brought under control can lead to obesity and diabetic conditions.

Heart conditions.

It is widely believed that stress contributes to heart problems brought on by high blood pressure. This, coupled with bad habits such as excess eating, drinking, and possibly smoking, will all contribute to the risk of heart attacks.

Early death.


Research has indicated that people under a great deal of stress are over 60% more likely to die at a younger age than those who are less stressed.

So what can we do?

We have written before on the subject of stress management and refer you to those articles below this one. In short, there is no easy fix. It takes effort and time to battle stress but here are two tips that work for many people.

Deep Breathing.

Deep breathing for several minutes at moments of high anxiety can relieve the situation to a degree.

If suffering from a panic attack, one technique is to use a small paper bag and breathe into it filling up the bag completely when exhaling, then another deep breath and fill the bag again. Do this until the feelings pass.

 

This is a widely used technique, not only for panic attacks but for more general stress relief during the day, several minutes of deep breathing four times a day can produce positive results over a period of time.


Avoid Catastrophising by using Perspective. 

If suffering from stress and feeling low many people have the tendency to catastrophise. For example; is this headache a brain tumour? Is that twinge in the chest a heart attack? Is that nasty cough A symptom of something far worse?
Many people do this and if it happens have this conversation with yourself:

“What’s the worst thing that could happen to me?“.

               Answer “well, I could die.“

“Yes of course you could put has this feeling happened before?”

               Answer “yes, it has!"

“And are you still alive?“

               Answer “Yes I am!"

“Well then just console yourself with the fact that the feeling, however unpleasant and frightening, will pass."

 

Please be aware that we would always encourage anyone suffering from a stress related condition to seek professional medical advice.


Good luck!

 

Mayfair, we care.

Is life just too fast?



We have more labour-saving appliances, smart gadgets and improved ways of working than we have ever had before. However, this does not appear to be freeing up any time and most people seem busier than ever.

The pace of life, the pace of change, and the pace of technology is increasing at year on year. This is not necessarily a good thing for us as individuals. Perhaps we need to be aware that by slowing down a little we can improve our life immeasurably?

Everything seems fast these days from fast food, to fast deliveries of goods we order, to superfast Internet and smart lanes on motorways getting us to places quicker, the advances in technology are vast and enable us to carry out increasing numbers of tasks quickly and easily. Doing more things more quickly does not translate into more ‘me’ time though, in fact during what should be ‘me’ time we spend it in front of our mobile phones, tablets or laptops getting more stimulation and the more stressed we become as a result.

We are now in addicted to this fast pace of life, This ability to connect and be connected with information on the outside world every minute of the day. Next time you are on public transport please take a look around you and count up the number of phones that are being stared at as opposed to the number of people actually talking to one another. The result is frightening.

On the rare occasion when we might experience an Internet outage we are frantic because we are not connected and this expectation of constant connectivity means we are losing our relationship with the natural rhythms of life.

So how can we correct this shift to experience a slower pace of life?

Here are some ideas.

Digital detox.

If you truly believe you are addicted to your smartphone then why not try to detach yourself from the it for periods of time every week.? Initially, try an evening without the phone, then perhaps half a day, then a full day. You may be surprised at how enjoyable it is to read a book or concentrate on the television programme instead of it being on in the background. On public transport, why not leave the phone in your pocket and people watch or enjoy the journey.

Stretching.

A gentle 5 to 10 minutes stretching routine before bed each night whilst concentrating on your breathing will not only calm you this will also cooks you away from your phone before bedtime.

Exercise.

Go for a walk in the evening without your smart phone and enjoy the scenery in your neighbourhood take in the different architecture, trees and shrubs. This will have a calming influence.

The weekends.

There is a tendency to cram as much activity into leisure time as we possibly can. This somewhat contradicts the term leisure time! Why not schedule time just to sit in the garden and read, listen to music, have a coffee, enjoy the surroundings. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy this.

So your challenge is to fit periods of slow living in to your busy life and become engaged on a different level, allowing your mind to switch off and simply be you in achieving a great work / life balance.

Good luck!

 

Mayfair, we care.

Driving you round the bend.


 

As any driver who spends a lot of time in the car will testify, driving takes its toll on the body.

 

Repetitive movements and vibration are two significant factors that negatively impact on the body when we are driving. Both can lead to muscle fatigue and musculoskeletal disorders.

 

General discomfort and lower back pain are frequent complaints that are reported by drivers as well as foot cramps, stiff neck, sore shoulders from poor posture, stress and tension.

 

Tension when driving is a big issue with today’s helter-skelter motorways and a roads; everyone rushing to be somewhere at a certain time whether that is school run, business appointments, deliveries or shopping trips. The roads can be like a battlefield.

 

Driving issues.

Repetition. 

Even though you’re in a seated position you are performing several repetitive movements. Your hands are on the steering wheel forcing your arms into an unnaturally high position than for other activities such as working at a desk. To operate the brake, clutch and accelerator pedal you have to extend your legs forward at regular intervals with feet at an angle. With a manual vehicle you have the added movement involved in using the clutch and gearstick.

 

Vibration. 

When driving a car over uneven or pot holed roads (road surfaces are an increasing problem in today’s world), your body will experience the vibrations up, down or sideways movement. The force on your body will depend on the speed of acceleration of deceleration.

 

Changing places

Being comfortable and well positioned in the vehicle can help reduce the negative effects of driving and minimise the risk of injury. Here are seven tips that may help you drive more ergonomically. 

  • Raise your seat to allow maximum vision of the road and ensure that there is adequate clearance between your head on the roof.
  • Knees should be bent to comfortably operate the accelerator, clutch and brake. Check that the steering wheel doesn’t come into contact with your thighs.
  • Thighs should be supported along the length of the seat while avoiding pressure behind the knees.
  • Invest in a backrest that gives support along the length of the back and allows your shoulders to be positioned slightly behind the hips.
  • The lumbar support whether adjustable or not should provide comfort with no pressure points or gaps between spine and the car seat and S sheep spine is a safe shape.
  • Adjust the steering wheel to ensure elbows and shoulders are in a relaxed position with hands put positioned below shoulder level. A good test is when you put your arms straight in front (above the top of the steering wheel), the top of the wheel should sit approximately at your wrist level.
  • Don’t forget your neck. The neck should be in a neutral position with the headrest positioned centre of the head.

Following these tips will reduce some of the effects of driving long distances but do remember to stop on a regular basis and don’t wait until you feel tired – that might be too late!

Good luck!


Mayfair, we care.

Keeping an eye on your eyes


 

We take our eyes for granted but we rely on them every minute of the waking day.

 

Do we take proper care of them? Do we take note when they’re tired because of digital eyestrain, tech fatigue or computer vision syndromes which are all terms to describe tired and overworked eyes.

 

It’s not a serious condition but anyone who regularly stares at a screen for more than two hours at a time will be familiar with the symptoms.

 

Driving long distances, reading fine print or focusing on detailed work close up for extended periods can also have the same affect and strain our eyes.

 

Why does this happen?

 

Any activity where you tend not to blink as often as you would normally do can cause symptoms of eye fatigue. You may also clinch the facial muscles muscles around your eyelids, temples and jaw as your eyes work to stay focused. This adds to the discomfort.

 

Refractive vision problems due to regular irregularities in the shape of your eyes may also lead to eyestrain. The good news is that eye strain does not cause you permanent damage.

 

The symptoms

·       Burning sensation in the eye area.

·       Watery or uncomfortably dry eye.

·       Difficulty focusing.

·       Sensitivity to light.

·       Blurred or double vision.

·       Headaches.

·       Sore neck shoulders or back due to muscle tension.

 

Looking after your eyes.

 

The best treatment for eye strain is rest which will usually ease the discomfort in the short term.

 

You should also: 


  • Take regular breaks when you’re focusing close up for long periods as when reading or when using electronic devices like computers and smartphones and also when driving.
  • Adjust the lighting so that the light is behind you and focus directly on your book when reading.
  • Use lubricating eye drops which can help to reduce dryness and redness.
  • Adjust the contrast brightness and font size on your screen to make it easier to read.
  • Adjust the monitor so the top of the screen is just below eye level.
  • Keep your screen clear to avoid glare and reflection caused by dust and dirt.

Summary

Your eyes are far too important to neglect. Make sure that you see you’re at optometrist for regular eye tests and specific exercises to strengthen your eye muscles.

 

Good luck!


Mayfair, we care.

What is a real apology?


 

An apology is a gesture that means you take responsibility for something you did, but do we always apologise and mean it?

 

They say that “love means never having to say that you are sorry “. Well we all know that isn’t true!

 

In fact, apologising is a way to get a get to a better place in a relationship and when we apologise it should come from the heart and be unconditional. Do you always say sorry as though you mean it?

Do you sometimes say sorry but don’t hold yourself accountable?

If you were in the wrong but you don’t hold yourself accountable, then this isn’t really an apology. You need to acknowledge that you understand why your actions or words were wrong and upsetting. 

Do you sometimes say sorry, then make an excuse to justify your actions?

“Sorry but I am under pressure due to deadlines at work” or some equally lame excuse undermines the sincerity of your apology and, once again, indicates that you’re not taking full responsibility for your actions. 

Do you sometimes so sorry but blame the other person?

 “Sorry but if you hadn’t done XXX, I wouldn’t have done YYY” is not a good approach! Once again you are ruining an apology by saying to someone that it was their action rather than your reaction that caused the problem. Please think twice before doing this because this can actually make a bad situation even worse.

Do you sometimes say sorry if?

“If I hurt you then I’m sorry”. This grudging apology completely wipes out any positive effect your apology may intend because you are introducing an element of uncertainty into the situation and although you may think you are being sincere, it will not come over that way.

Best practice.

Own the situation and make the apology heartfelt and unconditional. If you have done something wrong, then it’s up to you to put it right and a genuine apology as a good place to start, but don’t make the apology conditional upon outside influences.

 

Good luck!

 

Mayfair, we care.

Social media and the perfectionist

   

In May 2019 we wrote about perfectionism and being a perfectionist. In this article we examine how social media has changed the way we look at others and how we judge ourselves.

The rise of social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter has led to various notable changes in our daily lives. And that includes the way we communicate, the opinions we hold of others and the use of technology.

If you take time to look around you, even as you walk down the streets or at any social gathering, you will notice that almost 80% of individuals are often glued to their mobile phones or at least securely holding one in their hand.

That's the true picture of how social media and the perfectionist syndrome is taking a toll on us. And it's for this reason that various society experts are getting worried about the effects of social media networks on our lives. But how serious is this and what's the main reasons behind it? Keep reading to learn more! 

The Rise Of The Perfectionists 

A simple scroll through major social media platforms will instantly reveal that almost everyone is leading their best life. It feels like a virtual competition where everyone wants to be noticed.

A scramble for likes, views, comments, and following defines the life of a heavy social media user.  But is this really what their developers had in mind in the first place? Of course not!

It was meant to be a place for fun. To meet new people, explore opportunities and get a glimpse of the world out there. But users are now taking it too seriously and it's slowly transforming into a place of "survival for the fittest". And as this happens, we as a society are slowly losing focus and falling right into the traps of the social media and the perfectionist theme. 

If you examine carefully, you will notice that most individuals are addicted to their social media or virtual lives. And as much as most of them aren't living their best lives in real life, they do in their virtual worlds and that's where the problem begins.

They can readily go to any extreme to ensure they maintain their social media looks. And that includes borrowing money to purchase/ hire that expensive stuff they keep flaunting on their accounts, go for "trips" or host parties without any trace of shame or guilt.  

While that might not seem like a big issue, the major problem starts when one gets so much into it that they can't simply seem to come into terms with their reality and start chasing unrealistic fantasies. Perfect lives spent with perfect families with perfect friends in a perfect world just isn’t reality but the knock on effect can be serious.

This is when the perfectionists start suffering from various mental issues to the extent of wanting to manipulate the present to compeer with contemporaries for what's not even there in the first place.

Most of them go into depression, experience frustrations and throw around tantrums when they can't keep up with the game. And then there are people that follow others silently and want to emulate whatever their social media "role models" post without critical analysis.

Unknown to them, the posters don't even adhere to what they post on their timelines. Woe unto you if you believe it! 

Take Away 

Everything in life has two sides; the good and the bad. So as much as social media use is great for our social life, we shouldn't turn a blind eye to the rising trend of the social media perfectionist.

What people post is mostly far from reality. That "perfect" photo or video has a story behind it, so before you stress yourself by joining the game, please be aware of the line between reality and fantasy.

Draw it, lest you find yourself deep into the social media perfectionist pit that will only drain you.

Mayfair, we care

 

Summer – friend or foe?



We love the Summer and those sunny days, but sunshine and heat is a double-edged sword. We need it because vitamin D is important to us, but too much of it and we risk skin cancer. 

So, what are the facts?

Vitamin D is created when your skin is exposed to the Sun’s ultraviolet B rays. It is best known for keeping your bones healthy by increasing the absorption of calcium. 

However low levels of vitamin D may lead to the bone thinning disease called osteoporosis. Research also indicates that insufficient vitamin D may play a role in other diseases including Multiple Sclerosis and certain cancers.

Vitamin D deficiency is very common and it is estimated that about 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of vitamin D in their blood. 

Why does this happen?

Today’s modern world where many people work longer hours in an office based or factory environment deprive many people of the sunshine that they need. Couple this with a decline in outdoor activities, the rise and popularity of video gaming and it is not difficult to see that as a society we are no longer the Sun lovers that we used to be.

How much sunshine do we need?

The answer is surprisingly little.

Some research indicates that a even just a few minutes of sunshine in the mid-morning or the mid-afternoon can be enough. This should not be beyond the majority of us but we are warned not to spend too much time in a hot midday sun.

It’s more difficult when winter arrives however because we tend to dress for the cold weather and very little skin is exposed even to a winter sun, so dependent upon where you live, the winter some may be too weak to make sufficient vitamin D.

Vitamin D all year round.

In the summer you should be checking your UV levels to ensure that you don’t get too much sun exposure but in the winter UV levels can often be too low to make much vitamin D especially in the early morning and late afternoon.

In winter it is good to expose your arms or lower legs for between seven and 40 minutes and the darker your skin, or the further away from the equator that you live from the equator, the more exposure you will need during the winter months in order to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.

If you feel you are not getting sufficient vitamin D then certain foods can help. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines can help, as well as red meat and eggs. A further source of vitamin D can be found in dietary supplement supplements which are available from most chemists.

We hope this information has been helpful, and now that the summer is here please take care and don’t forget the sunscreen regardless of your skin type. 

Remember, Mayfair we care. 

Why we need purpose in our lives.


 

Research indicates that happiness depends on having meaning and connection in our lives but how do we get this? We are off for a few ideas as to how to achieve this.


What is your life’s purpose?

Part of the problem is that very few of us ever can fully answer this question. We are on this earth for an unknown period of time and during that time we do some things that are important, and some things that are important.

 

Please note that it is the important things that we believe give our lives meaning and happiness. This can be true, but sometimes the little things will contribute in a disproportionate way as well.

 

Make a difference

Perhaps instead of asking what life’s purpose is, we should be saying to ourselves what can we do with our lives what is important and can make a difference.

 

Importance can mean different things to different people. It can mean going into politics, or campaigning for climate change; or it can be something as straightforward as coaching juniors at the local sports club or giving your time to a local charity or community group.

 

You see, it does not have to be related to the work that you do, it can be a pastime, a particular interest or volunteering with a local club or charity which gives you the most pleasure and a sense of wellbeing because you feel you are giving something back to the community.

 

Simple kindnesses

As far as work is concerned, please remember that many of us do not work in the job of our dreams. That is something which is reserved for the lucky few.

 

For the rest of us we can achieve fulfillment by perhaps helping a colleague who might be struggling at work or carrying out simple kindnesses such as calling in to say hello and have a chat with an elderly neighbour or giving someone a simple, unexpected gift.

 

Try saying thank you to a shop assistant and meaning it; or complimenting somebody on their appearance or congratulating them for something they have achieved.


The list of small kindnesses such as this is endless and can make such a difference both to you, having shown this kindness, as well as to the recipient for having received it  - they may be having a bad day and can suddenly feel 10 feet tall!

 

Become a kind person that makes a difference and be a happier one. That’s got to be a good purpose in life.

 

Remember, Mayfair cares

Is being a perfectionist good for you?


 

Are you one of life‘s perfectionist?

 

·       Consider yourself a perfectionist if:

 

·       You can’t stop thinking about every little mistake you make.

 

·       You can’t stand being second in anything you do.

 

·       Any project that you undertake must be absolutely right.

 

·       You expect the highest standards of other people.

 

·       You will never ask for help because you feel it is a sign of weakness.

 

·       You will persist with a task long after other people would have considered the task complete.

 

·       You are a fault-finding who corrects other people when they are wrong.

 

·       You are highly aware of other people’s demands and expectations.

 

·       You are very self-conscious about making mistakes in front of other people and dwell on it afterwards.

 

Perfectionists will also have a keen eye for detail and push themselves to achieve personal goals, their work will exceed expectations and their ambitions will know no bounds.

 

Research has indicated that perfectionism can be linked to emotional, physical and relationship problems including anxiety, depression, eating disorders and marital discord.

 

What people think about perfection

Many perfectionist traits are also linked to successful high achievers due to their high standards and high expectations. Highly successful actress Gwyneth Paltrow is one such perfectionist who has also suffered marital and relationship discord.

 

However, the strive for perfection has brought about much debate over the years. Consider these three very different outlooks:

 

·       “Perfection is the enemy of success. “ Winston Churchill.

 

·       “When you aim for perfection you discover that it is a moving target. “ Geoffrey F Fisher

 

·       “Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralising”. Harriet Bralker

 

Each of these quotations indicates that true perfection does not exist.

 

In the first one Churchill believes that time will be wasted by striving for perfection, whilst in the second quotation Fisher suggests that perfection is always just out of reach.

 

The final quotation by Bralker confirms this by suggesting that the pursuit of absolute perfection is demoralising, (perhaps because it is unattainable) and excellence should be good enough.

 

As indicated earlier, striving for perfection which is always just out of reach can cause mental illness. There is wide research that suggests that both perfectionism and mental health issues have been on the increase over the last 20 years. This has coincided with the rise of social media where everyone lives out their perfect lives, with their perfect families and their perfect careers in their own perfect world.

 

Such access to these social media examples put enormous pressure on the individual with perfectionist tendencies and we will examine this in a future blog

 

Remember, Mayfair cares

Making yourself more productive.



Being under pressure at work can be stressful. You have too much to do and you don’t have enough time.

 

Learning the difference between urgent and important is vital if you are to become more productive.


If you are one of the many thousands of us who constantly check your emails, immediately respond to every query from colleagues, clients and even friends then you can’t be concentrating on those things that are important. If something is so urgent, wouldn’t your colleague, client or friend have picked up the phone?

 

Right! So, we now know the emails can wait a while until the important jobs are out of the way. Some people have been known to put an out of office message saying that ‘I will next be checking my emails at 4pm this afternoon, if your email is urgent, please ring me.’ Would that work for you?

 

Equally, are you one of the many thousands of us who write a ‘to-do’ list every day and then pick off the ten easy ones only to wonder what you’ve really achieved – with the important stuff still outstanding?


The difference between urgent and important.

Urgent tasks:

 

There is demand for your immediate attention all the time – daily deadlines, answering phone calls and important texts, emails from your boss, emails from your best clients, social media messages needing a reply. All of these feel important but often some are not.

We are drawn to these tasks because they make us feel wanted and important; people want a reply from us but do they need that reply right now?.

Important tasks:

These can be less dramatic with no alarms or drama like urgent tasks. It’s easy to ignore them. But rather than someone else’s goals, important tasks contribute to your long-term goals whether these are professional or personal and could include hitting those sales figures, completing that project, getting more financially secure, and advancing your career.


If that seems like an easy distinction we’re often quick to confuse the two. If you are checking your email so often but it’s preventing you from getting in the actual work done you mistaking urgency for importance.


What you can do.

Have a look at your to do list each day and grade each task with a ‘u’ or an ‘i’ according to their importance or urgency. Work on the important tasks first and the urgent stuff will get done because it has to be done. If something urgent tries to get your attention ignore it until your important work is done for the day.

 

As US President Dwight Eisenhower once said – “I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.”

 

Remember, Mayfair cares