Setting boundaries at work



We have all been there. What seems like banter, or fun and games to one person could be quite hurtful to another. How do you know if boundaries are being crossed in your workplace?

Commenting on how much and what you eat, prying questions about your private life, comments on your appearance, culturally inappropriate remarks or slightly smutty jokes can all leave co-workers with feelings of discomfort, resentment, or guilt.

If that’s happening in your workplace then it’s time to set boundaries.

This doesn’t have to be difficult and it is natural to be concerned about how speaking up could affect your workplace relationships. However, tolerating behaviour that leaves you feeling uncomfortable and stressed is detrimental to your health. In such circumstances  boundaries need to be set of their designed to protect you, and not to make things even harder between you and your colleagues, but the secret is to implement change in a subtle but effective way, and here is what you need to know.

 Don’t go on the attack

The chances are that the person who made the remark didn’t mean to offend and most of the time that person will be mortified that they have caused offence. They are thoughtless rather than malicious but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with it.

Approach the situation in a way that shows that you’re aware the person didn’t mean to offend and reassure them that we all say things without thinking, sometimes it would be nice to eat together without having to discuss the contents of your lunchbox or what you are wearing and your private life.

Smutty jokes or culturally inappropriate remarks may seem amusing to some but can leave others feeling resentful. This creates a negative atmosphere amongst colleagues and boundary setting can prove to be a very positive step.

Even if you believe that some of your colleagues are sexist or racist, labeling them as such can lead to very defensive behaviour especially if they’re acting out of ignorance more than anything else. So instead of making accusations, first try explaining how the comment makes you feel – uncomfortable, resentful or just plain intimidated! The offender is less likely to become defensive and more likely to appreciate how and why their careless comments became stressful for those involved.


Remember, Mayfair, we care.

Degrees of stress

 

As we have all heard, stress is not always bad for you, but this depends upon the degree of stress you are under. For instance, in life threatening situations stress can save our lives by helping us escape danger thanks to our flight or fight response. However in the modern world stress is triggered far more frequently than it ever used to be and can eventually make us ill.

We know that we don’t feel good when we are in distress but do we really know what it’s doing to our physical health on a day by day basis. If we are constantly under stress how does this affect our mind and body and how can we find ways to manage this situation?

Hormones.

The stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline speed up your heartbeat and send blood rushing to the areas that need it most. This is good in an emergency but when these hormone levels remain high due to constant stress they will affect most areas of the body.

Butterflies.

Most of us experience butterflies in the stomach brought on by situations such as interviews, sports contests, exams and many other situations. This is perfectly natural. However if this is happening on a constant basis it can affect the digestive system. For instance, acid reflux as well as exacerbating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease are possible.

Your heart

Under stress your heart pumps faster. This can raise your blood pressure and when your blood pressure rises so does your risk of a stroke and heart attack.

Sleep patterns.

When you’re stressed, you’re probably not sleeping particularly well because stress affects sleep as you end up overproducing stress hormones.

Normally cortisol rises in the morning to wake you up and lowers through the day, but when you are constantly under stress this pattern can change meaning you will wake up tired but be buzzing at bedtime.

Diabetes.

Little is known about how stress contributes to the diabetes risk. One theory is that cortisol alters the bodies sensitivity to insulin making stress a risk factor for diabetes.

Cancer.

Health experts are in dispute over whether stress causes cancer and no large-scale study has been able to prove a direct link. However, stressful situations can lead us to develop unhealthy habits such as smoking, overeating and heavy drinking, all of which can increase the risk of cancer.

So what can we do?

Here are some stress busting tips that are easy to achieve and implement.

Time out. This is the most effective stress buster. For 15 minutes a day stop everything and be selfish. Schedule some me time and do whatever makes you happy.

Exercise. Exercises will assist stopping the buildup of stress. If you take a brisk walk shortly after feeling stressed this will deepen your breathing and help to relieve muscle tension. Other activities such as yoga and tai chi combine fluid movements with deep breathing and mental focus. This has a calming effect on your nervous system.

See people. Loneliness is a major cause of stress. Try to spend time in the company of others by joining a club or simply picking up the phone and talking to a good friend.

If in doubt. When stress becomes overwhelming then the short answer to this is to see your Doctor who will assess you and point you in the right direction. So much more is known about stress and its causes these days that doctors are far more adept at being able to help than ever before.

Remember, Mayfair, we care.

Are you growing a moustache?


November is fast approaching and this will bring into focus cancer conditions that thousands of men die from every year unnecessarily. 

November is the annual monthly Movember campaign which involves the growing of moustaches for the period of November to raise awareness about many men’s issues, including  prostate cancer, testicular cancer and male suicide.

Unlike most women, men visit the doctor less frequently and have shorter appointments.  Many only attend when the illness is in its later stages. Men who are reluctant to see their doctor are missing out on regular health checkups including those from the above conditions as well as many others.

Prevention

It is a fact that regular checkups can save lives because they give doctors the opportunity to pick up the early warning signs of illness and recommend treatment, lifestyle changes, and screening which may prevent an illness from developing further.

Checklist

Cancer

You should make an appointment to see a doctor if you notice any unusual changes. 
Prostate cancer is a common  cancer diagnosed in men and the most common cause of cancer death in men. However you can be Reassured that it can usually be cured if treated in its early stages.

Bowel cancer. 

This is the second most common cancer in both men and women. The risk increases with age but early detection greatly increases the chances of successful treatment.

Heart. 

Neither a high cholesterol nor high blood pressure Have typical warning signs, which makes it even more important that you have regular checkups with your GP to reduce your risk of developing heart issues or a stroke if you any concerns or a family history of such issues.

Mental health

Men are far more reluctant than women to talk to someone about a mental health problem Yet we know that men are more likely to die from suicide.

Research indicates that support programs can make it much difference to men, and if you have been feeling more angry And irritated , or if you have lost interest in activities that you would normally enjoy, an appointment with your GP would be the sensible thing to make as they can point you in the direction of the right mental health support which can make such a difference.

Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace

 

Earlier this week we had World Mental Health Awareness Day. However, we believe that every day should be World Mental Health Awareness Day and we make no apologies for repeating some of the advice that we have given in the past - it should be a habit, because it is an issue that affects countless hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

For sufferers, they are aware of it every day at work, at home and at leisure but this article looks at the effect in the workplace.

Owners, directors and employees all have to pull together to contribute to the success of a business and each is affected by different pressures and stress which can lead to an adverse effect on mental health.

What should we look out for?

Colleagues who have previously been great communicators becoming withdrawn and less involved.  

Previously calm colleagues being unusually emotional.

Previously positive colleagues having difficulty making decisions and having negative points of view.

Colleagues looking constantly tired.

All of the above ( and it is not an exhaustive list ) are classic symptoms of a developing mental health issue.

What should we do?

In the first instance, just talking to colleagues is a good start. Trying to understand what the root cause of their worries could be. If it is work related, try to assist them with workload and bring this to the attention of others

But what if I am the employer and it gets worse?

  • ·    This can be reflected in absence from work impacting on costs

Many employees may not be comfortable in sharing the fact that they are taking leaves because they are suffering from anxiety, depression, or stress. But, if you notice them taking regular short-term absences, without offering any doctor’s note then this could be a warning sign.

What to do – Try to keep proper track of employee absence pattern. If you notice the same employee taking regular leaves you can conduct a meeting with them so that you can help them readjust to the workplace. It is better to have a good employee coping with a comfortable workload than the same person being constantly absent.

  • ·     Increasingly erratic behavior and mood swings affecting others

When people deal with too much stress it is likely to reflect in their behavioral pattern and you will notice a change in their character and mood. Even the most polite employee might start bullying others, may suddenly become withdrawn, or be short tempered.

What to do – if you notice an employee displaying such behavior then you should hold fun and informal workshops on a regular basis, where you should also educate your employees about mental health problems, and how it can affect their work life. You can even offer counseling to the employees to help them further.

  • ·       Lack of engagement & productivity

People suffering from poor mental health may look lethargic and tired, find it difficult to make decisions, and also struggle to start and complete their assigned tasks, which affects overall productivity.

What to do – Try to do something to vary the workload of your employees. You may share the workload more evenly amongst team members. If offering flexible working can be an option, this too could improve morale as many people struggle with work life balance and this could help.

  • ·       High turnover of staff

     Many employees leave their job without even thinking about it seriously. More than the nature of their job, the reason is poor management, a poor workplace culture, and the way these can impact on employees.

Employees with mental health problems may leave work because they feel they will not be able to improve until they do something about their working environment.

What to do – try to find out why are people resigning. You can conduct exit interviews which allow the employees to be frank and backlash if they want to. This will help you know what is wrong with your workplace and how you can correct it.

Good mental health at the workplace is very important. If your employees are happy, satisfied, and enjoy working in your company, that will result in great productivity.

However, if they suffer from mental health issues then it will impact on your productivity, in a negative way.

So, try to keep track of any signs of mental health problems in your company, and find a solution at the earliest.

And remember, Mayfair we care.

Use it or lose it.


We have all heard the phrase use it or lose it. This applies predominantly to our physical fitness. As you will be aware to maintain a healthy body weight it is essential to combine a healthy diet with an active lifestyle.

 

But what sort of exercise is appropriate for you?

 

The best type of exercise for weight management is cardiovascular exercise. This activity increases your heart rate and exercises muscles.

 

An exercise regime of three or more times per week should enable you to fit you fitness programme into a busy lifestyle and achieve your goals of maintaining fitness levels important for both mind and body.

 

Effective exercising should make you feel slightly out of breath but do avoid pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion especially if this is at the beginning of your new exercise regime. It is best to start slowly and build up the time and intensity of your workout so you slowly increase your fitness levels. Once you have increased these levels, exercise will become easier and more enjoyable.

 

Opinions differ on how frequently exercise should take place but perceived wisdom is that a minimum of 30 minutes per session will have an impact on helping you achieve your goals. If you are able to exercise for longer then the goals will be achieved and maintained more quickly.

 

Exercise doesn’t have to mean going to the gym. Any activity that keeps your heart rate elevated will be worthwhile and this will include most team sports such as rugby, cricket, football and basketball  among others, as well as individual sports such as tennis, squash, and badminton which are also brilliant exercise.

 

Swimming, dancing, jogging, walking, aerobics, cycling and just generally being active will all contribute to achieving the goals that you desire for both your health and fitness.

 

One cautionary note, if you are over the age of 35 and you are beginning a new fitness regime then it would be wise to see your doctor if you have had a number of years of secondary lifestyle. The doctor will advise on the best and most effective means of easing you into increased activity and you should not hesitate to seek the advice.

 

 

Remember, Mayfair we care

 

Are you constantly tired?



We have written about tiredness and fatigue syndrome before because it is such an important subject and affects both physical and mental health at home and in the workplace.

 

Some people can feel tired even though they appear, on the surface, to have enough sleep. If this is the case they might try a short nap during the day or have an early night but sometimes this doesn’t help.

 

Tiredness is a complex issue and it can affect your entire being and cause headaches, aching muscles, moodiness, short-term memory problems, poor concentration and low motivation. If all this sounds more like a mental health issue then you may be right.

 

Constant tiredness can impact on your personal and work life and will affect your ability to do your job and have an impact on the health and safety of those around you dependent on the sort of work that you do.

 

If you do feel tired all the time then examine the quantity and quality of your sleep but for many of those who visit the doctor complaining of fatigue it’s most likely that something else is to blame for the lack of sleep and constant feeling of exhaustion.

 

The cause of fatigue isn’t always obvious, and you may have an underlying medical problem such as anaemia, and underactive thyroid sleep apnoea, diabetes, heart problems or an auto immune disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis

 

It can also be a side-effect of any medication that you might be taking so your to examine doctor should investigate the potential knock-on effect of any prescription medicine that they recommend before you take it.

 

Alternatively, feeling tired all the time can be a response to your personal lifestyle, or your social and psychological issues rather than a medical condition. Here are a number of possible reasons why you might be tired all the time.

 

Top of the list is stress, anxiety or depression because studies suggest that between 50 and 80% of tiredness is due to psychological factors. Stress and emotional shock such as a bereavement or a relationship break up can leave you feeling worn out. In fact,  fatigue is regarded as one of the main symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder and depression which affect up to 7% of the worlds population. The good news is that doctors and health professionals will be able to help.

 

Insufficient iron. The mineral iron is essential for transporting oxygen in your blood so if you’re not eating enough iron rich foods you’re likely to feel constantly tired women are more prone to developing and efficiency than men because of their menstrual cycle.

 

If you suspect that this could be the reason for your tiredness examine your diet and consider foods that are rich in vitamin C.

 

Exercise. It’s probably the last thing you feel like doing if you’re constantly in a state of tiredness but research shows that regular low intensity exercise can boost energy levels and people suffering from fatigue.

 

Even a brief 15 minute walk and help and one British study found that yoga was effective at increasing energy. Why exercise alleviates fatigue isn’t clear but study findings suggest physical activity axed directly on the central nervous system to increase energy.

 

Dehydration. You can feel tired when you are mildly dehydrated. We see more and more people carrying bottles of water these days and this is a very sensible remedy to ensure that you do not become even mildly dehydrated. If you’re planning to exercise ensure that you are well hydrated before you start and sip water throughout your work out re-hydrating afterwards.

 

We hope that some of these tips may help you if you are one of those who feel constantly tired. Please review our other blogs on the same subject which you may also find to be of assistance.

 

Remember, Mayfair we care

Air pollution


As the Formula One racing circus visits Singapore for its latest race, air pollution and the haze created has been brought into sharper focus than for a long time. There are reports of the haze closing schools in Malaysia and fears for the visibility and wellbeing of the F1 teams and their drivers in Singapore. Suddenly, something that is a constant for those who live in the region becomes big news.

But what is Haze?

The definition is that it is an atmospheric phenomenon where suspension of extremely small dry particles in the air obscure the clarity of the sky.

Its components can be gases such as ozone, sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. Particulate matter also in the air includes benzene sulphate, organic carbon, microbial components and pollen.

These particles can penetrate respiratory and circulatory systems and can cause damage to the health of an individual exposed to it for any length of time, or on a regular basis,

Haze and your health.

Air pollution can affect your health in all sorts of different ways from eye irritation and redness, headaches and dizziness, runny nose, sneezing as well as nasal congestion.

But it’s not just the head that is affected. By breathing in particulate matter, this can cause problems in the throat with irritation, dryness and soreness causing coughing.

Extreme cases can create chest discomfort and respiratory tract infection. Asthma attacks are often prevalent and even something as natural as drinking water can be an issue if the drinking water is contaminated by dense haze. This can lead to stomach upset and vomiting. The skin can also be irritated by constant exposure to Haze.

So what precautions can be taken to prevent all these outcomes?

Top of the list is wearing appropriate dust masks when going outdoors. Those of us who don’t live in such badly affected areas will have seen the sort of protection worn by people appearing on news items about air-pollution.

The advice is always to consult a doctor if there is any difficulty in breathing, coughing, chest pain and any of the symptoms detailed above.

Spend less time outdoors.

Sadly, at a time when we are encouraging our children to spend less time on their iPads and more time outdoors, the advice in areas of high air pollution is to reduce outdoor activities such as jogging and cycling amongst others.

Drink plenty of water as long as it does not fall into the contaminated category.

Wash your hands and face on a regular basis and especially after outdoor activities and finally, please make sure that if you are prescribed medicines by your doctor that you take them on a regular basis especially if you have an underlying respiratory or cardiovascular dilute disease.

We will be revisiting the subject of air pollution in future blogs but in the meantime stay safe.

Mayfair, we care.

Is the world falling out of love with bottled water?



For years now we have all loved bottled water and it has been the fastest growing area of drinks in the world with a forecast estimate of $215 billion by 2025.

Amazing isn’t it? A commodity that a lot of the world can have, freely available from our kitchen taps, is selling for around 2000 times the price in the supermarkets and we are buying it!

Why are we buying bottled water?


Well firstly, it is viewed as a healthier product than tap water and in a lot of countries this may be true. However, in those countries were tap water is perfectly drinkable, bottled water is still selling in vast numbers. Perhaps we would not be so enthusiastic to buy if it was more widely known that many bottled water brands are too acidic to pass the stringent tests that tap water has to undergo, and the quality of bottled water varies enormously.

Do you buy bottled water or spring water because of the minerals?

Once again testing has indicated to tap water has a relatively high concentration of beneficial minerals like calcium and magnesium – more than most bottled brands.

Plastic pollution.


Most bottled water brands are supplied in a single use plastic bottle and with the current publicity about plastic waste, and the millions of tons of landfill produced by bottled water bottles every year, it is easy to see how these single use plastic products will lose their appeal. They contribute to landfill and the vast majority are made from petroleum which is a non-renewable resource.

Health


Far from being the healthy option to tap water a recent study suggests that bottled water is one of the largest sources of plastic micro particles. Although the long-term effects are not yet known it is believed that bottled water is a significant contributor to micro plastic ingestion which could, in theory, cause internal damage.

Further studies are taking place to examine the effect on human health but such research and the publicity about plastics and the environment is likely to have a damaging effect on bottled water sales as those of us who can, turn back to tap water.

Improving the environment and your health; it’s a powerful argument to turn away from plastic bottles of water.

Mayfair, we care.

Carbohydrates – a good thing or a bad thing?



Carbohydrates get a bad press of these days for a variety of different reasons but a number of widely held beliefs do bear closer examination. 

Weight loss

We are often told that cutting carbohydrates will lead to weight loss and thousands, if not millions, of diet books have been sold explaining why.

 

However, not all research backs this up and whilst it may be true that some studies have found low-carb diets to be more effective for weight loss than low-fat diets in the short-term, in the longer term both approaches produce modest weight loss at best.

 

A 2015 review of the research on different types of diet found that low carb diets marginally outperformed the low-fat diet. However the difference in weight loss on the groups of dieters was tiny with the low-carb dieters losing about one girl kilogram more after 12 months.

One expert advised that the best way of losing weight was simply to eat less of everything in a way that can form a habit and be maintained over a long period. That sounds less complicated to us!

A low-carb diet is healthier?

This is what we are led to believe but as carbohydrates come from plants i.e. greens, fruit and vegetables, if we make the decision to restrict this type of food in our diet our overall health is likely to suffer. Many plant foods are rich in the vitamins, minerals and fibre that we need to stay healthy.

 

However, there is a big difference between unrefined and refined plant foods.

A diet high in unrefined whole grains protects against cardiovascular disease and Type II diabetes, but swap these for refined grains like white flour, white bread, sugar and white rice and your risk of poor health will increase.

 

Wholegrains and carbohydrate rich foods such as legumes also encourage a healthy diversity of gut bacteria, something that is linked to reduced inflammation, better immunity and improved mental health.

One recent study found that switching to a high-fat, no carb diet lowered the number of beneficial bacteria residing in the gut.

Avoid fruit – really?

Fruit contains sugar so some people believe that fruit can be bad for you but this simply isn’t true. The sugars in fruit are absorbed slowly and steadily so making fruit your go to snack will mean that you will get essential nutrients fibre and antioxidants all wrapped up in a low kilojoule package.

Where fruit can be a problem however is when it’s juiced. Drinking fruit as juice makes it easier to ingest more kilojoules and also releases the fruit sugar (fructose) faster into your bloodstream. You will also reduce some of the benefits of the fibre by pulverising fruit so finely that it changes the physical structure. Some commercial juices will even remove the fibre altogether. On balance it is best to stick to whole fruit.

 

We hope that this clarifies some of the myths surrounding low-carb diets.

 

Mayfair, we care.

Is It a Craze or Is Gluten Bad for You?