How stressed am I?


Stress can be both a good thing and a bad thing but what is it really doing to our physical health if we are stressed on a constant basis day after day?

Most of us know that certain lifestyle habits such as smoking or lack of exercise could jeopardise our health but what we do need to pay more attention to his stress. If switched on for too long stress can wreak havoc on our physical and mental wellbeing and by learning how chronic stress affects our mind and body our awareness will identify the importance of finding ways to reduce the stress load.

Hormone levels

The stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, speed up your heartbeat and send blood rushing to the areas where it is needed most in an emergency. Typically, this will be muscles, heart and other important to organs. But when these hormones remain high due to persistent low level stress, they do affect most areas of the body.


Most of us occasionally suffer from butterflies in the stomach! This is caused by nerve endings and immune cells in the digestive tract when they’re affected by stress hormones. It is no surprise that stress affects your digestive system in other ways as well therefore, for instance, acid reflux as well as exacerbating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.


Under stress your heart pumps faster. The stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict and divert oxygen away from the extremities and towards your muscles to help you move quickly. This raises your blood pressure. When your blood pressure rises so does your risk of stroke and heart attack.


When you’re stressed you’re probably not sleeping well, but stress can affect sleep in other ways - in particular if you’re producing stress hormones. Normally cortisol rises in the morning to wake you up and declines through the day but when you’re constantly under stress this pattern can change, meaning that you wake up tired but can be buzzing at bedtime. Has this happened to you?


Although little is known about how stress contributes to the diabetes risk, one theory is that cortisol alters the body’s sensitivity to insulin which makes stress a risk factor for diabetes. Studies have looked at stress as a pathway to developing diabetes and found evidence that chronic stress can initiate changes in the immune system that may result, or increase the likelihood of, develop developing type two diabetes


Health experts can’t agree whether or not stress causes cancer and most of the large-scale studies are inconclusive. However, stressful situations can lead us to develop unhealthy habits such as smoking, overeating and heavy drinking, these are habits which do increase the risk of cancer.


As anyone who has frozen in the middle of a speech knows, stress reduces your ability to recall information. What is less known is that over time, chronic stress can lead to memory impairment; in fact they can shrink your hippocampus which is the part of the brain that regulates in motion.

If you are stressed about your stress levels then please visit your doctor.

Remember, Mayfair we care.

2020 resolutions

Don’t leave it until New Year’s Eve to make those resolutions to improve your life, health, work and general behaviours for next year. Give it some thought now and prepare to break all those bad habits that you’ve developed during the course of 2019.

We all promise to give up our bad habits and replace them with new and better behaviours. It might work for a week or two in January but slowly we slide back into old, familiar and far more comfortable ways. So, how can you make those changes lasting ones?


Planning is all important in life for the likes of family routine and socialising but it also works if you want to implement change. Pick your important goals and schedule time to achieve them whether that’s regular exercise or eating in a more healthy way. You will be surprised how much easier it will be to make healthy habits a part of your everyday life if you plan in advance and make time for them.

Don’t be too ambitious.

Patience is the key to success when it comes to implementing change so choose one or two goals that are the most important to you and decide what healthy habits are needed to achieve them.

Sometimes changing one thing will need will lead to another. For instance, if you improve your diet and start eating more healthily you may find that you have more energy to exercise.

Long-term thinking.

Quick fixes simply don’t work. Studies have indicated that without long-term guidance quick fixes like fat diet that we all hear about do not provide lasting benefits

Habits whether they are good or bad, will emerge due to repeated actions over time.


Motivation is essential when we want to work towards implementing change but for most of us motivation is something that comes and goes. So we have to be prepared for those times when motivation is at a low ebb.

This is where family and friends can help. Having an exercise partner will encourage you to carry on with that exercise even when you don’t feel like it because not to do so would be to let your friend or family member down and you don’t want to do that.

Make sure that you put all such appointments in your diary so that you can’t simply say “sorry I forgot”.

Even if you do fall short of your targets and intentions don’t beat yourself up about it! Tomorrow is another day and you can start again with renewed motivation and enthusiasm.

Remember, Mayfair we care.

High Blood Pressure

Do we actually know what high blood pressure is? Many of us are aware of the dangers of having high blood pressure but do we actually understand what it means?

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood in the arteries as it is being pumped around the body by the heart. When your blood pressure exceeds an upper limit for an extended time, you have high blood pressure also known as hypertension.

In adults high blood pressure is defined as systolic pressure and/or a diastolic pressure however to get a true picture it may be worth getting your blood pressure measured more than a single time because stress, particularly when you visit the doctor can cause it to rise.

The dangers of high BP

Because the heart, brain and kidneys can withstand increased blood pressure for long periods, people with high blood pressure may feel perfectly well for many years. However, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t doing damage. If it is not controlled, high blood pressure can overload the heart, accelerate the artery clogging process And this in turn can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure or kidney failure.

Checking your blood pressure

It is recommended that all adults should have their blood pressure checked once every 1 to 2 years, although anyone with past or present high blood pressure, or a direct family history of it, should have it checked more often.

Adults who experience symptoms of hypertension such a swollen ankles and fingers, breathlessness, blurred vision, frequent bleeding nose and persistent morning headaches, should have the blood pressure checked immediately.


While it is true that many people need drugs to control high blood pressure, others can reduce it with lifestyle changes.

A healthy diet alone maybe all that is needed to reduce blood pressure. A study in the US showed that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods as well as being high in fibre and protein, is sufficient to significantly reduce blood pressure in people with mild hypertension.

For anyone with more severe hypertension it is advised that along with a healthy diet they live with their alcohol and salt intake, lose weight, and exercise regularly.

If in doubt, visit your doctor.

Remember, Mayfair we care.

Your relationship with your mobile phone.

Do you have a healthy relationship with your mobile phone? Are you able to lead completely separate lives and not be inter dependent on one another?!

If you are, then you are one of the rare breed that is not totally reliant on their mobile phone, and will not suffer from Nomophobia when they are parted either by accident or design. However, if you are one of the majority who aren’t, then when you leave that phone at home by mistake you will probably spend the rest of your day fretting and fidgeting – does that describe you?

These days most of us carry our mobiles with us and rarely turn them off. Our phone is often the last thing we look at before we go to sleep and the first thing we check when we wake up. Incoming emails, texts and other notifications constantly disturb us and one study reported that the average user checked their phone at least 85 times a day. Is this describing you?

Our phones can be our main lifeline to family, friends, business colleagues and other networks. However the best human relationships are the face-to-face ones with another person and phones can never replace those meaningful connections.

How many of us have seen couples in a social surroundings, such as a restaurant or pub, sitting across the table from one another but with both of them being on their mobiles, more in touch with Facebook and football than with each other?

Even the very presence of phones seems to prevent deeper and more meaningful conversations. One study has found that people feel less connected to other people in a conversation when a mobile is present. In other words, when it is sitting on the table next to them. People feel that if this phone was to go off the conversation would be cut short and the phone call or message would be far more important.

Constantly checking your phone can easily become a habit, but it is one that you can break.

Do a phone fast:

·       Start with one or two days a week without using certain apps such as Facebook or other social media platforms.

·       Begin and end your day by not looking urgently at your phone. Read a book when you go to bed rather than scan the latest Facebook news.

·       When you’re out eating with friends, family or your partner make sure that everyone's mobiles are out of sight or even better, left at home.

·       Try taking a break from your phone for a certain length of time each day. It is a routine you will learn to enjoy!

Nomophobia Is a real condition we have written about elsewhere so try to bring yourself back into the more social world and experiment doing without your phone for periods of time during the day, week, month, it will be good for you in the long run!

Mayfair we care.

The Benefits of a Healthy Workforce to the Employers

In recent times, the corporate world has embraced and given health and wellness programs a

priority. The incorporation of health and wellness programs in the corporate agenda can

significantly benefit both the employees and employers.

Currently, employers acknowledge that workplace fitness is crucial for business. That's why

companies are now launching custom-made wellness programs to meet the health and

wellness needs of their employees.

The majority of employees now believe that a healthy and fit workforce can be more

productive and more lucrative. A 2013 research study conducted in America by the

International Labor Organization, shows that 85.8% of men and 66.5 women work for over

40 hours in a week.

It also noted that Americans work over 137 hours more in a year as compared to the Japanese

workforce, and 260 hours more than British workers, and in excess of 499 hours per year

more than the French workforce.

This explains why the majority of Americans are suffering from excess weight and lack of

fitness. Also, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services noted that approximately 60%

of American workers do not get enough time for physical exercise.

This is why corporate entities are now coming up with workplace wellness programs that

encourage workers to embrace a healthy lifestyle.

Below are some of the benefits of a healthy workforce to the employer.

Healthy Employees reduces Healthcare Costs

According to studies released by the University of Michigan, employers who have embraced

wellness programs saves up to $1100 annually for every employee who quits smoking, and

$1200 annually for every employee who reduces the cholesterol levels from 240mg to

190mg, and 177$ for every employer who sheds off excess weight.

This proves that healthy employees are cheaper to maintain than unhealthy employees.

Less Absenteeism

Maintaining a healthy workforce goes a long way in reducing absenteeism. For example,

after the Anderson Cancer Center established an employee health and wellness program, the

managing director reported that the number of workdays lost decreased by 80% and

improved the workdays by 64%. This enables the Cancer Center to save costs totaling $1.5


Fitness Programs Creates less Stress

The workplace fitness initiatives go a long way in enlightening employees on how to

positively embrace their jobs both mentally and physically. The fact that many workers spend

the majority of their time on computers, neck, arm, and wrist fatigue can indeed bring them

Stress and burnouts. Also, many workers report cases of eye strain because of spending too

much time on computers. However, the introduction of wellness programs has enlightened

employees on how to avoid this.

Fitness Improves the Employees Retention Rate

According to research, corporate entities that have a well-established wellness program

enjoys a higher employee retention rate. A study released by the National Business Group on

Health reported that companies with wellness programs have fewer cases of voluntary

attrition than those without them.

Fitness Nurtures Teamwork

Participating in fitness programs plays a vital role in promoting the natural growth of team

spirit. Workers who do workouts together can know and understand each other better. This

means improved teamwork for the organization, which comes with increased productivity.

From all this, we can say that workplace fitness programs play a vital role in establishing a

work atmosphere that makes workers feel appreciated and cherished. This usually has a

tremendous impact on their productivity.

Putting in place a Wellness and fitness program will benefit not only the employees but also

the employees.

And remember – Mayfair we care!


Increase productivity by working less.

We are an increasingly busy society with enormously long ‘to do’ lists. A worrying trend in recent years has been that many people forego a lunch break in order to work more and make inroads into that to do list. However, is this wise?

Research shows that breaks are necessary in order to be more productive and get more work done in the time available. And it’s not only a lunch break, it’s a 10-minute break in the morning and a 10 minute break in the afternoon. How does this make us more productive some might ask.

Here are three Factors to be considered:

Breaks restore focus.

Our brains are not designed to carry out continuous uninterrupted work. If we do this, we will affect our ability to concentrate which can lead to frustration, irritability and inefficiency. By taking a brief mental break this can restore our focus which will enable us to concentrate properly on the task in hand.

Breaks minimise fatigue

Taking breaks during the day, which will include a 10 minute one at mid-morning and mid-afternoon with at least half an hour at lunch, is an effective way to fight fatigue and increase productivity. Without sufficient downtime to refresh and recharge we will become less efficient, be more error prone and less engaged in what we are doing.

Breaks improve well being.

If you are physically and mentally stressed you will produce the stress hormone cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels over time are related to a number of diseases.

Research indicates that by taking regular breaks this will have a positive effect on reducing blood pressure and improving sleep quality and contribute to overall wellbeing making you less likely to take time off work due to illness.


If you are one of those who believe that you are more effective by just working, working, and working then please examine your performance. Take the advice to factor breaks into your work day and examine your performance on a before and after basis.

Having breaks will be better for you and you may be surprised by your results.

Remember, Mayfair, we care.

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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.