The 2020 Modern Families Index found that 44% of parents check their emails or do other work at night. Of those, three quarters said they did not have a choice, an increase since the study was carried out last year. And that is causing tension at home with more than half of respondents saying it led to arguments with their children or partner. The report said that the ability of working parents to “switch off” from their work was being undermined by the rise of modern communications, with almost half agreeing the boundaries between home and the workplace have blurred. https://www-bbc-co-uk.cdn.ampproject.org/…/business-51085719
Switching off from work and gadgets in the evening is an important part of improving health and wellbeing, but it seems that, despite flexible working practices becoming increasingly common, working from home and improved technology isn’t making life easier for parents.
In fact it’s often leading to arguments as important family time is being swamped by work distractions.
Being self-employed, I’ve been known to answer an email or two when I’m supposed to be relaxing with family, and it isn’t always appreciated.
Is this something you’ve experienced too?
Have you done anything to try to combat this, such as leaving your phone in another room?
Or would you argue that emailing in the evening allows you to make time to spend time with family and friends at other times?
Either way, I’d love to hear your experiences and suggestions for improving work/life balance. It’s so important to us all.
In celebration of my impending, ahem, 50th birthday in just over a week, my January offer to you is a mini-nutrition assessment for £25. This is perfect for those who want to start a journey towards better health, but don’t know if nutritional therapy is for them (you can also take the cost of this session off a nutritional therapy package if you decide you want to go further). It’s also for those who want might want to sort out a niggling symptom, like headaches, tiredness, insomnia, or maybe aches and pains. If this sounds like you, and you want to throw out the old, and get your old self back in 2020, get in touch for a chat to find out more.
I never thought I’d ever say this, but on Sunday I went to Morgzfest in Sheffield.
Morgz is Morgan Hudson, an 18 year old Youtuber, who’s made his name by publicly pranking his Mum, Gill, and by the two of them challenging each other with ridiculous tasks such as:
drinking disgusting mystery cocktails (Sunday’s vomit-worthy concoction was mealworms, mustard, honey and diet coke. Bleurgh)
seeing how long can you sit in a bath of ice
eating a food of one colour for 24 hours.
The whole of the family get involved in his videos, with his brother Jensen, Dad (Darren) and Stepdad (Bald Martin) all playing a part in the high-energy, high-jinx shenanigans.
Though I’ve seen quite a few Morgz vlogs (by force), and I can see his appeal for his fans, a day at Morgzfest is my idea of hell.
The event involved 7 hours of waiting around in Sheffield Don Valley Bowl with only junk food on offer (you couldn’t take in your own food, and it seems quite ironic with me being a health practitioner!) and the only entertainment between 12-3.30pm being a huge field of inflatables, which included the World’s Largest Inflatable Obstacle Course.
I wasn’t impressed. Especially as the rain came down in a torrential burst as soon as we got there. I was cold for the rest of the day. At first my head was constantly filled with what I could be doing at home instead.
Despite this, I had a fantastic time. My daughter absolutely loved it, and when Morgz, his mum, dad, brother and stepdad came on stage for the challenges during the last couple of hours, she was in absolute bliss. It was like watching pantomime, and not only did she have a massive smile on her face, I did too. The fact that the whole day had an aura of good-natured energy also played a massive part in the thawing of my cynicism.
Going on the obstacle course with her (I believe it really is the World’s Largest Inflatable Obstacle Course…!!!) was one of the most hysterical experiences of my life.
The whole encounter made me realise that, although you see a lot written about learning to say no and putting yourself first for health and wellbeing reasons, sometimes by putting other people first, you actually do the greatest service to yourself.
Watching my daughter happy made me happy.
Knowing she’s made memories that will last her a lifetime, will stay with me forever.
Sometimes, even though you want to say no, say yes instead.
I’ve just read a blog post by Brene Brown about an Oprah interview with author Toni Morrison which really made me think about my behaviour as a parent.
In the interview with Oprah, Toni speaks about how we can influence a child’s confidence and their self-image in ways that we don’t even realise. Here’s the link to the original post by Brene.
According to Toni, children gather information about their parents’ feeling towards them based on their initial reactions (whether they be positive or negative) on each meeting.
For instance, as a parent, do you immediately pick up on your child’s uncombed hair, food stained clothes, muddy shoes etc?
Or do you smile, happy to see them, first?
When I read this, I thought to my own behaviour, and recognised that I can be quick to criticise, without even intending to.
The problem isn’t with the criticism itself – as parents, we need to be able to tell our children not to get mud on the carpet etc – but what’s important is that the criticism isn’t the first thing they always hear.
What is that criticism (if it’s the first thing out of your mouth) telling them about themselves and what you think about them? Does your body language, or do your words, demonstrate your love, or does it tell them there is something wrong with their appearance, behaviour or choices?
If you don’t think well of them, how can they think well of themselves? And how will these micro-criticisms impact their self-esteem in the long term?
This interests me, not only as a parent, but as a nutritional therapist. A person’s health and wellbeing is all tied up in self-esteem and stress.
If we don’t think well of ourselves we send ourselves negative messages:
You’re such a mess.
Why can’t you do a simple thing like that?
What an idiot!
These self-criticisms – where we can’t be kind to ourselves – become a form of stress.
As I’ve mentioned previously, stress affects cortisol levels which, if not managed, can negatively impacts health – both mental and physical.
So how can we help our kids to develop better attitudes towards themselves and as a result, become healthier adults?
Well, I suppose initially, that lies with us and our behaviour towards them. The way we react to our kids can either enhance of undermine self-image and resilience. If we manage our reactions positively, this ultimately has a beneficial impact on their future health.
As Brene says in her blog post, don’t let the first comment to your child each time you see them be a negative one. By being kind to them, we teach them to be kind to themselves.
Say something nice, or “flash a smile” before you ask them to move their belongings (that have taken up residence on the living room floor for the last three days!)
Even if they don’t show it, your smile or kind words will mean so much, and it’s another way of telling them you love them.
Plus, it also takes the sting out of the fact they’ve got to clear up after themselves!
So tomorrow I’m going to be at the first Milnrow Yoga & Wellbeing Festival. I’m very excited about this.
The Rochdale area where I live isn’t renowned for being at the forefront of health and wellness – in fact, I think it’s one of the top unhealthy places in the country – but recently there has been an surge of interest, and this is the second festival I will attend this year (the third will be at Hollingworth Lake in September – watch this space!)
The festival will take place in Milnrow Park, and fortunately, the weather is forecast to be sunny, which is GREAT! Sunny weather means more people are likely to come to learn about all the good things that can be done to help both your physical and mental wellbeing.
There are going to be lots of tasters and sessions for people to join in with. Bring your trainers and look at the schedule when you get there if you’d like to participate in the Zumba or Yoga! No need to bring your mats though as these are being provided by a local company.
I can’t wait to meet like-minded people from the local area. On my stall I’ll have information about ways to improve your diet and relieve stress (a huge factor in poor health), plus some recipes for healthy snacks and desserts. I’ll be handing out some sweet treats too that are actually good for you, and offering a chance for someone to win an initial consultation worth over £100. If you’re interested in improving a health condition, please take part. There’s no greater investment than looking after yourself.
So, that’s all for now, but if you are attending the festival tomorrow, please come over and say hello. It would be a real pleasure to meet you.
I can’t read minds, but I could sense that he thought I was one strange cookie.
I thought it was funny as it happened, but now a little while later, I’m wondering why it’s considered ‘a fad’ (for ‘fad’ read ‘weird’) to have lots of fruits and vegetables as a regular part of your diet.
If my shopping had been full of processed foods – cakes, biscuits, crisps, white bread, sausages, ready meals etc – he wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. It’s certainly a sad state of affairs that a week’s worth of processed foods, to him, would be considered a ‘normal diet’.
I don’t think he’s alone in this. Over the years I’ve had lot of comments made on my food choices by cashiers as I pass my shopping through the checkout.
I wonder what’s happening to us as a society that we see foods containing lots of artificial additives and sweeteners as the norm (while some of the ingredients are not even recognisable as real foods), yet if we eat a diet of simple, fresh produce it’s seen as questionable behaviour?
If eating ‘junk’ is a normal way of eating, no wonder we are witnessing a rise in chronic diseases, including bowel cancer in the young. This has been found to be directly related to lifestyle factors (including ‘worsening diet‘), and is worrying for the next generations, who will pick up the eating habits of their parents. I wonder if eventually our young will even know what a fresh fruit or vegetable looks like? We already have a situation where many young people can’t identify what animal particular meat products come from. We are becoming increasingly dislocated from our natural food sources.
It’s definitely time we start rethinking the way we look at food.
I like the fact that I am in a position through my work to help people to learn the benefits of healthier eating and guide them to make better choices. It can take a little time to get your head around it, but often my clients are surprised at how easy it can be. Understanding the purpose of healthy eating is the main thing (people don’t realise there is a link between diet and issues such as insomnia, anxiety, joint pains, stress, fatigue, depression etc) which is where I come in as a nutritional therapist.
If you don’t eat a lot of fresh produce, why not make a start by adding a portion of fruit or veg to your day today?