Mindfulness and how it works in the modern world

maria

Maria,
Clinical Governance Pharmacist at LloydsPharmacy

The world we live in is a fast paced world. Our brains and bodies are becoming wired to be always thinking ahead. With this comes an increase level of stress and anxiety in our lives. A consistent and prolonged state of anxiety can lead to a weakened immune system, depression, high blood pressure, and gastric problems. It is essential that we learn to ‘self- check’ and monitor our levels of anxiety. A certain level of anxiety is normal in our lives. It is our natural ‘fight or flight’ and ensures we accomplish what needs doing. However when these levels go out of synch then we see it impacting our health. Therefore the act of mindfulness is a series of simple techniques and approaches to help us to focus on the present. From this we learn to reduce our levels of stress and overwhelming anticipation. With the launch of our CYHD programme in our 93 stores, we in LloydsPharmacy are very focused on boosting wellbeing and attaining a better lifestyle.

 

How can you practice Mindfulness on a daily basis?

  • Meditation: A very simple technique and one of the most utilised approaches to mindfulness. It can be as simple as a few minutes in the morning or evening depending on your routine. Find a quiet, decluttered space in your home and make yourself feel comfortable. Some people choose to sit on a chair while others prefer to sit on the ground with their legs crossed and arms rested. Gently close your eyes and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. You may notice your breath is quite shallow. Therefore to allow you to breathe more deeply and hence relax, hold your breath for approximately 5 seconds and then exhale. Once you have become more relaxed return to your normal breath pattern. Become aware of how you are feeling in your overall body. Are some areas of your body tight and tense? Allow yourself to acknowledge how you are feeling. Your thoughts begin to wander, that is completely fine. Let your mind wander. Listen to the sound of your environment and allow yourself to take sense of your environment. Again acknowledge this moment. Some people may like to stay in this state for 10 – 15 minutes, others longer. Once you feel you are ready, then gently soften your gaze, open your eyes and focus on where you are. Assess how you are feeling now after the session. Many people feel a greater sense of calm and their bodies, both physically and mentally, are more relaxed. This meditative approach can be done daily or weekly depending on what you feel works best for you. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Some people bespoke their meditation to incorporate gentle music in the background, the burning of essential oils such as lavender or adding in gentle yoga sequences. Again see what works best for you.

 

  • Gratitude Journal: The concept of journaling is something we are all familiar with. It has been found that recording what we are grateful for allows us to appreciate the present, reduce stress levels and increase our levels of happiness. Again there is no right or wrong way to journal. Some people like to record two or three points maybe twice a week of what they are grateful for. Many find it therapeutic reviewing what they have recorded over time.

 

  • Online resources: There are many mindfulness apps that can guide you in your practice. ‘Headspace’ is an excellent app that you can download on your phone. It has many guided exercises that allow you as a beginner to get started. Other apps include the ‘smiling mind’ which has exercises for children and young adults, as well as the app ‘conscious, to name just a few.

Above are just a few pointers in directing you to including mindfulness in your daily routine. As you will see, the approach is personal to the individual. Even just by focussing on our breathing, recording our thoughts and taking time to acknowledge our presence can help in adding balance to our busy lives. To finish a quote I really like, ‘mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and the experience’ (Jon Kabatt Zin) and as we all know, we must be friends with ourselves first and foremost.

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No more excuses; introduce ‘fitness’ into your life!

Ross Loughran 5/11/2016Pic : Lorraine O'Sullivan

Ross, Pharmacy Technician, Rowlagh

Change your health direction. What does it mean to you? To me, as a pharmacy technician and a personal trainer, it means changing your outlook on fitness, and not just physical fitness, but also your mental wellbeing. It’s about making positive little steps and changes to ensure you improve your overall fitness. From a personal point of view, this is what I did. I underwent that change 5 years ago. Making that shift towards positive healthy habits and I’m all the better for it.

People tend to come up with all sorts of excuses not to exercise… a popular myth out there at the moment is ‘if I’m sick, I can’t work out’ and yes, in some cases this is the truth. I’d never accept a client if they hadn’t got the all clear from a doctor. BUT fitness starts at home. By this I mean, what’s on your plate. It’s about making those small changes. Any commitment too big will never last. Start small… swap your cereal for oats. Swap that chocolate bar for a banana. Do something enough, it becomes a habit. Do it long enough, it becomes part of your life. The same can be said for exercise. Start small… take that flight of stairs to the next level, walk to the shops instead of driving.

Look at the simple habit of sitting down, yes we all do it, BUT even the action of sitting down is part of a very popular gym move; a move that works all muscles of the leg by sitting down and standing up, a move that has one of the highest calorie burning stats of any resistance move… the squat. Try this, before sitting down in front of the TV, go to sit but stop RIGHT before your bum touches the cushion. Then stand. That’s one rep. No barbell, just your own body weight. Repeat it 10 to 12 times. That’s a set. Something so simple but then you’ll have earned that seat. You’ll have raised your endorphins, making you feel good and you’ll have boosted your metabolism, getting the most out of your food. It’s making these changes that help improve fitness. Not just your body but also your mind.

Make 2018 the year of the small but mighty changes!

Introducing the NEW UltraCalming range by Dermalogica

The powerfully soothing antidote to sensitive skin, the UltraCalmingTM System from Dermalogica® now has two new incredibly unique additions! Introducing Calm Water Gel and Barrier Defense Booster, harnessing the best of nature with science to bring back balance to sensitive skin.
Do you consider yourself as having sensitive skin?
You are not alone! Nearly half the global population describes their skin as sensitive or very sensitive. Yet everyone’s skin is unique, so skin sensitivity takes on different forms. You may be oily and acne prone with inflamed breakouts and flaky patches. You may experience flare-ups of irritation at certain times of the year or when your stress levels rise. Or perhaps you were born with delicate, reactive skin and have always struggled to find skin care products you can tolerate.
What causes sensitive skin?
Unfortunately, some level of skin sensitivity is almost unavoidable due to lifestyle and environmental factors. Stress, poor diet, smoking and alcohol effect our skin negatively causing symptoms of skin irritation and dehydration. Add to that the changes in climate, central heating and air con, high pollution levels and our naturally fluctuating hormones, it’s no wonder our skins have a hard time staying balanced and calm. But no matter what your trigger factors and subsequent symptoms, treating sensitive skin is straight forward when you have products designed to relieve, restore and hydrate.
The science bit!
Research done at Dermalogica®, show’s three primary signs of sensitisation: redness, compromised barrier, and dehydration. Visible redness is a common complaint, skin can turn red through internal inflammation causing skin to look angry or blotchy. A compromised skin barrier can be likened to a weathered brick wall, our skin is made up of hardened cells (bricks) and a mortar like lipid layer, when weathered by our environment and incorrect product use, gaps are created triggering irritation, stinging and burning sensations. Finally, due to the gaps in the skins protective barrier, essential moisture escapes. This results in dehydration with symptoms such as tightness, flakiness, roughness and itchiness.

Introducing Dermalogica’s powerful NEW UltraCalmingTM additions.
Enriched with potent actives that target sensitivity, Calm Water Gel and Barrier Defense Booster work synergistically to relieve today’s irritation providing instant comfort and protect skin against environmental assault, intercepting tomorrow’s flare-ups.
Calm Water Gel
A weightless water-gel moisturiser that hydrates dry, sensitive skin. As you dispense this product, the unique formula transforms into a skin-quenching fluid to provide hydration to dry, irritated skin. It contains dual Hyaluronic Acid technology that works in different skin surface layers to increase and lock in moisture. Apple Fruit and Glycerine hydrates
and softens whilst defending against dryness. And Cactus Pear provides soothing and calming effects by impacting neurogenic inflammation.
94% of people noticed their skin felt more hydrated, both 8 hours after initial application and cumulatively after 4 weeks of use.

Barrier Defense Booster
This concentrated oil booster soothes, nourishes and moisturises to restore balance to
sensitive skin. The lightweight, non-comedogenic formula contains a Triple Defense Complex that nourishes the skin and relieves dryness. It locks in moisture and reinforces the lipid barrier to combat sensitivity and support healthy looking skin. Tetrahydrocucurminoids an active constituent of Turmeric Root acts a powerful antiinflammatory and anti-oxidant. And Oat Kernel Oil reduces irritation and redness plus it hydrates the epidermal layers to improve skins barrier. Use 6-10 drops pressed onto the skin before moisturising or add into your moisturiser. Use twice a day for around the clock defence.
96% of people felt their skin soothed both 8 hours after initial application and cumulatively after 4 weeks of use.

Find out how to integrate the UltraCalmingTM Duo into your regimen
Visit our Dermalogica Skin Experts in *LloydsPharmacy Stores for a personalised Skin Fitness Plan, powered by Face Mapping®. Our Therapists will take the time to understand your skin concerns and share tips on how to manage your sensitivity triggers.

We also offer the Sensitive Skin Rescue SkinSolver; this 10 minute professional service leaves your skin calm, smooth and hydrated.
Don’t just pacify your sensitive skin symptoms with simple, bland formulas, use Dermalogica’s UltraCalmingTM system to powerfully soothe, calm and repair your skin with the power of nature and science to bring the balance back to sensitive skin.

 

*Our 8 Dermalogica stores are:

LloydsPharmacy Blackrock S.C.
LloydsPharmacy Tullow St. Carlow
LloydsPharmacy Omni Park S.C.
LloydsPharmacy Jetland
LloydsPharmacy Leopardstown
LloydsPharmacy Donnybrook
LloydsPharmacy Claremorris
LloydsPharmacy Castletroy

Top Tips For Runners—beginners, marathoners, and everyone in between!

Last Thursday I donned my brand new Asics trainers and headed out to the Blanchardstown indoor arena with over 100 other runners to meet and run with the gorgeous Paula Radcliffe. My goodness she really is a superstar. Lovely and open, she posed beside each and every one of us would-be marathon runners for a picture and seemed very happy to do so.  She then answered our questions in an informal Q&A session bestowing upon us her in depth knowledge of the sport that is endurance running.

laura 2

Her main take home points were:

  • Quality not quantity running- obviously putting in the miles is important but what is more important is varying the route, surface and pace at which you run.
  • Eating very soon after a long run is a must- prepare a meal before you go out for your run so that you just have to reheat it. Paula said she always eats within 5 minutes of returning home from a run. She advises not to forget to include protein in this meal for muscle recovery- even if this only involves a handful of nuts.
  • Ice baths are great for reducing inflammation in the limbs after a run and allow the muscles and joints to recover much quicker. Paula said that at the height of her training she would get into an ice bath as soon as possible after a run with a nice cup of hot tea!

Paula has had ongoing problems with arthritis in her foot for many years but since she started taking Revive Active Joint Complex she has felt a considerable reduction in the pain that this causes her.

I myself have run long distances on and off over many years. I tend to pick it up a bit more during the spring and summer months and retire my trainers to the wardrobe during the winter due to the shorter daylight hours. I do try to muster a 10k every couple of weeks though as I absolutely adore the freedom of running.  The endorphins that flood my body after a long run are like no other exercise. I also practice yoga to keep my ligaments and muscles long, lean and strong and swim for cardio. I find that both of these activities compliment my running, particularly yoga as one definitely needs a weight bearing exercise (says Queen Paula!) and yoga provides me with this. I also take Revive Active everyday as it gives me the energy that I need to work, be a Mum and do the occasional 5k run with Paula Radcliffe!

It is very important if you are a newbie to running that you take it easy at first and build your distances up gradually. There is no point over doing it at the start as you are highly likely to injure yourself. Start with one, two then three kilometer distances every couple of days. You will be surprised how quickly your stamina and fitness will build (the downside of this of course is that your fitness reduces quickly too if you miss a couple of weeks-you have been warned!) Make sure you get plenty of sleep. A nap in the middle of the day is ideal, but you would probably not be considered an ideal employee if you were doing this regularly! Of course you also need to fuel your body with the right nutrients- a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meat is perfect. A high quality Vitamin and Mineral supplement can only compliment this. Finally, enjoy it! Running can help you to look AND feel great. It’s the perfect exercise for your mind, body and soul!

Written by Laura Dowling, Pharmacist in LloydsPharmacy Stillorgan S.C

The ins and outs of Ireland’s 2 most prolific STIs

With 6 out of 10 Irish people admitting they have never had a sexual health check-up, LetsGetChecked convenient and confidential sexual health testing service is available through LloydsPharmacy Ireland to provide you with greater access to getting tested.  Due to our hesitation in getting tested, below you will find more information on two of Ireland’s most prolific STIs, Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea, symptoms, and why you need to get tested!

Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs in Ireland and according to LetsGetChecked Medical Director, Dr Dominic Rowley, chlamydia is rapidly on the rise. It is incredibly easy to transmit and can be transmitted through oral, anal and vaginal sex; as well as by skin to skin contact.

Chlamydia is often referred to as the “silent STI” as it often does not cause any symptoms whatsoever, which increases the chances of it spreading to a new sexual partner. The lack of symptoms can often lead to a false sense of security and lead to complications if the infection is not detected. Symptoms for chlamydia are different for men and women, for men symptoms can be painful urination, unusual discharge, pain in the testicles, or anal discharge.

For women, it is important to know that 80% of women infected with chlamydia experience no symptoms at all. The only way to know for sure if they are infected is to get tested. However, if they do experience symptoms, these are some symptoms are painful urination, cloudy urine, abnormal vaginal discharge, abnormal bleeding during intercourse or between periods, and pain during sex.

Chlamydia is very simple and easy to treat. The treatment is a once off course of antibiotics. If the infection is a more complex, for example, if a woman has pelvic pain or if the infection is found in the throat or the anal region, a more extensive course of antibiotics may be required.

Chlamydia diagnosis relies upon a laboratory test, all of LetsGetChecked sexual health tests are designed to test for chlamydia.

Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is a STI that can infect both men and women, which causes infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat. Gonorrhoea is spread by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the STI. As with most STIs, it is incredibly easy to transmit and often presents no symptoms in women and men.

Some men show these symptoms, a burning sensation when urinating, a white/green discharge from the penis, or painful or swollen testicles. Most women who have gonorrhoea do not have any symptoms. Even when a woman has symptoms, they are often mild and can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. If left untreated, gonorrhoea can develop into serious complications in women, such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and long-term pelvic pain. Symptoms for women to look out for include pain when urinating, increased vaginal discharge, and vaginal bleeding between periods.

Gonorrhoea can easily be treated when detected; however, it is important that you take all of your prescribed medication. To test for gonorrhoea you can purchase any of the LetsGetChecked sexual health tests from LloydsPharmacy Ireland or you can visit your local clinic.

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How to Practice Safe Sex?

There are many things you can do to reduce your risk of contracting an STI, safer sex is all about protecting yourself and your partners from STIs. STIs are extremely infectious, anybody who has oral, anal, or vaginal sex, or genital skin-to-skin contact with another person can get an STI.

First, as many STIs present no symptoms, it is important to go for regular tests. We recommend that you should get tested every time you enter and leave a new sexual relationship. Condoms are still considered one of the best ways to practice safe sex. When worn correctly, a condom is extremely effective in preventing the transmission of STIs. The wonderful thing about condoms is that they are cheap, and are readily available.

STIs can be easily transmitted through the sharing of sex toys, sterilising toys after each use and using condoms with them will result in safer sex for you. Open communication between yourself and your partner will assess your risk of STIs, when was the last time either of you were tested?

LetsGetChecked sexual health tests are available in LloydsPharmacy Ireland and your results are available within 2-5 working days from when your sample is received in the laboratory. Visit LloydsPharmacy.ie/LetsGetChecked to purchase your convenient and confidential at-home test today.

Trying for a Baby? – How you can give you and your partner the best chance to conceive.

If you and your partner are in good health, you will improve your chances of getting pregnant and of having a healthy pregnancy.  You can also help yourselves by taking fertility supplements.

76% of Irish women who are trying to conceive believe taking a fertility supplement can help them conceive*.

What factors can affect the chance of having a baby?

Medical issues

Medical issues such as diabetes, asthma and being overweight can affect your pregnancy.

Diet and Exercise

Being overweight – For women if your body mass index (BMI) is between 20 and 25 you have a healthy weight.  Women whose BMI is more than 30 or under 19 may find their fertility levels suffer.  If a men’s BMI is more than 30, his fertility may be lower than normal.

It is important to be active for general feeling of wellness.  Being active and fitter helps with stamina and ability to cope with the ups and downs of everyday life.

Alcohol and smoking

Excessive alcohol drinking may affect the quality of a man’s sperm and smoking may reduce fertility in women.

Age can be a factor

For women, the most fertile period is in their mid –twenties and fertility starts to decrease after the age of 35.

For men, sperm is strongest in their mid-twenties and starts to decrease after the age of 40.

The importance of taking a good quality fertility supplement with the right ingredients and dosage levels.

While it is so important to do the best you can by eating well and exercising moderately, you can also help yourself and your partner by taking a high quality fertility supplement when trying for a baby.   It is very difficult, in today’s environment to get all the nutrients we need from food.

Indeed, the latest research amongst Irish women trying for a baby show that 76% of them believe in the importance of taking a nutritional supplement to aid conception*.

PROCEIVE is the new Irish Fertility Supplement specially made for men and women who wish to have a baby. It contains 33 nutrients, vitamins and minerals, at high quality dosage levels.  Each nutrient performs a role in maximising the quality of the eggs (for women) and the quality of the sperm (for men).

proceive range

Talk to your LloydsPharmacy teams – we are trained extensively in the value of nutrition and can give you helpful advice, recommend the correct fertility supplement to take in a safe, discreet and caring manner.

Don’t miss our Fabulous Pharmacist Laura Dowling who will be part of a panel discussing Fertility on Ireland AM on Monday 24th July at 9.20am.

*Source Mummy Pages July 2017/ http://www.proceive.ie

GRILLED SEA BASS WITH SALSA VERDE, NEW POTATOES &TOMATOES

This dish reminds me of summer holidays on the Med bursting with flavour from nutrient dense herbs, garlic, capers and an assortment of antioxidant-rich tomatoes. Jersey royal new potatoes which have a distinct, sweet flavour, and whilst many diet camps have shunned the white potato in favour of sweet potatoes, white potatoes are in fact a better source of essential minerals such as iron, magnesium and potassium, as well as being a great source of vitamin C and fibre.  Fish is a lovely light alternative to meat on warm summer evenings and I particularly love Sea Bass.  It’s an excellent source of protein, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids whilst being light and low in calories.

Serves 2 | Prep & Cooking Time: 30 min | Rating: Moderate

Nutrition: approx. 435 calories per serving. Source of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, iron, magnesium

Ingredients:

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 large handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 large handful of fresh basil
  • 1 large handful of fresh mint leaves
  • 1 heaped tbsp capers
  • 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp Bragg apple cider vinegar (available in LloydsPharmacies nationwide)
  • 4 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil plus 1/3 tbsp for frying
  • 2 fillets sea bass approximately 180g raw weight (or other white fish like sea bream, hake or cod)
  • 175g Jersey Royal new potatoes
  • 150g assorted tomatoes plus 1 large beef tomato
  • Sea salt flakes and finely ground black pepper

Method:

  1. To make the salsa verde, de-stem the herbs and finely chop along with the garlic and capers on a large chopping board. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar and slowly add 4 tbsp of olive oil, mixing well. Taste and season with a pinch of sea salt flakes and finely ground black pepper. Transfer to an airtight jar or serving bowl. (This salsa verde recipe makes up to four servings, so the extra can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days).
  2. Slice the new potatoes into halves and steam or boil for 8 minutes until tender and then remove from the heat.
  3. Arrange the tomatoes onto a large roasting tray with the potatoes and carefully lay the two sea bass fillets on top, skin side up.
  4. Season with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a 1/3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Place under a grill on a medium-high heat and grill for about 10-12 minutes until the fish is cooked and the skin starting to crisp.
  5. Remove from the grill and serve with a tablespoon of salsa verde spooned onto the top of each sea bass fillet. Enjoy!

Created by: Pamela Ryan Qualified Nutritionist*

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

* Pamela Ryan (Dip.NT, NTOI) is a Qualified Nutritional Therapist recognised by the Nutritional Therapists of Ireland (NTOI), the professional association supporting qualified nutritional therapists. All NTOI members study biomedicine and nutrition for a minimum of 3 years at a recognised college, are trained in clinical practice and must comply with NTOI requirements for Continuous Professional Development (CPD). Nutritional Therapy is an evidence-based approach to maximising health through individually formulated nutrition and lifestyle strategies. Pamela continues to attend training and lectures on a regular basis through various bodies including The Institute of Functional Medicine and The Institute of Health Sciences. These trainings help her to gain increased expertise in the ever advancing field of nutrition.