Celebrate a stress free Christmas this year

Despite all the pretty decorations and celebrations Christmas time can be a stressful time of year for some people. Whether it is rushing to get all of your work tidied up before the close of the office, financial distress about how to afford presents for everyone, worry about how to put on the perfect feast or going off the rails of your summer body plan you can overcome it this Christmas.

Christmas isn’t about giving the most expensive present, preparing the best meal, what you look like or how much work you get done. Christmas is about sharing a laugh with your loved ones, spreading goodwill and Christmas cheer in the community, appreciating others and being kind to yourself. It is about spreading joy, love and peace. So focus on creating an atmosphere of joy, love and peace rather than looking at Christmas as an event to organise. Not only will this leave you feeling less up tight but it will also make you have a better more meaningful festive season.

We do however recognise sometimes it can be hard to focus on sharing the Christmas spirit when you are feeling stressed out so here are some tips to make it easier.

For the waist line:

  • Go easy on the starches such as cereals, rice, pasta, cakes, pastries, biscuits as well vegetables such as potatoes, yams, carrots, parsnips and swede. These foods drive our insulin levels up resulting in our bodies storing fat. Instead have an extra slice of turkey and opt for non-starchy vegetables such as cabbage, kale, spinach, sprouts, leeks, broccoli and  cauliflower.
  • Go for red wine over white wine, beer or spirits as red wine is higher in antioxidants and contains less “empty” calories than the others. The ideal would be opting for no alcohol – but we have to realistic here, it’s Christmas! Have your large Christmas meal at lunchtime rather than in the evening.
  • No snacking as this is really the way to pack on the extra weight. Try to ensure your meals are sufficiently dense in nutrition to last until the next one. If you must snack try to go for a slice of meat, cheese or vegetables rather than crisps, cakes or biscuits.
  • Prepare desserts with real fruit or dark chocolate over milk.

For the task orientated person:

  • Make a list of achievable tasks then cut it in half. Remember people are going to be impacted more by the feelings of love and joy rather than if you had fancy napkins or not.
  • Share the duties amongst your colleagues, family or friends.
  • Arrange childcare in advance if you can afford it to take the stress out of carting the kids around whilst trying to get everything sorted.

For the stressed out worker:

  • Be realistic with the work you can get done before your holiday, prioritise your work load and flag any tasks that might not be able to get done as early as possible with your manager.
  • Identify tasks that can be pushed back until the New Year and leave them until then.
  • If you are really struggling to get your work done before your break perhaps skip one of the many Christmas get togethers or go but don’t get carried away.
  • Limit your alcohol intake and go home at a reasonable time so you will be refreshed and ready to work at your peak the next day.

For the financially burdened:

  • Shop smart, the only thing more stressful than Christmas is starting the New Year with a mountain of debt. Get to the shops as early as possible to avoid the stressful shopping mall hustle. Online shopping is also a great tool to check out what’s out there and to compare prices without the high pressure of being in store with hundreds of people and a store attendant hovering over your shoulder.
  • Shop around for food and drink. You don’t need to get everything from the one store make the most of local produce on sale at markets and buy drinks and non perishables in bulk from discount stores.
  • Don’t be shy to ask others to bring things.
  • Do a secret Santa.
  • Get the kids to make home made cards for friends and family and even gifts for some like Grandparents who love that sort of thing.

For more Christmas spirit:

  • Invite someone in the community who doesn’t have anyone to spend Christmas with to join you. It may be that lady down the road or someone from work who has family overseas. Put the offer out there for them to decide.
  • Volunteer as a family or group of friends or colleagues to help out a local charity prepare Christmas lunch or hampers for those in need. You will help restore hope to some of the most marginalised and hopeless groups in the community and will be surprised at how good it will leave you feeling. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
  • If you don’t already have Christmas traditions, establish some. Attend a carol concert, pay a visit to Santa, or go to a service at your local Church or a friends Church even if you are not very religious it can help you focus on the meaning of Christmas is a lovely experience, do some Christmas baking, watch a Christmas movie or leave out cookies and milk for Santa.

We hope the above tips will help you experience a stress free very happy Christmas full of laughter, hugs and smiles. The team at Docmate sincerely wishes you a very happy Christmas and will be raising a toast to all of our followers and supporters. Thank you for your support in 2012 and we look forward to sharing an exciting 2013 with you all!

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The importance of taking a real lunch break

As important as it is to bring a nutritious lunch to work, it is equally vital to take a step away from your desk to take a mental break. Most work places contractually allow an hour for lunch however recent studies suggest that one in four people are too busy to take a break for lunch, one in three eat lunch at their desk and the average person takes less than 20 minutes each day for lunch away from their desk (Gandhi, 2012). Many people work through lunch in order to save time and avoid working late however it rarely works to their benefit.

If you don’t take a lunch break you may want to reconsider after reading this post because there are definite health and productivity advantages in doing so. Of course, to a degree, the need for breaks definitely depends on the demands of your job. The more intense and demanding your job, the more necessary it is to take breaks.

Taking a lunch break and nourishing the brain with food and fresh air will not only boost your mood and leave you feeling refreshed thus increasing your afternoon productivity levels it will also help you maintain your weight. If you habitually eat while you’re working or at your desk, elevated stress levels lead to increase cortisol, which leads to fat accumulation in the body. There is also more of a chance you will overeat, because the distractions from work cause you not to realise that you’re full until you’ve over eaten (Gandhi, 2012).

Making a conscious effort to take a lunch break improves your productivity as it energises and refocuses you. It also encourages you to work more effectively as you are working towards a short term reward. It will also leave you feeling happier and less prone to mood swings, therefore being a more pleasant and motivated employee. Many workers worry about what their boss and co-workers will think if they take a break. You will need to get over this and allow yourself to detach psychologically as well as physically. If you are so stressed out that you are worried about work the entire time you are taking a lunch break, there won’t be any benefit. So as hard as it is to let go of the stress and get over about what others will think, it will be well worth it and you will be pleasantly surprised at your mood lift and increased productivity.

Once you master the art of taking a decent lunch break we dare you to step it up a notch and boost your endorphin’s by taking an express gym class or going for a power walk in a nearby park. Many gyms offer express thirty minute classes at lunch or gather some workmates or friends that work in the same area to do a thirty minute power walk.

So take the plunge of getting into a regular habit of taking a lunch break. Even if it means taking fifteen minutes more than you usually do to step outside for some fresh air. Fifteen minutes is better than nothing.

Make taking a lunch break a New Years resolution. Go on we dare you. You will be surprised at how your productivity and mood increases. We’d love to hear your feedback, tips and experiences of how taking a lunch break benefits you.

References

Gandhi, Kumud. 2012. The importance of lunch. Retrieved 24 November 2012 from http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/lifestyle/food/the-importance-of-lunch.html

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Do patents block innovation?

Innovation by nature requires the sharing of ideas, inspiration and information. It also thrives on open two way discussions and debates. Whereas patents by nature protect organisations pockets and stop the flow of information.

We understand that innovators and innovative companies need to gain recognition for their products and services and cover their research and development costs. However Docmate is all about innovation and moving the healthcare industry forward therefore we are not fans of patents. We think they do more harm than good.

Orion Armon, Partner at Cooley LLP, reports on Mobi Health News, that until now, the mobile health industry has experienced relatively few patent restrictions and conflicts. However he warns this peace may soon be disrupted as companies in the medical device, computer, networking, and communications industries are all patenting in the mobile health space.

The likely result Armon predicts is there will be a thicket of overlapping patents on mobile health products and their components. Already the number of mobile health patents issued by the Patent Office has increased incrementally from 2000 and it is predicted to continue to surge until at least 2014.

As this thicket grows, patent infringement conflicts will also grow, particularly as mobile health technologies mature and winners within the industry emerge. Armon, provides some tips for mobile health companies can manage patent infringement risk as follows:

  • If you have never been sued, consider purchasing insurance;
  • Properly structure IP indemnification rights and obligations;
  • Build-out your patent portfolio—even ancillary improvements in the mHealth space may become critical if they are widely adopted by your competitors;
  • Streamline your internal invention disclosure, review, and patent filing processes, and where appropriate, use the USPTO’s Track 1 process to accelerate examination of key patent applications;
  • Monitor competitors’ patent filings and patent portfolios, and consider making pre-issuance submissions of prior art during prosecution of competitors’ patents;
  • Proactively cross-license patents with key IP owners to expand your freedom to operate—or utilize commodity components from major companies who will indemnify you for their use; and
  • If competitors are infringing, consider enforcing your patents before your competitors’ patent portfolios mature.

References

Armon, Orion. 2012. Is mobile health about to enter a patent thicket? Retrieved 15 November 2012 from http://mobihealthnews.com/10-23-12-analysis-mhealths-patent- thicket-topol-leaves-west/

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Back to basics with Bach Flower Therapy

Bach flower remedies is a system of 38 flower remedies that are said to correct emotional imbalances. Considered alternative medicine you can pick or choose what you like from this blog post but we thought it would be interesting to check out.

Doctor Bach(1886-1936), a British Doctor set out to research immunology but developed an interest in homeopathy and joined the laboratories of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital in 1919. He felt dissatisfied with the way doctors were expected to concentrate on diseases rather than the people who were suffering them. Bach believed that illness is the effect of disharmony between body and mind and that symptoms of an illness are the external expression of negative emotional states.

In 1928 he began work on his own remedies made from plants and two years later at age forty-three he gave up his lucrative practice in London to pursue his vision. This boldness resulted in the 38 different types of Bach remedies. Each remedy is associated with a basic human emotion. Mimulus, for example, is the remedy for when we are anxious or afraid about something specific. Taking the remedy helps to overcome the fear and face it with courage.

The 38 different remedies and their bundled mixes are available in liquid form at most health stores, pharmacies and online. The Bach flower remedy most people know is arnica, a plant from the sunflower family, used to treat bruising, muscular strains, wounds and swelling.

The bundled mixes of remedies commonly y known as “Rescue Remedies” such as Rescue Sleep and the standard rescue remedy for stress and emotional imbalance are fairly well-known in Australia.

Rescue sleep is said to calm your restless mind providing natural relief of occasional sleeplessness caused by stress and repetitive thoughts. Active ingredients in the rescue sleep product include white chestnut to help ease a restless mind, star of Bethlehem for trauma and shock, clematis for the tendendency to pass out, cherry plum for fear of mind giving way or anger, impatiens for irritability and tension and finally rock rose for frozen terror and panic.

The standard rescue remedy is also a combination of 5 Bach flower remedies. Allegedly, beneficial when you find yourself in traumatic situations, such as, emergencies, after getting bad news, feeling impatient and irritated, feeling tension and pressure, before an exam or job interview and all other kind of situations where you find you lose balance mentally.

Rescue remedy is said to help you to relax, get focused and get the needed calmness. Dr Oz recommends rescue remedy for stress and it has been endorsed by many celebrities such as Jennifer Anniston, Selma Hyak, Cate Blanchett, Martha Stewart and Van Morrison. We’re not saying you should try it because the celebrities’ do we are just showing that it is not a product only used by alternative medicine or homeopathy supporters.

Although homeopathy has recently been slammed as scientifically implausible and theoretically week in recent media reports by the Sydney Morning Herald and other major metropolitan newspapers. However a draft statement by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council said homeopathy which uses a large range of animal, plant and mineral products should not be confused with herbal remedies.

At the end of the day you are free to make up your own mind on whether you take homeopathic medicines or not. We just like to educate you on what is out there in the healthcare world so you are better informed to make decisions about your own health.

References

BachFlower.com. 2012. The Original Bach Flower Remedies. Retrieved 13 November 2012 from http://bachflower.com/wordpress/?page_id=293

The Bach Centre. 2009. All about Bach remedies. Retrieved 14 November 2012 from http://www.bachcentre.com/centre/firstpag.htm

Medew, J. 2012. Alternative medicine crackdown. Retrieved 14 November 2012 from http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/alternative-medicine-crackdown-20120313-1uyiw.html

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Best exercise for people with limited time

Today’s lifestyles are so busy it’s easy to push exercise to the bottom of the list when juggling work and personal life commitments. However we all know just how important it is to engage in regular physical activity and the benefits it provides such as weight loss, energy, general satisfaction in life and protection from numerous illnesses.

It is all about finding the exercise that suits you and that you enjoy and don’t find a chore. Then it’s about making time and prioritising it and setting yourself goals. Making simple lifestyle changes to your daily routine can also help to keep you physically active and boost your metabolism.

Here in Australia our obesity rate is through the roof. It has more than doubled over the past 20 years and Australia is now ranked one of the fattest developed nations in the world with around 37% of Australians being overweight and 25% obese.

We need to knock this epidemic on the head and start to change our lifestyle and habits. Incorporating regular exercise teamed with a healthy balanced diet is a key strategy to reducing these statistics and improving the lives of Australians.

Here are some tips for incorporating physical activity into your everyday routine:

  • Keep off public transport a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way home or to work
  • Make good use of your lunch break go outdoors for a power walk you will come  back to work feeling more energised and able to focus
  • Let the kids ride their bikes with you jogging beside
  • Opt to take the stairs over elevators and lifts
  • Get up 30 minutes earlier than the rest of the family or than you normally would to take some time to go for a job or to do some yoga
  • Turn cleaning into a work out
  • If you have a dog or like dogs borrow a friends or neighbours and take it for regular walks
  • Make conscious decisions to do active activities on the weekend or after work. Instead of sitting at your computer or in front of the TV get outdoors and active whether it be throwing a ball around in the park or walking around a shopping mall instead of online shopping

While it is certainly important to make small changes like the above to your everyday life it is equally important to realise you should be engaging in at least three thirty minute sessions of moderate to high physical activity per week. There is no quick fix or round about ways to becoming physically fit and active. You have to make the time and make exercise a priority in your life. So we urge you to make a commitment today to choose your favourite type of exercise whether it be walking, surfing or tennis and we’re sure you will feel better for it!

For any recommendations around what sort of physical exercise is right for you or for any fitness related queries Docmate recommends consulting your GP.

References:

Better Health Channel (2012). Obesity. Retrieved 14 October 2012 from  http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Obesity

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