Category Archives: Awareness

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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Easing the mind, body and soul with meditation

We have talked about lack of sleep and stress in other blogs and how they can be so detrimental to your health. One solution to combating both of those problems is through meditation.

Meditation by definition involves deliberately holding a person’s attention on a subject, object or process. It can also involve clearing the mind and leaves people feeling more “alive”, enhanced feelings of calm and heightened awareness. Meditation offers many health benefits, such as reducing stress, and supporting healing and recovery from accidents.

Meditation of one style or another can be found in most of the major religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam as a means of realising spiritual enlightenment. Meditation is practiced for both health and religious reasons although it has become increasingly trendy these days to meditate as a self help tool for promoting good health, managing stress and for spiritual expansion and fulfilment without a religious basis.

You may be thinking this sounds very wishy washy. However it has been scientifically proven that many forms of meditation result in clearing your mind which promotes a sense of calm and heightened awareness which can be a powerful healing tool for many disorders such as anxiety, depression, headaches, high blood pressure, migraines, stress, insomnia, recovery from accident or illness.

The immediate benefits of meditation can include improved physical, emotional and mental health, focused and clear thinking, improved memory, enhancing a sense of self, more equanimity in the face of challenges and an overall satisfaction in life.

It is advisable to seek help from a meditation, yoga, kum nye, qi gong, thai chi teacher or your doctor if you would like some guidance on how to find a form of meditation that best suits you. It isn’t for everyone but it has fantastic health benefits especially when teamed with a healthy diet, regular exercise and healthy sleep patterns. So what’s the harm in trying it right?

References:

Better Health Channel Victoria (2012). Meditation. Retrieved 13 October 2012 from http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Meditation#

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Digital Health Investments Continue to Grow

Over one billion USD has been invested in digital health in 2012 alone. While there are currently no Australian based reports on the growth of digital health investments on home soil. The Australian market closely follows the US market therefore the trends in the US market are applicable to us.

At Docmate we are passionate about innovation, particularly within the healthcare realm. So we are excited at this news and the potential these funds have at bringing about real change to healthcare products and services.

The investment in digital health is an increase of $626 million from 2011 with approximately 103 digital health companies raising $2 million in funds or more in 2012. 128 venture capital firms have invested in digital health companies this year and 10% of the investors are new to digital health. While consumer facing offerings are still significant 2012 saw the majority of investment dollars (approximately $448 million) go towards companies with B2B business models.

For more information you can take a look at the report for yourself at the following link:

http://www.slideshare.net/RockHealth

So what does this increase in investment mean for healthcare consumers? It means healthcare products and services will be increasingly more effective and up there with other industries in terms of leading edge technology. It means saving you time and money when managing your health.

Stay tuned at here at the Docmate blog to stay aboard of more advances in the world of digital health.

References:

Dolan, B (2012). More than $1 billion in 2012 digital health investments so far. Retrieved 13 October 2012 from http://mobihealthnews.com/18666/more-than-1-billion-in-2012-digital-health-investments-so-far/

Rock Health (2012). Digital Health Q3 2012 Funding Report. Retrieved 13 October 2012 from http://www.slideshare.net/RockHealth

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First aid for everyone

No matter what you do, it pays to have first aid skills as you can’t learn it in an emergency. First aid is for everyone and no matter how good you think you’re knowledge is it is always best to refresh your mind or consider enrolling in a course.

I recently completed a St John’s two day introductory first aid course over a weekend. I thought I had a basic idea of what to do in an emergency situation by use common sense or just rely on calling an ambulance. However the course taught me some of the responses I thought were right weren’t and it gave me greater confidence in an emergency situation.

The introductory course covered how to respond to broken bones, cuts, conscious and unconscious breathing and non breathing casualties, allergic reactions, burns, asthma attacks amongst other situations.

The most important lesson I learnt was that even if you suspect a casualty has spiral or neck injuries if they are unconscious you must always put them into the recovery position. I always thought you would never move someone with suspected spinal or neck injuries however I learnt if they are unconscious their airways are at risk. Hence if someone’s airway is at risk then they risk not breathing which then means brain damage or death. If they are not breathing then you perform CPR.

The teacher of the course I completed told an awful story of one of her students who was present at an accident scene where the casualty was unconscious. Members of the public restrained him because he wanted to move the casualty into a recovery position. Very unfortunately the casualty died as his airway was blocked and if you don’t get air regardless of whether you have a suspected spinal injury you will be unlikely to live.

The other important take away I got was to remember you are a first aider which means exactly that. You do not do anything beyond your training or beyond what you feel comfortable and confident doing.

I would highly recommend the St John’s course for anyone whether it be for workplace use or generally knowledge for citizens. You can find out more about their courses at the following link www.stjohn.org.au or as always you can ask us here at Docmate!

References

St John, 2012. First Aid Training. Retrieved 6 October 2012 from http://www.stjohn.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14&Itemid=25

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Good and bad news for coffee addicts

Coffee culture. It has rapidly become a large aspect of Aussie life with the rise of cafe culture. We are sure to all know a caffeine addict; be it ourselves or someone else. The majority of people I know, including myself, need at least one per day to kick start their day and often another if necessary.

Other than tasting amazing and having great affects on energy and alertness levels coffee actually has health benefits when drunk in moderation. To start with it is part of the antioxidant family which is thought to help battle cancer amongst providing other health benefits. It also has other less commonly known health benefits.

Moderate coffee drinking (1 to 4 cups per day however this varies from person to person) may help reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease due to coffee’s antioxidants that can prevent some damage to brain cells and boost the effects of neurotransmitters.

Some studies also show moderate coffee drinkers have lower rates of stroke than non-coffee drinkers. Coffees antioxidants can help to quell inflammation’s damaging effects on arteries. However on the other hand high coffee consumption (a 5 cup of more daily habit) is associated with higher heart disease risks.

Although research is sparse it appears that the more coffee people drink the lower their incidence of cirrhosis and other liver diseases. In addition, studies have often linked frequent coffee consumption (4 cups or more per day) with a lowered risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Scientists think that antioxidant compounds in coffee can boost cells’ sensitivity to insulin which helps regulate blood sugar. However this is about the only positive of high caffeine consumption.

Of course the everything in moderation principle applies to coffee consumption. High caffeine intake can sabotage the antioxidants’ effects, can make people jittery and even raise cholesterol levels. If you are sensitive to caffeine it can cause irritability or anxiety in high doses.

It can also be highly addictive as many of us know. If you caffeinate yourself daily, you are likely to develop tolerance to its effects which means eventually you’ll need a regular caffeine fix just to reach your baseline level of alertness and are susceptible to withdrawal symptoms like extreme fatigue and
headaches.

Caffeine consumption can also cause trouble sleeping as typically it takes about 6 hours for the caffeine to clear your system. Boiled or unfiltered coffee contains higher levels of cholesterol so it is advisable to choose filtered methods instead. Finally, it is important for pregnant and nursing women to have a very moderate amounts of caffeine during pregnancy and attempt to cut down further when breast feeding if their babies are restless or irritable.

At the end of the day everything is best in moderation however it is important to be informed about the benefits and risks of your daily habits. If you are ever concerned about your caffeine consumption or simply want to find out more we suggest you make an appointment with your GP. You can book an appointment online with us here.

References

Delish, 2012. Coffee: Pros and Cons for Your Health. Retrieved 6 October 2012 from http://www.delish.com/recipes/cooking-recipes/coffee-health-benefits

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