Feel more energised

Liz Nicholls

Mental Health

Feel more energised with these tips from Nature’s Corner in Newbury

Need more energy? Happily, there’s plenty you can do to increase your energy levels naturally.

Drink more water!

It may seem obvious but one of the main causes of fatigue is dehydration. Difficulty concentrating, headaches and fatigue, even feeling hungry are all signs you’re not drinking enough water. Aim for at least two litres of water daily.

Get sufficient sleep

Poor sleep on an ongoing basis will soon zap your energy. If you’re having trouble nodding off because your bedroom is too stuffy, try changing your bedding – choose natural fibres over synthetic, and sheets over duvets to help increase airflow and circulation. A natural sleep remedy can also help. Dormeasan® Sleep with Valerian and Hops can help restore better sleep patterns, which means more quality time in restorative sleep stages. Take 30 drops in a little water half an hour before bedtime.

Slay your stress!

Feeling stressed can take its toll on energy levels. It causes the digestive system to slow, meaning we don’t get as many nutrients, and therefore less fuel from food. It also means we can become deficient in the vitamins and minerals we need to keep our bodies working, and our energy levels up. Allow yourself at least 30 minutes each day to do whatever helps you to relax, whether that’s a walk by yourself, a long soak or a dip into a good book.

Ditch the quick-release carbs found in white bread, pastries and sweets. They might give you a quick sugar fix, but after a couple of hours that sudden spike of energy will drop, making you feel tired and sleepy. Low GI, energy-rich foods, such as wholegrains, nuts and seeds, and foods rich in protein, will keep you full for longer.

Still feeling tired?

Bring your minerals into balance. Minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, are essential for turning the food we eat into energy. A.Vogel’s Balance Mineral Drink contains magnesium, zinc, potassium, calcium and vitamin D, to help release energy and maintain vitality. Simply add to water and stir.

For further advice, visit Anita and her team at Nature’s Corner, 73 Northbrook St, Newbury.

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The Divorce Revolution

Round & About

Mental Health

New business launched to help separating and divorcing couples save money and stay out of court

Divorce rates are increasing and relationship experts warn the pandemic-induced break-up curve may not have peaked yet. Some law firms are seeing over a 100% increase in enquiries based on the same period last year and courts are struggling to keep up with the new demand.

Claire Colbert and Rachael Oakes have set up their own business called “Mediation and More” because they want to work with individuals and couples in a way that law firms cannot.

Most people know someone, a friend or family member, who talks about the nightmare of their divorce, the conflict, stress and what seemed like never ending legal fees.  Well, separation and divorce no longer need to be like this anymore.

At Mediation & More the focus is to keep people out of court, save them money and facilitate the resolution of any issue involving family breakdown, separation, divorce and its financial consequences, arrangements for children and any other kind of family dispute.

We will be supporting couples to achieve an amicable divorce using the skills we have as accredited mediators and drawing on all the knowledge and experience we have each built up working as specialist family lawyers for more than 20 years. We are leaving the world of litigation behind to focus on supporting individuals and couples in a way which will reduce acrimony, legal fees and stress.

Our aim is to become the go-to business for people who find themselves considering separation and divorce and want to know what all their options are and gather as much information as possible about the process before going to lawyers. If the couple wish, we can then mediate to discuss and sort out all the issues that need to be resolved, meaning that they may only need a lawyer at the very end of the process to receive legal advice and draw up a legally binding agreement.

Lawyers cannot meet with a couple together. They are prevented from doing so because it is regarded as a conflict of interest by the rules that govern how lawyers’ practice.

One of the unique services Mediation and More will be providing is a fixed price Family Law Information Meeting.

Whilst working as family lawyers we were conscious that many couples wanted to meet with us together to obtain an understanding of the steps and options involved in divorce situations. Law firms cannot offer this service, they are unable to meet with couples together, but we can.

This is a great first step for any individual or couple wanting to receive as much information as possible about how the divorce process works and enables couples to make joint decisions about next steps. This service can reduce the risk of conflict, help keep legal costs down and assist people who are already representing yourself in the family court.

We can use these meetings to answer all the questions people have that they often think they must go to lawyers to get the answers to. In our experience, once lawyers are involved, many cases are then on the litigation pathway and options to consider and resolve issues amicably have been lost.

In speaking with us people may decide that Mediation is the process that they want to use to reach an amicable agreement about their family dispute. If they do, then we will then provide that extra support and put in place the necessary meetings to take things forward. If mediation isn’t right for any reason, then we can provide recommendations about other professionals who can help.

We are the only local business who are able to provide all of the following services to help and support people resolve their family dispute;

• Traditional Family Mediation where a couple meet with a mediator to facilitate resolution of the practical and financial consequences of separation and divorce.

• The new Hybrid Mediation model where both lawyers representing the couple are involved in meetings so that they became part of finding the solution and stop litigating. Having the lawyers at meetings means that they can provide legal advice to their client as and when it is needed, when discussing proposals for reaching an agreement, and then a binding legal agreement can be drawn up on the day. This significantly reduces the time it can take to reach an agreement with lawyers involved, hand in hand with the costs.

• Meeting with children to ascertain their views about future arrangements so that they have a voice in the process and so they feel they have been consulted about important decisions that are going to impact on their future.

• Mediating for couples to facilitate what might be included in a pre-marital agreement, post marital agreement or cohabitation agreement.

• Coaching people who are having to prepare for or go through the court process. This is a very stressful process and one we know inside out. We can offer real and practical tips that people can use to help them cope.

• Resolving other types of family disputes by mediation.

• Mentoring lawyers who work in the field of family law. This service is led by Rachael who also sits as a Deputy District Judge.

Our business came about after much reflection about the way we wanted to work moving forward and wanting to help couples find a better way to separate and divorce. As Alice Walker said – “Look closely at the future you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming”. We have dreamt the dream, now we are creating our future and a better future for those we will work with.

Our website contains lots of information about all the services we provide and explains all the above options in more detail so please do have a look – www.mediationandmore.uk

Here is a video we have put together to explain a little more about our new business. We very much hope that we can help people and their friends and family find a better way to separate and divorce.

If we can help you or anyone you know, call us on freephone 0800 206 2258 or email us at

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Wine & mind

Karen Neville

Mental Health

Learn some simple mindfulness strategies to boost your performance at work and home while you enjoy a glass of wine

Former female RAF helicopter pilot Sarah Furness is bringing Winefulness, a combination of business and mindfulness over a glass of wine, to Henley on 15th July.

Afghanistan veteran Sarah will be presenting her new concept of Winefulness, uniting her unique management experience under fire and mindfulness over a glass of wine to local business leaders at Henley’s world leading Oaken Grove vineyard. She will be joined by the Daily Mail’s wine correspondent, Olly Smith, who will be leading the wine-tasting.

Sarah uses her training in Military Grade Mindfulness to help business professionals use mindfulness techniques and to reach their potential whatever their circumstances. She says that her Winefulness taster day will be the ideal place for busy professionals to learn how to incorporate mindfulness into their routine, whilst doing the things they love.

Sarah also runs Winefulness Wednesdays every last Wednesday of the month at Oaken Grove. This is an opportunity for people to hear about how the brain works and how to apply simple mindfulness strategies into their daily lives …. all brought to you through the experience of wine-tasting.

Oaken Grove Vineyard is a family-run boutique vineyard, nestling in the Chiltern Hills surrounded by ancient woodland, offering a range of award-wining wines. The seven acres of vines produce exceptional still and sparkling wines.

In addition to Sarah’s Winefulness Wednesdays, Oaken Grove also holds pop up restaurants and jazz on a Sunday afternoon. On Friday evenings and Saturdays the terrace is open to enjoy a glass of wine with local cheese and charcuterie.

To find out more and to book click here

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Star Q&A: James Arthur

Round & About

Mental Health

Liz Nicholls asks singer James Arthur, about music, mental health and more. His new single September is out on 11th June, via Columbia Records, taken from his as-yet untitled album out in autumn

Hello James – thank you so much for taking time to share your thoughts with our readers.

 

Q. Congratulations on the new album, and the single out in June. You must be really proud of these? “Honestly, I am so proud of this whole album. I made the whole thing at home during lockdown, and I never could have imagined the difference working in a space I felt comfortable in could have led to me being able to produce the best work I believe I’ve ever made.”

Q. As someone who suffers anxiety myself, and a huge fan of CBT thank you for being so honest about it. How are you feeling now? “I take it day by day, I’ve found really focusing on staying present is the most important thing for me, I can’t control the past or the future, and trying to do so only breeds anxiety, so I focus on being in the present moment and just being grateful for that. What advice would you have for anyone going through a dark time? Speak to someone, you will be so surprised at the support you will receive if you just let people in, all it takes is a text to someone saying ‘I’m really not feeling ok’ which might sound like a scary thing to do, but by doing that, you are no longer alone. There is also an amazing out-of-hours mental health helpline by the charity SANE (sane.org.uk) if you don’t feel like you can speak to someone you know.”

Q. What is your go-to album or song to lift your spirits & make you feel good? “Got to be Real by Cheryl Lynn is my jam.”

Q. What is your first memory of music? “My early childhood memories of music are of rock vinyls playing at my dad’s (Thin Lizzy, AC/DC etc) – also Prince, Michael Jackson and soul music on repeat at my mum’s.”

Q. How did you feel about fame when you were young? And how do you feel about fame now? “I don’t think I ever really thought about fame when I was younger – the greats that I looked up to, I didn’t necessarily see them as famous, I was just so inspired by their talent. I also think the concept of fame was very different when I was younger – people that were ‘famous’ were very untouchable, you knew nothing of them apart from their art, and fast disposable fame didn’t really exist, whereas now, with social media, people really have an massive amount of access to a person’s life and personality. I guess it’s a necessary evil. I don’t think of myself as famous which probably helps me, and I’m so grateful to have people who love my music enough that would consider themselves a ‘fan’ of me, but if I could do my job without being famous, I’d definitely take that option!”

Q. How do you take care of your fantas1c voice? Anything you don’t eat or drink, or exercises etc? “I learnt very quickly after back to back tours that if I want to sing the way I want to sing every night I have to look after my voice, so I do an hour’s warm-up before a show and then a cool down after the show too. Even with that, if I don’t have days of complete voice rest built into the tour my voice completely cuts out for a few days, and it’s the worst feeling in the world as there’s nothing I can do to make it come back but wait and rest. It’s one of the most frustrating things about touring for me, so it’s a constant balancing act.”

Q. You have said you miss touring – having had some rest time, are you ready to go & perform live now? “I cannot wait! I’ve got some festivals lined up this summer and I’m really hoping they go ahead.”

Q. Is there an upcoming /lesser-known artist out there who you want to give a shout-out to & urge us all to listen to their music? “Shotty Horroh – I’ve been shouting from the rooftops about this artist for many years and I will continue to do so. He’s the best MC.”

Q. Rule of six time: who would be your dream party guests to hang out or have dinner/picnic with, living or dead, real or fictional? “Kurt Cobain, Jay Z, Elvis, Cillian Murphy, Ed Norton, William Wallace.”

Q. Do you have a favourite book? “My two favourite books are Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.”

Q. What were your favourite saviours of lockdown: i.e. things that made lockdown life better? “FIFA was massive for me during lockdown – I put my gamer tag on Twitter and my requests went crazy. From that I managed to find five guys who have become my really good friends. We spent the first lockdown speaking for hours and hours while playing FIFA every night. I’ve never even met any of them, but I speak to them nearly every day, and having that escapism was massive for me during lockdown.”

Q. If you could make one wish for the world, what would it be? “I’d wish that people would be kinder to each other. I don’t even think that’s that big an ask.”

Q. Is there anything on your horizon or future ambitions you can tell us about? “There’s some exciting acting roles coming up for me, but I might get sacked if I talk about it so you’ll have to ask me again next time!”

AZUMI-Wellness: Nature Therapy Berkshire

Round & About

Mental Health

We at AZUMI-Wellness are very excited to offer nature therapy experiences in Berkshire, a county blessed with extraordinarily beautiful parks, woodlands and forests. We passionately believe that going outside in nature can help us to feel calmer, more relaxed and less stressed.

At AZUMI-Wellness we pride ourselves on helping people to feel better and we believe in tailoring experiences to our clients and not our clients to the experiences.

We know that modern life is fast paced, full of uncertainties and always changing. Our minds are busy, jumping from one task to the next with little time to stop and enjoy the stillness of our surroundings.

Nature therapy encourages us to slow down, breathe and reconnect with our environment and ourselves. The practice of nature therapy focuses on reconnecting with the natural environment through a series of invitations, encouraging participants to become aware of all the amazing smells, sounds, sights, tastes and textures that surround them; leading to an enhanced experience and a deeper embodied sense of relaxation.

Nature therapy is the practice of immersing yourself in nature, particularly forests, for better mental and physical health. This evidence-based practice began in Japan in the early 1980’s and is known in Japanese as, Shinrin Yoku.

Studies have proven that people who regularly participate in nature therapy also known as forest therapy benefit from: reductions in feelings of anxiety, stress, anger, tension, fatigue and depression. Additional benefits include: lowered blood pressure and heart rate, improved quality of sleep and concentration.

At AZUMI-Wellness we are experts in guiding our clients through an authentic Nature therapy experience – our 2 hour sessions are run by certified and accredited therapists who will guide you through a sensory experience you are unlikely to forget!

Our sessions are suitable for everyone and we are very happy to adapt to your specific needs.

Each session is about 2 hours in duration, we do not walk more than ¾ of a mile, we walk slowly and carefully, mindfully moving through sensory invitations and taking every opportunity to relax and reconnect.

AZUMI-Wellness:
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Mental Health Mates are offering support

Liz Nicholls

Mental Health

Abby Lacey set up Mental Health Mates – Reading after needing help herself, the support group helps anyone suffering as well as their family and friends

Founded in 2016 by author and journalist, Bryony Gordon, Mental Health Mates is a network of peer support groups, run by people who experience their own mental health issues, meeting regularly to walk, connect and share without fear or judgement.

In early 2019, being a fan of her writing and podcast, as well as suffering from anxiety for most of my life, I decided to check out Mental Health Mates. The nearest to me were about 20 miles in either direction, so after about five minutes of procrastination, I contacted them and offered to start my own group.

I know from experience that mental illness magnifies through isolation. I also know that being outside in nature is great for your mental health, so to incorporate walking and talking to someone, sharing with them or simply walking beside them – just connecting – is the first step to recovery.

In May 2019 I set up Mental Health Mates – Reading, organising bi-monthly weekend walks for people suffering from mental illnesses, along with their family and friends, in and around Reading.

We were lucky enough to have almost a year of walking together before the pandemic hit, but we’ve carried on walking when we can, and when we can’t, we meet bi-weekly through Zoom. The Zoom calls are a great way to check in, in a really informal environment. There is no structure to our calls – we chat about everything from TV to politics, from fashion to medication – we cover it all! There is never an expectation to talk and if you don’t want the camera on, that’s fine too.

We have built a great community of like-minded people, and we have visitors on the calls from all over the country as I, along with other walk leaders, actively advertise that all are welcome.

When we are able to get together, our accessible walks are as gentle or as brisk as the group would like, so we cater for everyone, covering about two miles over an hour.

We are truly spoilt for choice for locations in the area from beautiful lakes such as Dinton Pastures and Whiteknights Lake at the University of Reading, to the River Thames at Caversham. We’re hoping to expand our offering to west Reading too in the early summer too, so we can reach even more people.

If you would like to join Mental Health Mates – Reading please visit facebook.com/mhm.reading
Or for more information on support, visit mentalhealthmates.co.uk/support/


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Gemma Hardy offers mental health advice

Liz Nicholls

Mental Health

The term ‘mental health’ has recently become something of a buzzword. Worries of how the pandemic is affecting our mental health are discussed daily in the news, on social media and in our social circles.

It’s encouraging that a topic, which is usually considered taboo, is being given so much airtime, however, do we really know what mental health is?

Interestingly, there is no finite definition of mental health. The World Health Organisation suggests it is: ‘a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community’.

The language surrounding mental health is often misused and terms such as mental health and mental illness get confused despite being very different. The truth is, just as we all have physical health, we all have mental health too. We know the importance of looking after our physical health and it’s no different from our mental health.

With last year’s constant changes and uncertainty, some of us may be feeling stressed, overwhelmed or deflated. As lockdown restrictions are eased, how can we adapt to our ‘new normal’ whilst keeping mentally healthy?

Try our top three tips:

Acceptance

It’s much easier to live in a state of harmony when you accept the things that are out of your control. You can’t change the actions of others, predict if there will be another lockdown or change how people respond to rules. So, accept the things you can’t control and focus on the things you can control.

Practise gratitude

People who regularly practise gratitude feel more positive emotions, have improved sleep, and express more compassion and kindness. Take time to notice the small things around you, like a beautiful blue sky, a delicious lunch or time to dive into a new book.

Exciting opportunities

The plus side of uncertainty is you never know what’s around the corner. Could it be the pandemic has forced you to make changes that will actually enhance your life? With a positive mindset, you can look at change as a new chapter filled with new goals and successes to celebrate.

Take action and invest in your mental health today!

Hardy Training Company works with businesses and schools to create mentally healthy workplaces, by providing internationally recognised Mental Health First Aid training courses.

If you, or your organisation, would like further information please visit hardytrainingcompany.co.uk


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Holme Farm community hub

Liz Nicholls

Mental Health

Ronnie Kendall is passionate about creating a community hub in the Woking area to help those with mental health issues and to combat loneliness.

The idea behind Holme Farm, Woodham, is to create a community hub with workshops and a café which also provide a safe haven for those with mental health issues and to combat loneliness.

There will be space for gardening, an orchard, bee-keeping, re-wilding and family areas for relaxing. Inside the ‘sheds’ there will be a café where people of all backgrounds and ages can meet and socialise, and courses will be organised for everything from crafting and creative activities to computer skills and woodworking.

In the longer term, it is hoped to involve local councils and assist with high child poverty and levels of loneliness in our boroughs. It is this that inspired the group of community-minded individuals including myself and my wife Christine to come together to try and secure derelict buildings and adjoining land, currently owned by DEFRA, in Woodham Park Road.

Loneliness causes mental illness. Recently there has been a heightened level of awareness around the issue of poor mental health and an urgent need to take positive action in tackling this issue, reducing the burden on the NHS and emergency services. Workshops are a simple way of helping with this growing problem.

It is hoped the Holme Farm project can start this year. It will be a place to pursue interests, to share and practice skills, enjoy making and mending and discuss anything. A community project to share knowledge, make social connections, build friendships – and of course a lot of laughter and tea!

To join the project sign up here or email


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Putting children’s wellbeing first: Inside Out

Karen Neville

Mental Health

Inside Out is an education charity based in Reading focussed on improving children’s wellbeing.

Children’s mental health and wellbeing have never been so high on the school agenda. Teachers have never been under so much pressure, managing daily change.

To help teachers and parents with the current, flexible approach to schooling, they have developed a ‘Wellbeing Guide’ based on their 5 Keys to Happiness, the equivalent of 5 fruit and veg a day for your mental health.

This is a free resource for schools, teachers and families packed with inspiration and activities to boost children’s happiness and wellbeing. These resources will now help ease the long-awaited transition back to school.

There is a wealth of information and resources out there but it’s often confusing and hard to know where to start. The Wellbeing Guides are full of activities that are simple, fun and quick-to-use, at home or school.

The Guide offers fun, simple ideas and resources for children, whether they are currently being educated at home or in school with a new edition shared each week during lockdown. Please see attached pdf of the latest edition, which includes a 5 Keys to Happiness poster for parents to print out and use at home.

For more wellbeing inspiration, why not follow INSIDE OUT on Facebook and twitter or visit their website www.theinsideout.org.uk for all previous issues of the Wellbeing Guide.

Read about pop icon Billy Ocean and the Young Voices Choir’s charity single to help children’s mental health here.

Billy Ocean & the Young Voices

Liz Nicholls

Mental Health

Billy wishes you a Lovely Day with charity single to help children’s mental health

Pop icon & beacon of positivity Billy Ocean, who lives in Berkshire, has teamed up with the Young Voices Choir to release a new and uplifting recording of the Bill Withers’ classic, Lovely Day.

Also featured on the track are award-winning broadcaster and musician YolanDa Brown (saxophone) and The Voice UK 2018 winner (and former Young Voices singer) Ruti Olajugbagbe. Released on January 26th by Magic Star (the home of children’s and family entertainment at Sony Music UK), all UK profits will go to children’s mental health charity Place2Be.

“We have all been affected in different ways over this difficult last year,” says Billy MBE, “and many children have really struggled. I’m so happy to be able to join with Young Voices to help make a difference and to raise funds for children’s mental health with this wonderful and hopeful song.”

Profits from the single Lovely Day will go to the Place2Be charity which launched the first ever Children’s Mental Health Week in 2015. Place2Be’s school-based teams estimate that 85% of the young people they support have been negatively affected by the pandemic, and have seen an increase in referrals around self-harm and suicidal thoughts in secondary schools. 1 in 6 children and young people have a probable mental health condition (Source: NHS Digital)

Ben Lewis, CEO of Young Voices, says: “With school life currently disrupted, this highlights the need, more than ever, to support children’s mental health.”

Young Voices is an all-inclusive educational programme designed to use music to develop 21st-century skills such as communication, collaboration, creativity, mindfulness, and innovation. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year Young Voices have staged the largest children’s choir concerts in the world. In 2020 alone, Young Voices headlined 24 arenas across the UK, including a record breaking concert at Manchester Arena, overtaking Take That’s previous record of 46 shows.

This summer Young Voices will attempt to break their own Guinness World Record for ‘Largest Simultaneous Sing-Along’, currently standing at 293,978 – a record set when the ‘Big Sing 2005’ was broadcast live from the Royal Albert Hall. Streamed live from The O2 arena, Bily Ocean, Yolanda Brown and Ruti and Young Voices will join children, their teachers and families throughout the UK to sing ‘Lovely Day’. Involvement can be registered at: youngvoices.co.uk/biggest-sing/

Show your support and buy the single and share with us if Place2Be have helped you or someone you know