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Mind and Body

The only promise I have made to myself this summer is to take better care of myself, which means this summer is going to be my time for self-care. I am guilty of neglecting myself and end up feeling burnt out and pretty low so I'm focusing on me this time.

People throw the term self-care around a lot and it can lose it meaning when it’s solely associated with buying Lush bath bombs and painting your nails, but self-care isn't just about manicures and face masks.

There are so many things you can do to look after both your mental and physical health so I thought I’d put a list of my top self-care tips together that don’t revolve around you spending half a day's wages in Boots.

1. Book your smear test

2. Cleanse your skin twice

3. Take a multivitamin in the morning

4. Stop drinking caffeinated drinks after 6pm

5. Take your full lunch break

6. Delete take-away apps off your phone

7. Get off the bus a stop early and walk 

8. Listen to podcasts when you feel anxious

9. Use all of your annual leave

10. Don’t drink coffee when you’re due your period

11. Go to therapy

12. Eat some vegetables

13. Eat some chocolate

14. Buy yourself flowers

15. Drink 8 glasses of water a day

16. Stop comparing yourself to people on social media

17. Watch an old movie from your childhood 

18. Go to the dentist

19. Read at least ten pages of a book every day

20. Go to the cinema by yourself


Eleanor Segall has penned a book about what it is really like to live with bipolar disorder. The inspirational author’s book Bring Me To Light is bound to open your eyes about a disorder that affects so many people across the globe.

Eleanor spoke to Shemazing about mental illness, becoming a published author and opening up about her personal struggles and being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 16.

Having dreamed of being a writer since she was a kid, seeing her book for sale is a true pinch me moment for Eleanor. “I couldn't dream that I would write a book of my life story or its circumstances at 31. When I was ill in 2014, I knew I wanted to share my story to help people with bipolar disorder and mental health conditions. Helping others is the reason I have written the book and why I kept going with it. I want to break the stigma bipolar and particularly psychosis has. It is such an honour to be published and Trigger seemed like the perfect home for my book.”

In her book, Eleanor opens up about extremely personal moments in her life, including the manic episode that led to her being sectioned in 2014. The writer said being so open was the toughest part of the writing process, but she knows these stories will educate readers about mental illnesses.

“Mental illness can happen to anyone (there is no stereotype) and that it is not anyone's fault. I hope [the book] helps people in their own recovery, knowing you can achieve and recover despite chronic mental illness and you can do the things you want to do, even if its harder to do at times.

Eleanor stressed, “You can be brought to light again after darkness- illness or difficulty. Recovery is possible and you should never give up hope.”

One of the most difficult moments in Eleanor’s life was when she experienced mania and psychosis, “I was sectioned in 2014. I had to be restrained and injected with haloperidol (anti psychotic med) against my will, to calm me down. Living on a ward for four months wasn’t easy as everyone was so ill but it has all made me who I am and made me reach to be as well as possible.”

Despite the lows, Eleanor has always remained hopeful about her recovery, stressing that it is more than possible.

“Bipolar disorder is a chronic, serious and life threatening condition that can run in families but it also makes us more creative and determined to try harder. 

“Having bipolar is not the end if it can be managed well, but it does cause suicidal ideation and mania or hypomania and it can be a difficult one to treat at times. Never forget that recovery is possible.”

You can read more about Eleanor’s personal story in her debut novel Bring Me To Light. 

Bring Me To Light by Eleanor Segall is an eye-opening and beautifully honest read and is bound to become one of the most beloved books on your shelf.

Bring Me To Light is published by Trigger Publishing, part of the Shaw Mind Foundation.

You can order a copy here.



Ask us what we did before boxsets and online streaming, and we probably wouldn’t even be able to tell you – THAT’S how important gorging on TV shows is in our lives, and we’re quite content to have it that way.

Well, at least we were quite happy – until new research from Japan revealed that binge-watching is actually slowly killing us.

Yep, that’s right; a team of scientists from Osaka University just published a report claiming that an adult who watches five or more hours’ worth of TV a day increases their risk of developing a blood clot in the lung by 250 percent.

So it sounds like a lot but, when you break it down, five hours is the equivalent of half a season of Game of Thrones and Gossip Girl (almost) – in other words, that time can pass by in the blink of an eye!

For the research, the team of scientists studied a group of over 86,000 men and women, following them over a period of 19 years. To make their all-important findings, they also consulted surveys the men and women had filled out in relation to their telly-watching habits.

By the end of the study, it emerged that 56 people had died from what are known as pulmonary embolisms, or blood clots in the lungs – which typically develop from long periods of idleness.

Through their research, the team were able to conclude that those who sat and watched five or more hours’ worth of TV per day were two-and-a-half times more likely to die from the blood clot.

How deeply scary and upsetting is that?

For those who are seriously concerned about how they’re going to cut down their telly time, the study’s lead researcher did share some advice: make sure to take breaks during your boxset marathons.

“After an hour or so, stand up, stretch, walk around; or while you’re watching TV, tense and relax your leg muscles for minutes,” advised Dr Hiroyasu Iso.

We hear ya, doc. Now, time to get started on a detailed Netflix time chart!


Cats and dogs have been, for a long time, man’s companions, pets, a part of your family. But with the new technology wave spreading nowadays, the digital era brings a new type of invention, a new type of ‘pets’: robot pets.

Robot pets – What are they.

An artificial intelligence, AI for short, inside a machine, a robot pet is, as the name implies, a robot designed in the shape and size of a common pet: dog, cat or even bird. Made to be similar in attitude and behaviour with a real animal, robot pets are used to help elderly people that, for various reasons, cannot keep a pet.

The robots are supposed to help with dark emotions, like depression, to keep the elderly active, maintaining their wish to live, fresh. But with the creation of such robot pets, comes the question everyone asks at the end. Can robot pets really replace real dogs and cats? The answer is simple: it depends on the individual.

There are numerous benefits when it comes to owning a robot pet:

Helps with several mental illnesses

Several mental illnesses, like depression or dementia, are, in the long run, hard to cure. By using robotic pets, there has been an increase in relaxation and lack of stress in the elderly people diagnosed with such illnesses.

They not only respond better to the caretakers, but they also are more active, more sociable, engaging in discussions and interaction with other fellow patients. The pets provide the necessary emotional support for the patient to take a step forward in a positive way.

Does not bring additional costs aside its acquisition

Once you buy the robotic pet, there are no other future costs. It will not require medicine, treatment, food or water to survive. With several types of robotic pets already on display, there are sure to be some affordable robot dogs or cats you can ‘adopt’ and bring into your family.

Is ideal for those who suffer from allergies, as it does not shed

Allergies are not something you can control fully. Some people are born that way; some acquire allergies in their lifetime.

Those who are allergic to animal fur, but still wish to have a pet, can now have their dream come true. They do not need to compromise anymore, as the robotic pets do not shed and have no real fur.

According to what model of robot you choose, they might have a synthetic coat over their mechanical body that imitates the way real fur looks like, on the one hand. On the other hand, if you prefer a more mechanical look to it, you can choose one that will satisfy your taste.

Does not need cleaning

As they do not eat and drink, they do not defecate. So you do not have to take them outside for them to do their business, nor do you need to clean after them while indoors.

They will not misbehave

Everyone who owns a real pet, be it dog or cat, has come face to face with the situation in which the pet misbehaved.

A friend came to visit you and your dog jumped up and down, barked and tried to bite your friend? Did your cat act aggressively, trying to scratch the one who wanted to pet it?

With the robot pets such misbehaviour does not exist. They are programmed to recognise you as their owner no matter what, their expressions and actions already installed in their memory. Or, if you are good at computers, you can also download and instal several other tricks for your robotic friend to perform.

In contrast to the benefits a robotic pet can have, there are a series of downsides that, for many, are just a deal breaker.

However, there are also undeniably drawbacks in terms of owning a robot pet:

It only has a limited set of actions and cannot respond to you directly

They already have programmed in their memory what type of actions trigger what effect. For example, a cat will only purr if you pet it on the back, while a dog will wag its tail only if you pet it on the head. If you do any other type of action and expect the robots to either purr or wag their tail, you are going be disappointed as they will not do anything.

It may break down unexpectedly

You never know when it might break down. Some products do need to recharge their ‘energy’, but others may use a more advanced and complex system that does not require batteries or recharging. If one of such products breaks down, the only way to repair it might be to send it back to its producer and have it replaced with a new one.

No walk

Robot pets do not need to be taken out for a walk. And while this might seem attractive at first, on the long run it is a major drawback. Walking your dog is highly beneficial to both yours and your dog’s health. You get to exercise, you have a way to meet new people, and you relax and avoid over-stressing while the dog gets his energy level down a notch while doing its ‘doggy business’. But with robotic pets, your healthy lifestyle might suffer.

Does not provide the emotional achievement of training or interacting with a real pet

Pets, no matter what type, have their own way to show their affection, to communicate and interact with you. Moreover, when you finally manage to train your dog or you receive your cat’s affection, you get a feeling of fulfilment, of serenity, of achievement.

When robot pets are concerned, there is no such feeling. They are already programmed to do certain things and to offer you their ‘unconditional love’. But at the end of the day, robots do not have feelings, and they cannot compensate for yours.

No emotions

A pet will feel sad when you leave it alone for too long and will be a cute, furry joy-ball when it sees you. There is no dog that will not wag its tail as soon as it sees its owner. It will do anything in its power to grab your attention in order to receive a few affectionate words or a pat on the head.

A robot pet, however, is another story. If left alone it will enter a standby state, in which it will try to imitate ‘sleep’. It might fall under the ‘cute’ category at first, but as the time passes, you might feel the need to be ‘asked’ for attention by your pet.

A robot is not capable of doing so while putting feelings and emotions into the act itself. Sure, it might emit certain sounds and noises to get your attention because its battery is running out, but it will never behave like a true, real, animal.

In conclusion, despite being a new trend, and despite having their own benefits, robot pets still have a very long road ahead before there is any chance for them to replace a breathing, loving cat or dog.



So, who among you has been been advised to 'eat like a king at breakfast, a prince at lunch and a pauper at dinner'?

While it sounds like the kind of phrase our grandmothers might bandy about, there is a huge amount to be said for the logic behind it.

In fact, a recent study has confirmed that the key to a healthy weight is to follow that particular eating plan as closely as possible.

With data collected from 50,000 participants over the course of a seven-year study, researchers at Loma Lida University in California established that consuming a large breakfast leads to a decrease in an individual's Body Mass Index.

These findings were in contrast to those who opted to consume a large dinner.

"Breakfast eaters experienced a decreased BMI compared with breakfast skippers. Relative to subjects who ate their largest meal at dinner, those who consumed breakfast as the largest meal experienced a significant decrease in BMI," the study read.

Researchers are of the opinion that a hearty breakfast lowers the chance of snacking and increases the possibility that the individual will adhere to a sensible eating plan.

"Our results suggest that in relatively healthy adults, eating less frequently, no snacking, consuming breakfast, and eating the largest meal in the morning may be effective methods for preventing long-term weight gain," read the study.

"Eating breakfast and lunch 5 – 6 hours apart and making the overnight fast last 18 –19 h may be a useful practical strategy," researchers added.

The findings were published in the Journal of Nutrition.



Meeting the girls for a coffee this weekend? Why not throw in a quick gym session with Niamh Cullen beforehand? Two birds and all that. 

This weekend sees the 9th instalment of GYM+COFFEE’s 2018 Summer Stretch Series, in association with Healthcoach by Laya Healthcare

The free outdoor workout series has been a huge hit across the country, and this event is set to be a big one!


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Irish influencer Niamh Cullen and Sean Harding, owner and head performance coach at Back2Basics Fitness Studios, will be there to put you through your paces with their Tabata style HIIT workout.


Taking place in Dundrum Town Centre from 11am, the 45-minute workout is open to everyone, and you'll definitely work up a sweat with their heart-pumping moves. 


The session will then be followed by coffee and chats with Niamh and Sean. 



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Coffee will be supplied and served by GYM+COFFEE at the very first pop-up store for the brand on the 3rd Floor of Dundrum Town Centre.


To register, follow this link and hit INTERESTED.


In my early twenties, I spent an inordinate amount of time wondering how other people managed to make it through the day without needing to take a nap.

I marvelled at friends and family members who rose at 7am and went to bed at 11pm, and didn't once feel the need to rest their chin against their chest and sleep.

And sleep, and sleep, and sleep.

At about 24, I started noticing that no matter how much sleep I got, I struggled to function at the same level as other people. At the time I was completing an MA and working a part-time job, so I was assured that it was just my busy lifestyle that left me feeling this way.

But I was certain there was more to it. I constantly felt like I was treading through treacle, I struggled to concentrate and my lethargy made me feel like I weighed a thousand tonnes and was moving through the world at a glacial pace.

There were times when I slept in toilet cubicles in college (and yes, it is as grim as it sounds), because I knew I wouldn't make it through my next class without getting even a few moments sleep, and I didn't want to be seen drooling down myself in crowded common areas.

Did these ill-advised bathroom breaks ever help? Not really, but I was desperately trying to deal with my exhaustion without it interfering too drastically with my studies or social life.

Oh, and then there was the constant cold and the inexplicable weight gain.

No matter how many layers I wore, I was permanently cold.

It actually felt like the coldness had permeated my skeleton – seeped into my bones. ​Carrying a hot water bottle everywhere I went was like using a plaster for an axe wound, it covered the surface but did nothing for the turmoil beneath.

My weight, which is something I've always needed to keep an eye on, began to creep up, and between the spike on the scales and the constant exhaustion, I was…well… a mess.

After a much-needed trip to the doctors, I was given a blood test and diagnosed with hypothyroidism which means I have an under-active thyroid.

The thyroid is a gland in the neck, which regulates and controls your metabolism, and mine wasn't producing enough of the hormone needed to do that, which resulted in 12 months of toilet naps, sparse eyebrows and full-body shivers.

Being told that my symptoms made sense and I wasn't just lazy, unfit, and greedy was so reassuring, while being prescribed daily medication which regulated the production of hormones was like being coaxed into the light.

My energy levels increased almost immediately, and my sense of lethargy all but disappeared.

I was encouraged to avoid sugar as my weight has a tendency to spike if I even pass a bakery, and while I certainly keep it in mind, I have an insatiable sweet tooth and don't always adhere as strictly to the advice as I should.

I do, however, know when my metabolism has had enough of my rule-bending, and I do my utmost to rein it in.

Five years on, I have good days, bad days and days when I'd step over my own mother for sliver of chocolate, but isn't that normal?

For me, keeping active is vital for controlling the condition, as it not only increases my energy levels naturally, it also stops me reaching for junk food because I refuse to undo the merits of a gym session for three minutes of chocolatey, nutty, biscuity… sorry, where was I?

While hypothryroidism is a very common condition, and easily managed with a prescribed level of daily medication, the effect it has when it goes untreated can be detrimental to a person's physical and emotional wellbeing.

If you're concerned that you may be suffering from the condition, a quick blood test with your GP will go a long way towards identifying the reason for your symptoms.

So, step yourself out of that toilet cubicle and schedule an appointment with your practitioner ASAP.



For most of us, hopping aboard the fitness wagon is tough enough, while remaining on board seems almost impossible at times.

But once we establish a regular exercise routine which suits our needs and goals, the vast majority of us wonder how we ever survived without multiple sweat-sessions a week.

Considering how difficult it to get started, it's no real surprise that the vast majority of us fear gaps in our routine – created by holidays, work responsibilities or injury –  and often question whether our hard work will go to nought if we can't stick to our regime.

And unfortunately, the answer to that question is yes… for a time, at least.

According to a recent study, it takes a lousy two weeks for our bodies to lose muscle mass if we don't train regularly, and 14 days without exercise can also increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes too.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool enlisted the help of 28 individuals aged 25 – none of whom were fitness fanatics, but who walked at least 10,000 steps a day, were defined as 'moderate to vigorous activity', and boasted a 'healthy BMI'.

By reducing their physical activity by 80 per cent or more (dropping from around 2 hours 41 minutes a day to only 36 minutes), the participants – after two weeks – gained fat, specifically around the stomach area, lost muscle, saw an increase in cholesterol levels and couldn't run as fast.

But thankfully, before you go cancelling your fortnight abroad, this can be reversed pretty quickly.

"The effects were entirely reversible – so it’s fine if you’re fit and well and you go on holiday for two weeks and then you get right back to normal," assured the study's co-author Dan Cuthebertson.

"But the problem is that many people don’t reverse back to these levels of activity, and then perhaps the effects will accumulate. The longer people are inactive, the harder it is to get back into shape," he asserted.

So, while the results sound pretty disheartening, reversing them is totally within your power!


We all know knowledge is power, but there’s one thing about retaining information, and another about putting this information into practice, right?

For as long as most of us can remember we’ve been warned about the dangers of sun exposure, and yet a worrying number of Irish women still leave themselves vulnerable to skin damage by neglecting to apply sun protection.

Interestingly, 77% of Irish women agree their face is the biggest area of concern for premature ageing, and yet just one quarter of Irish women only use sun protection while abroad.

Considering that 80% of a person’s annual UV exposure happens in day to day life not on holiday, the findings established in The City Sun Report, which was conducted by Garnier Ambre Solaire, are a huge cause for concern.

So, why are we failing to get proactive on this front?

Well, 27 per cent of women admitted annoyance with the sticky feeling while 12 per cent said the fear of it ruining their make-up resulted in non-application.

Determined to counteract this issue, Garnie Amber Solaire have created a product which is designed to provide UVA and UVB protection with a lightweight skin feel, and can easily be applied either under or over makeup whilst on-the-go. 

The Sensitive Advanced Protecting and Hydrating Face Mist has been given the thumbs up by Harley Street’s Dr Justine Kluk.

“With so many women in Ireland fighting premature ageing, one of the simplest ways to make a positive change to your skin is to apply a face mist with SPF50, UVB protection and UVA protection in the morning and regularly throughout the day as part of your daily beauty routine.”

If you’re serious about protecting your face against the sun (whether abroad or not), you can pick this product up in pharmacies, grocery stores and Penney’s stores nationwide for just €15.00


We've all fallen upon a pack of painkillers in the throes of a vicious hangover and thanked the universe for their existence, but according to recent research it's worth remembering that they don't come without their own risks.

Drawing a link between cardiac arrest and regular use of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), researchers from Finland, Germany and Canada warned doctors to communicate the risks associated with the medication before prescribing them after conducting analysis of previous studies and establishing that data relating to 450,000 individuals showed that 61,460 of them had suffered a heart attack. 

The study, which was published in the British Medical Journal, illustrated the risk pattern, with authors stating that there was "a rapid onset of risk" for heart attack within the first week of use while risk was highest during the first month of taking the painkillers.

Delving further still, researchers established that taking a high dose between 8 and 30 days was 'particularly harmful' while individuals who routinely take celecoxib, ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen and rofecoxib were between 24 and 58 per cent more vulnerable to the onset of a heart attack.

Commenting on their findings, the authors explained: "Compared with non-use of NSAIDs in the preceding year, we documented that current use of all studied NSAIDs, including naproxen, was associated with an increased risk of acute myocardial infarction."

"Given that the onset of risk of acute myocardial infarction occurred in the first week and appeared greatest in the first month of treatment with higher doses, prescribers should consider weighing the risks and benefits of NSAIDs before instituting treatment, particularly for higher dose," they added.

"Whether you are being prescribed painkillers like ibuprofen, or buying them over the counter, people must be made aware of the risk and alternative medication should be considered where appropriate," surmised Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation.

Eager to assuage the fears of the public, John Smith of the Proprietary Association of Great Britain explained that the research wouldn't apply to those on lower dosages.

"People taking over-the-counter NSAIDs should not be concerned by this research if they are taking the medicine occasionally for short periods and according to the on-pack instructions."

It should be noted that high doses were considered in excess of 1,200mg a day of ibuprofen, 750mg a day of naproxen and 25mg a day of rofecoxib.