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wellbeing

A new report ‘Taking Dogs into the Office' sponsored by Purina Human-Animal Bond Studies sponsorship program and conducted by researchers at the University of Lincoln (UK) shows that employees who often take their dog to work report 22 percent higher satisfaction with working conditions. This new research is the first to quantify the benefits and the impact of dogs in the office on work-related and dog-related outcomes.

It measures parameters such as employees’ engagement and wellbeing or their control over decisions at work, and analyses how the bond between dogs and their owners can be reinforced by being together as well in the office.

 A common myth until now has been that taking dogs into the office could be distracting. This new research shows that employees who take their dog to work report increased absorption in their work by a significant 33.4 percent and in their dedication to work by 16.5 percent – compared to the norm, with an overall increase in work engagement of 14.4 percent.  In fact, researchers suggest that the presence of a friendly dog may increase motivation and attention to set tasks 

Nestlé UK & Ireland, Purina’s sister company, has been welcoming dogs into many of its offices since 2015, with its main offices in Dublin, Gatwick, and York now has over 100 four legged colleagues on the payroll. The company is committed to promoting dog-friendly workplaces to help more people and pets enjoy the benefits of spending more time together. To support more organisations to become dog-friendly, Purina has developed the Pets at Work Alliance, a framework for other companies to follow and enable their employees to bring their pets to work. 

‘Taking Dogs into the Office’ research demonstrates that bringing pets to work increases employees’ performance and productivity and reduces employees’ intention to leave their job. These outcomes highlight potential benefits for companies that allow employees to bring their pets to work. Their employees may be more engaged and productive, and the company might be able to reduce their recruitment costs by avoiding the potential loss of their own talent. 

The findings also show that employees who often take their dog to work report 14.9 percent higher satisfaction with their home-work interface (i.e. in accommodating family and work commitments). In addition, they report 16.9 percent higher scores in their overall work quality of life compared to the norm and 16.6 percent higher control at work, which includes their perceived control over decisions being made at work.

Overall, employees scored 13.1 percent higher for their job-career satisfaction and 4.7 percent higher for their general well-being, with greater levels of happiness and life satisfaction. 

From the dog’s perspective, being able to go to the office with their owner may also be beneficial. Many dogs are left alone for long periods of time, and separation related problems are recognised as one of the most important threats to domestic dog welfare. Therefore, spending more time together also helps strengthen the bond between pets and pet-owners. 

Professor Daniel Mills, Professor of Veterinary Behavioural Medicine, Director of The Animal Behaviour Clinic at the University of Lincoln, and one of the authors of the research along with Dr. Sophie Hall says: “If you told employers there was a simple way to increase their workforce overall satisfaction with the working conditions, they’d be very keen to learn more.

"Our results show that far from being a distraction, (a fear expressed by some in our earlier work) allowing dogs in the workplace has the potential to improve employees’ focus and probably productivity too. Forward-thinking companies should consider very seriously if they can accommodate dogs in the workplace and the Purina Pets at Work programme can enable them to do this efficiently.” 

“Currently, 22 countries have established Pets at Work programmes in Purina and Nestlé offices”, states Bernard Meunier, CEO at Nestlé Purina PetCare Europe, Middle East and North Africa.

“At Purina, we have also supported 80 partners across Europe to implement our framework, become dog-friendly and join our Pets at Work Alliance. Our objective, as part of our commitment to promote pets in the workplace, is to support pets at work initiatives and help 200 companies join our Pets at Work Alliance by 2020”, Meunier confirms. Companies including UniCredit in Italy, wework in France, AFB International in Netherlands and McCann in the UK are already members of this global Alliance.

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January is a tough month – we expect ourselves to snap into shape, give up our vices with ease and run 5k every evening. 

And although it might seem like she is too flawless to need any resolutions, Aoibhinn Garrihy is just like the rest of us.

She has teamed up with Lloyd's Pharmacy who have come to our rescue with a fantastic campaign – Change Your Health Direction. 

They are offering an eight-week programme where you can avail of their healthcare advisors, like if you want to lose weight, give up smoking, look after your skin etc.

And the best bit is it's FREE.

Aoibhinn is super enthusiastic about making positive changes to your lifestyle in 2019 when we meet up with her.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Aoibhín Garrihy (@aoibhingarrihy) on

She says, ''People are in reset mode, so it's a perfect time to get involved. We meet so many women with Beo (our health and wellness events) and we tend to put ourselves at the bottom of our own to-do list – but there's an expression that I love and that's ''self-care is never selfish''. The fact that this campaign focuses on overall health, not just weight loss is amazing. It's a scheme that I am really proud to get behind.''

The new year isn't all about just physical health, but looking after your mental health too.

So when it comes to self-care, what does Aoibhinn do?

She says, ''I practice gratitude because we can compare ourselves a lot. So I'm reminding myself that what I see online is curated content and it's not real life and everyone has other stuff going on that they don't post about. Trying to hone in on what I have as opposed to what I don't.''

Wise words – anything else?

She continues, ''Cutting back on technology, spending more time practicing mindfulness, I love yoga although that necessarily doesn't work for everyone. Find what works for you.''

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Aoibhín Garrihy (@aoibhingarrihy) on

We can think that we have to ''have it all' in terms of life – but that takes its toll on our bodies.

What tips would she give to women who are striving to do just that? 

Aoibhinn says, ''It's a juggling act. I've had to actively work at getting a bit of time for me. My husband will tell me to go for a walk and even though it hard, I instantly feel better. Taking five, ten minutes will feel like a luxury.''

When it comes to her new year's resolutions, hers is something that we can all relate to – less time spent on our phones.

She says, ''We're in that crazy age of technology. Rather than trying to capture the memories that we're making we should just be living in the moment and enjoying them. I'm trying to designate hours where it is a phone-free zone.''

So, why not get involved with Lloyd's new campaign –  eight weeks, no fee and amazing professional support – what more could you want to help get those resolutions kick-started? 

We sure will be. 

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Scientists have found a solution to sleepless, anxiety ridden nights. A new study revealed that yoga music has a positive impact on our mood and can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety.

There have been many nights where we spend hours tossing, turning and wishing we could just doze off peacefully.

As time whizzes by we become increasingly aware of how little sleep we’re going to get which makes us feel even more anxious.

149 people took part in the study. The participants listened to three types of music before going to bed. Firstly they listened to soothing yoga music. Secondly, they listened to pop music with steady beats and during the final session they didn’t listen to anything.

The group revealed that they felt more uplifted and at ease after listening to the yoga music. The study also found that their anxiety levels were lower too.

Speaking of the impact music has on the mind and body, study author Dr Naresh Sen explained that music has a positive impact on your heart rate

Listening to soothing music before bedtime is a cheap and easy-to-implement therapy that cannot cause harm,” he said.

Due to the small number of participants in this study, he said they want to further their research: “This is a small study, and more research is needed on the cardiovascular effects of music interventions offered by a trained music therapist."

He added: “Science may have not always agreed, but Indians have long believed in the power of various therapies other than medicines as a mode of treatment for ailments.”

We’ll certainly try out this technique to help us get a good night’s rest.
 

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Mental health is a topic that's – thankfully – being slowly but surely unstigmatised in society and the media.  

With more people speaking out about their experiences, it is making it easier for us regular folk to ask for help when we know something's wrong.

Former Destiny's Child member Michelle Williams is one of those trailblazing celebrities.

 

A post shared by Michelle Williams (@michellewilliams) on

Taking to Instagram, the 37-year-old shared a post detailing her struggle with depression.

She wrote, ''for years I have dedicated myself to increasing awareness of mental health and empowering people to recognise when it’s time to seek help, support and guidance from those that love and care for your wellbeing.''

She continued, “I recently listened to the same advice I have given thousands around the world and sought help from a great team of healthcare professionals. Today I proudly, happily and healthily stand here as someone who will continue to always lead by example as I tirelessly advocate for the betterment of those in need.”

Her fans applauded her for sharing with one writing, ''sending you love and light! Thank you for sharing. love love and appreciate you'' while another said, ''take care of you. We will always be here for you.''

Friends of Michelle's quickly responded with messages of love and support for her, with Missy Elliot tweeting out, ''I want to lift our sis up in prayer because there are so many people battling this & many trying to deal with it alone. Please No jokes this is REAL & as human beings let’s keep the ones who are openly dealing with it uplifted & be encouraging to them!''

Michelle has previously spoken out about feeling suicidal during her time with the girl band.

While guest-hosting American chat show The Talk, she revealed that she was depressed from her teens to her 30's.

“I’m in one of the top-selling female groups of all time, suffering with depression,” Michelle said. ''It got really really bad… to the point of I was suicidal […].''

“I was at that place where it got so dark and heavy because sometimes you feel like, ‘I’m not supposed to be feeling this way – what do I do?’ I wanted out.”

Well done to Micelle for highlighting that, pop star or not, no one is immune from mental heath issues. 

So if you feel like your mental health is suffering, then do talk to someone – visit www.aware.ie or free phone 1800 80 48 48. 

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Anxiety isn’t cute or trendy. It’s not about being shy or bashful. It’s not about being too sensitive or too nervous. It’s a serious mental illness that many people fail to treat with respect or care.

Speaking of his battle with depression, author Matt Haig wrote:

“Depression is also smaller than you. Always, it is smaller than you, even when it feels vast. It operates within you, you do not operate within it. It may be a dark cloud passing across the sky but – if that is the metaphor – you are the sky. You were there before it. And the cloud can't exist without the sky, but the sky can exist without the cloud.”

I think this applies to anxiety too. Even when you are at your lowest, you are more powerful than it, because anxiety doesn’t exist without you.

That said, suffering from an anxiety disorder isn’t easy, but there are little ways to help soothe the disorder, which will make your life that little bit easier.

1: Music:

It’s simple but so effective. I know listening to a Spotify playlist isn’t going to magically cure your anxiety disorder, but it can help a lot. I found that listening to music from my early teens helps trigger positive memories.

I am a firm believer in the power of nostalgia, and experts have found that is helps increase your mood and energy levels.

2: Tell someone:

I know opening up about your disorder is one of the hardest things to do. There is a huge stigma surrounding mental health disorders, especially here in Ireland. However, telling my friends about my anxiety gave me access to a huge network of support. Talking about mental health is difficult, because a lot of people can be dismissive, but confiding in someone who deeply cares about you will make a massive difference.

3: Be organised:

This is the tip that has helped me more than anything. I have hugely benefited from becoming a more organised person as it eases my mind. Sticking to a schedule will keep your anxiety at bay because you will feel in control of the situation. Chanel your inner Monica Geller, but maybe leave your label maker at home if you’re heading out for cocktails with the girls.

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So, if you've ever been cheated on you'll know all to well the toll it can take on your general wellbeing. 

Sad, lonely, hurt and confused, you'll ask yourself if it was something you did?

Of course the answers is no, and according to a new study, even asking yourself this question could be effecting you physically as well as mentally.

Researchers from the University of Nevada, Reno, surveyed 232 third-level students who had been cheated in the last three months, with the aim of finding out how their behaviours and mental health had been affected by their partners infidelity.

Speaking to PsyPost, M. Rosie Shrout, lead author of the study, explained, “We wanted to know if this emotional and psychological distress leads them to engage in risky health behaviours, such as unprotected sex, drug use, alcohol use, binge eating, or not eating at all.”

She added, “We were also interested in whether perceptions of blame played a role in their psychological distress and risky health behaviours.”

Results found that having an unfaithful partner can significantly affect your behaviour, your view of cheating and above all, your ability to trust.

Researchers also found that those who are worse effected are more likely to turn to alcohol and drugs, or develop eating disorders.

“Being cheated on seems to not only have mental health consequences, but also increases risky behaviours,” Shrout said.

“We also found that people who blamed themselves for their partner cheating, such as feeling like it was their fault or they could have stopped it, were more likely to engage in risky behaviours.”

It seems that damaged self-esteem may lower ones inhibitions toward risky behaviours, which may ultimately lead to poor physical and mental health.

However, it's important to note that the average age of participants was 20-years-old, meaning the results may be different for older age groups.  

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WellFest – Ireland's only health and fitness festival – is coming back to Dublin's Herbert Park, and it already has a great line up.

Taking place on May 6 and 7, the festival is set to host some of the world's best-known fitness stars for talks, classes and demonstrations.

Some of the faces you'll see over the weekend are Joe Wicks, otherwise known as The Body Coach, John Kavanagh, Roz Purcell and Kathryn Thomas.

 

A post shared by Joe Wicks #Leanin15 (@thebodycoach) on

Herbert Park will be transformed into eight WellZones, which include the WellStage, WellFood, WellKids, WellTalk, WellMind, WellYoga, WellStrong and WellPilates.

If you fancy heading along, here's the line up for the whole weekend:

On Saturday, 6th May, presenters not to be missed at WellFest will include:

  • WellStage, 11.00 – 11.40am: Instagram Yoga sensation duo GypsyOn.
  • WellStage, 12.00 – 12.40pm: International health and fitness icon, Joe Wicks ‘The Body Coach’.
  • WellFood, 1 – 1.40pm: Cooking demo with Lucy Bee.
  • WellTalk, 4.00 – 4.50pm: Q&A session with John Kavanagh, coach to MMA superstar Conor McGregor.
  • WellStage, 4.00 – 5.30pm: Kathryn Thomas, founder of Pure Results Bootcamp, Ireland's premier all-inclusive fitness retreat and weight-loss bootcamp.
  • WellFood, 5 – 6pm: Cooking demo with healthy eating guru and founder of Natural Born Feeder, Roz Purcell
 

A post shared by Coach Kavanagh (@coach_kavanagh) on

For the second day of WellFest, Sunday, 7th May, programme highlights include:

  • WellStrong, 10.40 – 11.20am: The Fit Foodie Power House with Derval O’Rourke.
  • WellStage, 11.00 – 11.40am: Bootcamp with Pat Divilly, who runs Ireland’s most successful personal training empire. 
  • WellFood, 12.00 – 12.40pm: Healthy food enthusiasts The Happy Pear.
  • WellStage, 1.00 – 1.40pm: ‘Vertue Method Bodyweight Blast’ with PT, author and yoga teacher Shona Vertue.
  • WellTalk, 1.00 – 1.40pm: London based PT and doctor, The Food Medic.   
  • WellStage, 2.00 – 2.45pm: Master Trainer of the renowned Barry’s Bootcamp – Faisal Abdalla.
 

A post shared by Rozanna Purcell (@rozannapurcell) on

A limited number of tickets for the festival are still available at www.wellfest.ie. Weekend tickets cost €65, while day passes are available for €40. 

Tickets include unlimited access to classes, talks and workshops on health, fitness, nutrition, cookery, yoga, pilates, mindfulness, and more.  Kids under 12 go free.

Oh, and while we have you; don't forget to have your say in the inaugural SHEmazing Awards this May! It's time to vote, and you can do it right here!

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It’s the diet fad that refuses to go away: juicing. Yes, despite the fact that it’s more-or-less starvation otherwise-sane folk are opting to juice away their lumps and bumps via three-, five-, or even (gulp!) seven-day programmes.

Wheatgrass, kale, spinach, lime, celery, cucumber, beetroot, and carrot are for the more ambitious juicers – novices opt to integrate apple, kiwi, orange, berries, and grapefruits in a bid to make their concoctions more palatable.

Nicole Richie says she's a big fan of juice

Most plans recommend a course of four juices over the course of the day. Water and herbal teas are permitted to keep those (many) hunger pangs at bay, but caffeine, alcohol, and – more importantly – food is out. Still, advocates swear you can shed up to a stone in five days.

Some opt to go it alone, whizzing up ingredients freshly themselves. Others feel they need expert intervention, having the juices delivered to their door at a cost of at least €80.

Kathryn Thomas, Julianne Moore, and Millie Mackintosh are just some of the names who have given juice a go. Nicole Richie is another fan, admitting “I am what you can call a juice fanatic. I always carry around a green juice. They provide lots of energy when I’m running around.”

 

Gwyneth Paltrow is more cautious, however. Writing for the Telegraph, she commented: "I've done juice cleanses in the past, and in my 20s I did the Master Cleanse, which left me hallucinating after 10 days," adding: "Be aware: a juice detox can crash your metabolism and lead to future weight gain."

Here, we take a cold hard look at the pros and cons of juice diets:

Good: Stick with it and the plans are a great way to kick-start a general healthy-eating plan and crack bad dietary habits. Your stomach will shrink and you’ll subsequently be satisfied on less food.

Bad: Mid-way through day two you’ll be sorely tempted to dive head first into the biscuit tin while simultaneously ringing the chipper for an emergency delivery.

Good: If you don’t regularly integrate fruits and vegetables into your diet, juicing is a great way to make sure you’re hitting your vitamin and mineral targets

Bad: Most Irish people don’t eat enough fibre as it is – and by blending your ingredients into a juice, you’re removing pretty much all the fibre present in the first place.

Good: If you’re panicking because you don’t fit into your wedding dress a week before your Big Day, juicing could well solve that problem for you.

Bad: Unless you’re committed to overhauling your diet long-term, you’ll quickly put back on any weight lost via juicing very quickly.

Gwyneth Paltrow has warned that juicing can lead to weight-gain

Good: Some people claim that once ketosis – where your body begins to break down stored fats – kicks in around day three you’ll no longer be hungry.

Bad: You’ll be miserable for most of the diet. Every tiny morsel of food will seem almost impossibly tempting; every waft of freshly-baked bread or hint of sausages grilling on a barbecue will send you insane.

Good: You’ll free up time ordinarily spent preparing and eating meals, allowing you to read the book you never finished, catch up on much-needed sleep, or watch a box set.

Bad: You’ll become a social recluse. You won’t be able to meet friends for a drink, lunch, brunch or dinner. Being around food while you sip water would probably prove too much, but you won’t have the energy or concentration span to bother anyway.

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