WELLBEING: Nature mind and body with mum this mother's day

Sunday March 30th is Mother's Day this year (mark your calendars!) Rather than buying Mum chocolates, why not make the effort to do something special which will boost physical and emotional wellbeing for you both?

Healthy baking with Mum

Forget buying Mum a spur-of-the-moment box of chocs. Why not make sweet treats extra thoughtful this year? Find a way to make her favourite recipe healthier and surprise her with the results. Or get together and have an afternoon of healthy baking and quality time. There are so many websites, blogs and recipe books dedicated to lower-sugar, grain-free, dairy-free, hypoallergenic recipes. There's no need to cut out grains, gluten or dairy unless Mum has a particular allergy or intolerance, but we think everyone would benefit from baked goods which minimise sugars and trans-fats and feature healthier, omega-3 fats and fresh, natural sweetening ingredients.

A Spring walk in nature

Most Mums say they'd simply love to spend more quality time with their offspring. So why not block out a day to go for a Spring walk with your Mum? Don't allow outside distractions in, turn off your phone and refuse to check emails. Take time to soak up your surroundings, talk (and listen), and enjoy a Spring day with Mum. Not only is this more thoughtful (and cost-effective) than ordering a bouquet of flowers, but it will have far-reaching health and wellness benefits for both of you.

At-home pamper party

Does your Mum love to be pampered? Surprise her by designing an at-home pamper day for her (or both of you, if you're into that sort of thing). It's a really thoughtful gift which gives you the chance to talk, laugh and relax. You'll both benefit from the stress reduction and emotional wellness pampering can bring.

March 12th is No Smoking Day

Have you pledged to quit smoking in 2014? Make the most of No Smoking Day and support those around who are giving up this year. Smoking has serious implications for your health and your finances. The British Heart Foundation's No Smoking Day is dedicated to encouraging and supporting people to quit. Most of us know the health risks. Did you know some of these less-known (and pretty graphic) concerns related to smoking?

Panic attacks: reduced supply of oxygen to the brain can result in panic attacks Gangrene of limbs: narrowed and hardened arteries due to smoking can lead to gangrene and even amputation.

Infertility: smoking increases the risk of impotence by around 50% for men in their 30s and 40s.

The facts are sobering. For example, smoke 25 a day, and you're 25 times more likely (than non-smokers) to die from lung cancer. Smokers are 2-4 times more likely to suffer sudden cardiac arrest. Statistics show that at least 81% of lung cancer deaths in England are related to smoking and 44% of deaths from heart disease (amongst the under-65s) are caused by smoking.

So you want to quit? Make the most of No Smoking Day.

Why not promote No Smoking Day at work? Your workforce will no doubt already know the risks of smoking and benefits of quitting. What they need is support, motivation and accountability. Consider making No Smoking Day a friendly, incentivised initiative in the workplace. Make sure your HR and personnel people are fully educated in the latest support methods and involve staff in plans for stop-smoking campaigns, events and resources at work. It's a good idea to bring in external support specialists to educate and support employees and managers - expert advice and guidance will help your workplace stop smoking campaign a success.

National Nutrition and Hydration Week

BAPEN (the charitable association dedicated to tackling malnutrition and promoting nutritional care) will be raising awareness of good nutrition and hydration between 17th-23rd March this year. We look at four ways to spruce up your eating and drinking habits at work.

Form new, good habits.

Good nutrition is important for physical health, mental wellbeing, weight management and for minimising a range of health concerns. But hydration is also key. Despite this, so few people pay attention to hydration levels during the day. Many people drink no water at all during the day which is shocking when we consider the many health benefits of this simple act. Encourage employees to drink more water during the day, rather than caffeinated drinks, milky teas and coffees or fizzy drinks. Install a good water filter in the workplace, provide staff members with water bottles, and consider putting motivating reminders up about the varied benefits of drinking enough water.

Take regular breaks.

It's important to take regular breaks away from the computer screen or work station, not just to ease out aches and pains and to keep active, but to maintain good nutrition habits. Try to drink a decaffeinated and sugar-free drink (water is ideal) every hour or two, particularly if the work environment is warm.

Keep healthy snacks at work.

We spend more time at work than we do at home, so it's crucial that the workplace supports our healthy-eating effort. Having access to truly healthy food at work helps build great eating habits, keeps mood and energy levels steady and guards against getting too hungry and grabbing the nearest (usually unhealthy) option. Gone are the days of vending machines in every workplace. HR departments could consider regular deliveries of fresh fruit and vegetables, office kitchens stocked with healthy snack bars, and facilities for staff to easily reheat healthy food brought from home.

Celebrate with Afternoon Tea

A nice cup in the afternoon is surely the most British of pastimes. Nutrition and Hydration Week is promoting a national Afternoon Tea on 19th March, so why not use the event as a way to promote healthier tea breaks in the workplace? Consider providing staff with healthier choices (herbal teas, green tea, fruit instead of pastries), educate the workforce on hidden calories in popular coffee drinks and tea-break snacks, or ask a local catering business to come in and supply a range of healthy snacks to show staff members how tasty it can be to think outside the box. Encouraging and facilitating better nutrition and hydration habits in staff members will not only lead to a fitter, healthier and happier workforce. It will show your business to be one which cares about its people and understands the value of health and wellbeing.

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