metropol » Wellbeing

Tag: Wellbeing

Resilience in action


Resilience and wellbeing have recently gone from fuzzy buzzwords, to being recognised as extremely important concepts that we need to not only respect, but master, as our health and safety has been threatened.

 

 

So we caught up with one of the country’s leading academics specialising in the area, adjunct fellow at the University of Canterbury, Dr Lucy Hone who, along with Dr Denise Quinlan, heads the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience (NZIWR), about practical strategies for coping in the face of uncertainty and threat.


What is wellbeing and why is it critical to promote it?

I did my PhD looking at different ways wellbeing is defined and measured. On the back of that research we define wellbeing as ‘feeling good and functioning well’.

Because it’s not just about happiness – the feeling good bit – but also all the ways of thinking and behaving that enable us to get through, show up in our daily lives and perform to the best of our ability; I’m talking about experiencing strong, supportive relationships; having a sense of meaning, purpose and direction in daily life; being able to know what your strengths are and play to those strengths to leverage your best performance and weather life’s crappy times.

Strong supportive relationships, whether friends, family, at work or through school, hobbies, cultural or religious groups also have a huge impact on our resilience – either promoting or reducing it too. We don’t live in a vacuum but are very much part of our environments.


We’re out of lockdown now, but how long should we be hyper-aware of our mental health?

We need to always be aware of what’s working for our mental health and what’s dragging us down.

There is so much you can do yourself to promote and protect your own wellbeing.

In our work we teach people to catch unbridled pessimism and negativity, and establish whether the way they’re thinking is a) an accurate reading of the situation and b) if it’s helping or harming their quest to achieve what they’re trying to achieve.

What we have seen during the Covid pandemic is that the people who are operating from no reserves of wellbeing or who are really rigid in their ways of thinking and acting don’t do so well when their everyday environment is changed.

Mental agility is really important for resilience and it’s going to be absolutely critical as we move forward.

Some people are going to be going through some really tough times and I absolutely empathise with that, but the people who do best are the people who appraise their situations accurately, are realistic in sizing up the threat and somehow manage to accept what has changed and find a new path that will work for them.

I’ll grant you, saying that is much easier than doing it, but the research is clear: those who are flexible in their thinking and attitude do better during times of crisis and change.


What are some practical strategies for coping with challenging times?

I would suggest people look at their media intake over a 24-hour period and ask themselves if taking it all in is helping or harming the way they’re feeling and functioning.

Give your brain a break from Coronavirus; reading about it, talking about it, it’s exhausting. Give your poor, overthinking brain a break from time to time. One good way to do that is by taking part in something that really absorbs you.

Also, be really deliberate in seeking out the people, the places and the things to do that make you happy. We’re all concerned or worried, that’s totally normal, but studies show that positive emotions also have an important role to play during times of crisis.

One showed that the more positive emotions people felt in the period post 9/11, the more likely they were to be resilient.

I’m not devaluing negative emotions or saying we should shy away from them, but given the research it makes sense to also keep topping up on the things that make you laugh, feel calm, proud, inspired, awestruck etc.

Positive emotions are fleeting and tend to bounce off us; negative emotions are sticky like Velcro and really good at hanging around.

The trick is to know all those things that bring pride or amusement or inspiration and think ‘where can I get these from right now?’ because they’re important.

Be kind to other people but also remember to be kind to yourself too.

Research shows 76 percent of us are kinder to others than ourselves.

During lockdown, we came across a lot of people who were really beating themselves up on how unproductive they were being, how weak they felt and how exhausted too.

That is totally normal when there’s such huge stuff going on in the world, so we’ve been running webinars about lowering the bar, being kind to yourself and being realistic; it’s ok to not be okay right now.

Don’t beat yourself up, believe me, you are not alone!

The New Zealand Resilience Institute is now running the NZ Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing here in Christchurch over one week from 23 September. For more information, email sally@nziwr.co.nz. NZIWR’s webinars and other resources are available on the website.


 

Building trust


Recent Australian research has found that ‘trust’ is the foundation of all human connections. The same research showed that while there are people and professions trusted for their honesty, equally there are people and organisations that are distrusted. “This goes to the heart of corporate culture and governance for every company,” (partner content from Roy Morgan – Time magazine).

 

 

For employees struggling with mental health issues, for instance, the downside of taking substantial leave is that not only do they lose important social contact with work colleagues, but the thought of returning to work after a long period away can be quite daunting.

Successful reintegration back into the workplace and re-establishing social networks is vital to both employees and employers.

Catherine Overend, Director of Braided Foundations Ltd, says whatever struggles employees are dealing with, be it fiscal, emotional, poor health or disability issues, if there was trust amongst employees and employers to iron out any workplace problems through services, such as those offered by Braided Foundations Ltd, then organisations would work more efficiently.

This would result in a higher chance of wellbeing in the workplace.

“It is so important to help bring about civil society. It doesn’t have to be that difficult; it’s manageable and workable,” Catherine says.

“Braided Foundations helps employers and employees find alternative ways to bring about change and enhance the work environment for everyone.”

For further information on Braided Foundations Supervision, in-house workshops or its Employment Assisted Counselling service, phone 027 444 0243,
email braidedfoundations@gmail.com or check out the website.


 

The ‘fast’ life


Much positive research has been done on intermittent fasting (IF); used for thousands of years for mental clarity and health, it’s safe and effective. But it’s hard, right?

New Zealand researchers have found a way to manage spikes in hunger during the fasting period and overeating as we enter an eating cycle.

Developed by Plant & Food Research at New Zealand’s largest government research institute, Calocurb is a world-first product that uses a New Zealand-grown bitter hop flower extract, which triggers the “bitter brake” – a physiological mechanism that tells the brain you are full.

“The global trend of IF coincided with the launch of Calocurb capsules which are scientifically proven and to help manage hunger during a fast,” Calocurb CEO, Sarah Kennedy says.

“The timing could not have been better for this first-to-market product and the natural extract of hops is now being used by consumers to successfully support their intermittent fasting for best physical and mental wellbeing.”


 

What’s on in Kaiapoi?


Whether you’re local, new in town or looking for a day trip for the family, there’s something for everyone in this bustling township.

 

 

  1. Kaiapoi Fun Run
    Date: Sunday 8 March
    Location: Kaiapoi Borough School
    (Raven Quay)It’s time to get your run on! The Kaiapoi Fun Run is a community event that you can run or walk two distances – 5km or 10km.

    Just $10 for adults (16 years and over) and $5 for children (under 16 years), there’s even spot prizes on the day.

    Find the event page on Facebook


  2. Wellbeing Festival
    Date: Saturday 29 February
    Location: Kaiapoi Food Forest on
    Cass Street KaiapoiIt’s time we start looking after ourselves. The Wellbeing Festival is back and, it’s bigger and better than ever!

    Check out a wide range of activities and stalls, healthy foods, herbal teas, herbal remedies, skincare, massages, reflexology, plus lots of demonstrations i.e. cooking classes, pilates, tai chi, yoga and so much more.

    www.kai.net.nz/event


  3. Kaiapoi Waitangi Day Family Celebrations
    Date: Thursday 6 February
    Location: Trousselot Park Charles StreetThere really is something for the whole family at this enjoyable community celebration.

    Live entertainment, Kaiapoi High School hangi fundraiser (pre order from the Kaiapoi i-site, $10, cash only), market and food stalls, bouncy castle, pony rides, face painting, airbrush tattoos and flip out air tracks with free entry.

    www.eventfinda.co.nz


 

A blissful life: Merivale Retirement Village


Opened in April of this year, Merivale Retirement Village is a superb, aesthetically stunning and brand new complex offering the ultimate in luxurious comfort for its residents.

 

 

Set in Merivale, one of our city’s leafiest, most established and sought after suburbs, with convenient and easy access to doctors, dentists, lawyers and other professional services, as well as being close to the fabulous Merivale Mall, this is a location you will love, and your friends and whānau will love to visit!

Built to the highest seismic safety and architectural design standards to ensure the utmost protection and comfort for residents, Merivale Retirement Village Care Facility offers two levels of care and support – rest home and hospital – ensuring that every stage of retirement living is catered for.

The fully serviced and impeccably presented apartments on the ground floor are the perfect solution for those requiring care, but who love their space. These beautifully appointed, deluxe apartments are airy and spacious, and with 24-hour medical care available at the touch of an emergency button, residents have complete peace of mind.

On the first floor, overlooking the village’s manicured gardens designed by landscape architect Ben McMaster, are 47 dual-purpose hospital to rest home care suites with private ensuites. The suites provide space and luxury, while affording around the clock care from staff who are highly trained and dedicated to providing world-class care, support and services.

 

 

For complete independence, the spacious, sunny, elegantly presented villas, comprising either two or three bedrooms and fully equipped kitchens, laundries and bathrooms, plus a private courtyard with lovely garden setting and internal access garaging, give residents the freedom to live life to the fullest, with the added bonus of security and easy access to companionship and support services if desired.

Nutritious, delicious meals are prepared daily by the village chef with a regularly changing menu that takes advantage of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Together with the nutritionist, they ensure all meals look beautiful, taste wonderful and, most importantly, provide residents with all they require for a healthy lifestyle. Those with specialist requirements, such as gluten-free or diabetic diets, are catered for in consultation with the nutritionist and resident.

 

 

With wonderful amenities such as the library, hair salon, luxurious lounges, an outdoor patio barbecue for relaxed summer dining and the very popular Stokesy’s Bar, a great place to meet and mingle for the weekly Happy Hour, life here is nothing short of blissful.

Leah Moore, Sales Consultant at Merivale Retirement Village, says the thing residents love most about living in the village is they know they can still be independent, while remaining worry free.

For a personal guided tour, please contact Leah Moore, 03 375 4117 or 021 971 487, email leahm@merivaleretirement.co.nz or visit www.merivaleretirement.co.nz.

 

 


 

Dr Lucy Hone talks resilience


Ten years ago, during the time of the Global Financial Crisis, Lucy Hone (now Dr Lucy Hone) couldn’t turn on the news or pick up a newspaper without being told we need to be resilient and that the economy needs to be resilient. “I wondered, does anyone actually know what this word means?” she says when we catch up ahead of her TEDxChristchurch talk last month.

 

NEIL MACBETH PHOTOGRAPHY AT TEDxCHRISTCHURCH

 

A freelance writer at the time, she decided to work on an article about resilience and what it means. During her research, she stumbled across the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, the home of resilience psychology.

She didn’t end up writing the article, but instead enrolled in their long-distance Master’s Degree, before completing her PhD here in New Zealand. “When I got there, the department that trained me had just picked up the contract to train all 1.1 million American soldiers to be as mentally fit as they were physically fit,” Lucy says.

“So for someone like me whose absolute main quest is how to take the research findings, drag them out of the hallowed halls of academia and bring it to the people so it can be useful in everyday lives, it was an amazing time to be there.”

On Queen’s Birthday weekend in 2014, the sudden death of her 12-year-old daughter, Abi (along with Lucy and Abi’s friends Ella and Sally Summerfield) in a tragic road accident forced Lucy to turn her substantial academic training and professional practice to foster resilience in very personal way.

“Parental bereavement is widely recognised as the worst loss to bear, but I was more fortunate than most; I had this training; I had seen this research; I knew there was hope that we could somehow get through, but more than anything, I had these tools to rely on,” Lucy says.

Now she’s taking those tools to our schools. Two years ago, Lucy and her colleague Dr Denise Quinlan formed the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience, focusing on working with schools, as well as corporates and community groups, to get them to take a whole-school approach to understanding and building wellbeing.

This time last year they were commissioned to write The Educators’ Guide to Building Whole-school Wellbeing, soon to be published by Taylor and Francis in the UK (Routledge). “Schools come to us all the time and say ‘can you help us out with our wellbeing plans, we want to take it seriously, we fully get how important it is to do so for our staff, our young people, our community too, but we don’t know where to start, we don’t know what to do and we need some help’,” Lucy says. “So that’s the book we’re writing.”

However, what makes this such a critical resource is that the pair have reached out to all their international contacts in the resilience field to ask what works and what doesn’t work. It’s all practical and it’s all straightforward and easy to implement. “Teachers don’t have time to add more things into their already busy curriculum,” Lucy says.

“Our whole mission is about getting this science out to as many people as we possibly can. Most public health in terms of mental health has been about the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. What we’re doing is equipping people with the skills, the ways of thinking and acting that prevent them from taking those costly falls – costly to individuals, to families, to society. That’s why I’m really excited about the book.”

They also head the annual ‘Wellbeing and Education New Zealand Conference’. Formerly called ‘Positive Education New Zealand (PENZ)’, it will be held on 2 and 3 April 2020 at the Christchurch Town Hall. “We’ve got independent schools, Catholic schools and Māori immersion schools, all working alongside each other to collaboratively understand what they can do to support their staff and young peoples’ wellbeing.

“This was an initiative that started with the principals; Linda Tame (Jack Tame’s mum) came to me a couple of years ago and said ‘we keep hearing from the principals that they want to work together in the wellbeing space, because wellbeing goes beyond the school gates and so do the mental health challenges’.

“So the school leaders get it, but to make a real difference it has to be a city-wide collaboration. We’re in this incredible community where we have all these schools working together. They used to be competitive, the secondary schools of Christchurch, now they’re showing the rest of New Zealand that they can work together for the better good and being in that room is just incredible when they’re working alongside each other; the teachers from St Bedes working with the teachers from Christ’s College and Rangi Ruru and Hagley College.

“The willingness to work together is critical because you don’t fix complex problems working with one stakeholder. If you want to make transformational change, you have to work together.”

Dr Lucy Hone spoke at ‘TEDxChristchurch 2019: Tūrangawaewae’.

 

 


 

Better to treat osteoporosis than ignore it: Oxford Women’s Health


With safe and effective treatments now available for osteoporosis, people with the condition should make sure it is treated so that they can stay strong and well, according to Oxford Women’s Health Endocrinologist Anna Fenton.

 

 

“Often people try and turn a blind eye to it, even when they know they have reduced bone density, because they feel it is a natural part of ageing or nothing can be done to change it,” she says. As an endocrinologist, Anna diagnoses and treats hormone problems and the conditions that can arise from them. Osteoporosis is of particular interest to her. She has served on the board of Osteoporosis New Zealand and is currently the clinical leader for the Canterbury District Health Board Bone Density Service.

Osteoporosis can result in chronic pain; loss of height, functionality and self-esteem; a rounded back (dorsal kyphosis); anxiety; and depression. Bone fractures can also have life-threatening consequences for people. “It’s so important that individuals, their whānau and medical practitioners care about the impact of osteoporosis. Fifty-six percent of women and 29 percent of men will suffer a fracture after the age of 60 because of it,” Anna says. “Of those with hip fractures, 20 percent will die within a year from fracture-related complications.”

Access to bone density testing means it is possible for medical practitioners to readily identify those at risk and to individualise treatment. “There have been wonderful advances in tests for bone density, the understanding of oestrogen and testosterone depletion, and medical treatments. This means we can develop an individual approach to treatment. For some people, drug intake can be minimised with minimal or no side effects, but with significant benefits in reducing the risk of fracture,” Anna says.

“Getting tested or treated can make such a difference to your ability to function, but more than that, to live life well.” Anna also encourages people to reduce their risk of osteoporosis by stopping excessive coffee or alcohol intake; not smoking; including calcium and vitamin D in their diet; regular exercise with some weight-bearing included; and reducing hazards or installing stability and mobility aids around the home.

FACT FILE

1. Nearly 20 percent of people with hip fractures die from fracture-related complications within a year, and men fare worse than women.

2. In addition to the 20 percent of people who die within a year of their hip fracture, one third never return home, and those that do often lose their mobility and independence. More women are hospitalised with a hip fracture due to osteoporosis than through breast cancer.

3. More than 3,000 New Zealanders break a hip each year. This figure is expected to rise to more than 5,000 as our population ages.

4. The estimated cost of osteoporosis to New Zealand is $1.1 billion each year.

5. Osteoporosis can affect men and women of all ages.

Helping you help yourself: Transform You Coaching


Fifteen years ago, Karen Parker, a registered nurse, wife and mother, approached a life coach to help with some challenges in her life at that time. “My coach helped me change how I was thinking and what I was doing and that transformed my life completely,” Karen says.

 

 

“As a nurse, I could really see the value in what my coach did – help people to help themselves, and become more confident and resilient. That is what inspired me to become a life coach.” Now, drawing from her experiences as a registered nurse and trained life coach, Karen provides one-on-one personal coaching sessions, individual programmes, and group workshops for workplace health and wellbeing programmes.

Karen works on work/life balance, self-confidence building, goal setting, dealing with stress, relationships and communication and empowerment by positive thought. “Usually it’s mental barriers – like fear of failure, fear of success, fear of not being good enough and fear of change – that impedes our progress; I help clients understand and find the way to move beyond those old beliefs,” Karen says.

Karen offers a free half-hour one-on-one session to prospective personal clients to establish whether Karen’s the right coach for them. “Because it’s a two-way street, it’s important to have a good fit between coach and client.” Karen will hold a life balance workshop in Christchurch in June (maximum of 12 participants). Those interested in registering should contact her via her website.

Phone 021 040 5862 or visit www.transformyou.co.nz.


 

The heart of happiness: Beauty Progress


“How did it get late so soon?” said Dr Seuss, a relatable sentiment as we operate on fast forward through busy days. Tasks on the to-do lists multiply and the most important job of all – looking after ourselves – can get left behind. When busy days become frantic weeks, we can move from thriving, to only just surviving.

 

 

That’s where Beauty Progress Thai Massage Spa comes in. At Beauty Progress, owner Wendy Barker understands that you need to get straight to the heart of top-quality treatments that are tailored to you, using acclaimed products applied by experts. A full range of massage, body treatments and facials are available, and Wendy specialises in planning your treatments to ensure that every moment in the spa is focused on your bespoke therapies.

Wendy has chosen the celebrated Gernétic products for treatments. With more than ten years’ experience working with this extensive range, Wendy herself selects the ideal products and applies them for your bespoke facial, addressing your combination of concerns and skin issues, whether that be aging, wrinkling, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, burns, scarring, sun damage, blemishes and problem skin. A facial by Wendy using selected Gernétic formulations left me with skin glowing in a way that it has not for twenty years!

As well as natural skin perfection, Beauty Progress specialises in massage. Wendy’s talented team perform authentic Thai massage, treating the body in a holistic way: physically, emotionally and spiritually, achieving an overall feeling of wellbeing. Thai massage is deep tissue, so it is especially beneficial to those of us with injuries and age or work-related stiffness. There is also Swedish, herbal, yoga, aromatherapy, head, foot spa, four hands, back neck and shoulders, pregnancy, post-natal, baby, and foot reflexology. You’ll feel fabulous the moment you climb off the bed, with lasting benefits.

To celebrate Mother’s Day, Beauty Progress is offering a special promotion. The 90-minute Executive Treatment incoporates a 30-minute foot spa and reflexology to ease sore and tired feet, plus a divine one-hour full body deep massage or you can choose a Hydrating Facial instead. A scalp massage is also included. Normally worth over $215, you can treat yourself or your mum to the Executive Treatment for $119 until the end of May 2019.

Gift vouchers are also available for this fabulous deal, phone 0800 379 4315 to book, or visit www.beautyprogress.co.nz to make an appointment.


 

Bridging ‘Sex Ed’ Gaps

Is ‘sex ed’ failing the #metoo generation? It’s a question that is being asked by a Canterbury education expert.

 

 

Navigating contemporary gender issues is already complicated for our young people and New Zealand’s traditional sexuality education is not keeping up, according to University of Canterbury Associate Professor Kathleen Quinlivan. Gender fluidity, consent, exposure to pornography, sexual violence and the power dynamics behind the #metoo movement are some of the issues Associate Professor Quinlivan explores in her new book Exploring Contemporary Issues in Sexuality Education with Young People (Palgrave).

“One of the main issues is this huge slippage between what young people need and what they are getting. We are in the era of #metoo, sexual harassment, sex and gender politics and those are things that young people really want to know about, but they are often not areas that teachers and parents are comfortable going into,” she says. The internationally recognised researcher of school-based sexuality education says a limited health and risk focus of sexuality education lingers. The fact that the word ‘pleasure’ was removed from the most recent (2015) Ministry of Education sexuality education guidelines is typical of a cautious official approach, she says.

Meanwhile, young people are taking matters in to their own hands, Associate Professor Quinlivan says. “There are feminist groups in schools and there are queer-straight alliance groups in schools that have strong social justice orientations, combatting discrimination and talking about pleasure – there are a lot of informal things happening that are not visible in the formal arena.” The gaps can be bridged, she says. In fact, Associate Professor Quinlivan advocates for teachers to listen to young people’s lived experiences and venture beyond traditional boundaries. “It is not easy teaching these things. The Ministry of Education is risk averse and doesn’t provide support for professional development, plus the Sexuality Education guidelines are not compulsory – in fact schools didn’t even receive a hard copy of them,” she says.

“Policies aside, the relationship with students is the most important thing for teachers to develop and that takes time. You have to be someone who is really interested in exploring the issues that young people are dealing with.” The possibilities for change are exciting, she says. “The rise of the #metoo movement has been huge – there has been a tidal shift. There is a new feminism where younger women are starting to stand up and talk about the things they experience. Through popular culture, in response to gender-based harassment, sexual diversity and the rise of #metoo, there is a renewed interest in gender activism – it is a bit of a moment really!”

The book was launched in New Zealand on 20 February to coincide with a symposium for academics and teachers at UC’s College of Education, Health and Human Development, titled Coming In Slantways: Sexuality Education Otherwise. Presentations and workshops enabled participants to explore and expand their practice, bringing the fruits of research to both educators and their students.

Exploring Contemporary Issues in Sexuality Education with Young People, by Kathleen Quinlivan, Palgrave Macmillan UK.