When the fog lifts, the clearest day lies ahead.
Same with our mental clutter. Sometimes we just have too much on our plate and that fogginess can immobilise us into inaction, withdrawal, depression and so on.
In that fog, seemingly insignificant issues become insurmountable. The loneliness, the fear, the blindness can all be overwhelming.
Some will withdraw further into the fog - but I am sure we know that is not going to be the solution. Far from it. So what can you do?
BREATHE. Honestly this is the simplest exercise that we always take for granted. We forget that every breath we take, we are sustaining the life force within us to get back on our feet again to either wait for the fog to lift or to walk through to the other side of the fog where the sun awaits. Just breathe. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Every inhalation and exhalation, the rise of chest, the rush of air into your nostrils. Savour every breath you take and understand that you are the master of that life sustaining process.
ASK FOR HELP. Just like being lost in the fog at sea, a fog horn will warn others of your course. Other boats will respond and that too will help warn you of their course. Use your fog horn, there is no shame in asking for help.
LEAVE FALSE HARBOUR BEHIND. While the fog can be blinding, some may find comfort in the place where you can just sit alone and be blind to the world. Doing so can drag us deeper into the fog.
Like in nature, the fog will always lift and when it does - the sunniest, clearest day follows. There will be situations when a person needs pharmaceutical intervention to help them lift the fog but remember, there are more that can be done without resorting to the crutch of medicines as your default first choice.
If you feel you need to, remember the second advice above, ask for help. We at antidote do not believe our solutions are purely product based, let us help you explore ways to lift the fogginess so that you can enjoy the clearest clarity of thoughts.
Health has many dimensions. It’s the variety of foods we eat, the quality time we spend with others, the way we move and challenge our bodies, the precious hours we spend recharging and, in times of need, the medicines we require to recover.
As a nutritionist, I believe food sets that foundation of health. It is our fuel for the day, our ability to connect around a dinner table, our calming mechanism for increased slumber. Food serves as the first port of call when looking to boost energy, mood, and personal performance.
That’s not to say there isn’t a time and place for pharmacy. In today’s world, there will undoubtedly be times where medication and medical advice is needed to complement good nutrition - particularly in the later stages of life. The emphasis is placed on “complement” here. Each side has something to offer, so why not work together to provide a holistic health experience?
Speaking this week with Chin is a prime example of how leaders in different health sectors can work together to provide people with information, options, and advice that is backed by science.
Few people understand the balance of trace elements in your diet and pharmacy. Chin and I discussed a common marginal imbalance in a trace element that is estimated to effect over 2 billion people, zinc.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral, it is widely known for its role in immune system health, as a zinc deficiency is associated with increased colds and flu. However, zinc is the most common mineral in your body aside from iron; it's actually found in every cell and effects everything from DNA repair through to helping your heart beat.
You might not be aware that zinc also has potent antioxidant properties, helping to neutralise free radicals that may accelerate ageing and contribute to the development of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Using the example of zinc we wanted to show how our combined expertise can provide people with the best possible nutrition and health service:
1. Give people access to information, by means of free zinc testing in antidote pharmacies.
2. If found to be low or at risk of zinc deficiency - food comes first, by means of a nutrition consultation with yours truly at Myfoodformula
3. If diet alone isn’t enough to increase zinc status, explore supplementation making sure a range of options are on-hand for people to make their own informed choice
Indeed, this formula can be flipped on its head. If medication must be prescribed, this can alter how the body uses, stores, and gets rid of nutrients. So, we work together in the other direction:
1. Administer medication when it is a must to do so
2. Identify the ways the medication could alter the person’s nutritional needs, and give tailored nutritional advice
3. Track a person’s health over time to ensure the dietary changes rebalance any effects of the medication, and (where possible) negate the need for medication in the long-term
By combining our knowledge, passion and attention to detail, we can open the gates for far better health outcomes to walk through. Perhaps even run!
I am looking forward to bringing another facet of health care to antidote pharmacies to encourage people to own their diets, take control of their health and well-being, and reach that quality of life we all deserve.
It is true – walking is good for you. Even more so when you're walking on the beach.
A few weeks ago, I made a spontaneous trip to the beach with the boys. The weather was good and I had a free schedule. The boys were on school holiday, so we went down to Aramoana Beach.
On the beach (which I am ashamed to say I have never been to after 25 years of living here) – we did the usual thing, we looked for interesting sea shells or rocks. As you can see in the photo there are literally millions of them. Naturally as humans you try to hunt for a unique one – and you do find one. You will then find one more further along, you will then find another that is even more unique and so on. Soon you will have a handful of shells.
This got me thinking. Almost every one of those sea shells are different. Similar BUT different. In a way that reflects what we yearn for every day – we get out of bed full of anticipation of new adventures and more often than not, it ends up with same s*** different day scenario! Every experience that we encounter may be similar but it is actually different – the matter is dependant on your perception.
Here lies my biggest revelation from that walk on the beach that day. As I was so engrossed in hunting for that one special seashell along that beach, I forgot to look up. Because when I looked up, this is what I saw.
It was majestic and beautiful. This experience taught me that as we search for that unique seashell experience along the beach in our own lives – we forget to look up and understand that what we are experiencing already is unique. We don’t realise it and we forget to savour what is all around us.
How often in my twenties I pondered the question of what am I doing with my life?
Most of us will go through that phase and then settle down and achieve what society perceives as measures of normality – a family, a car, a house or maybe a dog.
Then the cycle repeats.
This time maybe throw in a convertible, yoga classes and slim fit shirts and skinny pants that never quite gets the approval of your children.
Yes, plenty of generalisations in the above paragraph I know, but many of us can identify with that and there is definitely nothing wrong with any of the above IF that’s what makes you happy.
But in doing that – don’t forget to look up and see the beauty of where you are right this moment.
With winter officially upon us it's time to adjust daily routines in order to dodge winter bugs.
It's cold, it's miserable and it's tough to get out and about. But this doesn't mean you can't keep active and healthy.
We know the winter months can be difficult which is why we've sought the insights of local health leader Adain Summerfield. Adain Summerfield (BPhEd, PGDipPH) is a Program Leader at the Otago Polytechnic's Institute of Sport and Adventure.
Summerfield has worked in the health and fitness industry for over 20 years and teaches students about fitness, health and wellness. He offers the following tips to navigate the shorter, colder days ahead:
1. Start Your Day The Right Way
Waking up is harder during winter. It's cold and hitting the snooze button to steal extra time in a warm bed is an inviting option. But this delay to starting the day might not be beneficial if it leads to chasing the clock to meet deadlines later in the day.
"My father taught me to get both feet straight on the floor when the alarm sounds" says Summerfield. "Get up and get into the day."
"Secondly, I always make my bed. This simple task is one I know I can do well and helps to create success momentum. Success momentum is taking small wins to build to bigger goals throughout the day. Once you get in the habit of making your bed, you’ll find yourself engaging in subsequent activities in a more positive way. And worst case scenario, even if your day doesn't go to plan, you'll have a well made bed to climb into at the end of the day!"
2. Make The Most Of The Sun
The days are shorter and things get darker earlier. One of the biggest reasons we get sick in winter is not due to the temperature but a lack of sun.
Summerfield shared his insights. "I have two young kids and I always tell them when the sun's out, we're out. Scooters and balls, jackets and gumboots are always in the car to allow for outside play whenever the opportunity presents.
One of the biggest things about winter is that we're not active and our inclination is to stay inside where it's warm. Most people spend too much time sitting inside a box, looking at a screen. The last thing I want my kids to do after school is sit down at home watching tv. If you're in the sun you're more likely to move.
Try to get out for a walk in the sun and spend at least 10 minutes a day. The cold isn't going to make you sick but a lack of sun will. A great Finnish proverb says there's no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing. An extra layer might be all it takes to disrupt couch time through the colder months.
People who are vitamin D deficient are more likely to get infected with flu viruses. Supplement with vitamin D3 to or spend some time in the sun this winter to ensure you're helping your immune system.
3. Make The Active Option The Easy Option
With temperatures plummeting it's easy to avoid regular exercise. The best goal is to plan inexcusable activity - activity that you can't make excuses to get out of.
Summerfield shared a few of his tips for planning inexcusable activity: "I find non-weather dependent exercise in winter. I play squash which is an indoor sport that isn't subject to the weather. I also play in a team where I'm committed to other members to turn up and play each week. This stops me from finding excuses not to play so I don't let down my teammates.
When planning your exercise make sure you incorporate two factors:
1. It's not weather dependant
2. You have a partner to train or play with
By using these two tools you'll drastically increase your adherence to an exercise regime over the colder nights."
Exercise increases your immune response so ensure that you're able to keep moving through the colder days to stop yourself from falling sick.
By using these three tools you'll be able to increase your wellbeing and health this winter. If you want to reach Adain for more of his advice, shoot him an email here.
The antidote team