Keeping Well This Winter 

Looking after yourself over the winter months is incredibly important for your health and wellbeing. We have put together 5 helpful tips to help you stay on track.

1. Keep Hydrated

Our bodies are largely made up of water, so it is important to consume enough for our body to function at its best. Remember to drink at least 8 glasses of water each day. Hot herbals teas or warm water flavoured with ginger and/or lemon are also a good way to warm up over winter, while keeping hydrated.

2. Eat Well

Choose to eat healthy foods. This will help build your immune system. Make sure to include fresh vegetables with some lean protein. Eat with the season and embrace the produce of the season. Look to reduce your sugar and salt intake as well. For a healthy low cost winter recipe, Healthy Food Guide has a great recipe for Winter Lentil Soup Recipe.

3. Stay Active

There are many benefits from daily exercise – Yoga, stretching and walking are great ways to keep moving. A 30 minute walk outdoors will expose you to fresh air, help strengthen your body and improve weight management, and lift you mood and overall feeling of wellbeing.

4. Get a Good Sleep

Regular sleep is vital to wellbeing. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.

5. Wash Your Hands

Winter illnesses are easily spread by hands and these simple prevention methods are often overlooked. Wash your hands regularly (and thoroughly) with soap for 20 seconds helps prevent the spread and control of infection, especially after going to the bathroom or before preparing food.

Healthy Vitamin C Rich Chicken Stirfry Recipe

Stir Fried Chicken with Basmati rice

One our Occupational Health Nurses, Penelope Fleming, was tasked with crafting  a healthy, but also simple, recipe for one of our clients to share with their busy team.

This simple but tasty Chicken Stirfry is rich in Vitamin C and is made from readily available ingredients. The vegetables are packed with Vitamin C for better health over the winter months, and the basmati rice has a favourable effect on blood glucose.

Serves 2 (easy to double to serve 4)

Ingredients:

1 skinless chicken breast or 200gm chicken tenderloins (approx. 100gm per serving)

1 clove of garlic (or 1tsp crushed garlic from a jar)

2-3 medium sized carrots

1 small head of broccoli

1 small or ½ a large capsicum (red, orange, yellow or green)

1-2 tsp soya bean, rice bran or canola oil

1 whole star anise (optional)

½ Cup vegetable stock or boiling water

¼ Cup of uncooked Basmati rice

Sauce:

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp fish sauce (optional)

¼ tsp Chinese five spice

1 heaped tsp cornflour to thicken

Prepare:

Slice chicken breast/tenderloins into bite sized pieces and set aside on a separate board from the vegetables to avoid cross contamination from raw chicken

Peel and finely dice garlic clove

Finely slice or julienne carrot sticks

Finely slice capsicum or cut into chunks if preferred

Slice broccoli into bite sized pieces

Combine the sauce ingredients into a separate bowl or jug

Cook:

Heat wok or wide based frying pan for up to one minute on high heat, add oil to hot pan, then add star anise and chicken.  Keep stirring and cook until juices run clear (smaller pieces will cook through faster).

Remove chicken from pan and add garlic, carrot and broccoli with a second tsp of oil if required. Turn heat down and stir continuously for about 1 minute.

Add vegetable stock or boiling water and steam with lid on for another minute (approximately).

Add the spice and sauce mixture to the pan and quickly stir.

Add more fluid if needed to coat the vegetables.

Return chicken to pan and stir to combine.

 

Serve the stir fry with half a cup of cooked basmati rice and garnish with chopped cashews if desired.

Rice Notes:
¼ Cup of uncooked rice converts to approx ½ Cup when cooked.
Basmati rice has a favourable effect on blood glucose.

Stress is contagious

Stress is contagious

According to a recent study conducted by psychologists at Saint Louis University, stress is just as easy to catch as a cold or the flu. Researchers asked study participants to perform a stress-inducing activity, such as solving a complex math problem or speaking in front of an audience. A second group of participants looked on while the task was being completed.

The researchers found the observing participants showed elevated levels of stress after watching a fellow human complete the anxiety-inducing activity. Participants’ stress levels were determined based on their cortisol (often referred to as the ‘stress hormone’) levels and heart rates.

“To find that in some people, some of the time, you can elicit these responses just by sitting and watching someone else under stress was somewhat surprising to us,” Tony Buchanan, associate professor at Saint Louis University’s Department of Psychology, told ABC News.

Of course, this topic has been studied before. A study conducted by the University of California found mothers who were separated from their babies and then asked to participate in a stress-inducing activity were likely to transmit their anxiety levels to their children. When reunited with their stressed mothers, the babies were likely to mirror the parents’ elevated heart rates.

What does this tell us about stress and the human body?

Stress isn’t just an emotional state, it’s a physical one as well. When we are stressed, our bodies secrete cortisol as part of a fight-or-flight cocktail that diminishes our inhibitions and encourages us to take risks – great for helping our paleolithic ancestors manoeuvre their way out of dangerous situations, but not so great for those of us trying to adhere to a healthy diet. If we are stressed and our cortisol levels elevated, we are likely to make impulsive decisions about our health.

Consistently elevated stress levels are also known to weaken the immune system. Anxiety and stress can lead to sleep deprivation, emotional eating (which can interfere with our attempts at eating a balanced, healthful diet), and negative interactions in our personal relationships.

How can we minimise the spread of stress?

Now that we know it’s possible to spread stress to others, we must take responsibility for our own stress levels. By doing so, we’ll avoid transmitting stress to our co-workers, partners, friends and family members.

Meditation and deep breathing are great stress combatants. As trite as it may sound, taking a few moments to close your eyes and count to 10 when you feel stress coming on can help slow your heart rate and stabilise the secretion of cortisol. You may also want to incorporate a holistic relaxing activity, such as yoga or massage, into your weekly routine.

You can also help maintain balance within your body by doing what you can to keep your blood pressure levels in check. Regular exercise and a diet containing moderate levels of cholesterol will go a long way toward helping you stay calm.

Finally, do your best to get an adequate amount of sleep each night. A well-rested person is more likely to meet stressful situations with calm and rational behaviour. If you suffer from insomnia, night terrors or other sleep disorders, consider herbal supplements that will support restful sleep. Getting into a nightly routine (ideally devoid of computer or TV stimulation) will also help calm your body and mind before bed.

(Article sourced from HealthPost.co.nz. See full link here)

Is stress an issue in your workplace? Contact Fleur on (03) 341 4087 or fleur.truscott@triex.co.nz to have a chat about how TriEx can help.

Wellness Accessible for All Workplaces

There are many ways in which workplaces can start to address wellness and health promotion. Providing relevant information to employees regarding health is key.

TriEx are creating a range of free resources that your workplace can access at any time, starting with a number of free articles relating to Spring and Summer wellness topics.

The end of the year is approaching and soon many employees will take leave. Reminding our people on ways to keep both them and their families and friends safe and well is important. Read on for tips on staying hydrated …

As our NZ summer approaches it’s time to think about staying hydrated.

Dehydration may be responsible for your back pain, or problems with short-term memory, difficulty with eye focus, kidney stones, bladder infections, dry skin, and constipation. It is also the number one trigger of daytime fatigue. Drinking enough water can also significantly reduce your chances of getting colon, breast, and kidney cancer and problems with obesity.

Read more →