skogafoss waterfall in Iceland

How Getting into Blue Spaces can Improve your Well-Being

From seas to rivers, canals and even fountains, a blue space is defined as any place where you are close to an area of water.

We tend to hear a lot about green spaces and how they can benefit our well-being – but what about blue spaces? There’s growing evidence and ongoing research discovering the lesser-known but powerful benefits of what’s known as blue therapy. For example, one recent study concluded that people who had grown up having spent time around blue spaces reposted better mental health as adults. In fact, being around blue spaces may be even more beneficial than green spaces.

 So, let’s take a dip into what makes blue spaces so good for our well-being.

 

1. Water quietens your mind

If you’ve ever felt soothed by the gentle crashing of waves or the trickle of a stream, it could be because the sound of water is an example of what’s known as pink noise. You’ve probably heard of white noise before, and pink noise can have a similar effect.

The main difference is that pink noise has a lower pitch than white noise, so it’s less of a static sound and more of a steady background hum. It’s sometimes known as ‘ambient noise’, which can include a lot of natural sounds such as water. The lower frequencies filter out higher-pitched sounds, and as such, pink noise is said to have a much more relaxing effect. Just imagine the low rumbles of waves crashing against the shore.

The repetitive dips and swirls of flowing water can also be quite meditative to watch, whether you’re at the beach, taking a break next to a gently moving river, or sitting by the edge of a fountain.

 

2. It lifts your mood

In part because of the soothing effect of water, being in a blue space can help to lift your mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Physically being in the water can have an even greater benefit than observing it alone. It can cause our bodies to go into a more relaxed state where our heart rate slows down, and our blood pressure lowers.

The colour blue itself is also known for being a colour that helps you to unwind and feel calm. So even if you only get a chance to sit and watch the water, you can still experience the peace and stillness that it brings. Being battered by wind and rain, however, is not quite as relaxing, and seas can be especially rough during the winter months. If you’re planning on venturing to the coastline, remember to wrap up and carry a windproof umbrella to keep you sheltered from any gales.

 

3. Water can encourage exercise

Standing in front of a body of water, it can be pretty tempting to dip your toes in. It’s true that water facilitates lots of different kinds of exercise and activities, which can have a huge positive impact on your well-being. Exercise encourages the release of feel-good hormones, which elevates your mood – not to mention the benefit it has on your physical health, which can reduce your risk of developing certain health conditions.

Swimming, sailing, paddleboarding – or even surfing and diving if you’re feeling more adventurous – can give you all the benefits of exercising while you’re also soaking up the calming, rejuvenating effect of water.

 

4. Builds your connection to the environment

Spending quality time around natural sources of water can also help to build your connection to the natural environment. Quality time is not just about being near water, it’s about appreciating the blue space and paying attention to the sights and sounds.

Deepening this connection has been shown to have a positive impact on your well-being, as well as building your respect for the natural world. All the benefits mentioned so far in this article can depend on the quality of the blue space. A murky canal or a beach covered in litter probably won’t have the same calming effect as crystal clear waters and sandy beaches.

You’ll find many local initiatives to get involved with that aim to revive some of the UK’s blue spaces. They’re not only great for supporting blue spaces but also give you a chance to meet new people.

We’re lucky to live on an island such as the UK, where we’re literally surrounded by vastly different blue spaces. From the tranquil lochs in Scotland and the rugged coasts of Northern Ireland to the surfing paradise that is Cornwall’s beaches. Even in land-locked towns and cities, you’ll probably be able to find an urban blue space – whether that’s a canal, fountain, or swimming pool.

You’re never too far away from the relaxing power of blue spaces. So, once in a while, remember to take some time away from your usual hectic lifestyle to find peace and calm and let the water work its magic on you.

Young woman showing dance exercises to the people during classes in gym

Experts Explain How Dance Can Improve Your Mental Health

Did you know that dancing lowers the risk of developing dementia and other mental illnesses by as much as 76%. White matter deteriorates with age, but research shows that dancing is a great way to slow this process.

The worlds leading dancewear retailer BLOCH has collaborated with industry professionals to share the top ways dancing can positively affect mental health. With dancing being such a fun and widely accessible activity, we’ve worked with health experts to show the how the benefits are sure to motivate you to try and get moving on your favourite songs a bit more often.

 

1. Dancing is a foundation for mindfulness

Christine Nowicki, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and former ballet dancer, describes dancing as a great way to practice mindfulness. “Dance is an immersive training in body awareness. Dancers know exactly how to check in and notice where their bodies are in space, what their posture is like, where they are holding tension, where they are collapsed…the list goes on. This is a huge asset when it comes to learning mindfulness.” The awareness of thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations is often practiced within meditation tactics, which further highlights the impacts of dance on mental wellbeing. 

 

2. It’s a mood-booster activity

Studies over the years have proved that dancing not only reduces stress and helps with self-esteem but also significantly improves one’s mood. Raven Gibbs, psychotherapist and professional dancer comments: “When you dance, the brain also begins to release dopamine and endorphins. The release of dopamine is a natural mood boost while the release of endorphins helps to relieve feelings of pain and distress, which helps you to relax. Releasing endorphins also helps us as humans to feel closer to and bond with others. This support helps to reduce feelings of worthlessness which further works to increase the quality of life”.

 

3. Dancing allows you to focus and escape

Many dancers would say that dancing makes them escape reality. However, that might also be true of the increased focus and attention a dance routine implies. Colleen Wenner, Clinical Director explains: “As you practice and master different steps and routines, your memory, focus, and attention improve. Pattern recognition skills also increase when you learn new dances and help you concentrate better. Dance is ultimately about the joy of movement and you’ll find your life becomes more fulfilling when you’re able to only focus on the present moment but also move your body in ways that make you feel happy”.

 

4. It provides a sense of togetherness

Particularly if you decide to join dance classes or simply dance with your friends at a party, dancing often promotes a sense of community and togetherness. Dr. Harold Hong, a board-certified psychiatrist at New Waters Recovery says: “Even if just for a few hours, social dances like jazz help reduce isolation and loneliness, two major risk factors for mental illnesses”.

 

5. The dance endorphins improve your sleep

Physical activity has well-documented mental health benefits, and dance is a great way to get moving. As a result of the endorphins released when dancing, your heart rate increases. After the practice you feel tired and relaxed, which ultimately improves your sleep quality as well. 

 

6. Dancing is an unapologetic way of self-expression

Finally, dancing provides an outlet for self-expression! When people suffer from mental health problems, they often have a wide range of emotions they don’t know how to articulate or let out. Having a non-verbal language to channel your emotions and experiences into can be extremely liberating. There are some things words can’t express quite so well, but dance can often help with that. 

Healthy athletic man and woman wearing VR glasses workout exercise on cycling machine in virtual reality cyberspace at fitness gym.

VR and Jazzercise: Five Fitness trends to Watch Out For in 2023

  • Jazzercise is set to make a comeback in 2023
  • Dance experts reveal five fitness trends to look out for in 2023, including virtual reality workouts

 

Jazzercise is expected to be make a comeback as one of the biggest fitness crazes of 2023, with searches for the dance party workout up a massive 238% in 2022.

Other fitness trends that are experiencing a surge in interest are Pilates, barre and even VR fitness.

Dance experts at BLOCH have highlighted five workouts that are set to be huge in 2023.

 

Jazzercise

Experiencing record of levels of interest in the UK, Jazzercise looks like it will be making a big comeback in 2023.

First invented in 1969 in Illinois by student, Judi Sheppard Missett, it blends jazz dance, Pilates, kickboxing, resistance training and yoga in fast-paced, energetic routines that are designed to improve endurance, strength and flexibility.

 

Pilates

Search interest for Pilates peaked in 2022, the highest search interest since 2010, almost doubling since the start of the year (up 92%). First invented by German personal trainer, Joseph Pilates, in the early 20th century, it is now practiced all over the world.

 

VR fitness

Currently taking off across the US, with search interest increasing by a whopping 317% in 2022, virtual reality workouts could take off in 2023.

A very new age way to get fit, users with a virtual reality headset, such as the Meta Quest 2, can download various fitness apps to play games and do workouts from the comfort of their own home.

 

Barre

Brits searching for Barre fitness has gone up by 134% in 2022, showing this low impact, strengthening workout is growing in popularity.

Barre workouts are a blend of yoga, Pilates, and ballet, with many health and wellbeing benefits, such as increased strength, balance and posture, as well as helping to alleviate stress.

 

Zumba

Whilst Zumba isn’t a new trend, it is experiencing a significant peak in search interest in the UK, up by 200% in 2022.

This dance workout involves cardio and Latin inspired dance, having been founded in 2001 by Colombian dancer and choreographer, Beto Pérez. By 2019, it had 15 million weekly participants across 180 countries, which could well go up in 2023.

 

Cathy Radovan, COO at BLOCH, commented:

‘”Over the last year, we’ve seen a huge increase in adults looking for different ways to stay healthy. It’s great to see dance fitness, such as Jazzercise, experiencing such a big interest across the UK. You don’t need to be an expert to get started with dance fitness; it’s simply about moving your body and having fun – all while getting fit!”

To find out more about BLOCH. please visit: https://uk.blochworld.com/

digital detox and leisure concept - close up of gadgets in basket on table and woman reading book at home

Why You Should Ditch the Digital for a Detox Escape

Deciding to ditch the digital world for a while and reconnect with nature is a great way to detox yourself from the stress of everyday life. Whether you are looking to run into the Alps or swim in the ocean, leaving your devices behind can be the best thing for your well-being.

With most of us using multiple devices daily and nearly 70% of people still working while on holiday, it is more important than ever to put down your devices and step away from your screens.

Here, we will explore the benefits of a digital detox and ways you can achieve this.

 

Benefits of a digital detox

 

Reconnect

Detoxing yourself from digital technology won’t only help you reconnect with friends and family, but it can also help you reconnect with nature and yourself. By spending time away from social media, emails, and other daily life stressors, you can begin to prioritize your own mental and physical well-being.

 

Sleep better

Staying away from technology can also help improve your sleeping pattern and quality of sleep. Blue light, which you are exposed to through your phone, can disrupt your sleep and affect your melatonin production. And this is not only from using your technology before bed; exposure to it throughout the day can produce the same effect.

 

Improve mental health

Reducing your screen time can also help boost your mental health. It is no secret that social media can negatively influence mental well-being; from the stress of appearing perfect to comparing yourself to others, it is manipulating emotions to maintain engagement. Removing yourself from constant engagement can benefit you mentally and physically as you remove the negative impacts driven by technology.

 

Increase attention

A digital detox can also benefit your attention span, making it easier to concentrate on tasks. Devices are increasingly made for efficiency and speed, dragging our attention spans and patience with them. By removing yourself from technology, you can concentrate for extended periods and have a sharper focus and attention to detail. This will not only improve your quality of life and relaxation, as you notice more in your immediate vicinity, but you might also benefit from a better quality of work when you return from your holidays.

 

How to achieve a digital detox

 

Try new hobbies and activities

A digital detox doesn’t mean boredom. You can use this time to experiment with new activities and hobbies, whether painting, mushroom foraging, or learning a new language. Alongside the increased attention span, you might find it easier to enjoy new hobbies and learn new skills.

 

Explore nature

With no need for signal or Wi-Fi, you can explore even more remote areas you might not have considered before. Using this time to explore nature can help your mindfulness and connection with your emotions. Spending time in nature can help reduce ruminations, making you less stressed and more likely to find calmness during your time off than if you were to spend the time indoors.

 

Gather with friends and family

Use this time away from your technology to reconnect with friends and family. Rather than receiving updates on their lives and celebrating through social media, make sure to group your nearest and dearest for a technology-free occasion. This could be at your home or, if the temptation of technology is too much, out in nature, such as at the beach or in the woods.

Organise a day without your phones, and make sure you plan thoroughly. You may want to buy some meat and gas for BBQs to host a fantastic meal at a campsite, or you could spend the day hiking through your nearest nature reserve with only a map and written directions.

 

Go on a digital detox holiday

And if you feel a self-imposed digital detox might be too challenging to start with, plenty of locations can help. Finding a digital detox hotel or spa retreat can encourage you to step away from the screens and focus more on yourself. These locations often have a variety of activities, too, helping you learn new foods and cultures without needing your phone.

Give yourself time to “switch off” and remove yourself from the digital landscape. Instead, find yourself exploring nature, reconnecting with friends, and finding new hobbies. By embracing a digital detox, you can learn more about yourself, reset your mindset away from the stressors of work and daily life, and improve your mental and physical well-being in time to return to work. Whether you enjoy BBQs on a beach with friends to reflect on memories or you try your hand at bird watching in the Algarve, by leaving your devices behind, you can begin to experience life more.

Exercises That help You Stay Calm

When you’re under pressure, do you find it hard to stay calm? Our life can be overwrought, with deadlines looming and essential tasks waiting for us. This can lead to nervy and anxious moments.

Relaxation techniques can be used to take a break from the hectic world around us and help us reconnect with our inner selves. Many exercises can be performed to relax the muscles, including breathing, meditation, and yoga.

They can also include visualisation, aromatherapy, and music and art therapy. Each exercise has its own unique benefits, and many of these techniques can be done quickly and easily, making them an excellent way to stay calm and relaxed.

Here are six exercises that can help you stay calm and centered.

1. Deep Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing exercises can be used to help relax the body and mind. You can perform a deep breathing exercise by lying on the ground or sitting quietly in a comfortable space. Close your eyes if you’re comfortable doing so, and take slow, deep breaths by focusing on the sensation of air entering and leaving your body.

Inhale deeply through your nose for 4-7 seconds, hold it for a few moments, then exhale slowly through the mouth. Observe how each breath feels as you take it several times.

2. Swimming

Swimming and other types of exercises in the water can help improve relaxation. In addition, participating in activities like swimming, yoga, aerobics pool classes, or doing a floating exercise can be very helpful for managing stress levels.

Being submerged in water stimulates the body’s parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation response) to reduce stress hormones and anxiety. Additionally, being in the water encourages using all major muscle groups, which can help improve mood.

3. Dancing

The act of dancing is an excellent method of reducing stress and anxiety, as well as staying calm. Endorphins are naturally released during dancing and help reduce stress and improve focus.

Cardio exercises are essential for improving dancing skills and increasing heart rate and blood flow. Although most cardio exercise doesn’t require heavy equipment, but some do. If you need gear for cardio exercise, check out reliable online stores such as Cardioonline.

4. Meditation

Meditation is an ancient practice that is known to help reduce stress. Meditation involves focusing your attention on your feelings and the present moment. This type of mindfulness practice can help with symptoms such as anxiety, depression, irritability, and restlessness.

You can practice meditation in a variety of ways, such as breathing exercises, walking meditation, and guided meditation. Regular practice can help you stay calm during stressful times, and practices such as yoga and tai chi also combine meditation techniques with physical activities to further reduce stress levels.

5. Walking

Walking is great for when you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. Walking involves being mindful of your body and aware of where you are as you move. This type of exercise can be performed indoors as well as outdoors.

When walking, take notice of the sensations in your feet and your legs as you move. Maintain a steady pace and concentrate on each step. Avoid getting stuck in perfectionism, and let yourself enjoy the process.

6. Stretch Your Muscles and Limbs

The benefits of stretching include reducing stress and relaxing tense muscles. Take a few deep breaths before beginning, and find a comfortable position.

Start by rolling your neck and shoulders, then move down your arms flexing your wrists as far as you can, and stretch out each of your fingers.

Next, slowly bring one of your legs up and hold it in place for 10 seconds before slowly releasing it. Repeat this with the other leg, then complete the exercise by twisting your torso and reaching up toward the sky.

Conclusion

Exercise in almost any form can help you both physically and mentally. From deep breathing and physical exercise to improved listening skills and boxing, plenty of exercises are available to help you stay calm and find better ways to manage your stress.

Group Of Friends Taking Part In Book Club At Home

How Joining a Social Club Can Improve Your Mental Health

As women, we tend to prioritise our mental health. Indulging in self-care practices that boost our well-being and empower us has become a necessity.

One practice that is gaining popularity amongst ladies of all ages is joining a social club. From dog-walking and wine-tasting groups to book and fitness clubs, there are countless opportunities to bond with like-minded people while improving your well-being.

Here is how to find your tribe amongst the hustle and bustle of everyday life and boost your mental health.

 

The benefits of social interactions

The benefits of social clubs for our well-being go much beyond the social component. They are like a wellness shot for our entire system.

Being part of a group can provide a sense of belonging, support, and purpose, all of which can improve our mental health. It can weather out feelings of loneliness and isolation, which contribute to the development of depression.

Somehow, one-on-one connections in a pleasant environment have become a luxury nowadays. In a world where we often feel disconnected from each other, being either engrossed in work or distracting ourselves with technology, finding a way to connect with like-minded people is a must.

Engaging with people in a social setting helps us feel young, loved, and involved, thus improving our life satisfaction and contributing to longevity.

But the benefits of social interactions go beyond mental health. Our physical health can be massively improved too. A recent study found that older people who participated weekly in social activities reduced their risk of developing a chronic condition by 8% compared to no participation, and minimised the risk of developing two or more chronic conditions by 22%.

Attending these clubs also allows you to try new things, learn new skills, improve physical health, and meet new people. They are a reason to get out of your routine, dress in your favourite attire and bring your best self to the forefront of social interactions.

 

The book clubs’ craze

There are many social clubs you can join, and it’s important to find activities that align with your interests and values.

In 1996, Oprah Winfrey established her book club. She pioneered elucidating a sense of community and belonging amongst women who like to read and connect on a deeper level, empowering them to be modern-day bookworms.

“Over the course of my lifetime, books have helped me know that I’m not alone, even when I’m at my loneliest,” said Oprah Winfrey.

But she is not the only celebrity who is connecting women through their love for reading. Book clubs have become the epitome of female empowerment, with stars such as Reese Witherspoon, Emma Roberts, and Sarah Jessica Parker having book clubs that attract hundreds of members.

Whether they’re celebrity-led or hosted in your local bookstore, book clubs serve as a nudge for women to read new releases on Goodreads, share their thoughtful opinions with other book lovers, and spruce conversations around current and deeper topics.

 

Other social clubs to try

Social clubs not only provide a sense of community and connection but are also a doorway to engaging in other self-care practices that complement the social component and boost well-being. For the lady of today, a skincare and hair routine, along with choosing a desirable outfit, is an essential part of social events that can act as a self-esteem booster.

Joining a wellness or fitness club, for example, would encourage you to wear fashionable trainers and activewear that make you feel even better in your body and accentuate your progress. A wine-tasting club can inspire you to put on a red dress and heeled women’s boots in black while joining a fashion club can bring out your inner fashion diva.

Joining social clubs can motivate us to become our best versions and gain confidence in our bodies, style, intelligence, and social skills.

So, what are you waiting for? If your local wine and draw club or dog-walking group is calling upon you, gift yourself the chance to connect with like-minded people and do something nice for yourself.

Not only will you improve your mental health, but you’ll also have fun and potentially make some new friends in the process. Your mental health (and your wardrobe) will thank you.

How to Improve Your Therapy Practice’s Billing Processes

Discover how you can better run your therapy practice to be financially successful by reading our guide regarding the importance of therapy billing services.

Understanding the Importance of Therapy Billing Services

Working as a therapist is extremely rewarding, even though it can be very challenging. You listen to people talk about their worries, anxieties, traumas, and other issues.

Even if you are able to compartmentalize, you may find it hard to cope with the demands of such a job. Another issue that private therapists face is having to deal with billing their patients, which is where ABA billing can be of assistance.

When you are working as part of a larger network, you can outsource such work to your support staff. Even though you may hire one staff for your practice, they will not be taking care of everything, so you will have to do a lot of the work yourself.

If you are unsure how to handle billing for therapy services, you may want to learn more about how to do this. You can get outside help to ensure that you are taking care of billing for your patients in the correct way.

Obtaining Prior Authorizations

A significant issue in the United States when you run a therapy business is that your patients will need prior authorizations. If they have an insurance policy covering specialist appointments, you should not have too many issues with the process, but it can still be challenging.

Oftentimes you have to work with the Primary Care Provider of the patient, as their office will have to initiate a referral and then assist with the prior authorization forms and related processes. Such paperwork can take a lot of time to complete, and you may sometimes have to appeal if a patient is denied during the initial claim.

Documentation Problems

One of the more common issues that therapists face is that when they handle billing and other paperwork, documentation errors occur. If you are a therapist, your specialty is in that field. You are not likely to have an extensive financial or accounting background.

The smallest mistakes made in medical billing forms can result in serious issues for patients, as miscoding could result in the patient being overcharged for specific services. Such errors may even be minimal, but they can still cause a lot of harm to a patient’s financial situation, which could lead to them going elsewhere for therapy in the future.

Trust the Professionals

There is a temptation for small businesses to try and keep as many aspects of their operation in-house as possible. Your intent may be to keep your costs minimal, but applying such a concept to billing and insurance is not always the best idea.

Medical billing is a complex field, while insurance claims are even more challenging. Allowing a company with professional expertise like ABA Billing to take charge of these matters for your practice may be the best way forward.

Such professionals have flexible packages that may work best for your business. The cost of hiring a full-time professional to take care of these matters may not be in your budget, but hiring an outside firm at a set fee is a lot more reasonable.

The pros can handle tasks including benefit and authorization management, claims management, agency consultation and staff training, and network participation management. If you are unsure about what insurances to accept, how to enrol with those plans, and how to ensure your patients can successfully submit claims to their insurer for your services, then hiring an outside company to handle that work is the best course of action.

Focus on Your Patients and Therapy Sessions

Running a private therapy clinic is a very challenging endeavour. Whether you are the only therapist at your practice, or you are partnering with one or two other therapists, you are still not operating with the same resources as a hospital network.

Rather than attempting to complete all the business-related tasks yourselves, outsourcing certain work is a more prudent course of action. The professionals can take care of billing and claims management, while the therapists devote their energies to providing patients with the absolute best care during their sessions.

Such a small business, which leverages the available resources, is likely to thrive in the long term.

What Are The Health Benefits of Cannabis? 

In recent years, you may have noticed the growing popularity of cannabis, with regulations regarding its possession and consumption becoming more lenient in some countries. Alongside this, the cannabis industry continues to thrive, with production increasing over time.

The steady rise of cannabis’s popularity is a result of the effort of several groups to push for its legalization for recreational and medical use. Cannabis enthusiasts use it for its relaxing properties, with some forms giving a euphoric high. Meanwhile, evidence suggests promising possibilities for the therapeutic use of cannabis.

Types Of Cannabis

The cannabis plant has two main types: sativa and indica. Sativa is believed to have an energizing effect, while indica is known for its relaxing effect. The third category is hybrid, a combination of the two types.

There are various kinds of cannabis products and different ways of consuming or using them. The dried cannabis flower is often ground and smoked using a pipe or vaporizer. Cannabis edibles refer to food like gummies and beverages like tea, which contain cannabis extracts. Cannabis topicals are creams or balms that can be applied to the skin. If you wish to learn more about other cannabis products, you may check out Stiiizy stores.

Potential Medical Benefits Of Cannabis

There’s mounting evidence supporting the health benefits of cannabis. These include the following:

1. It Can Help Reduce Symptoms Of Anxiety, Depression, And PTSD

Cannabis shows promise in managing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Cannabis consumption is often associated with happiness, euphoria, and calmness. The right type and dose of cannabis can help you relax and ease stress and feelings of worry.

Research studies are ongoing to investigate how cannabis can benefit people with other mental health disorders.

2. It Can Help Treat Insomnia

Since cannabis can help make you feel relaxed and even sleepy, it’s no wonder that many people regard it as a possible treatment for insomnia. It’s reportedly beneficial in improving sleep quality by helping you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Getting restorative sleep enables you to recover from the previous day’s exhaustion. It can also improve your mood and energy levels and balance your hormones.

3. It Can Help Prevent And Treat Gastrointestinal Issues

Cannabis shows promising results in preventing or treating gastrointestinal (GI) issues. Some of the GI disorders that cannabis may help treat are Chron’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Cannabis is believed to be effective in reducing inflammation in the gut, thus helping it heal. Furthermore, it can also help relieve other gastrointestinal symptoms, such as poor appetite and nausea.

4. It Can Provide Pain Relief

Cannabis is also potentially beneficial as a pain reliever. So, if you suffer from pain due to a malignant disease, you may consider using cannabis for pain relief to improve the quality of your life.

Cannabis can help relieve pain by reducing inflammation, interacting with neurotransmitters, and increasing the activity of your endocannabinoid system. Thus, many people use cannabis to alleviate pain from spasms and tissue or nerve injury.

5. It Can Help Lessen Inflammation

Another reason why you might consider using cannabis is if you wish to reduce inflammation. This can be especially helpful if you’re suffering from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and multiple sclerosis.

Preclinical studies show that cannabis may reduce pro-inflammatory cytokine levels. Given this, you may try cannabis if you’re looking to manage an inflammatory illness.

6. It Can Aid In Addiction Recovery

Another potential medical benefit of cannabis is that it can help with alcohol and drug addiction recovery. It is believed that cannabis can prevent relapse by improving impulse control and reducing stress-induced cravings and anxiety. So, if you’re hoping to quit drinking or drug use, you may consider consuming cannabis under the supervision of an addiction specialist.

However, more research and clinical testing should be conducted to establish the therapeutic benefits of cannabis in addiction withdrawal.

Final Thoughts

An increasing number of states in the U.S. and other countries have legalized the recreational and medical use of cannabis. As a result, cannabis products have become available in various forms, from dried flowers and concentrates to edibles and topicals.

There’s growing interest in the medical use of cannabis as studies suggest that it can help reduce symptoms of mental health disorders and alleviate pain, inflammation, and gastrointestinal conditions. It’s also reportedly beneficial in managing insomnia.

However, following the recommended dose is critical to get the most out of cannabis’s therapeutic benefits.

Doctor writing on prescription blank and bottle with medical cannabis on table close up
Young African American female psychologist keeping hand of wrist of male patient sitting in front of her and sharing his problems

How We Can Support Men’s Mental Health in 2023

Key findings:

  • Mental health in the UK has reached another crisis point.
  • The cost-of-living crisis is worsening the public’s mental health, and people from poorer backgrounds are 2x more likely to suffer from depression as a result.
  • Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45, and socio-economic status plays a role too – poorer men are more likely to die by suicide.
  • The pressure to be traditionally “masculine”, feelings of embarrassment and the stigma of men experiencing mental health issues are the main factors stopping men seeking help.
  • Celebrities such as Hugh Jackman, who spoke about his struggles while filming The Son, have begun to remove some of the stigma around talking about your mental health.
  • Men can support one another and reduce this stigma by regularly checking in with their friends – Roman Kemp’s documentary Our Silent Emergency advocates for asking if they’re OK not once, but twice.
  • Confiding in loved ones, whether it be friends, family or partners, can help men to feel more comfortable opening up and seeking help.
  • If men feel uncomfortable speaking to their GP, they can self-refer to mental health services anonymously.
  • Many NHS services can be delivered digitally and remotely, reducing the pressure of speaking to someone face-to-face and verbally.

 

Mental health is at crisis point in the UK.

Even pre-pandemic, the country faced a mental health crisis, and COVID-19 only deepened it. Now, the cost-of-living crisis risks tipping the state of mental health in the UK over the edge, with poorer people twice as likely to experience depression as a result of rising costs.

We know that men and women experience mental health differently too. While women are more likely to experience mental health conditions, the consequences can be deadlier for men – suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 45, and those from a lower socio-economic background are more likely to die by suicide. Neither of these situations are OK.

Supporting your mates’ mental health can be as easy as keeping an eye on them; supporting your own mental health can be a bit harder, but opening your mouth to chat about your problems will help take that weight off. Here, men’s streetwear brand King Apparel discusses what can be done to support men’s mental health in 2023.

 

Seeing other men speak out

One of the contributors to the state of men’s mental health is that we’re less likely to seek help than our female counterparts. The pressure of being masculine encourages men to keep a “stiff upper lip”, even though it’s proven that this can make these problems worse. 29% of men who haven’t sought help for their mental health feel “too embarrassed”; a further 20% cited the “negative stigma” around it.

If your role models or the blokes in your life aren’t talking about mental health, it can feel difficult to be the one to bring it up. But more famous faces than ever are opening up about their struggles. Wolverine star and all-round entertainer Hugh Jackman recently spoke about suffering with his mental health during the filming of his new movie, The Son.

The actor said: “I certainly realised how vulnerable I was” and talked about his experiences of grief and anxiety on set. He hopes that by being open about his own struggles, he can encourage more “urgently needed” conversations around men’s mental health.

The more that prominent figures like Hugh Jackman that speak out about their own mental health conditions, the more it can become a normalised conversation in our everyday lives. Roman Kemp has followed up his eye-opening 2021 documentary, Roman Kemp: Our Silent Emergency, with a book around mental health titled Are You Really OK? to keep these conversations at the forefront of society.

Famous faces from the spectrum of music, TV, sport and film have spoken out about mental health, helping to tap into different generations of men. Tyrone Mings spoke of struggling with his mental health during the rearranged Euro 2020 tournament, while Jesse Lingard opened up about turning to alcohol to cope during a period on the sidelines.

Stormzy challenged stereotypes in rap by speaking openly about his mental health. His 2017 interview was seen as a breakthrough for black men who are underserved by mental health services but overrepresented in psychiatric detentions. His comments were followed by Dave’s seminal album, Psychodrama, which bridges important topics from mental health to identity politics.

 

Keep an eye on those around you

One of the most powerful tips to come out of Roman Kemp: Our Silent Emergency was to ask your friends if they’re OK not once, but twice. It’s easy to respond to “are you OK?” with “yeah, fine” – but it’s only when you’re asked again that you might feel comfortable opening up.

The Capital DJ spoke to young men around the UK, who recalled devastating stories about theirs and their friends’ struggles with mental health. One group of teenagers lost a friend to suicide when he was only 15.

In a world where men are still wrongly expected to be stoic and emotionless, taking the first step in opening up can be the biggest challenge. Make sure you’re checking in on your friends regularly. Knowing that you have a listening ear is invaluable when talking about mental health for the first time.

Charities and campaigns have been releasing valuable resources to help you do this. Movember launched Movember Conversations, an online tool that can help people practise asking their loved ones about their mental health. Laid out in a chat format, the tool can help people ask about mental health for the first time or encourage closed-off friends to open up. Meanwhile, the Men’s Health Forum launched its Man MOT campaign in Men’s Health Week 2022, encouraging us to check in on our mental and physical health and to be Men MOT Champions by encouraging our mates to open up.

 

Speak to your loved ones

Whether or not you’re aware of it, you’ll know someone living with a mental health condition. Speaking to the people you feel most comfortable confiding in is the first step for many. If it’s not a conversation you feel comfortable having in your circle of friends, consider talking to family members or partners.

Sometimes, all it takes is for one person to open up to understand how many others are feeling the same way. But we know it’s not as easy as just saying the words out of the blue. Use TV, music or some other media to start the conversation if that feels more comfortable.

If you’re not sure where to start, first try to identify the emotions you’re feeling. Is it sadness? Despair? Loneliness? Understanding the specific emotions you’re experiencing can help you to start the conversation. Think about what you want from it too – are you looking for advice, or just a listening ear? Considering these elements will make the conversation feel like less of a hurdle.

 

Seeking medical help when it feels difficult

There are a lot of factors that contribute to high suicide rates amongst men. The societal expectations of masculinity are a major factor, and so is the fact that fewer men seek help from their doctors for mental health struggles. Only a third of mental health referrals are made for men. This stems from men holding more negative views of therapy and counselling than women, relationship breakdowns and a higher tendency for men to turn to alcohol.

There are ways to seek help in a more private setting if talking to loved ones or doctors doesn’t feel like a step you can take right now. Most NHS practices in the UK allow people to refer themselves for mental health and psychological therapies online, which removes the step of having to verbally explain your struggles to your GP. This removes the perceived stigma of speaking to a doctor.

 

Virtual therapies

An online referral is all well and good, but what if the idea of speaking to someone in counselling feels daunting? While talking therapies are proven to dramatically improve the lives of those with mental health conditions, there are alternatives if you don’t feel ready to talk openly yet.

The NHS offers a self-serve mental health tool, known as self-guided help. This online tool allows you to understand why you feel this way and provides guidance and tutorials on how you can improve your mental health.

iCBT is another option that gives you access to a real-life therapist. You can conduct sessions virtually from the comfort of your own home, and your therapist can assign you exercises that will improve your mental health condition. They can then review your progress, and you’ll have access to their guidance through messaging. CBT is proven to help people manage the symptoms of mental health conditions; multiple studies show that over half of people who take this type of talking therapy recover or better manage their conditions. iCBT offers a way to take this effective treatment without the pressures of talking in person.

The state of men’s mental health in the UK is worrying, and without proper attention and support, it’s only going to get worse. There’s still a stigma attached to men experiencing, and seeking help for, mental health conditions, and that must be tackled. Prominent celebrities raising awareness of their own issues is essential to breaking down this barrier, but there are things you can do to help yourself and your friends. Let’s make 2023 the year we finally improve the state of men’s mental health.

How To Lose Fat Efficiently: 3 Things You Must Know

Many people dress weight loss up as this overly complicated thing. People seem to believe that they need to carefully plan every single meal out. They need to hire a personal trainer to devise an exercise regime. Weight loss isn’t complicated. It is slow, but it isn’t complicated.

On this page, we are going to tell you the three things that you need to be doing to lose fat efficiently. We just want to show that weight loss can be easy as long as you are armed with the right tools. 

Weight Loss Isn’t a Fast Process

Right off the bat, we want to point out that weight loss isn’t going to be a fast process. It doesn’t even come close to being a quick process. Proper weight loss takes time.

We know that there are guides out there that claim that you can lose weight blisteringly fast. You can, to an extent. However, you will not be losing weight in the right way. You may lose weight quickly, but you will be doing so in a way that is detrimental to your health. Eventually, that weight will come back and you will have lost time.

Proper weight loss should shave off around 1-3 lbs per week, depending on how heavy you are when you start. 

1. Creating a Caloric Deficit

People have written epic tomes on the ‘secret to weight loss’. They claim that they have the ultimate trick to hitting your weight loss goals. Guess what? We can sum up the secret of weight loss in a single sentence:

Burn more calories than you consume.

It really is as simple as that. If you are burning off more calories than you consume, then you will lose weight. You could stuff your face with double chocolate chip muffins every single day and, as long as you burn off all of those calories, you will lose weight. Although, as you will see later, it may not be wise to feast upon those double chocolate chip muffins frequently!

Everything you do burns calories. Right now you are burning calories. You may just be sitting down, but your internal organs are whirring away. Your brain needs energy. Your muscles need energy. You don’t have to move and you will burn off calories.

When you are losing weight, we suggest that you look up what your base calorie requirement is. This is something that will be different depending on your sex, age, weight, and height. If you consume fewer calories than this, then you will shed those excess pounds. 

2. Getting Enough Exercise

As we said, you are going to be burning calories just by sitting there not really doing anything. You could lose weight without leaving your home. Although, this is going to be quite tricky. You would really have to plan your diet well, and the weight loss isn’t necessarily going to be that fast. This is where exercise comes in.

Daily exercise will speed up your calorie burn. Cardiovascular exercise (e.g. running, swimming, and cycling) will burn off more calories than strength training. However, ideally, you will want to do a bit of both.

Cardiovascular exercise will improve your overall fitness levels. You will be burning off calories quickly while boosting your heart health. Just 30 minutes per day can really help.

Strength training will boost your muscle mass. If you aren’t strength training when you lose weight, then you will likely lose muscle mass. This isn’t a great look. Strength training can help to bulk you up and prevent loose skin (although, you likely will have some loose skin due to the weight loss).

Remember, exercise burns calories. 

In the previous section, we said that you would need to look up your base calorie requirement. This is how many calories you burn just by existing. You will then add the calories that you burn from exercise to this. Your goal, once again, is to consume fewer calories than this. That leads us neatly to the last section. 

3. Nutrition and Supplement Intake

You can’t lose weight by starving yourself. It isn’t healthy. We know that some people do it, but it really isn’t a great long-term method. Most people that lose weight by starving themselves don’t do it in a safe way. Almost everybody will put the weight that they lost back on.

By now, you should already know that losing weight is about consuming fewer calories than you burn. In theory, you could eat anything that you like and lose weight, assuming that you stick to this rule. However, that also isn’t healthy. Your body needs nutrients. This means ensuring that you have a balanced diet.

Get healthy foods into your diet (lots of fruit, vegetables, and lean meats). Not only will you feel better, but you will be consuming far fewer calories.

We also suggest that you look into the idea of nutritional supplements. Many of them have been designed to make weight loss a little bit easier. They can also add a few extra nutrients to your diet which, of course, means that you have to think less about your overall diet. You can just focus on burning off calories.

Remember, if you are going to go down the supplement route, you should always take the time to choose the right supplements. Choose something that reviews well. One of our favourite brands is Huge Supplements, as they’re known to put a lot of effort into formulating their supplements, especially fat burners.

Final Thoughts 

There you have it. Losing fat efficiently isn’t hard. Consume fewer calories than you burn and you are well on your way toward getting the body that you want.

We suggest that you grab some quality weight loss supplements to make your weight loss journey a little bit easier.

How Massages Can Improve Your Health?

A good massage parlour can help you relax, de-stress and feel rejuvenated. It can also help improve your circulation, flexibility and range of motion. If you suffer from chronic pain, a massage may provide some relief. When choosing a massage parlour, look for one that offers a variety of services and has experienced therapists. Keep reading to know about the various benefits of a good massage shop

When You Get a Massage, Your Body Releases Hormones That Block Pain Signals

After a long day, there’s nothing more indulgent than a massage. Whether you go to a massage shop you find on moongchigo or have someone come in to treat you, your body is sure to thank you. Not only will your muscles feel relaxed and relieved of any knots or tension they may be carrying, but the massage itself can reduce stress levels as your body releases endorphins which are hormones that block pain signals from the brain.

Enjoy every minute of that massage, for not only will it bring temporary relief, but also a longer-term benefit to your overall wellbeing.

Massages Can Help Improve Circulation by Increasing Blood Flow to Muscles

There is nothing more therapeutic and luxurious than a massage. Not only does it help to relax the body, massage therapy also increases blood flow to certain areas of the body, resulting in improved circulation. From luxury massage shop retreats to at-home massage chairs and tools, massage therapy allows one to reap the benefits of increased blood circulation in the comfort of an individual or communal setting.

The stimulation that massage therapy provides muscles can not only enhance movement and motivation but can be used as an integral part of physical rehabilitation for those recovering from an illness or injury. Massage therapy has proven results as a way to improve circulation on both physical and mental levels — providing relief through improved oxygenation of tissues and helping reduce stress throughout the body.

Massages Can Also Help to Reduce Stress and Anxiety Levels

Massages have been utilized for centuries as a way of relieving stress, tension and anxiety. Not only do they help reduce muscle tension, but recent studies suggest that massages can positively impact the production of hormones in the body, thereby leading to decreased levels of stress and anxiety.

This is due to the fact that massage encourages relaxation and the release of “happy hormones” like serotonin and endorphins. Taking some time out for a massage can be invaluable for reducing stress, improving sleep and even boosting overall health.

If You Suffer From Headaches or Migraines, Regular Massages Can Help

Getting regular massages can provide natural, safe and effective relief from the pain and stress of headaches or migraines. Massage has long been recognized to reduce tension and improve circulation, which helps bring oxygen to muscle fibres, allowing them to relax.

Additionally, massage can help calm the nerves that trigger pam associated with headaches such as those caused by migraines. If you suffer from headaches or migraines, incorporate massage into your healthcare regimen. You may be surprised at how quickly your pain dissipates!

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a way to reduce stress, pain, and tension in your body, then getting a massage is a great option! Massages can help improve circulation, release endorphins, and reduce stress and anxiety levels. If you suffer from headaches or migraines, regular massages can also help to reduce their frequency and intensity of them. When choosing a massage shop, make sure to find one with trained and experienced masseuses who know how to give a great massage that will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Mental Health Retreat Florida: What Is It And How Can It Help You?

When it comes to managing stress and anxiety, there are a variety of tools and resources that can be used. One such tool is a mental health retreat—structured programs that offer participants therapeutic services and leisure activities, all intending to help them improve their emotional well-being.

These retreats are led by qualified medical professionals trained in dealing with problems associated with mental health. Designed to provide holistic solutions, they’re an effective way for individuals to reduce their stress levels and improve their overall emotional state.

What Is A Mental Health Retreat?

A mental health retreat can provide an invaluable source of support and guidance for anyone struggling with mental health issues. Such retreats offer a refuge in which individuals can take time away from day-to-day life, surrounded by people who understand their struggles and are committed to helping them achieve an improved level of mental health.

A mental health retreat Florida individuals can sign up for is ideal for detoxifying the body and mind from everyday stressors. While health retreats can be as simple as taking a day off and relaxing to some individuals, it can be getting away from everyday life for some days to others.

Types Of Mental Health Retreats

There are two types of mental health retreats: medically supervised and recreational. Medically supervised retreats allow you to escape daily stressors and seek refuge in a calm setting. While in this retreat, mental health practitioners personalize your treatment depending on whatever might be troubling you.

On the other hand, recreational retreats involve unwinding for several days in resorts. There, you might concentrate more on spa treatments and massages to help you calm down and relax. You might also engage in biking, meditation, hiking, and yoga. Unlike medically supervised retreats, recreational retreats don’t include a mental health treatment plan.

How Can A Mental Health Retreat Help You?

There are many ways mental health retreats can help you. For example, these retreats help you take small breaks from everyday life to focus on your well-being.

It’s vital to note that every day comes with a fair share of stressors. Every stressor has an impact on your mental well-being. Therefore, taking a break now and then is important to ensure your mental health is stable.

Here are some ways a mental health retreat can help you:

Enables You To Start Afresh

When living your daily life, it’s almost impossible to become a new you. You’re used to your routine, and altering it might be challenging. However, you can become a new person during a mental health retreat and develop a new identity. Here, you can set a new, healthy routine, do away with things you’re used to, and participate in new activities.

Helps You Concentrate On Healing

Mental health retreats provide you with enough time to concentrate on your healing. During the time you spend in a retreat, you don’t need to worry about anything besides your recovery. Whether you’re dealing with work-related stress, depression, anxiety, or substance abuse, a mental health retreat provides you with an opportunity to be away from everything as you determine how to turn around your life for a better you.

Gives You Much-Needed Support

Suppose you’re experiencing mental health issues. In that case, a medically supervised mental health retreat might be ideal for you. You’ll get all the support you need from professionals there through therapy. A mental health practitioner might also prescribe a particular diet to ensure you get better. Lastly, you might engage with people who have similar goals, making the retreat enjoyable and worthwhile.

Helps Change Relationship Patterns

If you maintain a toxic relationship, your general lifestyle is bound to experience challenges. Fortunately, mental health retreats help you assess relationships and determine where to make changes. You can decide which relationships are worth keeping and which aren’t. You also figure out how you want other people to treat you to avoid being in toxic relationships, which can harm your physical and mental well-being.

During these mental health retreats, an individual can reap substantial mental, physical, and emotional benefits to help them on their journey of recovery from mental distress.

Conclusion

Mental health is an important but often overlooked aspect of overall well-being. In recent years, more and more individuals are turning to mental health retreats as a way to find holistic solutions for reducing stress and anxiety in their lives. These retreats, supervised by qualified medical professionals, can play an active role in helping individuals better manage their mental health journey.