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Anti-bullying week

Anti-Bullying Week 2021: One Kind Word

This November it is Anti-Bullying Week. The theme ‘One Kind Word’ is designed to encourage kindness.

by Emma Johnson

The Anti-Bullying Alliance co-ordinates anti-bullying week. This year it takes place 15-19 November.

We all know someone who has experienced bullying and most of us recognise how destructive bullying can be.  And yet, somehow it still goes on. Just One Kind Word could make all the difference to the victims. This year, post-pandemic and after the severe isolation we all need to show kindness to others, more than ever.

In 2020, 80% of schools took part in the week long event and it reached 7.5 million children and young people. Following this, the Anti-Bullying Alliance surveyed 400 young people, teachers and parents. The feedback pointed to anti-bullying being about hope, being positive and the kind things we can do to stop hurtful behaviour. From one kind word to saying sorry could be that start we all need to make.

Is your School is Taking Part?

Ask if your school is taking part. Schools can download free teaching resources. Anti-Bullying Alliance patron, CBBC and CBeebies star Andy Day will be right behind the campaign again with his band Andy and the Odd Socks.  They plan to release a fun Odd Socks Day tune to showcase the serious message behind anti-bullying. Odd socks represents our differences and those differences are definitely something to celebrate.

Older children can use #AntiBullying Week on social media.

SHARE JUST ONE KIND WORD

Shine Out

My name is Trixie, and I am an independent specialist autism consultant and trainer. I enjoy drumming, yoga, roller skating and cake. I love that we are all human beings trying to do our best and have a purpose in life. Read more

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Welcome to Alchemy

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How sleep deprived are you?

Are you one of the 40% of adults who sleep for less than the recommended 7-8 hours every night?

Whether you love getting in those zeds or partying all night, the right quality and quantity of sleep is essential for good health and wellbeing.

 

The magic pill

The pandemic disrupted our sleep routine more than ever. This lead to many of us experiencing sleep deprivation as well as some oversleeping.  At the same time mental and physical health problems are also on the rise. Denise Pope, wellbeing expert, describes sleep as the magic pill for our health. Whether you are a lark or an owl, lack of sufficient sleep is exhausting and you will suffer.

What’s the issue?

Parties, pets, menopause, military helicopters, snoring and of course, children contribute to our sleep- deprived nights. However, if you can sleep for hours on end, not even waking to these usual offenders or the extra loud alarm, you too may have a problem.

The physical risks of under sleeping include developing dementia, diabetes, heart and other diseases, with similar issues for over sleeping. As you hit 50-70 years of age risks go up by 30% and risk of death from heart disease doubles in women. Mental health is equally affected with American studies showing a link to increased depression, anxiety and suicide in school children. Adults are affected in the same way.

Poor quality sleep also disturbs cognitive function with poor concentration, focus and memory leaving you with awful brain fog. Even worse, The Sleep Council found that 20% of UK road deaths can be attributed to fatigue. There are no end of statistics that prove the importance of getting the right amount of sleep.

Get rid of waste

Scientists believe sleep helps to clear the toxic waste from the brain. This waste is what can cause problems like dementia. Beware though, poor sleep can also be an early sign of dementia.  If you get too much sleep, other risks increase, like cardiovascular disease.

Night-time waking

It’s 3am and you’re lying there thinking about how many hours before you have to get up. How many times do you experience this? It is normal to wake a couple of times in the night, but you probably won’t remember.

Some of the physical reasons for waking up in the night and not getting back to sleep include obstructive sleep apnoea, restless leg syndrome, pain, pregnancy and menopause. If as a man you wake several times to pay a visit to the toilet you definitely need to seek advice.

Whether you known the cause for waking at night it might be time to check in with your GP.

You could make some simple changes to your environment and well-being to improve your sleep. That is what and when you eat and drink, your room temperature, mattress and of course learning to manage your stress levels.

Don’t get too smart

Don’t panic when your SMART watch tells you that you only managed 6 hours, 59 minutes and 32 seconds sleep! As great as they are, clocks and watches can increase your sleep obsession and then cause anxiety. If you can’t get back to sleep after 15-20 minutes, get up and relax with a book, listen to calming music and keep the light low. Avoid your SMART phone!

Ten tips for a better night’s sleep

One – Routine

Keep a regular sleep routine even at weekends and scrap weekend lie-ins. Reset your internal clock by letting light in as you wake up.

Two – Avoid

Afternoon naps can disrupt sleep, choose a walk when you feel tired.

Three – Warm the soul

A warm bath an hour before bed can help you to sleep better.

Four – Exercise

Exercise, at the right time, helps to relieve insomnia, anxiety and stress. You need a couple of hours to relax before bed, if you do a work out in the hour before there is a high chance you won’t be able to sleep.

Five – Eat right

Sleep deprivation increases cravings for sugary or fatty foods, thereby weight increases and sleep quality reduces. Choose slow energy release, fibre rich foods.

Six – Drink better

Moderate your coffee or alcohol intake. You may fall asleep quickly after drinking a bottle or two of wine as it works as a sedative slowing your brain. However, don’t be lulled into thinking this is a solution, as it will disrupt your quality and quantity of sleep you get and it can cause apnoea.

Seven – Don’t get social

Keep your bedroom for sleep. Catch up with your friends, social media and TV at a better time.

Eight – Relaxation techniques

Use relaxation, mindfulness, deep breathing exercises for sleep.

Nine – Create a sanctuary

Get rid of clutter and choose a calming colour scheme. Set your room temperature to about 18 degrees Celsius (65 degree F). Your body cools about 2 hours before going to sleep, this is when melatonin, the sleep hormone, releases. It reaches its lowest point in the early morning and then gradually warms up as we head towards the morning.

Ten – Get outside

Get as much fresh air as often as you can to improve your sleep. It will also reduce stress and improve wellbeing.

Five ways to manage your mental health

Staying positive is often easier said than done, especially as the summer draws to an end and days get shorter and colder. Scientific evidence now supports the idea that the winter blues do exist. There are some simple steps to help keep your mental wellbeing in check.

One – Is your mind too full?

Life is busier than ever. Mindfulness encourages you to consider your thoughts and feelings. It reconnects your body with the sensations it experiences and helps you to become more aware of signs of stress.

TOP TIP: You do have time – take a 15 minute lunch break away from your work!

Two – Keep moving

Pilates and yoga offer low impact and low intensity exercise to improve stability and flexibility. Pilates also builds strength. If you don’t like exercise try ultra-short bursts of HIIT (high intensity interval training) as it increases aerobic fitness and strength and reduces body fat to help you stay healthy. There are exercise regimes to suit everyone and it’s great for clearing the mind.

Three – Pamper yourself

A study has shown that in the UK we spend more time per week in our main jobs than most other European countries. That’s less family and you time. Set aside a few hours each week to pamper yourself – a massage, a beauty treatment, session at the gym, art class or reading.

Four – Take control, get organised

Taking control is empowering therefore if your life is busy get organised. List jobs you have to do, want to do and the ones that someone else can do. Prioritise the important ones and leave the non-urgent not important ones! Create a family calendar to include the jobs, activities and meal plan. Allocate the jobs and give yourself time.

Five – Face your fears

Anxiety is normal and can even bring benefits. Seek help from your GP if your physical or thought-related responses like concentration and sleep, heart palpitations or fear are having a major impact on your life. Panic
or post-traumatic stress disorder, phobia or anxiety all need the right diagnosis to get the right help.

TOP TIP: “I learned that my sadness never destroyed what was great about me… go back to that greatness, find that one little light that’s left.” – Lady Gaga

Managing Your Mental Health

One in six of the adult population in England has a mental health problem.

Attitudes towards mental health are changing thanks to campaigns like Time to Change led by MIND and Rethink. If you need help:

Live well – Keeping active has shown to have huge benefits on mental health. Avoid the sugary foods, go for fresh fruit and veg. Give up smoking if you can and reduce your alcohol intake.

Self-help Choices

Reading well – Books, on prescription or through your local library.

Computer based Mental Health Apps – See NHS apps library.

Talking treatments

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – Teaches coping strategies for dealing with problems.

Counselling – Opportunity to talk about your feelings and emotions to help you to get a better understanding and find solutions.

Psychotherapy – To help you to become aware of hidden meanings or patterns in what you do or say that may be contributing to your problems.

Relaxation Therapy – To learn to relax in stressful situations.

SUPPORT GROUPS

Aylesbury Vale & Milton Keynes Sexual Assault & Abuse Support Service (AVMK SAASS) – For rape or sexual abuse – 01296 392468avrc.org.uk

Cruse Northamptonshire07772 428532 Mon-Fri 9am-5pm – cruse.org.uk

Milton Keynes Bereavement Service07483 308032bereavementservicemk.org.uk

Milton Keynes Relate Centre – Relationship, family, young people, sex therapy counselling. 47 Aylesbury Street, MK12 5HX. 01908 310 010relatemk.org

Mind – Counselling, peer support, mentoring, and BBO support into employment – Mind BLMK0300 330 0648mind-blmk.org.uk

Mind Northampton – Urgent calls – 01604 634310northamptonmind.org.uk

NHS emergency healthcare111

Samaritans – Free any time – 116 123

Rethink01908 585085rethink.org

Victim Support – Victims and witnesses of crime victimsupport.org.uk