Wellbeing Wednesday Monthly Edition

Wednesday 9th November 2022

Jane Fowler – Head of Customer Support Services

Hello everyone and welcome to the first of our monthly Wellbeing Wednesdays. And it is Movember again – the time that lots of people grow a moustache to raise awareness of men’s health issues. It would be great to see any photos you have of splendid moustaches! All in a great cause.

We also have information about alcohol awareness month.  Quite a few people I’ve been talking to have decided that they’ll have a ‘no drinking’ month in November – I’m thinking I’ll give it a go for the rest of the month.

And there are lots of really positive things you can do for your winter wellbeing.  Connecting with people is a great one – in person if you can – and combine it with getting outside for a walk. Rain or shine, there is lots of evidence that natural light, even at low levels, has a really positive impact on our brains and our wellbeing.

We also have information about how, as your employer, we can support you with money management issues. Sharing your worries and getting help is the biggest step you can take to taking back control of your finances.

And finally, we have information on diabetes awareness for you.

I hope you find today’s bulletin useful – please do keep in touch about any issues you would like to see covered – or any suggestions about how we provide you with wellbeing information.

I see a glimmer of blue sky, so I’m off for a quick lunchtime walk!

See you in December. 

Movember

Movember is an annual event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide.

You can take part by growing a moustache for the month, or by getting friends, family and colleagues to donate to your effort and help raise awareness. Movember seeks to help men to take action to live happier, healthier, longer lives and by investing in the critical areas affecting men’s health.

Movember has created a movement of over 5 million supporters across the world, funding more than 1,200 innovative men’s health projects across more than 20 countries and raising more than £400 million for men’s health issues.

Why support Movember?  Well, did you know that:

  • men’s life expectancy is 3.7 years less than females 
  • men go to the doctor less often than women, so illnesses may not be diagnosed 
  • one man in five dies before the age of 65.
  • men are three times more likely to die from suicide, than women.  

Alcohol Awareness Week

Alcohol Awareness Week takes place this year between the 11th and the 16th of November and it is hoped that this year’s events will inspire ever more people to rethink their alcohol consumption and lead a healthier, happier life as a result.

Some facts and figures about alcohol:  

  • 24% of adults in England and Scotland regularly drink over the Chief Medical Officer’s low-risk guidelines, and 27% of drinkers in Great Britain binge drink on their heaviest drinking days (over 8 units for men and over 6 units for women).
  • In the UK, data shows that in 2020 there were 8,974 alcohol-specific deaths (around 14 per 100,000 people). This is an 18.6% increase in deaths from 2019.
  • Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK, and the fifth-biggest risk factor across all ages.
  • Alcohol is a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions, including: mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast cancers; high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver; and depression.
  • In Scotland in 2019/20, there were around 35,781 alcohol-related hospital admissions.
  • In 2020, in the UK, the alcohol-specific death rate was 14 per 100,000 people, an 18.6% increase compared with 2019 and the highest increase since the records began. This figure was significantly higher in Scotland, where the alcohol-specific death rate was 21.5 per 100,000 population. Ref. Alcohol statistics | Alcohol Change UK

If you are worried about your drinking or even just curious, take this drinking quiz to see if it’s likely to be affecting your health.  You’ll be asked a few simple questions about your drinking habits, like how often you drink and how many units you consume in an average week. 

If you need to seek help for your drinking, your GP is your first port of call for alcohol problems. They will be able to provide confidential advice and refer you for extra support.

You can also find more information from:

Winter Wellbeing

Look after your mental health, especially at this time of year.

It’s ok if you’re finding the winter months, and the idea of Christmas and the holidays hard, especially with the difficult year we have all faced.

While we can’t control many of the challenges around us, there are still things you can do to protect your mental health and wellbeing. Check out one of the resources below, or to talk to someone about mental health and where to get support, contact the SAMH Information Service.

Stay connected

Staying connected may seem easy with social media and new technology, but some ways of connecting are better than others. While a simple text can make a difference to someone who is struggling as it lets them know you’re thinking about them, reaching out in other ways can be better. Try to make it a phone or video call rather than email or text or meet up with that friend you haven’t seen in a while if it’s safe to do so. You’ll share a lot more than you would over social media and talking can be a good way to tackle a problem you’ve been carrying around.

And if you know someone who might be lonely or on their own over Christmas, why not spend some time with them?   

Try to stay active

The shorter days, colder weather and darker nights can put many of us getting outside as much. You also may find that you’re not able to do some of the things you used to due to the pandemic. But finding ways to exercise and get outside can help protect your mental wellbeing. Why not take up an online exercise class, or go out on a daily walk during your lunch break?

Take Notice

With so much going on it is important we appreciate what’s happening now, and not dwell on the past or worry about the future. Why not put a mindfulness book on your Christmas list? It can be a great way to de-stress and train our brain to be in the moment.

Learn

Learning can be fun, and also increase our confidence, so take time out to read a book, learn how to use a new gadget or take up a new hobby.

Give

It feels rewarding to give so why not use some of your time off to volunteer for a cause you feel passionate about. It’s been proven that an act of kindness boosts your mood and increases your wellbeing.

Find out more at SAMH

Worrying About Money? Help and Support is Available

In the lead up to Christmas it is not unusual for many of us to be worried about money, but this year we have experienced additional pressures due to escalating food and energy prices and economic uncertainty.

We featured some money saving tips recently, but the leaflet below focuses on a wide range of resources available to those in Argyll and Bute who may be particularly worried about money at the current time.  

You can also contact Argyll and Bute Council free and confidential welfare rights and money advice on 01546 604 176 or visit:  https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/council-tax-and-benefits/money-advice

World Diabetes Day 14th November

The theme for this year’s World Diabetes Day is #RewriteTheStory.  Being diagnosed early is so important for all types of diabetes. It can save lives, prevent a medical emergency, and reduce the risk of life-changing complications later. That’s why Diabetes UK wants to make sure everyone knows the signs to look out for – and knows their risk of developing type 2

Someone is diagnosed with diabetes every two minutes.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

  • Toilet – going for a wee more often, especially at night.  
  • Thirsty – being constantly thirsty and not being able to quench it. 
  • Tired – being incredibly tired and having no energy. 
  • Thinner – losing weight without trying to, or looking thinner than usual. 

The 4Ts are the most common symptoms of type 1 diabetes, but there are other signs to look out for too including genital itching or thrush, cuts and wounds that take longer to heal, and blurry eyesight.

These can all be signs of type 2 diabetes too. Watch the symptoms of diabetes video to find out more and book an appointment with your GP if you have any of the symptoms above.

If type 1 diabetes is left undiagnosed, it can make you really ill, really quickly.

Preventing type 2 diabetes

There’s currently nothing we can do to prevent type 1 diabetes, but researchers are working hard to understand the immune response and what triggers it. 

We do know research has consistently shown that for some people, combined lifestyle interventions – including diet, physical activity and sustained weight loss – can be effective in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 50%.

World Diabetes Day 2022 | Diabetes UK

World Diabetes Day | Access to Diabetes Care: If Not Now, When?

As always, please let us know your thoughts and ideas about the items featured in our Wellbeing Wednesdays each week and send us your suggestions for future topics – we love to hear from you wellbeing@argyll-bute.gov.uk