Is constipation making your child miserable?

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Is constipation making your child miserable?

Every parent goes through That Phase. The one where your child, no matter what you try, seems to struggle to poo. It’s estimated up to one in three children in the UK has constipation. at any one time, thanks to illness, poor diet, fear of using the toilet, and poor toilet training.

It comes as no surprise that constipation can make little ones miserable. Younger children experiencing constipation may not fully understand why they are in discomfort or pain. This can lead to them becoming grumpy, having trouble sleeping, and struggling to explain why they are feeling uncomfortable. A recent poll of over 1,000 parents for Docusol Paediatric found that two-thirds of parents (66%) report their child getting grumpy when constipated, leaving half (50%) of parents feeling helpless and unsure of what to do. So, what can we do to help our kids feel more comfortable and have more regular bowel movements?


Is it common for children to be constipated?

Pharmacist Sultan Dajani, advisor to Docusol Paediatric, commented, “We assume that emptying our bowels should just happen as a normal bodily function; an instinct. Right? We don’t have to teach newborn babies how to empty their bowels – they just do it. Yet, constipation in children is incredibly common.

“It’s estimated that around one in every seven adults and up to one in every three children in the UK has constipation at any one time. Three-quarters of parents polled say their child has had constipation at some point. Almost four in 10 (39%) of parents say their child has experienced constipation two to three times in the last year, while more than a quarter (28%) say it’s happened seven times or more. The knock-on psychological and emotional effects are often underappreciated.”

So, why is it so common for children to be constipated, how can we recognise the signs, and what can we do to help?

Why do children get constipated?

Children can become constipated for a wide variety of reasons. Common causes can include:

  • Being early on in the toilet training process (which can mean: children ignore, resist, or don’t recognise the urge to use the toilet; feels pressured; or may be interrupted when trying to go).
  • Changes in diet. This can include when weaning, trying new foods, going through a ‘fussy eating’ stage, or starting at a new school or nursery.
  • Not eating enough high-fibre foods (including fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals or breads).
  • Routine or big life changes, such as starting at nursery, reception, or a new school; moving house, or having a new sibling, can cause feelings of anxiety, worry, or stress, which can lead to constipation.
  • Not drinking enough fluids (which can lead to dehydration).

When children get constipated, they can find it painful to poo. This can lead to them trying not to poo or ‘holding it in’, which c

The six pillars of healthy work-life balance

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Good work-life balance can sometimes feel elusive and unattainable, so we’re breaking it down into its six key pillars

The six pillars of healthy work-life balance

Poor work-life balance can snatch life’s joyous moments away from us, and be detrimental to our mental health and wellbeing. But levelling it out isn’t usually straightforward. Here, with the help of Dr Kirstie Fleetwood Meade, we’ve identified six key pillars of work-life balance on which to lay your new foundation.

Your ‘why’

It’s pretty impossible to set off on any journey if you don’t know where you’re heading, which is why working out what you’re seeking should be your first step.

“Spend some time visualising what an ‘ideal’ work-life balance would look like to you,” Dr Fleetwood Meade says. “It may be that this visualisation seems really out of reach right now. If it currently feels like it’s a three out of 10 in terms of how aligned you are with this ideal, how could you nudge it up to a four? Focusing on the little steps can make this seem more achievable.

“Next, ask yourself why it’s important to you. If it’s to feel less stressed, why? Does it allow you to be more present with your family? The clearer you are in your ‘why’, the easier it will be to say ‘yes’ to the things that lead you closer to it and ‘no’ to the things that don’t.”

Your values and priorities

Once you’ve explored your ‘why’, Dr Fleetwood Meade recommends shifting your focus to your key values. These are the beliefs that help guide us to live a life that is meaningful to us, she explains.

“Being crystal clear on your values makes decision-making around work-life balance easier,” she continues. “Some example values are: adventure, curiosity, power, fitness, freedom, fun, compassion, self-development, connection, love, equality – but there are many, many more.”

What role do your values currently play in your life, and what would a better work-life balance do for your values?

Your barriers or derailers

“Changing habits, making decisions, and saying no can all be emotionally draining,” Dr Fleetwood Meade says. “Which makes it all the more important to be able to pre-empt your likely ‘derailers’ – the things that will throw your work-life balance off track, or get in the way.”

Spend some time thinking about what exactly these might be for you, and consider how you can address them, plan for them, and get support with them.

Your worth and your infallibility

“It’s so important to look after ourselves just as well as we look after others, but if that’s challenging for you, I often reference the classic ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’,” Dr Fleetwood Meade says. “In my therapy work, I’m also a big fan of the idea of the ‘both/and’ – the idea that two things that may seem opposing can actually be true at the same time. Often we get sucked into black-and-white thinking – e.g. if I am the best colleague I can be, that means I need to be always ‘on

Could a change of air really be the key to better wellbeing?

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A wellbeing ritual favoured by the Victorians might just be the answer to our 21st-century ‘nervous ailments’...

Could a change of air really be the key to better wellbeing?

I daydream, sometimes, about the sea. It’s not far from my house, but always feels like it’s somewhere foreign and exhilarating whenever I act on the urge to hear the waves crashing. Just being able to see the horizon, and take in the shifting shades of blue, grey, and green, brings me a calmness. It restores me, even if for just a few moments before the children’s demands for ice cream, chips, or a toilet visit bring me back to reality.

A close friend and I donned every layer we owned and wrapped our young daughters up to collect pebbles on the beach all through last winter. We couldn’t feel our noses or toes in the bitter, salty air, but we breathed it in and came back to our cars with burning cheeks, tired babies, and soaring souls. School and work have kicked in now, and so our trips are sporadic. But we reminisce and talk about why we needed it at that time. As my friend said: “I wanted to be witness to something that was bigger than me – the sea – and to gain perspective after an overwhelming period of our lives.”

The restorative virtues of the seaside have been praised for years, even before the mid-1800s when the first trains trundled from smoky London to the open horizons and pebbly beaches at Brighton. It was a whole century before this that the concept of moving from one place to another for your health had started gaining traction in Europe, where a ‘change of air’ was prescribed for patients suffering from ‘nervous ailments’.

By the Victorian era, the idea was widely accepted, and different locations gained favour for the treatment of different illnesses. These were both physical and mental maladies, including the illnesses collectively called consumption, of which tuberculosis was one of the most deadly. Trips to the Alps, though, for its clean, crisp air would only have been possible for the wealthy few.

There were, however, people trying to open up green spaces for everyone, as understanding deepened about the spread of diseases. Helen Antrobus is the assistant national curator for cultural landscapes at the National Trust. She explains: “It was generally understood that coal and smoke-filled air could be damaging to the lungs, and in the mid-19th century the belief that water-borne diseases, like cholera, were air-borne still prevailed. You can understand, then, why accessing clean air was so important. For the rich, accessing new climates abroad for health benefits was easily attainable, but not so much for those working and living in dire conditions.”

Could a change of air really be the key to better wellbeing?

The Public Parks movement – which regulated holidays for workers and cheap railways – as well as the work of Octavia Hill and the other co-founders of the National Trust, gave people access to green spaces, both nearby and beyond. Helen adds that Octavia Hill advocated for pockets of green space, playgrounds for her tenants, and outdoor ‘living rooms’ for the urban poor.

This was a time when factories belched pollution above cramped, cobbled streets, and so a ‘change of air’ for the majority meant seeking out

5 effective ways to navigate unwanted diet and nutrition advice

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Unwanted, and unhelpful, advice can range from irritating to triggering, so we’ve gathered together some tips to help you handle it

5 effective ways to navigate unwanted diet and nutrition advice

Have you ever noticed how often people offer unsolicited diet and nutrition advice?

At work, celebrating a birthday with cake? Someone chimes in with their thoughts on the matter. Let someone know you’re feeling tired? Before you know it, they’ve given you a list of supplements as long as your arm. You didn’t ask, and yet, here they are, telling you anyway.

As a nutrition counsellor, exploring these situations is a regular occurrence for me in the clinic. I work predominantly with individuals restoring their relationship to food, their body, and themselves. Navigating these kinds of situations can be a minefield, especially when you are moving away from diet culture, and restoring your relationship with food. There’s no perfect way to respond, but the following are a few tips on how to navigate it...

Silence is powerful

Responding, or even engaging in conversations about food and nutrition, can feel draining at times – especially if you are navigating your own relationship with food. Even if you want to respond, sometimes, silence can be the most powerful tool you can use.

For some people, diet culture is so deeply entrenched, that regardless of what you say, it’s not going to change their mind. Opting for silence can indicate your disinterest in them, allowing you to save your energy for more important things in your life.

Them: I’ve heard we should all be making sandwiches out of lettuce leaves!

You: Stares into the distance and thinks about the cute cat you saw on the way to work this morning.

Make your response a neutral one

This is a great tool for situations when your mind is racing, and you don’t know what to say. Or when you’re trying to think of an apt comeback that you’ll look back on with reverence, but can’t quite find the words. Go for the most neutral thing you can think of, I like a simple ‘OK’, or ‘Mmhmm’. I think of this like sending the thumbs-up emoji – a very simple way of expressing ‘I’ve heard you, but this is the end of this conversation!’

Tell them what you really think

You may have to pick your audience here, but – if you’re feeling bold – you can try telling them what you think of their comment. Diet and nutrition advice is so sneaky that there is a silent, but a very present, expectation of how you will respond. Telling someone directly you don’t like what they’ve said can disrupt the flow, and turn that expectation on its head. This can be a very clear way of indicating how little interest you have in any nutrition or diet advice.

Try: ‘Thank you, but I wasn’t asking for advice.’

Lay down a boundary

Boundaries – an oldie, but a goodie. A boundary is a very clear line drawn in the sand that tells someone what you need. How you set down your boundary may depend on who is saying it, what context you’re in, and how often this topic has come up. It may be something which needs to be reiterated and rephrased to effectively comm

Kassandra Reinhardt: Yoga, YouTube and community

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Kassandra Reinhardt: Yoga, YouTube and community

Whether you’re a regular yogi or are just starting out, it’s likely you’ll be familiar with Kassandra Reinhardt - or at least her YouTube channel, Yoga with Kassandra.

As one of the first instructors to embrace online teaching, Kassandra is on a mission to help others feel great through yoga, and with over 230 million views, it’s clear the bitesize, accessible approach is resonating. So what’s next for Kassandra and her +2 million community?

Hi Kassandra, when did your yoga journey begin?

I started yoga at 18 years old without knowing much about it. I grew up doing ballet and always struggled with my flexibility, so a friend suggested I try yoga. I took a few drop-in classes here and there, and eventually found a teacher and a style that I really resonated with. I liked how yoga placed no emphasis on the way I looked, and instead focused on mindfulness and personal growth. I ended up leaving the world of dance and completely immersing myself in yoga.

Once I understood the richness of this spiritual practice, I knew I wanted to dive deeper and learn more. After a few years of practicing, I took my first teacher training and haven’t looked back since.

Remember that this is a practice about embracing the journey, there is no destination

Tell us more about your bitesize approach to yoga

I’ve always believed that doing a little bit of yoga every day is more powerful and effective than doing a one-hour session once a week. Longer sessions on the mat are really wonderful, but not always realistic to fit into people’s daily lives, so I wanted to give students permission to embrace a “less is more” philosophy.

Our yoga practice is so much more than poses we do on our yoga mat, it’s also in the way we treat ourselves and others, and how we show up in the world.

By spending a little bit of time every day moving mindfully with our breath, we can remind ourselves of what matters and come back to our center.

Can anyone practice yoga?

In the west, we’ve come to think of yoga as a strictly physical practice, but it also encompasses breathwork, meditation, ethics and philosophy. If you can breathe, you can do yoga!

If movement isn’t accessible for people for any reason, practicing pranayama or breath control is an excellent place to start, as is meditation. For those interested in asana or yoga poses as a beginner, I always recommend starting off slow.

We’re lucky to live in a day and age where so much is accessible to us for free on the internet, so I’m confident that there’s an online yoga class out there for everyone. Search for ‘beginner-friendly yoga classes’ and remember that this is a practice about embracing the journey, there is no destination.

Props are a great way to make yoga poses more accessible, but beginners practicing at home often don’t have any. Instead, you can substitute traditional props like blocks, bolsters and straps with household items such as thick books, dense cushions and blankets and belts.

I liked how yoga placed no emphasis on the way I
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