There are many things that contribute to our general health and well being, everything from diet and exercise to stress at home and at work. It is not always an easy balance to strike either, watching what we eat, making sure we find time to go to the gym all have to be fitted in around home and work life.

When it comes to diet you are warned against certain fats and foods and clearly the quantity, so many portions of this and so many of that. There are also many different ideas as to what constitutes a proper portion, no one has the time to weigh out the runner beans before serving them for dinner with five seated at the table. There is quite a simple way to be near the correct values without the process turning into a soap opera and that is to use a simple measuring device that we have with us all the time….. our fist. It is not the most accurate way but as a rule of thumb, your fist as a portion would mean for example that an apple the size of your fist is, one portion of fruit. A fist sized dollop of mash is one portion and so on. The best bit being is that as you or your children grow, so does the fist measure meaning as your daily requirement increase so does your portion size. Clearly what you eat is as important as ever, so reducing fats and sugars of the less beneficial varieties is still to be taken seriously you at least do now have a guide to work with and clearly before embarking on a diet or exercise program of any description it would be well to seek the help of a professional before you start.

Stress these days can be an awful burden for many people at different times in their lives and is the cause of a lot of time off work. Some people lose friends, family and even their job because of the effects of stress if they are not recognised early enough. Many companies now offer access to counsellors and professionals to assist. One of the most difficult things to do is to admit that you may even be suffering from stress or anxiety, symptoms are not clear, there are rarely things like rashes or pimples to tip you off, although this may happen. It’s more about being honest and when people start to ask you on a regular basis if you are alright, or you get cross at things that you would normally ignore. It may be that they are seeing the signs you are not and it is again one of those things we ignore at our peril. In these times of economic woe it is all too easy to ignore the fact that we are feeling under pressure because of worries about our futures and incomes. Whether or not we will be able to provide for our dependents, these are things that, on a subconscious level we worry about, it’s the worrying that will harm us in the end and to tackle or face those feelings head on is a challenge indeed. It is something we should all be aware of no matter what our situation is, not only for us but for those around us. Again there is a lot of help available through your GP or other professionals and it can be of benefit to us in the long term to keep ourselves in check

Finally exercise, it does not have to be pounding the pavements wearing out training shoes, it can be as simple as simple as walking to get the morning paper rather than have it delivered. Use a local shop for things like milk and bread using it as an excuse to walk somewhere rather than drive the car. If you do pay a little extra for the goods it may be cheaper that the trainers and membership of a gym or spa.

Clearly if you can make use of a gym or health club, so much the better, simple changes to our lifestyles can have far reaching changes including benefits to us personally and even to the environment, if we use less fuel. Taking the dog for a walk with our partners and children or just going for a walk can be pleasurable and beneficial. If you can include a purpose for the exercise so much the better or just making it a regular thing to do with family or friends can increase your level of activity without you even noticing.