AND MENTAL WELL-BEING
teacher, you have to look after yourself, and especially your health, both physical and mental. Always avoid lifting or shifting heavy furniture, or any other such items. That is someone else’s
job. Find out who that person is as soon as possible at the beginning of the school year, and introduce yourself to him or her.
A teacher CANNOT have a bad back!
infections are inevitable ~ you shall be picking up all the new common cold viruses, all year, as brought to school by the students and other staff. Make sure you eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, drink lots of water, including
especially foods that boost your immune system (see Section below).
DEHYDRATION can slow mucus production, which makes it harder to clear viruses. This happens more in Summer and also in hot, airless, classrooms in the colder months. Sip
plenty of water throughout the day. Check with the School Rules to ascertain if your students are allowed to drink water from unspillable bottles or cups during class.
WASH your hands regularly and properly. Most colds
are passed on when you touch the hand of an infected person, or a surface contaminated with the cold virus, and then touch your eyes or nose, transmitting the infection to yourself. Therefore, if you wash your hands regularly and
thoroughly throughout the day, you cut your risk of infecting yourself. Please reinforce the 'hand washing' message with students, and EXPLAIN the benefits.
SLEEP ~ Getting
eight to nine hours sustained sleep a night helps maintain your immune system and prevents you catching a cold. But it’s not just going to bed on time that counts; you need good quality, sustained,
sleep. Please see my Post on Beware the Light!! and the deleterious effects of late night and / or long-term use of electronic devices emitting the blue-violet light spectrum ~ televisions, laptops,
iPads, Kindles, Tablets, mobile phones, no matter how small the screen.
The evidence is mounting on the lack of attainment and failure to achieve expected results for students, and everyone in the workplace.
Please tell your students WHY they need nine
to ten hours sustained sleep nightly.
[For your older students, I have developed a Post, "Student! Help's Here" (the title on this website's Menu). This gives all the self-care advice contained in this Post, plus some extra information,
aimed at the needs of teenagers, older Students, and slightly younger students. I hope you find it helps reduce the time you need to spend on factual information.]
For your young Students, let them know they grow during sleep, and their bones continue to develop. It is understood that 90 per cent of bone growth takes place at night. Nine to ten hours of good quality, sustained, sleep give a child, youngster, and teenager adequate rest.
The human growth hormone is released during this time, resulting in growth spurts. Sleep is essential for the body to rest, and adequate rest means better physical growth. Youngsters
would be fascinated to know how much they grow in their sleep ~ SUGGEST to your students that they need to take control of their sleep, as surely they want to grow as much as possible.
also essential for physical recuperation, the development of the immune system, brain development, learning, memory, and information processing, as well as many other systems of the brain and the body.
The older your students, the more they may be interested in the science
of sleep, and it could make an interesting Project-Based Learning (PBL) undertaking, with different sections of the class dealing with discrete elements of the benefits of
However, even young children would be well able to understand the link between nine to ten hours sleep and growing. Young children might take on various types of projects on the
subject, including the science of sleep; sleep diaries / stories including comments on how the quality of sleep affected the quality of the following day ~ including sports, study, remembering, concentrating;
create collages, paintings or drawings of dreams they remember, either new or old.
in the diet is essential to help gain and maintain good quality sleep. If you have difficulties getting to sleep and staying asleep, you may wish to consider taking a Magnesium supplement. Please discuss this
with your GP. There are high potency, much improved uptake Magnesium supplements, which are of great benefit to those of us who have difficulty absorbing Magnesium from our normal diet. Some people CANNOT absorb Magnesium from their food. Epsom salts baths may be helpful for some.
STAYING ACTIVE can help protect you from cold bugs. Aim for 30 minutes daily of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, to keep
your immune system ticking over. There is new evidence that 30 minutes brisk walking daily has great general health benefits. Such daily walking regularly from today, and into older years, is one of the
best shields against dementia! (www.getirelandactive.ie / www.irishtrails.ie)
As the school year continues to progress, self-care becomes even more important,
because the examination and / or assessment requirements are building. TRY NOT TO SLIP from your daily habits of good food, lots of water, plenty of sleep, and a reasonable exercise regime ~ you're not trying out for the Olympics!
CONSIDER having an annual
Influenza Vaccination. I know some people disapprove of this. However, you are not just considering your own health, you have to consider your wider family, including older people, pregnant women, and
members who may be frail, and who would find fighting influenza problematical, plus your colleagues and students. Antibiotics are useless against influenza or any viral infection. Visit hse.ie/antibiotics for further information on when antibiotics may be required, and when they have no benefit.
The GERMAN MEASLES (Rubella) virus is making an alarming come-back in Western Europe, and is endemic in parts of Eastern Europe.
According to a special report, "Should we be worried about measles?", dated Thursday 16 November 2017, on 'Prime
Time' the flagship current affairs programme of RTE, Ireland's national broadcaster, "the World Health Organisation warned cases in Europe have jumped by up to 50% in the first five months of the year due to low uptake
of the vaccination".
There is a requirement of 95% vaccination cover to give a 'herd immunity' which
is required to stop the disease from spreading.
Service Executive (HSE), which is the National body in Ireland governing the Country's health care, has an Integrated Care Group for Children, and Dr Kevin Kelleher is on its Steering Group, and is also Assistant National Director for Public and Child
Health. Dr Kelleher was interviewed on the subject of outbreaks in parts of North Dublin and an adjacent County. He reported the outbreaks are because around 8% of babies
nationally do not get the vaccination, and 13-15% of babies are not vaccinated in North Dublin.
There is no reason to think this profile is not replicated all over the 'Developed World'.
Measles had previously been almost completely irradicated in the 'Developed World' according to the programme.
Dr Kelleher was asked why there was not full uptake of the vaccination (it is free in Ireland), he said that there is "a very stubborn group of people
who are very anti-vaccination" and "who put out stories" via the internet, media, social media, which put people off having their children vaccinated.
People who do not have their babies vaccinated at 12 months as part of the MMR, and the booster vaccination when they start school, are not just risking the health
and possibly the life of their babies, but they risk the health and welfare of all who come in contact with their babies and children.
Dr Kelleher told of of his experience of treating babies with measles when he was a young docctor, and ended by stating the following vehemently.
"Let nobody ever think measles is a mild disease. IT IS NOT."
He mentioned the group of people in the population who have not been vaccccinated, especially in the "nadir" years 2001 / 2002.
Do you know for certain if you were vaccinated as a child? The age group
of approximately 40-35 years and younger, is more likely NOT to have been vaccinated due to an unsubstantiated scare over the three-in-one vaccination causing autism, during that period. The MMR vaccine
(Measles, Mumps, Rubella), can be TAKEN AT ANY AGE if a GP immunity test shows you have no immunity. (Visit www.immunisation.ie / www.hspc.ie).
The 6-in-1 vaccine protects a baby against six diseases:
diphtheria; hepatitis B; haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib); polio; tetanus and whooping cough. Visit the above mentioned links for further information.
digest of the Study
"Common Arguments Against Vaccination, And The Answers to Them"
by Dr Ramesh Manocha, can be found in the
last Section of this Post.
Of course, your health is very important,
but so is that of your students, colleagues, family, older or frail people in your life, most especially pregnant women, and any women you know who may be planning a pregnancy. Catching RUBELLA in early pregnancy carries
a risk of miscarriage. Nine out of ten babies WILL HAVE major birth defects such as deafness, blindness, brain damage, or heart disease.
The first signs of German Measles are a high temperature and a sniffy
nose ~ just like the common cold. In fact, some have no symptoms at all. By the time the telltale red splodges appear, two to three days in, you have already infected others. Proximity
is enough to infect another, so being in the same room is sufficient to pick up or spread the infection. If you feel you have the sniffles, do not go out.
PLEASE visit your GP to
discuss this and other matters that affect teachers in particular. Please take time to visit www.immunisation.ie for
further very important information on immunisation in general.
Pregnant women may need to learn about getting the WHOOPING COUGH (pertussis) vaccination while pregnant to protect the foetus in the womb and during the first few months of life. PERTUSSIS is a highly contagious disease that can be life threatening and is most serious in children less than six months of age ~ possibly resulting in hospitalisation for pneumonia and brain damage. PLEASE see your GP if you are pregnant, hoping to be pregnant, or working in an environment with women of child bearing years, or their partners, for theIr sake and for your own.
PLEASE MEET YOUR GP FOR ADVICE ON DECISIONS REGARDING VACCINATIONS, IMMUNISATIONS,
AND ANY POSSIBLY REQUIRED SUPPLEMENTS TO YOUR DIET.
DUTY OF CARE REGARDING VACCINATIONS
Having considering the matter of vaccination and the possible consequences of contracting
any of the illnesses contained by the MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), plus the duty of care any school or educational establishment has to its employees and students, I have come to believe it is reasonable for an interview board to ask any potential
employee, at interview, if he or she knows if he or she had the MMR vaccine.
Some people do not know if they had this three-in-one vaccine at a very young age, but a GP immunity test can show if a person has no immunity. If a potential employee does not know if he
or she has been vaccinated, or knows he or she is not vaccinated, I believe it is the duty of a educational establishment to indicate they WILL EMPLOY STAFF who have been vaccinated with the MMR vaccine. An adult can have the vaccine from a GP very easily.
Whatever is the personal choice of someone regarding
having or not having the MMR vaccine, I believe the COMMON WELFARE of all the staff and students, and their families, in a early education school / Montessori / kindergarten, junior and secondary school, college or university,
MUST OUTWEIGH a personal choice not to be checked for an immunity test, or not vaccinated, if shown not to have been vaccinated.
I consider no-one can reasonably expect to be employed in a place of work, particularly full of women of child-bearing years, plus female students, without having had the
MMR vaccine and, of course, their partners and offspring of male teachers. We each have a societal duty. This is just the front line of infection defence. The infection could easily be brought home
to the family by anyone working in or attending the educational establishment.
This personal view is not made with any Employment Laws or entitlements
AS A NEW TEACHER
You may feel, as a new teacher, that you have to volunteer for everything, to show you are enthusiastic and keen to be involved in the School life.
KEEP YOUR HAND DOWN! wait, and only volunteer for something you know you are good
at and enjoy, and that your efforts would be making a worthwhile contribution, plus attracting positive reactions from colleagues, school authorities, pupils, and parents.
You will spend considerably more time in research, preparation, lesson-planning, and checking homework, than the school hours allow. You will be roped into jobs in any case.
Do not rush to add to your workload!
STRESS IN GENERAL
Stress is VERY high on the list of teachers' illnesses. However, stress is frequently under-reported, as it is seen by many, FOOLISHLY,
as a weakness!
Please see the following links.
/ www.heartfulness.ie/Anxiety/Relaxation / https://www.extension.umn.edu/...stress/four-strategies-for-preventing-or-reducing-stress).
If your whole evening and every weekend end up being spent on grading or preparation, your job has run away with you, and you need to get back
in charge. Please see my Post, Beware the Light!! on how over-working with a computer screen, especially late in the evening, can harm your health, and effect negatively your sleep patterns.
I know teachers who have had complete nervous and physical breakdowns DUE TO THE STRESS of keeping up with grading homework, preparing new and interesting ways of getting across the
syllabus, and possibly studying to improve their own skills. IT CAN HAPPEN to anyone very fast, and it is a long and exhausting way back to health, when one has eventually realised and accepted the fact it HAS happened.
PLEASE GET HELP as soon as you feel under pressure; when sleep is becoming erratic; when your laundry regime has fallen apart; when your mealtimes become hit and miss; when your usual schedule for supermarket
shopping, collecting dry cleaning, and meeting friends, just do not happen any more; when you feel out of control ~ YOU NEED HELP IMMEDIATELY!
GETTING HELP immediately could be what saves your career. A likely outcome for a teacher who has a complete physical and nervous breakdown is early retirement.
Jenny Harvey's Survey on Mental Health Issues relating to Teachers in Scotland, February 2017
In a survey carried out in Scotland at the beginning of February 2017, by Jenny Harvey, a Fife special needs teacher (who was taken aback by the volume of responses – 778 at the last count), found nearly half of teachers are struggling with mental health issues.
[See the online TES article by Henry Hepburn for more information.]
NEARLY HALF of respondents to the poll on teacher well-being said their mental
health was POOR, fuelling fears that growing numbers are struggling to cope with the profession’s changing demands.
Experts are saying every school in Scotland should have a counsellor to help deal with teaching's unique demands.
A significant proportion also takes medication because of the job. The convener of a national mental health helpline
has said that the demands of teaching are so exceptional that a
counsellor should be stationed in every school.
Some 45 per cent said that their mental health was “poor” or “very poor”, and 15 per cent reported
taking medication because of the stresses of their work.
Harvey was surprised by some findings ~ such as almost every respondent felt the “heavy burden” of GUILT about the educational experience they offered
pupils. “We just want the best for our pupils and sometimes we feel more could be done for them,” she said. “There just aren’t enough hours in the day or resources that we need”.
I do not imagine Scotland is out of step, and that the teachers
there are under a significantly greater burden than teachers here, elsewhere in Europe, or further afield. I imagine the respondents to this survey found being able to be straightforward about their experience a relief.
IS THIS not a good time to ask some stark questions about the general
mental health status of our teachers, the levels of support they get to do their jobs, and if they have sufficient resources and assistance to ease their stress levels?
ALSO bear in mind, that if your students are sitting a State exam, or any important school exam, some may become very stressed. Prepare from the BEGINNING of the school year to reduce their stress levels by introducing them to the self-help information below with STRESS CHATS. Stressed students can add to a teacher's sense
If your School has a Counsellor, co-ordinate your Stress Chats with your students with him or her, so that he or she knows to expects extra appointments,
and request in good time quantities of leaflets beforehand, from the Counsellor, which you can pass around in the classroom, having read the contents yourself.
Then, put aside time to talk to your students about STRESS, impressing on them it is NOT shameful, that it IS manageable,
and TO TALK ABOUT IT. Let them know the School Counsellor is expecting applications for appointments.
Let your students know you are always there to listen, if they need to talk.
If you do not have a School Counsellor, try finding out what
up-to-date information might be in the School Library and the Staff Room, and also email a request to your Local Health Authority for sufficient leaflets on such topics
STRESS (www.aware.ie/10+ways+to+relieve+stress / www.heartfulness.ie/Anxiety/Relaxation / https://www.extension.umn.edu/...stress/four-strategies-for-preventing-or-reducing-stress);
USE OF STREET DRUGS (www.drugs.ie/Know-The-Facts / www.drugs.ie/resourcesfiles/guides/DealingWithDrugUse.pdf / https://drugfree.org/parent-blog/preventing-teen-using-drugs-persuasion/);
PREVENTING OR STOPPING SMOKING IN YOUNG PEOPLE (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4934164/ / www.facebook.com/HSEquit / www.quit.ie / www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/tween-and-teen.../in...smoking/art-20047069
YOUTH ALCOHOL USE (http://www.drinkaware.ie);
VACCINATIONS AND IMMUNISATIONS
HPV Vaccine - early teenage girl vaccination to prevent cervical cancer (www.hpv.ie / http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/vaccines/hpv-vaccine.html);
SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS (STIs) (www.healthpromotion.ie / www.hivireland.ie / www.healthinfo.ie / www.man2man.ie/pep9.html / http://www.hivireland.ie/hiv/testing/free-hiv-sti-testing-centre-locator/);
MENTAL HEALTH ADVICE FOR CHILDREN FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
(Teenage Mental Health - MyMind.org / www.mentalhealthireland.ie/teens/ / Adwww.mymind.org / Mental_Health);
HELP DETAILS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO CONTACT IN CONFIDENCE (Teenage Mental Health - MyMind.org / www.mentalhealthireland.ie/teens/
/ Adwww.mymind.org / Mental_Health / www.aware.ie/).
If you know the latest thinking on any subject, you will be more confident supporting your students.
Clearly, most of the the above sites are Irish, but they should give you basic information, and you could then go to your local Health Authority to obtain links and brochures relevant to where you live.
The following may help your students keep
a balance, and perhaps you would care to post it up on the classroom wall.
from an Article by Marie Louise McConville on Stress Coming up to Exam Time where anyone can see it. The School Counsellor may be pleased to have a copy.
12 May, 2017 01:00, The Irish News
[Ms McConville became very unwell due to
over-studying and becoming extremely stressed before important exams.]
"If you are about to sit exams these coming weeks, take a minute to remember that while results are important, they are not the be-all-and-end-all.
"Exams can be re-sat but we only have one chance at life and living it and enjoying it and really, without our health, what chance do we have?
"So, if you're about to enter that intimidating exam hall or about to hand in that all-important dissertation, take a deep breath and remember, your life will not be determined by this one exam or in this one moment.
"If you're feeling under pressure, it's important you talk to someone. You are not alone. Your family and friends love you and want what's best for you and will support
you no matter what and you will never disappoint them.
"They want you healthy and happy.
"Remember, it is true what they say, you're health really is your wealth.
Help in the classroom by doing some of the exercises in When Eveyone Needs to Calm Down! ~ is to be found at the end of this Post, and
also read through with the students the last section called WHEN ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
My Post, THE STUDENT TAKES THE LEAD DESIGNING WORK PLANS, helps students to calm down and get some structure to their late
evening activities, and plan their own work schedules. Also, use suggestions from the Care for Your General Health ... advice Sections above and below, from the beginning of the school year.
For the teacher's own sake, she should have her plans for the examination academic year prepared well in advance, so that the vital
work is covered by the students in the fashion that suits them best. Many teachers may have worked with the class the previous year, and so will know what style of studying works for each student.
Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a great way to engage learning of all
different modalities: visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, and tactile. Utilising PBL is an equitable way to reach and engage all learners
in your classroom, and provide them with hands-on, real life, problem solving opportunities.
IF SUCH prepared plans are not in place, the teacher can divide the class into the above groups, and get them to work together towards a single goal, for each element of
Taking care of yourself should optimally include the following
Some people require the addition of vitamins and other substances in
food supplements. They can be fairly inexpensive to very expensive and could make a difference, even starting today, to how you manage your resistance to infection, supporting energy and sleep levels, during the
pre-exam and exam seasons, any time of stress, or just as part of your regular regime.
If you are buying folic acid tablets, for example, buy Folic Acid BP ~ much cheaper than branded versions. Always ask for a
generic brand of any supplement or vitamin you choose to buy.
As with every product you buy, check
the contents to see what percentage of what you want is included, and what percentage is filler. See below for folic acid rich foods.
BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM & CARE FOR YOUR MIND &
GARLIC ~ Research
has found that people who eat fresh garlic are two-thirds less likely to catch a cold. This is because it contains allicin, which fights infection. Odour-free garlic products are available; I do not know
if they are equally beneficial. The potent sulphur compound in garlic, allicin, is responsible for the anti-inflammatory activity of this plant. You can increase the activity of
allicin by letting garlic sit for about 10 minutes after crushing or chopping it before adding to ingredients or heating it. Add the garlic towards the end of cooking to retain nutrients.
MUSHROOMS ~ Many modern medicines come from fungal extracts. Mushrooms contain Vitamin D, and
are great at combating viruses. They are also a handy source of Vitamin B12, an essential Vitamin which helps with mending cells and with eye care, especially in relation to the maintenance
of the essential eye mucous. Vitamin B12, other than in mushrooms, is difficult to source in food. Without sufficient Vitamin D your body’s T-cells
lie dormant, and these are what help fight infections.
Ordinary white button mushrooms, brown caps, large flats, or breakfast mushrooms, are all good sources of Vitamin B12. Don't imagine you need to spend a lot on special, expensive, mushrooms for your
Vitamin B12 requirements.
Mushrooms also have powerful bioactive
components that reduce inflammation. Try a stir-fried mushroom dish, and maybe include other mushroom varieties, such as maitake, enoki, and oyster mushrooms.
Recent research has shown the many health benefits of Maitake mushrooms, including their ability to boost the immune system. This is due to maitake’s beta glucan content. Beta glucane is a complex sugar that activates and increases the activity of the immune system
to help the body fight illness more quickly and efficiently. Studies show that beta glucan may also trigger cancer fighting cells, possibly making
chemotherapy more effective. In addition, maitake mushrooms have been SHOWN to decrease the negative side effects of anti-cancer drugs, including nausea, vomiting, and hair loss, when consumed during treatment.
Enoki mushrooms have
a somewhat sweet flavour, and are frequently used in soups and dishes like nabe and sukiyaki. Similar to the shitake mushroom, enoki mushrooms are low calorie, low fat, and sugar free. In addition,
like other mushrooms, enoki is high in B Vitamins; it’s particularly rich in niacin, which helps support adrenal functions and is necessary for metabolism. In a single cup serving,
enoki mushrooms offer 23% of the daily recommended value of niacin. This can help reduce the potential for heart disease and may be useful in preventing second heart attacks in those who are
Eryngii (King Oyster) mushroom is the largest species of the oyster mushrooms. It has a thick white stem and a meaty texture and can be thickly sliced and grilled like steak. Eryngii has naturally occurring antioxidants, including the amino acid ergothioneine, which protects the body’s cells against free radicals (harmful damaged cells), thus reducing the risk of chronic disease. Ergothioneine,
an antioxidant found in eryngii mushrooms, is not reduced by cooking. Eryngii also contain a disease fighting compound called Lovastatin,
which helps clear cholesterol from the body’s circulatory system, improving blood flow. They also contain significant amounts of zinc, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and folic acid.
They're an excellent source of the essential mineral selenium, and easier to absorb than the inorganic selenium typically found in dietary supplements.
GRAPES ~ Grapes have one of the highest antioxidant
levels of all fruit. These antioxidants are largely concentrated in the skin. Anti-inflammatory properties of grape skin have been demonstrated. Grapes have also shown to have anti-microbial, anti-cancer, and anti-allergic activity. Freeze them and use them in place of ice cubes. Add them to all your salads. Add them in the last few minutes of cooking to any sauce for sweet
bursts of flavour.
DILLISK ~ is a seaweed found widely
spread in the oceans of the world. The Dillisk I get comes from the West Coast of Ireland, and is about as pure as one could get. Dillisk contains astonishing high levels of B12, calcium, and
other vital trace elements. It is very beneficial in reducing inflamation. I go to Wild Atlantic Seagarden <email@example.com> for my information on the many benefits of the numerous, various, seaweeds.
CARE FOR YOUR EYES ~ Consider the length of time you will be reading texts and reading your screens,
your eyes need all the support they can get.
Please see my Post, Beware the Light!! for
further information on eye care.
CINNAMON ~ A generous sprinkle of cinnamon will help expel toxins from the body.
It is antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal: A TRIPLE SHIELD against illness. Some people cannot bear the taste of cinnamon,
so try adding a couple of spoonfuls regularly to curries or to robust, well-flavoured casseroles full of herbs and vegetables, or other strong tasting dishes.
FOLIC ACID ~ Spinach is rich in folic acid, a key ingredient for repairing cells, this SUPER-FOOD is also a great source of Potassium and Vitamin
C, which help keep you healthy.
Kale, and other
cruciferous vegetables should be consumed at least five times a week because they are rich in sulphoraphane, which helps eliminate harmful toxic
compounds in the body that might otherwise promote inflammation. Kale stands out among this stellar group, because it is one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet. Try kale in salads,
smoothies, soups, casseroles, and stews. Mix it into pasta dishes. Bake them in the oven to make kale chips. Also, incorporate other cruciferous (brassica oleracea) vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower,
and Brussels sprouts into your diet. These vegetables are related to each other and are all rich in folic acid.
The shorthand version is green leaf vegetables all include folic acid, including rocket and other salad leaves!
There is an increased risk of the foetus developing a serious birth defect, known as a neural tube defect, if the mother has a poor folic acid intake before and during pregnancy. The neural tube is a narrow channel that eventually forms the brain and spinal cord.
Examples of neural tube defects include:
Spina Bifida – where the baby's
spine does not develop properly;
Anencephaly – where a baby is born without parts of the
brain and skull;
Encephalocele – where a membrane or skin-covered sac containing part of the
brain pushes out of a hole in the skull.
go to the following site, from which I quoted above on neural tube defects, for further information on infertility due to a lack of folic acid in the diet and other matters.
~ Taking a high dose of Vitamin C could help shorten a cold if you take it at the first sign of symptoms. It could also cut your risk of the common cold in the first place. However,
a good diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables is an excellent source of all the vitamins and trace elements we require. Most vitamin supplements will not give
you the essential trace elements found in fresh fruit and vegetables or quickly frozen vegetables and fruit.
MAGNESIUM ~ Taking
Magnesium daily helps to regulate your sleep patterns and is helpful in keeping mental well-being in balance. Any time of stress can cause some people to lose control of their sleep regime, starting to worry,
and thus beginning a cycle of poor sleep. Consider starting a Magnesium supplement now and and it will help in the coming weeks and, indeed, years.
Prepared products containing mixes of various vitamins and supplements are usually expensive and do not contain sufficient
of any of the ingredients listed to have a specific effective impact. A judicious selection of the basics would be much less expensive, and have more impact.
BANANAS ~ Using bananas as your snack of choice while having a break during study, marking, teaching, gives you a supply of trace elements
not found in any other fruit or vegetable. They are very easy on the digestive tract, and if you add a dribble of honey now and then, between them they will keep your gut active
and calm, and help reduce gastric upsets which are common at times of stress. Unripe, green, bananas have a higher starch content. As they ripen, the starch is converted to
sugar (and the fruit becomes sweeter). Green bananas are also a good source of pectin, which is a type of dietary fibre found in fruits and helps them keep their structural form. Pectin breaks down when
a banana becomes overripe, which causes the fruit to become softer. Bananas are loaded with valuable micro-nutrients, especially potassium. Potassium is one of the most important
electrolytes in the body, helping to regulate heart function as well as fluid balance – a key factor in regulating blood pressure. The effectiveness of potassium-rich
foods such as bananas, in lowering blood pressure and protecting against heart disease and strokes is well accepted and bolstered by considerable
scientific evidence. Bananas are soothing to the gastrointestinal tract due to their high content of pectin – as soluble fibre that not only lowers cholesterol but normalises bowel function.
The high fibre content of bananas promote satiety (feeling of fullness). However, as a tropical fruit, bananas are higher in sugar and aren’t a great choice for diabetics. The resistant
starch in bananas also has a pre-biotic effect, helping to keep gut bacteria happy by increasing the production of short chain fatty acids for digestive health.
HERBS & OILS ~ Echinacea and Pelargonium herbs are both immunity super-boosters, and can
help reduce the number of colds you get if you take them throughout the cold season. These are available in various sources from capsules to powders. Echinacea is a vital source of Omega 3, 6, and
9, especially for vegetarians and vegans, as it is plant derived, rather than the usual fish oil sources, and so there is no after-taste of fish. However, halibut and cod liver oil capsules are good value, and easily
available sources of Omegas. A regular fish element in your diet, two or three times a week, would give
you all the Omega you require, and it is low in cholesterol. Tins of sardines in olive or sunflower oil can be kept in the larder for a good while, always available for breakfast on toast, lunch,
or supper. Rich in Omega 3, this is a good value, very handy source, especially for those living alone, studying, or working late.
PLEASE consider where your fish is SOURCED. I would
never buy fish taken from the Irish Sea, for example, as it is described as a 'sewer' by marine biologists, given its contributions from the nuclear
power plant, Sellafield, in Britain, and the untreated sewage pumped out of Irish towns and cities along the coast.
HUMIDITY ~ Normally, tiny hairs in your lungs waft germs and mucus into your throat, where you clear them by swallowing. But very cold air slows this movement, giving viruses longer to take hold in your lungs and cause
VERY FEW schools will
invest in humidifiers! So, I suggest keeping containers of water (changing the water daily) beside / adjacent to every heater, radiator, or heat source, in your classroom (and at home). Keeping
humidity levels between 40-60% using a humidifier reduces the period viruses survive in the air, and keeps your respiratory system warm and moist. Now, the system I suggest is clearly not so scientifically accurate, but it will help. Be
careful that the water containers are safe from being knocked over, and should never be put near electric heat sources.
YOU SHOULD CHECK FIRST to see if you are allowed to introduce such a humidifying system into your classroom. Even
if disallowed in School, you could make your own for your home.
PORRIDGE ~ Trinity College Dublin continues to
come out with more good news on the benefits of porridge. We already know a bowl of porridge for breakfast reduces random, unhealthy, snacking, it fills one until lunchtime; it is very good for the skin; and now we hear that the active parts of the oatmeal work to breakdown cholesterol build-up, and plague build-up in blood vessels. It assists in weight loss; and of course it is a very good value food ~ considerably better for us than the processed breakfast cereals claiming to contain seeds and fruit which are hugely more expensive, with their frequently added sugar / sugar-types and salt. We can add our own, in season, fresh fruit, as
For example, LINSEED (flaxseed) CANNOT be digested by the human system as the coating is too dense for our digestive juices. Also, bought milled linseed is of
little value, except maybe as a very expensive contribution to roughage consumption. Linseed is very rich in Omega, and should be milled as one has one's breakfast or whenever one plans to use it, as it loses it nutritional value within twenty minutes after milling.
The above information is based on my own Montessori Training including
nutrition and general healthcare; https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/nutrition/top-15-anti-inflammatory-foods/; my keen interest in good quality, good value
food; the Health Section of the 'Sunday Times Magazine'; https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-bananas; the Holland & Barrett website; plus advice from a Local Authority Dietitian regarding stress management, and continuous reading of up-to-date research.