Category Archives: Wellbeing

“Let it be new!” – How to reduce stress when relocating

In the latest edition of the Podcast Moving Countries 101, Wellness and Transitions Coach, Jennifer Brester guides you in supporting your wellbeing and holistic health during any relocation process.

As an experienced coach in empowering clients through many life transitions, Jennifer relays her wisdom in addressing the disruption to your life and to your daily wellbeing habits when you undertake a move, whether a few miles up the road or from from one country to another – and shares her own experience of moving from Portland, Oregan, USA to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

In this weeks podcast,  Jennifer shares her five guiding principles when it comes to a move. Applying her knowledge and her other insightful observations will stand you in good stead for moving house, moving to a new city, state or country, and indeed for handling change in general.

Listeners can benefit from Jennifer’s coaching advice as she gives away a wealth of information through her conversation with Clare Kay – and if you want access to the personal coaching that Jennifer offers, feel free to check out the show notes.


About Moving Countries 101

In her popular podcast, Clare Kay showcases personal stories and experiences through her conversations with people who have moved overseas. The popular (and free to watch) podcast focuses on helping people who are planning to move countries (no matter the location), sharing useful, actionable advice both before and after you make the move.

It’s a must-follow for anyone who is interested in or is planning on living and working overseas.


Podcast Links:

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Bridge Health & Wellbeing Boosts Clinical Team with New Sports Massage Therapist

Family-run clinic Bridge Health & Wellbeing in Christchurch, Dorset, is delighted to welcome another experienced sports massage therapist to its growing clinical team.

Alice Loveridge (SM, MA, CPT) is a Level 3 Sport Massage Therapist, trained in Deep Tissue, Pregnancy and Post Natal Massage and a Medical Acupuncturist. She qualified in 2017 and completed her acupuncture training in 2018. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer.

Alice has worked with numerous sporting teams, including the Netherlands cricket team, helping to manage injuries and providing deep tissue relaxation treatments. She relocated to the New Forest from the Channel Islands in 2023 after working in a busy Sports Clinic in St Peter Port and setting up her own Sports Massage and Medical Acupuncture clinic.

A keen sportswoman herself, Alice is an active member of Lymington Cross Fit + Hyrox and will compete in the European circuit later this year. An accomplished table tennis player, Alice represented Great Britain at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics and Guernsey at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Paul O’Connell, co-founder and lead physiotherapist at Bridge Health & Wellbeing, said, “We are delighted to welcome Alice to our team. With three massage therapists, we are able to offer a variety of sports massage and remedial massage services, as well as specialist services in pregnancy massage, post-natal massage and acupuncture. Discomfort, aches and pains are warning signs that something is not quite right in our bodies. Massage therapy can unlock soft tissue, decrease muscle tightness and provide welcome relief.”

Bridge Health & Wellbeing is a friendly, family-run clinic in the heart of Christchurch in Dorset, with high quality physiotherapy, chiropractic treatment, sports massage and rehabilitation services,  expert Pilates, yoga classes and other wellbeing classes, and state-of-the-art gym facilities all under one roof.

Whether you need help with pain or an injury or just want to stay fit and healthy, come and join them for the journey. Book your appointment now at or call 01202 473800 to speak to their friendly team of wellbeing experts.

Medical and wellbeing park plans for former Victorian asylum site in Carmarthen

THE new owners of the Parc Dewi Sant site in Carmarthen have announced plans to convert the former Victorian asylum into a medical park with health and wellbeing benefits for the whole community.


Parc Dewi Sant Limited has acquired almost all of the 38-acre site from Carmarthen County Council after the council put the location up for sale.


A number of NHS services currently operate on the site, and there is also a Swansea University facility teaching student nurses. All existing organisations on the site will retain their tenancy rights.


Parc Dewi Sant Limited wants to develop the medical provision on the site while protecting the 22 buildings, many of which are listed. They include an ornate Victorian chapel, and a theatre.


The plans include retaining and recruiting both NHS and private health providers, especially in occupational health, and providing serviced clinical offices.


Other facilities will include a gym and a walking track, which will be accessible to local community including dog owners.


A spokesperson for Parc Dewi Sant said: “We want to create a hub for medical, well-being and leisure facilities which is accessible for everyone in the community. By bringing top quality healthcare providers to the area, we aim to support the health and well-being of the local population.


“We are already in discussions with a number of healthcare providers, including a private GP practice, and would welcome discussions with anyone who wants to be part of a modern and vibrant health hub.


“Taking on so many listed buildings is a significant financial commitment. However, we are fully committed to protecting these outstanding buildings and their history, while ensuring they have a meaningful purpose to serve the local community for years to come.”


The new owners of the site have a large portfolio of residential, commercial and office developments throughout Wales, including many period properties.


Their vision for Parc Dewi Sant will transform and bring life and vibrancy back to the iconic estate which began life in 1865 as the Carmarthenshire, Cardigan and Pembrokeshire County Asylum.


The hilltop hospital expanded and had more than 900 beds by the early 1970s.

For more information about the plans visit

Should You Stand or Sit Whilst Working?

As we increasingly recognise the potential health risks associated with prolonged sitting, such as poor posture, back pain, and other physical ailments, it is crucial to thoroughly understand the implications of our daily work routines. This is especially true with the rising popularity of ergonomic solutions like standing desks, which are designed to mitigate these risks by promoting a more active work style. Understanding these health impacts can guide us in making informed choices about our work setups, potentially leading to better health outcomes and improved work performance.


The Health Risks of Prolonged Sitting

Labelled as “the new smoking,” excessive sitting has been linked to a host of chronic health issues. According to research, sitting for extended periods can elevate the risk of high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Studies analysing the effects of sitting on overall health suggest that an average office worker’s sedentary lifestyle could be as detrimental as obesity or smoking. In fact, data from studies involving over a million participants indicate that sitting for about eight hours a day requires 60 to 75 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity to mitigate health risks.


The Benefits of Standing Desks

In response to the dangers of sitting, many workplaces have introduced standing desks to encourage active working styles. Standing while working not only burns more calories but may also lead to weight loss, enhanced energy levels, and increased productivity. Research also points to potential improvements in mood and stress reduction when using standing desks. However, the transition to standing workstations should be approached with caution to avoid new health issues.


The Downsides of Excessive Standing

While standing at work can combat the sedentary nature of modern office jobs, too much standing is not advisable. Health experts warn that prolonged standing can lead to lower back pain, leg muscle issues, tendon problems, and varicose veins. A study published in the Ergonomics journal in 2017 highlighted that standing for extended periods could cause discomfort, reduced reaction times, and even mental fatigue after two hours, although it might aid in creative problem-solving.


Implementing Anti-Fatigue Solutions

For those who find standing for long periods challenging, incorporating an anti-fatigue mat can provide significant relief. These mats promote subtle leg movements, enhancing blood circulation and reducing discomfort. Available in various designs, some mats focus on muscle stimulation, while others offer more comfort. Using an anti-fatigue mat helps in maintaining natural movement, facilitating calorie burn and comfort during long standing periods.


Balancing Sitting and Standing at Work

The key to a healthy workday is balance. Alternating between sitting and standing helps mitigate the adverse effects of remaining in one position too long. Research advocates for a ratio of one hour of standing for every one to two hours of sitting. Using a height-adjustable sit-stand desk can effortlessly integrate this balance into your daily routine. These desks, equipped with high-performance gas lifts or electronic controls, allow for seamless transitions between sitting and standing, ensuring that employees can adjust their work setup according to their comfort needs.


While both sitting and standing have their own sets of benefits and challenges, moderation and variety are essential in maintaining health and productivity at work. Employing a combination of ergonomic tools and mindful work practices, such as regular movement breaks and the use of anti-fatigue mats, can significantly enhance your workday wellness. As workplace health continues to evolve, it remains important to stay informed and proactive about integrating health-positive habits into our daily routines.


Investors in People launches new standard for wellbeing with We invest in wellbeing framework 

Community interest company, Investors in People, has launched its new standard for wellbeing – ‘We invest in wellbeing’.
Launched to support organisations aiming to reach high performance in wellbeing, the standard will focus on three indicators that are built on the quality and safety of the workplace, as well as how people feel about their work and the culture they experience within it – or put simply Leading, Supporting, and Improving a culture of wellbeing.
With 35 million workdays lost to ill health in 2022-23, the total cost of sickness absence to UK business at around £15bn per year and absenteeism costing the UK economy £138bn, creating better and more productive workplaces has long been a priority for Investors in People.
With this new standard created after an extended period of engagement with leaders and innovators in the wellbeing space, the framework has been designed to suit organisations of all sizes and sectors.
In the face of widespread change in the workplace, the need to create a culture of wellbeing that supports high performance in a healthy and sustainable way has never been more important, with this a main priority throughout the design of Investors in People’s framework.
Paul Devoy, CEO, Investors in People, said:
“We all know that healthy and happy workforces perform better, adapt better to change, and have increased levels of engagement, which are all pivotal for organisations.
“Through the launch of our new We invest in wellbeing framework, organisations using our product will be able to take control of their workplace wellbeing, with wellbeing as much shaped by employee engagement, as it is by physical and psychological health.
“Our We invest in wellbeing standard centres on a pro-active and engaging approach to enhancing the health and wellbeing of people in your organisation and I am already looking forward to seeing and hearing the many success stories which will come from the first cohort of organisations already on board with this product.”
Michael Smyth, HR Director, GRAHAM Group (one of the first organisations to work with Investors in People on their new Wiiw framework:
“GRAHAM have been working with Investors in People since 2017 to support our approach to Wellbeing, and most recently have found the three key components of their new ‘We invest in wellbeing’ framework (leading, supporting and improving), to be a well-balanced and structured approach to creating and maintaining excellence in wellbeing, that delivers real results for both our employees and the business.”
Working with Investors in People’s skilled practitioners, organisations will go through a 3-year journey full of in-depth wellbeing focused planning, discussions, surveys, engagement, analysis, feedback, and reviews, before eventually receiving their Standard, Silver, Gold, or Platinum accreditation.
With the We invest in wellbeing journey able to be tailored to suit the needs of any organisation, the framework includes everything needed for organisations to shape, own and live their own culture of wellbeing.
If you are interested in speaking to Investors in People about starting your own employee wellbeing accreditation journey or hearing more about, We invest in wellbeing, visit: 

Quantum launch SME tailored employee benefit solution

Quantum Advisory, the leading independent financial services consultancy, today announced the launch of a new solution designed with small to medium (SMEs) employers in mind.

The service, which has only been available to a handful of existing clients to now, will advise SMEs on group risk, healthcare and wellbeing solutions tailored to them, and to best meet the evolving needs of their employees.

Commenting, principal consultant Graham Yearsley, who leads the employee benefits team at the firm, said: “Although gradually improving, the experience of small to medium employers in the market is generally still poor – they are often overlooked, cannot access the same resources and opportunities as larger organisations, and the quality of advice and consultancy they receive can be lacking. With SMEs by far the majority of the market, the disparity in service levels is unacceptable.

“According to government statistics, in the private sector 5.51 million businesses in the UK have less than 49 employees – this accounts for 99.2% of the total business population. Around 37,000 are medium sized and have 50-249 employees and only around 8,000 are large at 250 employees or more. And it’s growing, in 2023 there was a 0.8% increase of SMEs from 2022.

“Employee benefits programmes are critical attraction and retention tools – meeting employee expectations, ensuring the wellbeing and ongoing loyalty of staff, as well as optimising engagement. Getting it right is important whatever your size, but for SMEs it’s crucial.

“Recruitment is extremely competitive at the best of times and offering ever increasing salaries simply isn’t an affordable option, and neither does it address the overall wellbeing of staff. Frequent staff turnover can also be a real issue for a small employer, and difficult to manage. An expertly executed benefits package can have a big impact on an employment decision and, by proxy, the quality and loyalty of a team.

“It has to include honest investments in employees’ financial security, total health and career growth. As well, of course, as being accessible and affordable for an employer.”

Yearsley continued: “Our independent status means we can act nimbly and innovatively, creating truly bespoke solutions that are fit for purpose. We are able to access new and interesting things and act upon them quickly without the shackles of external shareholders – resulting in direct benefits to our clients and to their employees.”


On Autism Awareness Say – how X-Factor winner had to fight to get the support her son needed.

X FACTOR winner Sam Bailey has spoken movingly about her son’s autism diagnosis and admitted “getting the right level of help can be incredibly difficult”.

Sam had to fight for a year and a half to get son Tommy into a school that could support his condition.

Tommy, 14, lives with autism and Sam has previously admitted bullies at his former school used this to their advantage as they targeted her son.

The teenager even had to be educated at home for the best part of a year due to the difficulties she had faced.

But speaking ahead of Autism Awareness Day (April 2) Sam, 47, who is a former Mum Of The Year winner, reassured parents in a similar position that they should need never feel alone

She said: “As soon as I received my son’s autism diagnosis, everything finally started to make sense. However, getting the right level of support proved to be incredibly difficult.

“Going into secondary school was a particularly challenging step. They didn’t understand him at the school, which was severely impacting his mental health.

“I knew I had to take matters into my own hands, and it took me a year and a half to get him where he needed to be, find the right support networks and get him into a school where he was understood and accepted”.

Through the years, Sam has been a powerful voice on the topic, using her platform and influence to advocate for change and show others that they are not alone.

“Every day is a battle and there’s always a new struggle to face, whether at school or just in general”, Sam continued.

“Children with Special Educational Needs face unique challenges, and it’s a continuous battle to receive support, even in its most basic form.

“All children deserve equal opportunities to learn and thrive at school, to socialise and make good friends, and experience new passions and hobbies”.

This year, Sam will be the official ambassador of National Children’s Activities Week, the UK’s largest annual celebration of children’s activities, organised by What’s On 4 Kids.

The fundraising event supports the crucial work of Caudwell Children, a charity providing a wide range of practical and emotional support services for disabled and autistic children.

All the money raised will help fund vital services including the charity’s innovative autism assessment and support pathway which is delivered from their award-winning purpose-built centre in Staffordshire.

On her role as the official ambassador of the event, Sam said: “I am proud to be supporting an event that not only highlights the importance of activities in children’s development, but also one that raises money for such a vital cause.

“I believe that through activities, and getting kids together, they have a chance to learn about new things and interact with new people, which can also help enhance understanding and solidarity for children with autism.

“As a parent, and having worked with children in a previous job as a play worker, I know that it takes an incredible degree of passion and creativity to design activities to engage children in the right ways.

To find out more about Children’s Activity Week and how to get involved, please visit:

Plane Saver Credit Union launches Vivup benefits for 26,000+

In the first of its kind move, Plane Saver, one of the largest credit unions in the UK, has introduced a range of lifestyle, health and wellbeing benefits for its members and its employees. Now, in addition to savings accounts, affordable loans and financial tips, Plane Saver is providing its 26,000 members and 36 members of staff with Vivup benefits.

Plane Saver will be supporting individuals’ health and wellbeing, including social, mental, physical, spiritual and financial. In particular, the financial institution wanted to help alleviate the cost of living burden for employees and members. Now, each member and employee will be able to access over 1,150 ways to save money at popular retailers through discounted eGift cards, physical gift cards and discount codes. They’ll benefit from savings on everyday essentials such as grocery shopping as well as leisure activities like going to the cinema.

Alongside lifestyle savings, Vivup’s benefits platform also provides Your Care Wellbeing, 24/7 in the moment support and information, and an online GP focussing on proactive wellbeing and preventative services. Plane Saver members and employees can access expert advice any time of the day for issues ranging from debt advice, menopause, smoking cessation, domestic abuse to getting support with trauma, bullying or sleep.

They will receive:

  • Immediate access to employed counsellors should they need it
  • Access to secondary mental health support with clinicians at highest level of clinical accreditation (APPTS)
  • Early intervention, self-service and proactive wellness platform which includes assessments, recommendations and signposting to suitable treatment
  • Award-winning dedicated menopause support.

Rachel Downing, Head of Marketing & Business Development at Plane Saver Credit Union, explains: “Everyone in the UK is dealing with the rise in living costs. Being able to provide our members with benefits that save them an average of over £2,000 per year is over £160 a month back in their pocket that’s going to make a huge difference for them and their families. On top of this, with Vivup, we are supporting our members and employees with a full range of health and wellbeing benefits which is core to our values of decency, dignity and inclusivity”.

Simon Moyle, CEO of Vivup, adds: “This is such a groundbreaking initiative. Plane Saver is a financial institution that helps its members to think, plan and save. They’re now supporting their employees and thousands of members with their overall health and wellbeing. Normally, Vivup is in the business of helping engage employees, yet with this launch, we’re helping one of the largest credit unions in the UK to support health and wellbeing of members and employees”.

For more information visit


About Plane Saver

Plane Saver was founded in 1993 by a group of British Airways Engineers. They wanted to provide a range of flexible savings and affordable loans to their colleagues. Now with over 25,500 members, it is one of the largest Credit Unions in the UK.

Over the last 30 years, Plane Saver has been dedicated to assisting people in managing their finances. As we have grown, we have embraced modern technology while preserving the essence of personalised service. We firmly believe that the human touch is what matters most when handling money matters, and this principle remains unchanged.

For more information, visit Plane Saver.


About Vivup

For 18 + years, Vivup has been providing world-class health and wellbeing benefits to employees across the public and private sectors while arming employers with the tools to cultivate resilient workforces, retain great staff and win the war on talent. Vivup partners with over 2,000 clients and supports 2.5 million+ employees throughout the UK.

Vivup was awarded UK Employer of the Year at the Investors in People Awards in 2022 and won Best Supplier to Work for at the Employee Benefits Awards in 2023. Simon Moyle, CEO was awarded UK Leader of the Year at the Investor in People Awards in 2022 and won Scale up Entrepreneur of the Year (North East) at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards in 2023. Vivup has also just been awarded number one SME in the UK by Elite Business.

Workers warned of ignoring these risks for long-term back problems – as problem sees 28% increase from 2019

According to the World Health Organization, 1.7 billion people across the globe are impacted by musculoskeletal conditions. Musculoskeletal conditions are the leading contributor to disability worldwide, with low back pain being the single leading cause of disability in 160 countries.

In addition to this, workers being on long term sick due to back problems has risen 28% from 2019 to 2023 according to ONS data. 2023 saw 778,786 cases of long-term economic inactivity due to health problems relating to neck or back problems, take a look at the data below:







ONS data, 2023

Whilst lifestyle factors and pre-existing medical conditions will account for some of these cases, there are many instances where back problems can be avoided by good working practices by staff and employers. Health and safety expert at Blue Trolley, David Davies, has shared his advice below for what employees and employers should watch out for to prevent back problems at work.

The biggest risks of back problems at work

Not receiving health and safety training

Not having the right training can lead to improper practices and employees working blindly without being aware of the risks they face at work. Whether manual workers who regularly work actively during shifts and move heavy goods or office workers undertaking sedentary roles, it is the responsibility of the employer to make clear any risks and train staff on safe working practices.

Lifting beyond your weight limits

If you haven’t received training, you may be unaware of your physical capabilities. For employers, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations require you to assess the risks to the health and safety of your workers. Where this identifies hazardous manual handling of loads, you should also comply with the Manual Handling Operations Regulations. According to the guidelines, the highest weight men should lift at work when carrying loads near the body and at about waist level is 25kg. This is reduced to 5kg for loads that are held far from the body and/or at or above shoulder level.

Poor posture at your desk

We can all be guilty of slouching when sitting at desks and neglecting our chair backsupport, but long-term this can prove problematic for your health. Having a chair which is adjustable and has the correct lumbar support will ensure your back stays in better condition for endured periods of sitting. You may also look at standing desks as a way to spend less time sitting for increased health benefits. Talk to your HR representative for a workplace assessment to consider your options.

Handling heavy goods without supporting equipment

Cutting corners and not making use of safety equipment is a sure fire way to risk injury in the workplace. When it comes to lifting heavy goods, you should always make use of trolleys or other lifting machinery where possible so you don’t take the lifting risk onto your own shoulders. Speak to your employer about supportive equipment that can be provided if this is not already offered.

Manual work for prolonged periods of time

Repetitive manual tasks pose greater risk to your back as there is more endured strain and less breaks within the activity you are undertaking. Employers should factor in break times to give workers a rest from repetitive manual tasks and ensure staff do proper warm ups before getting started. Manual work can be equivalent to a workout and you wouldn’t take on a big workout session without doing warm-ups and cool downs, the same advice applies here.

Twisting your back when lifting

This is one of the most dangerous mistakes you could make at work and one all workers who lift items need to be aware of. Twisting can lead to severe pain and cause hernias, nerve damage and serious back problems which could be life changing.

Poor lifestyle choices

It’s already known smoking and consuming alcohol can be detrimental to your health, these lifestyle choices additionally increase your risk of back problems in the longer term. Along with poor diet and exercise, not maintaining a healthy lifestyle can take its toll and impact your physical ability to work. Reducing these factors will lead to less health risk and more chance of recovery, depending on the health complaint, if you did sustain injury or develop back problems from your job.

What employers can do:

It is the responsibility of the employer to provide a safe working environment that reduces employee risk of health problems. Assessments should be done for all employees and employers should be aware of any pre-existing medical conditions that could make an employer have a higher risk of injury. Conducting risk assessments and being flexible to meet your employees’ needs means you can ensure they are able to work effectively for you and could reduce them taking extended time off if they are not able to work in less accommodating work environments.

Ground-Breaking Programme for Stress Bound for Capital

A ground-breaking programme which harnesses the benefits of activity in forests and woods to combat workplace stress is to be rolled out in Edinburgh following agreement with the city council.

Innovative forest-based workshops, developed by business, Wild Workforce, have been highly successful since the launch in Fife last year, becoming the first programme of its kind to be officially accredited in Scotland.

Now, following a stakeholder engagement consultation, Wild Workforce has been granted permission to roll out the programme at Lauriston Castle near Cramond, following an agreement with the council’s Neighbourhood Environmental Services.

Inspired by successful pilots in Scandinavia, forest schools have been shown to benefit the physical and mental wellbeing of children whilst developing resilience and nature connectedness.

Wild Workforce’s programme re-applies elements of that philosophy to adults in the workplace, with games, reflection and mindful activities in woodland environments helping to address stress and to build resilience amongst work teams.

The 2021 report, Valuing the Mental Health Benefits of Woodlands estimated that time spent in woods and forests saved the UK £185m in mental health treatment costs.

Scottish Forestry runs an outdoor therapeutic programme, Branching Out, which consists of three hours of woodland activities per week, illustrating the scientifically proven benefits of time spent amongst trees and in nature.

Wild Workforce Founder, Clare Stephen, said: “I’m extremely grateful to the stakeholders at Lauriston Castle for supporting Wild Workforce to deliver workshops in Edinburgh. The grounds of the castle are a perfect setting to relax, have fun, connect with others and learn evidence-based tools which have been proven to support both mental and physical health.”

Being able to run workshops in the grounds of Lauriston Castle, overlooking the Firth of Forth, marks a further milestone for Wild Workforce, which already enjoys a similar partnership with the picturesque Falkland Estate in Fife.

The workshops, which include Resilience at Work CPD, Team Building and Wellbeing for All, start at Lauriston Castle in March and will run throughout 2024, with bookings now being taken through the Wild Workforce website.

“People learn more by doing and experiencing and so the workshops use nature, games, mindful practice and compassion as the evidence-base for learning tools to manage stress at work,” said founder Clare Stephen, who has combined career knowledge in Professional Development and Human Resources with outdoor learning qualifications, to create Wild Workforce’s programmes.

“The recent CIPD’s Health and Wellbeing at Work Report again highlights that stress and mental health require more focus and that employers should deliver a systematic programme of activity to meet the Mental Health at Work Commitment.

“Education and early intervention is key and I’m keen to work with employers to support stress management training and tailor the workshops to meet business learning and development and wellbeing needs.”

The Edwardian Lauriston Castle and Gardens is a popular attraction in the capital, with a busy programme of events throughout the year.

Woodlands in the grounds of the 16th Century castle contain beeches, sycamores, sweet chestnut, conifers and monkey puzzle trees as well as azaleas and rhododendron.

For information and bookings, visit