Health & wellbeing advice and information
Chichester Wellbeing is a free, friendly and impartial service that helps people living and working in Chichester District to improve their health and wellbeing by making small, positive lifestyle changes.
Chichester Wellbeing could help you to:
- Eat well
- Be more active
- Kick a habit
- Cut down on alcohol
- Stop smoking
- Have more energy
- Manage stress
- Feel happier
- Lose weight
- Find local activities or services that suit your needs
Chichester Wellbeing has something for everyone. Whether you want advice on getting your family fitter, want to get back into doing some regular exercise, kick a habit, eat more healthily, manage stress or improve your general wellbeing we can support you to do so. Our Wellbeing Advisor will talk things through with you at no cost and discuss the options available to you. We are linked with a wide range of services in Chichester and we will make every effort to ensure that we find something that will suit you.
Or have a look at the Chichester Wellbeing website to find out more.
We are all different. But regardless of your age, whether you are working or not, or whether you are in good health or if you have a health condition - being physically active is important for you.
Chichester District Wellbeing is here to help point you in the right direction for things that will suit you - your own likes and dislikes, your current activity and fitness levels and your lifestyle.
Why should we be physically active?
Being active will make a difference to the quality of your life. Once you start you'll soon experience the benefits.
The benefits of regular physical activity include:
- Looking better, with better body shape and appearance
- Helping to reduce stress and anxiety
- Helping you to relax more easily
- Sleeping better and having more energy
- Better concentration
- Enjoyment - activity can be great fun and something you can do with other people
- Reduce the risk of developing some long term conditions, such as heart disease, some cancers and osteoporosis (thinning of the bones)
Physical activity can also help to manage and control health problems, including helping you to:
- Achieve a healthy weight - activity burns Calories so will therefore make it easier and quicker for you to achieve a healthy weight. Have healthy blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels
- Control heart disease, including angina
- Manage and control your diabetes
- Keep your joints and bones healthy
How much should we be doing?
Adults should achieve a total of at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity a day on 5 or more days per week. Moderate intensity activity is any activity that leaves you feeling warm and breathing more heavily than usual. The good news is that this 30 minutes doesn't have to be done all in one go, it can be split up into two lots of 15 minutes or three lots of 10 minutes during the day. So if you haven't been active for some time, start off being active in ten minute bouts and then try to gradually build this up over the coming weeks. Any amount of additional activity will make a difference.
If you are concerned about your health and how being active will affect you, you should speak with your GP before starting. Most health problems can be helped by regular activity but it is always advisable to check with your doctor first about the amount and type of activity that is suitable for you.
For general health benefit children and young people should achieve a total of at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity activity a day on 7 days per week.
For more information on staying active as a family on the British Heart Foundation website.
What activity should we be doing?
Physical activity doesn't have to mean a trip to the gym. This is great if you like this environment but there are lots of other things that you could do instead. Think about what you enjoy, the time that you have available within your day and what you could fit into your daily routine, the facilities available around your local area and what your friends and families do. Doing things on your own is great but doing it with other people can be even better!
Walking in particular is a great source of exercise. It is low impact and costs nothing. You can walk as part of your daily routine - such as walking up stairs, walking to work or school, walking to catch the bus, walking to the local shops or to meet a friend. You can do it on your own, with your family or in an organised group.
As a start, just try to fit more walking into your daily routine.
From the second you take your first sip, alcohol starts affecting your body and mind. After one or two drinks you may start feeling more sociable, but drink too much and basic human functions, such as walking and talking become much harder. You might also start saying things you don't mean and behaving out of character. Some of alcohol's effects disappear overnight - while others can stay with you a lot longer, or indeed become permanent.
The short term health risks of alcohol include:
- Sexual difficulties such as impotence
- Impaired judgement leading to accidents and injuries
- Slowed breathing and heartbeat
- Loss of consciousness
- Suffocation through choking on your own vomit (aspiration)
- Potentially fatal poisoning
Drinking heavily also increases your calorie intake, and it is frequently associated with obesity. This in turn leads to increased health risks. Adding 3 or 4 units per day to your usual diet would lead to an increase in weight of around 4lbs in four weeks.
The good news is that the short term effects of drinking are reversible. When you reduce your drinking, the symptoms improve.
In the long term, alcohol can contribute to a variety of problems, including damage to an unborn child, liver disease, osteoporosis (thinning of the bones), pancreatitis, stomach ulcers, infertility, heart disease, raised blood pressure, stroke, dementia and brain damage. It can also lead to an increased risk of a variety of cancers, particularly breast cancer and cancer of the gullet. It is also frequently associated with mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.
On the Drinkaware website you'll find useful clinically approved facts and information about the effects of alcohol on your life and lifestyle designed to help you make positive decisions about your drinking.
What kind of alcohol do you drink?
It doesn't matter whether you take it in cocktails, beer, wine, cider or lager, it's the alcohol that counts. Alcohol affects all kinds of cells in the body, causing changes in some and stopping others from working properly. As with most 'poisons', the more you take, the worse the effects are.
There are several organisations offering free help and advice, some local and some national. If you are wanting to take the first step but are unsure where to go to first, please either pick up the phone or pop in and see us - we are here to help you.
The risk of drinking too much
Most people who have alcohol related health problems aren't alcoholics. They are simply people who have regularly drunk more than the recommended levels for some years.
There is no guaranteed safe level of drinking, but if you drink less than the recommended daily limit then you will lower the risk of harming your health. Not only people who get drunk or binge drink are at risk, but people who drink more than the NHS recommends may not see the harmful effects at first. Alcohol's hidden harms usually only emerge after a number of years. And by then, serious health problems can already have developed.
To keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level you are safest not regularly drinking more than 14 units per week - 14 units is equivalent to a bottle and a half of wine or five pints of export-type lager (5% abv) over the course of a week - this applies to both men and women
If you do drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly over three days or more
If you have one or two heavy drinking sessions, you increase your risks of death from long-term illnesses and from accidents and injuries. It is best to spread your drinking over the course of a week having 3 days off of alcohol.
If you would like to find out more about ways to help reduce your drinking our Specialist Alcohol Wellbeing Advisor can offer further support through 1-2-1 sessions.
The scheme provides free:
- Kitchen gates
- Safety film for glass
- The client must be in receipt of a means tested benefit
- The client must live in the Chichester District
- There must be a child under the age of 2 years old in the home. (Note that the equipment is not suitable for children 2 years old and above)
- The equipment is free, but there is a £10 fitting fee.
What do you need to do:
- Contact the Health Visitor at your local doctor's surgery and they will refer you to Chichester District Council
- If you qualify, Dial a Hubby will visit to fit the equipment
- You will be charged £10 at the time of fitting
- Even if you do not qualify for the scheme you can still obtain home safety advice from your Health Visitor.
If you are interested please phone the Health Visitor at your local doctor's surgery.
Often we feel isolated and alone when facing issues such as insomnia, depression & anxiety but we do not have to deal with it alone.
'Stress' has become a word we use everyday when maybe we are very busy, or late etc, and because of this it is not always taken as seriously as perhaps it should. Stress is the way we feel when pressure is put on us and a little pressure or stress can be productive by motivating us and making us more productive. We all act differently to stress and some of us can deal with it better then others. But too much stress can lead to anxiety, depression or insomnia.
Everyone experiences anxiety - in fact, being unable to do so can be the sign of quite a serious problem. In our hazardous world, anxiety is a strategy the body uses to help the mind recognise danger and keep well out of its way. Anxiety becomes a problem if it becomes severe and interferes with daily life.
If you have a particularly stressful situation in one area of your life this can spread into other areas of your life. Also, if you cannot identify the reason for your anxiety you become anxious about your anxiety and it can start to feed itself.
Self help for anxiety:
- Relaxation: an easy word - not so easy to put into practice, but with practice it can be very beneficial can relieve tension and give you a feel good factor Eat a balanced diet and avoid stimulants such as caffeine & alcohol
- Exercise: can relieve tension and give you a feel good factor
- Diet: Eat a balanced diet and avoid stimulants such as caffeine & alcohol
It can also help to get some fresh air every day and not to put things off - deal with issues as they arise.
If you are suffering from any of the above issues and have tried all of the useful advice given then you contact your GP, if you have not already done so. Or drop in and see us and we may be able to point you in the direction of further help and advice.
There are still some people who think that depression is 'not a real illness'. Depression is a real illness and should be treated as such - but should not be mistaken with feeling fed up or miserable for short periods. Depression interferes with daily life and can last for weeks or months at a time. There are many causes of depression, some of the most common being: stress, anxiety, insomnia, bereavement, physical pain and illness & having a baby (post natal). Depression can affect any age group. If you think you are severely depressed we strongly recommend that you contact your GP.
Self Help for Depression:
- Understand what depression is
- Stick to regular sleep patterns
- Eat three meals a day
- Get some fresh air each day
- Try to keep your mind occupied
- Don't put things off - deal with them as they arise
- Take regular exercise
- Try to get some relaxation each day
If you visit your GP he or she may suggest one or a combination of the following:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
Different therapies help different people and sometimes it may be necessary to try a combination of two, or even a different type of medication before you find one that suits you. If the first therapy doesn't help don't give up on all therapies.
Insomnia is simply not getting an adequate amount of sleep. This could be because you are waking in the middle of the night or early in the morning; not being able to switch off, or even over-stimulation. Modern life is a great contributor to insomnia. If you can deal with your anxiety or stress quite often your insomnia will lesson considerably. Leading a full and satisfying life can dramatically reduce insomnia.
First things to try:
- Try to establish a good routine each night this may include certain rituals, and stick to them
- Go to bed at the same time every night
- It is not a good idea to watch TV or listen to the radio as this provokes thoughtfulness
- Don't do vigorous exercise before bed as this will stimulate the brain even if your body is tired
It can also help to:
- do early morning exercise
- eat a nutritious breakfast
- go outside and have some fresh air
In some cases it can help to have a pen and some paper by your bed. When you wake and have thoughts that are keeping you awake by writing them down you know you can deal with them in the morning as that way you will not forget your thoughts. If you think changing your eating or physical activity routines could help with any of the above issues please do contact us as we are happy to talk through your options with you.
We hope to help you to understand:
- What is a healthy balanced diet
- What is a healthy weight
- Why you should try to maintain a healthy weight
Specific services that we can point you towards to help you achieve your own health goals.
What is a Healthy Diet?
The two key elements of a healthy diet are:
(1) Eating the right amount of food for how active you are, and
(2) Eating a range of foods to make sure you are getting a balanced diet.
The right amount of food for you will mean that you are a healthy weight and if you are an adult, that you will maintain your weight at this healthy level. A range of foods should include foods at each meal in amounts similar to those shown on the eatwell plate (see below). A healthy diet contains a variety of food, lots of fruit, vegetables and starchy foods such as wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals; some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, eggs and lentils; and some dairy foods.
The Food Standards Agency gives us eight tips to help us to eat well:-
- Base your meals on starchy foods
- Eat lots of fruit and veg
- Eat more fish - including a portion of oily fish each week
- Cut down on saturated fat and sugar
- Try to eat less salt - no more that 6g a day for adults
- Get active and try to be a healthy weight
- Drink plenty of water
- Don't skip breakfast
If you would like more information about the eatwell plate or the eight tips to eat well, visit the Eatwell website (see related link). Remember - maintaining a healthy weight is also about how active you are.
What is a healthy weight?
Most doctors and experts these days use a measure called Body Mass Index or BMI to assess whether your weight is healthy or not. BMI is worked out by a simple calculation for which you need to know your height and weight. You should aim to have a BMI of between 18.5 and 25 to be in the healthy range.
Why should you try to maintain a healthy weight
A combination of factors determines our weight, and that's why it's difficult to set an exact ideal weight that applies to everyone. There is a range of healthy body weights. Aiming to keep within this means an end to aspiring to one magic weight you think you should be. Being over or under a healthy weight can lead to health problems in the long term, so trying to maintain a healthy weight means you have a greater chance of:
- Having a healthy blood pressure
- Feeling good about yourself
- Sleeping well and having more energy
It will also mean you are reducing your risk of developing some long term conditions such as heart disease, stroke or cancer. So all in all you will be much more likely to have lots of energy and zest for life.
By reducing your home's emissions, you can:
- help protect the environment
- reduce your fuel bills
- help prevent health problems associated with living in a cold and damp environment
Chichester Wellbeing home service
Chichester Wellbeing Home is a new local service, to help keep you warm and make your home more comfortable and more energy efficient.
If your home is cold and damp, if you are suffering from health problems, if you are worried about your heating bills, you could be eligible for a Free Home Energy Visit from our qualified energy expert. You may receive free energy saving devices, free practical advice, and free information about keeping warm and healthy in your home.
For more information contact Citizens Advice on 01243 974063.
As we get older, keeping active can help you remain independent for as long as possible. Good strength and balance keep you from slowing down, so that you can keep living the life you want. Every year one-third of people aged 65 and above fall over. Hip fracture is a common injury that comes from a fall, and half of those who fracture their hip never return to being as active as they were before the fall. Unfortunately, falls can mean the end of independence for some older people.
The good news is that there is plenty you can do to avoid a fall in later life. For example:
- Keep physically active and do regular exercise in order to improve your muscle strength and balance.
- Use the NHS falls prevention services. These can help in different ways, including fun and informal exercise groups, advice at home, and foot and bone health assessments.
Chichester Wellbeing runs a free WellBalanced workshop which aims to teach people how to reduce their risk of falling, identifying hazards that cause falls, how to avoid them and what you should do if you have a fall. The workshop is an interactive group session that encourages discussion and lasts for around two and a half to three hours. At the end you'll be offered access to a range of gentle exercise programmes led by instructors qualified in falls prevention.
Did you know that 70% of smokers don't want to be smokers? There are many reasons for wanting to stop smoking, these could be:
- To feel healthy
- Money reasons
- Looking younger (less wrinkles)
Some of the many diseases and illnesses that are directly related to smoking are heart disease, all cancers including lung cancer and emphysema. Smoking can also cause premature ageing.
Where do you start
You can get NHS stop smoking support at more than 50 GP practices across West Sussex and pharmacies. To find out which GPs and pharmacies offer support check the Chichester Wellbeing Smoking services.
If you would like encouragement and guidance about where to go to first, please contact Chichester Wellbeing, or visit the website to find out what's available close to where you live or work.
Most of our waking hours are spent at work, which means that the working environment can play a significant part in our health and wellbeing.
A happy, healthy, and motivated workforce is good for business and can support:
- Decrease in absenteeism
- Increase in productivity and effectiveness
- Better staff retention
- Enhanced employer reputation and positive customer service delivery.
Wellbeing in the workplace can encompass many concerns such as:
- Muscular skeletal problems (repetitive strain injury or back pain)
- Harassment or bullying (by colleagues or customers)
- Impact of the working environment (light, noise, heat or contact with hazardous substances)
- Accident or injury
- Long term illness
Home life issues can also have an impact on work (debt, relationship problems, disability, poor health or major events fire or flooding).
As an Employer what can you do?
- Ensure appropriate skills match when recruiting or promoting
- Identify staff training needs to include Health and Safety
- Regular review of sickness and absence policies in line with current legislation and make reasonable adjustments where necessary
- Training for managers to ensure appropriate support with sickness absence and when returning to work, including mental health needs
- Provide a safe environment for your staff
- Invest in the health and wellbeing of your staff (promoting healthy living, offering occupational health and employee assistance programmes)
The majority of time is spent at work; it is therefore an ideal place to promote wellbeing initiatives to enable staff to make changes around:
- Weight Management
- Drug & alcohol abuse
There are strong links between health and mental wellness of being in work as opposed to being out of work.
Benefits of working
- Work is good for our physical and mental health
- It can increase self-esteem and confidence
- Develop personal and professional development
- Increase sense of belonging by being part of a team
Returning to Work
It is not only the employer who is responsible for staff wellbeing at work - we all have a role to play. Being off work for too long is not always the best way to speed up recovery and may make it harder to return.
- Make the most of any health services offered at work
- Speak to your employer about managing any work-related problems or changing your working patterns
- Work with your employer to improve attendance
Employment advice services have been introduced in some GP surgeries to help people manage financial difficulties including debt problems. Debt counselling or advice from Citizens Advice Bureau can help.