• Selma Blair praises animal therapy for helping her ‘grow with self love’ following MS diagnosis
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    The Independent

    Selma Blair praises animal therapy for helping her ‘grow with self love’ following MS diagnosis

    Selma Blair has credited horseback riding for helping her “grow with self love” amid her ongoing battle with multiple sclerosis (MS).The actor, best known for her performances in Cruel Intentions, Legally Blonde and Hellboy, revealed in October 2018 that she’d been diagnosed with MS two months previously.The chronic condition can affect the brain and spinal cord, leading to symptoms including problems with vision, muscle spasms and fatigue, the NHS states.On Thursday, the star posted a photograph on Instagram of herself with her horse Sky Top and explained how animal therapy can provide relief to people living with chronic illnesses.In the photo’s caption, Blair said her trainer found her horse when she was struggling after the birth of her son, and that the animal has kept her feeling motivated.“We only had a short time before I couldn’t even get to him or stay on,” she said of her first few encounters with the horse.“But he has come so far. And even though I may seem like I have gone farther away, I am learning and getting healthier. Even as I get seemingly sicker,” Blair wrote.> View this post on Instagram> > After I gave birth and felt half dead all the time, after the rage and the tears, after my heart exploded with caring and understanding, before any diagnosis, I searched for this horse. I knew the only place I was really growing with self love was at @cellardoorequestrian . My trainer found me skytop. He needed to be able to handle kisses. Prerequisite. Truly. And he did. mrnibbles. We only had a short time before I couldn’t even get to him or stay on. But he has come so far. And even though I may seem like I have gone farther away, I am learning and getting healthier. Even as I get seemingly sicker. I will jump this horse around again. Affording horseshows will require some major work opportunities ahead. So I am asking for it all. I am asking. For all of us who want it. Ask. Ask. Listen. I have the unicorn. Now I have to be able to find him again. tbt. loveheals 💘> > A post shared by Selma Blair (@selmablair) on Jul 18, 2019 at 5:00am PDTWhile she is currently unable to ride the horse due to her illness, the actor said she is determined to ride the animal again.“Affording horse shows will require some major work opportunities ahead,” she added.Several of Blair’s followers have commented on her post praising her determination and courage.“You are such an incredible inspiration,” wrote one user.Another wrote: “Yes! You will ride again.”“Sorry Selma, I’ve got no words, just tears,” added another.According to the Mayo Clinic, animal-assisted therapy uses dogs or other animals to help people recover from or better cope with health problems such as heart disease, cancer and mental health disorders.> View this post on Instagram> > My staff. Good day. I get more comfortable as sun starts to go down. Does everybody? I wonder. It’s just a window for me. I have to be asleep by ten or never sleep.> > A post shared by Selma Blair (@selmablair) on May 20, 2019 at 4:11pm PDTIn 2017, the Royal College of Nursing drew up guidelines for medical institutions on how to use animal therapy safely and effectively, so all patients who might benefit are able to access it.Earlier this year, Blair opened up about her MS diagnosis, saying that when she learnt the diagnosis, she cried “tears of knowing I now had to give in to a body that had loss of control”.Blair told TV broadcaster Robin Roberts on Good Morning America that she’d unknowingly been experiencing symptoms of MS since the birth of her son in July 2011, and that she self-medicated when her son wasn’t with her.“You just have to, you can’t do it all,” the actor said. ”It’s fine to feel really crappy, and my son gets it, and now I’ve learnt not to feel guilty.”

  • Parkinson's disease: What are the symptoms and how can it be treated?
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    The Independent

    Parkinson's disease: What are the symptoms and how can it be treated?

    Parkinson’s disease is the world’s second most common neurodegenerative disorder, behind Alzheimer’s disease.Comedian Billy Connolly recently announced that he is due to return to television, having previously retired from stand-up comedy following the announcement of his Parkinson's disease diagnosis.While it’s unknown exactly why people develop the condition, according to Parkinson’s UK, experts believe its a combination of genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the damage of nerve cells in the brain.So what are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and how can it be treated? Here’s everything you need to know. What is Parkinson’s disease?Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurological condition.This means that over time the brain of an individual living with the disease becomes more damaged, the NHS explains.A person living with Parkinson’s disease doesn’t have enough of the chemical dopamine in their brain, the Parkinson’s Foundation states.Dopamine is responsible for transmitting signals between nerve cells in the brain.When an individual experiences a loss of nerve cells in the brain, this causes a reduction in the quantity of dopamine in the brain. What are the symptoms?The main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include involuntary shaking (otherwise known as tremors), movement that’s slower than usual and stiffness in the muscles, the NHS outlines.Other symptoms may include difficulty balancing, nerve pain, incontinence, insomnia, excessive sweating, depression and anxiety.For more information about the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, visit the NHS here. How many people does it affect?Around 145,000 people in the UK are affected by Parkinson’s disease, Parkinson’s UK explains.This means that around one in every 350 adults is living with the degenerative condition.According to the NHS, symptoms of Parkinson’s usually develop after the age of 50.However, for every one in 20 people affected by the disease, symptoms may appear when they’re under the age of 40.The Parkinson’s Foundation outlines that men are 1.5 more likely than women to be affected by the condition.High-profile individuals to have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s include former US president George H. W. Bush, Back to the Future star Michael J. Fox and The Chase star Paul Sinha. How can it be treated?While there is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease, symptoms may be controlled through treatment.The most common form of treatment used for the condition is medication, Parkinson’s UK states.“Drug treatments aim to increase the level of dopamine that reaches the brain and stimulate the parts of the brain where dopamine works,” the charity explains.The medication used to treat Parkinson’s disease varies according to each patient.This is because as symptoms of the disorder progress, the drugs used to treat the condition may need to be changed.While drug treatment may help to manage Parkinson’s symptoms, it cannot slow the progression of the disease.The NHS explains that those living with Parkinson’s disease may also undergo physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and, in rare cases, brain surgery to treat the condition.For more information about Parkinson’s disease, visit Parkinson’s UK.

  • How to tell the difference between period pain and endometriosis, according to a doctor
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    Evening Standard

    How to tell the difference between period pain and endometriosis, according to a doctor

    It’s the silent condition that 10 per cent of women in the UK are suffering from, but most of them don’t even realise they have it.Endometriosis is a condition that’s had a spotlight shone on it in recent years thanks to Girl’s creator Lena Dunham’s very public battle with it, and Alexa Chung revealing she has the condition in a viral Instagram post.It affects one in 10 women in the UK and can cause 30 to 50 per cent of sufferers to be infertile. So what is endometriosis?Dr Haider Jan, Consultant Gynaecologist and Obstetrician at The Lister Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK told the Standard: “Endometriosis is a condition where cells similar to those that line the womb - grow and embed outside of the womb causing pain, inflammation and also in some cases a difficulty in falling pregnant.“It is estimated that up to 10 per cent of women in the UK suffer with endometriosis, many of which are undiagnosed. This approximates to almost 1.5 million women in the UK, almost as many as those who suffer with diabetes.” What are the signs of endometriosis and how is it diagnosed?Endometriosis is notoriously difficult to diagnose as the symptoms can feel like severe period pain.Dr Jan said: “It is very difficult to diagnose endometriosis based on symptoms alone although there are many particular signs one should look out for. Painful periods, pain leading up to a period, pain during deep intercourse, pain after sex, mid menstrual cycle pain, and pain whilst opening the bowels are key symptoms which would concern me as a consultant.“If a symptom arises around the menstrual cycle it is likely to be hormonally related and so points to endometriosis or Adenomyosis.”If you think you have any of these symptoms, it’s best to see your GP who can point you in the right direction. According to Endometriosis UK, “the only definitive way to diagnose endometriosis is by a laparoscopy - an operation in which a camera (a laparoscope) is inserted into the pelvis via a small cut near the navel”. How can you tell the difference between endometriosis and severe period pain?Period pain is a symptom of endometriosis so it can be easy to dismiss endometriosis as bad cramps.Dr Jan explained: “Period pain can have many causes - only one of which being endometriosis. We do know however, that severe period pain in adolescence may be a significant pointer towards endometriosis, and so should be investigated further.”If you experienced severe period pain through adolescence, coupled with the symptoms listed above, make an appointment with your GP. How is endometriosis treated?Unfortunately, if you are diagnosed with endometriosis there is no cure, but there are a number of treatments available to help relieve the pain – this should be decided between you and your healthcare professional.

  • Pampers develops sensor to track when baby’s nappy needs changing
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    The Independent

    Pampers develops sensor to track when baby’s nappy needs changing

    Pampers has developed a new smart sensor which alerts parents when their baby's nappy needs changing.Titled "Lumi by Pampers", the new product comes with two packs of nappies, two reusable detachable activity sensors and a WiFi-connected video monitor.By using the Lumi by Pampers app, which will be available on iPhone and Android, parents or guardians will be able to track an infant's activity, including when it has wet its nappy, the duration of its sleep and its feeding routine.The 1080p wide-angle HD video monitor, which has night vision, will also be able to track the temperature of the baby's bedroom and the humidity of the air.The information tracked on the app has an additional purpose other than being useful for parents.The app has also been designed to display data in a daily and weekly format, information which can then be shared with a baby's paediatrician.The nappies which come in the Lumi by Pampers pack have been designed with adhesive patches on the front, on top of which the detachable sensor is then place.The specially-designed nappies go up to size four, which would be used for babies weighing between seven to 18kg.While the smart sensor is undoubtedly innovative, it does have its setbacks.Despite having the ability to track when a baby's nappy is wet, it is unable to ascertain when an infant has defecated.Pampers has not yet revealed how much the Lumi by Pampers pack will retail for.However, the product is set to be released later this year.Earlier this week, research released by the World Health Organisation warned that many baby foods contain "inappropriately high levels of sugar".The investigation also found that several baby food products are being marketed incorrectly, as it states on the labels they're suitable for baby's under six months old despite the recommendation that baby's be exclusively breastfeed until they've reached that age."Food for infants and young children are expected to comply with various established nutrition and compositional recommendations," said Dr João Breda, head of the WHO European Office for Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases."Nonetheless, there are concerns that many products may still be too high in sugars."

  • Women with diabetes more at risk of heart failure than men, study warns
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    The Independent

    Women with diabetes more at risk of heart failure than men, study warns

    Women who have diabetes are at greater risk of experiencing heart failure than men with the same condition, a new study has warned.According to research published in the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), women who have type 1 diabetes have a 47 per cent increased possibility of heart failure than men who have type 1 diabetes.Furthermore, women who have type 2 diabetes have a nine per cent higher chance than men of heart failure, the findings showed.The researchers gathered their data from 14 studies in total, which consisted of 47 cohorts and more than 12 million participants.The team wrote in the study that the "prevalence of diabetes and heart failure is increasing", with an increased risk of heart failure being noted among people who have diabetes.However, whether or not this correlation was the same for women and men was previously "unknown".The scientists found that women with type 1 diabetes had a 5.15 higher chance of experiencing heart failure, while men with the same condition had a 3.47 increased risk.Meanwhile, women with type 2 diabetes had a 1.95 times greater possibility of having heart failure, with men having a 1.74 times higher chance.According to the study's authors, there a number of reasons why women with diabetes may be at greater risk than men of experiencing heart failure.One of these reasons could be the fact that diabetes may put women at higher risk than men of developing coronary heart disease.The researchers noted that an increased risk of coronary heart disease had previously been discovered among women.Another possible reason includes the "undertreatment for women with diabetes", which could "subsequently lead to a stronger association of diabetes with heart failure in women than men"."In conclusion, the excess risk of heart failure following diagnosis of diabetes is significantly greater in women than men, highlighting the importance of intensive prevention and treatment of diabetes for women as well as men," the authors wrote."Further research is required to understand the mechanisms underpinning the excess risk of heart failure conferred by diabetes – particularly type 1 – in women and to reduce the burden associated with diabetes in both sexes."Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood around the body sufficiently, the British Heart Foundation states.It is a long-term condition, which gradually worsens over the time and for which there is no cure.Symptoms of heart failure include experiencing shortness of breath, having swelling on the feet, ankles, stomach and lower back area, and feeling fatigued or weak.For more information about heart failure, visit the British Heart Foundation website here.For more information about diabetes, visit the Diabetes UK website here.

  • Alexa Chung reveals she has endometriosis after hospital appointment: 'It sucks'
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    The Independent

    Alexa Chung reveals she has endometriosis after hospital appointment: 'It sucks'

    Alexa Chung has revealed on Instagram that she suffers from endometriosis, adding that she thinks the condition "sucks".On Thursday, the television presenter-turned-fashion designer shared a photograph of herself on the social media platform standing in a hospital corridor with a cotton wool ball taped to her hand, suggesting she had an intravenous cannula temporarily placed in her hand.Chung captioned the post: “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member, but here I am.”The 35-year-old tagged the image with several hashtags related to endometriosis including “endometriosisclub”, “sorryifyouhaveittooitsucks”, and “endometriosisawareness”.According to the NHS, endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.> View this post on Instagram> > I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member, but here I am. endometriosisclub partytime woohoo lifelongmembership sorryifyouhaveittooitsucks endometriosisawareness> > A post shared by Alexa Chung (@alexachung) on Jul 18, 2019 at 3:57am PDTThe long-term health condition can affect women of any age, but it is most common in women in their 30s and 40s. Its symptoms can range from pain in the lower stomach and pelvis to discomfort during or after sex, and heavy bleeding during a woman’s menstrual cycle.Endometriosis UK estimates that one in 10 women of reproductive age in the UK suffer from the condition, making it the second most common gynaecological condition in the country. Several celebrities and the designer’s followers have commented on her post to share their messages of love and support.Broadcast journalist Stacey Dooley commented on the photograph with several heart emojis.US photographer and filmmaker Pamela Hanson posted a crying emoji, while French singer Lou Doillon wrote “same” with the hashtag “compassion”.Meanwhile, other women have shared their own stories about living with the condition.One user wrote: “Welcome to the tuffest club there is. Like fight club, but with a uterus. [sic]”Another added: “Diagnosed 38 years ago in the Bronze Age. A healthy pregnancy and twenty-four months of breast feeding radically changed my condition for the better for the duration of my childbearing years.”Chung later posted a selfie on Instagram Stories wearing a hospital and a patient identification bracelet. Her hand is placed over her stomach.The star joked in a caption written on the post: “This sexy lil number was completely open in the back and made from the finest printed cotton poplin.“Ties and trims are grosgrain ribbon. One size fits all. Stunning bracelet made from digital print paper and sellotape (every bangle is personalised to order).”Other celebrities to have spoken out about their diagnosis of endometriosis in recent years include actor Sarah Hyland, TV presenter Julia Bradbury, and Girls star Lena Dunham.In 2018, Dunham revealed that she had undergone a total hysterectomy – a procedure that surgically removes the cervix and uterus - following years of suffering from chronic pain as a result of endometriosis.Months later, she underwent additional surgery to remove her left ovary.

  • Pretty Little Liars actor Shay Mitchell says miscarriage made her feel ‘broken’
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    The Independent

    Pretty Little Liars actor Shay Mitchell says miscarriage made her feel ‘broken’

    Shay Mitchell has opened up about how she felt "broken" following her miscarriage last year.The actor, who is currently expecting her first child with her partner Matte Babel, also touched upon the difficulty of being pregnant in the public eye.Earlier this year, the Pretty Little Liars star announced that she was expecting, sharing a photograph from a fashion shoot on Instagram and a two-minute video on YouTube titled: "Guess Who's Preggers."The previous year, the actor had experienced a miscarriage 14 weeks into her first pregnancy.In a new video shared on her YouTube channel, Mitchell explained that being pregnant can have a negative impact on one's personal sense of identity, especially when an expectant mother is keeping the news of her pregnancy a secret."This is the s****y side of being pregnant when no one knows, because you can't go out to see anyone, you don't want to see anyone. I don't feel like myself," the 32-year-old said in an emotional clip filmed prior to her pregnancy reveal."It really sort of messed me up a little bit," Mitchell stated, with regards to not being as sociable as she had been previously.In the video, the actor also detailed the shock she felt when she experienced a miscarriage, as she was "completely blindsided by it".Having been just over three months into her pregnancy, Mitchell said hadn't been aware of the percentage of pregnancies which end in miscarriage.According to the Miscarriage Association, around one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage."I still have those photos on my phone [of ultrasound scans] and I still have all the doctor visits and it's weird because I haven't looked at them, obviously. But it's not like I forgot about that happening," the You star stated."So of course I'm like super happy, but I still feel for that one that I lost."In the video, Mitchell led a tour around a bedroom which she described as the "baby's room", which has not yet been decorated.The actor explained that she wants to wait "as late as possible" to prepare the room for her first child due to her miscarriage experience.Mitchell stated that experiencing a miscarriage is "really tough because you feel broken as a woman".You can call the Miscarriage Association helpline on 01924 200799. The helpline is open Monday to Friday from 9am until 4pm.

  • UK children would rather grow up to be YouTubers than go to space, poll finds
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    The Independent

    UK children would rather grow up to be YouTubers than go to space, poll finds

    There was once a time when the height of ambition for many children was to be fireman, police officer or even an astronaut.But now, in the age of Generation Influencer, it seems youngsters have other ideas as a third of young Britons and Americans want to be vloggers, new research reveals.To honour the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 Moon Landing on 16 July in 1969, the Lego Group conducted a survey of children regarding their thoughts on space exploration.The poll asked 3,000 children aged eight to 12 to choose from a list of five professions to answer which they would prefer to be when they grew up, including an astronaut, musician, professional athlete, teacher, or vlogger/YouTuber.The results showed British and American children were three times as likely (30 per cent) to want to be YouTubers or vloggers as astronauts (11 per cent) when they grow up. The preference to become a vlogger was followed by teacher (25 per cent), professional athlete (21 per cent) and musician (18 per cent). By contrast, children in China showed a clear preference for being an astronaut over any other potential profession with 56 per cent saying they would like to be the next person in space. This was followed by teacher (52 per cent), musician (47 per cent) and professional athlete (37 per cent) with vlogger/YouTuber coming last (18 per cent).Despite British and American children not wanting to pursue a career in space, the survey did reveal that the majority are interested in space exploration (86 per cent), with 90 per cent stating they would like to learn more. “We are thrilled that children continue to be interested in space exploration and can't wait to witness their 'small steps' and 'giant leaps' in decades to come,” said Michael McNally, senior director of brand relations, LEGO Systems, Inc. In 2018, a similar study conducted by telecommunications services provider O2 found that a growing number of children are aiming for careers in technology.The study of 2,000 parents and 2,000 children aged five to 16 found that the majority of British children are intent on pursuing jobs such as vloggers (30 per cent), animators (15 per cent) and software developers (14 per cent).

  • Obesity should be recognised as a disease, medical experts say
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    The Independent

    Obesity should be recognised as a disease, medical experts say

    A number of medical experts are calling for obesity to be classed as a disease in order to encourage people to seek treatment.John Wilding, professor of medicine at the institute of ageing and chronic disease at the University of Liverpool, and Vicki Mooney, executive director of the European Coalition for People living with Obesity (EASO), argue that the view obesity is “self-inflicted and that it is the individual’s responsibility to do something about it, is “inaccurate” and reinforces stigma around being overweight.Instead, the pair believe that the role played by genetics combined with the illnesses created by obesity, such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers, means it should be defined as a disease.According to the NHS, obesity is thought to affect around one in every four adults in the UK, and roughly one in five children aged 10 to 11.Body mass index (BMI) is widely used as a simple and reliable way of finding out whether a person is a healthy weight for their height.For most adults, the NHS states that having a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 means you’re considered to be a healthy weight. A person with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered to be overweight, and someone with a BMI over 30 is considered to be obese.Wilding and Mooney add that the Oxford Dictionary supports their argument with its definition of disease as “a disorder of structure or function ... especially one that produces specific symptoms ... and is not simply a direct result of physical injury”.They also state that obesity, in which excess body fat has accumulated to such an extent that health may be adversely affected, has been considered a disease by the World Health Organisation since 1936.“Studies in twins show that 40-70 per cent of the variability in weight is inherited,” Wilding and Mooney write in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) to bolster the theory that obesity is influenced by genetics.“Body weight, fat distribution, and risk of complications are strongly influenced by biology – it is not an individual’s fault if they develop obesity.”The pair add that recognising obesity as a chronic disease with severe complications rather than a lifestyle choice could help “reduce the stigma and discrimination experienced by many people with obesity”.They write: “Instead of discouraging them from seeking treatment it should give them permission to do so.“The stigmatisation of obesity leaves patients fearful of discussing their weight, and they turn to fad diets or non-prescription medication because they assume that their obesity is solely their responsibility.”However, not all medical professionals agree with Wilding and Mooney’s stance on the issue.In contrast, Dr Richard Pile, a GP from St Albans, said the Oxford Dictionary definition of disease “is so vague that we can classify almost anything as a disease”.Also writing in the BMJ, Pile argues that recommending a change implies that current NHS and public health strategies are “doomed to failure without classifying obesity as a disease“.”Labelling obesity as a disease risks reducing autonomy, disempowering and robbing people of the intrinsic motivation that is such an important enabler of change,” Pile adds.“It encourages fatalism, promoting the fallacy that genetics are destiny.”The debate in the BMJ follows calls from the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in January for the Government and the NHS to urgently recognise obesity as a disease.The RCP said it wanted to see obesity recognised as an ongoing chronic disease to allow the creation of formal healthcare policies to improve care both in doctors’ surgeries and hospitals.It argued that obesity is not a lifestyle choice caused by individual greed “but a disease caused by health inequalities, genetic influences and social factors”.

  • Making this small tweak to your exercise regime could have a dramatic impact on your mental health
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    Red

    Making this small tweak to your exercise regime could have a dramatic impact on your mental health

    All types of exercise are good for our minds but this type in particular

  • Best wellness retreats in Europe for a 2019 health reboot
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    Evening Standard

    Best wellness retreats in Europe for a 2019 health reboot

    With all the stresses that come with everyday life, it's no surprise the global wellness industry is now worth a cool £4.2 trillion.From crystals to reiki and plant-based everything, one of the best ways to get your wellness fix is to head to a retreat. Wellness retreats have popped up across the world and while we have some stellar options right here in the UK, duirng the summer months, a visit to a European retreat is the best way to combine a health MOT with some much-needed vitamin D. Below, we've rounded up the best wellness retreats to head to in Europe this summer. Heal at el Toula, SwitzerlandA new initiative from alpine travel specialist Leo Trippi, luxury chalet Chesa el Toula in the Swiss resort town of St. Moritz will be holding week-long wellness retreats for the rest of the summer. Dubbed ‘Heal at el Toula’, the seven-day package offers guests a range of activities and spa sessions over the week along with calming yoga and detox meals prepared by the resident chef. On top of this, you’ll be staying in a luxe chalet with gorgeous views of the Swiss countryside – expect days to be filled with hiking, mountain biking, horse riding and cooking classes.Where: St. Moritz, Switzerland.When: throughout summer 2019.Leo Trippi’s ‘Heal at El Toula’ wellness package starts from CHF 8,000 (£6,500) per person based on two people sharing, leotrippi.com/chesa-el-toula/ SHA Wellness Clinic, SpainOne of the best sleep retreats in the world, head to SHA Wellness Clinic in Spain's Valencia to try the ‘sleep recovery program’. This retreat has been designed to recover the quality of sleep and help cure insomnia. A seven-day stay is the minimum in order to reap the benefits from the program - but they recommend staying for two weeks if you can. While there, you will take part in an anti-stress session, have a polygraph to diagnose your sleep patterns, as well as a session with a nutritionist and a general medical consultation among other assessments and treatments. Located on the shores of the Mediterranean near the Sierra Hela park, the peaceful destination will help aide a restful week.Where: Valencia, SpainWhen: throughout the year.From £3,300 for seven nights,shawellnessclinic.com/ La Reserve Geneva, SwitzerlandWith one weekend retreat per month for the remainder of 2019 (August onwards), the Yoga Retreat Weekends with Jeff Grant at La Reserve Geneva are not to be missed. Each retreat hosts just eight participants and will include Vinyasa yoga, meditation by candlelight, Yin yoga with crystal singing bowls and posture alignment. Set on the shores of Lake Geneva, this serene setting is the ultimate place for the calming retreat - during your down time, wander through the hotel's 10 acre park or book in a treatment at the spa. All meals are included and the retreat was designed to help you escape daily stress and prevent burnout, ideal for the frazzled Londoner. Where: Geneva, Switzerland. When: throughout the year.From CHF900 (£694) excluding accommodation and CHF1,700 (£1,312) including two nights in a Superior Room, lareserve-geneve.com/ Palace Merano, ItalyHome of the famed Chenot Method \- based on Henri Chenot's study of biontology - Palace Merano is a luxury escape for anyone looking to rediscover their connection with health. The Chenot Method can help with weight loss, stress, health as well as provide anti-ageing effects. It works by using a unique combination of treatments and diet to help protect the body from damage, accumulation of toxins and premature ageing. Besides following the Method, you can from several other programmes, like the detox programme, spa wellness programme and the indoor and outdoor activity programme. Expect to have world-class experts on hand who can provide a personalised detox diet for you to follow or conduct a body composition assessment. This is the place to go when you want to reset the clock on your health and learn how to nourish your body.Where: Merano, ItalyWhen: throughout the year.Price on request, palace.it/ Andronis Concept Wellness Resort, GreeceFound in one of the most beautiful locations in Europe, the Andronis Concept Wellness Resort really does have it all. With great views, healthy food and a dreamy infinity pool, even if you're not after a wellness retreat this resort is worth checking out. The in-house Kallos Spa offers four main wellness programmes that you can undertake: Sleep, Stress, Hormones and Digestion. Each programme will include bespoke wellness consultations that will analyse the imbalances you may have and recommend the services and products best suited to you.The hotel also offers a hair profiling test. Supervised by Dr. Zulia Frost, the test provides a full wellness profile from which a personalised wellness programme can be curated.Where: Santorini, GreeceWhen: throughout the year.Treatments start from €​50, the hair profiling test costs €​180,andronisconcept.com/ Women’s Health Retreat by Escapada, SpainThese newly-launched health retreats are women-only and focus on four key pillars: Holistic Treatments, Mindful Movement, Nourishing Nutrition and 'Ultimate Me Time'. The retreats begin with an extensive consultation about what you want to get out of your time there, and you can expect a number of yoga and meditation sessions, along with acupuncture, demonstrations and talks from specialists. With only 12 guests per retreat, these are the perfect place to have some down time and get away from the stresses of every day life.Escapada also runs retreats in Germany and Ireland with a number of focussed retreats planned for 2019 including Mummy's Health Retreat and Pre-Winter Immunity Boost.Where: Mallorca, SpainWhen: August 30 to September 2, 2019From €1,200 (£1,036) per person, escapadaretreat.com/ Clinique La Prairie, SwitzerlandAs one of the best wellness spas in the world , Clinic La Prairie was always going to offer world-class wellness retreats as well. With a number of different retreats to choose from - including a master detox programme, a revitalisation programme and a transformative sleep retreat, designed to help cure insomnia - you'll likely find a retreat tailored to your needs here. Be sure to make the most of your stay with treatments from both the spa and medical spa, and by the end you'll find it hard to leave the serene and cleansed routine you've designed for yourself in the Swiss mountains - but you'll feel better for it. Where: Clarens, SwitzerlandWhen: throughout the year.Price on request, cliniquelaprairie.com/ Our Retreat, Spain and ItalyWant to combine your wellness retreat with a dreamy location? Our Retreats offer week-long luxury retreats mixing yoga, pilates and HIIT sessions in spacious villas across Spain, Italy, France and the UK. During your down time relax in your private pool or explore the beaches of Sardinia before tucking into a nourishing, yet indulgent meal made by the retreat's private chefs. Where: Ibiza, Spain and Sardinia, ItalyWhen: October 6 to 12, 2019 for Ibiza and June 1 to 6 and June 9 to 15, 2019 for SardiniaFrom £1,450 per person, ourretreat.co.uk/ Mindfulness Wellness Retreat at Longevity Cegonha Country Club, PortugalNestled in the tranquil green surroundings of Vilamoura in Portugal's Algarve region, you'll find the Longevity Cegonha Country Club which is launching a wellness and mindfulness retreat this June. The five-night retreat aims to tap into how you can be more mindful in your actions and every day life. In between sessions, sample some of the finest beaches in the world along the Algarve coast. Where: Algarve, PortugalWhen: June 12 to 17, 2019 and October 2019 – later dates to be confirmedFrom £754 per person, longevitywellnessworldwide.com/ Vinyasa Yoga Retreat with Dr. Patrick Broome, GermanyAnother world-class spa (there are three separate spas on site, including a women-only spa and a 5,400 square foot Hamam), Schloss Elmau is also home to some incredible retreats. This May the resort is hosting a five-day yoga retreat with physiologist and yoga teacher to the German national football team, Dr. Patrick Broome. Mornings will consist of 90 minutes of Hatha and Vinyasa yoga while in the afternoons you'll get the chance to practice pranayama, yoga philosophy and yoga nidra - along with making use of the on site spa facilities and taking in the crisp German air.Where: Krün, GermanyWhen: May 19 to 24, 2019Price on request, schloss-elmau.de/ MasQi: The Energy House, SpainSet in the rural hills between Spain's Alicante and Valencia, these boutique retreats (just eight rooms available) are a place to visit for a short break, or up to three weeks or more. Yoga and meditation with views over the Spanish countryside are on offer, as are one-to-one healing sessions, Ayurvedic massages, cookery classes and sessions with visiting practitioners. Choose from a focus on yoga, detox or cleansing from the number of retreats on offer - the hardest thing will be deciding which one. Where: Banyeres de Mariola (near Alicante), SpainWhen: throughout the year.Starting at £343 per person, masqiretreats.com/ Park Igls, AustriaLocated on a sunny plateau in the Austrian Alps, overlooking Patscherkofel mountain, the Mayr Clinic at Park Igls is all about the gut. The FX Mayr Method works by combining conventional medicine with targeted regeneration of the digestive system to help improve lifestyle problems that can be caused by imbalances in your gut. Here, you can follow specific programmes to help with everything from your skin to insomnia and arthritis. During the retreat you'll follow the six principles of the method: cleanse, rest, education, substitution, exercise and self-discovery, which will work together to make you feel refreshed and renewed once you leave. Celebrity fans include Karlie Kloss, Liz Hurley and even Theresa May. Where: Innsbruck/Igls, AustriaWhen: throughout the year.Price on request, park-igls.at/ Ayurveda Parkschlösschen, GermanySince it opened in 1993, Ayurveda Parkschlösschen has been the specialist for the Ayurvedic detox cure Panchakarma in Europe, a process that 'cleanses your organism holistically and restores the natural balance of your mind and body system'. With retreats being a minimum of nine days (and up to 34), expect plenty of yoga and Ayurvedic treatments. Specific yoga, anti-stress and liver detoxifying retreats are also on offer, all monitored by experienced Ayurvedic practitioners.Where: Traben-Trarbach, GermanyWhen: June 1 to 15, 2019From €1,715 (£1,418) per person, ayurveda-parkschloesschen.de/ Shamballah Yoga Retreat, PortugalNear Sintra, the enchanting Portuguese city just an hour out of Lisbon, you'll find one of Europe's best yoga retreats. The Shamballah yoga and meditation retreats are based by the sea so expect a pleasant dose of fresh sea air while practising. For avid surfers, its also offers a yoga and surfing retreat, including surf lessons, yoga and meditation classes. All meals are provided and be sure to explore the rugged natural beauty of the region while there. Where: near Sintra, PortugalWhen: every week, Monday to Saturday.From €600 (£518) per person, shamballahretreats.com/retreats Sianji Well-being Resort, TurkeyBodrum is the place to be this summer so why not combine your summer escape with a week of wellness? With a private beach, and set among 100 acres of gardens, the resort offers a number of retreats, from a master detox, to a raw food detox and an alkaline detox, there's something to suit everyone. The retreat will begin with a consultation and during your time there you can partake in yoga, tai chi and combat fitness classes, book into the Muu Spa and take advantage of the Turkish baths and join in a cooking class too. Where: near Bodrum, TurkeyWhen: throughout the year.Prices on request, sianjilife.com/ Adventure Yogi Retreat, GreeceWith yoga retreats offered in Montenegro, Norfolk and even Botswana, the hardest decision you’ll make with Adventure Yogi Retreats is which destination to head to. But with summer on the horizon the Adventure Yogi Retreat to Santorini in Greece is hard to look past. Spend eight sun-soaked days on Greece’ most famous island with daily yoga classes, sunset meditation over the Caldera, walking along the coastline and even spend a day on a yacht around the island, eating nutritious food and snorkelling below the island’s cliffs.Where: Santorini, GreeceWhen: June 29 to July 6 and August 24 to 31, 2019From £895 per person, adventureyogi.com/ Mountain Beach Fitness Retreats, SwitzerlandVerbier isn’t just a winter destination. When the snow melts, the Swiss Alps turn into an adventure enthusiast’s paradise, and Mountain Beach Fitness Retreats take full advantage of this during its retreats. Holding three retreats in the mountains this summer, expect to partake in high altitude training, yoga, paddle boarding on a glacial lake, boxercise at an altitude of 2,200 metres and sunset hiking on a mountain and trail runs. If you’re after a more laid back retreat, the team also offer fitness-led retreats in Tuscany, Sardinia and Iceland.Where: Verbier, SwitzerlandWhen: July 14 to 21, July 28 to August 4 and August 11 to 18, 2019.From £1,850 per person, mountainbeachfitnessretreats.com/

  • Calls for sun-safety policy as children are 'getting sunburnt' at school
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    Caroline Allen

    Calls for sun-safety policy as children are 'getting sunburnt' at school

    Currently, the UK has no guidance on keeping children protected while they’re at school.

  • Three in four adults are not getting enough sleep, report suggests
    Style
    Caroline Allen

    Three in four adults are not getting enough sleep, report suggests

    Lack of sleep increases risk of obesity, depression and anxiety.

  • This Morning’s Emmy Kenny shares grief over father’s death: ‘My dad sadly lost his battle to psychosis’
    Style
    The Independent

    This Morning’s Emmy Kenny shares grief over father’s death: ‘My dad sadly lost his battle to psychosis’

    This Morning’s resident psychologist Emma Kenny has opened up about the grief of losing her father to suicide in a heartbreaking video posted on social media.Kenny, who regularly addresses mental health issues on the ITV programme, explained her father had been struggling with psychosis for eight months and “sadly lost his battle” with the condition on Monday.“He took his own life,” the 45-year-old said in the video, “I found him but I was just about 30 seconds too late, I didn't get that chance".The TV psychologist had previously spoken out about her father’s illness with her fans and went on to thank them for their continued support.“My dad’s end does not define who he was,” Kenny continued. “Mental illness does not define you. He was the strongest, the most wonderful and most beautiful human being you could’ve ever met.”Kenny went on to criticise mental health services in the UK, saying she was “ashamed” of the care available to her father.“I’m sorry for any of you who are going through this,” she added, referring to the grief of losing someone through suicide, before proceeding to offer some advice to those with family members who are struggling with their mental health.“Just go that extra mile for somebody who’s in need,” she said. “It could feel relentless, frustrating, boring annoying, it can aggravate you when someone is constantly mentally unwell but they’re not doing it on purpose.”Kenny continued: “Notice that person who’s quiet in the office. Notice that individual whose mood seems to have changed. If somebody’s asked for attention, give it to them. “Thanks for all your support. I’m sorry it’s not a happy video. I know all of you would’ve wished for it to be a different outcome.”Kenny’s video has prompted a wave of support from fans, with thousands of people offering their condolences and thanking the psychologist for speaking out.> So sorry for your loss Emma, you are right the mental health service in this country is awful. I've been supporting a relative for the past year who has bipolar and sometimes it isn't easy but we are all has as the servicea just aren't there. Take care of yourself, thinking of u> > — Louise (@LouiseLacy) > > July 10, 2019“So sorry to hear this Emma,” wrote one person on Twitter. “It doesn’t define him as you say and we cannot control the outcome. You did your best and you father knew that. Sending lots of love and puppy love to you.”Another added: “Oh Emma, I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. Sending you lots of love and hugs your way. Mental health and suicide, particularly in men, must be tackled to become less taboo. Only then can we save lives. You’re in my thoughts.”If you have been affected by any issues mentioned in this article, you can contact The Samaritans for free on 116 123 or any of the following mental health organisations:mind.org.ukmentalhealth.org.uk

  • Epilepsy: What is the neurological disorder and how many people does it affect?
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    The Independent

    Epilepsy: What is the neurological disorder and how many people does it affect?

    As one of the most common neurological disorders in the world, epilepsy affects approximately 50 million people across the globe.Despite its prevalence, there may be a lot of information you don't know about the condition, such as possible causes of it and how it can be diagnosed.Last week, 20-year-old Disney Channel actor Cameron Boyce died at his home in Los Angeles.On Tuesday, his family told People magazine that the 20-year-old’s "tragic passing was due to a seizure as a result of an ongoing medical condition, and that condition was epilepsy”.Here's everything you need to know about epilepsy and how many people it affects: What is epilepsy?Epilepsy is a neurological, life-long condition which affects the brain.It's the fourth most common neurological disorder, the Epilepsy Foundation states, and affects people of all ages.When an individual has epilepsy, they may be prone to experiencing frequent, unpredictable seizures.These seizures happen when a sudden burst of electrical activity occurs in the brain, Epilepsy Action outlines.While electrical activity is always happening in the brain, an unexpected burst can temporarily cause the brain to stop working as it should. What are the different types of epileptic seizures?There are several different kinds of epileptic seizures, Epilepsy Action outlines.These include the following: * Focal seizures * Tonic-clonic seizures * Absence seizures * Myoclonic seizures * Tonic seizures * Atonic seizuresFor more information on how various epileptic seizures differ, click here. How many people does it affect?Epilepsy affects one in 100 people in the UK, Epilepsy Action states.Approximately 87 people in the country are diagnosed with the condition every day.According to the Epilepsy Society, one in 20 people are likely to have a one-off epileptic seizure at some point in their lifetime.However, this does not necessarily mean that they have epilepsy.While epilepsy can develop at any age, it tends to be more common in young children or older people, the Epilepsy Foundation outlines. What causes epilepsy?While doctors are unable to pinpoint what causes epilepsy in more than half of cases, there are several possible causes of the neurological condition, Epilepsy Action explains.This causes include experiencing a stroke, a previous brain condition such as meningitis, suffering a head injury and any problems that occurred during childbirth. How is it diagnosed?If you experience a seizure, your GP is likely to refer you to a specialist, the NHS explains.This specialist is likely to be a neurologist, who can assess how your seizure was connected to your brain's activity.Epilepsy isn't always diagnosed quickly, as other conditions such as migraines and panic attacks can have similar symptoms.Furthermore, you probably won't be diagnosed with epilepsy unless you've experienced more than one seizure, as some people who experience one epileptic seizure may not necessarily have the long-term condition.The tests carried out to determine whether or not you have epilepsy may include an electroencephalogram, during which small sensors are attached to your scalp, and a brain scan. How is it treated?People with epilepsy are prescribed specific medicines from their doctor, Epilepsy Action states.While the medicines, which are sometimes called anti-epileptic drugs, doesn't cure the condition, it may reduce the number of seizures you experience.If anti-epileptic drugs don't work, then doctors may suggest undergoing brain surgery or a type of surgery called vagus nerve stimulation.When vagus nerve stimulation is conducted, mild pulses of electrical energy are sent to the brain through the vagus nerve, the Epilepsy Foundation states. This process prevents seizures. What is Purple Day?Purple Day, which falls on the same date every year, is a day which aims to raise awareness of epilepsy on a global scale and to break down any taboos surrounding the topic.The day was created by Cassidy Megan, a nine-year-old Canadian girl with epilepsy.The first Purple Day event was held in 2008, with the help of the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia.On the day, people are encouraged to wear purple clothing to show their support.The colour purple is commonly associated with epilepsy because of the plant lavender's ability to relax the central nervous system.Having been diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of seven, Megan wants to people with epilepsy know "that they aren't alone".Purple Day is now celebrated around the world in more than 100 countries.For information on what to do if you see someone having an epileptic seizure, click here.

  • Coco Gauff's parents send inspiring message to 15-year-old daughter
    Style
    The Independent

    Coco Gauff's parents send inspiring message to 15-year-old daughter

    Cori "Coco" Gauff's parents have expressed their pride in their daughter on Instagram following the 15-year-old's fourth-round defeat at the Wimbledon Championships.No matter who goes home with the top prizes at this year's Wimbledon, one of the biggest talking points of the entire tournament is unquestionably the trajectory of teenage tennis player Gauff.Having entered the competition as a wildcard, the tennis star proceeded to knock out five-time Wimbledon women's singles champion Venus Williams in the first round.The teenager was eventually beaten by former world number one Simona Halep in the fourth round, receiving praise from high-profile celebrities including former US first lady Michelle Obama.Following Gauff's departure from Wimbledon, her parents, Corey and Candi Gauff, shared heartfelt messages on Instagram detailing the pride they feel in their daughter's performance at her first Grand Slam.> View this post on Instagram> > So proud of you!!!! You did great. The BEST IS YET TO COME!!!! Ok cocogauff> > A post shared by Candi Gauff (@candigauff) on Jul 8, 2019 at 8:35am PDT"So proud of you!!!! You did great," Gauff's mother's message reads. "The BEST IS YET TO COME!!!!"The former track and field star athlete shared a black-and-white photograph of Gauff taken as she celebrated her third-round victory against Polona Hercog, during which she came back from a set down to win the match.> View this post on Instagram> > I am proud of you @cocogauff ! Thank you everyone for your support! dreamBIG> > A post shared by Corey Gauff (@coreygauff) on Jul 9, 2019 at 2:18pm PDTCorey Gauff stated that he is "proud" in his daughter, using the hashtag "dreamBIG".The former college basketball player shared a selection of photographs taken during the tournament.Several people have praised Corey and Candi Gauff for the support they showed their teenage daughter during the most significant moment in her tennis career."Congratulations to Coco and the two people that have moulded her into the lovely young lady and spectacular athlete that she is today!!" one person commented on Instagram."I applaud you and your wife being present. It really does matter and it's wonderful to see," another added.To read all about the top feminist moments at this year's Wimbledon Championships, click here.For all the latest news on Wimbledon, click here.

  • Meghan Markle attends polo with baby Archie to support Prince Harry
    Style
    The Independent

    Meghan Markle attends polo with baby Archie to support Prince Harry

    The Duchess of Sussex has been spotted with her son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor at a charity polo match.In his third public outing, Archie is pictured in his mother's arms at the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day, held at Billingbear Polo Club in Berkshire on Wednesday.The duchess and her two-month-old son were in attendance at the event to support the Duke of Sussex, who took part in the polo match in an effort to win the Khun Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Memorial Polo Trophy.Meghan opted for a casual look at the sports day, donning a khaki green short-sleeved dress, gold-rimmed sunglasses and wearing her hair down.The charity polo match took place less than a week after Archie was christened at the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday 6 July.Also in attendance at the charity polo match were the Duchess of Cambridge and her three children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.The royals watched as the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex competed against one another, Prince William with the King Power Air Asia team and Prince Harry with the Tarmac team.The aim of the polo event is to raise money and awareness for charitable organisations supported by the dukes.It is held in memory of the late Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who died last October in a helicopter crash.Following Archie's christening on Saturday, Buckingham Palace released two photographs of the baby with his family.The images were taken by photographer Chris Allerton, who also photographed Prince Harry and Meghan at their royal wedding reception in May 2018.In the pictures, Archie wears a replica of the Royal Christening Robe, a garment which has been worn by several members of the royal family.On Thursday 4 July, Meghan made a surprise appearance at the Wimbledon Championships.The royal was photographed in the Royal Box on Centre Court, watching as her close friend Serena Williams defeated Kaja Juvan in her second-round match.The duchess wore a gold necklace with a small "A" charm hanging from it, in an apparent nod to her son.The delicate piece of jewellery was reportedly designed by Sydney-based jeweller Verse Fine Jewellery.

  • Kanye West says the term ‘crazy’ will not be used as ‘loosely in future’
    Style
    The Independent

    Kanye West says the term ‘crazy’ will not be used as ‘loosely in future’

    Kanye West has spoken about the importance of understanding mental health conditions, stating that the term “crazy” will not be used “loosely in future”.The rapper revealed he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder when promoting his 2018 album Ye, describing it as a “superpower” in his song "Yikes".In a new interview with Forbes magazine, the father-of-four discussed his condition and the way in which people discuss mental health.“‘Crazy’ is a word that’s not gonna be used loosely in the future,” West told the publication.“Understand that this is actually a condition that people can end up in, be born into, driven into and go in and out. And there’s a lot of people that have been called that ‘C’ word that have ended up on this cover,” he added in reference to his position as the cover star of the magazine.Earlier this year, the fashion designer said that his bipolar symptoms can lead him to feel “hyper-paranoid” about his surroundings.Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition which can lead to extreme mood swings, the NHS explains. Symptoms can include periods depression and phases of mania.In an interview with David Letterman for the Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman in May, West detailed his experiences of "ramping up" due to his mental health condition, saying that doing so can make him feel better able to express his personality.“What I want to say about the bipolar thing is because it has the word ‘bi’ in it, it has the idea of, like, split personality. Well, that works for me because I’m a Gemini, but when you ramp up, it expresses your personality more,” he said.West isn’t the only celebrity to have spoken about how their mental health conditions helps them to see the world from a different prospective.Earlier this year, teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg explained how the “gift” of living with Asperger syndrome helps her “see things from outside the box” when it comes to climate change.Also in his interview with Forbes, West opened up about his design process and inspiration behind his footwear line, Yeezy, which he launched with Nike in 2009.Citing former Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as his idol, the designer said: “I am a product guy at my core.“To make products that make people feel an immense amount of joy and solve issues and problems in their life, that’s the problem-solving that I love to do.”West added that his childhood obsession with the Lamborghini Countach (his father took him to an auto show featuring the sports car), has meant that there is a “little bit of Lamborghini” in everything he does.“Yeezy is the Lamborghini of shoes,” he noted.The designer, who is married to entrepreneur Kim Kardashian-West, first flexed his design muscles when he created a shoe for the Japanese apparel company A Bathing Ape in 2007, which featured a teddy bear logo which similarly appeared on many of the singer’s early album covers.As a result, West said that the opportunity resulted in him forging numerous friends in the industry including Hedi Slimane, the former creative director of Dior Homme and Yves Saint Laurent.“You’re going to do something really strong in shoes,” he recalled Slimane once telling him.Opening up about his relationship with his wife of four years, West said that given the couple’s busy work schedules, they often swap ideas about their businesses during “bedtime true-crime story meetings”, which involves the reality star watching police procedurals while West shows her his design concepts.“He pushes people to do their best and pushes people even outside of their comfort zone, which really helps people grow,” Kardashian West said of West’s work ethic.

  • Kristin Davis tears up recalling racism faced by her adopted children every day
    Style
    The Independent

    Kristin Davis tears up recalling racism faced by her adopted children every day

    Kristin Davis has spoken out about being a white mother to two black children, adding that her white privilege means she will never be able to “fully understand” the hardships they face.In a tearful interview with actor Jada Pinkett Smith and her mother Adrienne Banfield Norris as part of their Red Table Talk series, the Sex and the City star said,“I don’t know how every person of colour has gotten through this [racism]. I don’t understand how you could take this every day.”The 54-year-old has a baby son, whose name has not yet been revealed, who she adopted in 2018 and a daughter, Gemma Rose, who she adopted in 2011 and is seven years old. Davis was resolute about her view of white privilege during the interview, adding: “This is what I want to say, from a white person adopting [black children]: you absolutely do not fully understand. There’s no doubt. There’s no way you could.“It’s one thing to be watching [racism] happening to other people and it’s another thing when it’s your child. And you haven’t personally been through it. It’s a big issue."> View this post on Instagram> > Repost @redtabletalk. ・・・ Jada, Gammy, and KristinDavis are bringing it all to the table. Join us today as they open up about interracial adoption, motherhood, and love. Only on Facebook Watch.> > A post shared by iamkristindavis (@iamkristindavis) on Jul 8, 2019 at 10:29am PDT

  • Parents should play online video games with children, says online safety group
    Style
    The Independent

    Parents should play online video games with children, says online safety group

    Parents should play online games with their children to better understand the risks and benefits this entails, according to an online safety group.New research published by online safety experts Internet Matters on Monday reveals that most parents do not feel confident dealing with the issues surrounding online gaming, despite more than three-quarters of children playing online video games. Their findings indicate that more than half of parents (55 per cent) worry that strangers will approach their children via online gaming platforms, while more than a third (38 per cent) are unsure who their children are playing with online. The report, titled Parenting Generation Game, encourages parents to understand the benefits that gaming can offer, with 62 per cent of those polled acknowledging that playing online games can help develop a child’s problem solving skills.In light of the findings, the London-based, non-profit organisation has produced a series of online resources for parents to provide them with information about the advantages and disadvantages of online gaming – and encourages them to join in with their children. The online guidance also includes suggestions for video games suitable for all the family to play.Andy Robertson, Internet Matters’ gaming expert, added that the range of games on offer is huge.Robertson stated that by getting involved with online gaming with children, parents will be able to “help capitalise on the benefits” and “celebrate” their gaming successes.Internet Matters chief executive Carolyn Bunting said that parents who regularly get involved with their children's activities online are "better placed to lead them through some of the issues they may face.“We’re encouraging parents to do something that may well go against their nature and have a go – get involved. With an overwhelming majority of children playing online games now, it has become part and parcel of growing up in the digital age.”Despite the new initiative, concerns have been raised that video games can be addictive, with an onus placed on developers to do more to protect users, especially young people. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry into addictive technologies, which intends to look at video games and their usage of loot boxes: paid-for packs of in-game items which some believe could be used as a gateway into gambling for young people. The news comes after new research revealed that one in four children have experienced a form of online abuse in the past 12 months.Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, conducted a study with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to identify concerns the nation has about using the Internet.Their findings, which were published in Ofcom’s first annual Online Nation report in May, showed that 23 per cent of children have been cyberbullied in the last year, while 39 per cent have been subjected to offensive language online.

  • Two thirds of parents and grandparents think childhoods are getting worse, study finds
    Style
    The Independent

    Two thirds of parents and grandparents think childhoods are getting worse, study finds

    A children’s charity has warned that a “childhood crisis” could be on the way due to government cuts to services such as family crisis support to child protection.Action for Children – a UK children's charity committed to helping vulnerable children and young people, and their families – conducted a survey of 5,000 young people and adults about their thoughts on childhood.The poll, conducted in collaboration with YouGov, found that that two thirds of parents (60 per cent) and grandparents (62 per cent) felt childhoods were getting worse, and a third of children (34 per cent) agreed.All of the participant’s said bullying, both online and offline, was the main problem, followed by pressure to fit in, which has intensified in the age of social media.Furthermore, 91 per cent of children surveyed said they also worried about "adult issues", including Brexit, poverty and homelessness, and terrorism.The environment and inequality were also on their minds.Julie Bentley, chief executive of the charity, said: "The country is sleepwalking into a crisis in childhood and, far from being carefree, our children are buckling under the weight of unprecedented social pressures, global turmoil and a void in Government policy which should keep them well and safe."Our research shows children worry about poverty, homelessness and terrorism and the vulnerable children we work with every day are facing traumas like domestic abuse or neglect, going hungry or struggling with their mental health, without the support they desperately need."As a result of the findings, Action for Children, has launched a campaign called “Choose Childhood” which calls on the Government to establish a National Childhood Strategy.Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show the number of children living in poverty in the UK had risen to 4.1 million in 2017/18.Similarly, funding for children's services was cut by 3bn, or 29 per cent, from 2010/11 to 2017/18.Bentley called on the next prime minister to “wake up” to the growing crisis and provide adequate funding to “urgently needed services to keep children safe from harm”.In response to the findings, Damian Hinds, education secretary, said the UK government is making steps to address the concerns of young people by “identifying mental health problems and providing support in schools, encouraging young people to gain resilience and skills through activities such as sport and music, and teaching young people in school how to navigate the online world safely and constructively”.Hinds also explained that the government is currently developing a new Youth Charter, which aims to combat serious violence and knife crime, and concerns about the environment and climate change.Earlier this year, a report revealed that there had been a surge in children being detained in mental health hospitals for several months.The Children’s Commissioner for England said too many children were being admitted to hospital unnecessarily and spending months and years of their childhood in institutions when they do not need to be there.Figures published by Anne Longfield and her team showed the number of children with a learning disability or autism identified in a mental health hospital in England more than doubled in two years, to 250 youngsters in February 2019.

  • Simon Pegg discusses his alcohol addiction and depression: 'I don’t think you ever really lose your demons'
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    The Independent

    Simon Pegg discusses his alcohol addiction and depression: 'I don’t think you ever really lose your demons'

    Simon Pegg has talked about suffering from depression and overcoming alcohol addiction, revealing that he believes it’s impossible to completely “lose your demons”.Last year, the actor opened up about his struggle with alcoholism while filming the 2006 film Mission: Impossible III and how he had to take out court orders to stop the news being made public.In a new interview with GQ Hype, the Shaun of the Dead actor said that he has come to understand how depression and addiction can affect your life.“What I have come to realise from back then is that depression is always there,” he told the publication.“No matter what I did. I don’t think you ever really lose your demons. You just try to find a way to keep them in their place.”The actor continued to say that drugs like alcohol shouldn't be relied upon as a long-term solution.“At some point the effects wear off and you need more and more. And so with something like alcohol, you just end up being drunk all the time,” he added.“It’s where that line comes from in The World’s End where Nick Frost’s character asks me, ‘How do know when you are drunk if you are never sober?’ And an opportunity came up for me to turn everything around and that’s what happened.”The actor revealed that the lowest moment during his battle with addiction was during the San Diego Comic-Con in 2010 while promoting his sci-film film, Paul.Despite having vowed to abstain from alcohol at the time, Pegg said he felt it might improve his low mood during the trip.The Spaced star continued: “I got to the point where I was sitting on the sidewalk in downtown San Diego having lost my phone and eating pizza and it was just so bleak.“When I got home, [his wife] Maureen just knew I had been drinking and it was bad. I knew then I needed to get help.”Following the experience, Pegg sought treatment at The Priory and stopped drinking alcohol altogether.“What I found was that as soon as I stopped, things started to go my way,” he said.“It’s a strange thing and I have had conversations with other people about this, that when you quit drinking the universe starts to give back to you a little bit. Maybe it’s because I figured out why I was drinking, which was to combat the depression and so I was able to get on top of what was the real issue.”Pegg added that his recovery made him when you realise that “you don’t need to get drunk because you don’t need to escape from things".“By actually confronting it, my reward has been these last 10 years.”During the interview, the notoriously private star also revealed his reasons for discussing his mental health problems last year.“I think I was just ready to talk about it, you know?” he said.“Before then, I hadn’t really been prepared to give that much of myself over. It isn’t something I think should be seen as shameful. It’s something that a lot of people suffer with.”The 49-year-old said that as a result of his admission, he received messages of support from fans who thanked him for his honesty.“I had from a lot of people who said, ‘Thank you for saying that, because I felt that way too.’ And that’s what I would have hoped for,” he added.If you have been affected by any issues mentioned in this article, you can contact The Samaritans for free on 116 123 or any of the following mental health organisations:mind.org.uknhs.uk/livewell/mentalhealthmentalhealth.org.uksamaritans.organxietyuk.org.ukSimon Pegg’s full interview with GQ Hype can be read here.

  • Cheryl confesses to 'dying inside' at height of fame due to anxiety
    Style
    The Independent

    Cheryl confesses to 'dying inside' at height of fame due to anxiety

    Former Girls Aloud singer Cheryl has spoken about her battle with anxiety and how she often felt like she was “dying inside” at the height of her fame. In an interview with BBC Radio 1’s Life Hacks on Sunday, Cheryl also discussed her concerns about social media and the impact of online trolls on her wellbeing. “I would walk out to a wall of paparazzi and put on a smile but inside I was dying,” the singer told hosts Kate Thistleton and Cel Spellman.The 36-year-old criticised the ‘facade’ of a perfect life that many people present through social media, stating that it was a problem and something she is guilty of having done in previous years. “I think what happens then is everyone is looking around like, ‘why does everyone seem so good and having a good time in a happy place and I feel rubbish?’ And that’s not helpful,” said the former X-Factor judge.”So if people would just be a bit more open and honest with how they’re feeling, I think we could all help each other.”Cheryl went on to lambast online trolls, stating: “They’re not OK.“If someone has the time and the mental capacity to want to go on an article and write a sentence about somebody, you’ve got to be quite an angry sad person.“You can’t believe people think those things about you, you can’t believe people feel those things about you.”The singer added that she now believes negative comments are more “a reflection than it is a truth” and that they reveal more about the person writing it than the person who it’s directed towards. “These people don’t know you. They have no idea about you as a person or what’s really going on.”The ‘Love Made Me Do It’ singer admitted that she found the online criticism hardest in her teens and early twenties. “You can’t believe people think those things about you, you can’t believe people feel those things about you,” she said. In April this year, Cheryl admitted that she had been undergoing cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) following years of self-loathing. Before giving birth to her son, Bear, in 2017, the pop singer admitted that she didn’t feel content with her life and so decided to turn to a therapist for help.Her experience helped her to “actively undo” all the negative thought patterns and self-talk she had become familiar with. “I would talk to myself so nastily: ‘You silly cow. You stupid b***h.’ No one could make me feel worse about myself than I did, and that was a massive problem,” she said. During the interview, the Newcastle-born star spoke about her experiences of therapy.“I struggled for so many years with anxiety and in my own head,” she said. ”I didn’t want that to be happening when I was trying to focus on raising a child.“It felt like my responsibilities shifted and my priorities changed and I needed to be settled in my own head to be able to give him the best that I could possibly give him.”

  • How to combat hay fever symptoms during summer
    Style
    The Independent

    How to combat hay fever symptoms during summer

    As temperatures continue to fluctuate this summer – with Britain recording its hottest day of the year at the end of June – hay fever sufferers may struggle to spend time outdoors without their symptoms flaring up. For the unlucky individuals afflicted with sneezing fits, runny noses and itchy eyes every year, it can be incredibly frustrating having to endure the debilitating symptoms. However, there are precautions that you can take to keep your symptoms at bay, or at least reduce their severity. Here are some top tips for combatting hay fever this year: Track pollen countPollen count varies day by day depending on the weather.When you check the weather forecast, the information provided will include the daily pollen count.According to Allergy UK, the pollen count tends to be higher on days that are warmer and dryer, and lower on days that are cooler and wetter. This is because rain typically washes pollen from the air.If the day ahead is set to be particularly warm and dry, try to limit your time spent outdoors. Keep cleanWhen you do venture outside, pollen can become attached to your hair and clothes. In order to avoid your hay fever symptoms playing havoc after a day spent outdoors, make sure that you shower and wash your hair after arriving home.You should also change your clothing as soon as possible.When pollen counts are recorded as being high, it’s important to remember not to dry your clothes outdoors. Avoid grassy areasAnyone who suffers from hay fever knows that grassy areas can cause your symptoms to spike.While it may be impossible to avoid grassy areas altogether, if you know that you’re particularly affected by grass it may be worth avoiding large grassy spaces or doing activities such as camping, as advised by Dr Mary Harding.If you’re typically in charge of gardening duties in your household, perhaps it would be best to delegate this task to someone else. Beware car airAs well as being aware of the pollen count outdoors, you need to also take indoor air into account.If you’re travelling in a car, make sure that you keep your car windows closed during your journey.> Hayfever is some neeky illness lmao how are plants making you cry.> > — ِ (@plsbeonjob) > > April 17, 2018> Little bit of sun and suddenly hayfever slaps me on the face> > — Mustafa (@shanshiyoo) > > April 18, 2018Of course, doing this on a hot day can be stifling. However, if you turn on the air conditioning in your car, you may be blasted with pollen from the outside.Investing in a pollen filter for the air vents in your car could do you a whole lot of good.Dr Harding recommends changing pollen filters every time you stop the car for activities such as filling up on petrol or going for a bite to eat. Medicate responsiblyKeeping your stock of hay fever medicine topped up is obviously vital. There are various different types of medicines that you can try, depending on what your doctor recommends is best for you.Antihistamine nasal sprays, antihistamine tablets, steroid nasal sprays and eye drops are all available to buy from local pharmacies to stem hay fever symptoms. Dr Sabrina Shah-Desai, an ophthalmic and oculoplastic surgeon, stated that people with hay fever should take antihistamines before their symptoms start playing up.“In hay fever, histamine causes eye symptoms such as inflammation, redness and itching by acting on H1 histamine receptors in the eyes," she said. “Eye drops block the H1 receptors, however this treatment only works if taken before contact with the allergen, and it can take a number of weeks for the effects of the treatment to be seen."For all the latest updates on the UK weather, click here.