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8 Reasons to Add Ginger to your Cup, Plate or Pan

Ginger – whether you have it in hot water with honey and apple cider vinegar to start the day, or if you’re cooking a stir fry with it, ginger has a number of health benefits.( Ginger Nut biscuits however, don’t count )
Ginger is a flowering plant that originated from China. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, and is closely related to turmeric, cardamom and galangal.
The rhizome (underground part of the stem) is the part commonly used as a spice. It is often called ginger root, or simply ginger.
Ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered, or as an oil or juice, and is sometimes added to processed foods and cosmetics. 

Ginger has a very long history of use in various forms of traditional and alternative medicine. 
It has been used to help digestion, reduce nausea and help fight the flu and common cold, to name just a a few.

The unique fragrance and flavour of ginger come from its natural oils, the most important of which is gingerol.
Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger, responsible for much of its medicinal properties and it has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Here are just some of the benefits your brain and your body will experience when you consume ginger.

Improve Brain Function and Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can accelerate the aging process. They are believed to be among the key drivers of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline.
There is some evidence that ginger can enhance brain function directly. In a study of 60 middle-aged women, ginger extract was shown to improve reaction time and working memory.

It’s an anti-inflammatory.
Like other produce such as nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains, ginger contains antioxidant-like compounds called phytonutrients that may reduce cell damage. It can reduce your risk of diabetes.
Scientists have linked some active compounds in ginger with improvements in insulin and metabolism. Dried and fresh ginger is great to have on-hand for flavouring smoothies, stir-frys or soups.  Whilst some chemical compounds in ginger may decrease over time, the drying process enhances other beneficial ones.

It can help with morning sickness.
Ginger may help reduce symptoms of morning sickness! In fact, research supports the safety and efficacy of ginger during pregnancy.

It’s a natural way to relieve period pain.

The research done on ginger’s pain-relieving properties, show that it helps with menstrual pain the most. Check with your GP before trying any supplement in extract or pill form, since it may interact with other medications you’re taking.

It can settle an upset stomach.Research has linked multiple digestive benefits to ginger, specifically acting on parts of your GI tract responsible for feelings of nausea, stomach upset, and vomiting. 

It can help with indigestion.Research demonstrates ginger has been shown to speed up emptying of the stomach in people with chronic indigestion (dyspepsia).

It may help prevent heart disease.
The same anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger can also reduce the risk of chronic disease.  A 2016 review linked regular ginger intake with lower cholesterol and blood sugar compared to a placebo. 

It may lower your risk of cancer.
The cell-protecting properties of ginger can lower the long-term risk of certain cancers.  That’s because the spice and other flavourings may reduce cellular activity that causes DNA changes, cell death, and proliferation of cancer cells. 


Whilst ginger’s not a cure-all for any chronic disease, using it regularly with loads of other spices and plant-based foods can help benefit health overall.

Keep Well

Dr Clara Russell

Noggin Nuggget- Take a deep breath….

Breathing – it’s easy right? We do it without even thinking.

Shallow breathing can lead to feelings of stress, nervousness and even fatigue. To get a really deep proper deep breath we have to engage more than just our mouth, nose and lungs.

First a small anatomy lesson:

Underneath your lungs sits your diaphragm. This is a muscle that forms the dividing line between your chest and your abdomen. As you breathe in, the diaphragm becomes flat. As you breathe out the diaphragm relaxes and returns to its natural slightly curved shape. The air is then released out of your lungs

Using your diaphragm to take deep breaths is a key way to decrease stress. This works by triggering relaxation centres in your brain. This way of breathing also helps with blood flow into your heart and cardiovascular system. 

This type of breathing takes focus and concentration, This alone can be a way of focusing you in the moment and helping us feel calmer. With this conscious effort to breathe, plus the additional benefits of breathing in this manner, we are activating 2 ways to help us feel calmer, 

There are different exercises and techniques but we like to keep it simple at Noggin HQ. 

This exercise is called 4-7-8 breathing

First thing is first- it might feel a bit weird but stick with it!

Find a quiet spot to sit or lie down. 

Keep your feet slightly apart and out one hand on your chest and one on your tummy

Blow out all the air in your lungs thought your mouth gently and then breathe in carefully and slowly through your nose for a count of 4. You can press on your tummy slightly as your do this 

Hold for at least 4 and up to 7

Breathe out through your mouth for a count of 8- feeling your lungs and tummy fully emptying of air. 

Repeat for at least 2 cycles, working your way up to 5 cycles with some practice. 

Like riding a bike or learning any new skill it’s not always easy first time so keep persevering and it will get easier

It’s also a great breathing exercise to do as a family – even little ones can benefit from focusing and concentrating on breathing 

Keep Well

Dr Clara Russell

The S word

How do you cope with stress? 

Stress is all around us everyday. As we take each day one at  time in these unusual and frightening times our stresses may be different. Rushing to get to work on time and drop the kids off may have been replaced for now by trying to battle with home schooling and manage Zoom calls. Financial and health worries are in the forefront of our every day thoughts in ways that they may not have been before. Loneliness and isolation are the new norm for some of us as we face another day indoors. 

Looking after ourself in any way we can-  no matter how small or simple we think it is-  has never been more important. Taking a few minutes to do something for us can make a difference to how we face our daily worries.

Improving our ability to manage stress can increase our energy reserves and help our immune response as well as our brain and mental health

Daily steps to do this can seem small and meaningless but they can help with feeling of calm almost immediately. 

Doing these more frequently can help form new routines and weekly habits and this is of increasing benefits for our brain and mental health

Daily ideas to take a break :

Listen to music– dance, classical, Disney or hip hop. Put it on and turn it up!

Have a dance– we know how important movement is for our brain health so there has never been a better time for a kitchen disco*

Plan, cook and enjoy a healthy meal or snack – treats are important but feeling ourselves with nutritious tasty bites can help with our sense of wellbeing

Breathe deeply – perhaps the simplest and most important of all, 3 deep breaths can calm our heart rate, our cortisol ( stress hormone) levels and help us take stock of what is causing us to feel wound up. 

Write down the things we are grateful for and what we appreciate- the evidence for gratitude  is overwhelming. As hard as it might be just now, seeking out the things we are thankful for can help us feel better. 

Do something creative– we might usually never have time for something we associate with childhood such as colouring in  or writing a few sentences abut what the day has brought us

Sleep until you wake naturally– whilst routine is key for good sleeping habits, if you don’t have to get up for a zoom call or for a google classroom, try one day just without setting the alarm and let yourself wake when you are ready. What a treat!. 

Find a funny movie or TV show– laughing is a great for your mind and body as well as relaxing endorphins, feel good chemicals to help us feel happier. (We love Modern Family at Noggin HQ and of course you can’t beat ‘Friends’ for an easy chuckle. )

Take a few moments of quiet and visualize a place that you were totally relaxed- a holiday destination or maybe just some time in the park when you had nowhere to be. Recalling these moments can help us feel happier and this feeling can help us with challenges we face later in the day. This can also be a good way to relax at bedtime. 

Research has shown that looking at ways to deal with stress better can help with conditions such as Insomnia, anxiety, pain, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and even child birth.

A few minutes can make a difference to the way we deal with stress AND how we feel. 

Keep well,

Dr Clara Russell

if you are looking for kitchen disco inspiration check out Sophie Ellis Bextor on YouTube! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qMtKqe13F4


Daily ways to feed our immune system

Our immune system is big news these days. There has never been a more important time to think about taking care of immune system and doing all we can to make sure our immune defence weapons are sharp and fully loaded. 

Why our immune system matters?

Our immune systems are hard at work every moment of every day protecting us from infection and disease. One of their biggest ‘back room’ jobs is managing chronic inflammation in an effort to reduce this and reduce our risks of conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. A healthy immune system is also important for reducing our risks of cancer. 

Immune system recap

Our immune system takes the form of many millions of cells circulating in our blood stream on the look out for cells that they don’t like the look of. 

Many of our immune system cells are called lymphocytes  (lim-fo-sites) which come in 2 teams- B cells and T cells. 

Broadly speakingB cells release antibodies to try to attack and get rid of invading bacteria or bad guy cells 

T cells are in 2 main camps – Helper Ts and Killer Ts. 

Killer T cells which go to work on cells that have already begun to react to an assault from the bad guys. 

Helper T cells which work with the B cells to help make the anti bodies and also help killer T cells form 

Can we boost our immune system?

Well here’s the thing – scientists advise that we can’t boost an already perfectly functioning immune system. That would be like looking to create super hero immune cells. Having an over active immune system can causes its own problems and risks. 

However so many things that are part of daily life can affect the ability of our immune system cells to work as efficiently as they can. So the idea is we want to ‘boost’ our immune system back to baseline. 

Daily ways we impact our immune system
What we do every day can both help or hinder our immune system. 

Things that can affect our immune system negatively include poor sleep, being overweight, certain medications, stress, and having insufficient nutrients in our diet.

Therefore there is a good chance there are areas that we could improve on to help our immune system cells sharpen up their responses. 

What can we do to help our immune system?

When it comes to what we put on our plate here are some suggestions- 

Eat More Fish-

Omega 3 oil containing fish are helpful for a healthy immune system.

DHA and EPA found in omega 3 enhance the activity of B cells ( remember these guys? They are the ones that help make antibodies to the bad guys)

How much fish do we need to eat ? 2-3 servings a week if you can, if you are a non fish lover then an omega 3 fish oil supplement might be something to consider. 

Dial up the Garlic-

The sulphur components in garlic- one in particular known as allicin- have been shown to be helpful fo our immune systems. According to the Iowa Women’s Health Study, involving 41,000 middle-aged women, those who routinely ate garlic, fruits and vegetables had a 35 percent lower colon cancer risk. Benefits came from raw and cooked garlic .

Add anti oxidant lycopene rich tomatoes to your garlic and your are further helping your immune cells ( tomato blog)

More Magnesium

A mineral that has many many benefits to general health including regulating blood pressure, heart and brain benefits and supports healthy bones and muscles. Research has found that magnesium has a strong link to our immune system. 

Where to find magnesium? Almonds, cashews, spinach and dark chocolate 

Are you getting enough selenium?

A mineral that has been shown to support your immune system- fighting inflammation is one of its key roles. Not having enough selenium has in fact been found to slow immune responses when needed*. Found in tuna, cod, turkey, lamb, mushrooms, sunflower seeds and Brazil nuts

Drink cups of tea

Yes seriously Tea can help your T cells due to the ingredient theanine. This ingredient- an amino acid- has anti inflammatory properties which are thought to have a number of health benefits and supporting your immune system is one key benefit that has prompted ongoing research. 

Spice up your plate

Tumeric has anti oxidant and anti inflammatory properties** and has long been used for these and of course for its yummy taste and amazing colour. 

For some ideas on how to add this to your diet check out 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/search?q=turmeric&searchButton=

We love this delicious turmeric milk !

https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/golden_spiced_turmeric_21734

Keep well

Dr Clara Russell

** Turmeric https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17211725

Podcasts to soothe, nurture and recharge our brains

Here are some podcasts which are all centred around issues of mental health and thinking.  These podcasts will provide tips and tricks for positive thinking during this period. Happy listening!


Brene Brown

#1 New York Times best-selling author Brené Brown as she unpacks and explores the ideas, stories, experiences, books, films, and music that reflect the universal experiences of being human.This includes the gamut of the bravest moments to the most brokenhearted.( Brene is a big favourite here at Noggin HQ)

Mental Illness Happy Hour

The Mental Illness Happy Hour is a weekly online podcast that interviews comedians, artists, friends, and the occasional doctor. Each episode explores mental illness, trauma, addiction and negative thinking.


Mad World by Bryony Gordon

Rebooted for 2020 mental health champion and Telegraph columnist, Gordon speaks to featuring people talking about their mental health, Nadiya Hussein is in there as is Mel B, it also features Prince Harry.

Meditation Minis

Perfect for both beginners and those with less time, these simple and snappy guided meditations will calm your anxiety, help overcome negative thinking, increase your confidence and sharpen your mental focus. A perfect addition to your work from home routine!

The Overwhelmed Brain

This podcast series discusses a variety of topics we’ve all thought about. From relationships to self-worth and adversity. 

Happy Place by Fearne Cotton 

This aims to bring simple happiness to everyday life through candid conversations with people in the limelight on how they have managed their well-being. The conversations are delightful and focus on aspects such as body positivity, depression, motherhood, stress and recovery.

Happy Listening!

Dr Clara Russell

What happens when we eat and why the Microbiome is important

Before we get into the microbiome a quick revision of digestion from biology

Ready?!

Digestion starts when we put food our Mouth. Our gnashers work to grind the food down  in partnership with our saliva. This chewing action, combined with release of enzymes ( chemicals that help with the break down of our food) ensure that the food is broken down in such a way that we can absorb what we need to from the food as it passes through our digestive system 

Food travels from the mouth, down the Oesophagus tube and into our Stomach – the balloon like structure we can feel when we push between the lower part of our ribs ( don’t push on it too hard, it will hurt!) 

The stomach can stretch to accommodate large amounts of food. The stomach is where the food is further broken down with the action of more enzymes and a type of acid (hydrochloric acid) and swizzled around to get it ready for its next destination. 

This process takes around 4 hours

When our stomach is empty, a chemical messenger hormone – ghrelin ( greh-lin) – is produced to tell our brains that we are ready to eat again

Next up on the digestion rollercoaster is the  (not very small) Small Intestine.

On average our ‘small’ intestine is thought to be about 20 feet long! Now we have nothing that looks like what we ate but actually a liquidy mass that is further broken down into smaller elements for absorption and removal at the end ( ahem)

It takes up to 6 hours for the food to move through this not so Small Intestine tube proving that there is a lot of work going on here. The food moves through in pulses and this is where nutrients get absorbed into our bowel and nasty bacteria gets kept out. Depending on how efficient the worker cells in the small intestine are, this, as you can imagine, is a big job. 

From here the end is in site –  the Large Intestine.

Here water is absorbed from what is left and anything that has been to tricky for the small bowel to deal with can be further broken down here. Although this is the last stop before ‘excretion’, this is the home of the Microbiome. A huge , HUGE pool of bacteria and micro organisms which we now know are very important to not only digestion but to our general health. 

( micro organisms are living things that are too small to be seen by the naked eye)

The Microbiome

What is it? Between 1000 and 1150 species of bacteria living in the human gut with 3 million genes between them. This is considerably more than the human genes that we have giving rise the to notion that we are more bacteria than we are human. This may be true but a bit weird ( and yucky) to think about so let’s go back to what we know about the Microbiome.

What does the microbiome actually do? 

Remember the last bit of digestion that occurs in the large bowel? The hard to digest left overs from the small bowel? The sciencey name for this is ‘indigestible fibres’ usually from plants such as vegetables. The bacteria in the microbiome ferment these indigestible fibres to release something called short chain fatty acids – SCFA. 

These SCFA, released from this very last part of the digestion process before the party is over, are vital in protecting the lining of our whole gut.

The microbiome also has a protective role in forming a barrier to reduce the risk of nasty toxic bacteria getting a hold in the gut and causing all sorts of problem 

The microbiome also interact with our immune system and our nervous system which is one of the reasons that our gut and our brain are in direct communication 

Why is there such an interest in the microbiome?

The types of bacteria and how many we have individually seems to be heavily influenced by our diet, 

The bacteria may also affect how calories are taken out of the food we eat

Our microbiome may also have a major impact on the hormones released when we are hungry or when we are full which may in turn have an impact on other hormones within our bodies as well as impacting our drive to eat and our weight. 

The beneficial bacteria help with absorption of vitamins from our food, and help with digestion

They have also been shown to have potentially have a role in our mood, our anxiety levels.

The genes of these bacteria can interact with human genes  and this is why scientists are so interested on how the microbiome may have a future role with risks for certain conditions 

The research is ongoing in every area of this but one thing that is clear is the bigger the variety of bacteria we have in our large bowel the better for general health, 

How do we influence the bacteria in our gut? 

Ageing, stress, poor diet and some medications are some of the ways we influence our microbiome.

If we don’t have enough of these helpful bacteria then our gut lining may not be as strong as it could be to help us have normal healthy digestion. 

This also can have an impact on our immune system, our weight and how our bowels function.

Tips for a healthy microbiome include :

Drink plenty of water

Increase your fibre intake – ideally through vegetables, as many different colours as you can manage!

Limit processed foods

Limit sugar intake- sugar and your gut bacteria are not friends.

Antibiotics only when essential – vitally important for treating bacterial infections when needed but antibiotics will also wipe out some of the good guys as well as the bad guys. 

Probiotic foods and supplements ( sources of live bacteria to help increase the number of helpful bacteria in your gut) are important to consider , particularly if you have been on some antibiotics recently. 

Keep well,

Dr Clara Russell

You say tomato…

There are many health benefits to the ubiquitous tomato.

Tomatoes are a major source of lycopene, an antioxidant, which gives the fruit it’s vivid colour. As well as lycopene, they also contain various other plant compounds, including beta-carotene, narigenin and chlorogenic acid.

Lycopene is good for your eyes and that’s not the only peeper-protective nutrient in tomatoes; they contain lutein and beta-carotene as well. 

According to research, those nutrients support vision and protect against eye conditions including cataracts and macular degeneration.

Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment which adds colour to plants and is converted into vitamin A, which is good for healthy skin and our immune system in low levels. 

Tomatoes are also filled with vitamins such as Vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin K.

The amount of vitamins found in a tomato can vary greatly between plants, but the average medium size tomato should provide almost 30% percent of your recommended daily dose of Vitamin C.

There is good evidence to suggest that lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes, could help protect against  free radical damage to cells.

Favour cooked tomatoes and enjoy with a little olive oil to optimise your body’s absorption and use. 

Other foods supplying lycopene, and similar protective phyto-nutrients include papaya, watermelon and pink grapefruit. 

According to health.com, tomatoes may be a protective food for people with type 2 diabetes: In one study, people with diabetes who supplemented with cooked tomatoes for 30 days experienced a decrease in lipid peroxidation, a chain reaction in which those pesky free radicals attack fat, leading to damage that can contribute to an increased risk of heart disease. 

To make tomatoes count as one of your five-a-day, the NHS recommends eating one medium tomato or seven cherry tomatoes as one portion.

Feeling overwhelmed?

With so much going on at the moment, we are all facing a new normal. Simple changes to our daily routines can make a difference to how we feel.

Just say no

For lots of us saying yes to something is our default position. It’s easier to say yes now to a colleague, a friend or relative then work out the why and the how later.  Saying no can be difficult, especially if you are someone who wants to avoid conflict or just finds it easier to ‘go with the flow’. Taking on too many commitments can be a simple yet big trigger for chronic stress. The type of stress you don’t really know you have until you find yourself full of road rage, not sleeping properly at night or constantly reaching for sweet treats. So if you think your diary is bulging at the seams with commitments, look at how you can say no. See how it feels when you have less to do-your energy levels, concentration and focus will improve over time and that ongoing buzzy stress-y feeling will start to reduce. Reducing your stress is important for your brain health and general wellbeing. Try saying no thank you and see how this can help how you feel. 

One thing at a time

Multi tasking is not efficient and can leave us feeling tired, ineffective and as if we have a foot in both puddles rather than walking straight down the road. Yet we still all think we can do several things at once. Sort washing and talk on the phone.  Type an email and plan a shopping list. Then we wonder why we don’t remember all the details from the call or end up forgetting to buy the one thing we actually needed from the store. Focusing on one thing at a time can be helpful in terms of productivity, having a sense of achievement and reducing stress levels. Performing  simple things can also have meditative qualities- such as filling the dishwasher and really paying attention to the sounds and specifics of what we are doing. Focusing fully on doing the simple things can mean when we are finished our brain feels more energised and ready for something more challenging.

Turn the stone

Our brains are programmed for negative thinking. This is how we have survived over centuries- sensing danger, planning with worst case scenario and then working out ways to save ourselves and those around us. Whilst the external threats to us are not what they were when we had to hunt for food and protect ourselves from the elements, our brain still defaults to a negative thought pattern. Imagining the worst when something small happens or focusing on negative aspects of our current situation can happen without us realising. Such as sitting in a traffic jam stressing about traffic and that we might be late and what will happen as a result of this as opposed to thinking that the traffic is out of our control and that we have only to focus on driving safely to get  to our destination when we can. Science has shown that this can be changed by seeking the upside or the positive to a challenging situation that we find ourselves in. The more we look for a silver lining, the easy it is to find it. It’s not always easy as we currently find ourselves in the midst of lockdown in a pandemic. But it is important for our brain health that we turn the stone and try to look at things in a different way when we can. 

Keep well,

Dr Clara Russell

Simple ways to feel better- even in lockdown- part 2

Another Monday morning, another week staying in to stay safe. Feeling the pressure? Here’s some suggestions to help your feel better.

Find the time for a few minutes doing something you really want to do

Things are all at sea for all of us at the moment. No matter what situation you are in, we are all in a very different place than we were just weeks ago. We all think we don’t have time for the silliness or the fun stuff, but ensuring you have a few minutes every day for ourselves is a great place to start

Try this:

Whatever it is – going for a run, dancing like a kid to a song on the radio, browsing holidays on line, watching something funny on TV – make the time to do it. These few minutes have a disproportionate impact on your mood and energy.

Switch your screen off

In lockdown it can be harder to have boundaries to our day. Its hard to follow which day of the week it is let alone what time of day it is. So it is easy to let screen time seep into all hours. A quick email, a school task, a zoom call with family, watching the news- it all adds up. 

Try this:

Keep your phone on a different room when you are clocked off from work or when school time is over. It’s too easy to mindlessly scroll at the best of times but now it’s even more important for our brain health to keep our screen time confined to the hours we set ourselves. 

Sleep pattern all over the place?

The routines have changed, rushing to get the train or beat traffic for school drop are not the markers we have now for the start of our day. So it makes sense the end of our day and bed times are also less structured. This might seem easier for now but actually this can affect our natural rhythms and our ability to fall asleep when we go to bed and get up when we need to. 

Try this:

Sleep routines aren’t just for kids. If you find yourself struggling with sleep and getting up, try being stricter with your routine. Set a bed time and wake up and stick to it – set an alarm both evening and morning to make it easier. You will soon find that you are sleeping better and hopefully feeling better as a result 

Write it down to let it go

The tense exchange with a work colleague, frustrations with family members, that thing you said to someone but didn’t mean it to sound the way it was interpreted. We can easily let these things go round and round in our minds and this can lead into a vortex of stress and annoyance. These feelings affect our mood, our sleep and ability to switch off. 

Try this:

If you can write it down this can help your mind clear itself of the thought or the conversation. You can write what you said or hows the exchange has  made you feel. Then thats’ it, switch off from the worry, go and do something else – prepare dinner, play with your kids or read a book.  Working things around and around in our minds is a key trigger for stressful feelings and thoughts than can have an impact on our brain health, our physical health and our general well being , 

Keep well,

Dr Clara Russell

How do you approach your ‘to-do’ list?

Monday morning. Even thought our normal routines are far from normal at the moment that Monday morning can still bring a sense of panic at all the things that need to be done today or in the coming week. And now there is home schooling, the constant fear of illness and the fact that we are separated from loved ones to contend with as well.

When it comes to getting stuff done, trying to clear your head and keep things simple is really important for how we feel. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed with tasks at the best of times and now everything is surrounded with a covid cloud it might feel even harder.

How can we help ourselves with that sinking feeling of all that we want to get done but maybe feel we can’t? 

These thoughts in themselves hold us back from getting the tasks done. These negative thoughts act as a thought blocker, a task blocker and a weight us down.

Our brain is very clever in that it self perpetuates how we think. So if we feel stressed or panicked and that we can’t get stuff done, our brain and our thoughts will reinforce this. 

How can we get rid of these thoughts, quickly and in a way that helps us focus on what we want to achieve? Simple ideas include-

  1. Write it down. I am a massive fan of a list. Everything, all the things that we are thinking we need to do from the biggest task  to the smallest. (I write down even when I need to post a letter!). This gives a clear goal of what we need to get done.
  2. If there is a bigger job or project on that list take this as a task all on its own. This may need a sublist or my personal favourite, a spider diagram.
  3. Single task– multitasking is unproductive, stressful and not good for brain health. One task at a time. If someone isn’t there when you call them and you have to move on to the next one that’s ok, think of it as a task on pause
  4. Review your list as the day goes on– Clear things off your list as you do them or maybe decide they don’t need to be done. Tick the box, score them off, delete them. Priorities will change, someone might do it for your or it might become clear that you don’t need to get that task done at this particular moment as the day goes on.
  5. Take a break- get up, get active and if you can get outside. Even of the midst of a super stressful and busy day taking a few minutes to break, switch off and clear our minds can make us calmer, more productive and feel more positive
  6. One day at a time–  this has never been more important than right now. We can only see what is happening right at this moment and that is all we can manage. So the same is for lists and jobs to be done. There will be always be another list to be made – maybe tomorrow or next week -so praise yourself for what you have done and move the things onto tomorrow’s list that are still outstanding. 
  7. Relax– as a junior doctor on the wards, making lists like these as I traipsed around after the senior doctors on the ward rounds was the bread and butter of my mornings work and the remainder of the shift was usually spent trying to tick everything off. But of course things went sideways pretty quickly if a patient was sick, someone new arrived on the ward or of course if a colleague asked your for help. Not getting though the ward round list could feel very stressful and with a fear that you might get into trouble. Some days went better than others! As time went on I learned that things change and if you don’t manage to get through everything that is ok. You can only do what you can

Whilst this approach can help with productivity, it can also help with a sense of calmness and routine which can change your brains ways of panicky negative self talk over time. 

Simple changes can help us feel better. 

Keep well 

Dr Clara Russell