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Beating the winter blues

Long dull nights and cold dull days can make us feel a bit down or under the weather.

Niki Evans-Ward

  • Get out for a brisk lunchtime walk, wrap up warm and make the most of crisp, clear days. Keeping active releases endorphins and can lift your mood. 
  • Check if you need to take a vitamin D supplement, around 20% of adults may have low vitamin D status. The sun is our main source of vitamin D, our bodies can make and store this during the summer months to help see us through the winter. However, if your stores are low you may need a bit of help to top up during the winter months as we cannot get enough from the UK sun.
  • Get more sleep, many of us only average 6-7 hours a night and this may not be enough. Make the most of the dark evenings and mornings with early nights or later mornings, especially if you are off over the festive period.


Is stress making your company ill?

Niki Evans-Ward

For many of us we spend approximately 50% of our waking hours, getting ready for, commuting to or at work. It is no wonder that something we spend so much of our time doing can have such an impact on our mental and physical health and wellbeing. Work related stress, anxiety and depression account for 9.9m lost working days per year (1).  

Stress can lead to anxiety and depression, which is the second largest health concern after cardiovascular disease. Yet employers often underestimate the physical impact stress has on a person’s health. It can cause or exacerbate cardiovascular disease, ulcers, colitis, anxiety and depression, as well as impairing the immune system. This ultimately effects company productivity, as 35% of all work related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost to ill health are caused by stress(2).

Our bodies are designed to cope with short bursts of stress, it becomes incredibly efficient, fuel supply to the organs is increased and activities such as digestion, urination and reproduction are decreased. However, when stress starts to become prolonged our bodies start to work less efficiently, levels of cortisol increase, muscles waste, the immune system can become suppressed, ulceration of the gut may occur and pancreatic beta cells could fail. In short people become ill!

It estimated that stress costs the UK economy approx. £6.5bn per year(3), yet many companies fail to realise looking after employee’s health can benefit the company’s business health by reducing absenteeism and sickness or increasing motivation and productivity.

Work related stress can not only impact an individual but groups of employees and can cause:

  • Conflict and disputes
  • Increased staff turnover
  • Complaints/grievances
  • Increased sickness absence
  • Reports of stress
  • Difficulty attracting new staff
  • Poor performance
  • Customer dissatisfaction and complaints

So help your colleagues identify the signs and symptoms of stress and understand how to manage this before it becomes a problem to their health. 

  • Talk about the problem
  • Learn to relax
  • Relaxed breathing
  • Exercise
  • Stay hydrated
  • Sleep
  • Eat for wellbeing
  • Master your time
  • Mindfulness
  • Say NO


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