Category Archives: Health posts

New Year, New You!

new year resolution

New Year, New You!

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? The New Year has started, and, as many of us are still feeling bloated and slightly queasy from a possible over-indulgence in rich food, late nights and alcohol, we start January full of good intentions.

Lose a stone. No alcohol. Quit caffeine. Stop smoking. Throw the chocolates out with the recycling. Early nights. Don’t shout at the children; hold doors open for people. Let go of grudges and smile more. Our top wish-lists for New Year’s Resolutions include weight loss, exercise and aspects of personal development, ranging from new hobbies and skills to being a better, nicer or happier person.

The problem is, after that initial burst of enthusiasm, often coupled with feelings of self-disgust at the size of our thighs/smell of cigarettes on our clothes/that jaded hungover feeling, life gets in the way. Statistics show that of the 26.5 million of us who made resolutions on the 1st January, 78% of us will have given up within ten days, and 2% by the end of New Year’s Day!

Will power is especially hard to achieve when we’re tired, bored, over-worked or frustrated – which often kick in as we settle back into our routines, at a cold, dark time of year renowned for its lack of fun and sparkle.

The GOOD NEWS is – You CAN do it!

It is possible to stay on track and make permanent changes in our habits. Here are several simple and practical things you can do to make your resolution work, hour by hour and day by day.

Start small and aim above all for consistency. If you set your goal in small, incremental steps, you are far less likely to be setting yourself up for disappointment and all the negative feelings about yourself that go with it. So, for example, aim to lose 1lb a week for 12 weeks instead of embarking on a crash diet that will leave you feeling half-starved and reaching for the chocolate after two days. Substitute the biscuit jar with a lovely bright bowl of healthy fruit where you’ll clearly see it.

Make a list of all the benefits and turn your resolution into a positive, rewarding experience – getting into those jeans that have been in the wardrobe for 6 months; no more stale cigarette smells on your breath and clothes; waking with a clear head and renewed energy.

Use a positive mantra e.g. ‘I want to eat delicious, fresh, healthy fruit’ rather than ‘I have to stop eating that chocolate even though I want to’. ‘I want to breathe fresh air and have clear comfortable lungs’ instead of ‘I have to give up smoking and fight the cravings’.

Keep a diary. This will enable you to celebrate your achievements, and put any lapses into perspective. Accept that there may be lapses from time to time, be kind to yourself and don’t beat yourself up if you have the occasional slip.

Two’s company! Any resolution will work better if you can involve a partner or friend to help both of you keep on track.

Formulate an ‘if-then’ plan for when and where you’ll activate your resolution – i.e. ‘IF it’s the afternoon and I’m craving chocolate, THEN I will eat a piece of fruit instead.’

Formulate an ‘if-then’ plan for how you’ll handle obstacles – i.e. ‘IF I don’t have any fruit to hand, THEN I will drink a glass of water and THEN walk to the shop and get some fruit.’

If you feel you may need a bit more assistance, NLP and hypnotherapy can help you access powerful additional tools to keep you motivated, boost your will power and resolve cravings. Do give me a call on 0117 907 7722 or send an email to, and I’d be delighted to talk it through with you and help you achieve your goals.

Most important of all have a Happy and Healthy 2016!


A right pain in the neck (or shoulders, or back)

back pain

If you work for a large company, you will probably have had some basic training about avoiding back, shoulder and neck pain, related headaches, and repetitive strain injuries (RSIs). This probably included diagrams or videos around good posture and chair/desk position (if sitting at a computer for much of the day), or how to lift and carry or operate machinery safely (if engaged in more manual work).

However, you may well have glanced at the information once or twice during your induction and then quietly forgotten about it, and if you work for a smaller company, or are self-employed, not really thought about it much at all.

Sounding familiar? Then this article is for you!

A complex joint

The shoulder consists of several joints, connected by various ligaments, tendons and muscles. Its’ large range of movement is what enables us to do so much with our arms – and this is also the reason so many of us experience shoulder pain, as well as related neck and back pain.

Chronic pain in the neck and shoulder area tend to stem from prolonged, repetitive or awkward movements, which put strain on the muscles and tendons in the upper body. Activities which cause this kind of pain or RSI injury can include use of industrial machinery, using a computer mouse, swiping items at the supermarket for long periods, overhead activities such as painting and plastering or carrying and lifting heavy loads.

Neck pain and headaches are often linked to desk-based work: craning sideways at a computer screen, having a desk or chair position which puts strain on the neck, cradling a phone between the neck and shoulder, or spending long periods hunched over mobile phones and tablets.

Relieving the strain

The good news is, there is a lot you can do to avoid putting strain on your neck, back and shoulders. All sedentary workers should get up and take a break from sitting for ten minutes every couple of hours. Simply by making phone calls in  standing, going to make a drink,  doing some filing, discussing projects with colleagues or other work away from the desk will make a big difference.  A 30 second micro-break, to do some stretches and  have a quick walk around the office every half hour, is really important to boost the circulation. Movement refreshes the brain as well as the muscles, so the boss shouldn’t complain!

When sitting at your desk, bear in mind that your:

  • feet should be firmly planted and flat on the floor or on a stable footrest;
  • Knees should be slightly lower than your hips;
  • elbows should be supported and close to your body;
  • wrists and hands should be in line with your forearms;
  • lower back (the lumbar region) should be supported;
  • shoulders should be relaxed;

Finally, check your work station is set up correctly, with everything within easy reach, your screen at arms’ length and the top of the screen just below eye level, centred in front of you.

Bear in mind that fatigue sets in through the day, so we tend to slouch, losing our good posture and increasing strain on the body. Taking a break really helps. In the longer term, counteracting hours spent at the desk with stretching and strengthening exercises such as Pilates, yoga or tai chi is also very beneficial. Some cardio-vascular exercise is also essential – a 10 minute brisk walk at lunch time and 30 minutes walking several times week keeps you fit and has the added bonus of burning off a few calories.

Neck, shoulder, back and RSI pain is cumulative but effectively helped by physio

These types of injuries have a habit of creeping up on us, and sometimes need a helping hand to send them on their way, along with some changes in lifestyle and habit. Habits are often not corrected overnight, and it can take some time to repair the stresses and strains which have built up over the years.

Physio is especially effective in cases of desk related tightness and pain, repetitive strain injuries and injuries caused by lifting or carrying. If you are finding it increasingly uncomfortable to do your job effectively, and would like some help, please get in touch!


When confidence fails you… all is not lost


Confidence. The sense that you can do anything you set your heart and mind on; that you can overcome the obstacles which may be in your way; that you can triumph, no matter what. It is something we are born with – we need it, in order to survive – but is also something which life’s obstacles can knock out of us.

For that reason, we might find the very idea of a particular situation so scary that we simply cannot imagine being able to do it. To walk into a room and introduce ourselves happily to a stranger; stand up and give a talk; perform at an interview or in an exam, or ask the boss for a pay rise or promotion. In the case of generalised poor self-confidence and low self-esteem, we might simply feel that we can’t ever achieve our goals, or that we are not worthy of love or praise. Low self-esteem can often be compounded by related problems, such as comfort eating, which then lead to an even worse sense of self-worth in terms of weight gain and subsequent negative body image.

People with low self-confidence will often feel shy, uneasy or uncomfortable in certain situations; unsure of their needs or feelings, and are likely to have negative thoughts about themselves and their abilities.  The causes can be specific or general – ongoing low confidence can be the result of an individual’s early life experiences, while fear of a certain situation may have been sparked by a particular bad experience in adulthood.

Confidence issues can be resolved.

The good news is, confidence issues can be resolved, as everyone has the ability and skills to enhance their self-confidence. It is often the case that people are simply unsure of how to tackle it, or believe it can’t be done.

The combination of Hypnotherapy and NLP is a really effective way to get to the heart of the problem, as it cuts straight to the subconscious, overriding all the negative messages that have become habitual. It isn’t a magic wand – it does not suddenly turn you into a different person – although many people experience change more quickly than they believed possible. The therapy allows you to forget the unhelpful beliefs you had about yourself. For example that you could not interview well because you fluffed an important interview in the past, or that you were unworthy of love because you had experienced rejection by a parent or other significant person in your life.

Hypnotherapy and NLP work on your subconscious mind helping you to rediscover the innate confidence you were born with, putting you back in the driving seat by reminding your subconscious of the qualities and abilities you possess which will enable your confidence to grow. These positive thoughts and behaviours will then become a natural part of you – happening without you even realising. You can learn to feel confident again, in order that you can live the life that you love!

If you would like help to improve your confidence or self-esteem, through hypnotherapy or NLP, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Hello, world! Sarah Holmes Health is born…

Welcome to the all new Sarah Holmes Health website! I’m thrilled to introduce my new company, which many of my current patients will know as Acorn Physiotherapy. It’s been a few months of great change for me, following a couple of years of training in new skills and honing them, in order to be able to offer them professionally as a fully-rounded, more holistic service where appropriate – treating the mind and body together.
Continue reading Hello, world! Sarah Holmes Health is born…