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With exams around the corner it is easy to feel overwhelmed. There is no doubt that exam time can be a very stressful and daunting time for students (and sometimes parents).

Whether your studying for your junior cert, leaving cert, or college exams, it is important to look after yourself at this stressful period. I have teamed up with Eskimo Omegas to bring you our best Exams Tips to help you get through exam time smoothly.

During exam time you rely on one brain function above all others; Memory.

Relax, breathe, and remember you got this!

  1. Organization is key!

exam stress, exam tips, study, tips, eskimo omegas, eskimo 3.6.9, balanced diet, food ,nutrition, alison canavan, becomplete, exam time, study tipsHaving an organised approach to your studies really is half the battle!

Ensure you have a place to study and you have all your necessary subject books, test papers, stationary before you start your study session.

Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry. Break it down to simpler tasks.

Daily plan – This is what you can do day-to-day

  • Make a to-do list
  • Keep track of your assignments
  • What areas of study you need to focus on

Weekly Plan – overall plan for the week.

  • Dates of tests coming up
  • Tasks to be achieved this week

It is important to set a realistic timetable. If it is too demanding it will only end up stressing you out. Keep it simple.

 

  1. Eat a balanced diet

exam stress, exam tips, study, tips, eskimo omegas, eskimo 3.6.9, balanced diet, food ,nutrition, alison canavan, becomplete, exam time, study tipsEating healthily during the exam period is a great way of letting everything else take care of itself!

Good nutrition is essential at any time of the year, but especially during an exam year when your brain and body are under great stress.

Plenty of fruits, vegetables, seeds, protein and good fats are vital!

 

  1. Drink plenty of water

probiotics, terranova, selfcare, winter, nutrition, BLUE MONDAY, organic turmeric powder, water, hydration, SPIRULINA

Stay hydrated. Try to minimize sugary drinks and caffeine and aim for 2L of water per day! When dehydrated the body and mind becomes dazed and restless so getting that much needed H20 will help you keep your mind clear and your energy levels up!

 

  1. Take regular breaks – exercise!

exam stress, exam tips, study, tips, eskimo omegas, eskimo 3.6.9, balanced diet, food ,nutrition, alison canavan, becomplete, exam time, study tipsGet some fresh air and exercise for at least 30 minutes per day. This stimulates the brain and helps to de-stress and focus the mind.

Plan your revision so you can take breaks and revise what you’ve just learned before moving on to anything new. Plus, it makes for a nice respite from studying – win, win.

 

  1. Talk through what you learnt

Sometimes saying it out loud and saying it back to yourself in your own words can help you memorize what you just have just learnt.

 

  1. Past Papers

Practice make perfect! Look at previous exam papers and make note of what type of questions come up in what years. Look up sample answers and revision notes.

[bctt tweet=”During exam time you rely on one brain function above all others; Memory. Relax, breathe, and remember you got this!” username=”alicanavan”]

  1. Avoid distractions

exam stress, exam tips, study, tips, eskimo omegas, eskimo 3.6.9, balanced diet, food ,nutrition, alison canavan, becomplete, exam time, study tipsDevote your full attention to the task at hand. Yes, we know this sometimes can be a struggle – considering that the urge to procrastinate is at an all-time high. Ensure that you smartphone is turned off, on silent or left outside your study space. You can check your snapchats, Instagram and Facebook later at breaks!

 

  1. Get those much needed Zzzz’s

exam stress, exam tips, study, tips, eskimo omegas, eskimo 3.6.9, balanced diet, food ,nutrition, alison canavan, becomplete, exam time, study tipsSleep plays a critical role in memory and helps you retain information better.

Think of is as if your smartphone updating – the same way it needs the updates to keep functioning at top speed – so too you need your sleep to retain information.

Try to avoid all-nighters to avoid burn out. Go to bed and get up early to study that morning if needs be.

 

  1. Flashcards

exam stress, exam tips, study, tips, eskimo omegas, eskimo 3.6.9, balanced diet, food ,nutrition, alison canavan, becomplete, exam time, study tipsSmall, portable and one of the best ways to best to learn.

These cards are great for writing out short notes, keywords, and questions. Write out a question or a term on one side of the flashcard and the answer on the other side.

They are a great way to test yourself. Do a speed round – see how many you can get right in 10 minutes. Keep your flashcards subject divided and place all the ones your get right in one pile and the ones you get incorrect in another and then go over again.

ACRONYMS

Acronyms are words formed from the first letter of the first work of each point/ fact you want to remember.

Keep notes clear, simple and organised. Use colour.

 

Omega-3 – A Vital Part of Exam Preparation

 Omega-3, is a vital part of exam preparation. Our bodies can’t produce omega-3, so we need to get it through our diet.  Omega-3, the main beneficial fatty acid in fish oil, has been shown to

 

  • Reduce anxiety during exams by 20%
  • Improve memory and cognitive ability
  • Improved concentration – one study showed increased concentration within 2 hours of taking omega-3 proving that its never too late to start taking your omega-3s.
  • Helps improve learning and balance moods
  • Aids sleep which results in greater performance during the day.
  • Strengthens the immune system so that you don’t get run down.

 

Increasing your level of omega-3, either through diet or supplementation can lead to improved concentration, a sharper memory, less anxiety, overall making it easier to study.

It’s no surprise that omega-3 is so beneficial to brain health. The importance of these fatty acids becomes most obvious when they’re lacking. People who don’t get enough omega-3s in their diet can become demotivated, disinterested, forgetful and may experience low mood, while serious deficiency can lead to an increased risk of developing conditions such as ADD, dyslexia and depression.

DHA – A True Brain Food

 Just as calcium is essential for building strong bones, DHA is essential for good brain health. Studies show that you need 250mg DHA daily to support brain health. DHA helps to improve learning, mood, memory and concentration. To obtain omega-3, you can either eat 2 portions of oily fish per week (salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, fresh tuna) or supplement with a high quality fish oil such as Eskimo Brain 3.6.9.

Get Focused with Eskimo Brain 369

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Whether you’re doing exams or just looking to increase brain power, Eskimo Brain 369 is the food supplement for you. With high levels of omega-3 DHA along with seed oils, vitamin D, E and CoQ10, your brain power will surge in no time.

Consumer Feedback

“I have used Eskimo-3 fish oils over the past few years and have found them unbelievably beneficial. Within 1-2 days I felt sharper and more focused. After a few weeks, my skin was smooth and clear, which I also attribute to the product. It is a natural, affordable and an amazing product, which I have recommended to friends.” Claire Breen, Galway

#collaboration #TherapyThursday

Its Monday, a day where the blues can seem all too real. Fear not because there are a lot of things you can do to avoid feeling blue primarily practicing self-care. One aspect of this means really caring about what you put into your body.

Forget fad diets and temporary fixes if you choose deeply nourishing foods instead of depriving yourself of a list of foods you can’t have you will feel fulfilled in every way helping to alleviate the cravings and avoid the pitfalls that come with a poor diet and lifestyle.

What you eat also affects your immunity, your mood, your sleep patterns and of course your weight. So even though it can be tempting to indulge in processed, high carb and sugary foods on dark cold nights it will only lead to dark days because your body needs good nutrition to be happy and every cell counts!

So what do we need to do during colder months? Well we need to eat more cooked and warming foods, include more soups and stews in our diets, use more spices, eat seasonal veggies and fruits, eat a rainbow, have more wholegrains and of course get more rest. I’ll be sharing some recipes over the next couple of weeks so keep an eye out.

There is another major reason though for cravings and overeating, which is outside of our control and that is we have less sunlight in winter. This can cause some people to suffer from SAD or seasonal affective disorder. It is said that up to 20% of people can suffer from seasonal depression or mood change so lets look at ways that we can help ourselves fell better naturally with diet and lifestyle choices.

probiotics, terranova, selfcare, winter, nutrition, BLUE MONDAY, SPIRULINAGET OUTDOORS

Making sure you get some natural light during the day is really important during the winter months. A lot of people leave their houses when it’s dark and return after work when it’s dark. If you are working in an office environment, stores, hospitals etc with artificial lights you might go all day in the winter with no natural light of any kind. For this reason it’s really important that you get outside during your breaks for a short walk. Wrap up warm and take a short walk at lunchtime when the sun (if we have it) is brightest.

probiotics, terranova, selfcare, winter, nutrition, BLUE MONDAY, SPIRULINA, meditation, mindfulness, kids meditationsMEDITATE

Taking as little as 5 minutes to work on your inner world each day can have an enormous difference on your health. Meditation has so many benefits including stress reduction, better mood, better sleep. It boost immunity, helps with craving and personally I find it gives an overall feeling of inner peace. Check out my guided meditations here or if you are a mum join my Minding Mum group for weekly live meditations and don’t forget that kids can join in too!!

PICK THE RIGHT CARBS

Less sun means a drop in your “feel-good” hormone serotonin, which can cause depression and food cravings. To help combat this you can boost your serotonin with healthy complex carbs like wholegrain breads, brown rice, veggies like sweet potato, corn and pumpkin, beans, lentils and peas. Your children will probably be craving carbs too so try and steer them away from the bad carbs like white breads, rice and sugar. These foods have little or no nutrients and they actually wipe your energy levels. They can also contribute to SAD and mood swings and can be a factor in brain fog and your ability to concentrate. Tryptophan also coverts to the neurotransmitter serotonin so increasing foods like eggs, nuts, turkey, banana, seeds and spirulina may improve depression symptoms too.

probiotics, terranova, selfcare, winter, nutrition, BLUE MONDAY, SPIRULINA

SPICE UP YOUR LIFE

You can thank the Far East for the sensory delight that spices bring. Spices not only introduce vibrance and colour into your diet but they also boost immunity and circulation during the winter months. Cook with onions, turmeric, cinnamon, chili peppers, cardamom, curry, cayenne pepper, ginger and garlic to add a little warmth to your meals and to help winter proof your body from the inside out.

probiotics, terranova, selfcare, winter, nutrition, BLUE MONDAY, organic turmeric powder, SPIRULINAEAT FOR IMMUNITY

The guys you need on your team here are vitamin C, Zinc and probiotics yes you heard me probiotics. Not all bacteria are bad in fact we have millions of bacteria in our gut that help us to stay healthy by stimulating the immune system and helping with the absorption of essential nutrients. To help these guys grow in numbers and keep your digestive system healthy feed them with foods like kimchi, live yogurt, kefir and kombucha or you can take a supplement too Terranova probiotics are great.

probiotics, terranova, selfcare, winter, nutrition

Another tip to help families boost their immune systems is to eat foods that are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene (vitamin A). So citrus fruits are fab as well as broccoli, sweet potato, spinach and cabbage, green leafy veg and frozen peas.

sweet-potato-1241696_1920I find frozen peas great for kids and they can be added to most meals. These foods are front line defense against colds and infections. Zinc is important too so again your green leafy veg, pumpkin and sesame seeds, lentils, tofu, almonds and wholegrains. Chicken, eggs, fish and dairy products also contain zinc. Zinc is responsible for 100’s of biochemical functions in the body and because of nutrient losses in the soil these days and in food processing deficiency or depletion can be common. Among its many important functions one in particular is that it is part of alcohol dehydrogenase, which helps the liver detoxify alcohols so post christmas this could be useful!

OMEGA 3 AND VITAMIN D

Recent research demonstrates that the consumption of omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D can play a role in reducing depression. Studies have found that people who consume fish frequently exhibit fewer depressive qualities than those who didn’t consume fish. Essential fatty acids EFA’s are a crucial part of a healthy diet, because our bodies cannot make them. When the word essential is used in a nutritional context it means that the body cannot synthesize (make) it itself and it must therefore be obtained from the diet.

If you eat oily fish twice a week it will provide a healthy dose of omega 3. However a massive 89% of Irish people are not consuming sufficient oily fish in their diet so there is often a need to take a good quality supplement such as *Eskimo Brain 3.6.9 which combines the unique stable fish oil, *Eskimo-3, high in DHA, with plant oils omega-6 and omega-9 along with Co-Q10 and vitamin D3.

eskimo_brain_caps vit dVitamin D is the sunshine vitamin so no prizes for guessing why we don’t have enough in Ireland. This sunshine vitamin is gaining a lot of attention recently (www.vitamindcouncil.org) and may be the most important “missing vitamin” for your brain and mood. It regulates the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin so as you can see nothing works in isolation in our bodies. It’s a proper team sport internally and for all our systems to function correctly they really need each other, which is why a large and varied diet is important. You can your vitamin D levels checked by your doctor but Irish people have been shown to be quite low especially during the winter months. Low levels have been connected with S.A.D and therefore supplementing can help ease symptoms and improve your mood.

B COMPLEX VITAMINS

B Complex vitamins help your body convert proteins from your diet into the neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, etc.) needed for mood and energy.  B-complex vitamins also support heart health and improve your response to stress and help boost energy levels.  While most B vitamins have some benefits for mental health, in terms of depression, the most important B vitamins include vitamin B6, B9 (folic acid) and B12. Looking to supplement, check out Terranova B Complex.

probiotics, terranova, selfcare, winter, nutrition, BLUE MONDAY, organic turmeric powder, water, hydration, SPIRULINAHYDRATE

Did you know that it is just as easy to get dehydrated in the winter as it is in the summer? Staying hydrated is so important because we lose water all the time even through breathing. Just think of your breath in those frigid temperatures!! Some of the effects of dehydration are a slower metabolism, fatigue, muscle pain and dizziness. By the time you are actually thirsty your body is actually well on its way to being dehydrated. So here are my top tips:

  • Start each day with a glass of warm lemon water or  warm water to get your digestive system moving and rehydrate after a nights sleep
  • Always carry water in your bag, have it on your desk and in the car.
  • Set hydration reminders in your phone 3 times a day. This is just a gentle nudge!
  • During the winter months hug a mug of soothing and calming herbal teas, hot cocoa, warm apple cider and my winter warmer in the recipe section.
  • During exercise sweating releases potassium, sodium and calcium- which are known as electrolytes- these are not found in water so you need to replace these in winter months too; coconut water or ¼ of Himalayan salt in preworkout smoothies or juices is a good idea
  • Eat your water in soups, stews and hydrating fruits and veggies like cucumber, celery and pears

If you have any tips please comment below. I would love to hear from you,

Ali xxx

Any products with a star * beside them means that I am collaborating and working with them. I am the brand ambassador for Eskimo Omegas

I’m A HUGE fan of finding what works for you and how and what we feed our kids is no different. The one thing we simply can’t escape is that good nutrition is important.

If you have been reading any nutrition articles lately I imagine your head is spinning at the fact that we have been lied to for years about fats and cholesterol. We have been warned off all fatty foods and as a result have made some companies who make low fat products very wealthy. Fats were feared and butter and cheese were demonised.

However no matter what studies come out and what we are told the fact remains that our Western diet is unbalanced. Sugar is now the enemy. I realised this a few years ago during my fight with depression.

As soon as I cut down on sugar and processed foods my mood lifted. Of course, general lifestyle and exercise habits play an important role too, but eating unhealthy foods can cause inflammation, which leads to illness. There are now studies showing links between inflammation and depression.

One is by George Slavich, a clinical psychologist at the University of California in Los Angeles. He told The Guardian newspaper that depression has as much to do with the body as the mind. ‘I don’t even talk about it as a psychiatric condition any more,’ he says. ‘It does involve psychology, but it also involves equal parts of biology and physical health.’

A family of proteins called cytokines sets off inflammation in the body, and switches the brain into sickness mode. Both cytokines and inflammation have been shown to increase when people become depressed and fall when they’re better.

Omega 3 fats worked for me in my recovery from depression. I notice a dramatic difference in my mood when I don’t take them. Omega 3s are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They are essential fatty acids that the body cannot make for itself. There are two EFAs (essential fatty acids) Omega 3 and Omega 6. Omega 6 fatty
acids have been growing in prevalence in modern diets. Some research suggests that too many Omega 6 fats can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. They are in margarines, cakes, some fast foods, dressings, nuts… the list goes on. Many studies are now showing us that we need more Omega 3s instead.

Foods that provide Omega 3s include flax seeds, walnuts and green vegetables. However, our bodies need to convert Omega 3s into the active form that the body can use called EPA or DHA. The body is not very efficient at doing this. It is estimated only 5 per cent of flax oil is converted to EPA and DHA. Shellfish and oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and anchovies already have EPA and DHA in its required form but how many of us eat oily fish three times a week or feed it to our children?

Scientists are still working to reveal how Omega 3s work during brain development, learning and cognition. Dr Alex Richardson has been researching this area for years. She is the author of They Are What You Feed Them, in which she talks about the effect a lack of Omegas has on children’s behaviourand development.

eskimo kids

I give James Eskimo-3 (visit eskimo3.ie for stockists) kids everyday as it combines the unique stable fish oil, Eskimo-3, with Omega 6, Omega 9, vitamin D and vitamin E. I used to add it to yogurts, porridge, smoothies and even spread it on toast to get it into him but now he is used to the taste and takes a tablespoon every morning. A lack of EPA and DHA affects all parts of our body including our bones, blood, organs, skin, hair and mental health. They might be only one piece of the jigsaw but they are a very important piece.