Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Health Promotion

                                                                                         Smoking Information   

The HWEAP runs regular challenges throughout the year, which are promoted via Tusla Newscast, and we encourage staff to participate where possible - check of the various challenges below:

Step/Walking Challenge | Sleep Challenge | Water Challenge | Health Eating Challenge 

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Step / Walking Challenge

What is a Step / Walking Challenge?

This is usually a five week challenge that supports and motivates staff to be more physically active during the day, but especially at work. Staff can partake individually, or as part of a team, with a nominated captain. Participants are added to a group email and receive regular motivation and individual feedback on results submitted weekly. 

The aim is to become more aware of your levels of activity and to increase them by starting with a goal of 20 minutes brisk walking per day and increasing this weekly up to 40 minutes per day by week 5 in a walking challenge, or to work up towards an end goal of 10,000 steps per day in a step challenge. 

Ideas for how to reach the targets include;

  • Walks before work in the morning to set you up for the day
  • Daily lunchtime walks with colleagues/friends 
  • Have your runners with you and go for a walk straight after work
  • Join a local walking group in your area and go for an evening walk

You will reap the health benefits from this and feel much better. A brisk walking pace is 3 miles per hour, so in 20 minutes you can walk a mile! If you work up to an hour, you could walk 5k each day J. 

The benefits of walking 10,000 steps a day include;

  • A stronger heart
  • Storing less body fat
  • Stabilising your blood sugar
  • Improving brain performance
  • Reinforcing healthy habits

A lot of us are currently inactive, so these challenges are a great opportunity to get started slowly and at your own pace. You’ll soon realise the benefits and want to keep it up after you’ve developed a routine. You can break walks into as little as ten minute sessions if that helps. 

We generally run two of these challenges per year, one in late spring and another in early autumn. Keep an eye on the E-bulletins and Tuslacasts for announcements, or email eap@tusla.ie to find out the details of the next challenge. 

 

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Sleep Challenge 

What is a Sleep Challenge?

In this challenge the goal is to increase the amount of hours sleep you get each night, until you reach the optimum (7/8 hours) by the end of the challenge. A template will be sent to all participants once they register, which they can fill out daily, with the amount of hour’s sleep they got the previous night and how they felt their mood/energy was that day. This will be useful to look back on to assess what effect a lack of sleep has on your work day and on your general mood. Staff can partake individually, or as part of a team, with a nominated captain. All participants will be added to a group email and the Health and Wellbeing Coordinator will send regular motivational emails and advice, tips and information on how to achieve a good night’s sleep. You will receive regular tips about how to improve your sleep. Follow these tips to improve not only your sleep, but your lifestyle. You will then receive your sleep tracker template which should be completed daily for the 21 days. You can email the coordinator at any time for individual support. 

Did you know that 60% of Irish people are not getting enough sleep?! In a national sleep survey 56% said that a racing mind kept them awake. 

Sleep is one of the main components that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. This means that the benefits of a good night's sleep are far beyond feeling well rested. Recent studies have shown that a nap of up to 90 minutes helps build and boost brain power, can benefit mental health and can reduce the risk of heart disease, in men particularly.

Good sleep can also improve:

  • Memory
  • Energy Levels
  • Stress Levels
  • Weight Management
  • Creativity

Why take part in the challenge?

It has been proven that:

  • Sleepy people make mistakes and have accidents
  • Sleepy people are more stressed and more often get sick
  • Sleepy people are more likely to have health and weight issues
  • Energized people are happier and healthier                                                          

Download an app if you would like help with tracking how much you have slept. There are lots of free apps for both android (recommend ‘Sleep As’) and iPhone (recommend ‘Up’ by Jawbone). If you already have a Fitbit or Apple watch for example, these will track it for you also. 

We generally run this challenge in the springtime. Keep an eye on the E-bulletins and Tuslacasts for announcements, or email eap@tusla.ie to find out the details of the next challenge. 

 

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Water Challenge

This is a challenge to remind and encourage staff to up their water intake throughout the day. Drinking more water is a simple way to better our health, but something a lot of us forget about, or overlook. Staff can partake individually, or as part of a team, with a nominated captain. Participants are added to a group email and receive regular motivation and individual feedback on results submitted weekly. Daily records should be kept by filling out the template provided to record how much water was drunk each day.

Fluid is essential; it has many important roles. 

Fluids help to:

  • move nutrients and waste through your body
  • keep your blood pressure normal
  • protect and cushion your joints and organs
  • control your body temperature and
  • lower your risk of dehydration and heat stroke

Dehydration is when you lose more fluid than you take in. Below are some of the signs of dehydration:

  • Thirst
  • Dry lips and dry mouth
  • Flushed skin
  • Headache
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Dark yellow, strong smelling urine
  • Low blood pressure and increased heart rate

You may be dehydrated even if you don’t have any of the signs, so it is important to drink fluids often even before you feel thirsty.

How to know if you are drinking enough:

  • Check your thirst – 

If you are thirsty or have a dry mouth, it is likely that you are not drinking enough. Aim to drink fluids often throughout the day. Remember that once you are thirsty, you are already somewhat dehydrated.

  • Check your urine – 

If your urine is a dark yellow colour and has a strong smell, you may not be getting enough fluids. Urine that is light yellow or clear in colour usually means that you are drinking enough fluids. The amount of urine you make can also be a sign of your hydration status. If you do not make much urine throughout the day and it is dark in colour, you likely need more fluids.

  • Check your mood – 

If you feel light headed and tired, are not able to focus or have many headaches, these could be signs that you are dehydrated.

We generally run this challenge in the Autumn. Keep an eye on the E-bulletins and Tuslacasts for announcements, or email eap@tusla.ie to find out the details of the next challenge.

 

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Healthy Eating Challenge

This is usually a four week challenge that supports and motivates staff to improve their eating habits and begin a healthier lifestyle. Each week will have a different theme, such as ‘hold the salt’ or ‘eat 5-7 portions of fruit and veg’. You can then choose whether to assign a point to each day that you incorporated the healthy habit for that week. This challenge will help you focus on some healthy alternatives. As new healthy habits are introduced each week, staff are encouraged to keep up any healthy habits incorporated from the previous weeks.

Each week you can then submit your weekly points to the coordinator. Participants are added to a group email and receive regular motivation and individual feedback on results submitted weekly. Daily records should be kept by filling out the template provided. 

Eating a healthy diet is vital for our health and wellbeing. It helps us to stay as healthy as we can be. But many of us find it hard to eat well every day. Only one-third of people in Ireland eat the recommended amount of vegetables, salads and fruit each day. Many people eat less healthy foods such as chocolate, cakes and crisps on a daily basis. In Ireland, 62% of the adult population is overweight or obese. 1 in 4 children aged 7 is either overweight or obese.

When you eat well, you reduce your chance of developing certain diseases. If you have children, you’re also more likely to pass on good eating habits to them. Good eating habits can lead to:

  • a healthy body weight
  • a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer
  • a healthy cholesterol level
  • an improved sense of wellbeing

Diet, nutrition and your body

Foods are ma1de up of nutrients. Protein, fat and vitamins are types of nutrients. Your body needs the right mix of nutrients to be healthy and well.

Different foods contain different nutrients. Choosing a mixture of foods every day will help you get to get all the nutrients you need to grow and be healthy. This is what it means to eat a balanced diet.

Foods that contain the same types of nutrients are grouped together as:

  • vegetables, salads and fruit
  • wholemeal cereals and bread, potatoes, pasta and rice
  • reduced-fat or low-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese
  • lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts
  • fats, spreads and oils

Food also gives you the fuel (calories) you need for your body to work. If you take in more calories than you use, you’ll put on weight and become overweight. If you don’t take in enough calories, you’ll be underweight. Either is bad for your health.

We generally run this challenge in the new year. Keep an eye on the E-bulletins and Tuslacasts for announcements, or email eap@tusla.ie to find out the details of the next challenge.

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