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Below you will find a selection of the most recent entries from bloggers in our Family section. To view the entries from individual bloggers, click on the links below:

  • Birgit Suess is a Swiss-American who grew up between the US and Switzerland and speaks English, German and Swiss-German. Because of a worldwide shortage of Speech Therapists, she uses technology to connect special needs students around the world with English speaking Speech Therapists. With almost 20 years of experience as a Speech Therapist and 10 years experience with Teletherapy, she is a pioneer in the Teletherapy world. Her personal specialty is working on social language with high functioning children on the Autism Spectrum. Her passion is finding new and innovative ways to help children with special needs.

  • Dr. Irina Schurov is a Nutritional Neuroscientist with a PhD from Cambridge University (UK) and over 20 years’ experience in science and health-providing services. She created and founded LiveRight, an initiative to help others through nutrition and wellbeing strategies. By building an educational platform around healthy eating habits, by restoring the relationships between people and food, by supporting your individual circumstances and through personalized coaching in nutrition, she wants to help you and your family achieve the optimal balance between help and life.

  • Micaela Crespo started her expat adventures at the age of 17. During her expat journey she obtained a PhD in Chemical Engineering, she became a project manager, started blogging, got married and had two children. She believes all expat mums have the potential of carrying out their dreams! She created Expat Lifehacks to help expat mothers who feel overwhelmed and lost develop the confidence and strategies they need to feel fully supported and thrive.

  • Hiba Samawi (formerly Giacoletto)
    Hiba is a Psychologist and Coach working in Geneva, Lausanne and online. She previously ran Healthwise.ch, a health coaching business where she also created healthy recipes. She now specializes mostly in difficulties around relationships, emotions, making healthy change and eating, and also offers group sessions, both in-person in Geneva/Lausanne and online.

  • Dr. Penny Fraser
    Dr Penny is a British-trained Emergency Medicine doctor, who lives in Geneva.  She is also the mother of two busy little skiers aged 7 and 8. Along with Dr Michelle Wright and her other colleagues at HealthFirst, she has a passion for delivering health education and First Aid training to the English-speaking community in Switzerland. 

  • Milena McRae

    Milena McRae works with individuals and groups from all walks of life, helping them build their dreams, accelerate their results, and create richer, more fulfilling lives.  As a certified life coach, she specialises in helping you discover your purpose and create an environment that is supportive of it.  In working with Milena, you will be guided to analyse your existing beliefs, patterns of thinking and behaviors that are at the core of your current results and then transform and align them with your desired results.

  • Johdi Woodford
    Born in Zimbabwe in 1979, Johdi discovered Pilates in 1999 when a leg injury ended her marathon running career and an osteopath suggested she try Pilates. Arriving in Switzerland in 2004, she decided to make her passion her career and trained to become a Pilates Instructor after the birth of her first child. Johdi opened Little Bird Pilates in 2014 with the aim of sharing her passion for intelligent exercise to a wider audience. Her main aim is to help people, of any age and any sporting background, to find freedom of movement, and gain strength and suppleness without pain and discomfort.

  • Tanya Jeannet
    With children of her own, Tanya understands only too well the challenges of working and having children, and is determined to provide a service, through her franchise business, Rockmybaby, that will help make life a little easier for families when it comes to childcare. She strives to help parents feel confident in the care of their children so that they can have some well-deserved time-out’s for themselves.
  • Duncan Delreeve (formerly Reeve) - Peak of Wellbeing
    Duncan has been in the health, fitness and wellbeing industry for over 19 years and works with clients in Europe and the UK on a one to one basis, in small groups and via workshops. His specialist areas include Golf Performance Conditioning, Back Pain and Core Strengthening, Rehabilitation and Corrective Exercise.

  • Jennie Delreeve (formerly Delbridge) - Peak of Wellbeing
    Jennie has worked professionally in the health and fitness industry for over 15 years and is passionate about helping others to achieve peak health and wellbeing.  She works on a one to one basis and runs workshops, talks and seminars throughout Europe, including the UK.

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Photo by Oliver Hihn on Unsplash

By Dr. Irina Schurov, LiveRight

I am sure you have noticed that our days have been getting shorter and that we now experience far less sun light exposure. At this time of year lots of people start to undergo a form of seasonal blues, lack of energy and emotional slumps. People who are especially sensitive to such changes of environment can sometimes be diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Of course, children who experience troubles with learning, concentration, sensory issues and emotional challenges will be even more susceptible to lack of day light. For example, it was shown that deficiency of sun light can potentially lead Asperger’s children to have low self-esteem, feel disappointment, isolation, mood swings and a lack of motivation. Consequently, while everyone feels the shortage of light exposure, we all tolerate and adapt to it in different ways.

From a biological perspective, as the seasons shift, our bodies experience certain biochemical changes, which are absolutely normal! Although humans aren’t as seasonal as animals and we do not hibernate in the winter, environmental changes have a clear impact on our biology!

Our master clock, located in the hypothalamus, responds to light by secreting certain hormones such as serotonin, which helps the body to feel awake, alert and satisfied. When it is dark, serotonin is converted to melatonin, making the body feel sleepy. It is for this reason that lack of day light causes hormonal imbalance, leading to many troublesome consequences, including sleep disorders, behavioral problems, hormonal imbalances and stress. To summarise; HUMANS’ ARE VERY DEPENDENT ON LIGHT!

Have you noticed that during the winter we try to compensate for our low levels of serotonin by reaching for comfort food and eating lots of carbohydrates and sweets? This gives us instant but fleeting satisfaction, which passes quickly and leaves us with long-term consequences such as elevated levels of blood glucose, extra weight, irritability and insulin imbalance.

Here is a quick check list of typical signs of SAD:
1. Depressed mood, low energy during the day
2. Anxiety or irritation, not handling stress well
3. Feeling lethargic and sleeping more than usual
4. Difficulty to concentrate and focus
5. Preferring to stay alone, less socializing
6. Craving for easy carbohydrates and sweets
7. Feeling a need for a sunlight
So, how can we prepare for this year’s winter? Here is a short list of changes you can implement into your routine, to ensure you experience a pleasant and energetic few months!

hiba travel blog

By Hiba Samawi, Wiser Humans

Back when I worked in the corporate world, travel was a two week affair - and I time which I would wait the rest of the year for to finally go somewhere new and exotic that would allow me to feel alive.

To make this last longer,  I even took six months off to travel around the world nine years ago. It was a wonderful experience - and it actually taught me something very unexpected.

It taught me that travel can be an attitude. That travel doesn't have to be to a far flung exotic destination. It doesn't even have to be a time when we are away from our daily lives of work and family.

Instead, we can also apply the aspects of travel we love to our everyday lives.

We can start building a life we already love, that is filling with alive-ness, instead of seeing travel as an escape from an un-alive life.

Here are five suggestions to start bringing travel as an attitude to every day life.

1. Travel as an attitude means embracing discomfort as a necessary path to growth.

Travel is often about taking a small step - or many steps - away from our comfort zone. This moving out of our comfort zone is where magic can happen - where we discover aspects of ourselves we didn’t even know existed.

Everyday life provides plenty of opportunities to push past our fears - from moving away from a situation or relationship that is no longer working to standing up for ourselves, signing-up to a dating app or even opening up a little bit more with someone we care about.

Travel as an attitude embraces all forms of discomfort as a path to growth - not just the physical discomfort of travel, but also the emotional discomfort that comes from personal growth.

2. Travel as an attitude means being open to new experiences wherever we are.

Travel enables us to experience new things — both man made and natural. Seeing kangaroos on a beach at sunrise, taking a helicopter ride or experiencing Angkor Wat at sunset?

Definitely awe-inspiring.

Yet daily life also provides plenty of opportunities for new experiences IF we create them. These can be as small as trying a new café or restaurant in the city we live in, taking a new class, learning a new language, reading a book or buying an unknown vegetable when grocery shopping.

We can make time to watch the sun set after work or take a different path to work. We can always create new experiences.

3. Travel as an attitude sees differences as enriching rather than threatening.

Travel opens our minds to different ways of doing things. It gently, and sometimes not so gently, reveals that other ways, beliefs and attitudes exist - and that they, too, are valid and even fascinating. In doing so, it provides the opportunity to re-examine our own beliefs and habits.

In everyday life, we are faced with different beliefs and attitudes all around us, yet we often don’t choose to see these as intriguing - annoying is probably a more apt description!

Yet we can always choose to be open to differences in opinions and values that come from our family or co-workers - with appropriate boundaries, of course! Accepting them with the same openness and curiosity we show ‘foreign’ cultures can be a novel experience.

Instead of seething with resentment, we could become curious about this difference:

I wonder why my colleague / family member / boss is reacting in this way? How do they see the world differently to me? What is it about their reaction that triggers me?

Perhaps we will notice what Carl Jung wrote - that "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."

4. Travel as an attitude means being open to connection.

Away from the cocoon of our known lives, we are more vulnerable and open, both with people we know and people we don’t. And while we don't always stay in touch with those we meet, for a brief moment, we have walked along the same path, and this interaction leaves us all the richer. It can act as a humble reminder, as Maya Angelou wrote, that "We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike".

We don’t actually need to physically travel to connect with people or be just a little more open and vulnerable with people around us. We can choose to put our phones down in public places and connect, even if this is just a brief moment of connection.

5. Travel as an attitude means taking distance from life.

Being able to briefly press the pause button on everyday routines provides a bird’s eye view of life. Travel enables us to assess what matters most, to re-evaluate our priorities and what we want or need to change in our daily lives.

A physical change in environment is helpful - yet when this isn't possible we can also explore other ways of gaining a little perspective such as journaling, meditating, yoga, going into nature, therapy/coaching or simply leaving more space to just BE instead of overbooking the week.

Of course, nothing can nor should ever replace real travel. Yet what I have found by bringing travel as an attitude into my life as much as possible is that I no longer see travel as an escape from life. Instead, I see it as a way of enhancing a life I already enjoy.

One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. - Henry Miller

Author's bio

hiba portrait

Hiba Samawi is a Psychologist and Coach working in Geneva, Lausanne and online.

A Swiss-Jordanian mix, she has a Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of Lausanne and is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She previously ran Healthwise.ch, a health coaching business where she also created healthy recipes.

Hiba uses mindfulness-based behavioural approaches such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). These are more active forms of therapy where, more than just talk, you learn skills for living.

She specializes mostly in difficulties around relationships, emotions, making healthy change and eating, and also offers group sessions, both in-person in Geneva/Lausanne and online.

www.wiserhumans.com
fb.me/wiserhumans

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Irina blog fruit
Photo credit: Patrick Fore

By Dr. Irina Schurov, LiveRight

Fruit and berry season has arrived! This is a great time of year when we can enjoy eating these fantastic nutrient-rich products and nourish our bodies with plenty of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Of course, fruit is a very good replacement for pastries, cookies and other “easy carb” snacks for children. However, it is also very easy to enjoy too much fruit during the summer. Especially, if you or your child has a compromised digestive system.

With this in mind, what exactly do we need to know about fruit?

  • Fruit digests quickly and is pushed from the stomach to the intestine very early on. Meals that are especially rich in protein and fibre require much more time and gastric juice to digest. For this reason, fruit does not mix very well with other food groups and can disturb the digestive process of the main meal. It is, therefore, advisable to eat fruit as a snack between meals or on an empty stomach.

  • Fruit is very sweet and causes a lot of sugar to be released into the blood, leading to a spike in energy. It would, therefore, be sensible to not eat fruit in the evening when your body needs to prepare for good quality sleep.

  • Fruit is rich in a type of sugar called “fructose”. Unfortunately, many people cannot digest fructose very well and, instead, absorb large amounts. Researchers showed that up to 40% of people suffer from a condition called fructose malabsorption, in which fructose is inefficiently absorbed within the small intestine due to a limited amount of the fructose digesting enzyme. It is for this reason that, instead of nourishing our bodies, sometimes fruit can simply sit in the gut and be fermented by bacteria. The result of those bacteria feasting on fructose is a lot of gas and bloating, which makes many people feel uncomfortable. Therefore, eating too much fruit at the same time can cause digestive discomfort.

  • Fruit is designed by nature to carry seeds and produce new plants.  So, similar to grains, fruit and berries contain certain amounts of antinutrients that can irritate the digestive system. Cooking fruit helps to avoid this effect.

  • It has been demonstrated that fructose does not trigger the release of “leptin”, a hormone that signals satiety, and instead triggers the release of another hormone called “ghrelin”, a hunger stimulating hormone. That is why eating fruit makes you want to eat even more fruit. Monitoring your portion of fruit could help bring this situation back under control.

To conclude, while you absolutely should enjoy eating fruit during the summer season, please, think about when and how much of this great food you consume. Eat local, organic, fresh and very ripe fruit to gain maximum benefit from these fantastic products.

Author's Bio

irina schurov

Dr. Irina Schurov is a Nutritional Neuroscientist with a PhD from Cambridge University (UK) and over 20 years’ experience in science and health-providing services. She created and founded LiveRight, an initiative to help others through nutrition and wellbeing strategies. By building an educational platform around healthy eating habits, by restoring the relationships between people and food, by supporting your individual circumstances and through personalized coaching in nutrition, she wants to help you and your family achieve the optimal balance between help and life.

Irina focuses especially on children with ASD and related neurological conditions by addressing the connection between gut and brain by detoxifying, nourishing and resetting a whole body biochemical balance. She provides personalized nutritional support to families and an individual DNA nourishing programme for each child in order to maximise their potential in life.

LiveRight

www.liveright.eu

 

birgit blog June 2018

By Birgit Suess, Sweet Sunshine Speech Therapy

June is here and the children will be out of school before you know it! Mothers everywhere are thinking about how to keep their children occupied for the Summer Holidays. For those mothers with kids who struggle with sensory issues, this can be an even greater challenge.

Going swimming at the lake, hiking, visiting a museum, the park, or going to a movie are some examples of fun summertime activities, but for kids with sensory issues, these simple outings can be extremely stressful. Planning ahead can reduce your child’s stress and make an outing more enjoyable for everyone.

First decide if you should let your child know what to expect in advance. This can greatly help reduce stress for children on the Autism Spectrum but can make things worse for children who worry and overthink about the upcoming event.

If you do feel preparing them for the outing will be helpful, talk to them about it as far in advance as possible, mark it on the calendar and answer their questions. It can be helpful to write up a checklist/timeline of what they can expect to happen.

Be sure to include things they may not like so much, like putting on sunscreen or wearing a hat. But don’t forget to offer them some things they do like, for example, packing their favorite lunch or that you will buy them an ice cream.

Giving children some control over the situation can help make it less stressful. Offering choices within your boundaries can make children feel better about an uncomfortable sensory experience. For example, you can offer a choice of sunscreens, cream or spray, or a choice of when to put the sunscreen on, before we leave the house, or when we get to the lake.

Irina June blog BBQ

By Dr. Irina Schurov, LiveRight

BBQ season has started and, for the next 3 months. we are going to be enjoying this glorious method of outdoor cooking in the company of our friends and family. Sounds wonderful!

However, I would like to remind you that BBQ food, while delicious, has its own “dark” side. Luckily, by being conscious of it, we are able to minimise any harmful impacts and really enjoy the otherwise very healthy BBQ!

So, what exactly do we need to know?

Research clearly shows that cooking meat over a flame at high temperatures can cause certain carcinogens to form. For example, AGEs (advanced glycation end-products), PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and HCA (heterocyclic amine) are all products that can cause oxidative stress, inflammation, damage to DNA and can, therefore, potentially lead to cancer. You may think this very insignificant and irrelevant to you. However, one specialised study has demonstrated that people who consume grilled, barbecued and fried meat regularly have 60% more chance to develop pancreatic cancer. The harmful chemicals produced when fat drips onto the hot coals, cause chemical reactions and toxic smoke which then contaminate the food and, through inhalation, affect our lungs.