Fill your plate with bright colours including vegetables that are green, orange, red, purple and yellow, as these foods have antioxidants to help fight ageing. Photograph: iStock

How to stave off weight gain, heart disease, osteoporosis, loss of muscle and cholesterol

A healthy weight, diet, not smoking and weight-bearing exercise are all part of maintaining healthy bones in your 40s. Photograph: iStock

Diets rich in fruits and vegetables help protect against heart disease and cancer

Our priorities in our 30s can have a significantly different focus as to when we are younger and again from our older years

A healthy diet will ensure you are not approaching 40 troubled by health complaints

In your 20s you should create a strong nutritional foundation by building good eating habits to support bone, heart, and overall health. Photograph: Getty Images

These key years impact how our bodies process foods down the line

The dopamine hit of shopping is not just for Christmas. Photograph: iStock

From gift giving to perfecting a poker face, our minds interact closely with seasonal cues

Tiredness and fatigue are the symptoms of menstruation women are most likely to accept as simply being a part of life

Recognising dangers and symptoms that come with low iron is factor in addressing issue

‘Investing in mental wellbeing is no longer an option for employers, it’s a necessity’

With a study reporting that almost half of occupational health referrals are now for mental health, the priority is obvious

Menopause symptoms can seriously impact a woman’s career, making this stage of her working life explicitly problematic. Photograph: iStock

Research shows menopausal women often leave the workforce due to the symptoms

A monthly sample from the toy rental club Clevertots.ie

Knowing what toys to buy for a crawling, gurgling baby is mind-boggling

While not every woman will encounter menopause symptoms, three in four will find themselves experiencing many of the more than 30 indicators. File photograph: Getty

‘There has been no sanction for the collective denigration of the menopausal woman’

 Finding exercise you enjoy is a simple way to target symptoms. Photograph: iStock

Knowledge creates empowerment on the road towards menopause

A child who can easily stop or close a video game in a reasonable amount of time when asked does not have an addiction. Photograph: iStock

Issues can arise when behaviour changes, but there are benefits to gaming

When it comes to menopause, there are no awkward or ridiculous questions

Vanessa and Benjamin: ‘The stress was too much to bear, and I knew that I needed to seek outside support right away’.

‘I was able to become the mother I wanted to be because of their professionalism’

Studies have found connections that link our gut to our immune system and mental wellbeing.

Gastrointestinal disorders fall under two categories – structural and functional

‘If you have IBS or functional dyspepsia, the effects of anxiety and stress on the gut are more pronounced.’

Anxiety and stress can also have a profound effect on what comprises a delicate equilibrium

It is common for a person’s mental wellbeing to be adversely affected as symptoms are brushed aside and misunderstood

Debilitating disorder quite common but stigma associated with illness

Some 76 per cent of LGBTI+ young people who are sexually active did not access a sexual health check-up during Covid-19.

Pandemic Sex: The struggle to attain rights to sexual and reproductive health

Grá Chocolates founder Gráinne Mullins

Development initiative centred on round-table sessions supports early-stage businesses

‘We visit the dentist if our teeth hurt and visit the GP if anything crops up. Add to that a visit to your local STI  clinic.’ Photograph: iStock

Pandemic Sex: We need to destigmatise getting regular sexual health screenings

The conversation around making good choices and understanding consent needs to begin much earlier than we realise. Photograph: iStock

Post-pandemic Sex: Lockdown has not stopped our kids’ growth nor their intrigue

We went from one comic book store to another, supporting them by not only picking up a free comic book but by buying comics which the girls were drawn to.

Free Comic Book Day was the highlight of our Dublin holiday

The basic tips still hold true including practicing safe sex by using condoms and birth control. Photograph: iStock

Post-pandemic Sex: Many of us are unsure how to navigate relationships in what feels like a new world

There is an erroneous belief that we can somehow ‘master’ motherhood in the same way that we tackle everything else. Photograph: iStock

Women’s health gap: Detaching the myths from the realities is crucial for new parents

Much of the world has tuned into the pros and cons of various milk substitutes alongside the evidence of the effects milk production has on our planet.

Stirring world of soya, coconut, oat, hemp, rice, almond, cashew and hazlenut milks

Many women feeling judged for their choices, actions or beliefs while pregnant and afterwards.

Women’s Health Gap: Changes in antenatal education aim at an inclusive environment

Reversing  stigma will come with more in-depth research, a willingness to learn and understand and most notably listening and responding without judgment. Photograph: iStock

Women’s Health Gap: Open the conversation on periods and educate the next generation

Infertility ‘can be a challenging subject to discuss which is why we need to have open and honest conversations’. Photograph: iStock

Women’s Health Gap: Many suffering in silence due to taboo around topic of infertility

To address the inequities of the gender health gap is to give women a voice. File photograph: iStock

Gender Health Gap: Failure to act on health priorities of women is reprehensible

“We are always looking for new volunteers across the country, and often we need volunteers faster than we can find them,” says Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE. Photograph: iStock

Volunteers make a ‘huge difference’ in combating loneliness and supporting older people

Bringing children back to nature can encourage creativity. Pictured is Fionn,  Jessica O’Rourke’s son.

Connecting with nature is the perfect way to encourage creativity and curiosity

Dolores Andrew-Gavin is a coach and therapist and founder of Irish Health Hour.

Volunteering: the chance to spread our wings and use our talents for a worthwhile cause

Volunteer James Gilleran at the launch in 2020 of Daffodil Day,  fundraiser for the Irish Cancer Society.  Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

National volunteer database brings volunteers and organisations together

Positive sleep habits begin during the day for all of us. Photograph: iStock

Knowing the phase of sleepless nights will end but not knowing when is tough on all parents

Wish Child Poppy with Make-A-Wish staff, from left, Cathy Elliott, Susan O’Dwyer, chief executive, Louise Whelan and volunteer Liam-Sean Bergin. Poppy is living with acute flaccid myelitis and wished to have her own disco-themed bedroom.

‘It’s very humbling to listen to the struggles families have gone through living with a serious illness’

Aine O’Donovan and Niamh Costello of the Irish Children’s Arthritis Network,  which actively encourages, supports and trains youth volunteers.

Charities and organisations can harness the energy and enthusiasm of young people – without undervaluing their contribution

CHI is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with its supportive network of volunteers as important as ever

Group of 500 volunteers helps reduce children’s anxiety and provides respite to families

Knowing how to work through negative thoughts, catastrophising and anxiety is not as simple as flicking a switch. Photograph: iStock

Meditation is a powerful method to stop the barrage of thoughts spinning in our minds

Elizabeth Simpson-Smith and Raynor Smith have balanced the uncertainty of working in a risk-laden environment while home-schooling and supporting their children. Photograph: Ruth Medjber

The supermarket workers recognised for going the extra mile in their local community

‘The court environment has changed dramatically in light of the safety measures which are now in place,’ says self-employed barrister Helen McCarthy. Photograph: iStock

Pandemic highlights parents’ struggle to juggle; ‘I hope there will be lessons learned’

Evidence shows social media has resulted in an increase in body dissatisfaction, poor body image and disordered eating. Photograph: iStock

Social media can undermine our self-image, self-worth and perception of what good food is

Nancy and Fergus McDonnell with their children Ephraim and Aoife: “As parents, myself and Nancy have always tried to have a positive attitude towards life.”

Bus driver Fergus McDonnell salutes help of colleagues, teachers and his family

Gavin Fox and his daughters. ‘I always thought I was a hands-on dad, but the change has shown me how much more I can do,’ he says.

Life changes imposed by the pandemic have altered the role of fathers, and in many cases for the better

‘When I finally park at home, I always take the time to take a few deep breaths for a few seconds’

Yvonne Twohig, who runs a post office in Co Cork

Post men and women balancing pressurised work with homeschooling and family life

Sgt Emer Lamon.

Mother of three Sgt Emer Lamon on finding a balance between self care and family

Dr Knut Moe and Dr Hana Maka, who manage their busy GP practice in Churchtown, Dublin, while Knut also manages his father’s practice in Clonskeagh.

‘We’ve been doing our best to make sure we don’t project our stresses on to the boys’

Annmarie Sliney.

Pandemic parenting: Social bubble gives Annmarie Sliney the support she needs

Parents are urged to be more vigilant with how  children care for their teeth. Photograph: iStock

Keep an oral routine and plan a visit despite the pandemic, dentists give their advice

“It took a long time for me to get to the stage where I understood everything I had to do to create a balance and effortlessly float.” Photograph: iStock

I recognised that I needed to look after myself before I could truly look after anyone else

We are at a time in our lives when letting go is proving terrifying as we have already lost so much control over our lives. Photograph: iStock/Getty Images

It is a skill that requires acceptance, moving on and relinquishing control

‘We’re on a goddamn cliffhanger and the new year rings in the next instalment with the same tension and trepidation we’ve been used to for the past God knows how many months.’ Photograph: iStock

In spite of everything, there has been something incredible about the raw production of this year

Many of us have taken to making memories, building traditions and spending our money on experiences. Photograph: iStock

Happiness may not be for sale but spending money on experiences seems to have a knock-on effect on our wellbeing

The HSE estimates about 7 per cent of Irish people experience seasonal affective disorder. Photograph: iStock

Many experiencing SAD in winter feel more tired, have greater appetite and less energy

Make and mend: during our lockdowns people have been redesigning their clothes and making brand new fashions. Photograph: iStock

My DIY attempts come at a time when we are reclaiming our ability to mend, fix and create

one in four infant vaccine appointments were delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions and parental concerns.

Survey finds one in four infant vaccine appointments were delayed due to Covid-19

October 29th is World Stroke Day. ‘Brain aneurysms are sometimes called the silent killer,’ says Dr Eleanor Galvin, ‘because very often you don’t know you have one until it is too late.’ Photograph: iStock

Stress and other factors are causing a spike in brain aneurysms in women over 40

In walks the husband who is equally overwhelmed and saturated, in need of the normality of home life. He doesn’t find it as the kids are flying high under their own unknown overwhelm, and I am beyond spent in attempting to keep everyone on an even keel

The tedious moments and emotions quicken from peaceful to explosive faster than ever before, and it’s up to me to find the centre (...)

We quickly settled into a new pattern of taking temperatures with breakfast

‘Nothing felt normal as I rang the GP instead of listening to my mothering instinct’

Use of pacifiers is a key area of conflict in the battlefield of parental judgment

Children should be encouraged to play independently so they learn they don’t need our approval all the time.

How do we give children enough attention while taking care of our other priorities?

‘Recently, I have fallen out of love with Instagram due to an overwhelming knock on the head from toxic positivity.’

I recognised a problem when I started to watch how many hours I clocked up online

While the idea of online counselling is not new, it has been rigorously forced into the limelight in recent weeks.

Health providers face problems in bringing much-needed services to those in need

Emma Doran: ‘There’s a freedom with stand-up comedy in that you can say anything once it’s funny’

Some stand-ups believe finding humour in dark places can be good for well being

Eilish and Maria Rushe

For many this intense relationship has been the one that has magnified love in our families

Ireland’s Got Curves: “In the fashion industry, plus size starts at a size 12, which is below the average female clothing size in Ireland,” says Sharon Dmake.

Body confidence: We are being psychologically destroyed by idealised representations in ads and fashion

One of the portraits in photographer Anthony P Manieri’s series, Arrested Movement.

Body confidence: Men, as much as women, suffer from poor body image. It’s time to start the conversation

Alex Dacy: where is the diversity we need in exploring our body shapes and stories?

Alex Dacy is a strong voice on Instagram for disabled body compassion and equality

Geraldine Walsh and her daughter.

Body confidence: Our idea of beauty is diverse, whereas in the industry, sex still sells

Breaking a cycle of negative thought patterns is not easy when contending with a significant illness or injury. Photograph: iStock

Body Confidence: Scarring, loss of bodily functions or hair-loss can have a dramatic impact on self-esteem and confidence. But hel(...)

A family can be complete with one child or 10. You make your own family dynamic. Photograph: iStock

It is the quality not quantity of familial relationships that is important to any child

‘As parents, there really is no harm in allowing our children to continue with occasional magical thinking coping mechanisms.’ File photograph: Getty

‘There is no harm in allowing our children occasional magical-thinking coping mechanisms’

Superhero therapy was founded by Janina L Scarlet. ‘The goal of superhero therapy is to help the client become the heroes of their own journey,’ she says. Photograph: iStock

Superhero therapy: “The client’s heroes, real or fictional, are called upon to provide guidance for the individual. For example, s(...)

Anne Brannick out on the water

Four women share their experiences and advice for those in their 50s

Geraldine Walsh: ‘Walking with a flamingo or black dog lends itself as a beneficial life experience, but possibly only when you let it fly away or let it off the leash’

Depression stole away hours, memories, happiness and any control I felt over my life

Fat chance. The reason so many of us fluctuate with our weight, or struggle to lose weight, is because diet programmes do not look deeper into the whys of our eating habits and weight gain

A new report urges policymakers to do more than tell people to have more willpower

Derek and Karen Power with their children Olivia and Thomas.

Accidental poisoning is most likely to happen to children aged between one and four years old

The number of stay at-home-dads has been on the rise in recent years and yet our perception of men as the primary carer is a little further behind the times.

Our perception of men as the primary carer is still way behind where it should be

Geraldine Walsh with her children Allegra and Devin. Negative self-talk can affect both adults and children. Photograph: Donall Farmer

Nurturing our children to calm their inner bully will help them to accept themselves

fThe benefits of skin-to-skin with Dad are not always advertised as strongly as they are with Mum

Close contact with dad brings about many of the same remarkable benefits as it does with mum

Try to get your parenting right at least 50 per cent of the time.

‘Six years in, I have got it wrong more times than I can count. But that’s okay’

The workshop came about as a result of a desire to address the fake news in the media surrounding women’s health and sexual health, says Dr Jennifer Donnelly, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist with the Rotunda Hospital

A new workshop aims to enlighten pupils without patronising them or avoiding the larger issues

“Crying is a very healthy expression of feelings such as sadness and disappointment. If we tell boys not to cry, they may begin to suppress, avoid or shut down these emotions.” Photograph: iStock

Encouraging boys to suppress their emotions and be tough and stoic can have damaging consequences for their mental health in later(...)

Geraldine Walsh with daughter  Allegra.

Put down the phone: how ‘technoference’ impacts on parenting

Geraldine Walsh with her children Allegra and Devin. Photograph: Donall Farmer/The Irish Times

Parenting remains one of the most difficult and under valued jobs to ever exist

Managing the scrapes and bumps of childhood helps children develop resilience, both emotionally and physically.

Everyday acts such as walking, climbing and using water involve assessing acceptable risk

Brendan Phelan with his children Talia and Alana and wife Sabina Bonnici.

Many men are now in their 40s or 50s when children come along. But there are risks, say experts

Kristen de Bouter

Women get pregnant at 35 and beyond but there are greater risks involved

Geraldine and Devin as a baby: ‘Devin was two weeks old when I realised my behaviour, my mood, my attitude and the frightening attacks were more than simply being overwhelmed with a newborn and a pre-schooler.’

‘This new baby, with a head of blonde hair, was perfect. I was not’

Geraldine Walsh with her children Devin and Allegra, who is discovering the benefits of lying. Photograph: Donall Farmer for The Irish Times

We all tell lies but some of us are woefully bad at it while others have perfected the skill – it’s all down to body language, say(...)

Geraldine Walsh with her children Allegra and Devin. Photograph: Donall Farmer

The fourth trimester is vitally important for the hefty transition to motherhood

Research suggesting a sensitive and supportive father will raise children with better social skills.

Mental health issues affect one in 10 new Dads, with first-time parents at greater risk

One homeless young woman told researchers shame around her experience makes her ‘want to be invisible’

A UCD trial in acceptance and commitment therapy seeks to limit shame and self-stigma

Geraldine Walsh with husband Barry Walsh and children Allegra and Devin. ‘Becoming a parent is one of the bumpiest roads of our lives,’  writes Geraldine. Photograph: Donall Farmer

When babies arrive, a loneliness can seep into our relationship without us knowing

Jelly baby confectionary sweets in a row. One is red the others are yellow. The background is white. Individuality or discrimination concept.

Imposter syndrome convinces you that luck, not hard work, has got you to where you are

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