Brew Monday

Monday 1 March 2021





Keeping up with healthy habits




Hi everyone,


Lots of people have said that keeping on top of healthy habits recently has been pretty tough. Whether that’s eating healthily, snacking, managing drinking or smoking, and making time for you – periods of increased stress can make it easier to slip into some less-than-positive behaviours.


So today we’ve got a few suggestions and some links to resources that you might find helpful. We’ll be putting a blog together shortly as you all have great ideas on this that we want to share- thank you so much for those that have been in touch – please keep your comments coming so that collectively we can shape future weekly brews!


Helen Helliwell and Glenn Haughton

Civilian and Military mental health champions


If you need help now



COVID-19 Wellbeing


Health and Wellbeing Portal


Service Personnel support




Staying on top of your healthy habits




What you eat can have a really powerful effect on your mood. Doing your best to keep a good balance in your diet can also help support a stronger immune system.


Try to eat well balanced meals – if you’re stuck for ideas, the BBC Good Food website has a range of healthy options. You can also take a look at the ‘Healthy Soldier Cookbook’ which will be especially useful if you’re living on-site or in other temporary accommodation.


If you’ve got kids or other family members at home, why not try turning family meal planning into a bit more of a group activity? Try to substitute some higher sugar processed snacks for fruit or a small handful of nuts. Public Health England’s campaign ‘Change 4 Life’ has more guidance on helping your family build a healthier lifestyle together. Planning what you are going to eat the next day or week in advance also helps prevent food wastage too. That’s great for the environment and your bank balance!



Many of us have reported drinking more than usual over the past year. After all, for many of us it’s accessible and there is currently less of a line between working hours and ‘home time’, so it’s easy to use alcohol as a quick fix to relax. But it’s actually pretty bad for decent sleep; and very calorific (check out the Drinkaware app to see your equivalent alcohol intake in burgers or running minutes!). For example, a large glass of wine is equivalent to a large burger, or 40 minutes of running!


We know Serving Personnel drink more than their civilian counterparts – and it is usually a factor in instances of violence and aggression. Check out 4-ALPHA for Armed Forces peer support.


If you’re a civil servant and you’re concerned about your drinking, the EAP can also provide dedicated support to help you manage your drinking. Drinkaware also have plenty of resources around alcohol, while the NHS also has online alcohol support advice.


There are many no or low-alcohol options on the market so why not try something new? There is nothing wrong with the odd glass of wine, beer or spirits – just check in with yourself on your own intake.



Aside from other health risks (not just your lungs but increase wider risk of musculoskeletal injury (MSKI)), smoking increases your risk from COVID-19, so it’s even more important to think about quitting.


The entire Defence working environment is going smoke free by 2022, so there are lots of resources and advice available on the Smoke Free hub if you want to know more.


Making time for you

We’ve talked about this before – find a way to prioritise it! Can you put twenty minutes aside for yourself in a day to read a book, go for a run, or get some quite head space on your own? Or would you feel better if you’ve got a regular phone call with your best mate in the calendar? Whatever makes you feel good, find a way to get that time protected to keep your own sense of wellbeing ‘topped up’.


Tips of the week

·        Staying hydrated is really important for our general health – why not buddy up with a colleague and send each other regular reminders to keep drinking water throughout the day?

·        Other than banana bread or sourdough, have you found a new love of cooking this year? Why not share your favourite recipe, or your top tips for easy cooking with us? Or, have you and your team found a way to connect over food remotely this year? We’d love to hear from you.


Conversation starter


Take five minutes and ask a colleague how their family are doing at the moment – what kind of challenges are they having to overcome?


Taking time for the sort of relaxed conversations we would have in the office can make a big difference to your mood as well as how others are feeling.


If you want to know more…


·        One You has lots of support on how to eat well and feel better.

·        Check out Drinkaware and 4-Alpha for ideas and support to help you rethink your drinking.

·        The Smoke Free hub on defnet has resources if you want to quit smoking.

·        The COVID-19 wellbeing portal has a range of resources. Don’t try to work through them all at once if you are likely to feel overwhelmed. Pick what feels most relevant to you right now.