Headache help: Pain relief & prevention tips

Headaches and migraines are super uncomfortable and can slow us down big time. Here’s a look at different types of headache pain and possible causes, and what you can do when you just need to be able to get on with your life, pain-free!Types of headachesHeadaches are extremely common. Pretty much every person has experienced a headache at some point in their life, and at least half of all adults have had a headache in the past year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).The most common type is a tension headache – also known as a “stress headache”. Chances are, you’ve experienced a tension headache before – that sensation of tightness or pressure across your forehead or on the sides and back of your head. That dull, aching pain is super annoying, and often comes with feelings of stress, depression or anxiety. Other causes may include lack of sleep, jaw clenching and missed meals.Meanwhile, a migraine is more serious. It’s a severe headache that can last anywhere from four to 72 hours, if left untreated. Symptoms include throbbing localised pain, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, and nausea and vomiting. Sinus pressure headaches, in which there’s pressure through the front of the face, ears, and teeth, are often mistaken for migraines. However, a sinus headache can be caused by a sinus infection or allergies.A cluster headache is also considered severe and may require medical attention. Cluster headaches occur in “cluster periods” ranging from every other day to eight times a day, and can last anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours. Pain associated with a cluster headache feels like a stabbing pain behind or around the eye, usually on one side. Other symptoms include nasal congestion, tearing, a runny nose, facial and forehead swelling, constriction of pupils and eyelid swelling.Top tips for headache pain reliefJust like there are different types of headaches, there are different ways to relieve them. But, one thing’s for sure – you’ll want to take some Tylenol for quick pain relief. As the oldest Paracetemol brand in the world, Tylenol is considered the number one over-the-counter painkiller globally. It’s got a great track record of super speedy relief for not only headaches and migraines, but also for body aches and dental pain, too. The good news is, Tylenol 500mg has just become available here in Singapore, and is exclusively available at Guardian. So, now, you can expect fast relief in just 15 minutes when you take two tablets! And, not to worry – Tylenol is gentle on the stomach, even on an empty stomach. So, even if you haven’t yet had your brekkie, you can still take two tablets right away for that aching head you just woke up with!More things you can do to help nip your headache pain in the bud:Take a hot bath or showerThis will help relax and ease sore muscles, and can be especially helpful for tension headaches and sinus headaches.Take a walk!Fresh air and increasing blood flow can help, especially if getting outside removes you from common causes of a headache like strong smells or harsh lighting. Taking a stroll can also help relieve stress.Try a relaxation techniqueSit down with your elbows on the table and your fingertips on your scalp (under your hair). Press and move your fingers in small circles, working your way back over your head. See additional relaxation techniques here!Preventing future headachesKey to avoiding future headaches is understanding your triggers. Try keeping a running list of when your headaches occur, along with what happened in the hours before the onset.Here are five important things to take into account when considering how to prevent headaches.#1 Your sleep patterns: Inconsistent sleep patterns can lead to stress, fatigue and anxiety – all common cause of headahces. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, try changing your pillows, sleep positions, or the side of the bed you sleep on!#2 Your setting: Think about how you feel when you’re indoor versus outdoors. Fluroescent lights, sunlight or brightness from your computer screen can be triggers. Try adding a desk lamp or turning down the brightness on your screen.#3 Your eating patterns: Did you eat? What was it and at what time? Food and drink release neurotransmitters, which can cause headaches in some people. Triggers can include aspartame, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, cheese and more.#4 Your cycle: When estrogen levels drop, especially right before your period, you may be more likely to get a headache. Keep track of your cycle and plan when you can!#5 Your posture: Poor posture can play a part in the onset of your headaches. Try sitting up straight to keep blood flowing, and move around when you can if you spend extended periods of time bent over a desk. At the end of the day, listening to your body is important. Everyone is different, and knowing what works for you (and what doesn’t) can help you avoid headaches.When to call a doctorNot every headache means you have to call your doctor. Simple steps like taking Tylenol or trying a relaxation technique may just do the trick! However, a headache can be a sign of a more serious issue that needs care. So, it’s a good idea talk to your physician if:you have more than two headaches per week;you experience a sudden, severe headache  accompanied by a stiff neck or fever;you feel confused, short of breath, weak, or are experiencing loss of vision or loss of consciousness;your pain gets worse over a period of time past a few days;you have a headache after a head injuryyour headache is triggered by exertion, coughing or bending;you have persistent or severe vomiting not caused by another disease; oryou have nonstop headache pain that you usually don’t have.Like this? See our Health & Fitness section:6 outdoor fitness activities in Singapore Health News: What’s up?

Headache help: Pain relief and prevention tips

Headaches and migraines are super uncomfortable and can slow us down big time. Here’s a look at different types of headache pain and possible causes, and what you can do when you just need to be able to get on with your life, pain-free!Types of headachesHeadaches are extremely common. Pretty much every person has experienced a headache at some point in their life, and at least half of all adults have had a headache in the past year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).The most common type is a tension headache – also known as a “stress headache”. Chances are, you’ve experienced a tension headache before – that sensation of tightness or pressure across your forehead or on the sides and back of your head. That dull, aching pain is super annoying, and often comes with feelings of stress, depression or anxiety. Other causes may include lack of sleep, jaw clenching and missed meals.Meanwhile, a migraine is more serious. It’s a severe headache that can last anywhere from four to 72 hours, if left untreated. Symptoms include throbbing localised pain, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, and nausea and vomiting. Sinus pressure headaches, in which there’s pressure through the front of the face, ears, and teeth, are often mistaken for migraines. However, a sinus headache can be caused by a sinus infection or allergies.A cluster headache is also considered severe and may require medical attention. Cluster headaches occur in “cluster periods” ranging from every other day to eight times a day, and can last anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours. Pain associated with a cluster headache feels like a stabbing pain behind or around the eye, usually on one side. Other symptoms include nasal congestion, tearing, a runny nose, facial and forehead swelling, constriction of pupils and eyelid swelling.Top tips for headache pain reliefJust like there are different types of headaches, there are different ways to relieve them. But, one thing’s for sure – you’ll want to take some Tylenol for quick pain relief. As the oldest Paracetemol brand in the world, Tylenol is considered the number one over-the-counter painkiller globally. It’s got a great track record of super speedy relief for not only headaches and migraines, but also for body aches, dental pain and sore throats, too. The good news is, Tylenol 500mg has just become available here in Singapore, and is exclusively available at Guardian. So, now, you can expect fast relief in just 15 minutes when you take two tabtlets!More things you can do to help nip your headache pain in the bud:Take a hot bath or showerThis will help relax and ease sore muscles, and can be especially helpful for tension headaches and sinus headaches.Take a walk!Fresh air and increasing blood flow can help, especially if getting outside removes you from common causes of a headache like strong smells or harsh lighting. Taking a stroll can also help relieve stress.Try a relaxation techniqueSit down with your elbows on the table and your fingertips on your scalp (under your hair). Press and move your fingers in small circles, working your way back over your head. See additional relaxation techniques here!Preventing future headachesKey to avoiding future headaches is understanding your triggers. Try keeping a running list of when your headaches occur, along with what happened in the hours before the onset.Here are five important things to take into account when considering how to prevent headaches.#1 Your sleep patterns: Inconsistent sleep patterns can lead to stress, fatigue and anxiety – all common cause of headahces. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, try changing your pillows, sleep positions, or the side of the bed you sleep on!#2 Your setting: Think about how you feel when you’re indoor versus outdoors. Fluroescent lights, sunlight or brightness from your computer screen can be triggers. Try adding a desk lamp or turning down the brightness on your screen.#3 Your eating patterns: Did you eat? What was it and at what time? Food and drink release neurotransmitters, which can cause headaches in some people. Triggers can include aspartame, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, cheese and more.#4 Your cycle: When estrogen levels drop, especially right before your period, you may be more likely to get a headache. Keep track of your cycle and plan when you can!#5 Your posture: Poor posture can play a part in the onset of your headaches. Try sitting up straight to keep blood flowing, and move around when you can if you spend extended periods of time bent over a desk. At the end of the day, listening to your body is important. Everyone is different, and knowing what works for you (and what doesn’t) can help you avoid headaches.When to call a doctorNot every headache means you have to call your doctor. Simple steps like taking Tylenol or trying a relaxation technique may just do the trick! However, a headache can be a sign of a more serious issue that needs care. So, it’s a good idea talk to your physician if:you have more than two headaches per week;you experience a sudden, severe headache  accompanied by a stiff neck or fever;you feel confused, short of breath, weak, or are experiencing loss of vision or loss of consciousness;your pain gets worse over a period of time past a few days;you have a headache after a head injuryyour headache is triggered by exertion, coughing or bending;you have persistent or severe vomiting not caused by another disease; oryou have nonstop headache pain that you usually don’t have.Like this? See our Health & Fitness section:6 outdoor fitness activities in Singapore Health News: What’s up?

Online security for middle school kids

Protect Yourself OnlineThere seem to be a lot of scammers around at the moment – plus plenty of online hacking. This is on top of malware, computer viruses and other technical attacks your computer can be vulnerable to. None of us wants our information stolen (or our money, for that matter!); and we don’t want our privacy compromised. So here are some general guidelines around online security – not only for kids and teens, but anyone with an online presence – and how to keep yourself and your software safe.Don’t give personal information to strangers onlinePersonal information is anything about you. Your full name, where you live, your school’s name, your parents’ names, your home address and phone number. These pieces of information can help a stranger on the internet find you, so be very careful about who you give this info to. First of all, don’t give it to anyone you haven’t met in real life. Also, if you share any of this information on social media sites, be sure to check the privacy settings on the site to make sure none of it is viewable by the public.Make online accounts safe and use strong passwords. Your passwords should be no less than eight characters long; they shouldn’t include words that can be found in a dictionary, as that makes it easier for hackers using computer programs to guess them. They should contain a mix of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and special characters. And remember: don’t reuse the same password on every site you visit!When creating an account to join a website, be sure to create a username that protects your personal information. Don’t use your full name as the username – it’s part of the personal information that strangers can use to find out more about you by doing a simple internet search. Social media ‘netiquette’What you post online will stay there forever, even if you delete it. Colleges and future potential employers will check out social media profiles of applicants, so make sure that what you post online is appropriate, and check your security settings to be sure that everything you post can only be seen by your friends. If you don’t know how to do that, ask an adult for help.In particlar, beware of “catfishing”. Catfishing is when a person sets up a profile and pretends to be someone they’re not. You may think you’re talking to a kid your age, but it could be an adult pretending to be a child behind your computer screen. Use caution when someone you don’t know approaches you on social media. If something about it makes you feel uncomfortable, notify a parent or teacher as soon as possible. And remember, if you don’t know the person, do not “friend” him or her.CyberbullyingCyberbullying, or online bullying, is similar to bullying in real life except that it takes place via electronic devices. This can be a mean text message, a rumour spread on a social media site, and even posting personal information about you online. If you come across a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable or bad, don’t respond to it yourself. Instead, notify a parent or teacher about the hurtful messages. Adults take cyberbullying seriously, and there can be consequences for the bully, such as being suspended from school or getting disciplined by parents.What are the long-term effects of cyberbullying?Annual events such as Australia’s annual National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence (NDA), and National Bullying Prevention Month in the US, are aimed at promoting awareness and the importance of cyber safety for kids. Cyberbullying can have many long-term effects that can be damaging on children as they get older.Being bullied online can leave a child or teen feeling overwhelmed, especially from constant attacks through online platforms such as social media. This overwhelming feeling can progress into depression if it’s not addressed; it can also affect grades and ongoing learning through the school years. Poor school performance can lead to additional feelings of helplessness, further reinforcing a depressive outlook towards life in general.Bully or victim – both loseVictims of online trolling suffer the most, with long-term risks including self-destructive behaviour, anxiety and depression. However, the bullies themselves are also at risk of developing long-term effects as a result of their cyberbullying. If not addressed with proper treatment, a bully can grow up with or develop various issues later in life. These can include substance abuse, a lower likelihood of being employed, antisocial behaviour, and child or spousal abuse.Parents often don’t know that cyberbullying is going on. To use Australia as an example, recent research shows that only 28% of parents are aware that their teen or child has gone through a negative experience at some point online.So, for parents, it’s important to know about these issues and discuss them with their child or teenager; doing so is a step towards increasing awareness regarding cyber safety for kids, and how we can better protect them.App Security 101Just because an app is available for download doesn’t mean that it’s a safe app. For your online security, it’s best to download apps from known and trusted stores like Google Play or the Apple App Store; they test apps to make sure they’re safe to use.Scammers are constantly trying to trick people into downloading apps that look just like a real one in order to get the data that’s on your phone. You can check if an app is real by reading the comments on the download page. If you still can’t tell, ask an adult to help you choose the right app before downloading it. Or use Norton Mobile Security, which alerts you to suspicious apps before you download them.Other online security tipsJoin clubs or enter contests only after you’ve obtained your parents’ approval.Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it is.Never reply to “friends” on social media or people asking for money; and don’t click on suspicious links they send. Once again, if you don’t know the person, do not accept their friend request.Be aware of which open Wi-Fi portals you’re joining on your phone; antivirus software will help.Be a good online citizen. The internet is forever, so anything said online stays online. Nothing really gets deleted, not even on Snapchat!All of these are essential cyber-safety skills, but you can also take preventive steps with security software. Norton Security Premium is a great solution for securing the devices in the home. It can help protect up to five Windows PCs, Macs, Android smartphones or iPads.This information was compiled by Norton; they have loads of info and products to help with online security and safety.Learn more here

How a healthy gut helps immunity

Now that we’re out of the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker and into Phase 2, you’re probably wondering how you can stay strong and boost your immunity. Having a healthy gut can help, and you can improve your gut health by making simple changes to your diet.What exactly is gut health?“Gut health” refers to the balance of microorganisms that live in our digestive system. These microorgansisms change over time and play an essential role in digestion, immune functions and brain-gut signaling. An imbalance of microbiota, or gut flora, is associated with a variety of medical problems. These include diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, inflammatory bowel conditions, autoimmune disorders and asthma, plus food allergies and intolerances. Therefore, maintaining the right balance of gut microbiota is essential for physical and mental health, immunity and the prevention of many diseases, according to gastroenterologist DR ANDREA RAJNAKOVA and nutritional consultant VERONICA CAVALLINI of Andrea’s Digestive, Colon, Liver and Gallbladder Clinic.Everyone’s gut microbiota changes over time, as it’s affected by age, environmental factors and diet. In fact, every single thing we put into our bodies can significantly affect the makeup of our gut. So, in addition to good hygiene practices, our diet plays a huge role in reducing any possibilities of getting sick.Making simple changes to your diet for a healthy gutIn order to improve your immunity, it is essential to create a balance between our good and bad gut bacteria, say Dr Andrea and Veronica. To do this, they suggest:# Working probiotics into your diet“We have to nourish our bodies with probiotics, which are foods that help strengthen your gut flora and, consequently, your immune system,” say Dr Andrea and Veronica.Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, tempeh and miso contain probiotics, as do fermented dairy products such as yoghurt, kefir and buttermilk.# Boosting your Vitamin D intakeOne way to boost your body’s vitamin D levels is with food; think salmon, mackerel, tuna and egg yolk. Having said that, food isn’t a strong source of the vitamin. So, try to take advantage of our tropical weather to get as much sun as you can (in a safe way), as this exposure can also help support the immune system functions. Enjoying outdoor activities also means increasing your exercise levels! # Eating a diverse range of foods for a healthy gutA diverse microbiota is considered to be a healthy one. And, a well-balanced diet that includes all food groups – including wholegrain, protein, healthy fat, vegetables and fruit – can help with that. Dr Andrea and Veronica recommend the following:Eating at least three portions of fatty fish per week; this might include tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel and anchovies.Eating foods that contain healthy fats, which support our immune system functions. These healthy fats can be found in nuts – especially walnuts, macademia, Brazilian nuts and almonds – and seeds, including chia and flaxseeds. You can also get healthy fat in extra virgin oliver oil and avocado.Consuming plenty of fruit and vegetables. Guava, papaya, kiwifruit, strawberries, oranges, broccoli, kale, peppers, spinach and tomatoes can provide vitamin C, plus a range of other vitamins and antioxidants.Consuming at least one portion of raw vegetable a day for better Vitamin C absorption.# Upping your iron intakeThis can also help support a healthy immune system. Iron-rich foods include lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, chicory, capsicum, kale, kiwis, papaya, citrus fruits, strawberries, pineapples, guava, blueberries and blackberries.# Staying hydrated with waterIt’s important to get plenty of water everyday, preferably around two litres, say Dr Andrea and Veronica.“Avoid instant beverages including the ones containing sugar and artificial sweeteners like cola, fruit juice and tea in bottle, some yoghurt drinks and flavoured milk, and energy drinks because they may cause bacterial imbalance in the gut.”Andrea’s Digestive, Colon, Liver and Gallbladder Clinic#21-11/12 Royal Square at Novena, 101 Irrawaddy Road6264-2836 | andrea-digestive-clinic.comLike this? See our Health & Fitness section:Top tips for healthy eating at home

Mental health & life after the Circuit Breaker

16th June 2020 by Kate Marsden 4 Min ReadCOVID-19 has drastically changed the way that we live. Families are facing a whole new set of challenges as we transition into life after the Circuit Breaker. These changes can be tough on everyone, can trigger anxiety and have negative impacts on mental health as we come out of lockdown. The Australian International School (AIS) Wellbeing Team have been actively working with staff and students to help address these feelings as we enter into Phase Two, while also providing some helpful strategies to use while we work together to get Singapore back on its feet again. Life after the Circuit Breaker: what will Phase Two look like?The past few months have been tough, but the silver lining is that it has allowed parents to better understand their children as learners and to be directly involved in their education. It has enabled us to spend more time together as families, building positive relationships and close-knit connections while enabling our children to feel happier, safer and more relaxed during these rocky times. Schools have welcomed students back and more of Singapore’s economy will re-open over Phases Two and Three, albeit with some social limitations set in place. Life as we now know it will be different – again – in a couple of months, so we have more change ahead. The AIS Wellbeing Team have outlined some things to watch out for in our kids, and some advice on what we can do to help. AIS – looking out for their community as we move into Phase Two!Look for the signsIt’s hard to untangle what is ‘normal’ behaviour anymore. Our routines have been hijacked by new work and learning schedules. There’s been no social respite and many are facing some very big losses and tragedies both here and abroad. We would be hard-pressed to find families with children that are loving the status quo lately! Having said that, we still need to pay attention and keep checking in with one another. Here are a few things to look for that might suggest your child isn’t coping.Sleeping: If you have teenagers, they will need at least nine hours of sleep. If your child’s sleep patterns are broken or they’re not sleeping at all, this can be a red flag for anxiety or depression.Diet: Many behaviours can be linked to food, mood and environment. Is your child eating a lot more or less than normal? Overeating as well as not eating enough can be an indication that your child might be having a difficult time. Restricting certain types of food can be another thing to watch for as well. Emotion regulation: Mood swings and emotional outbursts are normal at the best of times. We are all feeling frayed around the edges right now. But, if your child is uncharacteristically moody, angry or sad, it’s helpful to explore why they might be feeling this way. Social connections: The sheen may have worn off on the Zoom parties now, but this doesn’t mean that we don’t still need a social outlet. If your child isn’t expressing any interest in connecting with their peers (remotely), talk to them about this. They might need some advice about other ways to connect with friends. A decline in academic performance: Children are learning in a completely new way and it will take time for them to adjust. If your child’s academic performance has significantly declined, speak to their teacher to see if they have noticed anything.  Sunnier days ahead for our little people!What can I do to help? Self-care: ‘Fit your oxygen mask to yourself before fitting it to anyone else’ as the adage goes. To be of use to others, you need to take care of number one: you. It’s important to seek support right now if you need it and carve out some time out for yourself. The way a child responds to stress is by mirroring the reactions of those around them. Try to remain calm and positive and show care for each other. Active listening: Listen and ask questions. Effective and active listening skills enable you to hear and understand any worries or anxieties your child may have. Circle of control: By focusing our energies and problem-solving abilities on what we can control, we can relieve anxiety and improve our mental health and capacity to cope.We are all doing our best, and we need to be realistic and pragmatic about what life after the Circuit Breaker holds. Lifestyle adjustments are going to continue for the next 12 months at least. If you have any concerns about you or your child, please reach out to a health care professional. The Australian International School Singapore is at 1 Lorong Chuan.6664 8127 | ais.com.sgNeed some more tips to help survive life after lockdown? Have a read of these!Long-distance grief and loss in COVID-19Helping teens cope during COVID-19

How stress affects children

Stress in children can impact both their health and behaviourElevated stress caused by isolation from loved ones, cultural adjustments, the school environment, the constant noise of the online world, or the current COVID-19 situation can impact our health and how we react to everyday situations. So, what should you be aware of when it comes to stress in children? And what do you need to know about managing the issue?Clinical Psychologist and Founder of Psych Connect DR SANVEEN KANG answers our questions and shares how she helps families manage mental health issues of this kind.What impact does living in a stressful environment have on children?When any child is growing up, they face uncertainty and adversity, both of which can cause stress – this can include things that we as adults might not pick up on. Everyone needs a certain amount of anxiety to perform well; yet, if children are chronically stressed, it means their stress levels remain perpetually high. When this happens for an extended period of time, it can have long-term effects. Dr Sanveen Kang of Psych ConnectWhat effect can this stress have on children?Heightened stress responses impact the body. When young people go through what are known as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), it results in the activation of the “fight, flight or freeze” response, and the release of adrenaline and cortisol. In the long term, we start to see the systemic response of the body to these stress hormones. Having an elevated level of stress over time is related to medical illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer and even unhealthy behavioural coping mechanisms.So, how do you help children and families?We help find ways to cope with life’s challenges through psychological therapy. This focuses on understanding what factors led to the current experiences, and learning skills to navigate them. The aim of therapy is to enable people to cope with adversities and to assert a sense of control over their lives.Most of our clinicians are trained in more than one therapy modality; they select a modality based on their client’s individual needs. For example, therapy is not limited to talking; we can also work with children using movement, play and art.Can you share some examples of how you’ve helped children?We had an 11-year-old girl referred to us who was having difficulties focusing at school and completing academic tasks. She was diagnosed with ADHD at age six, and had become non-compliant with medication over the years.After the initial consultation and re-assessment, we found that while she didn’t meet the criteria for ADHD, she did have executive functioning and emotional difficulties. This led to further investigations where we discovered that her mother had had a stressful pregnancy and inter-generational trauma. We then focused therapy on supporting the child’s mother and school, by creating a safe and supportive environment for the child.The girl was taken off medications. Both her behaviour and her academic performance naturally improved as she became emotionally regulated, and her living environment became more supportive rather than restrictive.Another case was a boy who was referred for an assessment of sensory processing disorder, as he’d refused to have a haircut for 18 months. Through investigation, we found that he was having challenges with coping with the family’s relocation to Singapore two years ago. Not having a haircut was the one way he attempted to assert control over his life.Therapy focused on addressing the emotions he felt and facilitating a conversation between him and his parents. He was seven years old at the time, and soon after had a pretty cool haircut, much to his parent’s relief! What are some tell-tale signs for children suffering from mental stress?Notice if your child presents any learning, emotional and behavioural challenges. For example, you might observe regression in milestones, or increased emotional or behavioural outbursts.Identifying ACEs is a complex process requiring professional input – so, don’t be daunted to seek help!What advice would you give to parents who are concerned about their children?Be sensitive to their emotions and coping strategies. Recognise that each individual has a different threshold for coping with emotional stress. When in doubt, it’s essential that parents are open to consulting with a psychologist – a psychologist trained in assessments will be able to identify the underlying reason for the behaviours and recommend therapy if it’s required.How does Psych Connect make a difference?Deeply rooted in our values is the importance of creating a respectful and safe place where individuals, regardless of age, feel reassured and supported in their own personal therapeutic journey.Psych Connect therapists feel passionate toward partnering with our clients on their journey of emotional and personal growth. Our clients are a testament to what humans can achieve. At the root of all human interactions is the power of hope, appreciation of compassion and need for love and acceptance. When our clients feel supported through therapy, their potential is limitless.Psych Connect provides comprehensive psychological testing and therapy for children as young as two years of age, up to early adult years, in areas of mental health that include the following:Varied types of anxietySelective mutismStressEmotional regulationTraumaSleep problemsGender identity issuesSelf-injurious behavioursSpecific phobiasAttachment disordersGrief and adjustment disorderAcademic challengesDisordered eating patternsBehavioural and social challengesFunctional gastrointestinal disordersDr Kang is registered with the Singapore Register of Psychologists (SRP) and Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), and is approved as a clinical supervisor by both. If your family needs support with any mental health concerns, access the free resources at psychconnect.sg or call the clinic at 6493 0244.This article first appeared in the June 2020 edition of Expat Living. 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Learning the Perks of a Multicultural Society

14th May 2020 by Kate Marsden 3 Min ReadCurrent events have shown us that we all have far more in common than not. Through this global experience, we are seeing the positive impacts of fostering a multicultural society and working together across nations. This philosophy of multiculturalism is at the heart of Stamford American International School’s (SAIS) annual International Fiesta, an event that has long been a highlight on the school calendar. Given the current situation, however, a few tweaks to the format were required. The result? A different event than usual at this school in Singapore – but one that celebrated diversity just as strongly as in past years.Celebrating a multicultural society in a new wayFrom 23 to 27 March, SAIS students participated in an internal International Mindedness Week, in place of the annual Fiesta. The aim of the week was to further an understanding of multiculturalism in the school community. It was a reflection of how the students practice international-mindedness as part of the curriculum; they do this through multilingualism, multiculturalism, participating in intercultural activities and global engagement.On 25 March, for example, students and teachers alike came to school wearing their unique national dress and colours. In this way and others, the SAIS core values of Integrity, Courage, Ingenuity and Compassion were revisited throughout the event as a reminder to the school community of how connected everyone is – connected through belief systems, cultures and humanity. Consequently, students were able to see how collective cultural intelligence allows them to act as agents of change for a more peaceful and sustainable world. Friends across borders! A word from the teachersHow else did the SAIS community put these plans into action? In the Early Years, parents sent in books, videos and also artefacts from their home cultures to be used in classrooms to engage students in conversations about identity and international mindedness.The Middle School, meanwhile, took part in activities that embraced the diversity of SAIS’s student body:“Grade 7 has been celebrating International Mindedness Week in the knowledge that, with so much going on in the world around us, it’s good for us all to take a step back – to realise we’re a community from around the world and that is something to celebrate. Students have been engaging in a range of activities; these include international quizzes, listening to music from around the world and learning phrases from some of the SAIS community’s native languages. These remind students of the international community they’re part of, and how they can always give and receive support within this community during these troubled times.”– Mr Gavel and Mr Robson, Grade 7 teachers A classroom of cultures! “Despite the challenging circumstances, we’re all working through, on and off campus, it was uplifting to see so many Grade 8 students celebrating international-mindedness by proudly wearing country colours on Wednesday. They’re representing their own countries of origin, but also supporting the countries currently in a health crisis. All these activities are a timely reminder to SAIS students that they’re part of a global community. Most importantly, they’ve shown them that no matter where we live or where we’re from, we are all in this together.”– Ms Rkulovik and Mr Burrows, Grade 8 teachers SAIS is at 1 Woodleigh Lane | 6602 7247 Think this sounds like a great school? Read more about it here!What are your kids doing online? This school’s going green!

If you want to apply to US or UK universities (or college) but need some outside help, read Princeton mum Kimberly Scott’s account of who and what smoothed the rather complicated application process.I wasn’t surprised when my daughter came to me expressing an interest in studying at one of the American universities. I was no expert on what an Ivy League or other top university education could bring; but I did know it opened doors. What I didn’t know was the volume of opportunity such a move could mean for her.I know this now, and I know it was the best family decision we ever made.Of course, I had lots of questions. With the help of Crimson Education, who we contacted after reading a newspaper article on the extensive support they can provide, I learnt both what the application process would involve and what would come after, if indeed she was successful in her quest to attend an Ivy League or other top US school.Luckily, my daughter’s supporters at Crimson (and she had many) were both knowledgeable and patient. They were happy to answer questions from both of us, and plan it out for us, step-by-step.So, what have I learnt? And, more importantly, what can I share from the point of view of having a child now attending Princeton? Hopefully, the following thoughts will help parents who have children considering a similar path understand the process and, just as importantly, alleviate any concerns they may have.How to help with the university applicationsI’ve had many parents ask me over the past two years: How can I help my child fulfil their dreams? I’m no expert in US or UK application strategy – so, what can I do to make a difference?#1 Get involvedBy this I mean do your research as to what these universities have to offer and what your child’s life would be like if they were successful in their admission ambitions for a world-leading university. Search websites, attend expos and check out rankings, locations, courses and faculties – whatever information will help you picture a university as somewhere your child would thrive.#2 Be organisedHelp your child organise their thoughts and their time – and the earlier you start planning, the better. Crimson were key to helping us with a personalised roadmap. As parents, you can also help by keeping track of your child’s school calendar. Look at exams and activities, as well as windows when they can simply unwind and relax.#3 Support extracurricular pursuitsWhile academics are key, helping your child show who they are beyond a grade or an academic award is incredibly important to the US university application process. Once again, the Crimson extracurricular mentor guided my daughter carefully in this. So, for me, given that the expert advice portion was covered, that meant supporting where I could. Our family helped type out community reach flyers, played taxi drivers on group projects, stapled documents and simply provided enthusiasm and encouragement – whatever we could do to be part of her project support team.#4 Visit campusesConsider a trip to the US or UK (if time and circumstances allow!) to check out campuses as a family. As the old saying goes, there is nothing like actually “being there” when it comes to getting a true sense of what it would be like to live in a certain location. The world’s top universities have different personalities; even the eight Ivy League schools feel “different” when you walk onto their individual campuses. That’s why our campus visits helped narrow down my daughter’s top choices to a focused top two or three.One thing we learnt is that this is a long and a complex road, but with Crimson’s support it all became manageable, and exciting, as my daughter checked off her to-do list and made progress along the way.[embedded content]Should you be worried about your child’s safety while living overseas?I suppose, as parents, it is our job to ‘worry’. But if there is one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that these world-leading institutions go above and beyond when it comes to providing a safe, happy, health-conscious environment for their students. They achieve this in a number of ways:Most universities have a centre, office or department dedicated to international students. These also act as bases for international student family communication. Princeton, for example, has the Davis International Center. It provides comprehensive advice and support to international students and their families. These universities plan ahead! Not long after my daughter was admitted, I received information on her calendar for the next four years! I’d never seen anything so organised! This enables us to plan her visits home during breaks and our visits to her in the US.As for safety, most of these institutions have exhaustive precautions and measures in place. They do not take their students’ safety or wellbeing lightly. On the contrary, the entire residential college system is based around inclusion, checks and balances and a comprehensive system of university police monitoring and safety measures. In other words, distance does not have to mean a compromise on safety.My daughter’s new life as an international student has broadened all of our horizons. Having a child leave home for university can be an adjustment. There is no doubt parents and siblings grow with the experience too – with international destinations moving to the top of planned vacation lists!  Seeking out the expertsWhen my daughter expressed her US study interests, I quickly realised how little I actually knew. While I’d have loved to have supported my daughter in every aspect of her applications, I just didn’t have the expertise. And while my daughter went to an amazing school, the counsellor had scores of students to support in their university applications simultaneously.One of the best things aboutCrimson? They always treated my daughter as an individual. They cared about who she was, where her interests lay, and her unique goals and ambitions. She was surrounded by a team of smart, caring people who knew everything about the application process. And they knew what sets successful students aside from the tens of thousands who may not ‘get in’. From her essay mentor to her extracurricular supporter, her SAT tutor to her interview preparation advisor, everyone on my daughter’s team was dedicated, knowledgeable and understanding. Above and beyond all else was my daughter’s Crimson strategist who not only provided my daughter with a fantastic timeline and ‘game plan’ but also became her close mentor and friend — a friendship they maintain to this day.Looking back to when my teenage daughter expressed a dream, and sitting here now, seeing how far she has come and the bright future that is in front of her, I’m grateful she had this dream in the first place, and that her supporters became part of our extended family.A word from a Kimberly’s daughter“Having your parents support you in your desire to study overseas is so important. The application process is incredibly complex and time consuming, and juggling your school timetable with application demands can be stressful. But when you have a family who is constantly offering encouragement and shares and champions your goals, the whole process becomes that much more doable and enjoyable.”– Claudia Scott, Class of 2022For more information, contact Crimson Education at 6909 2004 or visit crimsoneducation.org.

Earphones, Speakers & Headphones!

13th May 2020 by Rebecca Bisset 4 Min ReadConference calls on Zoom or Google Hangouts, online home schooling, listening to podcasts or watching a movie with the whole family; they all need one crucial thing: great sound quality! There’s also comfort and functionality to consider. If it’s not quite right, it’s pretty annoying. So, which earphones, speakers do you or the family need? What are the best sound cancelling headphones on the market?  We look at a few below that include online shopping options – don’t waste any more time being annoyed; get shopping for the best ones!Comfortable earphones for kids (and adults): Klipsch T5Comfort in a pair of earphones is key for a child spending a good amount of time learning online. So, what are the best earphones when you have to wear them for long stretches?As with all Klipsch in-ear headphones, the Klipsch T5 series includes the brand’s True Comfort design, featuring a combination of patented oval ear tips, small nozzle, patented housing designs and approach angles so they sit accurately inside the ear canal. The soft oval silicon tips reduce ear fatigue, while providing ultimate comfort; they also provide an excellent seal for noise isolation and superior bass. The Klipsch T5M Wired Earphones ($109) work with any device, allowing you to control music and calls with an all-new miniature aluminium single-button-remote with braided fabric cabling. Review website What Hi-Fi? gives these earphones a 5-star rating, so you know they have to be good! The patented oval-shaped ear tips stay put in your ears, and the earbuds aren’t bulky either. Forgot you have a meeting coming up in three minutes? Just grab them, plug them in and you’re good to go.Find out more and order a pair of Klipsch T5M Wired Earphones. Want wireless earphones? What we like about the Klipsch T5 True Wireless Earphones ($349) is the advanced call button control. It’s perfect for when you’re trying to have a call but you keep being interrupted. To mute or unmute yourself, simply press the Klipsch logo button one time.Find out more and order a pair of Klipsch T5 True Wireless Earphones.Watch your favourite Netflix shows or keep the kids entertained: Sonos BeamNo need to go to the movie theatre when you can build your own 3.1 home theatre system! Mix and match the Sonos Beam soundbar with a Sonos Sub to create a realistic movie experience in the comfort of your own home. Upgrade to a 5.1 by adding a Sonos One or One SL at the rear ends – now that’s an incredible home theatre.While long, drawn-out time at home can get tedious for adults, it can be even more challenging for kids! Keep the little ones entertained with Google Assistant on Sonos. With its ever-growing library of educational games, quizzes and other playful content, the young ones will be entertained for hours.Find out more and order a Sonos Beam. A family that cooks together…: Sonos OneHelp keep yourself healthy by including essential nutrients in your meals. The best way to do that? Home-cooked meals! When we prepare our own food, we know exactly which ingredients – and how much of each – are going into our meals. Also, why not make it fun with your kids? The ideal kitchen companion is the Sonos One smart speaker. You can spice up your cooking with some cool tunes, or be productive and listen to the news, a podcast or the TV.Find out more and order a Sonos One.Fun Fact: Take a look at Melody Chen’s IG video, in which she cooks with her twins with the help of Google Assistant on Sonos!Get fit as a family: Klipsch Heritage Groove SpeakerWhile this is the season to avoid crowds, and you may opt to give the gym a miss, keeping fit and healthy has never been a higher priority! Here comes the portable Klipsch Heritage Groove ($239), that you can bring to any room to start your own workout. Investing in this product also means you’ll always have a good portable speaker ready for your travels and barbecues with friends. Equipped with a microphone for hands-free calling, Bluetooth wireless technology and an eight-hour battery life, the Heritage Groove is the perfect company for your calls.Find out more and order a Klipsch Heritage Groove Speaker. Enjoy some ‘me time’: Marshal Monitor ANC HeadphonesTime to ourselves is a rare treat nowadays with kids at home 24/7. That’s why it’s important, if possible, to practise self-care such as meditation. People are using the practice right now to develop beneficial habits and feelings, such as a positive mood and outlook, self-discipline, healthy sleep patterns and even increased pain tolerance.Of course, to meditate you need to keep out all the ambient noise, right? Noise-cancelling headphones like these Marshall Monitor ANC Headphones can be an extremely powerful tool when it comes to getting the most out of meditation, especially if you’re in an environment that’s not so quiet.Find out more and order a set of Marshall Monitor ANC Headphones. Read on to discover more products and information.

Mental capacity and the law

6th May 2020 by Rebecca Bisset 3 Min Read What happens when a family member, through disability or an illness such as dementia, no longer has the mental capacity to make legal and financial decisions for themselves?SARAH-MAE THOMAS is a dual-qualified lawyer in both Australia and Singapore. She runs her own law firm, Sarah-Mae Thomas LLC, and specialises in family-related legal matters. Here she sheds light on one of her key practice areas – one that not many of us consider enough: mental capacity matters. It’s really useful to know about for our parents, as well as other members of the family. And there’s no time like the present to learn more about it. What does Singapore’s Mental Capacity Act (MCA) do?The MCA aims to help people who care for those who lack mental capacity, while also allowing people to plan for a future in which they could potentially lose capacity themselves. This can happen with an aged parent who loses their faculties, for example, or with someone who suddenly goes into a coma before or during a legal proceeding. An application under this Act is also important in situations where you have a child who is mentally incapacitated and decisions need to be made on their behalf.What should I do if a loved one loses their mental faculties?If this happens, you may apply to the court to be appointed that person’s “Deputy” under the MCA. Mental capacity refers to one’s ability to make their own decisions on a specific matter at a particular time. This can apply even in cases of temporary incapacity. Under an MCA application, you’ll need to get a doctor to certify that the person is mentally incapacitated.  You’ll also need to go to court to request that you be appointed the patient’s Deputy (more than one Deputy can be appointed), including telling the court what kind of powers you require. These powers fall within two broad categories: personal welfare and property matters.What if my family member has been served with court documents but they lack capacity?The MCA can also be relevant to other legal proceedings such as personal injury where you are trying to claim compensation for an accident or in a divorce matter, where action is required on behalf of the patient.If I’m appointed a Deputy, can I do everything the patient could have done?No. While you’re acting on their behalf, there are certain restrictions on the powers you have. For example, you won’t be able to execute wills or make major healthcare decisions for the patient that fall under the Advanced Medical Directive Act, such as rejecting life-sustaining treatment. You can’t consent to a decree of divorce being granted on three years’ separation; nor can you adopt a religion on the patient’s behalf.What’s the difference between a Deputy and a lasting power of attorney?An application to be appointed a Deputy occurs when an individual has already lost mental capacity. On the other hand, a lasting power of attorney (LPA) can only be made when an individual has mental capacity. The LPA allows you to choose someone you trust as a donee to make decisions and act on your behalf should you lose mental capacity in future.Sarah-Mae offers a standard rate of $300 for anyone who mentions Expat Living.12 Eu Tong Sen Street, #08-168 The Central (Soho 2)6602 9588 | [email protected]