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Are you getting enough sleep?




By Angela Kerrisk from Activate Fitness

We have all heard the phrase “routine is the killer” however for many of us who, on a daily basis, stretch ourselves thin wearing a variety of different hats, simply creating a specific and sustainable routine will separate the successful and organised from the stressed and overwhelmed.


Incorporating a routine helps to bring direction and structure, and as Craig Ballantyne so wonderfully put it in his book 'The Perfect Day'; "Structure = Freedom".

In our childhood, we became accustomed to a bedtime routine. In fact, those of us who are parents go to great lengths to create this routine for our own children, knowing the benefits it brings. However, as we moved into adulthood, that same routine was thrown out the window by the demanding world of school and full-time work.

Sleep and health are locked together. When we improve our sleep, we have better energy, mood, and recover easier from exercise. When we sleep better it helps us to make better nutrition choices because sleep regulates our hormones. Yet it’s one of the first things we sacrifice in order to get through our full to-do list. Whatever these or our end goal is, jeopardising our health seems to be counterproductive and also just a little crazy! Why is it that as adults we stray so far away from one of the very foundational rituals that can keep us feeling grounded?

So how much sleep do you need? About six to eight hours is good but the exact number depends on the person. No matter who you are, you’ll feel worn out if you don’t get enough.

Here are some suggestions to help you achieve greater balance and a sound night's sleep:

Limit caffeine:

It takes a long time for caffeine to get out of your system, so avoid it late in the day. Typically, have your last caffeinated drink 10 hours before your bedtime.

Be active:

Physical activity reduces stress and improves sleep. One exception is not to do a hard workout right before bed as it might be tough to wind down for a while afterwards.

Unwind early:

Turn off screens well before bedtime. Bright screens can mess with your body’s sleep mechanisms, so turn off TV's, tablets and smartphones earlier in the evening. Take the dog out, brush your teeth, get into your pyjamas, and get into bed before the time you want to be asleep.

Brain dump for the next day:

Spend 5-10 minutes each night writing a list of to-do items to ensure you hit the pillow feeling organised and in control.

Set out your clothes the evening before:

This small task can save you a lot of last-minute rushing. Take the extra five minutes now when you have it.

Cool, dark and quiet:

When it comes to sleep, you want it cool, dark and quiet. Adjust the temperature or get a fan going, hang some blackout curtains and try to reduce any noise near your bedroom.

Buy an alarm clock:

This will help you to avoid being distracted by notifications should you wake and check the time in the middle of the night. Set an alarm right now for tonight. When it goes off, start your evening routine so you get into bed on time for a good night’s sleep!

Here at Activate, we promote and encourage balance to ensure we are living a happy and healthy life. Sleep is one very essential and key component of this. We hope these tips help you get some much-needed rest! When you combine great sleep with sound nutrition and solid training, you’ll feel amazing and make more progress toward your goals.

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Taking care of your skin at home

By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio In Part 2 of taking care of your skin at home it’s important to do the following steps after cleansing, toning […]




By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio

In Part 2 of taking care of your skin at home it’s important to do the following steps after cleansing, toning and exfoliating your face, neck and décolleté.

Serums, eye creams and moisturisers: Moisturising provides a protective layer to the skin that locks in moisture and keeps skin hydrated. This hydration is what gives your skin a smooth and luminous appearance. This is the step in your skincare routine you don’t want to skip. We always apply the serum closest to the skin as it’s water based and needs to be absorbed on the deepest layer of the skin; the basal layer which is the active layer. It’s where the collagen and elastin start to grow and move up towards the surface of the skin. The more hyaluronic acid, peptides, ribose, and active ingredients in your serums the better. We need to keep our fibroblasts, melanocytes healthy as they are the source of plump, juicy skin.

An eye cream to me is the most important cream as the eye area is a place that doesn’t have any sebaceous glands (oil gland). These glands help remove old skin cells, keep the skin lubricated and prevent tissues drying out. Therefore, for me, I always use an eyelid lifting serum, eye cream in the night time and eye roll-on gel in the morning. Our eyes can make us look older than we are so it’s important to look after them. It’s very important not to go too close to the eye when applying creams as the skin is very thin. A little bit often makes a big difference.

When applying your serum and cream rub upwards and outwards; be careful not to tug the delicate skin around the eyes.

Apply SPF all year round, it’s the most important step in preventing skin cancer and keeps your skin healthy as you age. Protecting your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays helps maintain a healthy youthful visage. However, it’s important to remember the best form of sun block is to keep your face in the shade.

With all skincare routines, it’s important to keep it consistant. Do it twice a day every day and follow with monthly facials. Your skin is the largest organ on the body. This means that it’s important to take good care of it.

For more information, or to book a skin consultation or facial, call Jill on 064 6632966.

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What do we mean by ‘Employability’?

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, a member of the Kerry Branch of IGC and a career consultant at Follow @mycareerplan on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.




By Niamh Dwyer, Guidance Counsellor

According to experts in the area of career development, the term ‘employability’ refers to a set of achievements that makes graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations.

This in turn benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy. At this stage in the year Leaving Cert students are well into the process of trying to decide what step they want to take next. It is a daunting task for many of you because of the variety of choices available and the challenge for young people at 17 or 18 years of age to really know what career they might like. It is important to remember that you aren’t choosing a career for life, you are taking the next step and you will be building on that as your career develops. A big concern for many students and parents is whether they will get a job at the end of their chosen course or pathway. While we have some indications of where there will be skills shortages in the short to medium term, the jobs market is subject to change.


One thing we can be sure of is that, regardless of what pathway you take after the Leaving Cert, be that Further Education courses (FET), traineeships, apprenticeships or university courses, on completion of your training and education you will want to be ‘employable’. In simple terms ‘employability’ depends on your knowledge (what you know) your skills (what you do with what you know) and your attitude (how you approach things). As you research the various options open to you after you finish school, remember you are heading into a working world that values transferable skills which include specialist knowledge in the subject, field of study or technical area you have chosen to follow. It also places huge emphasis on having the ability to analyse, evaluate and use information effectively to problem-solve and to organise and communicate knowledge well. Furthermore, your personal qualities are a core part of your offering to a potential employer – your ability to work on your own initiative, to self-manage, to manage time and meet targets and deadlines. Central to all of this of course is the ability to collaborate, to work and study as part of a team.

If you are struggling to decide between courses or options, focus on finding an area that you really want to find out more about. You will develop a set of transferable skills which will give you flexibility and adaptability as you grow and develop in your career. All of the other things you do will add value to your degree/qualification and that is what will ensure your ‘employability’!

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, a member of the Kerry Branch of IGC and a career consultant at Follow @mycareerplan on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


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