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Navigating the Christmas season




By Angela Kerrisk from Activate Fitness

It is so simple to get swept up in the holiday season! It is my favourite time of the year and if I could I would have the decorations up in early November!


Christmas and New Year are widely associated with indulgence, the mix of social and national celebrations can help keep our typically cold winter at bay but can lead to a strain on our waistlines. How many of us start January with the best of intentions hoping to go on a ‘diet’ that will undo the excess of our partying from the previous few weeks! Did you know that four or five sweets from those holiday tins contain around 200 calories? And let us be honest, who stops at this?

You don’t need to deprive yourself or eat only boring foods or to accompany your treats with a side order of guilt - but you do need a plan!

Pay attention to what really matters. Although food is an important part of the holidays, put your main focus on family and friends. If your eating habits are balanced throughout the year, it’s okay to indulge once in a while.

You get to choose what this will be, don’t get drawn into the hype. One way to cut through the marketing that surrounds us at Christmas and that tries to draw us in is to set a rule; if the food or drink is available all year round, leave it. Just because it’s packaged differently it is still the same!

However, if it is a family recipe with the most amazing memories attached i.e. Gran’s stuffing or a traditional dessert or cake, enjoy every mouthful, get involved in the making of it so in time you too can hand this family recipe down. Cherish this experience.


If you are going to house parties be sure to eat before you go, prioritising a balanced snack containing protein, carbs and healthy fats. It takes a bit of time for your stomach to signal your brain. Have a chat, drink some water, wait a good 20 minutes before going back for seconds. It takes this long for your brain to register that you are full.

Get savvy about portion control. This is the biggest problem over the festive season. It is almost expected of us to overeat! Research has shown the bigger the portion the more you will eat. Focus on the first few bites, it is better to have a smaller portion of high-quality food.

Drink at least two to three litres of water every day to stay well hydrated. If you drink alcohol, have a glass of water in between drinks.


Get out and move every day. We are blessed here in Kerry to have so many places to choose from and that all ages can enjoy. A family walk after a particularly filling meal or late night can be brilliant for shaking off the cobwebs.

Meet up for coffee instead of pints. It is never about what you are drinking but who you are with, and again we have some amazing coffee spots to indulge in.

Try to stay to your usual routine and continue to have your three regular meals a day, this will in turn help naturally reduce the serving sizes of your celebratory meals with family and friends.


Christmas and New Year are all about having fun and not getting too stressed with everything. This year make it about good quality food, good company and most importantly about your family and friends. Make sure you enjoy yourself, share some love and remember that moderation is the key to anything to do with keeping healthy and safe during the festive season or any time of the year!

Now is the time to plan for the coming festivities. Having a coach on side to help you navigate this period is a huge help so that come January you aren’t caught spinning your wheels looking for a “quick win”, rather you are hitting 2022 working towards your goals, refreshed after an enjoyable and relaxing Christmas. If you would like a complimentary nutrition consultation, visit

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Five questions to ask yourself before buying a stock

By Michael O’Connor, When it comes to investing, nothing is certain. There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy. […]




By Michael O’Connor,

When it comes to investing, nothing is certain.

There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy.

The truth is, investing is hard, and building a portfolio of top stocks that beat the market is something that even financial professionals have trouble doing consistently.

For most people, investing in index funds is the perfect hands-off approach, providing broad exposure to the stock market at a very low fee. Even my own personal portfolio is made up of roughly 70% ETFs despite the fact I invest in the market for a living.

But I believe some stock picking is a good strategy for many hands-on people.

Taking a small portion of your overall portfolio and diligently selecting a small number of companies to invest in gives you an opportunity to learn about the investing process and fully understand the businesses you are investing in, which helps to build conviction in your positions.

From a psychological standpoint “collector’s instinct” kicks in, enabling people to participate and invest more money over time.

Lastly, for Irish investors, there are tax benefits to consider. If you invest in individual stocks, you are taxed at the CGT rate of 33%, and the first €1,270 of your gains are exempt from CGT each year. When investing in index funds or ETFs, you are taxed at the exit tax rate of 41% with no annual exemption.

For those interested in picking individual stocks, here are five questions you should ask yourself before investing in any company.

Do I understand the business?

Too many people invest in businesses they don’t understand because it ‘sounds good’. If you have no idea how the company works, you won’t have the conviction needed to hold onto the stock when an inevitable downturn comes.

Can the balance sheet withstand severe, temporary adversity?

This seems obvious, but so many people invest in companies without understanding how much money a company holds and who they owe money to. Economic cycles are guaranteed. You must ensure that the company has enough cash-on-hand to avoid becoming obsolete when activity slows.

Will the company benefit from long-term trends?

Make sure the company will remain relevant into the future. If the stock is cheap now, it may be cheap for a reason.

Is the company enjoying profitable growth?

Not growth at all costs, but a combination of sustainable growth and value. All this information can be found online at sites like

What are the risk factors?

Is the company trying something new and untested? If yes, who are its competitors and how successful are they? If other players are more established, this company may have a tough time breaking into the market.


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Ballyspillane staff open up mental health conversation

By Michelle Crean “Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign. It’s all in partnership […]




By Michelle Crean

“Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign.

It’s all in partnership with Mental Health Ireland (MHI) and the centre will host an information/coffee morning on Thursday next (March 30) at 12.30pm at their centre and all are welcome to attend.

The campaign initiated by MHI identifies the need for positive engagement and connections with the people around us.

It asks people to engage in open conversations about mental health and prompts us all to ask the question “How Are You?”

The word HELLO is a useful acronym to guide everyone through such conversations, H: Hello, E: Engage positively with the person, L: Listen actively, L: Learn about the person and O: seek options to assist the person if required.

“We all need a listening and compassionate ear sometimes to get us through some challenges in our lives and I think the pandemic has opened a new way of looking at the world, where we can all recognise the challenges that people experience more readily,” Derek O’Leary, Manager of Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre, said.

“Our team here are in the business of supporting families and individuals across the Killarney area and beyond and see the challenges that people face first hand. We also see the positive impact that a caring person can have in such circumstances and this campaign that encourages positive engagement, regarding mental health is a great reminder to us all, the role we can play is assisting others who are struggling.”

Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre provide a suite of support and intervention services including family supports, social prescribing/community connection services and physiotherapeutic services across the Killarney municipal area and beyond.


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