Wellness Wednesday

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Wellness Wednesday


#Wellness Wednesday 07/10/20

This week I was having a think about the 5 steps to mental wellbeing, as prescribed by the NHS. Why not take some time and ask yourself the question, how is my mental health? What can I do to improve it?

The five steps refer to:

  1. Connecting with others
  2. Being physically active.
  3. Learning new skills.
  4. Giving to others.
  5. Paying attention to the present moment (mindfulness).

How would you say you are coping?      



#Wellness Wednesday 30/09/20

With the majority of our young people in Scotland facing more restrictions than ever, the Scottish Youth Parliament, Youth Link Scotland, Young Scot and the Scottish Government are looking to you to have your voice heard. Please take time to complete the survey below on how young people feel about their lives as lockdown restrictions change – #LockdownLowdown


#Wellness Wednesday 23/09/20

In these most uncertain times I think it’s useful to identify and accept what we can and can’t achieve and how we, as Judoka, and as members of the wider society, manage our expectations.

Like most things sports-related, we can apply the knowledge gained from our sport to our everyday lives.

I'm encouraged that recently a lot of members have been contacting me to explain how anxious, frustrated and worried they are. These are all perfectly normal feelings and it would be surprising if you weren't experiencing them . No-one has all the answers, or even some of the answers just now, but what we can do is focus on the here and now, with a view to improving the future.

As always, here to chat colinaitken@judoscotland.com.


#Wellness Wednesday 16/09/20

During this #ukcoachingweek we have been focusing on our coaching workforce.

They are often the unsung heroes of our sport who give their time freely week after week. We have been celebrating and promoting our coaches throughout the week for their initiative in producing online classes and recently moving judo outdoors, trying their best to keep our Judoka engaged with the sport.

However many coaches, like their players, are missing being on the mat and may well not have had the chance to interact at any level with the players for some time.

Why not give them a call, or send them a message, to let them know you are thinking about them. In the words of Sensei Keiko Fukuda, "A compassionate soul is inner beauty".

Keiko Fukuda


#Wellness Wednesday 09/09/20

It’s easy to be wise in hindsight and what many of us have been doing recently is asking what we could have done differently, or whether we should have reacted in a different way to the situation we find ourselves in now. This can be healthy and damaging at the same time; we can’t change the past but we can make our future. Be wise now in the present and the future will take care of itself. Take inspiration from Professor Kano who said, "Judo helps us to understand that worry is a waste of energy.” Positive thoughts make positive people. colinaitken@judoscotland.com


#Wellness Wednesday 02/09/20

With the easing of restrictions on indoor training to certain levels this week, now more than ever its time to make sure you are ready for the return to the mat.

Speak to your club regarding what judo will look like moving forward,  it wont be the same as before at least not in the short term. If you feel anxious about returning to the mat or taking your child to the dojo, speak to the club management and go over your clubs Covid policy. By now all JudoScotland clubs should have a dedicated Covid officer in place who has undergone specific training. In most cases as yet they will probably not have all the answers, but will be working towards, a safe, friendly and happy return to the mat.



#Wellness Wednesday 22/07/20

This week I was chatting with a number of coaches and the theme of Judo being able to influence the mental health of children throughout Scotland came up again and again.

So, following on from this I thought it would be a good idea to revisit just how good the sport of Judo can be in helping our children.

  1. Engenders a respect for others
  2. Reinforces a sense of fair play
  3. Develops personal confidence and self-discipline among its participants
  4. Offers the obvious potential for physical and mental improvement.

Within a few weeks our children will be returning to more structured education after an absence of 5 months. This will be an anxious time for children, teachers and parents. It's been well documented that exercise is not only good for physical health, but also mental health.

Try to encourage your children to reengage with sport and mix with other children at play within government and sport guidelines. Help build a fitter future for your children. As always, here to chat colinaitken@judoscotland.com

#Wellness Wednesday 15/07/20

How is your mental health?

Hello all, and welcome to this week’s wellness Wednesday. I thought this week it might be a good idea to see how healthy we all are mentally.

Remember we all have mental health, just as we have physical health. It can be up or down, and just like physical health, will not stay constant.

I’ve attached a “Wellbeing Tool” link from SAMH, the Scottish Association for Mental Health, which operates in communities to provide a range of mental health support and services.

The link will take you to a short questionnaire. Take your time to fill it in, and be truthful. Once completed, follow the advice they give.


As always, I’m here to chat any time.

Stay safe and healthy.


Safeguarding and Wellbeing

#Wellness Wednesday 08/07/20


Hello all and welcome to #wellnesswednesday. I was speaking to the JS staff earlier this week about how adaptable the members are proving to be in dealing with the current crisis. We wondered why that is.

As Professor Jigoro Kano said, “the only course is to consider what the right thing to do is, and proceed in that direction."

We can view this in the context of judo, or more openly in our everyday lives, as Kano envisaged.

We have all had to adapt from what was the norm, to a new normality. Sixteen weeks ago, would any of us have imagined judo online, zoom calls, home office working, home schooling, furloughing, shielding.

Yet here we are, surviving and thriving, adapting and moving ever forward. We as judoka should be proud of how we have accomplished this and strive to achieve more.

When the current pandemic is over and we look back at this period, we’ll reflect on how we coped, what we did, how we acted and how we adapted. When we do so, we should think of Kano’s Jita Kyoei, “the mutual benefit of self and others”, which explains much of who we are. (Further reading available at http://kodokanjudoinstitute.org/en/doctrine/word/jita-kyoei/).

Stay safe and healthy.


Safeguarding and Wellbeing #PlayingOurPart


#Wellness Wednesday 01/07/20

Hello everyone and welcome to #wellnesswednesday.

This week I have been telephoning round a number of clubs and the common feeling I’m getting from the membership is one of “frustration”, so I thought we might talk about “frustration”, what it actually means, how we perceive it and what we can do to relieve it.

In psychology, frustration is defined as a common emotional response to opposition, related to anger, annoyance and disappointment. The frustration we feel during this time might be brought on by not being able to see our families, train how we would like to, or see our judo friends. If you are furloughed, the feeling might arise from not being able do anything about your work.

These situations are all very real and, in the main, beyond our control. Frustration can make you feel angry, or want to give up. You might lose self-control, experience stress, feel sad, turn to substance abuse or even engage in other negative, self-destructive or addictive behaviours.

So what can we actually do if we’re feeling frustrated? Take some deep breaths: seven seconds in, ten seconds out. Identify the source of the frustration. Once you have done that, then you can see if you can actually do anything about it. If not, remind yourself that this time will pass, as it most certainly will. Work on something else. Move away from the source of frustration telling yourself you can go back to it later. Do something pleasant, completely different from what’s making you feel frustrated. Maybe you can’t change the circumstances you find yourself in, but you can change how you respond to them.

As always, happy to chat 



#Wellness Wednesday 24/06/20

Hello all, and welcome again to this week’s #wellness-wednesday.

A couple of days back I filled out a questionnaire on how the current situation was affecting me. It asked some pretty basic questions, which gave me some time to ponder over how I was “actually doing”. The questions included whether I was eating more, had I gained weight, was I snacking more, drinking more alcohol or smoking? Was I exercising more or less during this time, and how was my mental health? Was I more, or less, stressed? There was no score at the end of it, or a “well done”, as it was part of an on-going research project.

But what it did do was focus my mind on how I was coping in mind and body, and whether I should do more or less of anything. Without a doubt, the last few months have changed us all in some way, but what we have to do now is look to the future and make sure we are fit and well in all ways for what is in front of us.

As always, feel free to contact colinaitken@judoscotland.com


#WellnessWednesday 17/06/20

Hello all, and welcome to this week's #wellnesswednesday.

I thought that with the possibility of further easing of lockdown this week, some of you, myself included, may be feeling a bit more anxious than normal.

Maybe it's the thought of going back to work, coping with colleagues, or being with more people. Being unsure of your job, business, or club future.

Whatever the reason, anxiety can be a real feeling that affects many of us. Have a look at the chart attached that gives you some pointers on how to recognise if you're anxious. Then think what you can do to be less anxious. There are many different areas we can try, including exercise. We can also make sure we sleep well and eat healthily, avoid drinking too much alcohol, or smoking, which are both just temporary fixes that end up making us more anxious. It's also helpful to try something new, like cooking, yoga, learning a musical instrument or language to occupy your mind.

There are mindfulness techniques you can try too, like taking ten minutes outdoors and listening to the sounds you can hear. There are lots of websites and organisations with help available.

As always, feel free to contact me at colinaitken@judoscotland.com if I can help in any way.

#WellnessWednesday 10/06/20
Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s Wellness Wednesday.
If I were to let you into a secret on how to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50%, improve your mental health and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%, and that it was free, easy to take, had an immediate effect and you didn’t need a GP to get some, would you be interested?
Thought so! So, what is it? It’s exercise!
Last week we talked a lot about community and one of the main focuses in our judo community is our enjoyment of the physical aspect to our judo. Unfortunately this is, for now, something we can't at present do in the same way. Thankfully our community has been posting various and varied work outs and judo specific videos which have been extremely well received. I would encourage you if you haven’t already, to start an exercise routine whereby you can see an improvement in your own well being occurring.
Some really good information and workouts can be found here:
Check out our #motivational-monday this week with Alex Short for some exercise motivation. If you’re going for a walk or run why not add your distance to our #FunFridayTravels and see where we can get to.
"If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented," says Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant.

#WellnessWednesday 03/06/20

Welcome to Wellness Wednesday. I hope you are all safe and well. 

 I thought I might follow on from Monday’s post and look at what it means to be part of a community. We often talk about the Judo community or Judo family, but what does this actually mean to us?

Communities play an important role in every aspect of our lives. We have communities in our friends, our families, our employment, our neighbourhoods, and in so many other places. We find community in the sports teams we support, or the artists we enjoy, even the food that we like. 

Having a sense of community unites us. Being part of a community can make us feel part of something greater than ourselves. It can give us opportunities to connect with people, to reach for our goals, and make us feel safe and secure.  During this difficult time, when we may be separated from our communities, it is even more important to try and be part of them. 

So this week, why not reach out to some of your club mates or coaches or volunteers. Give them a call, have a chat, find out what they have been up to, share a story or two. 

As always, here to help. Drop me a message or email me at 


#WellnessWednesday 27/05/20


The importance of being kind.

Following on from last weeks Mental Health week. I thought it might be good to focus on the subject matter of kindness.

How important is kindness to you?

The Mental Health Foundation has conducted a new survey into kindness, which has found almost two-thirds of us say that when people are kind to them, it has a positive impact on their mental health.

The results also found that almost two-thirds of people find that being kind to others has a positive impact on their mental health and almost three-quarters of us say it is important we learn from the coronavirus pandemic to be more kind as a society.

Forty-eight percent of the people surveyed said being kind "to myself" had a positive impact on their mental health.

Speaking about the research, Mark Rowland (CEO Mental Health Foundation) said: "At one level, kindness can be as simple as phoning a friend who is lonely or thanking a colleague for something they have done. However, to have a major impact on improving our mental health, we need to take kindness seriously as a society."

The charity is asking the government to think about kindness when they are making decisions about how the country is run.

“ One thing we have seen all over the world is that kindness is helping people to connect and communities to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic” - Mark Rowland, Chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation.


WellnessWednesday 20/05/20

Hi all, and welcome to #WellnessWednesday.

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place this week (18-24 May 2020) and is an opportunity for all of us to raise awareness of mental health issues and advocate against social stigma. You may have been aware of increased media coverage surrounding this in the press. With the current crisis it is envisaged that there will be a marked increase in mental health issues throughout the population.

UK Coaching has very kindly released free of charge their Mental Health Awareness for Sport and Physical Activity course. One in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. Completing this course would give you the knowledge, skills and confidence to better understand and support people living with mental health problems, and create a positive environment that ensures they enjoy the benefits of being active and keep coming back for more.

The four modules covered will increase your knowledge and understanding of mental health, providing you with the practical skills and strategies to be able to: 

Build peoples resilience, self-esteem and confidence 

As a coach, adapt your sessions to make them more inclusive

Enable and support mental health recovery

and, Tackle stigma and discrimination.

You will also get access to an extensive bank of resources that you can start using straight away. After completing the course, you will be able to download your certificate of completion. This course has been awarded 3 CPD points by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA).


As always any questions please drop me a line: colinaitken@judoscotland.com


#WellnessWednesday 13/05/20

Hi Folks, and welcome to Wellness Wednesday.

Hope you are all well and coping as best you can during this difficult time. I thought this week I would direct you to the website published by Young Scot (the national youth information and citizenship charity for 11-26 year olds in Scotland). They have been doing some great work around really imprtant issues raised by the current situation, with topics ranging from how to look after your finances, supporting your family, mental health, school and education situations, supporting your community, staying positive and many more. 

You can use the page as a source of information to give to the younger generation. As always, any questions just drop me a line. Stay safe and healthy, Colin colinaitken@judoscotland.com



#WellnessWednesday 06/05/20

Hello all,
Colin Aitken here, hope you are all well and safe.
I thought this week we might look at how we are interacting with our children during this time and in particular how we talk to them about Coronavirus. Some useful tips from Dr Kim O'Conner of British Psychological Society are listed below:

1. It is good to talk:
Children will have heard about Coronavirus and likely noticed changes around them (such as people wearing face masks). It is important they feel comfortable talking to you about Coronavirus as you will be the best source of information and reassurance for them. It’s also likely they will talk to their friends or other children, which can involve imagination and misinformation. So having the chance to check-in with you is even more helpful.

2. Be truthful, but remember your child’s age:
It is better for children to take an honest and accurate approach – give them factual information, but adjust the amount and detail to fit their age. For example, you might say ‘we don’t yet have a vaccination for Coronavirus, but doctors are working very hard on it’ or ‘a lot of people might get sick, but normally it is like a cold or flu and they get better’. Younger children might understand a cartoon or picture better. We also recommend that adults watch news programmes and then filter this information to their child in a developmentally appropriate way.

3. Allow children to ask questions:
It is natural that children will have questions, and likely worries, about Coronavirus. Giving them the space to ask these questions and have answers is a good way to alleviate anxiety. Again, try to be honest in your responses – it is ok to say you don’t know. At the moment, there are questions we don’t have answers to about Coronavirus – you can explain this to your child and add in information about what people are doing to try to answer these questions. Maybe your child has an idea too – let them tell you or draw them.

4. Try to manage your own worries:
Uncertainty can make all of us feel anxious or worried. Identify other adults you can talk to about your own worries and questions. What things usually help to make you feel a bit calmer? If you are at home, music, breathing and relaxation techniques, distraction (such as watching something funny), and time with family members or pets can all help. Talk to your children when you feel calm – it will reassure them.

5. Give practical guidance:
Remind your child of the most important things they can do to stay healthy – washing their hands and the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ advice for coughs and sneezes. Help your child practise and increase their motivation for keeping going (maybe thinking of a song they want to sing while washing their hands).

As always feel free to contact colinaitken@judoscotland.com


Hi Folks, Colin Aitken here, welcome to #WellnessWednesday. 29/04/20

I hope you are well and coping the best you can during this difficult time. I thought this week we might look at ways of nurturing our relationships, be it with family, flat mates, colleagues or friends.

Have a look at the tips below and think about whether you actually do these or not.

Top Tips -

Give time - put more time aside to connect with your friends and family, One thing many of us have just now is time to spare.

Be present - this means really paying attention to the other people in your life and trying not to be distracted by your phone or your work or other interests

Listen - really listen to what others are saying and try to understand it and to focus on their needs in that moment

Let yourself be listened to - honestly share how you are feeling, and allow yourself to be heard and supported by others

Recognise unhealthy relationships - harmful relationships can make us unhappy. Recognising this can help us to move forward and find solutions

As always stay, safe stay healthy, stay in touch

Welcome to #WellnessWednesday (22/04/20)

With over four weeks of lockdown complete, I thought now is a good time to reflect on how you and your families are doing.
With the help of the graphic below, why not take a little time to evaluate where you are on the cycle.
Are you less or more physically active?
How would you compare your mental health now to before?
Are you more spiritually aware?
How are you coping with social isolation?
How do you feel in your new (temporary) environment?
How does going shopping make you feel ?
We are living in different times from just a few weeks ago and what we are experiencing will affect our wellbeing.

Please feel free to contact our Safeguarding and Wellbeing executive, Colin Aitken, for any help or assistance, or just a chat.
Stay safe and healthy,
Safeguarding and Wellbeing Executive

#Wellness Wednesday 15/4/20

Many thanks to our partners at sportscotland for sharing this:

We know these are uncertain times, routines have been disrupted and it can be hard to keep active and positive.

sportscotland Performance and Psychology team at the sportscotland institute of sport has adapted some mindfulness techniques usually practised with athletes that you can use in your daily life to help you stay healthy at home.

You can find more tips and information on the sportscotland website: https://sportscotland.org.uk/covid-19/

#HealthyAtHome #WeAreHere

8/4/20 Hi all welcome to our weekly spot on Wellness.
What is Wellness?
"Wellness" is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth.
With this in mind Judo Scotland are going to post each Wednesday a different topic on wellness or wellbeing.
This week we are looking at how families can support each other through self-isolation or lockdown.
Please see the poster below have a read through and discuss with your families how to go about looking after each other. The poster gives 10 simple steps to helping you and your loved ones through this difficult time.

Infographic courtesy of BelievePerform

 Please also check out our videos on the moral code of judo which is more relevant than ever during the COVID-19 crisis