Woman at the beach during sunset

Wellbeing Week

It is World Wellbeing Week and here at Covance Leeds we wanted to share some important tips with you on how to boost your wellbeing! Life is often so busy nowadays that we can easily neglect our own wellbeing in favour of keeping up with work, life and family commitments. Why not try these ideas to make your wellbeing a priority?

Self – care

When life is hectic, it can often be difficult to make time to do the things we enjoy, but it is essential to find the time to unwind in order to beat stress. Try soaking in the bath, cooking your favourite meal, reading a book or watching a movie to give yourself some essential time to switch off from the world.

Try something new

Challenging yourself to try something new can often be such a rewarding experience. Try taking up a new hobby which you have always wanted to try, volunteering for a worthy cause or simply visiting a new place where you have always wanted to go.

The great outdoors

There is no doubt that spending time outside enjoying nature is an instant way of boosting your mood and feeling uplifted. Whether it is a hike in the mountains, a walk on the beach or even just a short stroll close to where you live, taking time to enjoy being outside is an instant recipe for happiness.

Exercise

Exercise is an easy way to improve your wellbeing and even walking for just thirty minutes a day is beneficial in terms of improving both mental and physical wellbeing.

Don’t forget, if you want to be part of something valuable you could become a volunteer for one of our clinical trials. Our Covance Leeds Clinic is located in the heart of the city, surrounded by attractive gardens. We hope to see you all soon!

Photo of a plate of lemons

The importance of lemons in clinical trials!

Here at Covance Leeds we love to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day on the 20th May every year. Did you know that there is a surprising link between the humble lemon and the history of clinical trials?

Lemons are such a versatile citrus fruit and most of us love a refreshing glass of lemonade or a rich slice of lemon drizzle cake now and again, but in fact lemons were also central to the discovery of how to treat the condition Scurvy, an illness which is the result of a lack of Vitamin C.

Doctor James Lind, a Royal Navy doctor performed the first clinical trial aboard The HMS Salisbury on 20th of May 1747. By testing various treatments on sailors who were suffering from Scurvy, he was able to discover that oranges and lemons were effective in treating the condition.

Clinical Trials Day is a chance to highlight the importance of the work involved in clinical trials by scientists and volunteers alike, in order to advance the development of medicines.

This year we decided to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day with a bake-off competition here at our Covance Leeds facility, with delicious lemon and orange baked goods competing to be judged the best. It certainly must be a hard job to judge which cake is the tastiest! In honour of the bake-off, here is a link to some of the loveliest lemon recipes we could find from BBC Good Food!

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/lemon  We are always looking for volunteers to participate in our paid clinical trials and we have a range of studies currently available. You can see the list of our upcoming clinical trials here: https://www.covanceclinicaltrials.com/en-gb/browse-studies.html

Spring clean your wellbeing

This is the time of year when many of us think about spring cleaning our homes and getting everything nice and tidy, but what about some simple ideas for spring cleaning your wellbeing too? Here at Covance Leeds, we have put together some tips for how you can inject some new energy in to your daily routine just in time for spring!

Get creative

It can be so rewarding to take up a new hobby which allows you to unleash your creative side – whether it is painting, drawing or gardening it is the best feeling to do something creative and it can be such a challenging experience.

Self-care

Many of us are so busy during the average day that we forget to make time to do the things we enjoy. Self-care is so important for emotional wellbeing, so put aside some time to do something nice for yourself every day whether it is reading a good book, having a long soak in the bath, or treating yourself to a slice of cake – it is important to spoil yourself now and again!

Exercise and eat well

It may sound obvious, but regular exercise and eating a healthy diet are both shortcuts to feeling better mentally. Try to eat three healthy meals per day to keep your energy levels up and aim for thirty minutes exercise daily when possible.

Make plans

Having something to look forward to is such a great feeling, so what better way to improve your wellbeing than to plan something you really want to do. It doesn’t have to be a lavish holiday – just getting tickets to a gig or planning a picnic in the park with friends can create that same feeling of anticipation.

Set goals

Setting goals and completing them is a good way of feeling fulfilled this spring. Even setting a simple goal such as completing a long walk or learning a new skill gives that immense feeling of pride and satisfaction when the goal is completed.

Explore somewhere new

The expression ‘a change is as good as a rest’ is sound advice as far as we are concerned and going somewhere new can really change your perspective and give you a happy feeling. It doesn’t need to be a long holiday, even just a day out to a new place you haven’t visited before can give you a burst of energy. Now that the warmer weather is here, why not plan a trip to the beach or a day in the countryside with friends? Above all, try going to somewhere new!

Do something rewarding

Doing something rewarding such as helping others, taking the time to meet a friend for coffee or volunteering can be such an enriching experience. If you feel like contributing something valuable this spring why not consider taking part in one of our clinical trials here at our Covance Leeds clinic? You can relax in comfortable surroundings while helping to advance treatments for a range of conditions. We are always looking for healthy volunteers and if you would like to see which studies we currently have available, please click here: https://bit.ly/2rVYy6E

Photo of yellow flowers

Spring has sprung

Finally, the evenings are getting lighter, the daffodils are in bloom and there has even been some sunshine lately – all of this can only mean that spring has sprung and here at Covance Leeds we are very excited for the new season. Spring always puts a spring in our step, if you pardon the pun! We thought we would round up some facts and health tips to celebrate the season.

Did you know that spring officially begins on two different dates? The 1st March marks the beginning of meteorological spring, but 20th March is the first day of astronomical spring (which relates to the position of the earth’s orbit in relation to the sun).

After a long cold winter, we are always ready for a few easy ideas to lead a healthier lifestyle in spring and these simple tips are so useful –

Stay hydrated

Drinking water is essential for good health, so keep a bottle of water with you at all times and always drink water before and after exercise. If you find it hard to stay hydrated, why not try some of these recipes for infused fruit water to perk up your H20!

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/easy-fruit-infused-water-ideas

Walk more

Try walking more rather than taking the car or public transport. Walking not only boosts your mood, but it is also linked to increased cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Apart from anything else, walking is a great form of exercise which costs nothing!

Switch it up

If you are tired of your usual fitness routine such as hitting the gym, why not try incorporating a new activity such as cycling or swimming in to your workouts? Joining a new fitness class can also motivate you to work out regularly. Use this handy NHS website to find fitness classes near you: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/Fitness-activities-and-classes/LocationSearch/671

Eat more vegetables

Vegetables make a tasty, inexpensive and healthy staple meal which add fibre to your diet and there are so many tempting recipes to try here, which can help to boost your daily vegetable intake.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/category/vegetables

Check out this calendar of amazing events which will take place around the UK this spring. Perfect if you need some inspiration for a day out!
https://www.visitengland.com/things-to-do/events-in-spring

Covance Leeds are proud to be based here in this beautiful city and if you fancy treating yourself to a bite to eat somewhere a bit different in the city, check out this article from Leeds List on ‘5 New Openings You Might Have Missed’
https://leeds-list.com/food-and-drink/5-new-openings-you-might-have-missed/ We hope that you enjoyed our blog celebrating the new season and remember, if you want to take a rewarding step this spring you could help to contribute to the advancement of treatments for a range of conditions when you participate in our clinical trials at our Covance Leeds Clinic. To find out which clinical trials we currently have open, please click here and we look forward to hearing from you!
https://www.covanceclinicaltrials.com/content/covance-clinical-trials/en-gb/browse-studies.html

What’s happening in February

We can’t believe that February is here already, and we thought we would have a look at some of the important and fun events taking place in the month of February.

Time to Talk Day 2019
Did you know that 7th February is ‘Time to Talk Day 2019’ which encourages people to talk about mental health. Talking about mental health is so important, because many of us experience mental health difficulties at some time in our lives.

There are plenty of easy ways that you can boost your mental health and wellbeing every day. Some simple ideas to improve your mental health include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Avoiding drinking too much alcohol
  • Organising a short break or holiday
  • Talking to a friend or relative
  • Keeping a diary or journal
  • Trying yoga or meditation
  • Making time to do things you enjoy

Fun events in February
There are also plenty of fun events coming up in February too! World Nutella Day takes place on 5th February and National Pizza Day takes place on 9th February and of course who can forget St Valentine’s Day on 14th February? Valentine’s Day is all about love and the heart is something we should all take care of!

According to the NHS, some top tips for keeping your heart healthy are:

  • Give up smoking
  • Get active
  • Manage your weight
  • Eat more fibre
  • Cut down on saturated fat
  • Get your 5 A Day
  • Cut down on salt
  • Eat fish
  • Drink less alcohol

We hope you enjoyed our round up of some of the health and fun events which there are to look forward to in February!

Find out more about Time to Talk Day here:

https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/timetotalkday2019
Read more about heart health here:

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/

New Year, New Start

Happy New Year from everybody at Covance Leeds! We hope that you all had a wonderful time celebrating over the holiday season. Many of us may have indulged in a drink or two over the festive season and January is the perfect time to make a healthy new start! Dry January takes place this month, when many people choose to cut out alcohol from their lifestyle altogether.

Did you know that the charity Drinkaware has a wealth of resources on their website to help you track and reduce the amount you drink along with useful tips for how to reduce the amount of alcohol you consume? http://www.drinkaware.co.uk/

If you choose to stop drinking alcohol altogether for Dry January, just some of the positive effects linked to reduced alcohol consumption include:

  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Improved mental health and wellbeing
  • Increased energy levels
  • Improved heart health

Whether you decide to reduce your alcohol intake or to stop drinking completely, the health and wellbeing benefits are so positive!

This is the perfect time of the year to make positive lifestyle changes, from eating a healthy diet to exercising more frequently. Another rewarding choice to make at this time of year is to help others by participating in our clinical trials. You could help to advance treatments for a range of conditions while relaxing at our Covance Leeds Clinic, equipped with every amenity to make you feel right at home.  Helping yourself to become a better you while helping others, is such a rewarding thing to do this January!

Thank you for reading out latest blog and we wish you all a great start to 2019!

To find out more about our clinical trials, visit our current listings:  https://bit.ly/2rVYy6E

Follow us on social media:

Facebook : www.facebook.com/CovanceClinicalTrialsLeeds/
Instagram : @covanceclinicaltrialsleeds
Twitter : @CovanceLeeds

Season of goodwill

So here we are in December and at Covance Leeds we feel as though this year has just flown by! We love Christmas, which is often referred to as the ‘season of goodwill’ and in the season of goodwill, why not consider being a part of our clinical trials? When you take part in our clinical trials, you are making a valuable contibution by helping to advance treatments for a range of conditions.

We couldn’t do the amazing research we do without the help of our volunteers and we are so thankful for your help.

At this time of year, we could not resist finding out some interesting facts about how Christmas is celebrated in some other countries:

In The Netherlands Sinterklaas or St. Nicholas brings presents on 5th December.

One of the biggest Christmas markets in Europe is held in Strasbourg, North Eastern France.

In Germany, gifts are often exchanged on Christmas Eve and German for Merry Christmas is ‘Frohe Weihnachten’.

In Greece a traditional table decoration is a loaf of ‘Christopsomo’ meaning Christ’s Bread or Christmas bread. This round, sweet bread is flavoured with orange and spices.

In Spain many people eat their main Christmas meal on Christmas Eve, before attending Midnight Mass at church.

So there you have it, a few interesting traditions from around the world. We are looking forward to the Christmas celebrations and don’t forget during the season of goodwill, you could contribute a valuable gift by volunteering to take part in one of our clinical studies!

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas from everyone at Covance Leeds.

Please note our opening times over the festive season are as follows:

  • 24 December: 9am-1pm
  • 25/26 December: Closed
  • 27/28 December: 9am-5pm
  • 29/30 December: Closed (weekend)
  • 31 December: 9am-5pm
  • 01 January: Closed
  • 02 January: Back to standard opening times, 8am until 7pm

 

 

photo of hands in a heart

Can I be healthy and still be prescribed Statins?

From time to time, many of us become concerned about our cholesterol levels and we frequently hear the terms ‘good cholesterol’ and ‘bad cholesterol’ in the media.

High levels of ‘bad cholesterol’ in your blood can lead to fatty deposits building up in your arteries, which can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, which includes conditions such as coronary heart disease (leading to angina and heart attack) and stroke.

LDL cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein is often referred to as ‘bad cholesterol’ but a healthy diet, not smoking and being physically active are all important factors in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.

High cholesterol is usually treated with Statins, so we thought we would share a quick overview of what Statins are.

Statins are a medicine usually in tablet form, which are taken to help lower cholesterol. Once prescribed treatment often continues for life, in fact according to The British Heart Foundation ‘Statins are the most commonly prescribed medicines in the UK’.

Although they are prescribed frequently, Statins have been the subject of controversy in the media as they are sometimes prescribed as a preventative measure to people seen to be at risk of heart disease, who have no history of the condition.

Despite the concerns surrounding them, the benefits of treatment with Statins include reducing the risk of serious cardiovascular conditions and the side effects associated with them are comparatively rare in comparison to the positive benefits of Statin therapy, which include the reduction of heart attacks and strokes.

You can find out more about Statins at the links below:
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/statins/

https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/treatments/statins

https://heartuk.org.uk/statins-and-treatments/statin-side-effects/the-statin-conundrum

photo of pumpkins

Looking forward to Autumn

As the days get shorter and the evenings get colder it can be a little disheartening to say a final goodbye to summer, but there is so much to look forward to this autumn…

Halloween
Did you know that Halloween, which is widely celebrated on October 31st, evolved from the ancient Celtic festival ‘Samhain’. As we all know, the modern version revolves around trick or treating, fancy dress and carving pumpkins! Did you know the biggest pumpkin in the UK was recently grown by twin brothers from Lymington in the New Forest, weighing in at over 1000kg? While the tradition of carving pumpkins is hugely popular, in the past people used to carve turnips to make Jack o’ lanterns as these were more widely available.

One of the most iconic horror films, Halloween (directed by John Carpenter) was released in 1978 and the film grossed $70 million at worldwide box office – more than 215 times its original budget!

Hygge
Cold nights call for getting cosy and Hygge is the perfect trend for this time of year. Hygge is a Danish/Norwegian word which roughly translates to ‘a mood of cosy and comfy contentment’. Simple ways to add Hygge to your home this autumn include lighting scented candles, putting warm blankets on your sofa, making hot chocolate, reading a book next to the fire and wearing warm sweaters. It really is simple to make things Hygge, it is all about the cosy factor!

Bonfire Night
We celebrate Bonfire Night on 5th November in the UK and this tradition came about after the Gunpowder Plot masterminded by Guy Fawkes and friends on 5th November 1605. To this day, we light bonfires and watch firework displays to mark the occasion and the hearty foods served at organised bonfires such as jacket potatoes, toffee apples, hot dogs and parkin cake make us look forward to this celebration even more!

Find some Halloween and autumn events at the links below:
https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/halloween-2018-6-of-yorkshire-s-spookiest-events-this-halloween-1-9415956

https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/whats-on/bonfire-night-best-firework-displays-in-leeds-1-9415753

https://inews.co.uk/inews-lifestyle/travel/best-autumn-days-out-2018-uk-what-to-do/

Student life

Settling in to student life

It is that time of the year when many new students are starting university. Here at Covance Leeds, we are located close to the city centre and we would like to say a big welcome to all students who have arrived in this lovely city for the new academic year!

We understand that arriving at university can be a daunting experience, so we have put together a few top tips which we hope will be useful while you are settling in.

  • Researching which student bank accounts are available before choosing one is a wise idea, as there are some great offers to be found.
  • Use framed photos, trinkets and some of your favourite books to give your room in halls that ‘home away from home’ feeling.
  • Be sociable and try to get to know people from the start – making friends will help you to settle in.
  • Find out which clubs and societies you can join and what events are on during term time, as these are all super ways of getting to know people.
  • Explore the local area – take a walk and familiarise yourself with your surroundings. A new place will start to feel more welcoming when you know your way around and in practical terms, it is useful to know where the local shops and amenities are located.
  • Work out a budget and stick to it – if you plan what you can afford to spend weekly, it will make life much simpler in the long term.
  • Plan your meals – work out what you need to get weekly as doing one big food shop is more cost effective than buying items here and there.

Here at Covance Leeds we would love to wish every student a wonderful term ahead. We are based in a Grade II listed building surrounded by attractive grounds and gardens, just a short walk from Leeds city centre and adjacent to the universities.

Here are a couple of useful websites which may come in handy too: