Natalie Burrows

5 tips for managing extra stress (and bloat) this Christmas

By Natalie Burrows, resident nutritionist (and senior marketing manager) at Bright

It’s been a challenging year. A lot of us have now been working at home for 9 months, juggling childcarehome schooling, changing tiers and adapting to a ‘new’ way of life — stress levels have been tested. At Bright, we’ve been getting in the Christmas spirit and counting down to a well-earned break, but we’ve also been reflecting on the impact of this year and how Christmas brings its own, unique level of stress 

We’ve put together 5 simple tips to help you keep your stress levels in check, jeans buckled and energy up until the end of Christmas day. 

Dealing with seasonal stress 

When you’re surrounded by family, the pressure of cooking Christmas dinner, calming overexcited children — and maybe this yearmissing loved ones  — can keep your nervous system in the fightor-flight mode (the state of high alert and stress). Ever felt butterflies when nervous? Our gut is known as our second brain’. The two are intrinsically connected, and stressful events and feelings can leave you bloated or with aupset stomach that affects your mood.   

How to beat it: 

Focus on your breath. The 4-3-7 breathing technique is a simple method that can be performed anywhere and anytime you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. It will help increase your oxygen levels too, preventing you from wanting that post-lunch snooze. Try it now:  

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth 
  2. Inhale through your nose, counting to 4
  3. Hold your breath for the count of 7 
  4. Exhale out your mouth for the count of 8 
  5. Repeat this cycle 3 more times 

Over-indulging with festive grazing 

Who doesn’t love the nibbles on offer during ChristmasTins of chocolate, different flavoured crisps, assorted nuts, and not forgetting cheese and biscuits. It’s easy to graze all day long, but the continual demand on your stomach to digest food constantly leaves it little time to properly digest. Remember that you’re also swallowing air every time you eat — the more we snack, the more air we swallow and the more bloated we become. Add in the increased amount of carbs, crisps and sweets over Christmas and your energy will start crashing early on in the day. 

How to beat it: 

Make sure your meals include a mix of protein, carbohydrates and fats to balance out blood sugars, and moderate your snacking, aiming for 3 hours of digestive rest in between enjoying delicious food. For example: Breakfast at 9am, lunch at 12 or 1pm, snack at 4pm, and dinner at 7 or 8pm. It’s important to eat regularly too, and not ‘save’ yourself for one meal. 

Managing your jubilant drinking 

What’s your favourite festive tipple? Cider, mulled wine or bucks’ fizz (one of our favourites)? Don’t worry, we’re not about to tell you to give it up — enjoy itresponsibly  but there’s a couple of things to bear in mind. Not only can the carbonated drinks like prosecco, champagne, lager and cider lead to a full and fizzy stomach, but alcohol is an irritant for the digestive system that increases chances of bloating and gastric symptoms. Not to forget, the more we drink, the more likely we are to need that afternoon nap.  

How to beat it: 

Check the amount of carbonated, alcoholic drinks you’re having throughout the day and break up the flow of alcohol with a glass or two of water. Which leads me nicely onto the next point… 

Ensuring holiday hydration 

The need to stay hydrated doesn’t go away just because it’s Christmas day. Lack of hydration can leave you feeling foggy, fatigued and forgetful — not very festive feelings. It can also reduce the motility of your gut, leaving you feeling full and uncomfortable. 

 How to beat it: 

Keep the clear fluids up and start your day with a pint or half a litre of water, so you’re on to a winner before breakfast. Alternate other beverages with a glass of water to help get to the recommended 1.5 litres of water a day. You and your body will be grateful you did. 

Encouraging a little merry movement 

Do you get out for a walk on Christmas day, or scrap the usual movement routine for a day on the sofa? As tempting as it is to stay in pyjama’s (we hear you), reduced movement could be responsible for bloating and energy slumps. As we move, we increase blood flow to our muscles and digestive tract and increase oxygen to the brain. Time in nature is proven to be very supportive in reducing stress levels too. 

How to beat it: 

Enjoy the great outdoors on Christmas day, dance around the houseplay a game that involves moving around or simply continue your workout routine like any other day.  

We hope these tips help you and your family stay energised, and stress and bloatfree on Christmas day. After such a tough year, so we’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a very merry Christmas and a brighter 2021 from all of us here at Bright.

For more great tips from Natalie on life and marketing, don’t miss our next Agile Marketing Bootcamp, Targeting financial services.

Natalie Burrows5 tips for managing extra stress (and bloat) this Christmas
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3 ways to inject agility in FinTech marketing

How does agile marketing drive FinTech marketing success?

If you’ve taken a look at our Traditional vs. Agile marketing infographic, you’re aware of some of the key benefits of agile marketing — but what’s in it for FinTechs and why now, during such a time of disruption?

Even prior to 2020, opening doors in Financial Services was a common barrier to FinTech’s lead generation success. But now, whilst the world is (still) awash with uncertainty and we’re pivoting on the edge of a recession, hammering home the marketing message agreed on in January 2020’s strategy session just isn’t going to support the pipeline. The world has changed, priorities have adjusted, and they will continue to do so as things settle down and the markets stabilise.

With Agile marketing, you can respond and adapt to what’s happening in the industry – staying poised and ready to optimise at a moment’s notice. The message your target audience will receive from a data-driven strategy is one of relevance, support and benefit to the current climate. The groundwork and elements involved in a full agile marketing mix are invaluable to the success of a campaign and the impact on the sales pipeline.

Here’s how to inject agility into your FinTech’s marketing activity to get more leads and boost your performance in the financial services market.

1.    Fine-tune your value statement

No matter how awesome your tech may be, if your value isn’t clear and focused in addressing the pain points and challenges of your prospects, it’s sure to get lost — leaving your audience feeling unimpressed and disengaged.

To form a powerful value statement, start taking note of the problems you solve and the solutions you deliver for your clients, as well as the benefits your tech and team offer from start to finish. People want to hear about people helping other people — Tell your story and make sure it’s backed up with stats and real-world evidence.

 

2.    Calculate your total addressable market

Don’t let data be the bottleneck to reaching your prospects. Define your target audience, create personas, then build and enrich the data to ensure your FinTech’s marketing efforts reach the contacts you want to engage.

Although at times this step can seem like a gruelling manual task, skipping it will only serve to limit your outreach, leaving you missing out on contacting key influencers and decision makers that may need your firm’s offering. Invest in the time and tools necessary to keep your database up to date and give you room to expand on markets where you’re a little thin on the ground.

 

3.    Embrace the power of content

Yes, content is still king. People don’t buy what you’re selling straight away — they like to browse, research, read a few blogs, or watch a few videos. They want to know that 30-minute call you’re asking for is going to be worth their time, so make it clear what you’re all about. Sharing content that illustrates your employees’ talent, your company’s timely offering and positive testimonials from happy clients can show prospects what they’ve been missing. Their personal data is precious, and they won’t give their email address away for nothing!

Use your data insights and audience personas to brainstorm topics relevant to your prospects’ interests and pain points, then discuss with your subject matter experts from across the business. Each piece of content should have a clear goal in mind.

 

Explore more FinTech marketing tips

These three tips are just the tip of the iceberg to transforming your marketing. If you want to dive in deeper and learn how to fully adopt agile marketing at your FinTech, find out more and get in touch. With a decade of experience in the world of FinTech, we understand what it takes to meet your business goals through stand-out marketing campaigns and projects.

 

Natalie Burrows is a driven agile marketing manager with a flare for FinTech and large corporate projects. With 8 years’ experience working in FinTech and Financial Services, she’s focussed on breaking the mould with new ideas and driving business outcomes.

Natalie Burrows3 ways to inject agility in FinTech marketing
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Brain food: 5 tips for staying bright

As the most energy-hungry organ in our body, the human brain weighs around 1.5kg but requires 25% of our resting energy expenditure every day – yep, it’s true! Our brain needs fuel to help us juggle and adapt to the new way of life of 2020. But what brain food is best for staying sharp? The temptation to reach for the snack cupboard for a sugar boost before the next meeting (or school task) is one we’ve all felt but it’s not what our brain, or body, truly desires. Check out our top 5 tips on keeping your brain healthy 🧠  and staying bright💡 throughout 2020 and beyond.

1. Oily fish for omega-3

Think salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies (did I go too far with the anchovies?). Whether you find them delicious on their own or need to hide them in a fish pie, oily fish should be a regular weekly staple. Filled with omega-3, an essential fatty acid that supports brain function and cellular health, oily fish is our best source of this nutrient. Vegetarians and vegans can still get a good intake through flaxseed, hemp, chia seeds and soybeans.

2. Green veggies for folate and beta carotene

Brain food

“Eat your greens” is a phrase I say all too often but, aside from it being my favourite colour, green vegetables encompass a multitude of vitamins and minerals to support optimal health and brain function. Specifically, their vitamin K, folate and beta carotene content has been linked to slowing cognitive decline – so pack them into your meals daily!

3. Nuts for vitamin E

Brain food

Another food to have shown promising results in regard to brain health – and heart health – are walnuts. Bursting with omega 3 and 6, antioxidants and vitamin E, the often underappreciated walnut supports inflammation and free-radical damage. It’s a great brain-shaped snack – nature’s way of telling us what it’s beneficial for 😉

 

4. Berries for antioxidants

Brain food

It’s that rich, dark colour that berries have that make them so visually appealing 👀 😋  – they’re flavonoids. Responsible not only for the colour of the fruit but for the nutrients and antioxidants that fight free radicals and support brain function. It’s berry season in the UK now, a perfect time to increase our daily portion.

 

5. Water for hydration 

Hydration is key! Our bodies are 60% water, so it isn’t surprising that dehydration is associated with headaches, fatigue, dizziness, brain fog, forgetfulness and generally feeling a bit naff! Adequate hydration helps regulate our body temperature, supports transportation of nutrients to vital organs, and the removal of waste (yep we’re talking number 1 and number 2). The average person should drink around 1.5-2 litres of water a day, throw in a hot summer’s day and some exercise and you’ll need to add at least a litre to that total!

 Get more tips for staying healthy in this stressful time

We hope our guide to brain food and staying bright has provided some inspiration for your weekly shop – and will help you minimise those all too frequent trips to the fridge for those not-so-healthy snacks whilst working from home!

Check out our other recent blogs including Tips for supporting your immune system and The ultimate working-from-home guide.

Natalie BurrowsBrain food: 5 tips for staying bright
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Unlock agility with LinkedIn

Why you should be on LinkedIn now more than ever

The outbreak of Covid-19 has forced the majority of the world to work from home, children to be kept out of school, and trips outside to only be taken once a day for exercise or when collecting and delivering essentials. This is new for all of us and it has unnerved a lot of people into thinking that their marketing actions need to stop until all this is over.

But now more than ever, marketing is critical. It’s the one survival tool at your disposal capable of seeing your business through to the end of this crisis and ensuring success in the years to come. If you’re looking for a simple, cost-effective way to hone your marketing focus, LinkedIn is the place to be. By increasing visibility across the top networking app for business, you’ll keep customers engaged with your brand, stay in touch with partners and suppliers, and build pipeline through steady lead generation. What’s more, the number of users is increasing, with more professionals than ever jumping on to share news, knowledge and business tips for success in times of market disruption.

So, we know LinkedIn is the place to be right now, but you’ll still need a proper strategy to make the most of all this tool has to offer.  Now certainly isn’t the time to fire off connection requests and LinkedIn ads without a second thought. There’s a lot to take into consideration when formulating your messaging.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Don’t ignore COVID-19

It’s here, it’s affecting everyone, and it will have an impact on business for years to come. It is already changing the way people live, work and interact. Acknowledge that and acknowledge the hardship in your messaging. Don’t act like it’s just business as usual. This crisis should unite us.

2. Outline how you can help right now

Pitching what was useful back in January when we were all devising our 2020 strategies won’t be of any help or interest right now. Make that mistake and you’ll find yourself reposted with #marketingfail. Take some time to creatively rework your proposition as a benefit in the immediate term and clearly explain how your service will help companies get back on their feet.

3. Do your research

If you’re struggling to answer the point above, then you need to go back to the research stage. Don’t stop building pipeline but do reassess your target accounts and verticals quickly.  Take the time to fully understand the impact this global crisis will have on your clients’ target markets, then tailor your messaging and service to ensure you’re offering support they need. Retaining existing clients is key to future revenue, so make sure they feel reassured and well managed.

4. Stay relevant

Give your audience the useful tips and how-to guides they need to easily get started with your service or product. Be there as the helpful thought leader of that space when you respond to connections or jump in forum threads, the one they turn to when they need further guidance or support throughout this crisis. And, now that we’re all at home, turn your content into interactive virtual events to inform, engage and inspire your LinkedIn network.

5. Be personal

This is an opportunity to build relationships and contact prospects you haven’t been able to reach — consider Account Based Marketing (ABM) to help open up dialogue. With everyone working from home and social distancing, people are now more responsive to an invitation to discuss over a virtual cup of tea (or coffee) and intro video calls. Plus, you’ll have plenty of common ground to discuss and knowledge share in how to combat the impact of COVID-19.

From individual professionals to global enterprises, LinkedIn is the number one social media tool for business right now, and your key to surviving this period of massive market disruption. By researching the impact, pivoting your message accordingly and creating engaging content, your LinkedIn marketing will offer a viable opportunity for interacting with your prospects and supporting them through this time.

Adapt your marketing to survive and thrive

At Bright, we’ve been helping our clients quickly pivot their strategies and adapt their messaging on LinkedIn and other social media channels. Watch our immersive webinar as we explore ways to ignite agility, boost leads and perfect communications throughout this challenging time.

Natalie BurrowsUnlock agility with LinkedIn
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Staying healthy in the wake of Covid-19: Tips for supporting your immune system

As the Coronavirus has now officially been labelled a global pandemic, we remain committed to the health and safety of our team here at Bright and to our community in London. Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by this outbreak. We are taking the advice from the World Health Organisation seriously, and remind our team and clients to self-isolate if they are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19.

In a crisis such as this, it’s important to focus on staying healthy. The following tips will help you support your immune system — providing the nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants it needs to boost your health.*

Eat the rainbow to increase your nutrient intake and antioxidant status

Your immune system relies on vitamins and minerals to give it the energy and fighting power it needs to tackle foreign pathogens (aka bacteria and viruses). Fruits and vegetables are the most densely packed foods for getting your vitamins and minerals. To ensure you’re getting a good variety, aim to eat a rainbow of colours each day — green broccoli, red pepper, orange carrots, purple aubergine, blue blueberries, white cauliflower. Eating two different pieces of fruit and a minimum of five different vegetables a day will also increase your antioxidants status. Antioxidants are used to mop-up free radicals to protect the cells and tissues throughout our body — think anti-ageing.

Feed your gut’s good bugs with a daily dose of fibre

The bacteria in your gut has a big impact on your immune system, helping develop the cells that fight infection and regulate its actions. In fact, a number of ailments can be connected back to the gut. Your microbiome – the bugs that live in your intestines – need soluble fibre to grow and thrive, but the average intake in the UK is only 17g and the recommended daily amount is 30g minimum — think rolled porridge oats, beans, pulses, fruits, vegetables and wholegrains.

Fibre is also required for healthy bowel movement (yes, we’re talking #2) which is vital for clearing toxins that your body no longer wants or needs. A stagnant bowel increases the likelihood of toxins being reabsorbed into the body, which is something we all want to avoid.

Boost immune support with omega-3 fats

Omega 3 is often lacking in the average western diet but it’s essential to helping the immune system prevent and suppress viral infections – including Coronaviruses. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring (SMASH) are a great source of omega 3, and three portions a week will give you a good amount. Oily fish also contains vitamin D and zinc which helps the immune system function properly. Chia, flax and hemp oil are great vegetarian sources of omega 3 and mushrooms contain vitamin D, as well as beta-glucans, which support the immune system.

Season with herbs and spices for antiviral power

Have fun with flavours by adding herbs and spices to your meals for their antioxidants and anti-viral powers! Ginger, turmeric, garlic, onions, and horseradish are all good options, as well as cinnamon, ginseng, cayenne pepper and peppermint, or dandelion, mistletoe, liquorice, oregano and basil.

Reduce your stress levels and strengthen your body

The body produces cortisol in a state of stress and although there are a lot of negative connotations around cortisol, it is a vital hormone for memory function, metabolism regulation and to activate our ‘fight and flight’ response in dangerous situations. However, long-term cortisol demand, due to continued stress, does have an inhibitory effect on your immune system, preventing pathogen fighting cells from doing their job. Try meditating, walking in nature or yoga to strengthen your ‘rest and digest’ response.

Intense exercise is also a stressor on the body and will impact your immune system in the short term while you recover. Consider taking it down a notch – daily movement is still beneficial though, so enjoy walking or cycling for a while instead.

Sleep more to improve your health

We all know sleep is important but the majority of us still put it low on the priority list and let other tasks eat into our dreaming hours. Aim for 8-10 hours every night to let your body repair itself and prepare for another day. The immune system needs those hours to release infection-fighting antibodies and cells while we sleep — these are reduced during periods of insufficient sleep. To improve sleep hygiene, try going to bed and waking up the same time each day — our bodies love routine! Also, be sure to turn off the laptops, mobiles, TV’s and bright lights at least one hour before bed. Instead, enjoy a good book, meditate or take a bath with Epsom salts to wind down and help your body relax and prepare for sleep.

With extreme disruption across global markets from Brexit, Black Monday and the Covid-19 crisis, marketers who find new ways of working with agility and pace are more likely to thrive and survive during such uncertainty. Sign-up for our webinar: Explore the future of B2B marketing trends: agile marketing survey findings and QA to learn more.

Corona virus advice

*People who are immunocompromised or elderly are at a higher risk. Following this advice does not guarantee reduced risk of infection or recovery aid from Covid-19.

Natalie BurrowsStaying healthy in the wake of Covid-19: Tips for supporting your immune system
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