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Do you really need any more stuff?Christmas is not far away and so, if you're like us, you're starting to get sucked into the marketing hype that accompanies this season for giving. The new luxury however is, believe it or not – time. More time, having time and giving time. This could include time to yourself, time to share or time to learn. In this age of material excess, where specialist businesses have grown up with the sole purpose of de-cluttering, we’re starting to realise that people don’t necessarily need any more ‘things’. What does tend to make our hearts sing, is a chance to make memories, expand our learning, and enjoy just being. It’s no surprise that companies such as Etzy or hardtofind.com, specialise in gifts with a personal message, where bespoke treats have become the latest buzzword. Attributes such as authenticity, sustainability and tradition are strong contenders in the search for contentment or even happiness. Here are some suggestions that hopefully will inspire you to treat the ones you love with something they might value and that won’t end up in the cupboard, the Vinnies collection or even the bin.
Get CreativeTake the time to make gifts. Homemade candles, a card, a renovated piece of old furniture, or a pot of brandy butter all make beautiful, personalised treats. They never fail to delight, with the ultimate compliment combining time and thought that went into their creation.
Enjoy the RideExperiences are always well received. They need not be expensive either. A simple cooking class or a specially planned picnic can surprise someone, especially if they get to do it with you!
A Helping HandServices that make life easier often make the perfect gift. A cleaner for a month or maybe someone to come and sort out the garden. Imagine how nice it would be to have a credit on the services of a handyman?
Stay WellThe gift of health is a nurturing way of showing someone you really care. Send them an hour’s massage, or perhaps a mindfulness course? Maybe you have a friend who might appreciate a life coach session or even the expertise of a naturopath?
The Gift that GivesYou can never go wrong with a charitable contribution. Try giving the gift of saving a life or helping our planet. For animal lovers, there are countless organisations that allow you to support endangered species or contribute to animal welfare. These gift ideas all share something in common, "it's the thought that counts" - the old saying has never been more pertinent than right now. Just decide on your budget, the time you are prepared to spend and those you love will be delighted with something that reflects personal thought and consideration. Santa finally got it right!
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“Wellbeing is a combination of feeling good as well as actually having meaning, good relationships and accomplishment."Martin Seligman Paradigm Switch founder Neroli Jones identifies 4 pillars of wellbeing; mental, physical, purposeful and the one that is often the most overlooked - emotional. To experience a true sense of wellbeing we need to balance all these elements. Here are some effective wellbeing practices you can incorporate into your week.
MASSAGEMassage is a recognised way to reduce stress and produce deep relaxation. Consider a massage when you are feeling particularly tense or anxious. The practice of using touch as a healing method began over 5000 years ago as a sacred system of natural healing when ancient civilizations found that massage could heal injuries, relieve pain, and prevent and cure illnesses. Todays therapists practice a multitude of techniques originating from the ancient methods. From those origins comes the inspiration to help with healing physical and emotional wellbeing.
GET CREATIVEWhether it’s with arranging a vase of fresh flowers or crafting your own garden, putting some inner creativity into your life will develop a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Not all of us are budding artists but most will take pleasure in cooking a delicious meal, or creating a calm space in the home. Whatever your ‘thing’ - just lead with the heart. In her best-selling book Elizabeth Gilbert explains the untold benefits of living a life creatively –
“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
BORROW A DOGThis is a good one because not only does it provide the value of spending time with a furry friend, but gets your body moving too. The benefits of animal therapy are well documented. According to http://www.pawsforpeople.org spending time with a friendly pet lifts our physical, mental and cognitive focus. Many hospitals now encourage dog visits as a form of natural healing while a number of studies have found that people who spend time with animals experience some real positive effects such as lower blood pressure, a sense of belonging, fewer colds and flu, less stress and elevated moods.
SENSORY BOOSTOur most primal sense is that of smell as it exerts surprising influence over our thoughts, emotions, moods, memories, and behaviours. Scents are experienced in the brain, long before we develop a conscious awareness of it. This is why it's nearly impossible to describe them with language. For this reason, scents can have a powerful influence over how we think, feel, and behave. Try burning some essential oils to suit your mood, match them up to add energy, focus or calm into your life.
BE KINDSomething as small as writing a few thankful words to someone who supports you, or giving a compliment to a stranger can work wonders for the soul. By giving, you boost your internal sense of value and wellbeing. Studies have shown that volunteering promotes better psychological and mental health as well as increased longevity. Next time you’re out and about be ready to offer a seat to someone need or lend a hand to a struggling mum with a pram. It’s tempting to overlook these small acts, while we rush through life, not realising that it’s a simple way of actually making us feel better. Psychologists recognise that doing something positive for someone else can lead to a feeling of well-being in both the helper and the recipient, even a sense of elation. If you develop a balanced wellbeing, other areas of your life will benefit. Kindness attracts kindness.
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Recently our CEO Neroli Jones, had the privilege of attending a prestigious HR summit in the Gold Coast which proved to be enlightening on many levels, one being the growth and acceptance with which meditation and mindfulness has been accepted into the workplace. What might once have been judged as all a bit too ‘out there’ or ‘kooky’ within this environment has now become widely embraced as a proven technique to manage stress and enhance productivity.