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Is Your Fashion Fast or Slow?

3 years ago by James_Admin

Is Your Fashion Fast or Slow?

This Friday, February 17th, will be the beginning of the 2017 London Fashion Week, one of the largest and most intensely watched events in fashion for the year. Will you be paying attention? 

If you’re asking yourself, “what’s the point? you’re not alone. However, in the upcoming days dedicated to fashion, each of us can take a moment or two to reflect on what our own choices and preferences mean in the larger context.

 

 

Whether we consider ourselves to be fashion conscious or not, the clothes we wear and the decisions we make in purchasing them speak volumes. The materials we choose to put on our bodies truly matter. They not only help us represent who we are to the world, but they also have the potential to show how deeply we are invested in what matters to us.

 

The types of clothes we choose to wear, how they are produced, and how often we purchase items of clothing have drastically changed. Over the past few years, we have swung from traditionally handmade to mass-produced and back again with locally produced or recycled clothing

 

What is fast fashion?

The fashion industry is an immense business that has come to depend upon the constantly shifting trends and demands from consumers. To keep costs low and production astronomically high, we have created a trade that is largely between what is fast, cheap, and disposable for clothing and how we treat workers and our environment. We typically make these choices out of convenience and with our budgets in mind.

 

As consumers, it often feels like our clothing choices are between quality and cost, with very little in-between. However, now that we have begun to see the harmful impacts our clothing choices can have, many are finding ways to dress well without spending too much or supporting harmful systems.

 

So, how can we be more ethical in our fashion choices while not crushing our budgets? Here’s a few ways to get started!

1.    Do a little research - look into your favourite brands and find out where their products come from, how they’re made, and how they treat their employees! A little information goes a long way. Take a look at

 

2.    Buy handmade when possible - shopping on the high street, at local shops, in farmers markets, and even on Etsy can be a great way to interact directly with the people making the goods you’re purchasing and wearing!

 

3.    Try second-hand - Either through trading with someone you know or purchasing from the charity shop around the corner, try to have recycling in mind when it comes to your next clothing purchase

 

4.    Simplify your closet - Try to determine what you “want” and what you “need” in your wardrobe and focus on quality over quantity. How many pairs of the same trousers do you really need? It can feel very refreshing to downsize 

 

Whether you will be watching fashion week closely, shopping all of the sales, or celebrating your minimalism, taking the time to be more mindful about what we are putting onto our bodies and into our lives is worthwhile and can help to change our decisions in the future!

 

Let us know about your wardrobe choices!

 

Happy sharing!

 

-Sam

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Are We Eating Sustainably?

3 years ago by James_Admin

Are We Eating Sustainably?

Food is one of the most important parts of our lives. Beyond being the fuel for our bodies, the food we eat brings us together, houses our culture, and lets us share with one another. Most of us have quite an intimate relationship with food, so how can we ensure that what we love to eat stays around?

 

 

There have always been crises related to food and shortages, however, these have typically not impacted much of the western world. So what is happening with this veg shortage right now?

 

With our climate now changing on an exponential rate, it is becoming more and more difficult to predict and rely upon traditional farming and agricultural practices. In many regions of the world, growing seasons are being affected by harsh temperatures, new weather patterns, and the adaptations of ecosystems can make it difficult to produce reliable crop yields. Unfortunately, it seems likely that our food systems will be more heavily impacted by these shifts and uncertainties as time goes on, with fresh fruits and veg being the most vulnerable.

 

So, what should we be doing about it? There are plenty of ways to have a real impact in limiting climate change and strengthening the food systems around us is a great and lasting way to start! Each of the decisions we make around of food and where it comes from speaks volumes. Where we invest our time and our money matters. If we begin to invest locally, the systems around us will be stronger and healthier in the future. Here’s a few ways to start-

 

1.    Buying food locally has massive impact, with countless benefits for us, our communities, and for our environment

 

2.    Buying food that is in-season can be quite tricky depending upon where you live, especially for most of us in the UK! If we don’t want to be eating potatoes and cabbage all winter, we must either import fruits and veg from other places or be proactive and preserve food from the summer. Finding ways to get the freshest, most local veg in the winter may be tricky, but not impossible! (Check out The Seasonality Table!)

 

3.    Storing the out-of-season foods: Whether you’re canning, freezing, drying, or preserving, having a stock of fruit and veg around the year can be a cost-effective and healthy way to stay local and stay healthy!

 

4.    Eating less meat and dairy. I know, no one wants to hear that one (aside from veggies,) but meat produces the most pollution out of any food source by and large. If you can’t quit meat completely, consider downsizing to a meatless Monday or a meat-free week! Try these 18 Ways To Eat Less Meat Without Even Trying

 

5.    Growing our own food can seem daunting and inaccessible, but there are so many ways to get involved, learn, experience, and then try your hand at growing your own food! Trust me, it’s magic and you’ll love getting your hands dirty and eating your the food you helped to create.

 

Let us know your thoughts about the foods you love!

 

Happy eating and growing!

 

Sam

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Are We Flying Well?

3 years ago by James_Admin

Are We Flying Well?

Now, over 100 years since commercial flying became available, an average of more than 8 million people fly each day. Around 40% of our members tell us they fly once or twice per year and around 30% fly more often. Air travel has become the most common and convenient method of travel for reaching distances otherwise seen as out of reach. It has changed the way we connect with loved ones, do business, and see the world. 
 
 
As we have streamlined this process, flying through the air to other parts of the world is now seen as something quite ordinary and attainable. The potential for good that lies within air transport and travel is monumental. We have massive capabilities at our fingertips that were once only dreams. When we get frustrated with how tedious flights can feel now, it can be helpful to realise how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time. 
 
With so many security measures and regulations on flying now, when thinking about the safety risks, our most immediate thoughts tends to lie within accidents or attacks, particularly within the past 15 years. Many of us overlook our own health risks while flying, however, the seemingly small decisions leading up to and during flight are the most impactful in keeping us safe and healthy. 
 
Many of the risks we face while flying come from being in an enclosed space with other people from around the world with little to no space or air circulation. These can range from the common cold or flu to lice or bedbugs. Poor air conditions in planes coupled with the cramped spaces can easily lead to Deep Vein Thrombosis, not only in elderly passengers, but in young people too. In order to best combat this, remember to keep moving throughout your flight. Take regular breaks to walk around the plane and move your legs whenever you can. 
 
So, what do we actually need to do to stay healthy when flying? It is important to recognize both the physical and mental toll long trips and air travel in particular can have upon our minds and bodies. Here are a few basic tips to stay as healthy as possible!
 
  1. Drink lots of water before, during, and after the flight
  2. Keep your immune system strong in the weeks leading up to your travel 
  3. Keep moving during the flight! Take walks around the plane and move your legs 
  4. Bring healthy foods- fruits and veggies to keep your body strong 
  5. Bring a good book or calming activity like music, knitting, or games
  6. Smile more, it will help you feel happier and possibly make others’ trip better too!
  7. Do your best to relax
 
If you’re a particularly nervous flyer and struggle to relax, take a look at these tips
 
In taking care of our bodies, we must also consider the environmental impact air travel has upon our earth, and in turn, our health. Air travel is one of the largest contributors to our environmental footprint. So, how can we possibly travel more eco-consciously? There are quite a few truly environmentally minded suggestions, including buying carbon offsets. For some of us, these can seem like a big step that may happen in the future. There are quite a few smaller decisions in the flights we do take that can have a real impact. 
 
 
  1. Choose a nonstop flight- reducing the amount of fuel on take-off and landing
  2. Fly on a newer plane- they tend to be the most fuel efficient 
  3. Lower the window shades- reducing the amount of fuel used in cabin temperature
  4. Pack light! 
  5. Compare flight emissions- with Google’s ITA software Matrix 
 
 
Let us know your flight health tips and tricks in the comments below! 
 
 
Happy sharing! 
 
Sam

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Are You Losing Sleep?

3 years ago by James_Admin

Are You Losing Sleep?

Congratulations everyone, we’ve made it to February! Some of us may be feeling the strain of mid-winter that is being coupled with a pretty tumultuous political and social climate happening at the moment. These types of stressors can manifest in different ways for everyone, one of which being a change in sleeping patterns, most commonly showing itself as a lack of sleep or difficulty falling asleep.
 
 
According to recent research, our ancestors have slept in much different patterns than we do now, begging the question: is the way we sleep actually good for us? This research suggests that humans used to sleep in two chunks over the course of a 12-hour night, sleeping for a little over 3 hours each session with a 3 to 4 hour period of being awake in between. Researchers theorise that many sleeping problems today stem from our not listening to the natural sleeping patterns of our bodies. 
 
Why do some people have trouble sleeping? We don’t fully know why insomnia impacts some people so harshly while others sleep soundly, even while under similar amounts of stress. One primary cause we can point to is that the minds of those struggling to sleep continue to be active, searching for solutions to issues they are facing or concerned about. When we worry, adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones) tend to spike, causing us to be more alert than usual.
 
What happens when we don’t get enough sleep? Beginning with the clear physical exhaustion, when we lose sleep, our brains function less and less, our patience runs thin, our anxiety levels spike. In the long-term, our health can suffer dramatically, causing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.  
 
So, how much sleep do we need? This largely changes per person. What works for you may not work at all for me, but we can use this list as a general guideline for what people of similar age seem to need. Are you getting enough?
 
  • Older adults - 65+ years: 7-8 hours
  • Adults - 26-64 years: 7-9 hours
  • Young adults - 18-25 years: 7 -9 hours
  • Teenagers - 14-17 years: 8-10 hours
  • School age children - 6-13: 9-11 hours
  • Preschool children - 3-5 years: 10-13 hours
  • Toddlers - 1-2 years: 11-14 hours
  • Infants - 4-11 months: 12-15 hours
  • Newborns - 0-3 months: 14-17 hours
 
So, we know just how vital sleep is and roughly how much we should be getting. How do we fix it if we’re not getting enough? Our members weighed in on what works best for them, with reading a book being the trick over 30% of Viewsbankers use to get to sleep! Many other members suggest listening to music or having a nightly tea or drink, suggesting that following a nightly ritual does the trick. Liz h13 tells us that “a drink of hot chocolate & reading works for me.” These suggestions already seem to follow much of what sleep researchers suggest to ease insomnia.  
 
 
     1.  Make sure your environment is the best place for sleep to happen
Remember to take the time to wind down properly. A clear window between our everyday, productive lives and spaces should be made between where our rejuvenating sleep happens. This allows our brains and our bodies to determine when we should be active and problem solving and when we should be resting and healing. 
 
     2. Don’t force yourself to be in bed 
In line with our dedicated sleep environment, it is important that we use them to do just that- sleep. If we let our bodies and brains adjust to being awake when we should be sleeping in these spaces, it could backfire and tell our brains to be vigilant when we want to be asleep. So, it is suggested that after 15-20 minutes of tossing and turning without any signs of sleep, just get up. Go to a different room, do your best to relax- drink some herbal tea, stretch, read a little, and return when you feel ready. 
 
     3. The devices we use make more of an impact than we think 
Anything with a screen- television, phones, laptops, tablets- change the way our brains work and react. This especially comes into play with our ability to sleep. Even having our phones or laptops in the room with us while we sleep impacts us more than we realise. So, what do they do? For a start, they suppress melatonin, which is necessary in regulating our sleep/awake cycles. The blue light our screens give off tricks our brains into thinking it is time to be awake, thus producing less of the chemical we use for sleep. Second, they keep your brain alert, constantly feeding you information, making it difficult for our bodies and minds to truly relax. Lastly, they wake us up, even when we don’t realise it. The occasional notification while we sleep, which disturbs our sleeping patterns.
 
     4. You might have an actual, diagnosable sleep disorder- and you should check it out! 
Insomnia and Sleep Apnea are two of the most commonly undiagnosed sleep disorders that can dramatically impact the level and quality of sleep you’re getting. If you think you might have either of these, maybe it’s time to see a doctor or sleep specialist! 
 
     5. Your partner might be part of the issue… 
The presence of another person in the time and space your body is doing its best to relax, recharge, and heal can be difficult to say the least. More often than not, we are on different cycles and have different needs. Our bodies may be different temperatures, one of us may sleep talk (or sleep walk!) one of us might need light while the other needs dark- the list can go on and on. If you have small children, the amount of disruption to your sleep can most likely not even begin to be covered here. Do your best to reduce interruptions, as your life and realities allow. 
 
     6. Try a breathing or relaxation exercise! 
No matter what your environment, distractions or habits, there is always the possibility for a quick breathing or relaxation exercise. You can do many of these exactly where you are in whatever time you have available to you and they can mean the difference between a relaxed night’s rest or a stressful night awake. 
 
 
Share your sleep stories and tricks in the comments below! 
 
Happy resting!
 
Sam
 

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Community: Are We Involved?

3 years ago by James_Admin

Community: Are We Involved?

Throughout many of the discussions taking place about recent political events and social movements, many of us are feeling left wondering what the immediate impact and actions are. Where do we need to see movement? Where can we become more involved and how? What actually matters and what brings about true change?

 

 

It is important to recognize that each answer will be different for each of us. There is not a “right” way to contribute, nor is there is wrong way. What one of us may deem important may have little to no impact for the next person. We can do our best to share with others what feels like the right and most impactful methods for us, but we must keep our differences and individuality in mind. Building a strong community around us and contributing to a common goal is one of the most effective ways for us to feel true connection to one another and ourselves.

Now, some of us may be thinking along the lines of “I like doing things on my own, does this really matter for me?” While time alone is wonderful and completely necessary for many, if not most of us, it is important to take a look at how and if your needs for support are being met. As humans, we typically require some form of care and support from others, though that widely varies on how this looks for each of us. With Over 50% of Viewsbankers saying they don’t get involved in their communities at all and only 2% counting themselves as very involved, we can see that many of us are finding barriers to being active parts of any community. So, do we actually need community?

 

Aside from the mental, emotional, and spiritual support that we receive from others, a sense of community impacts our health as well. It can reduce chronic pain and blood pressure, helps promote positive behaviour, increases our ability to “be happy,” and can extend your life overall.

So, where do we find it? There are nearly endless types of communities that exist and have the potential to exist. Which ones we fall into or see ourselves being a part of largely depends upon our current and future needs. Whether it be online, extracurricular, family and friends, education, business, or religion, wherever you find yourself contributing to something outside of yourself, working with others, or feeling supported, this is where you have found community.

 

How do we start?

Taking this seemingly large and very important goal as tiny, achievable steps is key. Start small. Look around you- where can you see yourself? Who would you like to know or work with more? What can you see yourself doing? What do you truly enjoy spending your time on? Remember to be patient; communities that are truly supportive and a right fit for you will take time and some flexibility.

 

Community is Everything: How to Build Your Tribe gives us many specific qualities and habits to focus on in building a strong community of support around us

 

      1. Express genuine happiness when you see your people

      2. Let everyone share their stories and participate

      3. Forget the small talk

      4. Give credit as often as you can

      5. Instill confidence- it’s free

      6. Challenge your people to push themselves

      7. Connect people!

For some basic steps, from getting to know your neighbours to finding specific spaces to volunteer, check out How To Get Involved In Your Community or 9 Ways To Get Involved In Your Community Please share your barriers, successes, and experiences with community in the comments below!

Happy sharing,

Sam

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Do Marches Make Movements?

3 years ago by James_Admin

Do Marches Make Movements?

The conversations that are happening around the most recent marches, protests, and rallies are difficult to escape, no matter your involvement, opinion, or location. To begin to understand the purpose and potential future impact of these events, we can dive a little deeper into their purpose and how we feel about them.

 

 

It appears that what used to simply be political has now become intensely personal. Around the world, many of us are feeling pulled into debate and readily choosing sides to sit on, with little constructive interaction in between. How should we react or interact with these overt and collective shows of protest?

 

For many, marches and protests are important because they bring a group of people together under a relatively shared cause. This can serve to increase motivation, strength, and a sense of community. For others, these events can be a means of catharsis, a release of frustration and tension in a way that feels constructive to the cause they are working to remedy or change; they are a show of solidarity and support for those most impacted by the events, and they are a testament to the rights we are afforded and uphold within our society and our governments.

 

In London alone, it has been estimated that well over 100,000 people attended the recent women’s march, surpassing all expectations of support. With so many people involved and actively supporting these causes, does that mean there will be long-term impact? What will change, if anything?

 

Viewsbank members overwhelmingly think there will be no change resulting from these marches, with over 85% saying that nothing would change after these marches. So, what do we think of as “change” and how do we bring it about?

 

Any meaningful change does not occur overnight. So in many ways, you are correct. There will most likely not be life-altering change from these marches within most of our lives, at least not immediately and acutely apparent. The steps taken every day after the marches matter the most.

 

If we look to history, we are reminded of the varying degrees of potential strength and value that lie within social movements and political protest, such as Gandhi’s Salt March or the Protestant Reformation. It can be easy to forget how directly our thoughts, choices, and decisions impact the world around us, particularly when we come together.

 

So, if we care about something, what do we do?

 

None of our work is done, whether you are supportive or disagree with these marches. There is a long way for each of us to go before we can say we are listening to one another or that we are working collectively toward a shared future.

 

Whatever you believe in, we can all become more involved. Finding the causes that we’re most passionate about within our own communities has incredible impact. Start where you are, with what you know. You don’t need to label yourself a “Social Justice Warrior” just yet.

 

Let’s start small. Look within your own community and begin there.

 

1.    Look for local events: keep yourself open to opportunities and try new things!

2.    Volunteer your time: think about what’s important to you, reach out, and ask!

3.    Donate your resources: clothes, food, books, anything you think might be of value to someone else within your community and beyond

4.    Shop locally: seek out local vendors and farmers markets! Get better quality and help to support those working around you

5.    Join a class or group: Build and deepen community around you. Share your talents and interests with other

6.    Organise your own event!

 

Let us know your thoughts and experiences with marches and activism in the comments below!

 

 

Happy sharing!

Sam

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What about Tomorrow?

3 years ago by James_Admin

What about Tomorrow?

As humans, we tend to focus on what the future will bring, what will come next, and how we can best prepare. As a society, we have always made predictions about what our collective future will look like, how our communities will function, and what the next big opportunity will be. Many of these predictions have felt unrealistic and quite dream-like at times, with flying cars and hoverboards, but in today’s world, with so much shift occurring within our society, much is unknown and many have been left feeling weighted when thinking about immediate future.

 

 

Borders are an increasingly relevant and intense topic that has come to feel personal and loaded for many. With our ability to move between the borders we have created with greater ease than ever, the rules of how, when, and why we can do so have struggled to keep up with our realities. Our opinions and experience in whether or not these borders should be less or more important as people move across them more often is increasingly divisive. While we can guess at where people will move, how this will impact our communities, and what our responses should be, we can also look to our history of migration as a whole to see the potential pitfalls and positive outcomes of these movements.

 

The people who live, work, and move within these borders create and shape the spaces that exist in them. Our cities and communities look and act differently depending upon who uses them and what our goals are for the future. Many of the ways we now interact with one another and the world around us involve technology. These technologies have largely impacted how we create and move within the spaces we inhabit, from how we eat to how we date, which means they will be closely intertwined within the ways we evolve and create our future communities.

 

Technology brings with it a universe of questions, advances, changes, and new frontiers to be explored and understood. How will we interact with increasing artificial intelligence? How will this technology help us to protect our planet more effectively? Will we trend towards having more fun in our lives because of technology? Will we be able to live longer, healthier lives?

 

Our futures are shaped by the decisions we make today. Each and every decision has a longer impact than we think. Today, the language that continues to speak the loudest is how we spend our money. The purchases and investments we make on a daily basis speak to how we want our society to look. If you look at your past month, what have you been saying with yours?

 

With constant connection and our ability to access information increasing, the question of how do we feel about all of these changes is an important one to address with one another. Listening to and understanding alternative perspectives is a skill that is of increasingly vital importance in a world shifting as much as ours is. The decisions each of us have the ability to make are much more important than we think. In thinking about our future, we should be able to share and listen to one another without fear and without anger. We should strive to openly discuss our experiences and opinions, with flexibility and growth in mind. 

 

Now, if you’re feeling stressed about the future, remember that you’re not alone, that uncertainty is a vital and healthy part of life. It is the time in which we typically learn the most about ourselves, where we face truths we have avoided, and where we have the potential for immense growth. Stress is natural, but should not be overpowering. Breathe and take a look at these five ways to feel more calm about an uncertain future.

 

1.    Ration your exposure to news and potentially avoid the news altogether. If you feel staying in touch will help you more, try to choose two or three times a day (or week) that you will check in, but make sure you unplug once you are done.

2.    Try seeking advice about the topics that concern you the most. Instead of looking at the situation as a whole, break it down into bite sized portions that impact your life and talk to experts.

3.    Do what makes you feel good- maximise the chances that you’ll be able to think logically and rationally. Try spending at least 10 minutes each day practicing mindful breathing, meditation, yoga, or just outside in nature. Listen to what makes your body and mind feel good and do it more often.

4.    Surround yourself with loved ones. Meet up with friends as often as you can. Try to limit your time speaking about current events- or any of the issues that may prove overwhelming to you.

5.    Lastly, take positive action. Do something that will help someone other than yourself, work for a cause that you believe in. If you’re feeling helpless and overwhelmed about the future, doing something positive for another human being is a concrete way to restore your faith in humanity.

 

If you haven't yet, you can earn 10p by answering our admin pol here

 

Tell us what you think about the future!

Sam  

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Should We All Be Bilingual?

3 years ago by James_Admin

Should We All Be Bilingual?

Whether we are conscious of it or not, our world is largely multilingual. With over half of the world’s population using more than one language in everyday life and globalisation only increasing, the usefulness of being able to communicate with people around the world is now becoming a necessity. The skills and opportunities that are entangled within an understanding of language go much farther beyond a knowledge of grammar and syntax. This value has been increasingly apparent in terms of financial gains, but there are many social and personal opportunities not to be overlooked.

 

 

Our fundamental understanding of the world largely relies upon how we understand and use language. How we think about ourselves and others, the world around us, our past and our future, how we want our lives to look are all vital aspects of our being are all shaped and shifted by how our system of language functions. Speaking more than one language within itself changes how you view and interact with the world around you. Language is largely intertwined with culture, attitudes, and behaviours, so when you switch from one language to another, your perspective and views switch as well.

 

Along with the perspectives language provides us with, we also carry intensive amounts of cultural capital when we speak a language effectively. This means that we are given the tools to succeed in our society that are beyond merely having money. We tend to disregard these skills in our everyday lives because they are so vital to our daily survival.

 

Take a moment to think about your day today. How many times did you need to interact with others? How many times did you need to understand the actions of someone around you? How many times did you need to help or work with someone else? Each of these moments relies upon both of you understanding one another’s needs and views in order to be successful. Can you imagine your day without that understanding? Our cultural capital and language allow us to effectively portray ourselves to others, so we are understood. They also help us to connect with other humans, create community, understand and express humour, have intellectual interactions, and feel that we are valued members in our society.

 

When we learn a new language, we only increase our ability to connect with others. We can establish deep connections and cross-cultural relationships, expanding our view on the world and our understanding of people who are different from us. We can also understand ourselves more deeply by getting an outsider’s perspective on our own culture by taking stock of the habits and understandings we typically take for granted.

 

So, why can’t we all just speak the same language? While this sounds like a simple solution, one that has become increasingly popularised with people moving across cultural and language borders nearly constantly, this would be a tragic outcome of our unwillingness to take the time to understand and value one another for our differences and our individuality.   

 

Due to globalisation and the spreading of Westernised (largely English-speaking) ideals, we are now walking a path that is actively and quickly killing languages that have not been allowed the space to remain relevant or valued. Over the past century, around 400 languages have become extinct. That is one every three months. These languages represent the history, culture, way of life, and the roots of a society. These aspects are now lost and will most likely not return.

 

Why should we learn new languages? Aside from the obvious doors that can be opened to you, speaking more than one language also works to keep your brain healthy and functional, protecting against dementia while improving your memory and attention span.

 

We’ve all been told that we should try to learn another language, but it gets more difficult as we age and it’s too hard to be worth it, right? While some aspects of learning a language (or any new skill for that matter,) may become more difficult when we are older, others become easier! Our vocabularies are much larger as adults, which allows us to more readily learn the amount of vocabulary needed to speak fluently in another language as well as picking up the rules that govern grammar and syntax. 

 

If you need a few more reasons to begin learning a new language, take a look at these 12 reasons everyone should learn another language and if you’re thinking about starting, definitely check out these 10 tips and tricks to learn any language as well as How to Learn a New Language: 7 Secrets From TED translators

 

Learning a new language is difficult, yes, but the life-altering value far outweighs the challenge. It will not happen overnight, this is a process and a practice in patience. You will find yourself misunderstanding, misunderstood, confused, and frustrated many times. Such feelings are rarely felt when we are within our primary language. Learning a new language provides endless moments of humility and introspection, where we have the opportunity to be pushed outside of our comfort zone and this is where our most intensive and valuable growth happens. Remember to be patient with yourself and others. Take it day by day, step by step and remind yourself that you are making the effort, you are trying to learn a new skill and that is an incredible aim.

 

Share your experiences with language in the comments below! And if you haven't yet seen it, answer our admin poll on languages here and earn 10p!

 

Happy learning!

Sam 

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How's Flu Season Treating You?

3 years ago by James_Admin

How's Flu Season Treating You?

If you’ve ever had the flu, you know very well that it’s no laughing matter. In fact, you will most likely do whatever is necessary to not experience that kind of sickness again. For many this entails getting a flu jab each year, but for others this means taking other measures, including avoiding the jab each year. Why should we get the jab? Why should we avoid it? 

 

 

As we are currently in the peak of a typical flu season, it can be important to remind ourselves of ways in which we can stay healthy and safe. Many of us get a yearly flu jab, as the predictions about which strains will hit the hardest change each year. This predictions process tied into flu jabs seems all too risky to quite a few people, especially when dealing with something as seemingly unreliable as a disease.

 

Our members seem to have their doubts about the jab, with nearly 62% not getting the jab this year. For many in this group, the issue appears not to be whether or not the jab is effective, but whether or not it is safe. Quite a few members tell us their reasons for abstaining, which largely surround their trusting in past experience or the experiences of others getting sick after a flu jab. Stephen65620 tells us, “[I] would never let someone knowingly inject some form of disease into my body. Especially as I have seen too many people get really ill after a flu jab. They can only give what's gone not what's coming.”

 

So, how does the flu jab work? In either nasal spray or jab form, the vaccine triggers your body’s natural immune response to fight a foreign invader by producing antibodies against it. This way, the next time your body comes into contact with a flu virus, your immune system will recognise it and be ready to fight it quickly. To do this, each year scientists around the world collect samples of flu viruses and select the three that they think will be the most prevalent in the following year. These three strains are then put into the vaccine as inactive, or dead, viruses. This means that the jab cannot give you the actual flu virus itself.

 

Regardless of whether or not you will get a flu jab this year, there are many things we can all do to stay healthy and keep those around us healthy as well!

 

The Basics:

 

We’ve all heard these before, but let’s actually do them this year!

 

1.  Take precautions against commonly touched spaces, such as doorknobs, counter surfaces, phones, and keyboards.

2. Get enough sleep. This is the time your body repairs the damage done during the day- especially the potential damage you don’t yet know about. That includes the viruses and bacteria you encountered!

3. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water every chance you get.

4. Take additional winter supplements, as necessary! In the colder months, we tend to not get enough vitamin A, D, C, E or Zinc, which help keep our immune systems strong! Check in with what you may need a little bit more of if you’re not getting it in your diet.

5. Diet: make sure you are eating more than enough in fruits and veg! These are your best friends in the winter months, though they are more difficult to find as it gets colder. Go with the darker, leafier greens and those with more colour. Kale, chard, beetroot, carrots, purple cauliflower, oranges, grapefruit- make sure your plate looks more like a rainbow than shades of brown. 

6. Natural remedies: take echinacea, eat extra garlic and raw honey, get a massage, drink more herbal tea! Do what works best for your body, listen to what you need, and experiment with what makes you feel best.

7.  Laugh as much as possible! Immune cells are produced by laughter and a positive attitude can take us much farther than any medication can!

 

For more natural ways to keep yourself healthy this flu season, take a look at 19 Ways To Prevent and Treat Colds and Flu and 4 Secrets to Never Getting Sick

 

Let us know your tricks to staying healthy in the comments!

 

Stay well,

 

~Sam

 

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Friday the 13th!

3 years ago by James_Admin

Friday the 13th!

Happy Friday, everyone! Today is supposed to be one of the unluckiest days of the year. Many of us know that this coincidence of date and day has been deemed as “unlucky,” some of us are even familiar with the notorious films about it, but not many of us know exactly why today is a big deal. Should we even bother thinking about it at all?

 

 

 

Depending upon where you come from, your beliefs about luck and potential superstitious harm will vary. Superstitions have a great history in many, if not all, cultures and communities. Before we relied upon scientific discovery (and even long after we did) to explain our surroundings, we used folklore and superstition to keep one another safe. Many of these superstitions were culturally relevant in predicting danger: a good example is walking under a leaning ladder. This belief seems to have its roots in ancient Egypt, where triangles were regarded as a holy shape and it was offensive to break one, which then transferred to the followers of Jesus, who described the ladder leaning against a crucifix as a symbol of wickedness, and finally to England in the 1600s, when criminals were made to walk under a ladder on their way to the gallows.

 

Though most folklorists have said there is no written documentation of the Friday 13th superstition before the 19th century, the date has great significance in Biblical belief. This is the date when the crucifixion of Jesus was said to take place and the number 13 refers to the apostles, including Judas, who has come to mean betrayal and bad luck in many Western societies. This is also the day The Great Flood is said to have started, as well as the day Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden. While you may not be religious yourself, we find ourselves in a culture that has been rooted in such beliefs, having lasting effects that we can often overlook without realising that we have done so.

 

This belief has become ingrained into today’s world so deeply it warrants its own psychological terminology for individuals with paraskavedekatriaphobia, or a strong fear of Friday the 13th. So does it have any real life applications? In many Westernized cities, tall buildings are often missing a 13th floor and many houses skip being numbered 13. Many people even go so far as not to dine in groups of 13, including the US President Roosevelt. In some areas of the UK, calling a doctor for the first time on a Friday is considered to be a bad omen.

 

Many have suggested that it may be a self fulfilling prophecy, in that if you are fearful of Friday the 13th, you will be more anxious and distracted, potentially causing more harm to yourself throughout the day. So today, let’s all do our best to take responsibility for our actions and the things that happen in our lives, while also opening up, creating space for some positive magic and even a little luck!

 

Whatever your beliefs, this day seems to be a reminder to each of us to be careful with ourselves and with one another, to care for our wellbeing and to be vigilant of our surroundings. So have fun with a little superstition if you feel so inclined! Throw a little spilt salt over your shoulder, look for some four-leaf clovers and rainbows! Live your life to the full today and try to look for a little magic, wherever you can find it. I know we could all use a little bit more in our daily lives.

 

Let us know your experiences with this day and any other superstitions in the comments below!

 

Hoping you find some magic,

 

~Sam