Category: LIFESTYLE

FACING FEAR

Fear is a human emotion that is triggered by a perceived threat.

It is a survival mechanism that signals our body to respond to danger in fight or flight mode. The term ‘fight-or-flight’ represents the choices that our ancient ancestors had when faced with danger in their environment. They could either fight or flee. In either case, the physiological and psychological response to stress and fear prepared their body to react to the danger. Fear is an essential part in keeping us safe.

However, in today’s modern world, as much as we aren’t fearful of getting eaten by a lion like our ancestors were, we are subjected to so much more fear through media, negative thinking, and stresses that our ancestors didn’t have to worry about.

So How Does Fear Work?

Fear prepares us to react to danger. Our brains can’t distinguish the difference between imagination or reality. So, every time you have a thought, it releases the same neurochemicals regardless of whether you are thinking about the past, the present, or the future. Therefore, in reality, you don’t need to be actually experiencing fear physically, you just need to be thinking about fear and your body can still have the same physical response.

Think about something that really scares you now and watch your heart race that little bit more. Yep, it’s that simple.

Once we sense a potential danger, our body releases hormones that:

  • Slow or shut down functions not needed for survival (such as our digestive system).
  • Sharpen functions that might help us survive (such as eyesight). Our heart rate increases, and blood flows to muscles so we can run faster.

Our body also increases the flow of hormones to an area of the brain known as the amygdala to help us focus on the presenting danger and stores this fear in our memory to learn from in the future.

This is great for when we are really in danger, but what if we aren’t? How is this state of fear impacting our health? Uncertainty drives fear and worry, and living in this state of mind can seriously impact our health.

Fear weakens our immune system and can cause gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers and IBS, decreased fertility, and cardiovascular damage. It can also lead to accelerated aging and premature death.


Fear also interrupts processes in our brains that allow us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cues and much more. This impacts our thinking and decision-making in negative ways, leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions. All of these effects can leave us unable to act appropriately.

In today’s modern world, as much as we aren’t fearful of getting eaten by a lion to so much more fear through media, negative thinking and stresses that our ancestors didn’t have to worry about.

It goes without saying that fear impacts our mental health. Other consequences of long-term fear include fatigue, clinical depression, and PSTD.

So how can we settle our brains when it goes into fear, and move our bodies out of this state? We need to calm our amygdala down first. There are things you can do to speed up that process and get control of your emotional state.


Things You Can Try
  • Name your emotions as you experience them. This helps to engage the thinking part of your brain and trigger mindfulness.
  • Take deep breaths from your abdomen. Breathing deeply will help to bring oxygen to the brain and slow you down.
  • Draw on mindfulness. Look around you and notice things in the environment. This will help you to move out of your head and back into the situation.
  • Take a timeout. If you are truly feeling out of control, excuse yourself from the situation you are in to get a hold of your emotions.
  • See your doctor.
  • See a councillor or therapist.
  • Try EFT (emotional freedom technique).
  • Ask your pharmacist about herbs or medications that can calm you.
  • Learn meditation.
  • Try yoga.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Exercise.
10 EASY WAYS TO BE MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS

10 EASY WAYS TO BE MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS

With the constant threat of climate change looming, one thought always crosses our mind; how can we help? There are plenty of easy ways to be more environmentally conscious in every area of your life.

How can we help to decrease our own carbon footprint?

1. Compost food waste – rather than putting scraps in the bin to go to landfill, have a compost bin where you can put all your scraps in for your garden.

2. Start a veggie garden – This fun idea can help to involve the whole family while growing a variety of different produce. No matter the size of your house or unit, there are always ways to grow produce at home, even if it means a window box vege garden.

3. Eat less meat – meat (especially red meat) uses massive amounts of energy to produce so cutting down on this reduces your carbon footprint significantly. Try some recipes that are vegetarian (such as this chili) or even vegan (such as this warm buckwheat salad or these adorable owl pancakes).

4. Use less plastic – By bringing your own reusable shopping bags to the supermarket or using reusable containers at school or work, you are reducing the amount of plastic in the environment. Plastic can take thousands of years to decompose and during this time has the potential to kill or significantly harm native wildlife.

5. Try to use public transport more – Transport can have major effects on the environment with fumes being emitted by vehicles and being powered by non-renewables. By walking, riding a bike or using public transport a few times a week to commute, you can help reduce emissions.

6. Buy local products – Buying from local suppliers around your area can help reduce food miles. Food miles are the distance foods travel to get your supermarket and eventually to your house. The further the distance the food travels, the higher the carbon footprint. Buying food from local producers helps the environment and supports local businesses. Win-win!

7. Switch to energy efficient lightbulbs – Having energy efficient lightbulbs helps the environment and also helps you save money. Having lights which cost less to run decrease your electricity bill, therefore giving your family more money to spend on other household necessities. The bulbs pretty much pay for themselves!

8. Turn off lights – although this one may seem simple, you’ll be surprised how often we forget to turn off lights when we aren’t using them anymore. Also try to keep lights off for as long as possible throughout the day by using natural lighting. Open up windows and doors to let in the sunlight. This saves energy which is usually being wasted unnecessarily.

9. Reuse scrap paper – This idea can be very easy, yet very effective by getting the most use out of items. Using sheets of paper which may have previously been thrown away, as paper for a shopping list or for kids to draw on extend the papers’ life.

10. Jars and more jars – Jars are an environmentally friendly replacement for plastic. Jars can be used to hold leftover or other bulk kitchen buys like nuts, seeds or flour. They are convenient and easy to see what is stored inside, and look trendy too. You can label them as you wish and even decorate them – see, isn’t that much better and nicer-looking than plastic?

The Four Benefits of Natural Baby Wipes

There are many things you don’t actually need as a parent of a little one, however good quality baby wipes are an essential. And, like nappies, parents now have options beyond the typical supermarket offering for these everyday essentials. Considering they will be used many times in one day, you want to make sure they are gentle enough for your baby’s sensitive skin. Because of this it often pays to seek out 100 per cent natural formulations, as some parents complain that wipes full of artificial substances can potentially cause flare ups of skin conditions like nappy rash, eczema and other allergies.

Just in case you’re not aware of all the benefits of switching to 100 per cent natural baby wipes, we’re here to let you know (trust us, you won’t look back!).

 1. They are far less likely to irritate delicate skin

Natural ingredients, like chamomile and coconut oil will soothe delicate skin throughout cleaning. While chemical additives in other non-natural brands may clean well, they can potentially irritate skin after longtime use. If you’re making the switch to natural wipes, be sure to look for a brand that doesn’t contain methylisothiazolinone, phenoxyethanol, alcohol, formaldehyde or parabens.

 2. They add goodness back into the skin

 Another bonus of 100 per cent natural baby wipes is that they use nature’s wonder ingredients, which can help to soothe and hydrate skin with each use. When shopping around, we discovered a new Australian brand made by two parents to combat their son’s mysterious UTI, and an ongoing nappy rash that they believed was induced by the use of other harsh wipes. Niki’s Wipes are infused with 100 per cent all-natural goodness – including Manuka honey essence and organic coconut oil. Both ingredients have antimicrobial and soothing properties.

3. They undeniably smell better

The first thing you’ll notice about most natural baby wipes is that the natural ingredients will give it a pleasant scent (that isn’t reminiscent of harsh cleaning products like many chemical laden options). We like Niki’s because they have a delicious tropical coconut aroma that comes from the ingredient composition itself – not any added fragrance. Check out Niki’s here at https://nikis.com.

4. Last but not least: natural is better for the environment

Doing our part for the environment makes us all feel better- especially as parents, knowing the choices we make will shape the world our children, and theirs will inherit. Most natural wipes are typically biodegradable (tick), ethically sourced (tick), toxic-free (tick) and cruelty-free (tick). Some, like Niki’s are even compostable. The sheer volume of wipes used per baby makes it worthwhile to choose a product that you know won’t just sit in landfill.

20 TIPS FOR THROWING A KIDS' PARTY ON A BUDGET

20 TIPS FOR THROWING A KIDS’ PARTY ON A BUDGET

Kids birthday parties are becoming increasingly expensive and with huge guest lists and excessive decorating, it’s easy to see why. Here are 20 tips to throw a memorable kids’ birthday party on a budget.

1. Perfect Timing

Set your kid’s birthday part in either mid-morning or mid-afternoon.  This way guests won’t expect a full meal and you can save money on food and cutlery.

2. Digital Invites

Save both time, money and the environment by skipping paper invites and using technology to spread the word about your child’s party.

3. Order Online

While prices online aren’t always better, shopping online in advance will help avoid last-minute impulse shopping.

4. Think about the Venue

If you don’t have the money to host your own party at home, consider hiring a local venue or making a trip to a local park instead.

5. Skip Party Favours

Skip the goody bag and use lollies in a pinata instead. Pinatas double as both a party activity and treats to take home.

6. Try No-Cost Games

Turn to party games like musical chairs and charades to save money on buying expensive prizes and unnecessary equipment.

7. Take Advantage of Wild Imaginations

Try swapping out cheaper items for prizes. Have a treasure hunt for gold-painted rocks (‘gold’) instead of lollies and chocolate.

8. Personalise Inexpensive Desserts

Try making a cheap packet mix or buying a plain cake and decorating it yourself to save money. Specially made cakes can start at $20 to $30, which can be spent elsewhere.

9. Consider Doubling Up

If you know another parent with a child who has a birthday around the same time, consider having a joined party. One party between two means half the cost.

10. Skip Expensive Decorations

Buying cheap decorations, buying in bulk or simply doing minimal decorating will save not only money, but also time.  To make your own decorations, try spray-painting different items to add colour.

11. Keep the Party Small

Resist the urge to invite 20 or 30 people to your child’s party and just keep it to close friends and family. You’ll save money on food and supplies.

12. Plan in Advance

Know when you will throw the party well in advance. This will allow time to save or budget for the costs and time to look around for cheaper supplies.

13. Splurge on the Memorable Parts

While you might need to cut costs on the overall party, skip certain things like decorations and cutlery and splurge on things like cake and party games that will be remembered.

14. Be your own DJ

Save money by using your own music instead of hiring a jukebox or DJ. Both YouTube and Spotify have free options and allow you to create custom playlists for free.

15. Let Guests Help

If parents of guests offer to bring a plate of food or arrive early to help set up, take them up on the offer!

16. Be Clear with a Budget

Before you begin planning your event, be clear on how much you want to spend on the party. By setting a clear budget you can avoid over-spending on last minute items and ‘impulse’ buys.

17. Skip the Traditional Party

Why not skip the party altogether? Plan a smaller more casual event with close friends and family; allowing you the money to do something more memorable. Or, try throwing a party every second year, helping to save up for a bigger, more exciting party every two years.

18. Use what you Have on Hand

If you have leftover themed decorations from another event, try planning a similarly themed party. If you have a large backyard, host an outdoor party and skip the decorations. Make the most out of your location and what you already have.

19. Hire or Borrow Items

Don’t have a specific item necessary for your party? Ask friends to borrow or even hire from a company. It’s likely to be a fraction of the cost of buying the actual item.

20. Focus on the Guests

It’s likely that kids won’t be anticipating a full meal and extravagant party favours. Focus your money and time on the things that matter. Splurge on cake and play simple enjoyable party games to make the event one to remember for guests.

101 THINGS FOR GRANDPARENTS TO GIVE A GO

101 THINGS FOR GRANDPARENTS TO GIVE A GO

Life should not be boring once you hit retirement! Why not take on a new sport, hobby or just try something new? Here are 101 hobbies and ideas for grandparents to give a go.

Sports & Exercise

  1. Walking
  2. Dancing
  3. Cycling
  4. Tai Chi
  5. Lawn bowls
  6. Pilates
  7. Darts
  8. Aerobics
  9. Horse riding
  10. Martial arts
  11. Yoga
  12. Golf
  13. Tennis
  14. Dog walking
  15. Meditation

Outdoor Hobbies

  1. Gardening
  2. Plant flowers
  3. Grow a vegetable garden
  4. Camping
  5. Bird watching
  6. Geocaching
  7. Grow a herb garden

Food & Cookery

  1. Cooking
  2. Baking
  3. Cook with own produce
  4. Make homemade jam and chutney
  5. Compile a cookbook
  6. Try old recipes
  7. Try making food from another cuisine
  8. Try new food
  9. Visit local farmer’s markets
  10. Cake decorating

Social Hobbies

  1. Start a book club
  2. Join a local club or association that suits your interests
  3. Volunteering
  4. Go to the park
  5. Spend time with grandchildren
  6. Teach skills to grandchildren
  7. Travel overseas
  8. Training animals
  9. Visit friends
  10. Join local charity walks
  11. Visit museums and art galleries
  12. Visit the library
  13. Volunteer overseas
  14. Adopt a new pet

Art & Craft

  1. Sewing
  2. Knitting
  3. Crocheting
  4. Quilting
  5. Origami
  6. Craft
  7. Scrapbooking
  8. Flower arranging
  9. Card-making
  10. Candle-making
  11. Embroidery
  12. Painting
  13. Drawing/sketching
  14. Making jewellery
  15. Dressmaking
  16. Make pottery
  17. Woodwork
  18. Framing photos and interior decoration
  19. Patchwork
  20. Sculpting
  21. Photography
  22. Metalwork
  23. Collect stamps
  24. Restore old furniture

Writing & Reading

  1. Reading
  2. Writing and posting handwritten letters
  3. Calligraphy
  4. Poetry
  5. Creative Writing
  6. Journaling
  7. Learning a new language
  8. Learning sign language
  9. Start a blog
  10. Take classes online
  11. Explore family history

Games

  1. Card games
  2. Sudoku and crosswords
  3. Chess and checkers
  4. Board games
  5. Jigsaw puzzles
  6. Bridge
  7. Play Bingo
  8. Learn how to juggle
  9. Building model cars or planes
  10. Shuffleboard

Performance Arts

  1. Try ballroom dancing
  2. Singing
  3. Listen to music
  4. Play an instrument
  5. Join a choir or band
  6. Get into acting

Ways to Make Money

  1. House sit for other people
  2. Become an Uber driver
  3. Try antiquing
  4. Start a business for one of your passions
7 BENEFITS OF LEARNING ANOTHER LANGUAGE

7 BENEFITS OF LEARNING ANOTHER LANGUAGE

Learning another language will help you gain a worldwide mindset. So, why do so many people who speak English as a first language, feel the need to not learn another language? Many of us start to learn a second language during our schooling years, but drop it as soon as we’re not doing it for a grade anymore. Simply put, there are many benefits of learning another language.

Even though we all know most countries have their own language, we visit their country assuming they can speak English too, sometimes visiting knowing a basic greeting. Although English is the unofficial language of the world, it is still a very important skill to learn another language and it is becoming the norm to be bilingual.

1. Deeper cultural understanding.

Hello. こんにちは. dzień dobry. Olá. Talofa. Haye. مرحبا. ਸਤ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਅਕਾਲ. Salut. Learning a language helps to really immerse yourself in the country. Going to a country and being able to understand the language helps you converse with locals and immerse yourself in the atmosphere.

2. More work opportunities. 

It gives you the opportunity to work is multiple countries and work places which speak multiple languages. Speaking multiple language also makes you a valuable asset to the workplace.

3. Able to communicate with more people. 

Learning a new language opens the door to speak to millions more people. Whether it be making a new friend while travelling or being able to have a conversation with your French waiter, these are all great ways to immerse yourself when visiting a country or having tourists visit yours.

4. Travel is more interesting. 

When knowing the language of the country you are visiting, you can truly experience and understand the country. Not being able to worry about whether there is an English tour or having a family laugh after hearing a conversation people didn’t think you could understand will bring you a lot of peace of mind.

5. Less chance of early dementia. 

Studies have shown that learning a second language helps decrease your chances of getting dementia due to the memory side of the brain being actively used.

6. Improves memory and listening skills. 

When learning and listening to a new language, your brain is constantly active and trying to pick up words and even sentences. This helps you to piece together meaning from your second language content by using your memory and listening brain parts.

7. It’s fun. 

Although the thought of failure scares most adults away from unknown things, learning a language is a whole new experience. Making mistakes when learning a new language is inevitable and a part of the process which can be scared for adults with the fear of ‘looking stupid’. The thought that people are judging you when you try to speak an unfamiliar language is mainly in your head; even if you make multiple mistakes when speaking your target language, people will always try to understand what you are trying to say. You trying to speak in their language instead of just blurting out in English is a great way to show you are putting in effort.

How many languages can you speak?