Free stuff. Do I have your attention?
Everyone loves free things and there is no doubt that with the price of just about everything inching up, everyone is tightening their belts at the moment. Sometimes it can seem like a hard job to make healthy choices when on a budget right?
I’ve been brainstorming this idea with friends and family and the list of free stuff is blooming like a lovely flower. Research shows that people can change their behavioural patterns and are more willing to do things when something free comes along. Free can be a really powerful emotional trigger. If that trigger can lead you to making a positive change for your health, it’s a win win.
If a good or service is paid for or purchased, we calculate the risk to prevent dissatisfaction but when something is free, we have less or no expectations at all. This means that free things may have an even higher value than those that actually cost money.
So, where can you access this free stuff for good health?
- Grow your own vegetables – no matter whether you have a sizeable garden, a pot on the balcony or a sunny kitchen shelf, most people can grow something. You may not be able to grow your entire weekly shopping list but planting some of the more expensive items such as herbs and lettuce can save quite a bit of money. It will cost a couple of dollars to buy the initial seeds but many vegetables will eventually go to flower and you can collect the seeds completely free for the next crop. Our garden currently has literally a hundred cos lettuces that have popped up everywhere from the last lot and picking the leaves as needed is very satisfying! Some friends and family might be garden growing too and perhaps you could do an exchange, if they are growing plants you are not (and vice versa).
- Look up and around your neighbourhood – have you ever noticed how many fruit trees are around your hood? Lemons, oranges, mandarins, cumquats, mulberry’s and olives are quite literally everywhere in many suburbs. If you have a tree yourself and can’t use the fruit quick enough, could you put the excess in a box and sit it on your letterbox to share with your local community? Alternatively, could you knock on someone’s door and ask if you can ‘help’ them out by taking some of their excess fruit? My husband does this every year to gather his annual haul of olives and meets a bunch of people in the process. If you are looking for a delicious recipe for your local fruit, download my free recipe book and whip up the Cashew and Lemon Slice.
You Got To Move It
Regular movement and exercise significantly reduces the risk of almost every known lifestyle disease. Expensive gyms and memberships are most definitely not the only way to keep fit and active.
- Walking is absolutely free, there is no preparation required and you can walk straight from your front door – boom. You could always head into the bush or along the coast for a change of scenery.
- Get on your bike – if you have a bike in the shed that hasn’t been used for a while, spring is a great time to get it out. Many local council’s offer free bike servicing too (in case it has been QUITE a while since your bike has seen the daylight).
- Online classes – over the past few years, free online classes for fitness, yoga, strength training and meditation have become the norm and there are so many to choose from.
- Gardening – one thing is for sure and certain, there is never a shortage of weeds in any garden. Getting your hands dirty in your own garden or perhaps someone else’s is such a good way of getting some Vitamin D, being at one with nature, decreasing stress levels and some bonus physical activity too.
The Written Word
Reading is such a wonderful pastime and can be educational, relaxing or pure escapism. I can’t imagine a life without books but they can be expensive. Good news is, it doesn’t need to be.
- Join your local library – it is completely free to join a public library and as a member you have access to hard copy books and magazines plus online versions too. Local libraries often have complimentary author presentations too. If you are housebound, many libraries have a home delivery service too.
- Little Free Library – have you noticed one those cute little letterbox style library’s in your local community? I am noticing these more and more and they are just a lovely way of exchanging books and entirely free. Again, another great way of connecting with your community.
Connection is one of the most important factors that affect our wellbeing and longevity of life. Human beings are social beings and without connection and community, we cannot thrive. Social isolation and loneliness can be truly harmful to both mental and physical health. In surveys undertaken since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic , just over half of respondents reported that they felt more lonely since the start of the pandemic (Lim et al. 2020).
When I was a kid, neighbours were friends and the street was a place to socialise and hang out with your mates. This is certainly not the case for many now, with security and safety curtailing the fun times. Despite this, there is nothing to stop you from saying hello and connecting with your neighbours in whatever way is comfortable for you. Maybe it is a check in for someone on their own or a conversation over the fence but never underestimate the value of a kind word or a simple hello. It may be the only conversation someone may have for that day.
One of my favourite series over the past couple of years has been Old Peoples Home for 4 Year Old’s and the new series Old People’s Home for Teenagers is another delight. I find myself laughing one minute and crying the next and the insight into loneliness and connection is truly valuable for us all.
What about you? Any tips that you would like to share that are great for our health and wellbeing?