Comms-ready content for your team!

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Comms-ready content for your team!

Just press “Copy to Clipboard” and paste straight into your newsletters, Slack, or wherever you can find your team online :)

#IamRemarkable

#IamRemarkable is a Google initiative empowering women and other underrepresented groups to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond. It's often difficult to talk about one's own accomplishments and cultural and gender modesty norms can prevent anyone from expressing their remarkable acts and characteristics.

The goal of this project is to:

1. Improve the self promotion motivation and skills of women and underrepresented groups
2. Challenge the social perception around self promotion

Even though the #IamRemarkable week has already taken place, watch out for more events coming in the new year. In the meantime, you can also access workshops on demand, including this free confidence and self‑promotion online course.
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Go big on shopping small

'Tis the season for giving! Supporting your local shops and independent businesses is a great way to keep them going through this challenging time.

There's plenty of ways to put your Christmas cash to good use online:

- Missing the Christmas markets? This year, renowned Portobello Road is stepping into the digital world and has even introduced an app version where you can browse stalls and shops virtually
- Black-owned businesses have been disproportionately effected by the pandemic, support vendors and check out this is a handy list of outlets here
-
For a wide selection of wonderful gifts and crafts, hit up Etsy and Trouva
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Get Theroux this with Louis

National treasure and documentary-maker Louis Theroux has been using the lockdown to track down some high-profile people he's been longing to talk to - from all walks of life and on both sides of the Atlantic - including Lenny Henry, Rose McGowan and Boy George.

Theroux gets into all sorts of topics with his guests, ranging from mental health to activism to life in the spotlight.

You can catch up on the first season here and also check out the trailer for the upcoming second season.
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Put your financial knowledge to the test

In the coming months, the Financial Times is going to establish its first ever charitable foundation, the Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign.

Particularly in the current climate, being smart with your finances is super important. Have a go at this quick quiz to find out how financially savvy you are...

The ‘Big Three’ financial literacy questions

30% of Americans, 25% of Italians and 53% of Germans answered all three of these correctly. Can you? (Answers at the bottom)

1. Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2% per year. After five years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow?

- More than $102
- Exactly $102
- Less than $102
- Do not know

2. Imagine that the interest rate on your savings account was 1% per year and inflation was 2% per year. After one year, how much would you be able to buy with the money in this account?

- More than today
- Exactly the same
- Less than today
- Do not know

3. Is this statement true or false? “Buying a single company’s stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund.”

- True
- False
- Do not know

SOURCE: Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics

Here are the answers - 1 More than $102, 2 Less than today. 3 False
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Top tips for lockdown

With darker nights, colder days, and more time indoors - lockdown 2 is likely to pose different challenges. The clever people at Heights produced this super handy guide for our first lockdown and the team have updated it with some fresh ideas, for keeping up your productivity and avoiding WFH burnout, for round 2.

You can expect to find:

1. How to manage stress from Dr. Rangan Chatterjee
2. Getting a restful night’s sleep from the sleep scientist, Dr. Sophie Bostock
3. Healthy (and delicious) recipe ideas to up your WFH meal game

Download a copy here.
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Getting started in investing

If you have managed to save a little extra money through lockdown in 2020, you might be unsure of what to do with the extra pennies.

Getting into investing is one way to help your savings grow but it can also be quite intimidating. To help, here are 4 simple ways you can start the journey to investing according to financial wellbeing providers Mintago.

Most people choose from 4 main types of investment:

Stocks & Shares: When a company wants to offer part of the business for sale on the markets, it issues stock. An investor can then buy shares (units) of that stock. Stocks are considered one of the riskier assets - their value can fall and rise spontaneously and their value is mainly derived from how well the company is presently doing or how successful people believe it will be in the future.

ETFs: Exchange-traded funds (ETF) give investors exposure to a collection of bonds or shares in one package. They track a specific market, have low costs and liquidity, as well as allow investors to buy and sell whenever an exchange is open.

Bonds: There are different types of bonds, but principally when you invest in bonds, you’re lending money to an institution. Bonds are usually a ‘fixed-interest’ asset, so they are considered less risky but with a more modest return than stocks.

Commodities: Commodities, or also referred to as ETCs, are similar to ETFs but involve categories like metal (like gold), energy, livestock and meat, and agricultural products. Investors usually use ETCs to diversify their portfolio as the price of commodities tend to move in opposition to stocks during periods of market volatility. However, they are still relatively risky because they are difficult to predict.
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Winter care for your plants

As the weather gets more gloomy and the nights draw in, we’re not the only ones feeling the impact of the changing seasons. Our plants feel the arrival of autumn, too – and just like us, they need a little extra help to get them through the next couple of months. To make sure your leafy pals are getting the best care, here's a few tips from plant doctor, Meg Spinks, at Patch Plants:

‍1. Move your plants closer to a window
2. Forget the fertiliser
3. Cut down on watering
4. Avoid drastic temperature changes

You can read more here.
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5 Stretches to reduce tension this lockdown

Months of lockdown has no doubt put pressure on our bodies. Luckily, with these simple stretches from Classpass, you can easily (and quickly) relieve some undesirable tension from your body. Try incorporating these into your daily routine or simply keep them on hand for next time you feel particularly achy:

1. In your back

Knees into chest: Lay on your back. Pull your knees into your chest until you are curled up like a ball. Feel free to rock back and forth to release extra tension in your lower back.

2. In your neck and shoulders

Seated neck stretch: Sit comfortably on the floor or on a chair. Place one hand on the top of your head and slowly pull in the opposite direction, tilting your head. Repeat on the other side.

3. In your hands and wrists

Wrist stretch: Hold your arm out in front of you and bend your hand and fingers down, gently applying pressure with your opposite hand. Repeat on the other side.

4. In your legs

Forward fold: Stand up and bend at the waist, reaching your fingers to the floor, your toes or your ankles. Try bending one knee at a time to deepen the stretch. If this is too tough on your hamstrings, sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you instead.

5. In your hips

Figure 4 stretch: Lay on your back and grab your hands behind your knees. While keeping one leg on the ground, slowly cross the other ankle over it making a figure 4 shape. You can stay here, or pull your arms behind your standing leg to deepen the stretch.

You can read the full list here.
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Stress Awareness Week

Stress and anxiety have never been more prevalent.

Life is hectic and so it's easy to neglect our wellbeing. But it's important now more than ever to take a step back, pause and take much needed time to take care of our health.

International Stress Awareness Week 2020 (2 November - 6 November) couldn't have come at a better time - providing a platform for stress and mental health problems - this week is an opportunity to share the importance of taking care of ourselves and each other as well as learn from others around the world.
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Activities to take the weight of the world off your shoulders

To mark stress awareness week, here are a selection of carefully curated activities to help relieve the worries from daily life.

Check out the schedule below (simply click the links to sign up):

Monday 2 November, 5:30pm - 6:30pm

Stress and anxiety workshop: This session will look at how to manage and cope with stress and anxiety, as we live through our new normal. Wellness coach Jessie will be on hand to share simple yet powerful ways to find calm no matter what life throws at you - taking you from coping to thriving.

Wednesday 4 November, 12:00pm - 12:10pm

🙏 Ben Break - Meditation: Join Josephine this lunchtime for one of her popular midweek meditation sessions. It's amazing what a 10 minute session of pure zen can do when you're feeling stressed - check it out!

Thursday 5 November, 5:30pm - 6:30pm

Stress busting pilates: Pilates is a form of low-impact exercise that aims to strengthen muscles while improving postural alignment and flexibility. Expert in the area is Maddy who will teach you simple pilates techniques and movements which specifically help to reduce stress.
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Real people with real stories

It's common to feel like you're carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders solo. But you can find comfort in learning from others.

One man that's been through a lot is Dan Murray, serial entrepreneur, top podcaster and co-founder of Heights. Things didn't really go to plan for Dan with his first business, and after realising his heart was never really in it in the first place, he set about finding his true purpose.

You can check out his Medium column here or listen to his story on his recent guest spot on Steven Bartlett's podcast where Dan talks candidly about his journey to overcoming depression, burnout, anxiety and insomnia.
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Stress Awareness Week - free Calm resources

Sometimes you all you need to do is take a deep breath.

This stress awareness week, check out Calm for a selection of free resources to help you ease some of your daily worries and anxieties.

These tools have been carefully put together by the team at Calm to help you take care of your mind, stay grounded and support your mental and emotional wellness

The resources include:
Guided meditations
Stories
Music
Sleep exercises
Mindful movement practices

Find out more here.
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Cheap lunchtime recipes

Some of you might be starting to miss the Pret sandwich routine as lunchtimes from home are beginning to turn a little stale. Whether you're working from home or the office, the Food Medic has plenty of cheap, simple and colourful lunchbox recipes for you to try, to add some bounce to your break.

Just like this delicious satay aubergine. Served here with a side of broccoli and brown rice but why not try it with noodles too?

Ingredients (serves 3)

90g smooth peanut butter
45ml canned coconut milk
Juice from 1/2 lime
30ml soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
2 large aubergines, cut into chunks
200g tenderstem broccoli
225g brown rice, uncooked
Bunch of spring onions, sliced
Handful of crushed peanuts

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180c and in a large bowl combine the peanut butter, coconut milk, lime juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chilli flakes.

2. Add in the aubergine chunks and coat them evenly in the sauce. Scatter them on a large baking tray and place in the oven for 40 minutes or until they’re soft and cooked through. Give them a stir halfway through.

3. Meanwhile, cook the brown rice according to the packet instructions and boil or steam the broccoli.

4. Fill your lunch boxes with rice, broccoli, and aubergine. Finish by garnish with the sliced spring onions and crushed peanuts. Enjoy!
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Haggling with your utilities

Did you know that you can save £££ by haggling with utility providers?

This interesting infographic from The Penny Pal shows which companies are open to negotiations and how successful you are likely to be!

With The AA for example, 88% of people managed to get a saving when requested. Even the likes of Virgin, Three and EE are open to a cheeky discount.

You don't ask, you don't get after all!
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Empowerment workshop

So often what we see as our ‘faults’ are in fact our greatest strength.

Inspiring wellness coach Jessie will be hosting a one hour workshop where she'll be showing you some simple yet powerful exercises allowing you to understand what makes you special - to everyone around you.

During the session you will be shown key skills to enable you to:

- Understand yourself and your ways of being
- Realise your own potential
- Use your key strength to your advantage
- Know what to do when you're feeling down
- Claim your right to be here
- And much more...

Sign up here.
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Japanese art of saving money

The Japanese are famed for their practical yet creative approach to everything and that goes for money too!

Kakeibo is the Japanese art of saving money (sounds way more appealing as an art form...)

Invented back in 1904 by Hani Motoko, Japan’s first female journalist, Kakeibo was designed to help busy women keep on top of their finances.

Top tips include:

- Shifting focus from saving to spending
- Writing things down will help
- Be honest about your “musts” and “wants”
- Cash is better than card
- Finish the month by reflecting on your progress

Curious to find out more? You can read all about it here.
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Save what your (Waga)mama gave ya

The Wagamama team sure know how much the nation are missing their Katsu curry, so they have popped the recipes for some of their most popular Japanese fusion dishes up on their YouTube channel. Instructed by executive chef Steve Mangelshot, the "wok from home" series is great for satisfying that curry craving (and way cheaper too!).

Subscribe to be notified when a new tutorial is uploaded.

Happy cooking!
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Go green homes grant!

Did you know you can get up to £5,000 in government vouchers for insulation and double glazing?

Homeowners in England can get vouchers worth up to £5,000 to make their homes more energy efficient under a new government scheme known as the Green Homes Grant, which launched on Wednesday 30 September. This can help pay for insulation, double glazing and a host of other improvements (there are some restrictions though, so make sure you know what you're entitled to!)

To find out everything you need to know, check out the Money Saving Expert website here.
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Free stuff for ya birthday!

It's always important to treat yourself, and what better day than your birthday! 🎂These brands know it too - offering special treats, freebies and discounts just for proving it's your birthday...

For the majority of these offers you'll have to sign up for one of their loyalty schemes/newsletters to gain access to your freebie but as the sign-up is (usually) free then why not!

It's just a shame birthdays only come around once a year!

For more budgeting tips, check out MrAvocadough on instagram.
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Wise words from the co-founder of Instagram

Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram is a well-read guy, so it’s not a surprise that he’s quotable. Here are some wise words from the man himself...

1. “Learn just enough to be dangerous.” — Kevin is a self-taught coder, but he admits he would never be able to build Instagram without the help of his more proficient friends. There's no I in team after all.

2. “You’re never ready, but that’s the fun part.” — you don’t build a billion-dollar company at 26 by waiting for enlightenment. You get your hands dirty, and you see if any gems emerge from the mud you dig up.

3. “The hardest part is finding the problem to solve; solutions come pretty easy” — alludes to Einstein’s “understand the problem and the solution will emerge” wisdom, which is extremely relevant today, because we live at a time when our problems aren’t obvious, and the solutions aren’t that complex.

4. “Great ideas are about editing the bad ones out.” — exactly what happened with Burbn his previous startup venture which never really got off the ground but it lay the foundations for the high-flying success of Instagram.

5. “One day on the job is more than one year in a book.” — big words coming from someone who has a pile of books on his bedside at all times. This one's for taking at face value.
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It's all relative

Relative to the size of the earth one person is the size of a tiny ant (or thereabouts), what that makes an ant - not sure. Compared to the rest of the galaxy, well....

Describing things as big, small, gigantic and tiny don't really cut it. If you've ever wondered about size relative to the whatever else is out there but always found that it way too much to comprehend, then wonder no more.

The cool guys over at Wait But Why have done the job of breaking things down from biggest to smallest (to the extreme), step-by-step.

It's out of this world. Check it out here.
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Ideas from the Minimalists

In an age when you can buy something in just one click - no one can be blamed for buying more stuff than they need.

In 2016 film, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus meet like-minded people across America during their book tour, explaining what impact their new less is more lifestyles have had on their personal happiness and wellbeing.

While you might not want to take things to the same extremes seen in this documentary, Minimalism will undoubtedly make you reconsider your approach to consumerism.

Watch the trailer here.
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Its pumpkin month!

October of course means Halloween although usual celebrations are likely to be a bit different this year.

Did you know that over half UK's 24m Halloween pumpkins end up in the food waste? That's a lot of pumpkins. Also, recent polls show that around 4 in 10 people don't even realise that the inside is in fact edible.

Pumpkins are a wonderfully versatile veg that can be made into more than just soup or stew. Used in both sweet and savoury dishes, from pumpkin pie to pumpkin bread - there's so much you can do with the orange beauty. So, rescue your leftovers. Why not try pumpkin houmous?

Check out the recipe here.
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Post-holiday blues

Taking time off is vital for good mental health but there are many of us who find it challenging to get back into the work groove after a holiday. Even worse, some choose not to take time off due to the dreaded catchup on the first Monday back.

If you haven't taken any time off recently, here's a reminder to lock in at least a couple of days to recharge before Christmas (!) - safe in the knowledge that your post holiday blues will be taken care of.

Here's a few tips:

1) Focus your attention on what YOU can control before you go away:

Make a list, work through it, write down essentials you can sort yourself, and prioritise this before you return to work.

2) Become aware of your self-talk:

How you speak to yourself and the thoughts you regularly have about your ability to cope in stressful environments, is impacted by the energy you give to those thoughts.

When you catch these thoughts, pay attention to them, sit with them, and challenge them from an evidence-based perspective and you'll find that there usually isn’t much truth behind them.

3) Give yourself something to look forward to:

It’s easy to fall into a cycle of doom and gloom if you don’t have anything exciting on the horizon. Many people book a holiday when they return to work because it gives them something to focus on and work towards.

It can also distract you from some of the anxious feelings you have about settling back into your routine, knowing that you will soon have a break in the near future.
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Watercooler chats - Do you have the same daily food routine?

It is weird to eat the same sandwich everyday?

Dominic Raab once hit the headlines a few years ago for eating the same Pret sandwich everyday and survey's show that he isn't alone (!) - about 17% of British people had eaten the same lunch every day for two years.

With remote working changing our usual lunchtime rituals... is it likely that more of us are now picking out the same things from the kitchen to fuel us for the day.

That's one for the "watercooler" chat...
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5 ways to make your work today a success

Not sure where to start today? Here's five ways to make your work today a success:

1. Give yourself credit for what you get done
2. Acknowledge what you can’t do
3. Work with your energy when it’s there
4. Leave yesterday’s difficulties aside with new focus on today
5. Start the day with the biggest task - the rest is a bonus

Productivity and success isn’t a race or a competition - it’s about balancing yourself to make the most of your day.

Hope it's a great one! ☀️
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Hey...

It's okay to... Be wrong. Cry. Say you don't know. Have a tough day. Ask for help. Fail. Take a mental health day. Have a different opinion. Take a break when you need it.

It's great to... Ask questions. Put your hand up when you make mistakes. Be ambitious. Go for a walk to clear your head. Switch off completely during holidays. Work from home or a coffee shop some days. Give away your Legos.

Please... Be kind. Be helpful. Be mindful of your own limits. Share knowledge. Ask people how they are doing. Bring your dog to the office. Remember there are no silly questions. Leave things better than you found them.

You should... Talk to people about doubts and concerns. Be yourself. Give candid, timely feedback. Be honest, even when it's uncomfortable.

Try to... Soften the edges. Be hard on problems, not people (including yourself). Put your ego aside.

Source: Monzo
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Paws for thought

It is proven that interacting with animals has a positive effect on mental health in humans. The Mental Health Foundation states that just by stroking, sitting with or playing with an animal, people are given a chance to relax and calm the mind.

‍Workplace puppy therapy providers Paws in Work say that by spending some time enjoying a bit of puppy therapy you can improve productivity, accuracy and enthusiasm in the workplace. Animals are a great motivator for people, encouraging them to care, to help, to nurture, allowing the tangle of nerves and worries that modern life throws at everyone to detangle a bit.

It’s important for employees to be able to disconnect a little, and that’s why puppy therapy is ideal. For those working from home, pencil in puppy time with Borrow My Doggy.
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World Mental Health Day

For World Mental Health Day (10 October), pledge to be there for your team with Headspace.

In one way or another, 2020 has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. So, Headspace has developed a unique toolkit to help leadership easily implement mental health support in the  workplace.

The toolkit includes:

- Headspace’s latest research on trends impacting mental health around the world
- Best practices you can adopt now to support your team, developed with experts in human resources and organisational science
- A framework for choosing the most impactful actions based on your organisation’s unique needs

Take the pledge today, and help your team feel healthier and happier in the years to come.
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Down to Earth with Zac Efron

Travel is known to be great for our boosting mental wellbeing.

Whilst travel is on pause for the time being, you can join Zac Efron on his voyage around the world learning about how different cultures are addressing enduring social problems in his docu-series: Down To Earth on Netflix.

Closer to home, Zac also swings by London Town to check out local pollution reducing projects such as Thames21, an organisation that runs initiatives to remove waste from the River Thames, keeping it unbelievably one of the cleanest city waterways in the world.

You can watch the trailer here.
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Mental health FAQs

When it comes to mental health, Sanctus has heard pretty much all workplace related questions and concerns that there are.

They have summarised all of their words of wisdom in this handy FAQ. Find out answers to...

- Where should I start with a mental health strategy?
- How should I respond to people who are struggling?
- Should we call it wellbeing rather than mental health?
- And more...

Check out the full article and download other handy resources to get people talking on the Sanctus blog **here.**
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Managing burnout and productivity workshops

Next week, Ben will be hosting two wellbeing workshops to help you with managing burnout and boost productivity:

Monday 12 October: Overcome those unknown obstacles that are preventing you from moving forward, in this burnout and letting go workshop with wellness and empowerment coach, Jessie. Equip yourself with the techniques to really thrive in life, not just survive.

Tuesday 13 October: With so many distractions in life, learn how to master your attention in a productivity workshop with Phil, author of ‘The Brain Book’. After this session, you'll have the tools to be able to work smarter not harder, improve focus and get things done!

Sign up for free on Ben's remote activities website.
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Focus with this 3 minute hack

When business blogger Tim Denning asked an associate, “how did you sit down for four hours straight and finish that PowerPoint deck?”

The answer was weird: “Binaural beats” she said.

Let's explain:

Binaural beats is essentially music that repeats over and over. There is no actual beat, but instead a tone that is created in your brain as a result of two different frequencies being played at the same time.

The music gives your ears a constant level of noise that blocks out any background sounds and focuses your brain on the task at hand.

You can do your life’s work when you’re able to sit down and get into flow states quickly, and thanks to binaural beats you can do this for longer periods of time.

Have you tried Binaural beats before? If you haven't, give it a go with this soundtrack.
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Positivity through Art

Instagram has become the world's most accessible free art gallery and many creators have used their accounts to spread joy and all round good vibes. Here are some favourites:

1.  Paperboyo - Paper artist Rich McCor has turned his hobby of creating intricate paper cutouts into a career transforming some of the world's most famous landmarks into something really out of the ordinary. You'll never look at the London Eye the same again!

2. Notestostrangers - You may have seen Andy Leek's post-it style messages of positivity IRL in cities across the UK and the interactive nature of his work is what makes it really special. Andy re-shares snaps the public take of his pieces and recently turned the search into an official treasure hunt around London with special notes and clues to find!

3. charliemackesy - If you haven't heard of Charlie, the self proclaimed grubby artist, produces some really heartwarming illustrations - which have been compiled in his book The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse. The characters maybe unlikely friends but share valuable messages and life lessons.
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Beautiful Bhutan

Alongside Finland, Bhutan often tops the various lists for the world's happiest country.

Said to be the last "Shangri-La" on earth, 75% of this Buddhist nation is covered in forest and absorbs four times more carbon than it produces 🌱.

Sustainable travel is a requirement by Bhutanese law, and all tourists visiting the country must be accompanied by a licensed tour guide.

Take a sneak peek in this beautifully shot short film.
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Lunchbox Idea

This is one of those salads that keep really well in the fridge for a few days, which means you can prep ahead of time and get on with more important things on a Sunday (like Netflix and family FaceTime).

This recipe makes enough for 3 (or 4 small servings).

Ingredients

1 tin black beans, rinsed and drained
2 sweet potato, washed and cut into cubes
2 bell peppers, deseeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
120g feta cheese - or hummus to make vegan.
Olive oil
Juice 1/2 lemon
3 handfuls of Kale or spinach or any green leaf, washed
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
Pinch of salt

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 190c.

Arrange the chopped veg on a baking tray (you may need two) drizzle in olive , the spices, and a pinch of salt. Roast in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until the veggies are starting to brown and are soft.

Add the washed greens to a large salad bowl, add the cooked veggies, and black beans and toss in the juice of 12 a lemon and a tablespoon of olive oil.

Divide between 3 lunchboxes and crumble the feta on top.

VOILA!

For more lunchbox ideas - check out the Food Medic Instagram here.
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The Happiness Museum

Renowned for being the home of Hygge - the mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment - the Danish have taken it one step further by opening a Happiness Museum.

The small museum located in Copenhagen hopes that guests will leave a little wiser, a little happier and a little more motivated to make the world a better place.

We actually have our own version closer to home - in London - check out their website for remote self-care clubs and wise words for the workplace.
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Action for Happiness

With October just around the corner and a second lockdown looming, here are some simple daily actions you can easily try out to maintain positivity through the month from Action for Happiness.

There are plenty of ideas on the calendar: take some time out to work on a personal project, play a game that you enjoyed when you were younger, rediscover uplifting music and more...

How many will you tick off the list?
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Ideas for Healthy Snacking

When you’re picking your snacks try and go for something which contains protein to help stabilise your blood sugar levels throughout the afternoon in order to help prevent those cravings. Here are few snack ideas below:

Boiled eggs
Peanut butter/ cottage cheese on oatcakes
Carrots and hummus (a personal favourite)
Greek yoghurt/ dairy free yoghurt topped with berries and cinnamon
Baked porridge slice (see recipe a few posts back)
Sliced apple with peanut butter
Handful of nutsRoasted chickpeas/ beans
Dates stuffed with walnuts or almonds

Enjoy snacking! ❤
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BNF Healthy Eating Week

This week is the British Nutrition Foundation Healthy Eating Week - running from 28 September to 4 October 2020.

The aim of the week is to bring the UK together to focus on key health messages and promoting healthy habits.

Each day presents a new challenge including eating more wholegrain and varying your veg - see the full list in the image.

For more information, challenge guides and posters, click here.
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Awareness: Happiness at Work Week

This week, from 21 to 27 September 2020 its international week of happiness at work.

We spend a lot of time at work so when we are happy in the workplace, we are likely to also be happier in the rest of our life. It should be on the list of top-priorities of all organisations, big and small, national and international.

For more information and ideas on how to bring happiness at work click here. What sort of initiatives could you put in place to help bring positivity and joy to the workplace for the long term?
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Did you know:  One man that knows about Happy...

Pharrell Williams' 2013 hit "Happy" is definitely up there as one of the most catchy of the past decade and the song's visual is the world's first ever 24-hour music video. That's a lot of dancing.

The clip was directed by the creative duo, We Are From L.A. and was filmed entirely on Steady Cam, requiring the crew to walk nearly eight miles per day over the course of 11 days.

The visual plays on an all-day loop and follows more than 400 different characters enjoying daily bliss including the Minions of course...
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Meditation: Take a 10 minute break to find your zen

With chock-a-block schedules and back-to-back zoom calls, it can be really challenging to find time to have a restful break. It really important to step away sometimes even just for a few minutes.

To help, you can now access Ben Breaks 🙏 (via the Ben platform) - short 10 minute sessions, in the mornings or lunchtime, giving you a chance to pause and re-energise.

Take a break this Wednesday lunchtime and meditate with Josephine in this short 10 minute wellness session. Reclaim your calm and find connection so you're motivated for the afternoon.
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Tool: Join the zero food waste revolution!

Its now even easier to rescue unsold food and eat out on a budget with app Karma that's recently launched in the UK.

With the Karma app, you can locate, order and pay for meals from vendors local to you and rescue them at half price before they go to waste.

Great for the wallet and the world!
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Tip: Cold Showers

Finland is home to some of the happiest people on Earth. What's the secret?

Finns love swimming in the winter in a lake or the sea, as much as they love the sauna. “The secret of plunging into icy water lies in the feeling that surges through your body once you get out of the water,” says local Heli Jimenez. “As soon as you’re back on dry land your circulation kicks in and your body starts to warm up and makes you feel happy. Your body is producing the mood-balancing hormone serotonin with dopamine, and stress starts to melt away.”

The easiest way to do this at home is with a quick, ice-cold shower. And don’t worry: Even a couple of minutes will make a big difference. “If you do it in the morning, you couldn’t ask for a more refreshing way to start your day,” says Jimenez.
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Did you know: The 5 pillars of happiness

Ideas about happiness aren’t new, they have been on the minds and hearts of people across the globe and throughout our history.

Happiness is fundamental and innate to human beings; we all look to seek pleasure and avoid pain. The question of how to find happiness is therefore an important one to ask and has been gaining momentum in recent years in academic circles.

Harvard Professor, Tal Ben-Shahar believes that before long the study of happiness will be a discipline in and of itself.

Below are 5 understood and widely recognised Pillars of Happiness, that are scientifically backed and originally cited in the writings of Aristotle and Confucius:

1. Spiritual
2. Physical
3. Intellectual
4. Interpersonal
5. Emotional

You can read more and check out other articles like this from The Yoga Agency here.
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Tips: Get back into fitness

With the mornings staying darker for longer and the nights drawing in, heading out to workout is definitely becoming less appealing.

It's still so important to get moving and get sweaty! Check out some top tips to keep up your fitness routine from Classpass.

Don't forget you can access Classpass home workouts and fitness classes on demand via Ben.
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Awareness: Second Hand September

Throwaway fashion is putting increasing pressure on our planet and its people - its unsustainable. Every week, 13 million items of clothing end up in UK landfills.

Did you know it takes 13 years for one person to drink the water needed to make one cotton t-shirt and a pair of jeans?

Choosing to shop second hand and vintage can help. Find out more about Oxfam's second hand September here.
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Tip: Unsubscribe your email inbox

Bursting inboxes and a steady flow of email notifications are definitely the norm these days but how many of these messages do you open and how many reel you into buying something you weren't even looking for?

We often receive several emails a day tempting us with discounts and offers leading us to spend more of our hard earned cash. Take a few minutes this week to unsubscribe from everything that is not essential. The result?

Less temptation to shop and less time spent deleting unwanted email.
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Tip: Social Media Clear Out

Our timelines and newsfeeds are our online "libraries", and one of the greatest influences on our mental health, happiness and knowledge (without us probably even realising).

Make your timeline about optimism, positivity and education rather than junk values like materialism and pessimism. Put everyone you follow on audition - if they post things that aren't in line with the values you want to live, if they don't make you feel better about yourself, unfollow or mute their posts.
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Task: A Quick Exercise in self-development

According to Alexander Boswell - in his article Practical Self Development Advice From A Monk,  one of the keys to self development includes being honest with yourself.

Try this:

Get a piece of paper and pen, or use a notation app, and write down these five words:

- Recreation
- Health
- Profession
- Relationships
- Mission

Next to each one, rate how good you feel about your current experience of each one out of 10.

For clarity, recreation refers to how much fun you’re generally having, health refers to your overall health and wellbeing. The profession is your working life, and relationships can apply to friendships as well as family or a spouse. Lastly, mission refers to how much you feel you have a purpose in life, a ‘mission’ to accomplish.

Doing this exercise is meant to show you where you put your time and energy. If one or two are quite high and others are low, this indicates that you are giving parts of your life a lot more effort than other things that are just as important. We should be trying to seek a more balanced outlook.

For example, when Alexander (the author) did this, his results are as follows:

Recreation = 3
Health = 8
Profession = 6
Relationships = 2
Mission = 5

"Looking at this, I can see that I prioritise my health and working life far greater than having fun and building relationships. My life mission is also still a bit unclear to me, but I know I want to help people. So I’ve figured that perhaps lately I’ve been more selfish than I realised, these things I’ve prioritised only benefit me. So for the chance of richer life experience, I’ll be moving ahead by looking closer at my relationships, which will likely influence my time having fun as well."

Why not have a go? You even surprise yourself at the outcome!
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Book: Atomic Habits - small changes make a big difference

A book worth reading is Atomic Habits by James Clear, in this ground-breaking book, Clear reveals how minuscule changes can grow into life-altering outcomes. In fact, real change comes from the compound effect of hundreds of small decisions e.g. doing two push-ups a day, waking up five minutes early, or holding a single short phone call.

Here are some handy snippets:

Clarity > Motivation: “Many people think they lack motivation when what they really lack is clarity. It is not always obvious when and where to take action. Some people spend their entire lives waiting for the time to be right to make an improvement.”

Behaviour Connectedness: “No behaviour happens in isolation. Each action becomes a cue that triggers the next behaviour.”

“The most effective form of motivation is progress.”
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Activity: Financial Wellbeing Workshop (next week)

Looking after and managing our money is more important now more than ever. The world of finance may seem like a tricky place to navigate but as with many things small actions can make a big difference.

Financial Wellbeing Workshop: On Monday 21 September at 5:30pm, join qualified chartered accountant and wellbeing expert, Emily for a "know your numbers" session - where she'll be giving you tips and tricks to be able to boss your budget management and financial goal setting.

Simply sign up here to attend.
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Did you know: What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a technique you can learn which involves making a special effort to notice what's happening in the present moment (in your mind, body and surroundings) – without judging anything. It has roots in Buddhism and meditation, but you don't have to be spiritual, or have any particular beliefs, to try it.

It aims to help you:
- become more self-aware
- feel calmer and less stressed
- feel more able to choose how to respond to your thoughts and feeling
- scope with difficult or unhelpful thoughts
- be kinder towards yourself
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Tips:  Ways to push you out of your comfort zone

It's much easier to remain within the boundaries of where you feel comfortable than it is to face the fear of venturing beyond them.

But by limiting yourself to what you already know, you're likely missing out on professional opportunities, life experiences, and personal growth.

Want to get out of your safe cocoon but don't know where to begin? The hardest part is taking the first step. Here's some ideas:

Put yourself in a new environment
"Begin with some small changes that do not present any real threat, such as eating at a different restaurant in a different part of town, or attending an art exhibit or gun show. The idea is to place yourself in new arenas where you control the interaction."
— Barbara Carleton

Say "yes" more often
"
Say yes even when you don't think you're ready. ... If you are working, say yes to new projects, new assignments, new roles — even when you have not done it before. It opens up huge opportunities in your career. Who knows — you might find yourself enjoying something you never got the chance to explore earlier."
— Corrine Lin

Remember that tomorrow is a new day
"It helps to remember that what doesn't kill you generally really does make you stronger — you will survive, you will heal, you will learn something, you will have a better chance of emerging unscathed next time."
— Nate Waddoups
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Tips: Saving should never be complicated

Attempting to reach a financial goal may seem overwhelming at first and with lockdown easing the old spending temptations are gradually returning - expensive dinners, nights out and staycations.

Saving doesn't have to be complicated. The simple diagram shows you how much to put away per week to reach goals of £1,000, £5,000 and £10,000 - how much do you think you could save in a year?
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Tips: How to reduce screen time

Something that we are all guilty of is spending too much time looking at a screen.

In recent years, the body of research around how screen time affects mental and physical health has started to grow. People have studied the connection between social media use and rates of loneliness and depression, as well as the higher rates of stress associated with people's phones being constantly "on" and around them.

Your phone contains the capacity to help you in so many facets of your life, but it can also be detrimental to your health. And yet, even with all of this new information about how smart phone usage can hurt you, it can still feel really hard to limit or even keep track of how much time you spend looking at a screen.

Here are a few tips on how you can best curb your screen time usage, or keep track of it at the very least:

1. Think twice before checking your phone
2. Set limits through your screen time settings
3. Delete the apps that take up the most screen time for you
4. Stop taking your technology to bed with you
5. Turn off the unnecessary app notifications
6. Use airplane mode to temporarily stop notifications
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TED: Maybe not today... but sometime soon

In one of the most popular TED talks ever (with 41 million+ views), Tim Urban explains what it is like to be inside the mind of a classic procrastinator - specifically what happened when he tried to complete a 90 page thesis in 72 hours and how he decided to "prepare" for the aforementioned TED talk...

He also reveals what happens when you have a rational decision maker and instant gratification monkey living together in your brain. Then what happens when the panic monster is thrown into the mix...

To watch the video, click here.
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Tool: Find yourself a online hype partner

Working at home can be challenging at times but there are always new and ingenious ideas to help you concentrate on the job... like Focusmate.

Eliminate procrastination and get stuff done with Focusmate - a virtual co-working setup pairing you with an "accountability" partner via video.

Kick off a 50 minute working session by sharing your first task with your teammate and get down to it - no chit chat, no collaboration and no distraction. Just hustle!

Pretty out of the box concept, but worth checking out!
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Book: Mood of Future Joys

This book is a memoir of British Adventurer and Writer Alastair Humpherys' journey cycling around the world and this first part chronicles his trip from the UK down to South Africa. Great for a much needed dose of escapism!

Alastair is also a great advocate for microadventures. Whilst travel to exotic destinations is on hold for time being, taking Alastair's philosophy for big adventure and applying it more locally, he proves that there is so much to discover even in our own backyards

To get inspired and get out there, start here.
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5 tips to declutter chaotic minds, lower stress and bring peace of mind

Everyday we are battling uncertainties and constantly getting used to the ever changing "new normal".

Psychologist Nick Wignell, recommends these 5 tips to declutter chaotic minds, lower stress and bring peace of mind:

1. Limit mental time travel: live in the present and avoid getting stuck in the past or worrying about the future. Visit the past and the future, but never allow yourself to stay there.

2. Keep your expectations in check: expectations are often violated. Reduce the number of active expectations in your life - you will realise that the world doesn't end and your peace of mind will improve.

3. Practice self compassion: the next time you’re struggling and your mind is wracked with negative self-talk and worry, try talking to yourself like a good friend who was struggling with something similar.

4.  Cultivate a values orientation to life: make decisions based on your values, goals, aspirations, and principles. For example, It’s easier to stop dwelling on an old painful memory when you have an exciting project in your life you can’t wait to get back to.

5. Memento mori: do one small thing every day that reminds you ever so slightly that life is short.
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Stress cravings and immunity

Our diet can play a huge part in helping relax the mind. Did you know, when chronically stressed the body has an increased demand for protein? Protein requirements are estimated at 0.7-1.8g per kg body weight daily.

Choose lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds in each meal. Diet and lifestyle also impact our immunity. With winter is just around the corner... its the perfect time to boost your immune system!
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Grow your plant family from a discarded seed

Since we've all been spending more time working at home, it's important to bring the outside in.  Greenery is proven to be great for peace of mind and reducing stress levels.

Succulents, monsteras, money plants have all become as necessary as furniture, but have you ever tried growing your own baby avocado tree? Learn how in just 30 seconds - here.

TIP: Don't forget that just like us, avocados love the sunshine - leave them to chill in near a window so they can soak up some rays.
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Integrating one word check-ins and angry bagels

One word check-ins are a way of regularly equipping people to be able to share how they are feeling as part of the day-to-day of the business.

The intention is 1) for people to be able to say how they are feeling so they can feel more present, 2) for others in a meeting to know how the other person is showing up that day.

Here's how...

- Kick off your meeting
- Before you start talking about the tasks at hand, the weather or anything else... the person leading the meeting says “let’s try a one-word check-in, we say one word about how we are feeling in this moment to help us know how the other is feeling and be present ourselves"
- You go first and say in one word how you are feeling (saying "fine" isn't allowed) e.g. anxious, grateful, tired, buzzing and so on...
- Go around the room (if more than a 1:1) you then commence the meeting
- Or, you ask people to say a little more if you want to hear more about their experience and there is space for it
- Another way to make it more fun is to go around the room and say how you're feeling and then what you had for breakfast, e.g. angry bagel!
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Why we sleep

The average person needs 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and 1-in-3 just don’t get enough. 

The research is in: poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy.

This week, follow these steps to fall asleep faster, sleep better, and wake up feeling more rested:
⏰ Set a regular bedtime alarm (and don’t ignore it!) 
🛁 A hot bath could help 
📱 Avoid screens one hour before you go to bed
🌌 Darken the room completely, control temp if you can

LEARN MORE: 

Why We Sleep 
By Matthew Walker
In this international bestseller, professor Matthew Walker explores twenty years of cutting-edge research to solve the mystery of why sleep matters.

Why sleep is so important
By Anne Feld on Harvard Business Review
Many hard-charging managers pride themselves on their ability to work long hours and get by on 5 or 6 hours of sleep. But the truth is that they’re shortchanging themselves — and their companies. “Sleep is not a luxury,”

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Inktober

It's almost October... what does that mean? Summer is over? It'll start to get cold? Second lockdown? Halloween? No more bank holidays?

Nope! It means it's time to showcase your artistic skills!

Jake Parker created Inktober in 2009 as a challenge to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year.

The rules are simple!

1) Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you)
2) Post it to Slack
3) Everyday we'll nominate a person to pick a winner
4) Claim bragging rights forever

Ready to go?
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