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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

Let's find ways to Flourish!

Flourishing Things: Plant and Seed Swaps

Spring has just arrived, which means it is time to get out your gardening tools and gloves! This year, instead of buying seed packets from the store, consider participating in a local seed swap or plant exchange. Seed swaps allow gardeners to exchange seeds from their personal collections. The exchanging of seeds is a time-honoured tradition that goes back many generations. Swapping seeds is a great way to introduce some new plant varieties into your garden, get involved with your community, and learn some helpful gardening tips!

Seed swaps often feature heirloom seeds. Heirloom seeds come from open-pollinated plants, which means that they retain the characteristics from their parent plant and are able to pass on their characteristics to future generations. Heirloom seeds carry a piece of history, as they come from plant varieties that are introduced prior to the 1950s. Fruits and vegetables from heirloom plants have high nutritional value and taste. Additionally, planting heirloom...

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Flourishing Things: Moving for the joy of it

People are motivated to get active for a variety of reasons. Extrinsic factors such as the desire to lose weight is often motivation for engaging in physical activity. However, extrinsic factors often result in exercise routines that can’t be maintained. Intrinsic factors such as decreased stress and increased health lead to a life-long commitment to being active. It is important to acknowledge that being active does not necessarily mean exercise. Simply increasing your movement throughout the day can do wonders for your physical and mental health. Think back to when you were a child. When running, playing, and moving your body was the best part of your day. Physical activity doesn’t have to be boring. Learning to enjoy not only physical activity, but simply moving, for the way it makes you feel is a great way to incorporate a healthy and sustainable routine into your life.

Sedentary lifestyles are adopted by many, as office-jobs are increasingly common and free-time...

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Flourishing Things: iFixit

It has become increasingly common to own a variety of electronic gadgets and devices. As a result, the issue of dealing with broken or damaged devices increases as well. Broken devices are often discarded and replaced, as the cost of professional repairs can be quite expensive. However, this endless cycle of buying and replacing doesn’t have to be the case! The iFixit website allows individuals to take matters into their own capable hands.

iFixit is a wiki-based website that provides users with a plethora of resources related to repairs. The site features over 60,000 easy-to-follow repair guides for mobile phones, computers, cars, cameras and other electronics. Straying away from technology, iFixit also offers repair information for household items and apparel. Along with the guides, the website helps users diagnose what’s wrong with their devices, sells high quality parts and tools to assist with repairs, and provides an answers forum to promote solution sharing.

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Flourishing Things: Meditation Apps

As a beginner, jumping into meditation can seem quite daunting. You may find yourself asking “how do I find the time to fit meditation into my busy schedule?” “How do I know if I’m doing it right?” “What should I do with my body while I meditate?” Luckily, there’s an app for that! Guided meditation apps and podcasts have been on the rise, providing users with a user-friendly guide to everything meditation. 

There are a variety of apps and podcasts available for iPhone and Android at different price points. Sleep Cove is a free podcast that was created with the intention of helping people fall asleep through guided meditation, hypnosis, and sleep stories. These features aim to reduce stress levels, effectively helping users fall asleep. This podcast can be found on Apple podcasts, Spotify Podcasts, YouTube, and Google Podcasts.

Another free meditation aid is the Insight Timer app which offers over 30,000 guided meditations. The app...

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Flourishing Things: Nature Art

Humans have been creating art for thousands of years as it is a way to express the human experience in ways that words alone cannot. The importance of art is the impression that it leaves on the audience, moving us, changing us and enriching our lives. However, it doesn’t have to leave an impact on the environment. Paints, varnishes, metals, plastics, and toxic materials are often utilized in the creation of art pieces and sculptures. These materials have the ability to harm the environment as well as human health. Luckily, it is possible to create art using materials that are found in the natural environment. The use of natural materials can mean that the art is not necessarily meant to be permanent. The passage of time allows for the art to be washed away in a rainstorm, unravel on its own, and be swept away by the wind. The ephemeral nature of this art carries its own beauty. Instead of leaving behind environmental damage, the materials are simply returned to nature, but...

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Flourishing Things: International Day of Happiness

The United Nations International Day of Happiness is celebrated across the globe on March 20th. Happiness was recognized by the United Nations as a fundamental human goal in 2011. While economic growth is commonly associated with the success of countries and their citizens, the newly acknowledged importance of happiness and mental wellbeing is beginning to shift perspectives. The first UN conference on happiness took place in 2012, and the following year marks the first global celebration of the United Nations International Day of Happiness. 

There is a theme assigned to every International Day of Happiness. The theme for the 2013 International Day of Happiness was “Happy Heroes.” This theme encouraged participants to celebrate the people within their communities that brought them joy and happiness. Showing appreciation for those who brighten up our lives is a great way to ensure the spread of happiness and wellbeing continues. The 2014 theme of “Reclaiming...

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Flourishing Things: PARK(ing) Stalls

Modern cities have a tendency to revolve around automobiles instead of people. Parking lots and street parking litter urban areas, effectively minimizing the available space for pedestrians and outdoor social gatherings. In 2005, this design flaw was challenged by Rebar, a design collective who paid a street parking metre for two hours and used the space to set up an unexpected art installation. The installation used artificial turf, trees, and benches to create a miniature park. This miniature park created a welcoming environment for pedestrians to stop by and relax. The short-lived event sparked massive interest, resulting in the creation of PARK(ing) Day which occurs annually every third Friday of September. PARK(ing) Day encourages people to make their own parking lot installations in an effort to repurpose urban spaces. While this event initially emerged in San Francisco, California, it is now practiced globally. 

While many of the parking lot installations emulate the...

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Flourishing Things: Vinyl Records

Record players, in many different forms, have been bringing music into homes for over a century. It wasn’t until the invention of CDs and digital files that vinyl records became seemingly obsolete. Although once considered a relic of the past, vinyl records have made a resurgence in the 21st century. The market for vintage records has significantly increased and modern artists and bands are now releasing vinyl versions of their albums due to popular demand. 

Listening to vinyl records lets you slow down and engage with the music. There is something satisfying about sliding the record out of its sleeve, placing it on the turntable, and lowering the needle onto its grooves. Physically interacting with music is sometimes overlooked, as society has transitioned over to digital files which allow us to play music with just a click of a button. Unlike digital files, you can’t throw a vinyl record on shuffle and let the music fade into the background. You’re...

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Flourishing Things: DIY

DIY, or “do it yourself”, refers to repairing, creating, modifying or replicating without the aid of a professional. DIY encompasses a large variety of activities such as sewing, gardening, refurbishing, repairing, craft making and more. Although people have been employing the concept of DIY for years, DIY culture has seen a significant increase in the past few years as creative online communities have surfaced through websites such as Pinterest and YouTube. These communities promote the sharing of completed DIY projects which inspire members to get creative themselves.

Some popular DIY projects include stripping and refinishing wood furniture, crocheting or knitting blankets and clothing, constructing vertical gardens and planters, creating home décor items, canning and preserving food and making soap and candles. This list is by no means exhaustive as there’s a DIY project out there for everyone!

DIY projects are a great way to spend less money. In-store...

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Finding Sustainable Wellbeing

Sustainable Wellbeing may not be a term that you have heard before, but it sure sounds great doesn’t it? "Sustainable" – can be sustained, unlike this pace at work that doesn't feel at all sustainable. And "Wellbeing", “the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy”(1). Now, what if we expand that definition of Sustainability to also include the meaning that relates to Environmental Sustainability. Where we mean that human actions cause little to no damage to the environment (2) or may even be restorative to environmental systems?

Now the idea becomes pretty mind-blowing.

Can we actually find personal wellness, looking after our mental and physical health AND at the same time, do what is right for the planet?

This is the concept of Sustainable Wellbeing. It is living at the intersection of environmental sustainability and personal wellness. It is seeking balance for ourselves, while working towards solutions that build resilience in human and...

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