Can you make a positive out of a sleepless night?

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What do you think about at 3am in the morning? Are you one of the 25–30 per cent of people who wake up with depressing regularity at 2am, 3am or 4am in the morning and resign yourself to hours of battling with tortuous thoughts that send you into deeper and deeper cycles of anxiety?

Just the other night, I woke up to the beautiful sound of a tawny owl hooting outside the window. It was melodic and peaceful and for a few seconds I lay awake listening to its call…

How owning a dog helps with work/life balance

Why a dog is an essential tool in the life of a freelancer

Beano the office dog. Pic credit: Dawn Course

Earlier this year my office dog left me after many years of faithfully lying by my side while I scrambled to meet deadlines.

The empty dog bed sat by my desk for seven months as I hadn’t the heart to move it. And yet, every day it was also a painful reminder of the loss of a great friend.

Longer working hours

The impact of Beano’s death was huge. My work rate increased dramatically. I had always been an early riser, and with the little fella’s demise that didn’t change…

Why we should reach out across the generation gap

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Reports circulate about a friendship crisis. Articles in lifestyle magazines and on websites and, naturally, posts across social media channels are bombarding the public with warnings about how modern living is damaging that most important of qualities — friendship.

As people move with their jobs in an ever-fluid working world; as working hours get longer; as workplaces offer their employees on-site gym facilities, cafes, bars, even sleeping pods — so we have less time left to connect with people outside the workspace and make friends.

The problem of loneliness

And of course, that is bad for us. Loneliness is a big driver in increased…

Why Danes lead the way when it comes to happier, healthier lives

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As a trend, hygge has had its moment. Three seasons ago and ‘getting hygge’ was the thing. We were all buying our thickly-woven woollen scarves and our deep pile socks that we literally sank into. Candles, incense and diffusers rocketed off the shelves of lifestyle shops and bowls capable of holding oodles of steaming stew were prevalent in every kitchen.

Of course the phase passed. We all got a bit too hot for all that wool, if allergies didn’t kick in first. …

and womanWhy middle aged women are taking up extreme physical challenges — and how you can join them.

For women in their 40s & 50s seeking a new challenge: the world is out there

Why middle aged women are taking up extreme physical challenges — and how you can join them.

We all know that ‘retired’ sportsmen take up golf or cycling, depending on their a) knees and b) bank balance. Lycra-clad former footballers, rugby players and cricketers zoom around the road network reliving their competitive days of yore and proving ‘there’s life in the old dog yet’. Golfers continue to hone their competitive edge as they stride across the fairway and greens in plus fours and natty caps, chatting with their colleagues about that time they hit the winning six or the occasion when their goal won their team the cup.

Rediscovering the competitive 20-year-old

But what about the other half of the population…

stainFor people looking to live a more sustainable life through their eating habits

It’s always five o’clock somewhere. It’s a concept that can be applied to seasonal food. But, says Sarah Juggins, there are many reasons why we should look closer to home for our ingredients.

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Over the past month I have discovered a million and one things to do with courgettes.

No, this isn’t a prelude to some veggie-focused sex column, it is all about the case for growing your own fruit and vegetables. And if that is not possible or practical, you can try to make eating locally reared or grown seasonal produce your default status

A growing population of gardeners

It is certainly an approach that is growing. In 2017, the National Gardening Association in the USA reported that 35 per cent of households in the USA grow food either at home or in a community garden. …

For people looking to make a difference in their local area

Making change for the better happen in your local community is a powerful and rewarding thing to do. Here’s how one group went about it.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Local government is the same across the world. Generally it is a group of people, mostly with mild political aspirations and a few at either end of the scale — ranging from those with burning desires to wield power to those who just want to give back to society.

The other thing the local government groups have in common is that they are painfully slow about getting things done.

Take my own local council. There was a disused telephone kiosk that stood in a prominent place in the centre of the community. For months the discussion raged about whether it…

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

How to go from following a traditional career pathway to being a portfolio careerist

Remember when you went to the careers counsellor at school or college and you were advised to become a doctor/lawyer/fire-fighter (delete as appropriate).

Based on the limited range of subjects you were studying or the grades you achieved in subject areas, you were put into a certain category. Right there, at the tender age of 16 or 18, or perhaps even earlier, you were boxed and labelled.

A one trick pony

Good at sciences — got to go into medicine. A head for figures, well there’s your next accountant. …

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The ticket on the windscreen gets all of us hot under the collar at some time or another but, parking does have its good side too

Parking controls and enforcement. I guarantee that no word or phrase is more guaranteed to start a discussion than mention of a parking ticket or a lack of parking spaces.

As someone who edited a magazine devoted to parking for five years, I have been uniquely placed to witness this phenomena.

“What do you do?” would come the question.

“I edit a magazine about parking”, would be my reply.

Despite repeatedly telling everyone present that I wrote in Parking News on behalf of the parking industry, the next few minutes, sometimes hours, would then be filled with stories of incorrectly…

Remote workers of the world, read this and change your life

When Sarah Juggins left the corporate world and became a freelance writer, one big question bugged her: how would she find the time to make a living and stay fit and healthy? Based on personal experience, this is her advice to all freelancers or remote workers seeking to add some activity into their life.

Photo by wee lee on Unsplash

You’ve read the headlines, you’ve seen the stats. We all need to move more, to eat less. The recommendations from national health organisations is 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, as a minimum. The problem arises if, like me, you are someone who is working hard to make a living and, when you do leave your work station, you have other commitments — family, friends, life — which all combine to get in between you and your exercise routine.

That was me. But somehow, through trial and error, I have managed to crack the barrier to exercise commonly known…

Sarah Juggins

Freelance writer, specialising in sport, health, fitness … and food.

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