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New proposal would see child care cost just $10 per day

<p>In an incredibly promising step towards affordable and high-quality early childhood education, f<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">amilies in Australia could soon benefit from a significant reduction in costs – potentially paying just $10 a day for three days a week of high-quality care. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">This development is part of a broader push to reform the current, troubled system, driven by the Centre for Policy Development (CPD) and supported by various early learning and parenting groups.</span></p> <p>The CPD has introduced a comprehensive plan aimed at overhauling the existing system, proposing free or low-cost early learning for all children three days a week. A key aspect of their proposal includes replacing the current childcare subsidy with a "child-centred" funding model that directly finances early education centres.</p> <p>Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has endorsed the initiative, highlighting its significance in the national conversation on childcare, stating, “Universal child care provision, as it is in a range of other countries, is something that is a valued national asset. Early education is good for children, it’s good for families, but it’s also good for our economy.”</p> <p>Countries like Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Norway have successfully implemented legislated entitlements for early childhood services. Research indicates that where universal or low-cost education is available, participation rates are high, suggesting similar potential outcomes for Australia.</p> <p>Economic modelling by CPD suggests that universal or low-cost early learning could increase tax revenue by up to $3.2 billion annually and boost economic growth by $6.9 billion as more parents, particularly mothers, are able to work additional hours.</p> <p>The federal government is awaiting the final report from the Productivity Commission before making further decisions. Preliminary findings from this body and a separate investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have identified the current system as complex, costly and inconsistently available across the country.</p> <p>Andrew Hudson, CEO of the Centre for Policy Development, labelled the existing system as "broken", noting that about 22% of children start school developmentally vulnerable and over 120,000 children miss out on early learning entirely due to stringent activity test rules and other barriers.</p> <p>Hudson also pointed out that enabling more women to return to the workforce represents the "single biggest productivity gain" for the country, describing the proposal as a "classic win-win".</p> <p>As momentum builds, this initiative promises a brighter future for Australian families, making high-quality early childhood education more accessible and affordable, while delivering significant economic and social benefits.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Weight loss: drinking a gallon of water a day probably won’t help you lose weight

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/duane-mellor-136502">Duane Mellor</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/aston-university-1107">Aston University</a></em></p> <p>It’s often claimed that if you’re trying to lose weight, one of the things you should do each day is drink plenty of water – with some internet advice even suggesting this should be as much as a gallon (about 4.5 litres). The claim is that water helps burn calories and reduce appetite, which in turn leads to weight loss.</p> <p>But while we all might wish it was this easy to lose weight, unfortunately there’s little evidence to back up these claims.</p> <h2>Myth 1: water helps burn calories</h2> <p>One <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14671205/">small study</a>, of 14 young adults, found drinking 500ml of water increased resting energy expenditure (the amount of calories our body burns before exercise) by about 24%.</p> <p>While this may sound great, this effect only lasted an hour. And this wouldn’t translate to a big difference at all. For an average 70kg adult, they would only use an additional 20 calories – a quarter of a biscuit – for every 500ml of water they drank.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16822824/">Another study</a> of eight young adults only saw an increase in energy expenditure when the water was fridge cold – reporting a very modest 4% increase in calories burned. This may be because the body needs to use more energy in order to bring the water up to body temperature, or because it requires more energy for the body to filter the increased volume of fluid through the kidneys. And again, this effect was only seen for about an hour.</p> <p>So although scientifically it might be possible, the actual net increase in calories burned is tiny. For example, even if you drank an extra 1.5l of water per day, it would save fewer calories than you’d get in a slice of bread.</p> <p>It’s also worth noting that all this research was in young healthy adults. More research is needed to see whether this effect is also seen in other groups (such as middle-aged and older adults).</p> <h2>Myth 2: water with meals reduces appetite</h2> <p>This claim again seems sensible, in that if your stomach is at least partly full of water there’s less room for food – so you end up eating less.</p> <p>A number of studies actually support this, particularly those conducted in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2859815/#:%7E:text=Thus%2C%20when%20combined%20with%20a,meal%20EI%20following%20water%20ingestion.">middle-aged and older adults</a>. It’s also a reason people who are unwell or have a poor appetite are advised <a href="https://www.ageuk.org.uk/bp-assets/globalassets/salford/forms/improve-your-food-and-drink-intake.pdf">not to drink before eating</a> as it may lead to under-eating.</p> <p>But for people looking to lose weight, the science is a little less straightforward.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17228036/">One study</a> showed middle-aged and older adults lost 2kg over a 12-week period when they drank water before meals compared with people who didn’t drink any water with their meal. Younger participants (aged 21-35) on the other hand did not lose any weight, regardless of whether they drank water before their meal or not.</p> <p>But since the study didn’t use blinding (where information which may influence participants is withheld until after the experiment is finished), it means that participants may have become aware of why they were drinking water before their meal. This may have led some participants to purposefully change how much they ate in the hopes it might increase their changes of losing weight. However, this doesn’t explain why the effect wasn’t seen in young adults, so it will be important for future studies to investigate why this is.</p> <p>The other challenge with a lot of this kind of research is that it only focuses on whether participants eat less during just one of their day’s meals after drinking water. Although this might suggest the potential to lose weight, there’s <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20736036/">very little good-quality evidence</a> showing that reducing appetite in general leads to weight loss over time.</p> <p>Perhaps this is due to our body’s biological drive to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28193517/">maintain its size</a>. It’s for this reason that no claims can be legally made in Europe about foods which help make you <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society/article/satietyenhancing-products-for-appetite-control-science-and-regulation-of-functional-foods-for-weight-management/E4CCAE4C90A220994FD29C27FAE7F666">feel fuller for longer</a> with <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nutrition-and-health-claims-guidance-to-compliance-with-regulation-ec-1924-2006-on-nutrition-and-health-claims-made-on-foods/nutrition-and-health-claims-guidance-to-compliance-with-regulation-ec-19242006#section-6">reference to weight loss</a>.</p> <p>So, although there might be some appetite-dulling effects of water, it seems that it might not result in long-term weight change – and may possibly be due to making conscious changes to your diet.</p> <h2>Just water isn’t enough</h2> <p>There’s a pretty good reason why water on its own is not terribly effective at <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society/article/eating-habits-and-appetite-control-a-psychobiological-perspective/0D0605739F5150D1A7C49420D75F3CDF">regulating appetite</a>. If it did, prehistoric humans might have starved.</p> <p>But while appetite and satiation – feeling full and not wanting to eat again – aren’t perfectly aligned with being able to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20736036/">lose weight</a>, it might be a helpful starting point.</p> <p>Part of what helps us to feel full is our stomach. When food enters the stomach, it triggers stretch receptors that in turn lead to the release of hormones which tell us we’re full.</p> <p>But since water is a liquid, it’s rapidly emptied from our stomach – meaning it doesn’t actually fill us up. Even more interestingly, due to the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16934271/">stomach’s shape</a>, fluids can bypass any semi-solid food content that’s being digested in the lower part of the stomach. This means that water can still be quickly emptied from the stomach. So even if it’s consumed at the end of a meal it might not necessarily extend your feelings of fullness.</p> <p>If you’re trying to eat less and lose weight, drinking excessive amounts of water may not be a great solution. But there is evidence showing when water is mixed with other substances (such as <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30166637/">fibre</a>, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0031938494903034">soups</a> or vegetable sauces) this can delay how fast the stomach empties its contents – meaning you feel fuller longer.</p> <p>But while water may not help you lose weight directly, it may still aid in weight loss given it’s the healthiest drink we can choose. Swapping high-calorie drinks such as soda and alcohol for water may be an easy way of reducing the calories you consume daily, which may help with weight loss.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/211311/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/duane-mellor-136502">Duane Mellor</a>, Lead for Evidence-Based Medicine and Nutrition, Aston Medical School, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/aston-university-1107">Aston University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/weight-loss-drinking-a-gallon-of-water-a-day-probably-wont-help-you-lose-weight-211311">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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"Best part of my life": Terri Irwin's moving Mother's Day post

<p>Terri Irwin has celebrated Mother's Day by reflecting on being a single parent to Bindi and Robert. </p> <p>Irwin called motherhood the “best part of my life,” writing that it had given her “purpose” after Steve's untimely death in 2006. </p> <p>The 59-year-old shared a series of photos with her two children, Bindi and Robert, who are now 25 and 20 years old.</p> <p>“Being a mum is the best part of my life,” she said on Instagram.</p> <p>“When Steve passed, it was not a burden being a single mum, it was actually my children that gave me purpose, courage, and happiness every day.”</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C65S8q7rqmr/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C65S8q7rqmr/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Terri Irwin (@terriirwincrikey)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“Bindi and Robert are the reason I can stand strong, meet every challenge, and embrace every adventure.</p> <p>“As a mother, I am truly blessed.”</p> <p>Bindi responded to the post, “I love these beautiful photos and memories. Thank you for ALWAYS being there for me and Robert. And now for Grace. It means more than I can possibly describe. I love you.”</p> <p>“Love you mum!” Robert wrote.</p> <p>Bindi also celebrated Mother's Day by posting her own tribute to her mum, posting a throwback picture and writing, "Happy Mother’s Day to this amazing woman. My mum. Her commitment to conservation and making the world a better place inspires me every day. I love you."</p> <p>The young wildlife warrior also shared a photo of her daughter Grace on the special day, paying tribute to the child who made her a mum. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C64Mo3Hve1M/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C64Mo3Hve1M/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Bindi shared a series of photos with her daughter, writing, "Grace Warrior, when I look at you, I know the meaning of life."</p> <p>"Being your Mama is the best part of my existence."</p> <p class="css-1n6q21n-StyledParagraph e4e0a020" style="box-sizing: border-box; overflow-wrap: break-word; word-break: break-word; margin: 0px 0px 1.125rem; line-height: 25px;"><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

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Don’t give mum chocolates for Mother’s Day. Take on more housework, share the mental load and advocate for equality instead

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leah-ruppanner-106371">Leah Ruppanner</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>With Mother’s Day right around the corner, many grateful and loving families are thinking about what to give mum to show their appreciation.</p> <p>Should you give her chocolate? Nope. Fancy soaps? Nope. Fuzzy slippers, pyjamas, scented candles? No, no and no.</p> <p>On this Mother’s Day, keep your cash and give your wonderful mother gifts that will actually have a long-term impact on her health and well-being.</p> <h2>1. Do a chore that mum hates and hold onto it … forever</h2> <p>Research <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13545701.2020.1831039">shows</a> men have increased the amount of time spent on housework and childcare and that mothers, over time, are doing less (hooray!).</p> <p>But, women <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2008.00479.x">still do more housework</a> than men, especially when <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/gwao.12497?fbclid=IwAR2dp04p2sFqbDqdehXmXgDSfTYwX3GRzP7ScMJhSOrMePTGQVErR2TTX88">kids are in the home</a>.</p> <p>Further, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0891243205285212">men tend to pick up the more desirable tasks</a>, like <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/3598304">cooking and playing with the kids</a>, leaving mothers to do the less pleasurable chores (think cleaning toilets and clearing out fridges).</p> <p>The chore divide in same-sex relationships is generally found to be more equal, but some critique suggests equality may suffer <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/16/upshot/same-sex-couples-divide-chores-much-more-evenly-until-they-become-parents.html">once kids are involved</a>.</p> <p>This year give your mum (or mums) the gift of equal housework and childcare sharing – start by taking the most-hated tasks and then hold onto them… forever.</p> <p><a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/gwao.12727">Research</a> shows housework inequality is bad for women’s mental health. Undervaluing women’s housework and unequal sharing of the chores deteriorates <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11199-022-01282-5">relationship quality</a>, and <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0038038516674664">leads to divorce</a>.</p> <p>Housework and childcare take up valuable time to keep the family happy, harmonious and thriving, often at the expense of mum’s health and well-being.</p> <p>So, skip the chocolates and show mum love by doing the worst, most drudgerous and constant household chores (hello, cleaning mouldy showers!) and keep doing these… forever.</p> <h2>2. Initiate a mental unload</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2017-09-14/the-mental-load-and-what-to-do-about-it/8942032">mental load</a> is all of the planning, organising and management work necessary to keep the family running.</p> <p>The mental load is often perceived as list making or allocating tasks to family members.</p> <p>But, it’s so much more – it is the <a href="https://theconversation.com/planning-stress-and-worry-put-the-mental-load-on-mothers-will-2022-be-the-year-they-share-the-burden-172599">emotional work</a> that goes with this thinking work.</p> <p>The mental load is the worry work that never ends and can be done <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13668803.2021.2002813">anywhere, anytime and with anyone</a> (in, for example, said mouldy shower).</p> <p>Because the mental load is performed inside our heads, it is invisible. That means we don’t know when we or others are performing this labour unless we really tune in.</p> <p>In fact, it is often when we tune in through quiet time, relaxation or meditation that the mental load rears its ugly head. Suddenly you remind yourself to buy oranges for the weekend soccer game, organise a family movie night and don’t forget to check in on nanna.</p> <p>Women in heterosexual relationships are <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0003122419859007">shown to do more</a> of the mental load with serious consequences for their mental health. But we don’t have a comprehensive measurement of how much women do it nor how it is allocated in same-sex couples.</p> <p>So, on this mothers’ day spend some time talking about, cataloguing, and equalising the family’s mental load.</p> <p>This isn’t just making a list about what has to be done but also understanding <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2017-09-14/the-mental-load-and-what-to-do-about-it/8942032">how the mental load</a> connects to the emotional health of the family, and the person carrying this <a href="https://www.newamerica.org/better-life-lab/blog/making-the-mental-load-visible/">invisible labour, worry and stress</a>.</p> <h2>3. Speak up for your mum and all caregivers</h2> <p>Families alone cannot bear the brunt of the caregiving necessary to keep us thriving.</p> <p>Governments, workplaces and local communities also play a critical role. For this mothers’ day, pick an issue impacting mothers (for example, equal pay, affordable childcare or paid family leave) and do one thing to help move the needle.</p> <p>Write a letter to your boss, your local MP, or donate money to an advocacy organisation advancing gender equality.</p> <p>Or, role model these behaviours yourself – normalise caregiving as a critical piece of being an effective worker, create policies and practices that support junior staff to care for themselves, their families and their communities and use these policies.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0891243216649946">Research</a> shows men want to be equal carers and sharers but often fear what taking time off for caregiving will signal to their employer despite evidence that fathers who request flexible work are perceived more <a href="https://academic.oup.com/sf/article-abstract/94/4/1567/2461609?login=false">favourably</a>.</p> <p>Appearing to be singularly devoted to work was shown to be impossible during the pandemic with kids, spouses, partners, and pets home all day long.</p> <p>Learning to create more care-inclusive workplaces and communities is critical.</p> <p>Paid parental leave, affordable and accessible high-quality childcare, flexibility in how, when and where we work and greater investments in paid sick leave, long-term disability support and aged care are just a few policies that would strengthen the care safety net.</p> <p>We will all be called upon to care at some point in our lives – let’s create the environments that support caregiving for all, not just mum.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/182330/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leah-ruppanner-106371">Leah Ruppanner</a>, Professor of Sociology and Founding Director of The Future of Work Lab, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/dont-give-mum-chocolates-for-mothers-day-take-on-more-housework-share-the-mental-load-and-advocate-for-equality-instead-182330">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Family & Pets

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"It loses its value": Calls for the Last Post to be canned from Anzac Day footy

<p>A radio host has called for the Last Post to be canned from the majority of Anzac Day football games, saying it has lost its meaning over the years, leaving people with "bugle fatigue". </p> <p>An Anzac Day AFL match has taken place every year at the MCG on Anzac Day since 1995, with Collingwood and Essendon going head to head year after year.</p> <p>It was the brainchild of then Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy who had also served in the Australian Army during his playing days for Richmond.</p> <p>The game started as a one off-match, which quickly snowballed into an entire round of games, while the NRL also joined in and created their own Anzac Day matches.</p> <p>Traditionally, each game starts with a ceremony of recognition of our veterans and a performance of the Last Post. before the game kicks off. </p> <p>The addition of the several extra games, all which begin with the Last Post, prompted radio host Greg 'Marto' Martin from Brisbane's <em>Triple M Breakfast with Marto, Margaux & Dan</em> to call for The Last Post to be scrapped from all matches, except the annual fixture between Essendon and Collingwood. </p> <p>"Football has now turned [The Last Post] into a gimmick," he said.</p> <p>"Back in 1995 when Kevin Sheedy, the coach of Essendon, he said, 'Let's have an Anzac Day clash at the MCG,' I reckon it's the most… spine tingling three minutes or so." </p> <p>"97,000 at the MCG… not one person yelling out while that's being played and, the honour that they give to all serving soldiers and returned soldiers is quite extraordinary."</p> <p>"But now what's happened, as football always does, and I'm not just talking AFL I'm talking rugby league as well, they've taken a wonderful thing and they've gone, 'Oh that's good —'"</p> <p>Margaux interrupted saying: "How can we capitalise!"</p> <p>Marto continued, "So what's going to happen this week in all eight games of the AFL and all eight games of the rugby league… every single one of them will play this [The Last Post] and you'll get ANZAC - you'll get bugle fatigue."</p> <p>"We have to stop it somewhere."</p> <p>Margaux said, "It gets saturated, so it loses its value. They all think they are doing the right thing, but all they are doing is turning it into a mockery."</p> <p>The AFL has confirmed that all nine matches across round seven will hold special Anzac observance ceremonies ahead of each game, with AFL General Manager Commercial Peta Webster saying, "Anzac Day is one of our country's most important national occasions so I'd encourage all fans attending matches throughout the round to arrive early to soak up the atmosphere and pre-match formalities that will no doubt be another moving tribute to the sacrifices of our past and present service men and women."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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“Makes me proud”: Coles applauded for Anzac Day display

<p>An impressive Anzac Day display at a Coles supermarket has received a flood of attention, with many quick to praise the supermarket for the tribute. </p> <p>The display, situated at the entrance of the Annandale Coles store in Townsville, Queensland, features a large statue of a veteran surrounded by poppies and a “Lest We Forget” flag, and countless packets of Anzac biscuits for customers to enjoy. </p> <p>The worker who created the display said the tribute was in honour of her father: a war veteran. </p> <p>The Queensland store is also situated opposite the Lavarack Barracks in Townsville, the largest army base in Australia.</p> <p>A photo of the display was posted online by a Coles shopper and quickly went viral. </p> <p>“Coles Annandale Townsville. Huge display right as you walk in, brilliant!” the shopper wrote.</p> <p>“Take note, Woolworths.”</p> <p>The comments are in reference to <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/pauline-hanson-slams-woolies-controversial-anzac-day-decision" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Woolworths</a> saying they are not doing anything special for Anzac Day this year, other than selling charity pins for the RSL and selling Anzac biscuits, which are available all year round. </p> <p>Many social media users were elated by the display, sharing their comments to praise the supermarket's efforts. </p> <p>One person said, “Bloody well done Coles - too much Aussie stuff being constantly eroded," while another wrote, “Great respect for our Diggers Thank you Coles Annandale Townsville.”</p> <p>One more added, “That is great. As a veteran it makes me proud.”</p> <p>Despite Woolies announcement about this year's lack of Anzac Day fanfare, shoppers said that they’d seen similar displays at other supermarkets around the country.</p> <p>“My local Woolies has Anzac biscuits and all the Anzac badges on a big display just as you walk in the door,” said one.</p> <p>Another added, “Woolies Maryborough has a similar display!”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p> <p class="css-1n6q21n-StyledParagraph e4e0a020" style="box-sizing: border-box; overflow-wrap: break-word; word-break: break-word; margin: 0px 0px 1.125rem; line-height: 25px; font-size: 1.125rem; font-family: HeyWow, Montserrat, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; caret-color: #292a33; color: #292a33;"> </p>

Caring

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Two-up, Gallipoli and the ‘fair go’: why illegal gambling is at the heart of the Anzac myth

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/bruce-moore-291912">Bruce Moore</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></p> <p>Two-up is an Australian gambling game in which two coins are placed on a small piece of wood called a “kip” and tossed into the air. Bets are laid as to whether both coins will fall with heads or tails uppermost. It is one of the core activities of Anzac Day celebrations - and a beloved tradition.</p> <p>The word <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/ANZAC">ANZAC</a> was created in 1915 as an acronym from Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. By 1916 it was being used emblematically to reflect the traditional view of the virtues displayed by those in the <a href="https://www.britannica.com/event/Gallipoli-Campaign">Gallipoli campaign</a>, especially as these are seen as national characteristics. This cluster of national characteristics includes mateship, larrikin daredevilry, anti-authoritarianism, and egalitarianism.</p> <p>The game of two-up became indicative of these qualities. Mateship was evident in the way the game brought together people of disparate backgrounds. Larrikinism was evident in the defiant rejection of authority and convention.</p> <p>Two-up was always illegal, because the game is an unregulated form of gambling (although from the 1980s it became legal in most Australian states on Anzac Day). But in spite of the illegality, it was widely regarded as the fairest of gambling games, and at the time of the First World War the verbal command for the coins to be spun was not “come in spinner” (as it is now) but “fair go”. Indeed, the important Australian concept of the “fair go” was in part cemented by its role in the game.</p> <p>Two-up was the common pastime of the urban working-class man, and it feeds into the elements of egalitarianism and anti-authoritarianism that are central to both the Anzac myth and the Australian myth.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/458543/original/file-20220419-17-6mgarp.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/458543/original/file-20220419-17-6mgarp.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/458543/original/file-20220419-17-6mgarp.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=466&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/458543/original/file-20220419-17-6mgarp.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=466&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/458543/original/file-20220419-17-6mgarp.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=466&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/458543/original/file-20220419-17-6mgarp.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=585&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/458543/original/file-20220419-17-6mgarp.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=585&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/458543/original/file-20220419-17-6mgarp.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=585&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Two original 1915 Australian pennies in a kip from which they are tossed.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Roland Scheicher/ Wikimedia</span></span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Two-up and wartime life</h2> <p>From the very early period of the First World War, two-up assumed great importance among the Australian troops. Soldiers reported that two-up was played on the battlefield during the Gallipoli campaign, even when under shellfire. As the war dragged on, numerous stories were told about Australian soldiers’ obsession with playing it.</p> <p>In 1918 the <a href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P10676229">war correspondent Charles Bean</a> studied the daily life of a company of Australian soldiers stationed at a brewery in Querrieu in northern France.</p> <p>He places great emphasis on two-up, writing in his diary in 1918: "Two-up’ is the universal pastime of the men. … It is a game which starts in any quarter of an hour’s interval or lasts the whole afternoon. The side road outside becomes every evening a perfect country fair with groups playing these games in it - a big crowd of 70 or 80 at the bottom the street, in the middle of the road; a smaller crowd of perhaps twenty on a doorstep further up. … The game is supposed to be illegal, I think; but at any rate in this company they wink at it."</p> <p>Two-up was important not just in taking soldiers’ minds off the realities of the war, but also in creating a strong sense of community. Photographs from the war that show the men playing two-up reveal how it brought them together physically in a communal activity.</p> <p>This helps explains why men, who in civilian life may have had little or no interest in gambling, joined in the camaraderie and fun of the two-up fair, and by so doing blotted out the boredom, isolation, and loneliness of much wartime experience.</p> <h2>Anzac Day and tradition</h2> <p>Playing two-up became an integral part of the diggers’ memories of the experience of war, especially when commemorated on Anzac Day. By the 1930s the playing of two-up outdoors after the Anzac Day march had become an entrenched tradition.</p> <p>As the ranks of diggers from the two world wars declined, so the structure of Anzac Day changed in emphasis. In recent years the Dawn Service has increased greatly in popularity, while the Anzac Day march has <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-07/concern-over-australias-dwindling-number-of-world-war-veterans/10911602">suffered from dwindling numbers</a> of veterans. The streets of Sydney and similar cities are no longer dotted with two-up games in the afternoon. The games have shifted to pubs and clubs, and they are largely played by people with no experience of war.</p> <p>Those people who play the game on this day do so not for any deep-seated gambling impulse or because they would love to play the game on every other day of the year. They play two-up because it has become part of the meaning of Anzac Day.</p> <p>Anzac Day has always combined solemnity and festivity. The Dawn Service commemorates the landing at Gallipoli, and the sacrifices that ensued. Its mood is solemn.</p> <p>In the past, returned soldiers reminisced, told war yarns, drank, and played two-up. The soldiers have passed on, but their larrikinism survives in the tradition of the game they have bequeathed to their descendants.</p> <p>We should not underestimate the significance of rituals of this kind—the playing of two-up is a way in which Australians can become not just observers of, but participants in, their history and their myths. Two-up is a ritual that links the present with the past on this one day of the year.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/181337/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/bruce-moore-291912">Bruce Moore</a>, Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Literature, Languages, and Linguistics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image </em><em>credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/two-up-gallipoli-and-the-fair-go-why-illegal-gambling-is-at-the-heart-of-the-anzac-myth-181337">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Give the gift of sustainable luxury this Mother’s Day

<p dir="ltr">With Mother’s Day around the corner, it’s time to celebrate the most important women in our lives with affordable luxury that doesn’t cost the earth. </p> <p dir="ltr">To spoil the mums in your life this year, discover the ideal gift to honour and celebrate your most treasured moments together with L’Occitane’s limited edition Mother’s Day collections. </p> <p dir="ltr">You can feel good about gifting these organic and sustainably sourced products to your loved ones, as L’Occitane have created these little luxuries while  respecting and caring for everything the ground grows for us and beyond. </p> <p dir="ltr">By sourcing fair-trade and organic shea butter from women’s collectives in Burkina Faso and recently in Ghana, L’Occitane are dedicated to helping the local ecosystem and supporting the community. </p> <p dir="ltr">The L’Occitane group celebrates the official B Corp certification, demonstrating that as a business, they’re not just about beauty; they believe in Cultivating Change to create a fairer, more equitable and regenerative planet.</p> <p dir="ltr">This Mother’s Day, L’Occitane has something for everyone, with gift packs available for every budget, ranging from just $34 to the ultimate gift set priced at $280. </p> <p dir="ltr">From hand creams, body lotions and washes, to fragrances and luxury skin care, these limited edition gifting packs have exactly what you need to give the gift of indulgence this Mother’s Day. </p> <p dir="ltr">L’Occitane presents a superb range that embodies the essence of gratitude, showing appreciation through thoughtfully selected gifts that not only pamper, but also reflect a commitment to sustainable practices. </p> <p dir="ltr">It’s more than a gift; it’s a gesture that acknowledges the importance of those who have shaped our lives.</p> <p dir="ltr">L’Occitane’s Mother’s Day collection is available now both <a href="https://au.loccitane.com/mothers-day.html">online</a> and in-store. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Supplied / Getty Images</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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"First day of school": Charles Spencer shares unseen snap of Diana

<p>Charles Spencer has shared a previously unseen photo from his school days with his late sister Princess Diana. </p> <p>The sweet photo shows a young Charles and Diana in their school uniforms standing side by side on what was their first day of primary school in 1968.</p> <p>Earl Spencer, 59, captioned the photo, "My first day of school, in September 1968: my father took this photograph of me and my sister, Diana, just before he drove us to Silfield, a really lovely primary school in King's Lynn, Norfolk."</p> <p>"The headmistress was Miss Jean Lowe, a warm and thoughtful lady who loved her boys and girls."</p> <p>"I was there till 1972, when I headed off to the place I call - in my memoir - A Very Private School."</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5TfsiIoQL8/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5TfsiIoQL8/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Charles Spencer (@charles.earl.spencer)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Three years after the photo was taken, Charles was separated from his sister to attend a boarding school, Maidwell Hall Prep School.</p> <p>Throughout the Spencer children's schooling life, Diana was always "very protective" over her brother and "just wouldn't settle" in class until she knew he was okay. </p> <p>Charles told <a title="HELLO!" href="https://www.hellomagazine.com/royalty/516378/charles-spencer-shares-poignant-childhood-anecdote-princess-diana/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>HELLO</em>!</a> that he and Diana had a unique bond when they were growing up. </p> <p>"My mother [Frances] left home when we were young – I was two or three, and Diana would have been five or six – so we were very much in it together," he said.</p> <p>Diana soon fell into a caretaker role, and would look after her brother after their mother left. </p> <p>"Diana looked after me because she was nearly three years older than me," Charles Spencer said.</p> <p>"She said that the worst part was hearing me cry down the hall because she was terrified of the dark and couldn't come to me."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Family & Pets

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Days are getting shorter and colder. 6 tips for sticking to your fitness goal

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/juliana-s-oliveira-709434">Juliana S. Oliveira</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anne-tiedemann-409380">Anne Tiedemann</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cathie-sherrington-561141">Cathie Sherrington</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leanne-hassett-1497197">Leanne Hassett</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Daylight saving ends this weekend. The days are shorter and getting colder. It’s less appealing to cycle to work, walk after dinner, or wake up early to hit the gym. But we all know daily physical activity is essential for our health and wellbeing.</p> <p>Physical activity releases feel-good neurotransmitters in our brains, which help to alleviate <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/57/18/1203">stress, anxiety, and depression</a>. It also helps <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/physical-activity.htm#:%7E:text=Regular%20physical%20activity%20helps%20improve,depression%20and%20anxiety%2C%20and%20dementia.">prevent diseases</a> such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Regular physical activity can prolong life and improve overall quality of life.</p> <p>However, many of us find it difficult to achieve the <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/54/24/1451">recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity</a> each week. In fact, three out of ten Australians and half of Australians aged 65 and over are <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/physical-activity/physical-activity">inactive</a>.</p> <p>So, what can you do to stay motivated and keep moving regularly through the darker months? Here are some tips.</p> <h2>1. Nail those goals</h2> <p>Goals can provide us with a sense of purpose, meaning and direction. But just aiming to “get fit” is less likely to cut it than goals that are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.</p> <p><strong>Specific</strong> goals are based on an observable behaviour or activity, such as step count, yoga, or competing in an event.</p> <p><strong>Measurable</strong> goals can be tracked, so you can easily tell whether you have ticked them off.</p> <p><strong>Achievable</strong> goals are realistic and based on your current fitness and abilities. But they can and should still be challenging. If you’ve only ever run 5 kilometres, it won’t be realistic to aim for a half marathon in the next month. But you could aim for 10 kilometres.</p> <p><strong>Relevant</strong> goals hold personal meaning for you. Articulating why it’s important will help motivate you to do it.</p> <p><strong>Time-bound</strong> goals include a target date for achieving them. You can always revisit your deadline if you’re ahead of schedule or if it’s too unrealistic.</p> <p>An example of a SMART goal could be: “I will walk 10,000 steps every weekday within a month.” Then you can break it down into short-term goals to make it more achievable. If you currently walk 6,000 steps each day, you can increase steps by 1,000 every week to reach 10,000 by the end of the month.</p> <h2>2. Keep track</h2> <p>More than <a href="https://www.deloitte.com/au/en/Industries/tmt/blogs/digital-consumer-trends-who-is-purchasing-what-now.html">90% of Australians own a smartphone</a> and more than <a href="https://www.deloitte.com/au/en/Industries/telecom-media-entertainment/blogs/digital-consumer-trends-touch-less-healthier-wiser.html">two in ten own a fitness tracker or a smartwatch</a>. These devices can help you track your goals and activity, keep you accountable and increase your motivation.</p> <p>A 2021 systematic review suggests fitness trackers and smartphone apps <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/55/8/422">can assist people</a> to increase their step count by up to 2,000 steps per day. <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/54/20/1188">Our research</a> demonstrated fitness trackers can also be helpful in increasing physical activity among older people. If you don’t have a fitness tracker, you can buy low-cost pedometers or track your activity times using paper and pen.</p> <h2>3. Plan for success but prepare for barriers</h2> <p>Take some time to think about the potential barriers that could prevent you from being active and plan solutions to overcome them.</p> <p>For example, if the cost of physical activity is too high for you, try to find options that are free, such as walking or running. You can also consider free online programs or streaming videos.</p> <p>If you find it difficult to fit exercise into your busy schedule, try exercising early in the morning before you start your day and laying out your workout clothes the night before. You could consider joining a gym with flexible timetables. A good strategy is to try to fit physical activity into your daily routine, such as walking or cycling to work.</p> <p>If you are living with a chronic health condition or disability, consider seeking guidance from a health professional such as an <a href="https://www.essa.org.au/Public/SearchAEP.aspx?WebsiteKey=44cfee74-3fc3-444e-bb5f-77729c390872">exercise physiologist</a> or <a href="https://choose.physio/find-a-physio">physiotherapist</a>. Start slow and gradually increase your activity and find something you enjoy so you are more likely to keep doing it.</p> <h2>4. Team up with a workout friend</h2> <p>Physical activity can be more fun when you do it with someone else. Studies show <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167494322002953?via%253Dihub&amp;sa=D&amp;source=docs&amp;ust=1712015093947627&amp;usg=AOvVaw1XGQBMDMFspL5YrQtKo3h">working out with friends can be more motivating and enjoyable</a>. It can also help with accountability, as some people are more likely to show up when they have a workout partner. So, <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60407-9/fulltext">find a friend</a> who supports your goal of being more active or maintaining your current activity levels.</p> <h2>5. Plan yourself a little treat</h2> <p>Make an appointment with yourself in your diary to exercise. Approach it as just as important as meeting a friend or colleague. One idea is to delay something you’d rather do and make it a reward for sticking to your activity appointment. If you really want to go out for coffee, do a hobby, or watch something, go for a walk first.</p> <p>Research shows <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41746-019-0164-3">incentives can dramatically increase physical activity levels</a>.</p> <h2>6. Find a coach</h2> <p>If you want more support, <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/51/19/1425">health coaching</a> might be an option.</p> <p>Trained professionals work one-on-one with people, sometimes via telehealth, to find out what’s reducing their motivation to make healthier choices, such as exercise. Then they employ behaviour change techniques to help them meet their health goals.</p> <p>Our recent research suggests health coaching can improve physical activity in <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/58/7/382">older people</a> and those with <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S183695532400002X">chronic pain</a>. In <a href="https://www.gethealthynsw.com.au/#:%7E:text=About%20the%20Get%20Healthy%20Service&amp;text=Delivered%20by%20NSW%20Health%2C%20the,and%20achieve%20your%20health%20goals">New South Wales</a>, <a href="https://lifeprogram.org.au/">Victoria</a> and <a href="https://www.myhealthforlife.com.au/">Queensland</a>, these sessions are government-subsidised or free.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226619/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/juliana-s-oliveira-709434">Juliana S. Oliveira</a>, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Physical Activity, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anne-tiedemann-409380">Anne Tiedemann</a>, Professor of Physical Activity and Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cathie-sherrington-561141">Cathie Sherrington</a>, Professor, Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, School of Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leanne-hassett-1497197">Leanne Hassett</a>, Associate Professor in Physiotherapy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/days-are-getting-shorter-and-colder-6-tips-for-sticking-to-your-fitness-goals-226619">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Pauline Hanson slams Woolies' controversial Anzac Day decision

<p>Pauline Hanson has slammed Woolworths and their decision to not stock commemorative Anzac biscuit tins ahead of this year's Anzac Day. </p> <p>The supermarket giant has chosen not to stock the limited edition tins this year, after making the decision to stock Anzac biscuits all year round, and donating to the RSL in other various ways. </p> <p>In previous years, Woolies have sold the tins that feature designs commemorating different wars and conflicts and are collectable items, with a portion of the profits supporting the RSL to aid veterans and their families.</p> <p>The decision not to stock the tins has outraged Senator Hanson, who has decided to continue her boycott of Woolies, which began when the supermarket didn't stock Australia Day merchandise in January. </p> <p>“I haven’t shopped at Woolworths ever since they announced they wouldn’t be supporting Australia Day,” Senator Hanson wrote online.</p> <p>“Now that I have learned Woolworths has also refused to stock the RSL’s special Anzac biscuit tins, It reinforces my original decision.</p> <p>“If Woolworths isn’t interested in celebrating Australia and doing everything it can to support our veterans through organisations like the RSL, then I’m proud to continue to boycott Woolworths and I hope others will join me in taking their business elsewhere.”</p> <p>Some veterans have also shared their upset in hearing the news, as World War II veteran Jack Bartlett said he was “horrified” to hear of Woolies decision. </p> <p>“I collect those tins and value them greatly because of my association. I’m very, very sorry to hear that Woolworths won’t do it (sell them),” Mr Bartlett told 2GB’s Ben Fordham. </p> <p>“It’s such a small thing for such a big shopping conglomerate to do. I don’t think it’s very, very much to ask them to continue what they’ve done for some time."</p> <p>Woolworths have since responded to Senator Hanson's accusations, with a spokesperson telling <a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/retail/woolworths-responds-to-pauline-hansons-accusations-over-stocking-of-anzac-day-commemorative-tins/news-story/92d04438600a19f61837026198c81b4e" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a> that the supermarket giant was selling multiple items for Anzac appeals and has raised almost $13 million for the cause over the past decade.</p> <p>Woolies confirmed that while it will not be stocking the limited-edition tins this year, they will be selling Anzac Appeal badges and supporting veterans and the RSL.</p> <p>“We are the only supermarket to be selling the badges,” Woolworths said in a statement.</p> <p>“We sell Bakers Finest Anzac biscuits in our stores all year round, this product is endorsed by the RSL and generates revenue for the RSL to support veterans and their families. </p> <p>“We’ve been proud partners of the RSL for the past 10 years, supporting the ANZAC Appeal in April and the Poppy Appeal in November. Almost $13 million has been raised at Woolworths in the past 10 years for those appeals.”</p> <p>"This support continues in 2024, with Woolworths once again stocking ANZAC and Poppy Appeal badges for purchase, providing direct and crucial support to the veteran community nationwide."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Shutterstock</em></p>

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6 major benefits of doing yoga every day, from experts

<h2>Positive effects of yoga</h2> <p>Sometimes it’s the simplest daily practice that can have the biggest impact on your health, and yoga is proof of that. Although most forms of yoga aren’t considered to be as intense as other workout regimens (think your average cycling class!), practising yoga on a daily basis has been scientifically demonstrated to help you mentally and physically. Through breath work, meditation and holding poses that increase strength and flexibility, the body and mind reap benefits from yoga that positively impact your long-term health. It’s no wonder people have been practising yoga for over 5000 years, and that the number of Australians practising yoga doubled between 2008 and 2017 to over two million, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.</p> <p>In order to get the full scope of what practising yoga daily can really do for your body, we spoke with several experts who have seen the ways yoga has positively benefited their students, patients… and even themselves.</p> <p><a href="https://gaiam.innovations.com.au/p/gaiam-yoga/mats?affiliate=GAIAM60" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Keen to try? You’ll need a mat. There’s a range of mats to suit every yoga level, check out these we recommend.</a></p> <h2>Yoga assists with mood regulation</h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/03/6benefitsyoga_getty2.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>Yoga teacher, Jenni Tarma, shares, “We have a wealth of research demonstrating that a regular mindfulness practice – the act of paying attention to the sensation in the body, thoughts and emotions without judgment – can reduce stress and help us to feel calmer, more productive, and generally more even-keeled in our daily lives.”</p> <p>After evaluating yoga history and research, one 2014 review published in Frontiers in Human Neouroscience concluded that regular yoga practice can help facilitate self-regulation (the ability to understand and manage your behaviour and reactions). Another study of adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 found that practising yoga positively benefited emotional regulation and self-esteem. “Movement releases beneficial neurotransmitters in the brain, which helps us feel good as well as assist in mood regulation,” says yoga instructor, Evan Lawrence. “One of the things that I like about yoga specifically is that there is simultaneously a focus on physical movement and breathing.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/23-instant-mood-boosters-you-wont-want-to-live-without" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Don’t miss these instant mood boosters you won’t want to live without.</a></p> <h2>Yoga builds up your core strength</h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/03/6benefitsyoga_shutterstock3.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>Personal trainer and yoga teacher, Gina Newton, says, “From a physical perspective, yoga is so great for increasing our core strength, which should be a non-negotiable part of every human’s workout.” Newton adds, “We all need our core – and especially women who have been pregnant or had children, our core strength is something we need to care for and nurture to hold us up.”</p> <p>According to Harvard Medical School, a stronger core benefits the body in multiple ways, including providing better posture, balance, stability, relief for lower back pain, and support through daily tasks like cleaning, working, and athletic activities or exercise.</p> <p>Wearing comfortable yoga gear will help you get the most out of your workout. <a href="https://gaiam.innovations.com.au/p/gaiam-apparel/apparel?affiliate=GAIAM60" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Check out these yoga clothes from Gaiam.</a></p> <h2>Yoga reduces stress</h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/03/6benefitsyoga_getty4.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>“Yoga and meditation are powerful tools for stress resilience and strengthening mental health,” says holistic healthcare practitioner and yoga instructor, Nicole Renée Matthews.  “Doing yoga regularly promotes mental clarity and calmness, centres and relaxes the mind, helps to relieve stress patterns and anxiety, and boosts concentration and focus.”</p> <p>One 2010 study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine concluded that practising yoga can improve mood and decrease anxiety even more than a regular walking practice after participants finished a 12-week program. Researchers have also found that the breath-taking techniques involved with yoga can be part of what benefits decreased anxiety during practice.</p> <p>“Breath awareness, another key component of yoga, has been shown to reduce physiological markers of stress, especially when using techniques such as ‘belly breathing’ – breathing deeply so that the abdomen expands, rather than exclusively using a shallow chest breath – and elongating the exhalation,” says Tarma. “These techniques help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn leads to less anxiety, jitteriness, and improved sleep; all things that can improve our mental health on a day-to-day basis.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/mental-health/10-science-backed-ways-to-lower-your-stress-this-instant-really" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Don’t miss these science-backed ways to lower your stress this instant (really!).</a></p> <h2>Yoga improves brain health</h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/03/6benefitsyoga_getty5.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>According to associate professor of psychiatry, Dr Gail Saltz, practising yoga “improves overall blood flow to the body, including the brain, [which is] helpful for cognition and memory.”</p> <p>One 2019 review published in Brain Plasticity concluded that behavioural interventions like yoga can help “mitigate age-related and neurodegenerative decline” due to the positive effects a daily practice has on different parts of the functioning brain, like the hippocampus (which plays a major role in learning and memory) and the prefrontal cortex (cognitive control functions).</p> <p>Staying hydrated is key to maintaining optimum brain health. <a href="https://gaiam.innovations.com.au/p/takeya/water-bottles-actives-range?affiliate=GAIAM60" target="_blank" rel="noopener">These drink bottles can help you keep your water intake up throughout the day.</a></p> <h2>Yoga improves flexibility and mobility</h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/03/6benefitsyoga_shutterstock6.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>“Physically, daily yoga practice allows us to engage our muscles and move through larger ranges of joint motion than we do typically moving through life,” says Lawrence. “This helps to keep us limber and flexible.”</p> <p>“Dedicated, daily yoga practice helps with flexibility and strength, which can help improve your posture, as well as balance,” says yoga instructor, Samantha Hoff. “On the physical side, it also helps with joint mobility since you’ll take your joints through most – or all – of their ranges of motion.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/12-best-yoga-poses-to-strengthen-bones" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Here are the best yoga poses to strengthen bones.</a></p> <h2>Yoga strengthens muscle and endurance</h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/03/6benefitsyoga_getty7.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>“From a musculoskeletal perspective,” says Tarma, “yoga loads our bodies and joints in a wide variety of positions and scenarios: think longer static holds in poses that challenge our tissues’ endurance, or controlled transitions between shapes that develop strength, control and coordination. These different facets of our movement capabilities all contribute to better overall function and load-tolerance capacity. As an added bonus, because most styles of yoga are bodyweight only and move at a very moderate speed, yoga is also a generally very accessible and safe movement modality.”</p> <p>Yoga is the ultimate self-care activity. <a href="https://gaiam.innovations.com.au/p/gaiam-yoga/accessories/27-73312-gaiam-performance-hold-everything-yoga-backpack-bag?affiliate=GAIAM60" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Whether you do it at a studio or in the park, this handy yoga backpack bag stores everything you need for a calm yoga workout.</a></p> <p><strong>This article, written by Kiersten Hickman, originally appeared on</strong><strong> <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/6-major-benefits-of-doing-yoga-every-day-from-experts" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>Images: Shutterstock | Getty</em></p>

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King Charles delivers heartfelt message amidst cancer treatment

<p>In times of adversity, the power of unity and compassion shines through, and this sentiment has never been more evident than in the heartfelt message delivered by King Charles amidst his cancer treatment.</p> <p>As news of his diagnosis spread, an outpouring of support enveloped the King from all corners of the Commonwealth. His gratitude and appreciation for this unwavering kindness were palpable as he addressed the nations in a video message, unable to personally attend the 2024 Commonwealth Day celebrations due to his health.</p> <p>"I have been most deeply touched by your wonderfully kind and thoughtful good wishes for my health and, in return, can only continue to serve you, to the best of my ability, throughout the Commonwealth," he said.</p> <p>"My belief in our shared endeavours and in the potential of our people remains as sure and strong as it has ever been. I have no doubt that we will continue to support one another across the Commonwealth as, together, we continue this vital journey."</p> <p>The absence of the Princess of Wales, still in recovery from surgery, served as a reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of cherishing every moment with loved ones. In such moments, the strength of familial bonds and the support of a caring community become invaluable lifelines.</p> <p>As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Commonwealth, we reflect not only on its historical significance but also on its enduring relevance in today's world. The theme of "One Resilient Common Future: Transforming our Commonwealth" resonates deeply as we navigate the challenges of the modern age together.</p> <p>King Charles' words remind us of the interconnectedness of our shared humanity, transcending borders and differences. He likened the Commonwealth to the wiring of a house, where each nation contributes to the collective energy and strength that sustains us all:</p> <p>"As I have said before, the Commonwealth is like the wiring of a house, and its people, our energy and our ideas are the current that runs through those wires. Together and individually we are strengthened by sharing perspectives and experiences, and by offering and borrowing the myriad ways we have each tackled the challenges of our time. This is true both at the level of nations and, indeed, at the local level. We recognise today that our diversity is our greatest strength."</p> <p>In facing global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and socioeconomic shifts, the importance of collaboration and cooperation cannot be overstated. King Charles eloquently underscored the power of diversity as our greatest strength, recognising that it is through our varied perspectives and experiences that we find innovative solutions to complex problems.</p> <p><iframe title="YouTube video player" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lR6Z8ss_AW0?si=Gf8lGHmG-xnw9zCP" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p><em>Image: Youtube</em></p>

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How to be kind to yourself (without going to a day spa)

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lydia-brown-179583">Lydia Brown</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>“I have to be hard on myself,” Sarah told me in a recent telehealth psychology session. “I would never reach my potential if I was kind and let myself off the hook.”</p> <p>I could empathise with this fear of self-compassion from clients such as Sarah (not her real name). From a young age, we are taught to be kind to others, but self-kindness is never mentioned.</p> <p>Instead, we are taught success hinges on self-sacrifice. And we need a healthy inner critic to bully us forward into becoming increasingly better versions of ourselves.</p> <p>But <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167212445599">research shows</a> there doesn’t have to be a trade-off between self-compassion and success.</p> <p>Self-compassion can help you reach your potential, while supporting you to face the inevitable stumbles and setbacks along the way.</p> <h2>What is self-compassion?</h2> <p><a href="https://self-compassion.org/">Self-compassion</a> has <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15298860309027">three</a> key ingredients.</p> <p><strong>1. Self-kindness</strong></p> <p>This involves treating yourself with the same kindness you would extend towards a good friend – via your thoughts, feelings and actions – especially during life’s difficult moments.</p> <p>For instance, if you find yourself fixating on a minor mistake you made at work, self-kindness might involve taking a ten-minute walk to shift focus, and reminding yourself it is OK to make mistakes sometimes, before moving on with your day.</p> <p><strong>2. Mindfulness</strong></p> <p>In this context, mindfulness involves being aware of your own experience of stress or suffering, rather than repressing or avoiding your feelings, or over-identifying with them.</p> <p>Basically, you must see your stress with a clear (mindful) perspective before you can respond with kindness. If we avoid or are consumed by our suffering, we lose perspective.</p> <p><strong>3. Common humanity</strong></p> <p>Common humanity involves recognising our own experience of suffering as something that unites us as being human.</p> <p>For instance, a sleep-deprived parent waking up (for the fourth time) to feed their newborn might choose to think about all the other parents around the world doing exactly the same thing – as opposed to feeling isolated and alone.</p> <h2>It’s not about day spas, or booking a manicure</h2> <p>When Sarah voiced her fear that self-compassion would prevent her success, I explained self-compassion is distinct from self-indulgence.</p> <p>“So is self-compassion just about booking in more mani/pedis?” Sarah asked.</p> <p>Not really, I explained. A one-off trip to a day spa is unlikely to transform your mental health.</p> <p>Instead, self-compassion is a flexible <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-031-22348-8_7">psychological resilience factor</a> that shapes our thoughts, feelings and actions.</p> <p>It’s associated with a suite of benefits to our <a href="https://iaap-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/aphw.12051">wellbeing</a>, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15298868.2011.639548">relationships</a> and <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17437199.2019.1705872">health</a>.</p> <h2>What does the science say?</h2> <p>Over the past 20 years, we’ve learned self-compassionate people enjoy a wide range of benefits. They tend to be <a href="https://iaap-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/aphw.12051">happier</a> and have <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2012.06.003">fewer psychological symptoms</a> of distress.</p> <p>Those high on self-compassion <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167212445599">persevere</a> following a failure. They say they are more motivated to overcome a personal weakness than those low on self-compassion, who are more likely to give up.</p> <p>So rather than feeling trapped by your inadequacies, self-compassion encourages a <a href="https://hbr.org/2018/09/give-yourself-a-break-the-power-of-self-compassion">growth mindset</a>, helping you reach your potential.</p> <p>However, self-compassion is not a panacea. It will not change your life circumstances or somehow make life “easy”. It is based on the premise that life is hard, and provides practical tools to cope.</p> <h2>It’s a factor in healthy ageing</h2> <p>I research menopause and healthy ageing and am especially interested in the value of self-compassion through menopause and in the second half of life.</p> <p>Because self-compassion becomes important during life’s challenges, it can help people navigate physical symptoms (for instance, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378512214001649?via%3Dihub">menopausal hot flushes</a>), life transitions such as <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797611429466">divorce</a>, and <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-031-22348-8_7">promote healthy ageing</a>.</p> <p>I’ve also teamed up with researchers at <a href="https://www.autismspectrum.org.au/">Autism Spectrum Australia</a> to explore self-compassion in autistic adults.</p> <p>We found autistic adults report significantly <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10803-022-05668-y">lower levels</a> of self-compassion than neurotypical adults. So we developed an online <a href="https://www.autismspectrum.org.au/blog/new-online-self-compassion-program-for-autistic-adults">self-compassion training program</a> for this at-risk population.</p> <h2>Three tips for self-compassion</h2> <p>You <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jclp.21923">can learn</a> self-compassion with these three exercises.</p> <p><strong>1. What would you say to a friend?</strong></p> <p>Think back to the last time you made a mistake. What did you say to yourself?</p> <p>If you notice you’re treating yourself more like an enemy than a friend, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, try to think about what you might tell a friend, and direct that same friendly language towards yourself.</p> <p><strong>2. Harness the power of touch</strong></p> <p>Soothing human touch <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychiatry/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.555058/full">activates</a> the parasympathetic “relaxation” branch of our nervous system and counteracts the fight or flight response.</p> <p>Specifically, self-soothing touch (for instance, by placing both hands on your heart, stroking your forearm or giving yourself a hug) <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666497621000655">reduces</a> cortisol responses to psychosocial stress.</p> <p><strong>3. What do I need right now?</strong></p> <p>Sometimes, it can be hard to figure out exactly what self-compassion looks like in a given moment. The question “what do I need right now” helps clarify your true needs.</p> <p>For example, when I was 37 weeks pregnant, I woke up bolt awake one morning at 3am.</p> <p>Rather than beating myself up about it, or fretting about not getting enough sleep, I gently placed my hands on my heart and took a few deep breaths. By asking myself “what do I need right now?” it became clear that listening to a gentle podcast/meditation fitted the bill (even though I wanted to addictively scroll my phone).<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/223194/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lydia-brown-179583"><em>Lydia Brown</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-be-kind-to-yourself-without-going-to-a-day-spa-223194">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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Bride sparks feud for banning her niece from her big day

<p dir="ltr">A bride-to-be has sparked a feud for deciding to ban her sister’s “loud and distracting” toddler from her wedding ceremony, with the bride asking social media users for advice. </p> <p dir="ltr">The bride was only weeks away from her intimate destination wedding, which included a guest list of only a few friends and close family. </p> <p dir="ltr">After being met with a difficult decision, the bride took to Reddit to share how a massive family feud had erupted in the weeks before the big day.</p> <p dir="ltr">“My sister is bringing her one-year-old toddler. The child is more than welcome — she’s part of the family and we want her there as part of the day,” she began.</p> <p dir="ltr">“However, as she’s still very young (and very loud at times), I’ve asked that somebody takes her out during the ceremony if she’s being distracting, shouting and babbling loudly.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I know that this will probably happen as she’s constantly chatting loudly and is never quiet.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“But it’s only for half an hour and she can be as loud as she likes for the rest of the day.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I just want everybody to be able to focus on the ceremony and I don’t want the distraction.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The bride said she was worried about sounding selfish, but then admitted that she was allowed to be selfish on her big day, and wanted all eyes on her and the groom.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We want everyone to be able to enjoy them and, to be honest, we want the guests’ attention focused on us,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, after the bride told her sister of the plans, things didn’t go down well. </p> <p dir="ltr">“My sister has told me I’m being an a****** for ‘excluding’ my niece from the ceremony and therefore by default ‘excluding’ my brother-in-law who will be the one to take her out,” the bride said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“She says that I’m asking him and the one-year-old to go all that way just for the evening meal as they will miss the ceremony and that the toddler will most likely miss that too as it will be after bedtime.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’ve told her that there’s a whole afternoon of relaxing things going on — photos, cake, a little walk outside and late lunch that they will be part of but apparently she’s still really annoyed with me.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The bride says her sister is now “threatening” to attend the wedding alone, leaving her partner and their daughter at home.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We’ve called her bluff and said if that’s what she wants to do then we understand,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“To be honest, she’s p***ing us off so much that we’d be fine with all three of them not coming at this point.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I don’t think that I’m asking anything unreasonable.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“All I want is a peaceful, relaxed ceremony where we can all focus on what’s going on without a toddler babbling away.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Also, to be honest, even if this WAS an unreasonable ask, surely as it’s my wedding day then it’s up to me? Isn’t it the one day of my life when I can do literally anything I want?”</p> <p dir="ltr">The post was quickly met with hundreds of comments, with most people flocking to the bride’s defence. </p> <p dir="ltr">One person wrote, “This is basic event etiquette, but it seems like sis cannot be relied on to follow basic etiquette - or even asked to do so without herself acting like a toddler.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another suggested: “Removing a disruptive baby from a formal event would be normal etiquette, but if you specifically had to ask in advance, I’ll guess she’s got a history of not doing so.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Your wedding, your rules. You could have gone completely child-free, all you asked was for the common courtesy of taking her outside if she got noisy.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Valentine's Day proposal sparks backlash for litter

<p>While Valentines day is the perfect day to celebrate all kinds of love, Manly residents were left fuming in the aftermath of one couple's elaborate proposal. </p> <p>On Wednesday, residents were forced to pick up "hundreds of plastic petals", used candles and plastic wrapping discarded on Manly beach, which marine experts have branded "very intentional" littering. </p> <p>One local said that "no attempt was made to pick it up" and they were sure that hundreds of the petals would've already "blown into the sea to float around choking wildlife for the next several hundred years".</p> <p>"Candles were placed in the sand, so it seems the celebration took place there on the beach as well as above by the footpath," the resident wrote in a Facebook post. </p> <p> "Plastic petals are cheaper than the real thing, but surely whoever you’re doing this for would prefer fewer real petals to hundreds or thousands of fake ones.</p> <p>"I usually just pick things up and get on with it but this was all very intentional and I believe it doesn’t actually occur to some people to consider the impact when making decisions like this so I want to say: Think about your long term impact, make choices accordingly and feel better about them."</p> <p>Conservationists have also slammed the act, and said that the littering would likely result in the death of wildlife. </p> <p>"These photos are pretty shocking to see, especially knowing that these items were intentionally littered," vice president of Ocean Conservancy’s plastics program, Nicholas Mallos told <em>Yahoo News</em>. </p> <p>"In sufficient quantities, ingesting plastics like these can absolutely harm birds and sea creatures.</p> <p>He added flexible plastics and polyester petals can be deadly if it is consumed by smaller animals as it can block their digestive tracts causing them to starve, and disrupts their reproductive behaviours. </p> <p>"It takes only a few tiny pieces of plastic to kill a sea turtle hatchling, for example," Mallos said. </p> <p>"There’s no doubt the beach is a spectacular setting for an event, but it does require special attention to protect the surrounding ecosystem," he added.</p> <p>AMCS Plastics & Packaging Program Manager Tara Jones also agreed, and said there are "far better earth-safe alternatives." </p> <p>She said that "around 90 per cent of all seabirds alive today have ingested plastic of some kind." </p> <p>"Juvenile sea turtles, like the ones hatching now along the Queensland coasts, have been known to ingest hundreds of pieces of plastic in their short life.</p> <p>"Our ocean wildlife deserves better."</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

Relationships

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Is Valentine’s Day worth the romantic investment? Here’s what we can learn from economics

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/selma-wather-1510222">Selma Wather</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sussex-1218">University of Sussex</a></em></p> <p>Expressing affection can be expensive. Spending on heart-shaped gifts, romantic cards, chocolates and flowers (other gifts are available) to celebrate Valentine’s Day has reached <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/510981/valentines-day-total-spending-great-britain/#:%7E:text=In%20the%20United%20Kingdom%20%28UK%29%20alone%2C%20Valentine%E2%80%99s%20Day,increased%20by%20just%20over%20300%20million%20British%20pounds.">close to £1 billion</a> in the UK.</p> <p>So the value of Valentine’s to retailers seems clear enough. But just how valuable is the annual ritual to consumers? What return can you expect for the money you invest in that bouquet of roses or candle lit meal?</p> <p>Broadly speaking, and depending on your relationship status, buying into Valentine’s Day traditions suggests two possible scenarios. You might be sending a card or gift to a potential partner to inform them of your interest; or you might be giving something to your current partner to remind them of your continuing love.</p> <p>Research suggests that both options have intrinsic economic value.</p> <p>For those seeking to express interest, sending a card is like dipping your toe into what economists might refer to as the “marriage market” – the search for someone you like, who likes what you have to offer in return.</p> <p>This search can happen smoothly, with plenty of information about your potential match, or it can be paved with obstacles, where you may not know much about who is available, and <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1703310">learning about potential partners</a> takes time.</p> <p>So suppose you are searching for a partner, and comprehensive information about potential matches is not freely available. What do you do?</p> <p>One option might be to put all your hopes into meeting someone on your daily journey to work. You pray that one day, just like in the movies, you will simply bump into “the one”.</p> <p>A second option might be to focus your search on single work colleagues, or people you know socially, and send Valentine’s Day cards to those you are attracted to.</p> <p>The option with the highest chance of success is the second one. You are using reliable information – knowledge of who is single. And sending a card to them can provide them with important information about you – that you’re also single, and that you’re interested. This is why research suggests that sending a Valentine’s Day card can be a <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/2938374?origin=crossref">logical investment</a> of time and money.</p> <h2>‘Match quality’</h2> <p>Fast forward five years or so and imagine you are happily married to the recipient of one of those cards. Is it worth repeating the gesture now that you’re settled down together?</p> <p>Economists think of marriages or partnerships as having an inherent “<a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-2354.2006.00385.x">match quality</a>”, which reflects how good (or bad) your relationship is – and the likelihood of you breaking up.</p> <p>If match quality falls below the level of happiness you might expect to have if you were to leave, a <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2759255">separation may well follow</a>. But many studies also show that <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/2535409">match quality is malleable</a> – that it can change, for better and indeed for worse, over time.</p> <p>You can invest in trying to improve match quality in various ways. It might be starting a family, sharing hobbies and interests, or gestures such as cooking a special meal or exchanging gifts on the 14th day of February. Improving your match quality <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228431914_How_Does_the_Change_of_Marriage_Quality_Affect_Divorce_Decisions">directly reduces the probability</a> of a separation.</p> <p>Then there’s the question of commitment – the willingness to stay in a relationship rather than walking away. And again, gestures can make a difference.</p> <p>Imagine you have just started a new job, and your employer asks you to complete an intensive training session in your free time, for a skill that would only be useful for that particular role. If you expect to hold the job for a long period, you might happily invest your time. But if your employer is struggling financially and redundancy is on the cards, you are much less likely to agree to perform the task.</p> <p>Relationships work in a similar way. People are more prepared to invest in things like having children or buying a house together if they expect the relationship to last. Given that commitment is not guaranteed by a marriage certificate, people <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=950688">need to find other ways</a> to signal their continued devotion.</p> <p>Celebrating Valentine’s Day is one way of making such a signal. It can show faith in your shared commitment, signify that you wish to continue investing in the relationship and improve match quality, further stabilising the partnership.</p> <p>So even if deep down you think that Valentine’s Day has become over commercialised and meaningless, research suggests it makes good economic sense to send that card.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/223128/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/selma-wather-1510222"><em>Selma Wather</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sussex-1218">University of Sussex</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-valentines-day-worth-the-romantic-investment-heres-what-we-can-learn-from-economics-223128">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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