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5 Questions Ethical Shoppers Ask Themselves At Christmas

5 Questions Ethical Shoppers Ask Themselves At Christmas

Many of us seek to go about our daily lives in a moral and ethical way so we can benefit the world instead of further hindering it. This is arguably made a little more difficult at Christmas. Somehow news reports of parents pushing each other through store windows to get to the last doll or game, that often have sketchy production questions surrounding them to begin with, don’t really portray moral responsibility. Luckily you don’t have to be a nutter. Here are 5 questions you can ask yourself to check whether you are being ethical this Christmas:

As Christmas approaches, we all go a little crazy and consume more than we usually would. Here are five questions that every mindful consumer should ask – all in the spirit of giving!

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1. Who made it? (Or grew it?)

At The Shop for Change, we believe in 100% transparency. We want to know the factory or farm where the product originated, as well as who works there and how they are treated. At the very least, you want to know that the business you are supporting does not use child labour and that its workers are paid a fair wage.

2. Am I buying for maximum social impact?

Many companies have business models designed to do social good – but not all are as effective as they claim. We generally prefer to go for companies that take the ‘trade not aid’ approach and empower disadvantaged communities by providing sustainable employment, skills development and access to education – rather than merely giving them handouts.

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3. Is it safe for the environment?

A lot of labels proclaim a product to be cruelty-free, organic, free-range or natural – but how can you be sure that you’re not just falling for a marketing tactic? One way is to check for certifications, or – because these can be costly to obtain – buy direct from a farm or seller you trust.

4. Is this the best quality I can afford?

Buying high quality products is another way to protect the environment by reducing waste. It’s tempting to take advantage of a bargain, but poorly made products break easily and end up as landfill. Quality may cost more at first but it’s worth it in the long run.

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5. Do I need more info?

If a product’s packaging and marketing material lacks supply chain information, why not contact the company directly and find out for yourself? Most companies are willing to answer questions that their consumers ask them. And if they are cagey, do you really want to support them?

For a great range of handcrafted gifts with social and environmental impact, head over to The Shop for Change.

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5 Questions For Ethical Shoppers | Shop For Change

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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

1. Take the scenic route.

Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

2. Distract yourself.

No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

3. Listen to music or podcasts.

There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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4. Bring a friend.

Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

5. Accessorize.

There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

6. Compete.

A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

7. Relax.

The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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