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7 alternative black Friday 'bargains'

Posted by Melanie Fisher on
7 alternative black Friday 'bargains'

First, we’ll just have to ignore the fact that we don’t even understand why black Friday is a thing here. 

Instead, we’ll jump on the bandwagon! 

Except ours is going the opposite direction. 

Below we round up our best black Friday bargains, they’re all ridiculously cheap, and could well become gifts that just keep on giving.

  • MEDITATION APP - £0

Having spearheaded a so called ‘mindfulness revolution’ over the last decade, meditation is now firmly established on the health & wellbeing scene.

With good reason. There are numerous benefits to a consistent practice. Perhaps the most relevant for our modern life is the proof that it can reduce stress and anxiety. And, in establishing a ‘gap’ between thought and action, it can potentially make you calmer and kinder.

It’s no wonder so many well-known people swear by it. From celebrities and sports people, to business leaders and even Oprah.

And, with the bargains on offer below, now has never been a time to give it a try. Here are our favourites:

  • Oak - £0 forever. Great, simple app. Also includes nature sounds for background noise.
  • Insight Timer - £0 forever - for 30,000 meditations! That’s a bargain.
  • Smiling Mind - £0 forever. Aimed at the younger generations.
  • Simple Habit - £0 forever. Personalised meditations for busy schedules, starting from as little as 1min.
  • Headspace - £0 to start. Great intro ‘course’ if you’re brand new.
  • Calm - £0 to start. Also has sleep stories!

With all of these apps starting at £0, the only investment is as little as one minute of your time, and a bit of patience. So when so many people extol the benefits, why not give yourself the gift of meditation this black Friday? 

It would seem far better for you than the semi-looting in-store mayhem.

Oh, and did we mention you can even do it with chocolate

(You can also find ‘Calm Cocoa's’ mindful treats in our Hot Chocolate Gift Box).

2. FOREST BATHING - £0 (PLUS SOME TRANSPORT).

‘Forest Bathing’ is the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, and simply means immersing yourself in a forest setting (a little bit more deliberately than usual). Forests are, by their very nature, disconnected from the bustle of urban life. And so provide a natural way to calm your senses in a busy world.

In fact, it’s more than being in ‘a nice place’. Forest bathing has shown to significantly mitigate stress, which is a fundamental cause of many ailments. “Excess stress can play a role in headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, and arthritis, among many other ailments.”

There’s little excuse either -  other studies have shown that being in nature for as little as 30mins a week can produce these benefits.

That’d explain why it is now one of the cornerstones of Japanese healthcare.

Oh, and forests are free.

What are you waiting for? 

3. SAY THANK YOU - £0

Stick with us here, it’s backed by science.

These days, there is a close mis-association between buying things and feeling greater wellbeing. So much so, it can be argued that most modern consumption habits are now attempts to feel ‘better’, ‘happier’ or ‘more’. 

Black Friday is perhaps the nadir of this. The epitome of unconscious consumerism. Greed upon greed. 

It’s especially jarring coming just one day after a day devoted to ‘giving thanks’ for what you have.

So here’s a thought; instead of indulging in black Friday, why not just continue to give thanks? Not only is it free, after all, but it has additional (scientifically proven) benefits too.

Numerous psychology studies have shown that gratitude is “strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. That it helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

That’s a lot of benefits, especially for £0. They last too.

Don’t take our word for it, we’ll let no less an institution than Harvard Health aptly sum it up:

“Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier, or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.”

Thank you, Harvard Health. That is a timely summary indeed.

4. VIRTUAL DRINKS WITH FRIENDS - £0 (THEIR ROUND)

Friendships can have a major positive impact on your health and well-being, playing a significant role in promoting your overall health. 

Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI).

Indeed, healthy social networks were identified as one of the factors people lived so much longer in ‘blue zones’ even more so in these times. So pull up a chair and open up Zoom, or wrap up warm for a socially distanced trip to the park. 

Friends can also:

  • Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
  • Boost your happiness and reduce your stress
  • Improve your self-confidence and self-worth
  • Help you cope with life’s hardships or celebrate the successes

Even if you don’t buy any of that, it’s still good to spend time with them. 

It doesn’t have to involve drinks either - you could have tea, coffee, food, or even forest bathe together!

And what better way to spend black Friday?

5. VOLUNTEERING - £0

You can do better than consume this weekend, go truly anti black Friday, give! 

Give back to a cause that is worthy, contribute to something greater than yourself. You never know, you may enjoy it so much you’ll want to continue.

There are volunteering opportunities abound! All you need is a little time and you can even volunteer from the safety of your home. For instance, this weekend you could join your local mutual aid group, sign up to the Kindfulness subscription box with The British Red Cross (points for guessing who curated the items!) or pop some food in to the local food bank on your weekly shop

It’s really easy, really rewarding, and all it takes is a little time. But that’s no light gift to give, time is precious - you don’t get it back. 

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

6. DONATE SOMETHING - £0

Don’t fancy donating your time? Then why not channel some Marie Kondo (minus the questionable store) and donate something you own.

The 8th pair of shoes. The gadget you got ages ago, but still haven’t used. That jumper in the back that you’ve never had occasion to wear. Everyone has things they don’t truly need. But there’s no doubt that someone could find a use for it.

Try giving away one thing. You’re not giving it away really, you’re giving it new life, a better life. 

And in doing so, it helps a good cause too.

NOW THAT’S A BARGAIN.

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