I don’t know about you but for me, there’s a rejuvenating effect on life when I’m learning something new. Maybe it’s because as a child, life is exciting and filled with curiosity when we uncover new truths and expand our capacity for creation through independence. Maybe it’s just exhilarating to shout, ‘wow – how aweeeesome!’ when we realise, for example, the little seed we planted with our own hands is actually growing – like magic. Either way, a new year is always a great opportunity to invigorate your knowledge base with a cool, new skill. This year, we have 3 things you can learn that will definitely improve your health and maybe even make you that much more popular with friends if you chose to share your new found skill.

1. Get some healthy probiotics by learning to make your own yoghurt

Yoghurt is a much-touted fermented food, rich in probiotic cultures. As more and more research points to poor gut health as the source for many age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s, the importance of increasing your tummy flora becomes exponentially more important. But store-bought yoghurt isn’t necessarily the answer.

If you’ve only recently made the switch to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, you may have been completely shocked to discover that some yoghurts are thickened with gelatine. Gelatine is a by-product from the meat industry, extracted from hooves, bones and horns. And for an avoider of animal products that becomes just one of the clear reasons to start making your own yoghurt.

What are the perks of homemade yoghurt?

  • You don’t need to add preservatives because it’s made fresh and consumed fast
  • You get to control your level of desired sugar intake
  • You get to decide how you want to sweeten your yoghurt
  • You can choose if you want to make it with 2% or full cream milk
  • You eliminate a ton of plastic containers from your home by using a homemade yoghurt maker
  • You can even make dairy-free yoghurt by using coconut milk instead

How to get started making your own yoghurt?

You can make yoghurt the DIY way by getting a kit with all the individual components that require heating the mixture on the stove in hot water or in a stable oven temperature or you can get a yoghurt making kit and some starter cultures. Once you’ve made your first batch you can use some of that as the starter for your next batch.

2. Safely dispose of your home’s green waste by learning to compost

Once you get started on a waste-free journey it becomes rather exhilarating to see how little throwaway rubbish you end up with, in your black bin at the end of the week. If you’re fortunate enough to have a garden space, you can cut out a ton more unnecessary waste from landfills, simply by starting a compost bin. Kitchen scraps from regular home-cooked meals build up really quickly. You may think it’s fine to toss these in your bin since apple cores decompose but if they’re disposed of in a plastic bag, which simply gets dumped in a landfill – how are those veggies skins every going to break down and integrate into the soil without oxygen exposure? Home composting is where it’s at.

What are the perks of composting?

  • You cut down on landfill waste
  • You don’t need to buy fertiliser for your garden anymore
  • You can feed your plants and veggies with money already spent on food
  • You cultivate a richer understanding of what makes your garden grow
  • You create a space at home for your biodegradable products like your eco toothbrush, vegetable sponges and shower loofah to decompose
  • All your pet dander and the dust from your vacuum bag fillings as well as the Sunday paper can become garden food for your plants of veggie patch

How to get started

3. Rejuvenate your skin by learning the ancient art of cupping

Nope, guess again, cupping isn’t how inappropriate grandpas hug. It’s actually an ancient art of skin and metabolic rejuvenation that dates back to those gorgeous, golden-skinned Egyptians. Today it’s considered mostly a well-practised Chinese wellness art. Its benefits include everything from reducing fine lines and extends to even improvement in cellulite formation.

What are the perks of cupping therapy?

  • For anyone who doesn’t like spas – this offers you the privacy of therapy in your own home
  • Activating the lymphatic system
  • Clearing deep toxins
  • Said to alleviate aches and pains
  • Clears skin
  • Reduces cellulite and broken capillaries
  • Boosts your self-confidence and wellbeing

How to get started with cupping

Cupping therapy requires a cupping kit if you don’t want to attempt the original method of heating cups to create the air suction.

So, what will you take on in 2018 to learn and improve your quality of life? They say learning keeps the brain young and if it happens to be something that is also beneficial for the planet and those around you – where is the downside?

I always say – imagine if you just added one new skill to your life each year – how rich your existence could be. The growth only stops when you say it does.