'Dogs, amazing creatures, I’m a man who simply has to have a dog in my life, I have had them ever since I was a little boy. My very first dog was a rescue called ‘Charlie’ (from Charlie’s Angels!) our family then went on to have Corgis (another ‘Charlie’ and then his son ‘Trouble’).
Now as an adult, I have a new puppy Gabrielle (Gabby) a Jack Russell/Lurcher mix that came from the excellent Dogs Trust Ireland where she was born and cared for before coming to us. She has turned our lives upside down and it's truly brilliant, she’s such a tonic! She has a joy for life that’s infectious and is loving, bold and a bit trixsy (much like myself!). What Gabby also does is keep my mental health in check. Dogs love a routine, and they love their walks even more, so even if I don’t feel like it, I have to go, they don’t give you a choice and you always feel so much better afterwards trust me.
Many studies show that dogs improve your mental health and people who feel lonely too. A super initiative called PetBond Ireland (a safe online source for getting a new pet, they work with rescue centres and approved breeders only.)
I read an article on their website only recently about this very topic which said that an amazing 74% of pet parents who fostered or adopted an animal, reported a clear improvement in their own mental health. By fostering a pet, you are also more likely to develop more responsible daily routines, as your pet is dependent on you. These traits of accountability and dependence will significantly help in your own personal life.During this current lockdown, dogs are showing us even now more than ever how important they are in our lives. For elderly people they might be the only company they have at all. I think everyone that can should have a doggo, they bring SO much to our lives and love us unconditionally. Remember though, they are full time commitment and you need to be ready for that, it can be an adjustment at first but worth it 100 times over!
My dog is my friend, confidante, my family, my everything.'
Audrey & The Aunua Team
'The physical and mental health benefits of hiking have been well documented for centuries, and if you’re looking for me at the weekends, you will most likely find me high up in the hills. Being in the great outdoors, removed from technology and social media, allows me the time and space to think about and process things in a way that isn’t always possible in the busy, overly connected world we live in today. During a recent hike, I reflected on my experience of running a small business over the past year and how my love for hiking has helped me on this journey.
What could running a small business and hiking possibly have in common?
To save or to splurge?
Before embarking on a hike, you need to equip yourself. While there are certain items you can save on, there are others that require a bigger investment. High quality walking boots and a waterproof jacket are certainly top of the list. While it can be tempting to buy cheaper items, spending your money wisely will give you a much better quality product and will save you having to replace them in the short to medium term.
Cost is a huge factor when running a small business or any project that requires time, commitment and effort but it’s so important to avoid false economies. Buying cheaply can result in more expense further down the line. Look at your quest and what tools you specifically need in order to provide the best results. Buy the best quality that you can afford and save on the non-essentials.
Find your tribe
I’ve only ever done one solo hike. It
was World Hike Day in November 2018 and my usual hiking group weren’t available. So I
took myself off to Glendalough and walked
the Spinc Loop all alone – in the rain! I enjoyed the hike and felt liberated for doing it alone, but
I was also taken aback by how lonely I felt. I
came to realize that part of what makes hiking
so special to me is the relationships that
have been built along the way, being part of a community where we spur each other on, encourage each other and pick each other up when we fall.
I’ve been so fortunate to have met some amazing people so far on my journey of life.
Some of them are local and can pop over for a cup of tea, and some of them I have met online, and they all have a number of commonalities. Community. Friendship. Support.My journey would be a lot less exciting without them at my back.
Enjoy the journey
Hiking is not just about reaching the summit, it’s about the journey. It’s about being at one with nature, chatting with friends, exercise, head space and so much more. When you’re working hard to get to the top, whatever your intended goal might be, take a moment every now and then to stop and take in the view. Look at how far you’ve come. And on those wet and misty days, where the views are a little blurred and harder to see, you can still enjoy the experience of the hike. As an entrepreneur, running a small business will bring daily challenges. It’s not about becoming a millionaire (let’s face it, most of us won’t!), it’s about the journey. Be grateful for the challenges you face in life and the many opportunities of learning that comes from them. Welcome them all and become a stronger person because of them
There’s more than one way to climb a mountain
Many mountains will have several paths to the top. There will be those well-worn tracks that many have walked before. They’re tried. They’re tested. They’re comfortable. Alternatively, there may be steeper tracks, with more challenging terrain. These tracks demand more time, effort, focus, and determination. They also offer adventure, new ways of learning and adapting, risk, reward, and exhilaration. There may be times when you want to experience the adventure of these steeper tracks, and there may be times when you just want the most straightforward route.
Decide which works best for you and remember that there is more than one route to the top!
Even when having the best preparation and using the best equipment in the world, there are some things you just can’t control. I’ve been on hikes where the wind speeds became so strong; I had to anchor myself for fear of being blown away. I’ve been on hikes where I’ve been completely soaked through. But do you know what? All of those experiences, although scary and uncomfortable, were temporary.
They all passed.
Both hiking, running a small business, or simply living life requires effort, endurance, and risk-taking. Neither are for the faint-hearted. But, when you are willing to make sacrifices and step outside of your comfort zone, the rewards can be endless.'
What an incredible piece shared with Aunua Academy. These insights into the comparisons between everyday life and the hike life have really hit home that anything is achievable! Thank you Marina Branigan.
Stay tuned this weekend, when I will be sharing a yummy food recipe!
Audrey & The Aunua Team
We all have habits, more bad ones than good, it seems. I suppose that is why habit defines itself as ‘a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.’
What if we committed to turn the negatives into a positive? A little self-investment into our happiness and emotional health.
We spoke with Emma, one of our Aunua advocates. We asked her to share her biggest and worst habit. Television! Yes, you heard us, right!
Emma: ‘I’ve spent more time the past two months of lockdown due to Covid19, trying to figure out what I have not seen on TV, as opposed to the dreaded question of ‘What will I watch tonight.’ This is OK as we’re naturally spending more time home during this pandemic, and Television is a form of entertainment, but when I look beyond the past two months, for me, it has always been the same.
When I think of my TV habit, I’ve noticed trends; When I’m not working, the TV must be on in the background. I record absolutely everything for fear of missing out, which in turn forces my mind into a binge-watching mentality, and before I know it, I have lost a weekend, catching up on junk that my brain didn’t need or miss. I keep one eye on my phone and one eye on the TV, absorbing neither and leaving my mind racing. I wake up tired because I’ve stayed up way past midnight watching TV. I’ve done the math on this past week, and I am regrettably spending on average 5.5hrs per day watching TV!
I am not doing myself any harm by filling my time with TV, or am I? I found, my social interactions are significantly reduced as I’m distracted or invested in something I’m watching and, therefore less likely to want to engage in a conversation with friends or family. It makes me lazier and less inclined to be physically active. It is contributing to a bad diet as the more time I am sedentary and comfortable, my desire to snack increases. I end up under pressure to meet deadlines for work or other projects I have as I would rather spend the time relaxing watching TV! Even before this pandemic lockdown, I found myself late to every occasion (also work some mornings) because I would be squeezing in one more episode of something.
Today is the start of a new month, and having been asked about it, I've been encouraged to ‘break the cycle’ of my bad habit. Me and my TV are taking a time out! I will swap that remote control with my kindle and finally enjoy the book I downloaded last year. I will fill that hour after work finishes, and dinner time starts to go for a walk and take in the beauty of outside. I will reduce my daily consumption to 2 hours in the evening and let my brain switch off, relax and replenish.
I know my TV is not an enemy, and it serves a vital role in modern society. I obtain the majority of current affairs through news channels and I learn a lot too, through documentaries and educational series. But, I have walked away from this self-reflection, knowing that this habit is more bad than good’.
We hope this piece has encouraged you to think about some of the bad habits you have and how you can turn these into positives and something more fulfilling. Maybe you feel you don't have anything worth changing right now and instead can find something new to challenge yourself with this month. Be sure to browse through our Aunua living magazine for some inspiration, you'll even find some yummy recipes!
Audrey & The Aunua Team
We are delighted to welcome you to the premiere issue of AUNUA Living Magazine!
AUNUA Academy is an Irish non-profit, focusing on promoting emotional health and well being for all ages across the globe.
Our ultimate passion is to ensure that as many people as possible are able and enabled to lead their best lives, both mentally and physically through our work in educational, emotional and environmental matters.
In this brand new magazine, we are delighted to introduce you to many wonderful writers, who are all as dedicated to spreading knowledge and joy as we are. Enjoy!
Be Yourself, Every One Else Is Taken!
Welcome to your home for emotional health & well being.