As ‘Black Friday’ hits the UK encouraging us to rush out and spend to prop up retailers like Amazon, famous for aggressive tax avoidance, appalling working conditions and zero-hours contracts, why not do something different this year? Once you’ve boycotted Amazon, why not pledge to make something this month, too?
Evidence shows that making a difference makes us happy, but making things is good for us, too. The wellbeing benefits of making things are striking. Studies suggest that learning gardening and cookery raises self-esteem and a sense of autonomy, and leads to an increase in life satisfaction equivalent to what could be expected if someone’s income were to triple.
This doesn’t, of course, mean we shouldn’t fight for fair pay and better working conditions, but remembering how much we can do for ourselves has multiple benefits that could help us live better and play a more active role in shaping the world. Making transforms us from passive consumers to active participants; it boosts wellbeing by making us feel more competent, active and connected with others, and sharing and learning from one another strengthens community empowerment. Here are a few ideas to get you going.