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Healthy Lifestyle Awareness Month
Reproductive Health Month
Environmental Health Awareness Month
4 World Cancer Day
12 International Epilepsy Day
12-16 STI / Condom Week
12-16 Pregnancy Awareness Week
12-18 National Epilepsy Week
16 Healthy Lifestyle Awareness Day


Caring Families

We recommend spending some time setting goals for the New Year as a family. Creating a Family Vision Board is a fun, interactive way to do this.

First, get together and discuss your goals and dreams for the year ahead. Then it’s time to get creative. Collect a stack of magazines, and cut out pictures or words that remind you of your goals. (Artistic types can also draw their own.) Put all these images together on a large pin-board or cardboard sheet. Display your Family Vision Board in a place where you can all see it daily, as a reminder to stay focused on making those dreams a reality.


Consumer Tip

The best gift you can give yourself this year is your health. A healthier life is a longer life, which means you’ll be able to enjoy more cherished time with your loved ones.

Schedule an annual physical check-up with your GP every year. This will give you and your doctor a chance to review your health and identify any potential risks. It will also empower you to make healthy, informed lifestyle decisions.


Set your Intentions for the New Year

The Circle Goals Exercise

If you want to put some solid resolutions in place for the coming year, but don’t know where to start, this simple and thought-provoking exercise is just what you need. The Circle Goals exercise is designed to help you make positive changes to all areas of your life, in a balanced and healthy way. Here’s how it’s done:

Step 1

Grab a cup of coffee or tea (or maybe a green smoothie, since this is all about New Year’s resolutions)! Get comfortable in your favourite chair, pick up your pen and journal, and you’re ready to get started.

Step 2

Draw a circle, and divide it into 6 equal segments, like pie-chart slices. In each segment, name an area of your life that you want to focus on for the next year – or DOWNLOAD a sample here

For example: Fitness, Finance, Career, Relationships, Spirituality, and Creativity.

The segments should be equal because it’s important to give equal attention to each category.

Step 3

For each segment, write out 5 realistic, measurable goals you want to accomplish. Be as specific as you can, and make sure you’ll be able to see the results of these goals a year from now.

For example: In the Finance segment, you might include a goal like “Have all financial information online by March”.

In the Creativity segment, you could include a goal like “Sign up for a 6-week art class”.

Take your time setting up your circle; don’t try to rush it. You might even want to come back to it in a few days and revise it, as the process sets your thoughts in motion.

Step 4

When your circle is finished, choose a goal from each category that is most important to you. Write down these 6 goals on a separate page, and keep them somewhere you’ll be able to read them often.

Step 5

After 6 months, look at your circle again and review it (without making any edits). Acknowledge what you have achieved so far, and think about what you can still realistically accomplish in the next 6 months.

Step 6

At the end of the year, look at your circle again, and reflect on each goal you’ve accomplished. Congratulate yourself for your achievements – maybe drink a toast to your success!

Remember, it’s very unlikely that you’ll get everything in your circle done, so don’t be too hard on yourself about those missed goals. The aim is to help yourself accomplish more than you expected, by prioritising the things that are most important.

Step 7

Now you can start the process again and set up your circle for the following year, including the goals you might not have been able to reach yet.

It might take you a few years of trying and adjusting your expectations, but if you persevere, you’ll find ways of moving towards the goals you still want to reach.

Tip: Share your circle with your closest friends and family, so that that they know what you’re trying to achieve, and are able to offer support where possible.

The Circle Goals process will prompt you to think about the improvements you want to make in all aspects of your life; physically, mentally and emotionally. We wish you all the best with your goals and dreams in the year to come!



New Year ideas and exercises
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Five Savvy Spending & Saving Tips for the New Year

We all look for ways to improve our physical health and fitness when the New Year begins, and many of us focus on cultivating better emotional wellness too. But how often do you think about your financial health?

December is typically a time of big spending and January offers no relief, with credit card bills stacking up and back-to-school costs adding strain. So how do you recover from the expenses of the festive season, and protect your financial wellbeing in the year to follow?

Budget, Budget, Budget

This is the first and most important tip for a healthier wallet! Draw up a monthly household budget, and stick to it. Be aware of how much you’re spending, and what you’re spending it on. This can be a daunting process, but it will leave you informed and empowered to take the next step.

Thanks to mobile technology, there are plenty of apps available today that will help you to track your finances, and make drawing up a budget less intimidating. Mint, GoodBudget and Trov are just a few examples.

Wants vs. Needs

This can be a tough one, because it requires you to be really honest about the luxury expenses you should be cutting back on. Look at the budget you’ve created, and identify the costs you can remove in the coming year. For example:

  • Do you really need that DStv or Netflix subscription? It might be hard to let go of, but think about it: You can rent must-watch movies and series shortly after they’re released, for a much smaller fee. Or you can buy them quite affordably on DVD and Blu-ray, then sell them second-hand and make back part of the money you spent. This requires a little extra effort, but it will add up to a lot of cash saved over the course of the year.
  • Do you really need to eat out at a restaurant every week or weekend? It’s much cheaper to embrace your inner foodie, and prepare your favourite meals at home. If you’ve got a bit of a green thumb, you can save even more by growing some of your own veggies and herbs. By next December, you’ll have more money set aside for a festive feast – not to mention some impressive new culinary skills to put it all together.

 Paper, Not Plastic

Get into the habit of carrying just enough cash to cover your purchases for the day; leave your credit cards at home. This will push you to set (and stay within) a realistic daily budget, plus it will help to prevent impulse spending.

Get More for Less

We spoke earlier about wants vs. needs, and how it makes sense to eliminate luxury expenses. But that doesn’t mean you should never treat yourself and your family; it just means you need to be smarter about the way you do it. Here’s some handy advice for making it work:

  • If you enjoy eating out (or you find it easier with your busy schedule), look for ways to do that more affordably. Keep an eye out for special “two for the price of one” deals or “kids eat free” offers at your favourite local restaurants.
  • Many restaurants and coffee shops will also offer loyalty cards, giving you the chance to earn points towards free meals and drinks. Be sure to take advantage of these, and you’ll be rewarded for making more frugal choices.
  • You can even enjoy the occasional shopping spree while still taking care of your financial health. Shop for your winter clothes at the beginning of summer, and vice versa. Shops will be trying to get rid of old stock, so it will be marked down in an end-of-season sale.
  • While we’re on the subject of shopping, forget fad fashions and invest in good quality pieces that will outlast short-lived trends. A slightly pricier but more versatile and long-lasting wardrobe means you can look like a million bucks, without spending nearly that much!

Plan Ahead

Give yourself a head-start on the next festive season with some clever spending habits. Instead of doing all your holiday shopping at once next December, do it piece by piece throughout the year.

  • Look out for specials on gift items your family will love, and allocate a bit of your monthly budget towards them.
  • Shop for next December’s holiday decorations in this year’s January sales.
  • Save on airfares and accommodation by booking your holiday trips earlier in the year. Or plan a relaxed holiday at home, and book your trip during the off-season when costs are lower anyway.

Following these five tips will give you a healthier bank balance and better peace of mind all year round.



Expert tips for surviving the weak rand
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Thirty tips to help you save money
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The best apps to track your money
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Solutions to Your Post-Holiday Health & Fitness Problems

The end of the festive season leaves most of us with that all-too-familiar feeling of tighter jeans, and a tell-tale number on the bathroom scale. Amidst the celebrations and stresses of the December holidays, it’s easy to fall into unhealthy habits and to overindulge, gaining some unwanted kilograms in the process.

There’s so much advice out there for anyone looking to get back into shape after the holidays; in fact, there’s a very lucrative industry built around it, with fad diets, “miracle” weight loss pills and pricey gym memberships. But many of these so-called solutions will simply set you up for failure, without a significant positive impact on your overall health.

Here are some smarter, more sustainable tips for better health and weight management in the New Year.

It’s OK to Start Slow

Yes, really! You don’t have to go full throttle from day one; in fact, you really shouldn’t.

If you try to do too much too fast, you’ll burn out and break your resolutions before January is even halfway through. If you ease into a new health regime and keep your expectations realistic, you’ll be more likely to stick with it, and less likely to put yourself under unnecessary pressure.

The best way to improve your health in the coming year is to take small but consistent steps towards your goals. Gradually reduce your calorie intake, while still allowing yourself regular, filling meals. Gradually increase your physical activity, without jumping into a vigorous workout that could strain you and set you back.

Fill Up on Fresh, Seasonal Produce

Summertime in southern Africa means an abundance of affordable fresh produce in every store. January is the perfect time to take advantage of this, by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Melons and summer berries, artichokes, aubergines and asparagus are all in season this time of year. They’re low in calories but high in nutrients (and flavour of course).

Make Smart Substitutions

Start cutting back on the unhealthier parts of your diet, in a way that won’t leave you feeling deprived (and more likely to give in and cheat). You can do this by looking for healthy, tasty substitutions, one at a time.

Swap sugary soda for sparkling water with fresh lemon and lime; order a side of rice instead of fries; snack on nuts, raisins and dates instead of crisps and sweets. Get creative! Your body will thank you in the weeks to come.

Have Fun with Fitness

A shiny new January gym membership might sound like a good idea at the time, but if the treadmill just isn’t your thing, chances are you’ll soon be stuck with costly fees on a membership you hardly ever use. Instead, find a type of exercise that you’ll actually enjoy, and want to do regularly. Kickboxing, yoga, swimming, road running – there’s so much to choose from!

Exercising 3 to 4 days a week for just 20 to 30 minutes can make a big improvement to your health. So even if you’re short on time with all the demands of a post-holiday work schedule, you can still fit a realistic new fitness routine into your day.



How to lose holiday weight gain
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Three steps to get back on track, post-holiday indulgence
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Seasonal chart – fruit and vegetables
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Sunsmart Skin Cancer Awareness Month
4 World Braille Day
31 World Leprosy Day


Caring families

Speak to your children about abuse. By taking to our children about abuse and educating the next generation, we create future awareness and help-seeking behaviour for up-and-coming adults. Download the LifeAssist ‘Joining Hands’ activity to help you along the way. The activity is not only education, but also a way for the family to get together and be creative.


Consumer tip

Live HIV-well by taking your medication daily, going for the recommended vaccinations, keeping appointments with your health care provider(s), being active, eating healthy, limiting alcohol, cutting out the use of drugs and smoking, and always condomise.


From peace in the home to peace in the world

During the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, the call is to bridge women’s rights, human rights and peace movements to challenge militarism and end violence against women.

For decades women’s rights, human rights and peace movements have advocated for the use of peaceful strategies to end conflict and violence and achieve women’s rights. These movements challenge the social structures that allow discrimination to continue. While we may have different approaches to bringing about a more just world, advocacy in these areas is inherently tied to challenging militarism and putting forward peaceful, feminist alternatives.

Feminist theory emphasises the need for a multisectoral approach, which entails examining the ways in which issues such as food security, environmental degradation, corporate interests, reproductive and sexual rights, poverty, religious intolerance, racism, etc., are implicated in militarism. Recognising such connections highlights the ways in which different movements can gain from addressing and eroding militarism. Given these linkages, and to spark transformative change, it is crucial that women’s rights, human rights and peace movements share information. Similarly, international conversations are important for demonstrating the ways in which peace at home extends outward and relates to peace in the world.

For many people, feeling safe and secure has little to do with arms or the military. Rather, security is about freedom of movement, freedom of expression, having a job, food, and access to clean water, being in loving relationships, and more. A human rights approach which prioritises women’s realities can help facilitate these aspirations and promote the fact that peace is necessary for the achievement of development and genuine security.

When addressing major power structures that promote and perpetuate violence against women, it is sometimes difficult to know where and how to begin. One question to ask is, “Who profits?” Conflicts are often related to the control of resources within what is often referred to as the military industrial complex. Within this context, the production and sale of weapons continue to be a leading global industry. In addition, military and rebel groups are often complicit in human rights violations and in using resources obtained through conflict to fund wars. Related entry points include advocacy around national budgets, military spending, foreign and military aid, and multi-national corporations directly and indirectly involved in conflict areas.

Regardless of which “entry point” you choose, we hope you will reach out to new partners in various movements during this year’s campaign. Through collective action, we can make a much bigger impact!


Suggested actions

  • Lobby your government: The UN Security Council has passed a number of resolutions (1325, 1820, 1888, 1889, and 1960) related to women, peace and security, and governments are asked to make commitments to implement them. Ask your government how it plans to act on these resolutions, and lobby for women’s participation in decision making at all levels on peace and security issues, including: peace negotiations; demobilisation; disarmament; repatriation; resettlement and reintegration; reconciliation and reparation processes; and peace-building, recovery and reconstruction efforts.
  • Bridge movements: Leading up to the 16 Days Campaign, reach out to women’s rights, human rights, and peace organisations that you haven’t worked with and ask them to partner with you on an event during the campaign. If possible, host planning meetings ahead of time so that you can learn more about each other’s work and perspectives.
  • Monitor government spending: The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) has been gathering information on countries’ military expenditures and has put together a guide for comparing military spending []…
  • Follow the money: Governments aren’t the only ones involved in the business of war. Research which companies benefit from conflicts or use “conflict minerals”, and write a complaint or consider boycotting their products.
  • Celebrate: Having positive role models and hearing success stories about women’s peaceful activism are crucial for the growth of the movements. These accounts inspire us to carry on with our activism in difficult times and remind us that we are part of a powerful global effort. During this year’s 16 Days Campaign celebrate the positive role models in your life and share stories about other women making change around the world. Visit Peace Women Across the Globe to read about the 1,000 women nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 and learn more about their courageous and creative work for peace and social justice! [].


What does security mean to you?

Additional resource: (A Take Action Kit is provided by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. Each year the toolkit is updated to match the year’s theme. This is available at


Amnesty International:
AWID: Building Feminist Movements:
FemLINK Pacific:
Gender Action for Peace and Security:
Global Day of Action on Military Spending:
Global Network of Women Peacebuilders:
Human Rights Watch:
International Peace Bureau:
NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security:
WILPF. (2009) You Get What you Pay For. Available online from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom:
Women, War and Peace (UN Women):

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