Aug 21, 2013

Creative Happiness and Health: One Food

Being a creative in this world may not be the easiest of paths but there are some things we can do to make the journey more pleasurable. For those on a budget healthy eating may seem a trivial concern; it is however a major source of emotional well-being, effecting all areas of our lives, including work. 

Some foods in particular, activate hormones and areas of the brain associated with emotional harmony. These options that are also available on a budget. 

Omega-3 for joy!
There is evidence that Omega-3 DHA (a type of omega-3 fat) produces alterations in serotonin and dopamine levels (the chemical messengers that moderate our moods). Serotonin is associated with happiness and dopamine with pleasure. Studies show that higher fish consumption in a nation correlates with lower rates of depression in its population. Omega-3 fatty acids may also promote healthy mood by ensuring optimal blood flow to the brain. (in some cases reduced blood flow to certain areas of the brain have been linked with depression). This healthy oil has an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain, guarding against anxiety and depression.

Did you know?  

1.The omega-3 fatty acid EPA is as effective as fluoxetine (Prozac) in treating depression
2. High-doses of EPA rich fish oil rich has remarkable benefits on those suffering with uni-polar and bi-polar depression. 

May Benefit: 

Those suffering from Cardiovascular Disease, Fatigue, Depression, Type 2 Diabetes, Dry, itchy skin, Joint pain, Brittle hair and nails and an inability to concentrate,

Affordable sources of Omega-3:
Tinned Sardines, mackerel, anchovies, pilchards, herring (kipper), salmon, (tinned salmon is generally wild which makes it a vast deal more beneficial than its farmed counterpart), *flaxseed, *walnuts.  


Reduce the consumption of processed food and refined carbohydrates (white flour, rice, pasta etc). Processed foods are typically high in Omega-6 and refined foods cause the body to generate insulin. Both these factors in excess seem to cause cellular inflammation which in itself may contribute to depression. It is also most likely that Omega 6 competes with Omega 3 in the body. 

*There is some debate as to whether vegetable sources such as flaxseed and walnuts are reliable sources of DHA (a type of Omega-3 fat). Some vegan and vegetarian products are now being produced from algae which contain good levels of DHA. In fact fish feed on this algae which is why they themselves are good sources of Omega-3! (these may be more expensive)

Internet Links:
Foods Highest in Omega-3
Anxiety and Omega-3
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Inflammation

Copyright ©2013 The ahr-tis-tik mind.
Material can be shared using appropriate links to this site.

Aug 19, 2013

Creatives Renting in London: How to find cheap and cheerful rental properties

When moving to London most *creatives initially look for somewhere reasonable rather than the pent house or gypsy caravan (who knows?!) of their dreams.
Areas with recommendations include: Hoxton, Bethnal Green, Hackney, Clapham Common. Also Greenwich and Hampstead Heath if you can get a look in on a budget. Camden and Islington are quite popular although not personally! (0: Proximity to public transport is a large factor in rental pricing it is also a major point to consider. 

Useful Links:
All in London, Boroughs & Areas
London Town: Boroughs & Clickable Map

The “How to” list.

1. Develop an idea of where you want like to live.
2. Armchair search: Do some initial online fact gathering –Easyroommate, Prime Location and Zoopla make good starting points. (Further information at Creative London Making the Move: Part 1) it is advisable to skip straight to the estate agent section and contact each directly. Remember to ask industry contacts and check out notice boards in places like The Actors’ Centre etc too. 
3. Factor in transport costs, council tax (rates vary in every borough) as well as the usual expenses. “Studios” in general include council taxes. Electricity and/or gas is sometimes also included. 
4. Viewings: Only look at places you are truly interested in renting, making the search as short and painless as possible. 
5. Move in and try to swing your cat! (; 

Useful links:

Up Your Chances of Finding a Bargain (Scroll down to end section) 
Cheapest Places to Rent London 2012 Transport Included is money
Hidden Fees and other Bug Bears 

Ask before viewing in relation to estate agent and admin charges, unfortunately these are very much the norm. One advantage of sharing private properties via easyroommate etc is that estate agent fees can be avoided. 

Rent pricing is usually by week (although rent is payable by the month!) This makes properties more expensive than they seem. 

As is the norm in most cities renting a property requires a months rent as a deposit. Rent is also paid in advance. i.e moving in requires two months of rent up front. 

A large majority of Gumtree ads were not private properties for rent as advertised (during my own property search) but rather middle-men offering to set up property viewings (for a fee -on top of an already substantial estate agent fee!) 

My deposits: In theory this compulsory scheme keeps a tenants deposit safe. In actuality it isn't hugely effective - in the instance of a “dispute” (a Landlord/letting agent failing to return the deposit etc) the landlords seem to be held in higher esteem than the tenants. Do ascertain that the deposit is at the very least registered through my deposit however, as is the landlord/letting agents legal obligation -at the very least you will have a leg to stand on should any issues arise. cat has toxoplasmosis and you're worried

The Bugs and Bears: Cats in shops may initially seem quirky but they serve an ulterior purpose. Check rental properties (especially studios) for signs of “little visitors”. Unless their entry points can be blocked it is almost impossible to get rid of them! 

Double glazing: Being a large city, living beside a main road can be a challenge - be prepared to wear ear plugs at night! Double glazing may help however! 

Steel yourself, in particular if moving from a smaller city, properties are minuscule and "novel design features" in “studios” often include a shower rudely placed in the middle of the room! It is also common place in studios to share a bathroom and generally speaking there are no washers or dryers shared or other. Laundromats are speckled across every borough, however. 

Bedsits/studios tend to be totally empty when rented which has its advantages (it is not necessary to clear others clutter) and disadvantages (it may be necessary to start from scratch –i.e forks, knives, cups, kettles etc.) 

The ahr-tis-tik mind

On a personal note: Living in close proximity to some form of oxygen producing greenery can offer a comforting respite from the clamour and hustle and bustle. 

Ensure that there are supermarkets nearby especially for those without their own transport! 

If a daily commute is not a necessity, an alternative would be to live further from the city to get more bang for your buck. Truly ascertain if the area has adequate razzle and dazzle however, as suburban London can be bleak, and commuting for a simple cup of coffee would be a false economy.

(*This word does not officially exist but I am rather exasperated with writing “creative people” a zillion times over!)

Copyright ©2013 The ahr-tis-tik mind.
Material belonging to The ahr-tis-tik mind can be shared using appropriate links to this site.

You may also like:
Creative London Making the Move: Part 1
Creative London Making the Move: Part 2
Living in a Matchbox

Aug 16, 2013

Friday's Top Arts' Articles!

And in no particular order, drumroll...

IdeasTap: How to Launch a Book
Think Progress: Hollywood's Disinterest in Women, this Generation
The Irish Times: Artists and Parenting
The Guardian: Creative Inspiration for Artists
Backstage: 5 Things to Remember Every Audition

Remember to let us know what you think!