This month, in our founder Abi’s column, she shares her love of learning new skills, how good it is for naturally improving well being and where to find a course you’ll love.
Is there any feeling more satisfying than opening a fresh notebook (recycled, of course) ready to learn? Even though I’m beyond back-to-school age, I still find something lovely about that ‘prepared to learn’ feeling.
This year, my learning journey is less formal, more business related as we introduce new formulations, introduce new technologies (we recently bought a new powder mixer for our hair formulations – abi let’s get the pic of the machine going in here) and continue to grow the business.
The end the result is still the same though. Learning new skills helps keep me engaged in the world and excited about the future.
A Family Affair
Enjoying the process of learning is a hand-me-down from Margaret, my mother and co-founder of Odylique. Although she was qualified in aromatherapy and herbal medicine, she didn’t learn to create natural skincare products until she had to tackle our family’s chronic eczema.
The whole journey from there to our launch in 2003 was an incredible journey of learning skills; from product formulation, to manufacturing, marketing and more. Throughout that time Margaret took real joy in finding new ways to make organic skincare that really makes a difference.
Top-to-Toe Health Benefits
Of course, in this day-and-age learning is something we all must do regularly. Every day, technology seems to bring a new tool or platform we ‘have’ to know, which experts in well being suggest is a good thing.
Whilst our ability to learn new skills peaks in our teens, learning helps us to build new neural pathways for our whole lives. This means that our brains get a workout, helping it to function more effectively.
By keeping our brains active in this way, we can protect ourselves against conditions like dementia and mitigate memory loss caused by ageing.
Often, when we commit to learning there is a social element. Even online, there are likely to be groups and webinars that bring people together. Especially after 2020, when many of us experienced isolation, this has huge benefits for our sense of belonging.
We can also learn new physical skills. Since lock down ended, there’s been a surge in people challenging themselves to learn activities like paddle boarding, surfing, yoga and cycling as we seek to reconnect to nature. That can only be a good thing for our brains (exercise releases protective endorphins) and bodies.
Dance is a fantastic choice if you’re looking to support your memory. In a study by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, they found that dancing is associated with 76% reduced risk of dementia among the participants.
How to learn:
Be patient: Firstly, give yourself time. If you’re new to learning or have had a big break from it, it can feel intimidating.
It’s easy to say, don’t put pressure on yourself. Some people find it beneficial to spend a little time reminding themselves of study skills (Future Learn has some great free online options).
Ask your peers: Know someone who is great at what you want to learn? Ask them to show you how. I’m a big fan of peer-to-peer learning at Odylique. Our team is super-skilled, and I actively encourage sharing of knowledge with each other to help everyone develop. Don’t be scared to ask someone to help you – we all love to feel like an expert, it’s incredibly flattering.
Find a social element: Research suggests we learn better in a group. Find a course, or group of people to do your learning with. It helps with nerves if everyone is in the same boat and you can make friends along the way.
Choose something you enjoy: If you’ve been tasked by your boss to learn something new it might not be something you naturally love, but developing your skills is still something to be proud of. Of course, it is easier if you enjoy what you’re working on though, so pick something you’re at least interested in, to get you through any tougher moments on your journey.
We’d love to know what you’re currently learning about on Facebook – extra points if it’s organic skincare! Tag us @ odylique and we’ll reward the best mentions with a discount code!