Dulcie Swanston and Dr Iain Price of The52Project have converted 52 well-being tips into a book, DOSE: Personal Prescriptions for a Happier Life and 52 Science Based Ways to Get It. 10% of all profits from DOSE will be donated to the Big Issue to help support Big Issue vendors.
The52Project makes well-being work for all by unlocking the science behind new and existing well-being tips. The tips are simplified to make them low-no cost in order to be more accessible.
In 2021, The52Project went live on Instagram weekly with a well-being tip to support viewers through lockdown. The videos are still on their Instagram, but DOSE summarises each tip.
DOSE includes suggestions for which tips go well together as well as possible combinations. These combinations may help people with particular challenges, such as loneliness or wanting a quick energy boost.
To learn more about DOSE, we had a Q&A with Dulcie.
Q: Tell us about you and “DOSE”
A: DOSE is an acronym – relating to 4 chemicals that are responsible for a lot of our mental and physical health and wellbeing – Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins. Lots of people have heard of one or more of these chemicals, but not everyone realises that you can ‘force’ your body to release them by deliberately doing particular activities.
This means that you can help yourself to feel more positive, increase your energy and motivation by choosing to add particular habits into your daily routine.
Some of the tips we cover (there are 52 of them!) are really well known, so for example taking cold showers or exercising gives you an endorphin rush. But fewer people know that an afternoon bath is good for mild depression or that writing down grateful thoughts releases both serotonin and dopamine. We wanted to share lots of really simple tips – and most of them cost very little or nothing. This means that anyone can choose a few to stack together and form a ‘personal prescription’ for a happier life.
Q:What inspired you to put the book together?
A: Lockdown was really hard for all of us, and we were working together remotely and simply got talking about some of the habits that we felt were our lifesavers during those difficult times. I swear by cold showers while Iain educates people on the power of sleep. Both these tips have solid scientific reasons why they actually work. We wondered if we could find 52 tips so that we could share 1 per week with people during lockdown and help their mental health in particular. The52Project was born! We did indeed find 52 scientifically backed tips and shared one per week on Instagram during 2021. The book brings them all together!
Q:Do you have a favourite tip/habit from the 52?
A: I was already turning my shower cold for the last 2 minutes and drinking beetroot juice and these are tips I swear by, but I enjoyed learning about tips I hadn’t really heard about. I now always make my bed – and I have a pint of water by me in bed – not for when I sleep, but I now always drink a full pint before I get out of bed in the morning without fail!
Q: Why did you choose to support Big Issue?
A: I had bought the Big Issue as many people do, without really giving it much thought, but as lockdown hit, I was really struck by just how much we take for granted when we have a home and a stable life. I kept asking the question – How can you lockdown if you have nowhere to go? I almost immediately subscribed to The Big Issue to keep supporting the organisation when vendors could not sell the magazine and make a living. When we had the idea for The52Project, we decided that if people didn’t want to try a habit, (like a cold shower!) they shouldn’t feel guilty as not every tip suits everyone. Instead, they could pay £1 to pass on it! We wanted to continue donating even though lockdown is over as the charity has become close to our hearts ever since.
Q: How do you plan to promote the book?
A: We are hoping that the community that joined us to find the ideas and test them out will help us the most! Many of the tips came from our audience and we collected ‘Tales from our Testers’ – real people who tried the tips in real life to see if they worked and tested how easy the tips were to integrate into busy lives. Because the tips do work and science explains why, we are hoping that word of mouth based on the fact that stacking a few of these tips together should help anyone who tries it, will promote the book for us!
Q: What would you say to someone who is considering starting a blog or writing a book?
A: It’s easier than it’s ever been with the growth in self-publishing and the advent of ‘print on demand’ which means that anyone can write a book and get it published so I would say go for it. Do your research well, keep at it (in my experience saying I was going to write a book and starting to write one were reasonably easy but finishing one is so hard!) However, there is literally nothing like the feeling of holding a book that you wrote in your hands. This is my 3rd book, but I’m still amazed that I have actually done it when I hold it in my hand!!
Make a Positive Change
We’ve already got our hands on DOSE and are looking forward to diving in! Find a well-being tip that resonates with you and give it a go – it might just change how you see the world. Order your copy from Amazon or Waterstones and have 10% of the profit donated to support Big Issue vendors.
When most people think about the Big Issue, they think of vendors selling the Big Issue magazines on the streets – and we are immensely proud of this. In 2022 alone, we worked with 10% more vendors and these vendors earned £3.76 million in collective income. There is much more to the work we do at the Big Issue Group, our mission is to create innovative solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunity for the 14million people in the UK living in poverty.