How collecting bottle tops can give your love life a boost

Flowers and fancy dinners are all well and good, but more Australians are finding that a shared passion project can be an even better way to bond with the people they care about.

One unrecognisable woman is taking a vacation sunset walk on an idyllic beach.  In the foreground is a single use Plastic water bottle top, in the otherwise pristine sand.  Seemingly harmless, it represents the massive environmental issue that is Global Ocean Pollution.  Plastic in the Ocean is said to be one of the largest threats to our ocean ecosystems.  Over 8 million tonnes is dumped in the Ocean every year.  Discarded, abandoned or obsolete items which become dangerous garbage, is responsible for the deaths of huge amounts of Marine Life every year, through entanglement and consumption.  The location here is Ko Lanta, Krabi, Thailand.

This article was originally published by Stellar and has been republished here with permission.

Doing something you love gains new meaning when you do it with someone you care about. Among the lessons learnt during last year’s lockdown (which included how to wash our hands really, really well), we all got a crash-course in finding quirky and creative ways to amuse ourselves, particularly with those closest to us. For some, this has meant online ukulele lessons and litres of failed homemade yoghurt attempts. For others, the time has resulted in lasting passion projects that have helped them to learn something new about themselves, forge new connections or strengthen their ties with the special people in their lives.

After all, couples, families and friends celebrating each other’s interests can foster deeper connections, which is key in Medibank’s Live Better program. It celebrates the unexpected and extraordinary ways of living better and encourages people to do so with inspirational health and lifestyle content, rewards* for eligible members for healthy living and by supporting free activities to help everyone eat, move and feel better.

So, whether you start your own Instagram food project with your partner, round up some friends for morning tai chi session or start a book club with people you meet at the dog park, there are endless ways to bond with others, while learning to eat, move and feel better through new hobbies and ventures. Here are some people making the most of their passion projects.

Love not waste

Romantic walks on the beach have newfound purpose for Kayla Mossuto and her partner Piers. The couple recently launched their new recycling venture after collecting 300,000 discarded bottle tops in their travels. With a little creativity, energy and lots of cooperation, the pair have turned these hard-to-recycle items into products such as combs and soap dishes.

“Last year gave us the push we needed to follow our dreams and fully launch our passion project,” Kayla says. “One year on and our social enterprise Precious Plastic Melbourne is in full swing.

“We're happier as a family and able to spend more time with our son. Whether it be something you do in your spare time or something you hope to make a living from, working on or developing projects together is a really special way to bond with your partner.”

Puppy love

Most pet-mad couples prioritised their purr-fect four-legged friends while working from home.

Mark Polchleb and his husband Shannon Grixti launched an Instagram account for their two dachshunds Billie and Ollie — and it now has a super-engaged following of close to 100,000.

“It solidified the trend in instantly becoming closer to our dogs by spending every waking hour with them — and loving every minute of it. I even appeared on Kelly Clarkson’s talk show,” Mark says.

“Working on passion projects together can definitely bring out the best in your relationship. If you find something you each can bring something to the table for, can have some fun with and feel a sense of accomplishment from by working together, it’s full of positives.”

Love of metal

Belting out tunes at the top of your lungs isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for 44-year-old Garth, it is his way of living better. And you wouldn’t know just by looking at him.

From glam metal to death metal, music has become a wonderful passion project to soothe his mind after a long day of customer service.

“The beat of the drums sync up to your heart beat,” Garth says. “Then the lyrics come in and they lead you to feeling happy, or sad. It depends what emotion you want to feel.”

Much like his relationship with partner Alan, Garth’s connection with heavy metal runs deep.

“It’s a voice that says it’s okay to be you. And that’s what I found,” he says.

The power of music is hard to deny. Whether you want to sing to celebrate or dance like no one’s watching, it has a profound impact on our mental health and wellbeing.

Father hugs his daughter

Could this be living better?

What if living better didn't come with a guilt trip? See how real Aussies are living better and still doing what they love.

*Must be 18 years or over and have a valid Australian residential address to register for Medibank Live Better. Must be a Medibank member with hospital cover, extras cover, or hospital and extras cover, be up-to-date with premium payments and have signed up to Medibank Live Better with ‘My Medibank’ or have linked their MyMedibank account with their Live Better account to redeem rewards. Excludes Overseas Visitor health cover, Working Visa health cover, Overseas Student Health Cover, ahm covers and other selected covers. See full Medibank Live Better terms at medibank.com.au/livebetter/rewards/terms/

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