Following the Christmas period, with its abundance of roast potatoes, mince pies and tubs of Quality Street, lots of people resolve to hop on the fitness train. If that’s you, our top tips are:
Pace yourself: it’s easy to overdo it in a ‘New Year, New Me’ surge of determination, but committing to the gym every morning before work, four spinning classes a week and depriving yourself of carbs, isn’t sustainable. Instead, start small and increase your workouts gradually. To get you going, here’s a full beginner’s workout
On a budget: For those who can’t afford an annual gym membership, yoga is ideal – it’s free. You can do it at a park, your kitchen or your desk. Plus there’s a pose or a variation for all levels and capabilities. Can’t clasp your hands behind your back? Use a towel to make the connection. Gradually, yoga will build strength in all your muscle groups and increase flexibility.
Sleep: Although this seems contradictory, sleep is an important part of staying active. If you’re not getting sufficient sleep it’ll be a lot harder to get motivated and get moving. Create a bedtime ritual to wind down your mind and body before sleep. If you’re in the habit of scrolling through your phone before bed, set a reminder to stop looking at your phone. This can help kick start your pre-bed routine.
It’s not simply about breaking a sweat. The New Year is the perfect time to start focusing on your general wellbeing, physical and mental. Our top tips are:
Make time for you: allocate at least a couple of hours a week solely to yourself and remember to leave work at work; set yourself boundaries and stick to them, mute your emails outside of work hours and use lists to compartmentalise your tasks.
Switch off your gadgets: it’s so important to find time away from the screen – phones, tablets, laptops – and give yourself time to reflect and recharge. Instead of scrolling through social media before work, why not go for a walk? This is good for your fitness and can help free up your mind to plan the day ahead.
Reaching out: If you’re struggling with your mental health, or just want someone to talk to, there are a whole range of organisations and people who can help. The Samaritans are available 24 hours a day and offer emotional support, while Rethink provide practical advice on therapy, medication and more. Look here for even more options.
After December, arguably the most expensive month in the calendar, it’s in most people’s interest to think about saving cash. If you’re one of those people here’s some of our top tips:
Be realistic and indulge in moderation: if you’re serious about saving, it’s tempting to transfer a huge chunk of your salary over to your savings account each month. But the urge to splurge will kick in. To combat this, treat yourself to one item a month that you really want and then put away as much as you can realistically afford. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Be selective: If you’re looking to open an ISA, make sure you have the right one for you. Don’t just stick to the bank you’ve got a current account with – look around and see where you can get the best deal. It’ll be worth it in the long run. For more on your options take a look here.
App it: If you’re bad with managing your spending, get some help in the form of an app. Monzo for example, categorises your purchases so you can identify where you’re spending the most. With Squirrel, your money is drip-fed into your account weekly so you can manage it better, making every Monday feel like payday. If these examples don’t work for you, don’t worry, there are loads more…
If you’re dreaming of discovering new places in 2019, there’s a whole world out there to consider. Our advice is to plan ahead; here are some of our best travel tips:
Lists are your friend: Make a list of everything you need to buy, pack or book. Ticking off each item/task will give you peace of mind and ensure you’re properly prepared for your trip. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at our checklist before jetting off.
Be tactical: Make the most of your bank holidays when booking time off work and make sure you’re going to the right places at the right time – research when the best festivals/celebrations take place and if you’re after sun, check the average temperatures for each month. It’s also usually always cheaper to book your flights on a weekday.
Get down with the locals: When you’re there, make sure you speak to the locals - they’ll be able to tell you the best places to go, which if they’re off the beaten track won’t be nearly as busy as the tourist-filled guided experiences.
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