Wellness on a budget
The cost of city life is rising and with it, the price of wellness. The thought of how much money we need to achieve a state of wellbeing can be gut-wrenching. At Balance, we’re fully aware of the daily struggle to practice self-care without spending an arm and a leg in the process. So, allow us to share some tips on how to integrate wellness into your daily life without breaking the bank.
WORKING TOWARDS WELLNESS
It’s all too easy to stay in the office all day, eating at your desk and hardly moving from your chair, but there are plenty of ways to practice wellness at work. A recent study by Totaljobs discovered a third of UK workers don’t leave the office at all during the work day, while more than 50 per cent didn’t take their full lunch break, despite being encouraged to do so.
We all know taking a break from work actually increases productivity, so when lunchtime rolls around, make the effort to leave the office. Take a walk, look up at the skyscrapers, buildings and trees around you. The change in perspective will slow the overactive mind and encourage gratitude and mindfulness. Having a decent meal will also help boost energy. A homemade packed lunch is an easy way to save money and ensure you’re punctuating your day with nutritious fuel for mind and body.
TRY Finding wide open green spaces near you in which to relax and clear your head, before returning to your desk. Visit gov.uk/find-your-local-park.
- Looking for free packed lunch inspiration? Dr Hazel Wallace (aka @thefoodmedic on Instagram) serves up a daily dose of #FoodPorn, which will pep up even the dreariest of lunch breaks.
- Motivating your daily walks by downloading the FitBit App. Even if you don’t own one of their wearables, it will track you with GPS and log steps, speed, elevation and more.
MOMENTS OF MINDFULNESS
If you struggle with awareness and keeping a healthy perspective, mindful meditation can help you find clarity. Meditation can seem daunting if you’re a first-timer, but studios such as Re:Mind and TriYoga offer classes for beginners that provide guidance to help with both technique and understanding.
Re:Mind’s drop in classes make it that much easier to refocus and reconnect while at TriYoga, each class combines meditation and mindfulness to provide an opportunity to pause and reflect on your day.
Once you’ve got a handle on it, meditation can be a quick and easy way to clear and refocus the mind. Free apps such as Headspace and Calm are a great backup that you can use wherever you are to find some zen.
TRY Taking a peek at mindful.org for free tutorials and guided meditations.
- Providing over 19,000 free guided meditations, the Insight Timer app offers a wallet-friendly way into the mindful practice.
FOOD FOR THE THRIFTY
Food can be overly costly if you’re not careful, but you don’t have to be on top of the latest trends to eat well. Simple but nutritious foods can be quick and easy to prep at home and buying in bulk from zero waste shops like Unpackaged in Planet Organic stores means you’ll not only do your bit for the planet, but you’ll also reduce your outgoings.
If you’re green-fingered, growing your own veg is a great way to save cash, with the handy side effect of being extremely satisfying. With indoor growing kits and cultivators now easily accessible, you don’t need an acre of land to grow your legumes.
Registered nutritional therapist Alice Mackintosh recommends committing to a plant-based diet two days per week. “This will help reduce your weekly food budget as legumes are cheaper than meat and fish.”
TRY Heading to Angela Liddon’s award-winning recipe blog, Oh She Glows, for budget-friendly plant-based recipes.
- Starting from just £6.50, Ikea has a handy range of small space and indoor-friendly cultivators to help you grow your own veggies.
- Paying a visit to The Store Cupboard in Crystal Palace for all your bulk buying needs. Plus, if you bring your own containers, you get an extra five per cent off.
FROM YOUTUBE TO YOGI
You don’t have to be an expert to do the downward dog or cat-cow pose: there is a ton of online resource to help you get bendy. BALANCE’s go-to online yoga partner is Adriene Mishler, of YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene. Her light-hearted, 30-minute tutorials encourage you to “find what feels good” and specifically help with everything from stress management to strengthening your core.
If you’re looking for something with a little more oomph, Ali Kamenova’s Interval Yoga is short (but intense) and aims to develop strength, tone and flexibility.
TRY Working on flexibility and strength with an easy to follow tutorial by Yoga with Kassandra.
- Getting your blood pumping with one of Sadie Nardini’s supercharged cardio HIIT workouts.
WORKOUTS WITHOUT THE PAYOUTS
A University of Essex study on the effect of outdoor workouts concluded “green exercise improves both self-esteem and mood”, so there really is no downside. The pavement, a local park or even your garden can become your personal (and free) workout space. Offering a hand is the abundance of free and low-cost fitness apps that aim to motivate and inspire.
With its combination of classes and high BPM music, Aaptiv ensures there’s no way you’ll struggle for motivation during your next cardio session, while upgrading to Freeletics Bodyweight’s premium service will unlock “The Coach”, providing further personalised training and advanced features including a tailored training plan and feedback.
If you’re running short on time (and money), the Johnson & Johnson 7-Minute Workout offers bite-sized sessions you can do anywhere.
TRY Visiting ourparks.org.uk for a wide variety of free outdoor fitness classes, ranging from dance fitness to circuit training
- Joining free group ChasingLightsCollective which offers regular runs around London.
- Doing good while you work out with GoodGym, a group dedicated to combining exercise with helping out the community.
SLEEP THE STRESS AWAY
We all know lack of, or poor quality sleep, results in an increased risk of modern life’s ailments. As neuroscientist and author of bestselling book Why We Sleep Matthew Walker explains, “The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.”
One simple technique to try is setting an alarm for going to bed, just as you do for getting up. This helps you get into a routine and eventually, your body will know when to start winding down; you’ll even become sleepy around the same time every night.
If you struggle to sleep, you may be lacking in magnesium. You can boost levels naturally by eating more leafy greens and fish, or buying over-the-counter supplements to help you to drift off. A few spritzes of the BetterYou MagnesiumOil Goodnight spray will help relieve muscle tension and relax the senses, allowing you to disappear into a restful sleep.
TRY Tracking and analysing your slumber, with the Sleep Cycle app pinpointing the time you should wake up and go to bed for optimal kip.
- For an analogue experience, try logging your food, caffeine and alcohol intake, and any exercise and naps in a sleep diary. This will help you work out the factors that might be inhibiting your sleep.