Five ways to enjoy the little things in life
You’ve heard it a thousand times - the best things in life are free. But still, we find ourselves daydreaming about what it would be like to win the lottery.
Some of us fantasise about buying a dream house. Or perhaps you see yourself dressed head to toe in designer clothes and driving a fancy car. Whatever you’d spend your lottery winnings on, not having to worry about money is a luxury most of us probably wish for.
But as the chances of winning the lottery are somewhat slim, we’re here to remind you how to enjoy the little things in life for free. Keep reading for self care tips and ideas proven to make you happier without spending a penny.
First, what is self care?
The meaning of self care can be defined as taking steps to preserve or improve your well-being and happiness.
It’s impossible to talk about how to appreciate the little things in life without mentioning self care. In 2017, it was added to the dictionary. And since then, the popularity and importance of self care has only increased - it’s now considered to be a multi-million-pound industry. But don’t worry, our self care ideas are strictly of the free kind.
Here are our top five ways to improve your self care routine by enjoying the little things in life. They’re also perfect for busy parents and families.
1. Soak up some fresh air
It’s proven that being out in fresh air uplifts your happiness and well-being. Don’t worry - you don’t have to own walking boots and hike up a mountain if that’s not for you. You can pop your headphones on, head outside, and tune into a podcast, or listen to your favourite album as you potter through the park.
On a wet, cold day, it can be tempting to stay cosied up inside. But not getting enough fresh air can make you feel tired and grumpy. For more cold weather inspiration, read our blog on making the most of the outdoors in winter with ideas that’ll make you all feel warm and fuzzy – on the inside, at least.
Spending time in nature, even if it's just a small patch of green at your local park, can really improve your mood. According to experts , being inside all day can make you feel agitated and restricted, whereas fresh air can give you a better perspective of life. Not only does it boost your body’s vitamin D production, but being outside can increase your endorphin levels. Endorphins are chemicals that boost happiness by relieving pain and stress.
So, get your shoes on and make time each day to go for a walk, even if it’s just a brief stroll.
2. Cook up a storm
Enjoying a good meal is a guaranteed mood lifter. Although indulging in comfort foods like pizza and pasta tastes great, why not go the extra mile and try to recreate your favourite meal from a restaurant you love – but probably can’t visit?
Sometimes, the enjoyment of a good meal is that you don’t have to cook it yourself. But think of it this way – splurging on a celebratory meal at a restaurant feels good because it’s a special treat. But you don’t need to eat out to make a meal special, you can save yourself some money by cooking it at home. Dress up your dining table (and yourself!), light some candles and get ready to celebrate – whether it’s a birthday, new job, or just because it’s Friday.
Start browsing some recipes, pop on your apron, and get cooking.
3. Reach out to a friend
We can all get so wrapped up in life that sometimes we forget how good it feels to catch up with friends. And we’re not talking about liking a friend's social media post or messaging on WhatsApp – really catch up. Studies have actually shown that digital messaging, like sending a text to a friend, can cause stress and anxiety.
We’re suggesting you take it old school. Why not surprise your friend with a letter? Writing letters is a bit of a lost art, but it’s a great way to show someone you’re thinking of them. Everyone loves receiving letters, right? But writing them can make you feel happier too. Positive psychologist and mindfulness expert Deborah Smith says, “Doing something nice for someone else makes you happy, especially if you know they’ll really like it. Taking the time to handwrite a letter shows you care, that you’ve made an extra effort and you’ve really considered the other person.”
4. Kick start those endorphins
Everyone knows exercise is good for the body. The NHS recommends 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week and reminds us that exercising reduces the risk of major illnesses. But don’t forget exercise is also good for the mind.
When you exercise, you release serotonin, which is a chemical known for maintaining mood balance. It also releases endorphins, which triggers a positive feeling, particularly useful if you’re feeling stressed.
Gym memberships can be expensive, and if you’re new to exercising, you may feel a bit self-conscious about working out in a room full of muscled strangers. And many may be closed as lockdown tiers come and go. But there are lots of ways to enjoy exercise, and looking online may be a good place to start. On YouTube, you can find thousands of free classes at your fingertips with skills ranging from beginner to expert.
5. Watch an old favourite movie
Leave your phone in another room, close the curtains, and dim the lights, the movie’s about to begin. There’s no greater feeling than getting your PJs on, snacks to hand, and settling in for a film night.
As part of your self care routine, set aside an evening every week to watch a movie. Maybe you'll take a trip down memory lane and watch a nostalgic movie from your childhood. Or perhaps you’ll finally watch the new release you missed at the cinema.
Allowing yourself an escape from reality is one of the little things in life we take for granted.
Look after yourself – and your loved ones
Making time for self care activities is key to feeling good and living a happier life. But not knowing if your loved ones are also taken care of can be a big stress factor for many people.
Life Insurance could give you that peace of mind. It helps you feel reassured, knowing that your family is financially protected if the worst was to happen. It’s important to find the right life insurance policy that best meets the needs of you and your loved ones. Find out more in our guide to life insurance.
This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.