Seven ways to enjoy life for free

We can’t afford to spend a fortune on leisure time – especially if we have a family to keep amused.

But there are some ways to enjoy life more that are absolutely free.

  1. Meditate. According to the latest research, meditating for 10-15 minutes a day improves concentration and the ability to switch between daydreaming and focus. Try the free guided meditations at freebuddhistaudio.com . Many people find they can develop a better understanding of themselves and feel much more relaxed. It helps them enjoy the rest of their day too, even if work or family mean life is hectic!

  2. Go to a free museum or art gallery and take the family. Once you get there, first - catch your breath in the café. Then wander about and find something that catches your eye that you can sit near. No need to look at the label - just pay attention and see how much you can see. Really paying attention is a difficult thing to do, but when you settle in, it can bring a deep sense of fulfilment. Someone probably worked on this piece for thousands of hours to communicate something. Get the kids to draw it - you might have some budding artists in the family!

    That’s not to say you have to like everything you see – there’s as much fun in mocking art than in taking it seriously.

  3. Cycle past the traffic and out into nature. Lock up the bike(s) and go blackberry picking. After you’ve had your fill, freeze them in a lunchbox and use them in your porridge or in smoothies or make a blackberry and apple crumble with the kids. Or – if the blackberries aren’t out yet, or if there are few brambles about, sit down next to a tree and see what birds, insects, butterflies or squirrels have in store for you, when they feel safe to show themselves. Get the children to make a list or draw what they see. For a deeper insight into the countryside around you, read a good explanatory book (ask your library for a copy of Feral or Wilding) and share it with a friend.

  4. Joining your local library is free – but avoid the newspapers. Pick up a few books and commit to reading the first few chapters of one of them. It’s a great habit to get into, and even if you have not picked up a book for years, you can soon become a constant reader.

    It’s great for the children as well they love looking through the books and most libraries have story telling session once or twice a week. Check with your local library.

  5. Run and rest and run again. High Intensity Interval Training (Hiit) is just a fancy name for absolutely pelting it, then resting. Running at full tilt is one of the best thing you can do for your body and mind, and is absolutely free. Alternatively, try doing some press-ups. See if a friend is up for buddying up to exercise now and again. Get the whole family involved – everyone will certainly be getting a good night’s sleep afterwards!

  6. Listen to some music you haven’t heard before. YouTube a band, artist or composer – your favourite, or one that’s well known that you’ve never heard. Place the laptop in the other corner of the room (so you are not tempted to surf) and sit back and commit to listening or even dancing!

  7. Keep a diary. Writing down a list of things you enjoyed from the day (or the previous day), or feel even mildly grateful for, can bring you more into life. Where did you go, what did you do - what would you want to do again? Write it out in detail. Leave a small notebook next to your bed as a reminder to try it every second evening or so. Getting the children to keep a diary of what they’ve been up to over the holidays is a good way to keep them occupied.

Remember – the best things in life are free!

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