#LifeLoves: Dive into your favourite activities

Woman rock climbing - Life Loves campaign

This Valentine’s Day we’re championing all Life Loves. Even if you’re a smitten kitten, why not take some time to show some love to other areas of your life this Valentine’s?

Leave your soppy relationship memes at the door and join us for a celebration of everything from self-care to the benefits travel has for your happiness. Today we’re looking at why taking time to indulge in your favourite hobbies and activities is vital for your sense of wellbeing.

A study in 2015 highlighted that those engaged in leisure activities were happier, less bored, less stressed and had lower heart rates. Plus, founder of TotalWellness, Alan Kohll said: “activities are a great way to increase productivity and job performance as they help to boost creativity and give your brain a much-needed break.”

Whether you’re a keen cyclist or hasten to see the latest blockbusters on the big screen, there’s an activity out there for everyone. Finding your next stress-busting hobby doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. As a money-saving community we’re on hand to share some tips and tricks for starting a new hobby on the cheap. Also, don’t miss how to win big in our #LifeLoves competition at the end of the post.

Let’s get physical, physical

Move over Olivia Newton-John we’re not talking that kind of physical. We’re talking sports, physical activity, working out – whatever you want to call it. We all know the physical benefits of taking up a sport, but what about the impact sport has on our mental health and wellbeing?

Keir Harding, occupational therapist at Beam Consultancy says: “Sports often means we’re around people, meaning we develop relationships and networks of support we might not otherwise have. It gives us structure in our lives and a reason to get out and be with others when we might otherwise sit alone with our thoughts and worries.

“If you can find an activity that interests you, that you enjoy doing and where you can develop relationships with others, it will enhance you mental health and be a buffer to any problems along the line.”

Woman exercising at the gym

With so many sports out there the world is your oyster. And taking part doesn’t have to mean an expensive gym membership or club fees – there are plenty of cheap or free ways you can get moving. As it’s so accessible, running is an easy way to reap the mental benefits of exercise. All you need is a pair of trainers and a water bottle. If you’re an ultimate beginner why not get started with the NHS Couch to 5K podcasts? You’ll be well on your way to a boosted sense of achievement, self-confidence, and improved sleep in no time.

If you’re baulking at the idea of getting your running gear on, there are plenty of NHS suggestions about free ways to get fit. Don’t forget to check out current deals for the likes of Halfords, GymShark and Jam Golf to stock up on whatever sportswear and accessories you need without breaking the bank.

2. Ready, steady, cook!

Healthcare professionals often use cooking to treat patients suffering from anxiety and depression what’s known as ‘therapeutic cooking‘. Cooking and baking not only boost confidence, but are also thought to soothe stress and curb negative thinking. These feelings are particularly enhanced when you’re cooking for others too.

Woman chopping vegetables in kitchen

Psychologist Linda Wasmer Andrews likens it to meditation with the promise of a good meal afterwards. Aside from positives associated with the act of cooking itself, nourishing our body with healthy, home-cooked meals has profound effects on both our overall health and our wallets. If that’s not enough, it’s estimated that you can save the equivalent of over £1,500 by making lunches at home rather than buying lunch at work. Tupperware at the ready!

With proven mental and physical health benefits as well as financial benefits, learning to cook might just be the next best thing you do. Look out for awesome deals at places like John Lewis, Hello Fresh, Simply Cook, Gousto and Argos to kick off your culinary love affair on a budget.

3. Volunteer in your local community

We always feel a sense of satisfaction after we’ve done a good deed, right? The Mental Health Foundation believes that doing good does you good, and research supports the fact that giving is better for us than receiving. Evidence shows that helping others reduces stress, improves emotional wellbeing, and can even benefit your physical health too.

Volunteers putting hands together

The best part is that volunteering, or even carrying out smaller good deeds, doesn’t take up a lot of your time or cost anything. Get involved with your local neighbourhood watch or become involved in a charity you’re passionate about.

Here at Savoo we work with over 400 charities. Have a browse of our charity directory to find one you’d like to volunteer with and get in touch. Volunteering not only makes the world a happier place but makes your world a happier place too – and that’s important.

4. Pick up a book

There’s no better feeling than losing yourself in a good book after a long day at work. Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or prefer the world of Twilight, there’s something magical about escaping reality and entering a new world. But the benefits of reading run deeper than that.

A recent study by the University of Sussex concluded that reading can reduce stress levels by up to 68%. It’s claimed that stress levels can begin to reduce after just six minutes of picking up a book. In fact, the same study found that reading beat various activities including walking, listening to music and having a cup of tea when it comes to reducing stress.

Woman reading with a coffee and blanket

Aside from being an incredible stress-buster, reading also makes us more empathetic towards others, increases your intelligence and works wonders for your memory too.

With plenty of free book swaps available at places like train stations, pubs and old phone boxes in major cities, it shouldn’t be hard or costly to get your next fix. However, if you’d like to buy some books of your own, the likes of Audible, and Book People have you covered.

5. Learn a new skill

Whether you’re learning a new skill for a new job you’ve just landed or simply fancy trying your hand at something new, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to mastering a new skill. According to CCSU Business and Development, your brain chemistry actually changes the more you practice a new skill.

Guy learning to play the guitar

Your learning speed increases, you become a more interesting person, and you adapt better to change. On top of this, those who learn new skills can actually help stave off dementia. Your new skill could be anything from playing an instrument to learning how to code.

Whatever you settle on, places like Groupon, Wowcher, Udemy and Rosetta Stone are fantastic places to try your hand at something new.

Activities, hobbies and skills are vital for those in need. Give free donations this Valentine’s

As well as being a great way to look after your wellbeing, taking part in activities and hobbies is important for those in need too. This Valentine’s why not raise free money for charities encouraging skills, sports and activities?

Charities like Bright Ideas Trust, The Prince’s Trust, BIRD and Creating Better Futures continue to provide crucial respite in the form of music, sport and activities to those in need. Support them through Savoo to raise free donations every time you shop.

Win £150 for you and for a charity this Valentine’s Day. Here’s how…

This Valentine’s Day is all about you, your passions and loving life. Want to be in with the chance of winning £150 for you and a charity this Valentine’s?

Simply share your favourite way to treat yourself on a budget over on Savoo’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Don’t forget to include #LOVESAVOO and like and share the post! The competition ends Wednesday 13th February at 23.59. Good luck!

You can’t put a price on happiness and this Valentine’s Day it isn’t just about loving your partner, it’s about taking time for the things you love and the people you cherish. At Savoo, find thousands of money-saving deals and discounts to help your #LifeLoves thrive while keeping costs down.

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