January 16 is the day some believe to be the most miserable of 2017 – when failed resolutions, hammered bank balances and bad weather combine to make us all feel glum. Holly Skelton spoke to some Nottinghamshire experts on what to do to keep those good intentions alive and stay positive.
It’s not uncommon for jeans to feel a little tighter in January and in 2016 losing weight was the most popular New Year’s resolution in the UK.
But by mid-January many people will already be feeling the strain – and some fitness experts say its simply because people have set their goals too high.
Chris Hillyer, manager of Formula One Gym, based on Victoria Street, said: “People think to lose weight you must go on a restrictive diet or spend hours in the gym – but this isn’t the case.
“Simply doing something active for 30 minutes a day – like walking the dog or riding a bike – can make a big difference.
“There are so many nice areas to walk in Notts – there’s really no excuse not to get out and go.”
- Gedling Country Park, Gedling
- Attenborough Nature Reserve, Beeston
- Southwell Trail, Southwell
- Rushcliffe Country Park, Ruddington
- Blidworth Woods, Ravenshead
Chris recommends sneaking in exercise where possible so it can fit in with a busy lifestyle.
He said: “Walk to the shops instead of driving, take the stairs instead of the lift and swap snacks like chocolate and crisps for fruit and nuts.
“Lots of little changes can make a big difference – the key is to find something you enjoy doing and do it every day.”
Recent statistics from The Bank of England show more than £190billion is now owed on credit cards, loans and overdrafts in the UK and the average debt per household – excluding mortgages – is around £7,300.
Financial advisory service Balance Wealth Planning, in West Bridgford, sees a rise in enquiries during the Christmas and New Year period.
Managing Director Rebecca Aldridge said: “Most people are thinking about their New Year’s resolutions and getting their finances in better shape for the coming year.
“My top tips are to tidy up bank accounts, close credit card accounts you don’t need and set up a standing order to top up your savings which might have been depleted over Christmas.”
Rebecca suggests setting a budget before going shopping and using benefits and cashback websites where possible.
She said: “Put away the credit card and don’t get into debt – it’s just not worth it.
“Think about what is most important to you first.
“Whether it is financial security, having things you need or helping people you love – money is simply a tool to provide these things and keeping on top of your finances will put you in the best position to achieve them.”
Nottingham was recently ranked as the third unhealthiest city in England by a Government report with nearly one quarter of its population rated as ‘unhealthy’.
It is estimated more than 51,000 people in the city suffer from a mental health problem, including common conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Carla Moore, manager of the Wellbeing Clinic, in West Bridgford, said: “Life is so busy these days and can lead to us feeling worn out and overwhelmed.
“More and more people are suffering with anxiety – often due to stresses linked to work – but if we invested time in ourselves the likelihood is that we’d be less anxious.”
- Walk in the countryside
- Get a massage
- Read a book
Carla explains how taking time out can help to reduce stress and improve mental health.
She said: “Stress is one of the biggest causes of pain, anxiety, chronic illness and depression and many of us don’t realise just how stressed we are.
“It’s so important to spend time on ourselves so that we have the vitality and energy to give to others.
“Looking after yourself can be anything from meditating to reading a book – or even just going for a coffee with a friend.”
Cutting down on drinking
Nottingham has some of the highest levels of problem drinking in the UK – with the death rate for chronic liver disease at nearly double the national average – tens of thousands of people in the city struggle to control their intake.
Current government guidelines recommend drinking no more than 14 units per week – which is the equivalent to six pints of beer, seven glasses of wine, or 14 single shots of spirits.
Nutrition coach and health expert Susan Hart, from West Bridgford, said: “Over the festive period it is easy for people to over-consume and the units can really escalate if you’re not careful.
“Cutting back on alcohol is a good idea at any time of the year – but particularly in January when the body needs a break and a chance to recover.”
Susan suggests alternating alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, swapping spirits for lime and soda and drinking water with meals.
She said: “It’s about breaking the habit and replacing un-healthy habits with new ones.
“If you get in from work every day and have a drink – try doing something different like walking the dog, listening to music or taking a shower.
“Get a friend to join you so you can motivate each other and mix with similar people who are also going dry for January.”
A survey carried out by TimeBank through Reed Executive found 73 per cent of employers would employ a candidate with volunteering experience over one without.
Nottingham Community Voluntary Services (NCVS) helps to find suitable roles for people who want to volunteer.
NCVS projects officer Caroline Berrill said: “Volunteering is not only great for the community but it benefits you too.
“It can help to boost your confidence, improve wellbeing and enhance your CV by letting you try out different kinds of work.
“It is a great way to meet new people and gain transferable skills that can be used in many other areas.”
The service has more than 400 volunteering opportunities at around 280 local organisations.
Caroline said: “There is something to suit everyone.
“Whether you want to work as a mentor, befriend people, fundraise for charity or even feed animals – we are here to find something that is flexible to suit you.”
For more information on volunteering visit the NCVS website or their centre on Mansfield Road.