6. Get to grips with your finances
Financially, many of us have been badly impacted by the issues arising from the lockdown and its restrictions. It’s never been so important to have a close eye on your finances.
The obvious quick wins here are to perform a personal audit. Check if you really need all those standing orders, or defunct memberships and so on. If you’re in your 50s or 60s and thinking ahead to your post-work years, we’ve produced a free course on retirement planning with The Open University which could help you get to grips with your future finances.
7. Sort out that digital hoard
Your home may be nice and tidy, but what about your digital life? How many pictures of your beloved cat or dog do you really need? If you are already paying for cloud storage, the answer is probably ‘fewer’.
Like the clutter clearing above, commit to deleting ten unwanted emails or documents each day and hitting unsubscribe on unwanted emails. If emails and images aren’t your problem, what about clearing out all those old CDs, DVDs, or even video tapes you don’t watch anymore?
8. Snuggle down with a story
In the name of seasonal relaxation, why not pick up a book, or even download a podcast or audiobook? Research shows that reading for as little as six minutes a day can reduce your stress levels by 60%.
You can, of course, borrow books for free from your local library, and many allow you to borrow films, audiobooks, and read some magazines online for free, too. As the evenings draw in, now is the time to escape to other worlds!
9. ‘Winterise’ your home and garden
(Or at least give a bit of them a makeover). Add cosy rugs and throws, making sure draughts are kept to a minimum, and investigate installing some decent draught-proofing. If you have a chimney and a real fire, now’s the time to get it swept.
If you can’t remember the last time your boiler was serviced, book a service now. Or, if you’re feeling more ambitious, what about a bit of decorating? Social media is festooned with groups where people post before and after shots of projects, and they give friendly information, too.
Outside, it’s time to prepare the garden for the colder months. Have a good clear out, de-head and collect seeds ready for next year, plant spring bulbs, do some final weeding. And how does the lawn look? Could it do with some patching and a final weed?
Look also at your ‘inside outside’. Tidy up sheds and conservatories, clean and store the garden furniture, and clear out the barbecue and put it away. And while you’re there, check the gutters and drains throughout this season. There are likely to be leaves, which will be much harder to deal with later in the winter.
10. Prepare for hibernation
Sadly, it’s time to put away those summer clothes. Keep decluttering in mind at the same time – did you honestly wear all of those things this year? Why not take this opportunity to save those things you really need for next year and lose the ones you didn’t wear? And as you unpack the warmer garments, do the same in reverse. Will you honestly wear it, or does it go in and out of the store each year unworn? Perhaps someone else can enjoy your preloved outfits? Time to donate.
Into the kitchen and it’s time to ‘gather your nuts’ – which in this case means prepare your stores. Check through your food cupboards and ditch things that are out of date. Defrost the freezer and tidy up all the old jars in the fridge. And restock with easy meals to defrost, home-made soups, and plenty of ingredients to make warming meals later on in the year.
Make the most of welcoming autumn, and the new starts it can bring. Follow these steps to feel refreshed, motivated and renewed, and ready to face the festive season!