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  1. It is a strange concept to think that as a human being, we have a number over our heads. We think of ourselves as full beings with hopes and dreams, but no matter how big those dreams and ambitions our hopes are, we are only worth as much as we make. The idea of being worth something is one which many people don’t think about until it’s too late.

    Think to yourself, how much do you earn right now? Do you think you could be worth more than this? If you are stuck in a job you hate, doing menial tasks day in and day out for pennies, then you are not reaching your full potential, you aren’t reaching your true worth.

    To find out how much you are worth as a person and a profession you need to start asking yourself the following questions about your life.

     

    What are your skills?

    First of all, think about everything you are able to do. This can be difficult at first because the list can be pretty long, but try to write down everything you are good at and things that you have great knowledge of. It doesn’t have to be anything ‘academic’, and it does not have to have anything to do with your current job. Think of what you can do. You, as a person. For example, you might know every Latin name for flowers in your garden and you may be maxing at looking after what you have. You might not see this as a skill but it is something which not many people possess. It might be that you can use this skill to start up a blog, or begin a gardening business. Using what you know and what you are good at will make you happier and help you reach your true worth.

    Do you have Qualifications?

    You might assume that this is the most important element in worth, but actually it comes second to your skills. Qualifications are a way of proving that you know something, however it doesn’t mean that if you don’t have a qualification, you don’t know anything. The issue employers have is that they want to have a guarantee that you know what you say you know, which is why qualifications are important. If you think you are worth more than your employer is paying you, it could be worth taking a course in your spare time to gain the qualification required for you to step up.

    What is your passion?

    The most important thing in your life is making sure you are doing something you are passionate about. It doesn’t matter how good you currently are at your office job, you will never earn as much and be worth as much as you would doing something you love. You can look at salary data and your career path as much as you like, but unless you’ll be investing your time in something you love, it will not be worth it.

     

    Once you have asked yourself these questions, you might also want to start thinking about how you will go about finding out how much you are worth as a business person and professional

    Negotiating a Raise

    If you are currently in a job which you believe you should be paid more for, it can be difficult to pluck up the courage to talk to your employer and so them for a raise. The idea of asking your boss for more money might seem downright cheeky and ridiculous, but actually it can be the kind of forward thinking which will get you what you want and allow your boss to see that you mean business. It is of course a scary thing to think about asking, but you have to remember that you are doing this for your own wellbeing and your own development.

    Do Your Homework

    If you are searching for a job, you will need to make sure that you really do all of the research you can possibly do. Think about every possible job you are qualified for or what you are passionate about in your life. Decide what means the most to you and be sure that you are totally and utterly committed to this before you begin. If you seem to be unenthusiastic during an interview or a phone call with the employer, you will not lend yourself to the role. Remember to be incredibly dedicated to your cause and happy to put everything you have into this part of your life. Take the time to research everything you can about the job, do extra reading and be prepared to talk about why you are passionate about this career. Bring in parts of your life if it is something you love to do and show how much you love what you do. This will allow you to get a job which will make you happy and also in the long run, pay you more due to your dedication.

    Review Salary Surveys

    If you need to take a look at your current job role to see how it stacks up against the average salary through the country, there are plenty of different salary surveys online which will allow you to see if your employer is being tight or whether they are being generous.

    If you do find out that you are being underpaid for what you do, it can be difficult to know what action you should take. Before you start looking for new jobs with different employers, you should talk to your manager and see if they can come to any arrangement with you. When you enter a meeting with your boss you need to make sure to give them a pitch of everything that you do, what your skills are and why you think you should be paid more than you do. It can be hard but you need to remember that you are doing this because you have to pay your bills,support your family and live the best life you can.

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  2. Following on from my recent article finding your child a hobby they'll love, I wanted to explore some of the many unique hobby ideas for children.  So I’ve been scouring the internet for inspiration of activities for kids that are not perceived as the norm.  Don’t expect this list to include the usual activities such as street dance, ballet, football or gymnastics.  This list is for those parents who have grown tired of these ‘normal’ options and instead want to explore the more fascinating options out there.  Not only is this list great for unusual activities for children to master, but they’d also be suitable for us adults too.  Perhaps we could even learn a new skill at the same time as our children!

    If you’re trying to find a unique and unusual hobby that will set your child apart from the crowd, then here are some suggestions:

    Unique and unusual hobby ideas for children

    Snorkelling

    If your child is a water baby and loves to swim, then perhaps snorkelling lessons could be the next logical activity to master.  This skill is perfect for family holidays too as they’ll be able to explore the sea and bring their hobby with them.  Snorkelling is a great way to enjoy the water, explore, learn and exercise at the same time.  All you need is a snorkel mask, snorkel and sometimes flippers.  It can be the first step for younger children towards scuba diving which is suitable for older children.  Snorkelling is suitable for all ages of children who are confident in the water and able to swim, plus families can enjoy it together.  The BSAC (British Sub-Aqua Club) has centres across the UK that offer snorkel training.

    Scuba Diving

    Keeping with an underwater theme, the next step from learning to snorkel could be scuba diving for older children and teenagers.   Younger children (age 8-9 years) can still take part, but these classes are often in indoor pools in much shallower depths as an introduction to the activity with a kid friendly Bubblemaker PADI course, for example.  Children will have safety training, an introduction to the equipment and then get to play games such as underwater frisbee! As for equipment, online retailer Simply Scuba provides all the latest gear for kids and adults alike, for both scuba diving and snorkelling.

    Archaeology

    Some companies offer special ‘dig camps’ where you and your child can become an archaeologist for the day.  It’s not pretend either; you’ll actually be working on a real dig site discovering real pieces of history!  For 8-16 year olds check out the YAC (Young Archaeologists Club) if they’re a budding archaeologist to stay in the loop with meetups, digs and more local to you.

    Unique and unusual hobby ideas for children

    Bushcraft

    A quick Google search finds several bushcraft clubs and courses for children and adults alike.  There are also numerous books about bushcraft so you can even learn many skills with your family by yourself.  Becoming one with nature, learning how to use the natural resources available to you and fine tuning survival skills has to be one of the most rewarding, yet important ­­hobbies a child could have.

    Rock Climbing

    Rock climbing for kids is not only great exercise, but great fun too.  Children can start from a pretty young age; our local climbing centre even has a section for toddlers to toddle about and climb tiny things!  Kids will not only improve their strength physically, but it will give them a good mental workout too as they learn to improve coordination skills and problem solve.

    Geocaching

    How about a real life never-ending treasure hunt?  Simply Download the Geocaching app, pick the geocache you want to find and then locate it.  It’s a great way to bust boredom as you can take part in any place at any time.  There are treasures to find in your town or explore a little further and find somewhere beautiful to explore.  Looking on their website tells me there are 4025 geocaches near me!   Once you find one you sign the log book, write any remarks online or on the app, leave a trinket if you like, and then move onto the next one.  It’s a way to explore your local area, further afield and take part in a real live treasure hunt.

    Yoga

    Most people wouldn’t associate yoga with children, but there are lots of classes and it seems to be gaining in popularity with baby yoga available too!  Not only is it great exercise for your children, but calming too.  Cosmic Kids is brilliant – you can access their videos at home to introduce your kids to yoga to see if they like it before committing to a class.

    Circus skills

    What kid (or adult) wouldn’t find joining a circus magical?  Now they can!  A quick Google search of ‘circus skills for kids’ and your town should bring up clubs local to you.  I was surprised to find several near to me and they sound so fun.  Your kids can learn juggling, trapeze, aerial silks, unicycling, balancing and hula-hooping.

    Hopefully this blog post has given you the inspiration to think outside the box and perhaps consider a unique hobby or skill for your child to try.

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  3. Obviously, when it comes to the matter of being happier and healthier, that’s something we all want. Achieving that goal, however, is another story altogether. You can’t just snap your fingers to make yourself happier. Additionally, you can’t always find the time for healthy living when you have a demanding lifestyle that involves you working for the majority of the day and collapsing in an exhausted heap at home once you’re done. There just aren’t enough hours in the week, month, or year to do everything that you want to do. So, how do you prioritise a better lifestyle?

    Commitment.

    If you want to create a happier and healthier version of yourself then you need to approach this new and improved lifestyle with the right mindset. Rather than asking yourself whether you can squeeze a 3-hour gym session into your overbooked day, you need to ask yourself which aspects of your daily routine you could change or improve in order to make healthy living a natural and regular part of your schedule. If you’re looking for a way to improve your lifestyle then here’s some advice that will help you get closer to achieving your goal of being a healthier and happier person.

    Creating A Happier And Healthier Version Of Yourself

    Consider changing your diet.

    Diet is crucial to your health and happiness. The food we eat has such a huge effect on our bodies. It’s about more than staving off hunger pains; it’s about providing sustenance and energy for both your body and mind. It’s our guts that control our brains, in many senses. If you eat junk food then you’re not just running the risk of becoming obese and developing heart problems, along with other physical health issues, but you’re also going to negatively affect your mental state. Depression, anxiety, and stress can all be linked back to a poor diet. So if you want to not only maintain a healthy weight but a happier mind then you need to take greater care when it comes to the things you eat.

    You could consider eating more vegetarian meals if you’re unsure as to what dietary changes you should make. You don’t even have to become a “full” vegetarian if you don’t want to make that change, but cutting out some of the processed red meat in your diet could reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes. Obviously, it’s important that you replace the meat with plant-based foods that are high in protein and all the other vitamins and minerals your body needs. The point is that you need to think about what you’re putting in your body. Get all the carbohydrates, calcium, protein, iron, and other vitamins you need; don’t starve your body of calories or carbs because that will do more harm than good. Skinniness isn’t the epitome of good health. Keeping your body in balance is the key to good health.

    Remember that regular physical activity is crucial.

    Whilst you don’t have to run marathons or become a bodybuilder, exercise is important for everyone. It doesn’t matter how old, how young, how fit, or how unfit you may be; staying physically active does more than keep you in a healthy shape. Keeping your body moving will ensure that you avoid high blood pressure or even heart disease in the future. Additionally, it can help to improve your mental state by reducing anxiety or even depression. There are so many benefits to regular physical activity. If you’re a busy person then you could set yourself the task of parking your car a little further from work and then walking the rest of the way. You could even go for a quick 10-minute jog when you get home; doing that every day will make a huge difference to your health.

    Creating A Happier And Healthier Version Of Yourself

    Help others.

    If you really want to be happier and healthier then you should help others. The best way to feel truly content with yourself is to act selflessly. Do something for people you don’t know, and you’ll know that you’ve acted in a way that made the world a better place. Every little act means something; that’s how we can truly make an impact. You could even look into studying an online course in healthcare administration and volunteering so as to learn about how you could get involved in a healthcare-based volunteering opportunity. There are so many different ways to get involved with volunteering, but you don’t even have to go directly to a charity. If you want to help people then take the initiative and do so. Take some notice of the homeless community and help out at a local shelter or perhaps even give warm clothing to people you see on the street; they’ll appreciate that on colder nights.

    It’s not just about helping strangers too. Think about the people who are close to you in life. Your loved ones are important, and you should value them even if you know that your bond is unconditional. You should put people before things if you want to be happy in life. Being selfless is actually a better way of finding true happiness than being selfish. Spending time with your family and friends so as to strengthen your relationships is a win-win situation. You’ll be happier and they’ll be happier. The best way to improve your mental health is to maintain a good social life, don't isolate yourself.

    Work on your mental health.

    Of course, it’s important not to forget the importance of your own mind at the heart of your quest to be a happier and healthier version of yourself. As we’ve discussed throughout this article, working hard to be healthier and improving your relationships with others are both things that will improve your life, but you need to be a little selfish from time to time too. Take some time for yourself to work on your mental health. Relax in the bath and focus on your thoughts. Meditation can help to bring some balance to your life. Happiness won’t just fall into your lap, but you can certainly chase it. Learning to address your problems rather than burying your problems will make you a happier and healthier person. You need to learn to talk to yourself as well as talking to others.

     

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  4. On October 1st last year we joined a premium gym.  It wasn’t a decision we made lightly and we thought about it for an entire month, having visited the premises for a tour at the start of September.  We knew joining was a big financial commitment.  We joined David Lloyd and it’s a 12 month contract.  After the 12 months if we want to leave we have to give three months notice!  That’s quite a lot. 

    The gyms I was a member of pre-kids had much more flexible terms.  I could leave whenever I liked with just one month notice.  They were also much cheaper.  From a financial point of view this is much more appealing, but as we now have children we had to find a gym with a crèche facility that was nearby.  Luckily we have a David Lloyd only a 5 minute drive from our home or 20 minute walk.  As soon as I discovered it had a crèche we went to view it.  Then after a month of debating the financial commitment and whether we’d really go or just waste the money, we decided to take the leap and join.

    I’m no stranger to the gym and always went pre-kids.  I’ve also stayed pretty active since having kids with one hour walks daily when the weather is warm and regular street running (well at least once per week) and doing at home fitness videos on YouTube.  But as the winter was creeping in I knew I wanted to get active indoors and use some equipment as well as go to classes.  I can’t stand the cold and the thought of spending long outdoors in icey temperatures did not appeal.

    Why joining a gym with a crèche has benefited our family

    Luckily joining a premium gym has been a really great decision.  I have gone more than 5 times per week to use the facilities and I love it.  I do four classes a week, aqua and Clubbercise, then I use the gym to run 4-10k on a Saturday morning and use some of the weight machines.  Ben goes 2-3 times a week to swim, use the gym and the weights.  We put the kids into the crèche 1-2 times a week so we can all go together.

    Here are the reasons why joining a gym with a crèche has benefited our family:

    Quality time together

    We’d not considered joining a gym before as we thought we’d never see each other.  This is because one of us would have to stay with the kids.  A gym with a crèche solves this problem and means me and Ben can go to the gym together as a couple or relax in the spa together with our kids nearby being well looked after.

    Up our fitness levels

    The best thing is it’s keeping us active, even in the dreaded winter months.  We have religiously gone to the gym every week since joining and have kept our fitness up throughout winter.  As we can go together we can encourage each other to go.

    An enjoyable hobby

    Not only is it great to work out, but the classes teach me something new – a hobby that keeps me fit!  I love yoga and do it at home, but now I can choose to do it at the gym.  With long opening hours there is always a class to try and a new hobby to discover.

    Always somewhere to go

    We always have somewhere to go even if we’re skint.  With a large lounge and kids play areas, the kids are entertained and we can pop along for a hot drink and to relax.  They have a café and bar so we can pop to socialise or for a break from the house whenever we like.  We never have to be bored, even if money is low for a month.

    Builds confidence

    Not only will it build confidence in me and Ben for feeling fitter and healthier, plus trying new things, but it will for the kids too.  They will interact with different children, adults and ages in the crèche.  Bella used to be so shy in new situations and I’m certain going to the crèche has helped boost her confidence.

    Happier and healthier

    The healthier we are the happier we are, they go hand in hand. Me and Ben have also avoided any colds or flus this winter which I’m sure is thanks to getting fitter and eating well.

    Inspiring our children to be active

    I hope we can inspire our children to be active.  After all, we can’t expect them to be fit and healthy if we are not setting an example for them.  We can all use the swimming pool so we are able to take them swimming regularly and exercise as a family.

    Fun for the kids

    It’s also fun for the children.  They can go in the crèche for up to two hours at a time, though we usually just book the one.  They get to play with other children and try new activities each week.  It’s somewhere fun for them to hang out and make new friends.

     

    It is a bit of a financial commitment (£150 for all four of us per month), but I think for what we get and how much we go it is totally worth it.  It would cost me £20+ per week just to do the classes elsewhere.  One thing I didn’t mention is I can also work in the business lounge using their WiFi so it gives me a break from the house as a work at home parent!  If you want to get fit and can commit to going regularly then I’d highly recommend checking out any local health clubs with crèche facilities.  It could be one of the best decisions you make.

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  5. How much are you willing to pay for a gym membership? For most people, the answer would be as little as possible. After all, who has the money to waste on luxury gym memberships? We’re not all lingerie models or royalty!

    The industry has adapted to this mindset with cost-effective gyms like PureGym popping up. There’s an explosion of similar businesses all over the UK and everyone can benefit from their ability to offer flexible memberships and passes. Considering this, you may be inclined to think luxury memberships have to adapt and lower their prices/change their general policy. Well, much to my surprise, there are still plenty of people that prefer a high-end gym experience. 

    But how could this be? Well, there is a reasonable explanation for this: the quality of services is exquisite and people who can afford the membership feel it’s a worthy investment. Let’s see the main three reasons why.

    Is A High-End Gym Worth The Investment

     

    #1: People Actually Take Care of You

    When you join a regular membership or even a cost-effective one, all you get is a tour of the premises and a half-dragged tutorial (if that). Once this is done, you have to figure things out for yourself, or spend the day trying to find an instructor and quickly ask your questions.

    When you join a luxury gym you get a lot more. Starting with a complete tutorial for each type of equipment and ending with a profile of your body (percent of fat vs. percent of muscles plus physical tests to assess your strengths and weaknesses). After the first visit you’ll know exactly how much weight you have to lose and why - and have defined goals in place.

    #2: You’re Actually Motivated

    When you pay a small amount for your monthly membership you can allow yourself to forget about the gym for a couple of weeks from time to time. When your membership costs more than your weekly food shop, you can’t afford to lose a day just hanging.

    An expensive membership can motivate you a lot more to get in shape - you’re psychologically more committed given the relative spend on your fitness needs.

    #3: State-of-the-Art Fitness Equipment

    Yes, you can work with anything,even your own body weight; you just have to want it. However, high-end technology can be a bit more compelling than your own will at times. Luxury gyms offer access to machines you never knew existed and regular technology is highly improved.

    Even more, you have access to accurate apps that track your progress and allow you to check in and out of the gym without using a card. You can even use an app to reserve a spot for a class you want without having to pick up the phone.

    In conclusion, if you have the money and time, a high-end gym is totally worth the investment (at least for a while). But what happens when you’re looking for an alternative to the regular gym all together?

     

    Alternatives to Gym Workout

    Some people don’t like going to the gym or don’t have the time or money to invest, so it’s normal to want to know the alternatives. Here are some of the most popular ones:

    Home Workouts

    Most at home workouts are done using the weight of your body. The cool thing is that you can work out whenever you want and with whoever you want. There are plenty of resources to use online from YouTube videos to fitness bloggers to hundreds of forums on the topic, so all you need is a bit of research time and lots of determination.

    Home Gym

    Isn’t this the same with home workouts? Yes, it’s mostly the same, but the main difference is the presence of specialised home gym equipment. Even better, instead of buying it, you can simply hire it for as long as you need. Rowing machine hire, treadmill hire and even vibration plate hire is relatively easy to find. 

    This way, you have access to a diverse pool of fitness equipment and you enjoy the intimacy and comfort of a home workout.

    Outdoors workout

    Finally, the third alternative to going to a gym is enjoying the outdoors. You don’t even have to call it a workout since you can go hiking, cycling, or you could simply play something with your friends (like tennis). This is particularly key for those with children and a great way to encourage kids outdoors whilst also meeting your own fitness needs.

    When it comes to being active outside the possibilities are limitless and you get to reap the benefits of being in the sunlight and breathing fresh air.

    At the end of the day, regardless of the fact that you prefer high-end gyms, regular ones, or you simply want to be outside, the most important thing is to be active. This is what will keep your healthy and happy for a long time! 

     

    Related:

    5 Fun Ways to Keep Fit with a Little One 

    How to exercise with a toddler at home

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