Blog » Lifestyle

5 Tips for a Happy and Healthy Year

Believe it or not, we’re already one month into 2018 and those resolutions you set last December are now being put to the real test. If you, like many hopeful goal setters, vowed to be happier in the new year, then you’re probably now figuring out how to achieve that feeling of well-being by finding balance in all the busy parts of your life.


Happy people know that it’s important to allow equal time for work and play, but it’s not enough to have a killer job or a packed social calendar; to achieve true happiness, you have to be up for all that life throws at you, and that means being mentally and physically strong. To truly ensure you spend the next 11 months living up to those awesome resolutions, follow these simple tips to be happy, healthy, and motivated all year long:

    1. Start every day off right. Let’s be honest: that first less-than-healthy habit is always the start of a slippery slope. It’s so much easier to justify an afternoon candy fix or a nighttime ice cream overdose when you start your day on the wrong foot food-wise. Nip this problem in the bud before it begins by having a healthy, balanced breakfast to quiet hunger pangs and set you up for success. Not a breakfast person? Then be sure to have plenty of nutritious snacks (like fruit and nuts) on hand in case you crave a bit before lunch.

    2. Schedule stretch breaks. It sounds simple, but just calendaring time to step away from your computer can make a huge difference in how you feel, both mentally and physically. Get some coffee, shake out your wrists, or sneak in some steps by taking a walk around the block.

    3. Rethink your idea of exercise. If toiling away on the treadmill makes your skin crawl, then it’s time to find an activity you actually enjoy (and actually do). Dance, sports, yoga, and even brisk walking all count as exercise, so experiment and find a way to move for at least 30 minutes every day.

    4.Take time to unplug. Being constantly connected can be completely exhausting; find a few minutes (at least!) each day to put your phone away, shut the laptop, and enjoy the world around you. Walk to your coworker’s desk rather pushing “send” on yet another email; meet a friend for coffee and leave your phone in your bag; have a group dinner and ask everyone to put their phones out of sight during the meal – you’ll be amazed at how much life you can miss staring at a screen.

    5. Say thanks. Just because Thanksgiving is a single-day celebration doesn’t mean we should reserve our gratitude for just one holiday. Studies have found that feeling grateful can boost your mental and physical health – and it provides that nice warm fuzzy feeling we all love so much. Try keeping a gratitude journal, making a point to say a heartfelt thank you to your servers and baristas, or simply thinking about all the things you’re thankful for. Just a few seconds of appreciative energy can totally shift your mood.

If you haven’t exactly been nailing your resolutions, don’t stress – just start following these simple steps and see how much better, more balanced, and prepared you’ll feel. And just one more bonus tip for you: If you haven’t gotten quote with Metromile to see your savings, get one now. Eliminating that one major financial headache known as car insurance from your life will go a long way in improving your mood and putting a bounce in your step. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2018!

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

5 Productivity Hacks for 2018

Hear that? It’s the universe telling you 2018 is your year. Or, okay, maybe it’s the sound of your old car’s brakes telling you it’s time for an upgrade. But either way now is the time to make some major changes to improve your life.

Every January gives you the opportunity to start again; you’ve got a total fresh slate to create a life you truly love. Coming up with some clearly defined goals can be the first step in achieving success. But once you’ve got those goals in place, how exactly do you go about making them a reality? Well, you could dedicate every waking minute to hard work, pouring blood, sweat, and tears into each desired outcome…or you could hack your way to a brighter future.

Taking shortcuts to boost your productivity is the key to getting way more bang for your buck and reaping more benefits in less time. If you’re not sure how to become an efficiency machine and knock out all your goals for 2018, start implementing these 5 productivity hacks and watch your dreams come true:

    1. Hide your phone. We know, it sounds cruel, tough, and maybe even impossible, but your smartphone is totally getting in the way of your productivity. According to one study, the average user checks his or her device 221 times a day. If you’re guilty of scrolling through Instagram or swiping on Bumble when you’re trying to hit a deadline, consider putting your phone far out of reach while you work — at least temporarily.

    2. Block off time on your calendar. We’re used to reserving calendar slots when we have calls or meetings with other people, but why not consider solo work time just as sacred? Make appointments with yourself each day to answer emails, return calls, read documents, etc. Do your best to only do those tasks within the allotted windows (that means ignoring inbound emails that might disrupt your flow during a reading session, for example). Not sure you can commit? Make it tougher to be tempted by distractions: turn off your smartphone notifications and zone in to the task at hand.

    3. Tackle the big stuff first. Everyone loves to cross an easy task off the to-do list (make coffee – check!), but taking on the most important issues first will allow you ample time and energy to do the best job possible. Not to mention the satisfaction you’ll enjoy later in the day knowing the work you dreaded most is already done.

    4. Rely on templates. Ever feel like you’ve written the same email 100 times? You probably have. If you regularly churn out the same copy or create nearly identical documents, spreadsheets, or even text messages, start streamlining your efforts. Invest the time necessary to make go-to templates and gain back tons of time in your day.

    5. Meditate. It may sound counter-intuitive, but setting aside fifteen minutes each day to just sit and breathe can cause your productivity to skyrocket. According to one study, human resource managers who received eight weeks of mindfulness training wound up less stressed and more able to concentrate on tasks than their counterparts who didn’t receive the training. Regardless of your profession or any preconceived notions you may have about meditation, creating some space for breath and awareness in your day can have a major impact.

Simple steps? For sure. But the effects of these seemingly minor changes can be monumental. By focusing on your goals and using these hacks to achieve them, you’ll have more time, feel more fulfilled, and find yourself hitting all kinds of major milestones all year long.

Looking to make more changes to your life in 2018? Why not switch to Metromile for a new kind of car insurance experience. Get a free quote now.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

10 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Be Proud Of

What’s your New Year’s Resolution? It’s a brand new year, which means every status update in your newsfeed is about to be a declaration of self-improvement. But as you watch everyone and their mom vow to clean up their diets, maximize their gym memberships, and/or finally delete their dating apps, you may be seeking something slightly less internally focused. Sure, more juice cleanses and spin classes are perfectly fine New Year’s resolution, but if you’ve been there, done that, and would rather find ways to better the world around you, you’re in luck. Here are 10 totally selfless resolutions that you’ll be proud of all year long:

    1) Donate to a resource you rely on. Ever looked up a random fact on Wikipedia? Why not pitch in a few dollars to support the totally free trivia so many of us take for granted? Appreciate the work a local nonprofit is doing? Drop a few bucks so they can continue helping out the community. Still a fan of print journalism? Great! Subscribe to your favorite publications.

    2) Tell someone you love them every day. Maybe refrain from fawning over the stranger in the toothpaste aisle just to meet your daily quota, but if you have a mom, dad, grandparent, sibling, friend, or pet that you feel affection for, express it.

    3) Purge your closet once a quarter. This one borders on being a tad self-improvement-oriented since you’ll gain back tons of previously occupied square footage in your home, but donating clothes and household items you no longer need can make a major difference in someone’s life.

    4)Find your passion and fork over some time. Not all donations need to be monetary; find a cause you care about and investigate ways to help. Organizations like VolunteerMatch make it easy to filter nonprofits by location and topic, and you can even find ways to volunteer virtually if trekking to a physical location isn’t in the cards.

    5)Show gratitude on a regular basis. Saying “thank you” is simple, but the effect can be monumental. Make it your mission to make people feel acknowledged and appreciated, whether they’re refilling your water at a restaurant or sending you home with homemade leftovers (thanks, mom).

    6)Integrate ethical shopping into your routine. Not all manufacturers are created equal, and by putting your dollars behind the ones who care most for animals, the environment, employees, and more, you’re helping to shift the paradigm. The Good Shopping Guide is one way to start seeking out products that align with your values.

    7)Craft more. Rather than wasting your crochet skills on yet another scarf your significant other won’t wear, consider lending your talents to a good cause. Organizations like Project Linus, Ryan’s Case for Smiles, and Dress a Girl Around the World count on crafty volunteers to create wares kids in need.

    8)Foster a furry friend. Okay, this one could be a bit self-serving as well, but temporarily bringing home a rescue pet is an important way to ease their transition into forever homes.

    9)Code for good. Channel your tech-savvy skills into positive action. Code for America has opportunities throughout the country for volunteers to address community issues through innovative solutions.

    10)Throw a party. Brightening Birthdays is a program through Volunteers of America that holds special celebrations for kids and families who have experienced homelessness. Help make someone else’s milestone memorable.

Finding ways to better the world around you isn’t as daunting as it seems, but if sticking to your new selfless resolutions poses a bit of a challenge, the key is to start small, and stay specific. Once you open your eyes to all the worthy causes around you, the urge to help can be overwhelming and maybe even paralyzing. Rather than getting caught up in the abundance of need, pick just one or two resolutions that resonate most with you and commit to regular, consistent action. And don’t forget to document your progress — celebrating your selflessness is totally allowed, after all.

What’s your New Year’s resolution? Say it loud and proud in the comments below. And if one of your goals is to stop spending so much money on car insurance, then it’s time to check out Metromile. You’ll pay a low base rate and pennies per mile, and have access to our smart driving app’s awesome features. Get a free quote now and prepare to start saving.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

6 Tips For A Fun & Safe Halloween

Trick-or-treaters, carving jack-o-lanterns, scary movies, and candy galore! These are just a few of our favorite things about All Hallows Eve. With Halloween just around the corner; kids getting their costumes in order and mad dashes to the store to stock up on candy, we wanted to share some fun facts about the sugar-filled holiday and offer some precautions to make sure everyone has a fantastically safe Halloween.

Child holding jack-o'-lantern for a safe halloween

Halloween originated from a mix of various cultures throughout time. Dating back 2,000 years ago during the Celtic time, the Celts believed that October 31st marked the end of warm and harvesting summer and the beginning of cold and dark winter. Their culture typically associated this time with human death and believed on this day ghosts walked the earth.They celebrated with Samhain, a Gaelic festival where people would wear costumes that resembled animals. The following day, November 1st, All Saints Day, was also celebrated and the previous day of celebrations was known as All Hallows Eve or Halloween. Halloween was brought to America through the colonization of New England by Irish immigrants, who made celebrating Halloween nationally popular by celebrating the harvest, sharing stories of the dead and lots of dancing and singing.

Trick-or-treating as we know it today became very popular when Americans started to dress up in costume and go house to house requesting food and money. It has now turned into one of kids favorite nights of the year, where they try to collect as much candy as possible and negotiate how much candy they can eat before bedtime.

With this spooky holiday, there always comes safety concerns for our little ones. Many communities and churches organize Trunk-or-Treating events where participants decorate their car trunks and friends and family come together to pass out candy by going trunk-to-trunk. Kids love it because they can double-up on their candy routes, and it gives parents peace of mind knowing their kids are participating in a safe Halloween event.

Trick-or-Treating and Halloween is a fun time of year but it important for parents to feel their kids are safely celebrating the Holiday. Here are some tips that parents can use to ensure there is no double, double toil and trouble for their family.

    1. Make your game plan. Go over what routes or streets you will be doing while trick-or-treating with your kids before heading out.Try to stick to familiar areas, that way no one gets left behind.

    2. Adult supervision is key. Children who are under the age of 12 should fill their baskets full of goodies with adults watching and near by. If they are more mature make sure they stick with a group of friends, so they can watch over each other.

    3. Bring a flashlight or fun alternatives to light the way. You can be creative and make the light a part of their costume or candy basket, that way drivers or other fellow trick-or-treaters can see you and your witch or monster. Only stick to visiting houses that are well lit.

    4. Wear Comfortable Shoes. The costume should help not hinder their trick-or-treating experience. Grab those comfortable shoes, there will be lots of walking ahead. Make sure costumes aren’t too long to eliminate any tripping. Also, avoid masks, which may make it harder for your children to see or breath.

    5. Drive extra safely in neighborhoods. Little ones are distracted by the fun night and can walk, gallop or fly on their brooms, unpredictably. Drive slowly and cautiously.

    6. Examine all candy when arriving home. Throw away any candy that is already open, old, or suspicious looking. Of course save a stash for yourself, you’ve earned it!

Halloween is a real treat and Metromile wishes all families a hauntingly fun night. Don’t forget to stop in for a spell and get a quote with Metromile. If you are a low mileage driver you can save $500 per year on average with pay-per-mile insurance. Wishing everyone a fun and safe Halloween!