Whilst visiting might promise a scratch under London’s surface, more time is needed to really get to know the city. A glimpse may give you a flavour of what to expect, but you’ll only know if it’s to your tastes if you’ve actually lived in the city. As a resident of London for three years, and in my mid-twenties, there are a fair few tricks and invaluable learning curbs I’ve encountered during my time here. If you are a guest at hotels near Piccadilly Circus and are thinking of making the move to the city, then my advice might be useful to you. That being said, my experience will undoubtedly differ from many others of my age, regarding my income, lifestyle and interests all of which differ from person to person.
The lens I see London through
Before giving my advice out to any old reader, it’s a good idea to make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to who you’re actually listening to. As a twenty-six-year-old freelancer juggling copywriting and writing for theatre and film, and living off less than £15,000 a year, my experience might not benefit say, a middle-aged stockbroker looking to relocate their family to London. That being said, you might still find tips which can be reframed for your own life experiences.
London is a famously expensive city. Ask a Mancunian, a Glaswegian or a Brummie and they’ll laugh at the thought of even trying to survive in such a financially inhospitable city. London is so expensive, that many young people have moved away to more welcoming environments in recent years, especially those within the creative sectors where income is infamously low. With that in mind, living in London means a considerable amount of budgeting. Using phone apps and services such as Monzo gives you an easy way to keep track of your finances and even generates a weekly report for you.
Time management is key
Living in London will often mean that you are strapped for time. Whether it be numerous work commitments or social engagements, you’ll often have potential plans for every day of your week. Not everyone can afford their own personal assistant, so time management is key. For the hectic lifestyle of London, every day will require compartmentalising and rigorous organisation.
There’s always something new to experience
Whilst time management is key to keeping on top of your workload and social engagements in the city, it’s important to take a leap of faith sometimes. Breaking the routine and exploring somewhere or something new, is incredibly important when living in London. This could be something small, or ticking something off your bucket list, but even living in the city for a decade will leave you open to new experiences and blank spots on your London map. With such a diverse city and a thousand square miles of city to cover, the possibilities are endless.
But rest is important too
To full appreciate the city though, getting enough rest is vital. London can grind you down, especially if you work long hours and party late into the night, as is the temptation on the weekend. This can leave you sapped of energy and can have a real effect on your overall attitude and outlook. Feeling low in London can be exacerbated by the sheer scale and sometimes solitary living in the city. Mindfulness, rest and keeping track of your mental health is all too important when living in the fast-moving capital.
Routine keeps you grounded
As mentioned before, time management is key. On a larger scale, this usually requires you to keep a regimented routine, especially if freelancing like myself. This also helps you to keep a tab on your physical and mental health, structure helping you to enforce good habits in a city where bad ones are ever present.
Capitalise on the cities culture
Make sure you are always learning in London. There is so much to see and do to broaden your horizons, whether it’s a London Indian afternoon tea or bungee jumping, that it could all too easily pass you by. The number of galleries, arts events and history on display, often for free, means that you can expand your mind on an almost daily basis.