HOW TO JUST... RELAX & DE-STRESS
"Just relax" are probably the most excruciating few words anyone could ever say to me. It's unbelievably ironic that I'm writing this post because I'm hands down the most un-relaxed person who ever walked this planet.
I think the majority of us struggle with putting down our iPhones, laptops, tablets etc and taking time to truly relax. Living in London, it's very easy to get caught up in the hustle & bustle and I know that I am extremely guilty of this. I was pretty bad before I started blogging / Instagram-ing but I can admit I'm now obsessively worse; I’m constantly being told to switch off, stop blogging, to pay attention to things happening in real life around me, but sometimes it can be a little harder to put into practice.
Especially in the blogging world, there's a strong sense of competitiveness and a constant desire to strive for 'perfection' - whether it comes down to re-drafting your blog post for the twelfth time or making sure the saturation on your new Instagram photo is exactly -32% so that it matches the rest in the feed - is exhausting.
I do try, really really hard to relax and unwind but I'm the type of girl who plans on having a lie in over the weekend yet wakes up at 7:30am and lies there restlessly for about 25 seconds before getting up and cracking on with the day. And don't even get me started on the fact that I haven't watched a full film at home this year without having one eye on Instagram. I will note that I have perfected the just laugh every so often thing so whoever I'm watching with still thinks I'm paying a smidge of attention when I'm definitely not.
It's a new month, Spring has arrived and I'm keen to try and get much better at taking time out and finding a better balance between working full time, blogging and making time for myself as well as my loved ones. I'm stubborn as hell and a perfectionist but I've come to realise that the world will still keep turning even if I am not attached to my phone or computer every minute of the day. There are more important things out there.
So hopefully this post will not only serve as a reminder for you, but also for me to PUT THE BLOODY PHONE DOWN WILL YA. So in future, before turning to the bottle of Bombay Saphire in the fridge to de-stress, I'll try out these remedies first... (and then end up having a gin too probably because why the hell not!)
GET IMMERSED IN A NEW BOOK
Reading is one of my favourite things to do to relax. If I've had a stressful day, I go home, light a candle, plump up the cushions and nestle down with a good book. It will not only transport you into a different place and time but it will also transform your mood. It's very easy to get fully immersed into a gripping story-line and because you need to concentrate, time just passes by without you realising. However it doesn't have to be a novel, it can be a cookbook, a magazine, a self-help book... whatever you feel like you can truly mentally invest in will do the trick. Audio books and podcasts are another great alternative too!
CATCH UP ON YOUR FAV TV SERIES / YOUTUBE SUBSCRIPTIONS
To start, let me highlight that there's a huuuuuge difference between catching up on TV / Youtube and binge-watching episode after episode on Netflix until 3am. The latter, despite seeming like a great idea at the time, is actually very damaging. I know that as Millennials, the easiest way to switch-off is to switch on the TV, it's easy, accessible and there's always something uplifting or humorous to watch. I can't deny that popping my feet up and watching re-runs of a Friends episode that I've watched 100 times before instantly relaxes me.
GET SOME FRESH AIR
This is an obvious one but one that I rarely do. I'm originally from Brighton by the coast so was brought up with regular trips to the seafront in which we would just walk, talk and take in the sea air. It was so soothing and since moving to London, I've missed this terribly. Whether it be a 10 minute stroll around the block or an hour long trek, it's the easiest way to clear your mind. I, very fortunately, live very close to the Thames so I'm going to make sure to start taking more regular walks in the upcoming weeks - preferably when it's not chucking it down with rain.
GET THE OVEN MITS ON
As I've got older, cooking and baking has really turned into a form of therapy for me. For anyone that has seen the film Julie & Julia, you'll get what I mean. I'm such a foodie so spend so much of my time drooling over #foodporn photos on Instagram, turning down the pages in cookbooks for recipes I'm eager to try and when I have the time, testing out said recipes. There’s something very therapeutic after losing yourself to the creative process of cooking and of course, the end result is very rewarding.
SAY 'NO' TO PLANS
I hate saying no to people. It's the reason why I'm tied into an extortionate phone contract which kills my bank balance each month and it's also why I ended up in a relationship at 14 with a boy I didn't even like, let alone fancy. So yeah, you get the gist. Living in London, it's so easy to get caught up in wanting to do everything, see everything, experience everything and I tried to do it all for the first few years of living in London but as time has gone by, I'm starting to realise that it's physically not possible. I remember a time where I made plans every single evening after work for weeks on end and would then end up burning out. Sometimes it's okay to miss out, to get FOMO, to let down a mate if you just need some time to yourself. We all need to be a little bit selfish sometimes.
So there we go, now it's all in writing, I can't take it back!!!