Because we can all do with a bit of guidance from time to time…
1. Breathe – I know, lol, what am I on about? But when was the last time you properly took time to concentrate on your breathing? Lie in a dark room and breathe deeply – in through the nose and out through the mouth, and concentrate on this. It sounds like nothing, but it can do you a world of wonders. And if you’re really feeling it, try a yoga or pilates class, or whack on some chilled out music and let the mood take you away. When I posted earlier in the year about suffering from anxiety, I was recommended to try mindfulness techniques, and I found a really good app called ‘Headspace’ which has helped me to relax, focus on the positives, and meditate.
2. Take a bath – there’s something that can be said for surrounding yourself in bubbles with your hair up, and maybe even a face mask. I never used to like sitting in a bath… I mean, what’s relaxing about being surrounded by your own filth getting way too hot every 8 seconds? Well… everything really! I’m a complete bath convert. They give you a time to relax, some real ‘you’ time (unless you have a cat who hates any door being closed to him) and if you’re feeling really fancy, try incense sticks, candles, or a bath bomb to heighten the bath-time experience. Lush! (Lol, get it?!)
3. Go for a walk – as a generation of social media addicts, it is sometimes easy to get wrapped up in refreshing Instagram every 2 minutes without moving for a good solid hour, but that’s doing no one any good. When was the last time you put your phone away, and walked somewhere hey? Well do! I absolutely love walking, especially in winter. I can be a very outdoorsy person when it comes to the least physical amount of effort as possible, so walking is perfect for me. And if you’re lucky, you might even get a cute insta snap out of it for when you get home #bonus
4. Exercise – I know, I know, it’s sometimes hard to motivate yourself to go to the gym, especially after a long day at work, but I find exercise instantly lifts my mood and gives me a sense of a job well done. And if you really can’t face the gym, why not try a class? There’s something about working out in a group that gives me a real sense of motivation and team spirit that you’re all in it together. GIRL POWER!
5. Light a candle – for me, candles are an absolute game changer. I just love them. They instantly make me feel so much calmer and happier. And most of them smell divine too. Most supermarkets have their own versions of more expensive brands such as Jo Malone or Yankee candles, and these can be a great alternative, if you don’t want to splash the cash.
6. Read – sounds like a simple one, but I sometimes find that once I get in bed, I can’t be bothered to pick up a book and start concentrating on something new. Recently though, I have noticed that the nights I do read instead of trawling through twitter, I have had a much better nights sleep, because my mind is in the right state to go to bed, instead of looking at the bright light of my phone. And there is nothing better than the satisfaction of finishing a book!
7. Go to a garden centre – hear me out on this one. Garden centres may sound like the most boring place in the world, but in reality they’re great! If the amazing homemade cakes and scones aren’t enough to tickle your fancy, our local garden centre sells hot tubs (if you have a spare £12k lying around…) And that’s not even it. Winter is the BEST time to visit garden centres because they get all their Christmas decorations in, which, if you’re like me, means you started to stock up on baubles in September.
8. Netflix and chill – not in that sense! But wrapping yourself in blankets with various selections of snacks and drinks (for me it’s cheese, cheese and more cheese) with nowhere to go and no one to see, is probably one of the best and most relaxing situations you can be in. Pure bliss!
9. Bake – if you’re like me, and you have a massive sweet tooth, dive deep into your cupboards and see what ingredients you have lying about. My favourite thing to make at the moment is flapjack, which is super easy, and it tastes amazing! So get in the kitchen and see what culinary delights you can create – bound to make you and your belly happy.
10. Arrange to see old friends – you know the ones I mean? The ones that you have to book in weeks in advance because you’re all so busy being grown up and that? Even if the plans are weeks away, get them in the diary. Maybe you’ll have dinner and drinks, or even just a chilled night in but having something girly and chilled to look forward to really lifts your mood
11. Sleep – sounds easy right? But it’s not. Our everyday lives can really get in the way of us having a decent nights sleep. I’ve always been a light sleeper, so I do find this one hard (plus I have a tiny bladder). Getting a good nights sleep starts before you even get into bed – make sure there are no flickering lights in your bedroom, so cover wifi boxes, TV standby lights or any flickering plug sockets. Scientists say that the optimum amount of sleep we should have is between 7 and 9 hours, so put your phone away and get some shut eye. You body will thank you later.
12. Treat yourself – because why the flip not? You work hard for a living, and you deserve those new boots, that new perfume, or that weekend away you’ve been eyeing up. There’s no reason to feel guilty about spending money on yourself once in a while.
13. Remember that you’re only human – it’s so easy to get bogged down in everyday life; why is she more successful than me, why is he earning more than me, why have they bought a house first etc. etc. but life is for living, and enjoying and making the most of it. Give yourself some slack when things don’t go to plan, and don’t beat yourself up that you’re not where you thought you would be at this age. Time passes way too quickly, so don’t waste it on negative thoughts and energy.