Now I’m not one for New Years resolutions but a priority of mine for 2016 is to look after myself better and to make more time for me. I think for a lot of us especially in our early twenties there can be many constant pressures as we try to work out what it is we actually want to do with our lives. Life can be very busy and we often feel a need to meet the expectations of friends and family – often forgetting that sometimes we just need to sit down and do nothing.
I myself, are actually very bad at this hence my new focus on trying to change! Working in events management, especially during busy times can often result in me working or being ‘on call’ evenings and weekends which makes it difficult to switch off. I’m also terrible when just at home as I’m not one for sitting still and always find something I should be doing whether that is taking the recycling out, putting another load of washing on or finally putting those bags of clothes on eBay which have been hoarding the bedroom floor for weeks. I’ve therefore put together a list of things I’ve found to help recently to help me forget any worries, relax and just simply, take time out.
1. Go for a walk
Enjoy the fresh air of the great outdoors. I’m lucky living in Leeds in that I am a short drive away from the Yorkshire Dales and picturesque towns such as Otley – although I don’t utilise this anywhere near as much as I should. I find walking helps me clear my head especially on lovely bright sunny days. It doesn’t have to be a 10 mile trek in the countryside it could simply be a walk around the block or the park during your lunch break. I find walking around Leeds Dock quite calming, must be something about being near the water!
2. Read a good book
At school I was the biggest English geek ever, I absolutely loved reading. However, recently in the past few years I’ve found I have only really made time for this when I have been on holiday and had a few days by the pool to occupy myself with where I can easily read about 4 books in a week. I have a whole shelf of new books in the flat I haven’t started yet so this year I’m trying to read at least one new book a month. I love winter where you can snuggle up on the sofa, grab a blanket, light a candle and just be immersed into a whole new story.
I’d always wanted to try Yoga but the thought of being surrounded by pro’s in a studio daunted me and I didn’t want to embarrass myself! A few months I found Yoga Hero, a local Leeds studio and attended their 4 week beginners course. I got hooked and spent my Christmas money on a class pass so I could go a lot more often in the New Year. I’ve been aiming to go at least once a week and my two favourite classes are Ashtanga and Unwind & Relax. It’s a great way to forget about a bad day at work as your mind just concentrates on the present, your breathing and body at that particular moment in time. I’ve definitely found my strength and flexibilty to have improved the past few weeks although I definitely still have a long way to go before I’m doing handstands!
4. Treat yourself to a pamper…
There’s nothing quite like having a pamper night where the only tough decisions you need to make are which show you’re going to watch in the bath and whether you want red red or just red nail varnish to paint your nails. I’m a fan of a good Lush bath bomb and shower gel from the Body Shop. If I have a whole evening to pamper it definitely calms me and I feel all refreshed before bed ready to tackle the next day looking and feeling great.
5. Hit the road…
Now cycling isn’t exactly relaxing but it’s a wonderful healthy way to explore somewhere new. All worries completely disappear when I am on my bike as all I have to think about is pedaling. I absolutely love the sense of freedom when descending down a hill quickly, it really can feel like you’re flying. The sense of achievement when you climb to the top of that hill really does prove to yourself that your body is much more capable than you think – and you really do deserve that slice of cake.
I hope these tips help. What do you do to relax?