Thursday, 30 April 2015

Life: Six Ways to Fit Real Relaxation into Your Week

A's top tips for fitting me-time into your busy schedule

It's around this time of year, when Christmas seems but a distant memory and Summer feels like it might never arrive, you find yourself thinking you'd do just about anything for a holiday. But it's April, and who's got the time, let alone the money, for a holiday?

Recently I realised I needed to do something about my so-called work-life balance, so over the past few months, I've been working out how to change my lifestyle to achieve a balanced, more restful state. Holidays are definitely A. Good. Thing. but I wanted to stop surviving the week to get to the weekend, and surviving the month to get to my next holiday, etc. 

Here are some of the things I've learnt along the way that have helped me find rest...

This will be different for everyone, some of you might already be fully fledged gym bunnies, and some of you may be more of the walking-in-heels-is-enough-exercise-for-me type of girl, but if Elle Woods ever taught us anything, it's that exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy. 
At the moment I'm doing yoga twice a week in the comfort of my own home. At other times I've been a member of a yoga studio, which was wonderful, and in other seasons, I've gone running. What I'm trying to say is, it matters less what you do, but a bit of regular exercise really does make you feel good, and really is quite good for you!

Eat well
Another contentious one, as no-one seems to agree on what eating well is. However, a bit of common sense will go a long way here. Try reading R's thoughts on clean and lean eating.

Light a candle
Light me a candle and I'm immediately remembering candlelit dinners, Christmas times and bubble baths. This association is powerful enough to help me to relax as soon as I light a candle. Any candle will do, but a deliciously scented one will do better.

Read a book
I recently cottoned on to the fact that as soon as I immersed myself in the fictional world of a good book, my real life worries completely disappeared. Although definitely not a long term solution to real life problems, reading a gripping yarn helps me distance myself when situations threaten to become overwhelming.

Take a mini-retreat
If you're lacking the funds to go on a getaway, or just don't have a weekend spare, why not block out a weekday evening, or even book a day off work, and treat yourself to a home retreat day? Plan out the day in advance to include the most relaxing things you can think off, and treat it like a proper holiday.
The other day I tried this out - I got up early enough to seize the day but not too early, had a cup of tea in bed, did half an hour of gentle yoga, had a healthy breakfast, and spent the rest of the morning reading and looking out of the window. And you know what, it felt amazing!

Go for a walk
This is not rocket science here, but going for a walk, be it 20 minutes or two hours, in the fresh air, is guaranteed to make you feel good. It gets your heart pumping, your body moving, gets fresh air into your lungs, clears your head, breaks through mental blocks, kick-starts imagination... I could go on.

I'm sure none of this is news to any of you, but being intentional about the things we know are good for us is important. It's all too easy to get caught up in the business and the busyness of life and complain we don't have the time to do any of these things, but take a moment to schedule them in and they'll become their own rewards.

A x

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