Take Time To Relax This Weekend

In a world which at times seems to be moving ever faster, and many are constantly running to keep up with it, should we perhaps just say ‘stop’ and take time to chill out, relax, de-stress?

I saw this article by Alison Paton, she raised some interesting points. See what you think.

Go for a short walk: We often associate walking with stress, trying to get to work or to the next meeting. We are physically moving forward but our minds are elsewhere; our to do list, the disagreement you had yesterday or what you are having for lunch. Mindful walking teaches you to be in the hear and now. Notice what is going on around you, listen to the sounds, feel the ground beneath your feet; the muscles in your body working. Try practising mindful walking on your way to work – or better still visit your nearest green space for an evening stroll.

Colouring for adults: It may sound silly but adult colouring books are the new trendy way to de-stress and practise mindfulness. They give adults a creative outlet, it doesn’t require much logical thinking and is very nostalgic – think back to the last time you coloured in, I bet you didn’t even know what the word stress meant, let alone experienced it (and please don’t stress out about colouring out of the lines!)

Read a book: When’s the last time you got into bed early and lost yourself in a good book. As we get older we can suppress our creative imaginations, focusing too much on the seriousness of real life. And if you don’t have time to read a novel there are plenty of short story books out there waiting for you to lose yourself in.

Write for fun: Or better still, why not try writing a short story, or maybe even try your hand at poetry. But make sure you are doing it for fun. As a writer I sometimes forget to enjoy it and focus too much on deadlines, getting the next post out and basically writing because I have to and not because I want to. Remember, this is for you and for no-one else.

Stretching: Morning, noon and night – take some time out to stretch. Whether you’re practising yoga, working on mobility or simply stretching to wake yourself up – get your mat out and do it! You can even take time to stretch at your desk – there are plenty of short videos out there showing you how!

Write to do lists: Sometimes sleep is the only time I get to truly de-stress, and even then I start thinking of everything I need to do the next day, week, month and things that may not even happen. If this sounds all too familiar make sure you write a ‘to do’ list every night before you go to bed. Get your thoughts out of your head and on to paper – then forget about them until the morning when you’re ready to take action.

Establish a routine: You may see the weekend as a time to go out and party, or to catch up on sleep but try to go to bed and get up at the same time. Once your body establishes a routine you’ll more likely be able to relax.

Breathe: Yes, breathing is the most natural thing we do, but do we really concentrate on the breath to ensure its of good quality. Our day to day breathing is generally very shallow and we don’t even notice we are doing it. I suggest taking up to 10 minutes out of your day to relax and concentrate on breathing deeply; feel how your stomach expands and retracts with each breath. Both yoga and meditation are also great ways to practise quality breathing. Trust me, you’ll feel like a pretty large weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

Put on some music: Lets forgo the heavy metal and rap for this one and put something on a little more chilled. Maybe some classical music or some chilled out vibes. Research suggests that listening to music can relax the body, decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure. So next time you’re writing that stressful paper, or stuck in a traffic jam pop on some Mozart or some Bach and get cracking!

Switch off: This one is so important as we live in a world where technology is at the forefront of everything we do – when last thing at night and first thing in the morning we check FB/IG/Twitter or our emails. Looking at your screen up to 2 hours before bedtime can make it harder for you to fall asleep and can seriously damage the quality of sleep you are getting; not to mention seeing the stress inducing email we forgot to respond to at work that day, or the model on Instagram that makes you start hating your body at 11 o’clock at night. I even suggest a no phone day once a month, this takes away the convenience of being able to check your social media at any given minute meaning you have to create set times to go onto the computer.”

Well, what did you think of the suggestions?
Will you be trying some?

Whatever you decide – here’s to a relaxing and stress free time.
I’m going to take a few minutes out with a good book and a refreshing cuppa!

All the best Jan


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