Relax, Reflect & Restore - Simple ways to wind down
Can you believe we are a mere eight Friday's away from Christmas?! This year has truly slipped through my fingers and I am sure many of you feel the same way too. As companies start preparing to slow down for year-end you are either going to get super busy for the festive period or start slowing down as it gets quieter and people go on leave - either way it's the time of the year when you need to take the time to regroup and reflect. Prepare to end the year off on a positive note by relaxing and restoring what was lost in the year.
I thought I would share some of the ways I relax and fill up my tank with you - simply because we all have different ways we wind down and below are some of my suggestions which have worked for me :-)
Do things that make you happy - Playing with dogs
I love dogs - and there is something so precious that animals can you give you that no human can - I have heard it's unconditional love. Spending time away from people and bonding with animals can help immensely in taking your mind off the hard day you just had at work and focussing on the important things in your life. I guarantee your pet will love it too! Doing life things leave you feeling happy and whole - which is all we really need! So, roll around in dirt or even on your lounge carpet with your cat or dog and just focus that moment, laugh a bit, get some wet kisses in and you are good to go!
Give your brain a break (if you are not an animal lover)
It might seem like such a small and insignificant activity, but chucking your phone in a drawer or behind a pillow for an hour and taking time away from electronics and social media and whatever else we all spend our time on these days - helps to clear your mind. Your brain does need a break sometimes.
Take your pets for a walk, have a face to face conversation with your family about random things, go for a pilates or yoga class or even just sit and read a book - these are all things which can help you disconnect (literally) from the world and help you restore your mind. I find that doing small things like this help my mood and makes me feel lighter about the next day but also inspired to take on whatever comes my way head on.
Hot tea cured every ailment (and so did food) :-)
I love my tea and coffee! If I need to calm down, cool down and compose myself - a hot cup of tea is always the answer. Drinking healthy and refreshing teas throughout the day help with strengthening the immune system (I've read)! I like green tea, camomile, and mostly chai tea to have after a long day.
Another part of of preparing to relax and wind down is eating. Sustaining a healthy diet is so important, and we may not even notice this. If I don't eat or miss a meal during the day, it's almost guaranteed I will get a headache, feel tired and groggy and my energy levels take a huge dip. When I feel like this its very hard to wind down and properly relax because all I really want to do is take a quick hot shower, pop a headache pill and jump into bed.
Eat what you like, meals which satisfy you and fill you up, so you can get to bed feeling great and sleep better on a full stomach. It's incredible how happy food can make you.
Taking a hot bath can do the body wonders. The heat of the water mixed with relaxing bath oils and lots of bubbles all work together to help you take a load off. It can relieve sore and tense muscles, reduces stress as it affords you time out from the world, removes tension and I guarantee you will sleep better.
Make it that much more epic by creating your own mini spa at home. Light some of your favourite scented candles in your bathroom, dim the lights and hit the music. Just type in "Spa music" on YouTube and you have access to hours of relaxing music which you can play in the background (I am not saying spend hours in the bath lol). It just makes for the perfect @ home spa - which just seems gorgeous to me!
Create an ambiance
The feeling of having freshly washed sheets on your bed is unexplainable, the same as getting into a perfectly made bed or a bed with new sheets. Basically, what I am trying to say is make your bed look appealing to get into.
Light your favourite aromas in your room, whether it is scented candles, an oil burner, a scented stick or even a sleep spray. This will encourage you to get comfy and relax. I like smells which remind me certain memories that make me happy and scents always help you dream better when you are able to think of happy moments.
Wear PJs which are soft, easy to sleep in and cuddle up in a throw on your bed and get warm. I realised that once I get warm and cosy I automatically switch off and feel tired. This is important in sleep preparation - going to bed not able to sleep prolongs my agony and I end up not having a good nights sleep because I toss and turn all night. But - if I get into bed relaxed, tired and comfortable with all my favourite things around me, I sleep like a baby!
We have all heard people say that sleep is important, and using electronic devices before bed is a bad idea or watching TV in the bedroom disrupts sleeping patterns, and the list goes on. Personally, I like watching series and catching up on missed episodes, this is relaxing to me. Its the time where I get to focus on something other than daily life. I watch my favourite shows till a certain, for example 9pm, then switch off, have a hot shower or bath and get into bed.
By this stage my brain and eyes are tired ready for sleep - the last thing I need to do is prepare to have a peaceful sleep. I do this by listening to soothing music, personally I like rain sounds (sometimes they are real, but if they not, we make it happen). Relax melodies available on the App Store is basically a sound board with different soothing sounds to listen to which can help you fall asleep. Headspace is another sound app which has every thing you need to ensure you are relaxed enough to sleep well. I normally put my WiFi off or put it on Do Not Disturb so I am not tempted to reply to texts or scroll my feeds. The phone's main purpose here is to help you switch off and that's all you should use it for.
One you have switched off, you can peacefully, drift into a relaxing, restful and regenerating sleep, waking up refreshed and replenished.
It's so important to take time out, appreciate life, think and just be present. Once you can do this - you can enjoy the busy and hectic but also the quiet and peaceful.
I hope these tips have helped and you try them out any day you feel a bit overwhelmed or you need to relax. Do them step by step as mentioned above or choose one a day to complete, see which one works best for you - this is just how I like distress, and what better time of the year than now ;-)