Am I the only one who struggles to wind down at times? I find my calendar is always full of ‘shoulds’. If I get a spare hour I’m immediately thinking of a chore or something else I should be doing. Like laundry, or cleaning, or practising Spanish… it’s like my mind refuses to just let me ‘be’.
I’ve been working on it. I’m trying to rid myself of the guilt that comes when I finally get a free hour or two and decide to do nothing with it. So, I thought to myself that as the weekend is coming up, and because it’s way too easy for us to seize those few empty hours and turn them into chore time, that I’d put together a few quick activities you can use to help you wind down and relax.
Hear me out. I know it’s exercise, but if you do something that helps you to chill out but is exercise then you won’t feel bad about not exercising right? I’m not really into the whole meditation thing per se, but I do think stretching for ten minutes to some calm music is a great way to clear your head. That or a 30-minute walk with some music in your ears. Both occupy you enough to make you feel busy without being too demanding.
From something that feels like doing something, to something that is time-wasting at it’s best. I love Youtube. Spend an hour of your life doing nothing but watching videos that you will likely forget by this time next month. My favorites are FailArmy (because who doesn’t enjoy laughing at people falling on their faces or doing stupid things they shouldn’t?), any travel diaries, daily vloggers (I don’t know why – it’s super weird to just watch people you don’t know going about their day, but it’s strangely fascinating), and Dr Pimple Popper (not for the fainthearted).
I am obsessed with podcasts. I’m particularly into podcasts about language and linguistics, but I also listen to StoryCorps by NPR 1, where they share real stories from people around the world, and Monocycle by Leandra Cohen (because I want to be her best friend and she cracks me up).
You can clean your body and relax at the same time? Who knew? A good bath is underrated. Dim the bathroom lights, light some scented candles like these, play some music on your phone (and then put it out of the reach of the tub), and soak in the nice warm bubbles until your fingers and toes are all wrinkly.
I’m currently (slowly) reading Aziz Anzari’s book Modern Romance, and it’s cracking me up. That being said, I don’t always read books (should I admit that, as a writer?), I love reading interior design magazines. As in actually read them, not just look at the pictures. Pick up whatever magazine or book takes you to your happy place and enjoy it along with your favorite beverage (tea, coffee, wine?).
This is one of my favorite pastimes, and I am sure that it comes highly un-recommended by experts considering it requires me to focus on two things at once (hello ADHD!), but I love it. Most of the time I’m watching a movie I’ve seen before and love the crap out of, like When Harry Met Sally (or basically anything else starring Meg Ryan), or a documentary series, like Chef’s Table; and then liking everything on Pinterest, putting together my dream living room.
If none of these are your jam that’s okay. Just find something you like doing, that helps you relax, and takes your mind off of things and do that. It’s okay to relax every now and then, promise.
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