Recently I’ve been finding it harder than usual to unwind each day. I blame this on the removal of all our Christmas decorations (our Christmas home is my happy place) as well as a very busy time of year at work. As I only get home from work at around 7pm, this doesn’t leave much time left in the day for anything else, and I hate wasting that time feeling stressed out. I really want to make better use of my evenings this year, so learning to de-stress quite quickly is something I’ve been focusing on. Here’s what has been working for me:
1. Rethink Your Space.
My first tip is to make sure your space is calming in advance. My “space” is a sofa and the area around it. Yours might be a chair, a bed or a whole room! It’s basically where you like to plonk yourself when you first arrive home each day.
One of the things I noticed recently was that if our living room was messy, this subconsciously played on my mind and prevented me from being able to relax. Clutter is something that “needs doing”, so for me to switch off my brain it was really helpful to de-clutter the area around my sofa and to make sure any piles of things “to do” are out of sight. My sofa has plenty of squashy cushions and a soft cosy blanket. I have also rearranged our room accessories so that the things in my immediate view are a leafy plant and a scented candle, which creates a calming glow and lovely scent when I light it.
Sorting out my space didn’t take much effort and it has had such a huge effect mentally. Of course I know that the “to do” pile still exists, and of course our home will always need cleaning and tidying. But just making sure I have a nice place to unwind in each day is key!
2. Create a De-Stress Routine
Having a mini routine when I get in from work really does help my brain switch off. I get changed into something comfortable (current preference is pyjamas), get myself a cup of tea and maybe a biscuit, and then cosy up in my space. From there I usually spend 15 minutes chatting with my husband and playing on the Disney Magic Kingdoms game on my tablet, which is both cute and requires no brain power! The routine is just 20 minutes of calm for my body and mind.
Tips for your routine:
- Chatting with loved ones or housemates is great, but avoid stressful subjects!
- Avoid jumping onto social media for this period of time – it can be a really annoying place, and your brain doesn’t need it!
- Try to think of absolutely nothing for 5 minutes and just be mindful of how nice it is to be comfy, warm and enjoying a hot drink in peace.
After this, my evening is free for whatever I feel like – cooking, writing, enjoying a bath, watching Netflix or maybe even going out somewhere(!)
This is a new one for me, but I’m really enjoying this part of my day now. I have started to spend 10 minutes at the very end of each day writing a short entry in my new journal (a lovely Christmas present). It’s not time consuming or stressful, and the routine is all part of the calming effect. I journal in my cosy space and it’s a really enjoyable, peaceful ten minutes all to myself before bed.
I have just made these 3 changes to my day and I have found they have made all the difference. All 3 are completely free, very easy, and not time consuming at all! What do you do when you find it hard to unwind?