A little #expertadvice from the lovely Ivana to boost your self-care Sunday routine.
Everybody is busy. We all have extremely hectic schedules, with things such as work, placements, school / college / University, as well as family / social lives being embedded into these schedules. Often, it is rather difficult to find a spare few hours to switch-off and relax. I thought it would be a good idea to put together a few tips on self-care, and how to truly relax and switch-off. We all need it, sometimes more often than usual.
- Have a specific hour / time of day / a whole day to switch-off from the ‘real’ world – This is SO important. I personally found, specifically during lockdown, that it is really HARD to stick to a ‘normal’ working day. I would always begin on time, but would really struggle with taking breaks, having a lunch hour, and finishing on time. I felt like I wasn’t really working, like it didn’t count, and so I would always work extra or work until 7/8pm. Eventually, it caught up with me and I was completely burnt out. Afterwards, I started to stick to normal working hours, with 2 10-minute breaks and a lunch hour in a 9-5 working day. Outside of these hours, it was my time to relax, to read, to cook, to do anything I wanted to do. No meetings, no catch-up Zoom calls and no emails at all. It can all wait until the next day / next time you’re at work. Learn to stick to these timings, and to take time off in a regular day.
- Have a beauty pamper – a bath, face-masks, hair-masks, the works – I know that self-care looks different to everyone, but these are the classics. Having a bath and doing a face-mask is something that just has such a relaxing vibe, it makes you feel like you’re in a spa! It can help you wind down, and help you think of different thoughts rather than the every-day stress. It’s also something you can do on your own or with some company, whether that’s a sibling, a friend or a partner.
- Cook or go out for a nice meal, on your own or with some company – Again, a classic, but it works! It’s so fun to do either; if you cook you get to make it into a roadtrip of buying ingredients, if you go out for a meal you get to dress up and go out. It’s an ideal distraction and works everytime if you just don’t want to think about everyday stresses. Whether it’s a date night or a girls’ / boys’ night.
- Go for a walk, do a workout class, or go to the gym – I started to go back to the gym ever since they opened back up here in the UK. Although I know it isn’t for everyone, I find that the gym helps me keep accountable and motivated. I do a mix of workouts by myself, as well as gym classes, and find that they are amazing in helping me destress and not think about anything for a while. If the gym isn’t for you, you can substitute with a walk, especially if you have a dog that needs to go for a walk. I find physical activity in general helps with living in the moment and really just appreciating the environment around us, ourselves and those we have around us too. Switching-off in this way is super relaxing, helps refresh our mindset and also helps to keep us healthy – it’s ideal!
- Put on some music, a Youtube video, podcast, or a film – There is something strangely comforting about having background noise. Even if you decide to tidy up, organize your wardrobe or clear-out your desk, it’s good to have something on in the background that makes these things less of a chore. Some people prefer silence, but every once in a while it’s nice to re-watch Twilight for the 100th time.
These tips above are just a few of the things I personally like to do to switch-off properly. Sometimes I do them on my own, other times with my family and / or boyfriend. Everyone has their own techniques and ways of doing self-care, but regardless of what it is its’ important to stick to it. It prevents negative thoughts, lack of motivation and burn out / exhaustion. Especially now, when the world is so uncertain and so many of our plans have had to be cancelled / re-scheduled / pushed back, it can feel like the weight of the world is on top of us. Even the most organised of people feel like this sometimes, and they probably have their own ways of relaxing. Learn to switch-off, practice self-care, and you will see how much of a difference it truly makes to your happiness and mental well-being.