Tag Archives: relaxation

How to Wind Down: 8 Activities for Self-Care and Relaxation

Hi friends! Welcome back to the blog! Hope you’re all doing really well. In one of my recent posts, I talked about some different actions and practices that may be helpful to incorporate at different phases of your monthly cycle. You can check that post out HERE. But I wanted to do a follow up post specifically about relaxation techniques. No matter where you’re at in your cycle, listening to your body comes first and foremost. And if you’re body is telling you to slow your roll, it’s nice to have strategies to take heed.

Here are 8 ways to wind down…

1. GO FOR A WALK

A leisurely stroll, where you are intentionally walking at a slower pace, is a lovely way to connect with yourself and your surroundings. Walking mindfully, not for exercise or to get from Point A to Point B, is very relaxing. This is a great way to chill out on the weekends or to wind down in the evenings. If you have a park or some woods near you, all the better! But nearby neighborhoods work just as well.

2. CLEAR SOME CLUTTER

Not everyone finds this calming, but I’m sure some folks would agree with me on this one. We’re not talking a huge undertaking here. Just a small space, like a drawer or the table that collects junk mail. The act of tidying up can be relaxing, but the tidy space that occurs as a result of your efforts can feel really good, too. If you binge watched Marie Kondo on Netflix, surely you know by now that a tidy space can promote a sense of calm!

3. LIGHT A CANDLE

Candles are the best, aren’t they? Lighting them in the evening is a really easy way to create a calm atmosphere. They are also a great add-on to other activities to make the experience feel more like a relaxing, self-care activity. Curled up on the couch listening to a podcast? Add a candle. Gotta wash your hair or do a face mask? Add a candle. You get the idea.

4. TURN ON A CALMING PLAYLIST

Create a couple playlists to have at the ready for whenever you need to set a relaxing tone. You might not have time to dedicate a portion of your evening to self-care. Maybe you had an event at work and now you have to quickly do the dishes, iron your clothes for tomorrow, and wash your face before you crash. Why not go about these chores with some soothing music playing? This is a great way to promote a relaxing atmosphere and calming state of mind alongside anything else you’ve got going on.

5. ROLL OUT A YOGA MAT

Give restorative yoga a try. (Just do a quick YouTube search if you don’t have any favorites at the ready.) This isn’t your typical rigorous yoga class, like a vinyasa flow, it is much more gentle. You’ll find yourself almost in a meditative state as you flow through relaxing positions. Thirty minutes to an hour of this gentle stretching and mindfulness is time well spent.

6. FOLLOW A GUIDED MEDITATION

Pop on your earbuds and get comfortable. Traditional meditation can get frustrating sometimes, especially if your mind is racing a mile a minute. Alleviate the pressure of having to shoo away thoughts for yourself with the help of a guide. This is great to do right before bed or if you just wanna zen out.

7. DRAW YOURSELF A BATH

Taking a hot bath is a classic. This is a great way to carve out a little “me time” while promoting sleep. Try adding essential oils into the water. Lavender is definitely a go-to in the relaxation department, but do a little experimentation. Different smells evoke different feelings for different folks. Try: frankincense, geranium, chamomile, pine, etc.

8. POUR YOURSELF A DRINK

No, not a bourbon on the rocks (although, you might want that once and awhile, too!). I’m talking about soothing, healing drinks like herbal teas. Enjoy the process that goes along with brewing the perfect mug and then take some time to sit down and mindfully enjoy.

What activities help YOU relax? Share your favorite ways to wind down below.

If you enjoy my blog content, please consider supporting what I do (and keeping me caffeinated). Thank you! xoxo ☕

Advertisements

6 Reasons You Should Be Sleeping More

6 ways lack of sleep damages your personal and professional life*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Sleep is a lot like money; we all want it, it can help in so many ways, but it can be difficult to get. 

It almost seems like everyone I talk to is tired. A few years ago I put the kibosh on making small talk with co-workers about being tired because it felt so non-unique. After all, we’re ALL tired! Right? So much so that it’s weird when you see someone that isn’t yawning every other second.

Not getting enough sleep once or twice per week isn’t that much of an issue, but consistently sleeping under 6 or 7 hours per night will start to take its toll on your life.

Getting adequate sleep every night is high on my priority list but I know there are folks out there who balk at the idea of making it a priority. If you’re unconvinced, here are just a few of the ways your life can be negatively impacted by a lack of sleep:

how does lack of sleep affect professional life

You become forgetful

Are you falling victim to the mind-blank? This forgetfulness could stem from not getting enough sleep for the previous few nights. By not getting enough rest you’re working your brain too hard, and you start to forget things. The science speaks for itself

You start turning up late every morning

What happens when you wake up every morning feeling more and more tired? You turn off your alarms and go back to sleep because your body literally can’t wake itself up. As a result, you oversleep and show up late. You don’t need me to tell you that lateness isn’t a quality most bosses welcome. Hell, even if you own your own business, waking up late can cause you to spend your whole day trying to catch up! Falling out of love with your job is one thing, but persistent tardiness, even at a job you DO love, sends a message to your superiors and clients that you’re not fully committed. 

why you need to sleep more

You lose confidence

Not sleeping? Look out for the dreaded panda eyes. You know what I’m talking about, the dark patches of skin under your eyes that cause even random strangers to start remarking that you “look tired.” (Which, even when well-intentioned, can kinda sting!) Dark circles can leave you feeling pretty down about the way you look. Thankfully, the antidote is pretty simple (SLEEP, girl. Sleep!) and there are even things like the SiO smoothing patches to help counteract the damage that’s already been done!

Your concentration goes out the window

Have you ever tried concentrating on something when you’re tired? Honestly, it’s one of the hardest things you can do. All your brain is telling you is to close your eyes and get some sleep. (Or, you’re just thinking about how tired you are, which takes your focus away from everything else that you should be doing!)

This has consequences in your professional life, but also in your personal life. In a workplace, you can’t afford to switch off and lose concentration. A momentary lapse of concentration is all it takes to do something potentially catastrophic at work. (Not to be hyperbolic but f’real. Sometimes poorly worded emails are a catastrophe in MY book!) On a personal level, your relationships can suffer if you’re unable to pay attention during conversations because you’re so dang drowsy.

You become emotional

Another consequence of not sleeping enough is that you become more stressed and mentally drained. When you’re stressed, it’s almost like you’re living your life on a tightrope and any little thing can cause you to lose your balance. Alongside upping your nightly intake of sleep, work on relaxation techniques every morning and evening, and make time for meditation and deep breathing sessions to keep calm and centered.

You start exhibiting risk-taking behavior

Here’s an article that looks at sleep deprivation and how it affects risk-taking behavior. While the study discusses teen sleeping habits specifically, I think it’s an interesting look at the cause and effect lack of sleep can have on one’s life. Unfortunately, turning to stimulants, like caffeine, to get through a rough day, is certainly not a uniquely teenage behavior. Worth a read!

Convinced you should be sleeping more but not sure HOW? Here are some helpful tips from the article mentioned above:

  • Set regular bedtime hours.
  • Create a peaceful and device-free environment (screens off about an hour prior to turning in).
  • Take a warm bath or shower, not too hot though as that raises the body temperature and it can take a while to cool back down.
  • Keep the routine going throughout the week and weekend.
  • Both physical activity and eating healthy foods has been linked to a more zzz’s.
    From How Teen Sleep Deprivation Leads to Risk-Taking Behaviors, Psychology Today (Jun 1, 2018)

I’m curious, how many hours of sleep do you normally get each night? Do you find yourself falling victim to any of these issues when you start to sleep less? Or do you function just fine without a lot of zzz’s? Let me know! 

DIY: Mason Jar Bath Salts

bathsalts

Ok, I realize the concept of bath salts has been getting a bad rap as of late, ever since weirdos in Florida started smoking them and eating people’s faces off. But ACTUAL bath salts, the kind you soak in, are freaking awesome. Combine the benefits of essential oils with the benefits of salt in your bath water and you have a recipe for mindfulness, muscle recovery, stress relief, improved circulation, and a headache solution. This is a really simple DIY that you can adapt based on your favorite colors, scents, and containers to customize to your liking. Make a huge batch and you’ll have an arsenal of gifts you can break out at a moment’s notice. Not to mention, during the process, your house will smell amazing! I packaged this batch in mason jars because DUH! and I love mason jars (I also wanted to decoupage the tops for some added flair) but I think these, these or these would work well too. You could even be super thrifty and reuse cleaned out food jars.

What you’ll need:

For the salts–

-1 cup of epsom salt

-1 cup of sea salt

-essential oil (I used peppermint and lavender)

-food coloring (I used red and blue)

For the mason jar packaging–

-mason jars with this kind of lid

-magazine cutouts

-decoupaging supplies (I used glue, water and a paintbrush but use Mod Podge if you’re feeling fancy)

-pretty ribbon/s (twine would also look adorably shabby chic)

-a fun charm to tie around the top of the jar

and how it all comes together:

-Mix one cup of epsom salt and one cup of sea salt in a large mixing bowl.

-Add 3-6 drops of food coloring. Mix and add more until you reach your desired hue.

-Add 5-10 drops of your chosen essential oil(s). (You can do a little online research if you’re not familiar with oils and their various benefits.)

-Set the bowl aside and pretty up your mason jar tops by decoupaging a tiny collage on top.

-Spoon your salts into the jars and throw the top on.

-Tie a small charm or gift tag/label around the jar with your chosen ribbon/s.

Voila! You’re well on your way to giving someone the gift of stress relief and a proper pampering.