Happy Tuesday guys! For me, it feels like a Monday because I took off to the cabin this weekend with my younger siblings for a little R&R and family time, getting back in super late last night. That trip along with Matt and I’s recent getaway to Whistler (more on that later this week!) has me thinking a lot about finding rest more frequently, especially with fall fully upon us now and because on both trips, it wasn’t until I started chilling out and unwinding that I even became aware that I had been all wound up. I shared last week how I’ve started “nesting” more and more as I get older, with our apartment and its decor being a main focus. But I also feel like I’ve been drawn more towards wellness, towards rituals and towards taking more time-out’s from work life in general – all in all, just appreciating that life is short and if I’m not indulging in the things that make me feel whole and sane and healthy on a day-to-day basis, then I’m kind of playing with fire as far as my mental and physical health go.
With a job that’s kind of 24/7 (and believe me, I wouldn’t have it any other way – I love what I do) it can be easy to get sort of sucked into the vortex of always doing more and expecting more and more from myself, particularly because I don’t take that much time away from it. What’s more, I have friends and family who have seriously demanding jobs – my best friends’ jobs alone make me feel stressed just hearing what they’re up to day to day in our WhatsApp group (one’s a doctor dealing with the craziest shit every day, two are teachers dealing with the stress of teaching the next generation and one’s running several restaurants). I feel like we all need to not only take vacations and take regular breaks in the year, but to see how we can introduce some daily or weekly rituals that will help us reset the stressometer back down into a chill zone every day.
Heading up into my version of heaven on earth while up in Whistler a couple weeks ago (Scandinave Spa, which is honestly the most unreal experience) is one way to get the relaxation I need – the hydrotherapy cycles do so much for my body, and the silent policy of the spa helps me find the peace & quiet that I need and so rarely take. Then experiencing time with two of my favourite people at a place that automatically puts me at ease (my cabin on the Sunshine Coast) yet again effortlessly relaxed me within a couple days. With the goal of keeping both of these trips’ relaxing vibes going and in an effort to also remember that it doesn’t always take a trip to have the little break that we need, here are 5 other ways to find a little dose of peace on a day-to-day basis.
1. Join a book club (or just start reading more)
There was a time when all I read were books geared towards helping my business or helping me get more aligned as an entrepreneur – all great things that have also helped me on a personal basis, but they’re not exactly of the “unwinding” variety. My aforementioned BFFs have all kind of gotten on reading kicks over the past few years and since we’re kind of scattered around the world (3 of us are in Van, one is in Dublin, one is in Abu Dhabi) we’d often pass off book suggestions (or even physical books during our trips together) and it was nice because it felt like it kind of bound us all when we weren’t physically together. We even have a traveling diary! I know, we’re so cute. It was only a natural progression for us to kick off an international book club together, which is what we’re currently doing, prepping for our first Google Hangout meeting (we’re reading The Hate U Give)! What I love about this is that it’s forced reading, which doesn’t sound lovely at first but it’s actually how I rediscovered my love for fiction. Rewind to nine months ago when I was experiencing a lot of burnout and got acupuncture to treat my stress – my acupuncturist told me I wasn’t allowed screens of any kind for two hours after treatment sessions, and no music either. “Just read and rest” she told me. I actually used to be a really voracious reader so after about three sessions with her, I fell back into that habit easily and began just obsessively reading fiction again. What I love about a book club is it effectively does the same thing – so many of us are deadline or achievement oriented so this kind of tricks you into doing something that actually helps you unwind since you know you’ll have to discuss the book at a set date, plus it also opens your eyes up to maybe new types of books you wouldn’t have chosen and that has you and your friends bonding in ways that don’t involve screens (unless you’re us and have to do this remotely). So join a book club or just set up a reading challenge for yourself and whether it’s at bedtime, in the afternoon as a break or maybe first thing in the morning, you can start to find that little mental recharge you need via a good read!
2. Have a skincare routine
And I’m not just talking about frantically washing your face and slapping on lotion – develop a routine that feels good. When I first started seeing Amanda of Glow Therapy (who also happens to be a friend – she’s as lovely as she is talented) not only did my skin totally change under her care, but she also introduced me to the wonderful world of skincare – emphasis on the care. Through teaching me about the right products to use to showing me how to do a facial massage to sharing jade rolling with me, it’s something that has not only changed how my skin looks (which is a seriously nice added bonus, especially as someone who’s always struggled with their skin in the past) to also unintentionally adding in a little dose of daily self-care. I even have a little storage ottoman now where I store all my products, plus other accoutrements like a head massager from Saje and their Peppermint Halo, which I like to put on my scalp. I do this pretty much every night and it not only has helped bring more glow, but it helps me unwind from the day and also is a really lovely form of self-love. Here’s my routine which you can try or adjust accordingly: I take off my makeup and then wash my face. I spritz my face with Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir and then just before it dries fully, massage in a retinol serum. I then apply my lotion and do this facial massage. Once it’s absorbed into my skin, I go through and jade roll my whole face. I then put some Peppermint Halo on my shoulders, neck and scalp and use the head massager which is the best thing ever (I only do this last step on days when I’m going to shower the next morning though, my hair’s too fine to stand up to the oil blend otherwise to look presentable the next day).
3. Meditate in any way you can
As you guys might already know, meditation has been a big life changer for me. Whether I’m meditating on my own (here’s a guide) or using Headspace, which I’m a massive fan of, it just helps me reset and ground myself. For some reason or another though, I sometimes fall off the wagon of the ritual of meditating (i.e. what I usually do by sitting down and setting a timer) and during those times, I try to meditate in different ways – at the end of the day, meditation is really just an effort to still your mind, be aware to your senses and to be in the present moment. Sometimes that means instead of driving home from a workout, I walk home and really just quiet my mind and take in the scenery and the feeling of the wind on my skin, the scent in the air, etc. Other times, it means I just am fully present while doing housecleaning. The best way for me is to always just take the time out (even if that means 3-5 minutes when I can get in the 10-15 I like to get) but even on the busiest of days and particularly on the days when I’m kind of off to a weird start (i.e. I slept in, had an urgent work thing, etc), even if I feel like I don’t have the time I try to just take a few moments to be present. Headspace actually has “singles” that are geared towards a huge variety of activities, from walking to cleaning to work travel, so you really have a ton of ways to incorporate it in in a guided way!
4. Start your day with 2-3 rituals
I know that no matter where I am in the world or what kind of morning I’m going to have, I’ll always have hot water and lemon, make my bed and do a quick stretch. I have a far more robust morning routine that you can see here that I really try to stick to because it makes for such a lovely start to my day, but no matter what, I try to do the three things listed above because even on a super busy day or one that I didn’t plan out as well as I could, it helps me feel like I start with a bit of peace, a bit of routine (which really grounds me) and most importantly, all three things are hardwired in my brain as key for my health, my sense of calm and my performance for the day. Try to think of just a few things that you can do that you know are doable no matter what, that will help you feel set for the day and that make you happy so that even on the most hectic of days, you have that first few moments of peace and of self-care!
5. Take a breath of fresh air
On days when the overwhelm is real, getting out and going for a walk on the Sea Wall honestly never fails me. It always helps me reset. It’s why I try to bike wherever I go, why I’ll often take a Car2Go or something like that to a workout but then insist on walking home (no matter what the weather’s like), etc. I try to build in these fresh air breaks during my day because I know that a. my body needs it, b. I’ll work so much more effectively for the rest of the day and c. it helps me turn off my brain or calmly and consciously work through issues through motion, which is something I really need (why I’m always pacing around the apartment or studio when I’m working on something). Of course, working out is also key for me but it’s not always exactly as restful, particularly when I’m hitting up an intense workout. So get outside! Even on the shitty days. Or on the other hand, if it’s really terrible outside, then take the opportunity to make your space especially cozy and indulge fully in a candlelit, relaxing day inside, but allow yourself to do it guilt-free and really soak it in (my one exception to the “get outside” rule is when we’re having a truly pouring rain day, when having the ultimate hygge experience can do just as much good).
A little bonus tip: figure out a mid-day or end-of-work routine! Since I work from home, my mid-day is usually when I work out and get some fresh air in – it’s when I feel strongest! For end-of-work, I’ll often force Matt out for a walk or do some “mindful” tidying, which helps me feel like I’m shutting down for the most part from the day.
How do you guys find rest & relaxation on a day-to-day basis? Tell me in the comments below!