Taking Some 'Me Time'

Sunday, 5 February 2017
2016 was a particularly stressful year for me. And after a while, it was beginning to get me down because it felt like I wasn't really getting free time and when I was I felt too tired/burned out to do things that I really wanted to do. I've bee trying to practice some 'me time' (I don't know what else to call it - self care?) and set aside at least an hour every day to just spend some time by myself doing something that calms me down. Even if it's just turning my phone off and getting into bed an hour early. Before, I think I was a little too obsessed with the idea of being productive and ticking things off my to do list to the point that it began to impact my happiness. I've been trying to work out some things to help me unwind and I've discovered these are my favourites.

Read a book - As a nerd, there's nothing that I love more than taking some time to myself and sitting down with a good book. If I'm looking to relax or de-stress then I'm likely to go for something that's an easy read. A chick lit like the Time Traveller's Wife or an old childhood favourite like Harry Potter or a Lemony Snicket novel. I know it's summer time now but I think that when the weather is a bit colder then snuggling up with a blanket and a book before I go to bed whilst it's raining is one of life's greatest pleasures. Even if I only get 20-30 minutes of reading done it makes such a difference to my day. I try to read before I go to bed and I find that I sleep better on the nights when I read before bed. Alternately, some of my friends bought me a beautiful journal that prompts you to write down things that you are greatful for every day. I'm trying to stick to it daily and it's such a lovely reminder. 

Burn some nice candles - There's just something about burning a candle that makes me feel so relaxed. Maybe it's the softer, flickering light. Maybe it's the warm glow and a nice, lingering scent. I'm a big fan of Yankee Candles as I think they have a really strong scent but I've recently been trying this ginger and nutmeg candle* from the Isle of Skye Candle Company. The scent is very warm and spicy, the perfect winter scent. My bedroom at uni is quite large but it's strong enough to fill the whole room. And also if you take an empty glass jar back to the store they'll give you 10% off your next purchase which is not only good for the environment but good for your purse too. 

Phone/Skype someone for a chat - I have to admit that I'm a really crap texter. I can FB message fine from my laptop but I actually hate typing on a touch screen and I'll avoid doing it if I can. That's why if I'm feeling a bit stressed but want to talk to someone I much prefer to do it over the phone. Plus with a speaker phone you can call someone and chat whilst doing something else like washing your dishes etc. Hello multitasking! Although, my old flatmate dropped her phone in the sink doing this which is the opposite of de-stressing. Even if it's not a friend I know that my gran is always game for a chat. Think about it - I'm sure most people have a family member they don't call often enough. So find yourself a spare 5 minutes and give someone a ring. I'm sure it will make you feel better.

Go for a walk - I will often go for long walks myself at night if I want to clear my head. I'm lucky that Edinburgh is a safe enough city to do this. My route normally involves cutting between really busy and really quite areas of town and will generally take me about an hour. Afterwards I'll feel much better and it tires me out so that I sleep better as well. At the moment my uni timetable means it's often dark when I leave the flat in the morning and dark when I leave the lab at night but on the weekends I try to make as much of the daylight as possible.

Slowly but surely becoming a less-stressed-Hayley.

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