Today, in honour of April being Stress Awareness Month, I wanted to write about the tiny pleasures we get from the everyday and how important it is to focus on them when life gets a bit crazy. I’m the first person to admit that I am a major stress head and worrier. Despite being told by friends and colleagues that I seem to handle things really well, and the fact that I apparently always look as cool as a cucumber (I mean, I am pretty cool but I say it’s all thanks to my resting bitch face), inside I often find myself worrying about the tiniest of details and often I let my stress pile up, leaving me in a heap of exhaustion at the end of it all.
My mum is always telling me to relax and unwind more, and I do wish I didn’t get so stressed out about things, but over the years I feel I’ve learned to cope with that side of my personality, and here are six ways I do just that.
1. Listing things that have made you happy that day
One thing that always helps me to feel better when I’m a little stressed is to focus on the good in every day. I find that a lot of the time you can get bogged down by the stresses of everyday life, whether it’s work, relationships, daily chores or social media, and it’s good to take a break and think of all the positive things that are going on, rather than the negative. The weeks in early April when the trees start to blossom and the parks are pink and pretty. The smell of my flat after I’ve hung my clean washing out to dry, and the feel of fresh bedding when you first snuggle under the duvet. Those belly laughs that make you ache for days afterwards and the first taste of chocolate when you’ve not had any for days. These are the little things in life that fill me with happiness, as simple as they are.
2. Getting outside into nature
I’m definitely a country girl at heart, despite absolutely loving city life, and whenever I can I get out and head to the park or the bay to escape the hustle and bustle of the Welsh capital for a little while. It’s really weird how taking just half an hour to yourself to go for a walk and to connect with the outside world helps so much. My dream is to one day live in a beautiful house on a cliff top overlooking the sea. I find it so calming.
3. Smashing some exercise
This is my absolute favourite way to unwind, even though sometimes it leaves me feeling even more exhausted. I just love how exercise gets the blood pumping and as soon as the endorphins kick in I feel calmer and more focused than before. Exercise has been my escape for a few years now and I can’t imagine my life without it.
4. Friendship dates
“A problem shared is a problem halved.” I definitely believe in this, and I’m so grateful to have so many lovely friends and family members to speak to and meet up with when times get a little overwhelming. Talking through the stresses definitely help me, and the advice I receive from said friends and family even more so. Of course, I always try to help those where they need it too, and while I may not be heading up an advice column in a women’s mag any time soon, I hope people know that I’m always there if they need me.
5. Prioritising and making lists
Yes, I am one of those gals who has two diaries and writes a daily to-do list to keep my life in check, but I have to say that it really does help to stop me stressing out and it’s a reminder that when there is shit to do, I should just do it. Prioritising is absolutely essential in my job, and I find it helps in everything else too, especially as I try to blog as often as I can outside of it, and I also train most days and try to squeeze a social life in there too.
6. A hot bath, an early night and a good book
When all else fails, admitting defeat and just simply chilling the eff out is my answer. There’s nothing better than a head to toe pamper session, followed by snuggling into bed at a ridiculously early hour with a good book or box set for company. I particularly love doing this on a Friday night after a busy week and waking up on a Saturday morning feeling well rested and flicking through everyone’s drunken Insta stories always leaves me feeling pretty smug!
What are your favourite ways to unwind?
Lots of love. xoxo