I have found that being able to fully relax yourself is not as easy as people make it out to be, but it is incredibly important, especially for your mental health. Especially in this COVID era, stress levels for a lot of people are consistently high, and whilst some people may need to seek more professional help, others may be able to relieve some of their stresses by taking time out to relax.
What relaxes one person won’t necessarily relax someone else. For example, some people might need to sit quietly and practice mindfulness through guided meditation, but others might respond better to active relaxation, such as going for a walk or doing some yoga.
You should take time to find what relaxes you the most and make sure you can do this regularly, not necessarily just when you NEED it. I have a relaxing evening, with this routine, every Sunday evening, to prepare myself for the week ahead. This doesn’t mean that I am super stressed every Sunday and am in desperate need of relaxation. But I truly believe that prevention is better than cure, so this is just one of the ways I try to practice self care in order to avoid burnout.
Plan For the Next Day
My routine actually starts as I’m getting to the end of my ‘working day’. I try to avoid doing work (whether that’s for university or for my blog/business) on a weekend, but ultimately I always tend to do a bit on Sunday afternoon, even if it’s just planning my social media content for the next week. Whenever I have finished this work, I plan for the day/week ahead by filling in my planner for the next day. This includes: my classes for the day, my top 3 goals, any other tasks I have to complete and what I’m going to eat.
I do this so that I can go to my desk in the morning and know exactly what I have to do so I can get started straight away. This helps me stop overthinking all the tasks I have to-do because I know I can forget about them until the next day.
Don’t forget to check out this post on creating a productive morning routine.
Leave Your Work Space
I shut down my computer, put pens in their pots, clear away paperwork, and make my desk a tidy space for me to come back to in the morning. A cluttered desk will lead to a cluttered mind.
It’s also really important that when I physically leave my workspace, I mentally leave my workspace. Work has FINISHED for the day. I used to get tired working at my desk and take work upstairs to my bedroom to finish in bed and this was honestly such a mistake. Having a relaxing bedroom means having a work-free zone. So I either finish the work I need to, or leave it until the morning, taking it to bed is not an option.
Creating A Relaxing Environment
For me, a relaxing environment is low level lighting, nice smells and lo-fi music. I usually leave my workspace around 9pm (I absolutely do not work later than this because I start working at 8am on weekdays and I physically cannot do any more work after this point). I have my wax melter plugged into a timer that turns it on between 8:30 and 9:30pm, so that by the time I come up to my bedroom, it has been on for a while and my room smells really lovely. I’m currently using the Yankee Candle Fluffy Towels fragrance which I love (you can get them here). I then turn on my lamps and fairy lights and play some lo-fi music on my speaker (I’m listening to this playlist at the moment).
If you’ve read my morning routine post you’ll know that hydration is very important to me. At this point I don’t drink any coffee/black teas as I’m essentially trying to wind down for the night. Instead I make myself a Jasmine tea, I drink this T2 China Jasmine Tea and put the loose leaves in my little pug infuser (which looks like this one!). I have to make a small confession here (not really a confession, more something I’m extremely proud of) and tell you that I actually have a kettle in my room so that I can make myself a cup of tea on an evening without going downstairs (I only drink green/fruit teas in my room, so I don’t need to keep milk up there or anything).
Soak In The Bath
Next I run myself a bath, and I like to have it quite hot and add my favourite bath foam. Whilst my bath is running I lay out my pyjamas, body moisturiser, hair serums etc on my bed so they’re ready for when I get out of the bath. Just before I get in the bath I put on a facemask, usually the L’Oreal Paris Blue Clay one.
I don’t soak for very long, and I usually turn my main bathroom light off and just have my mirror light on to relax more. I don’t read or watch anything but I can hear the music from my room. I just think about the week ahead, visualise what I want to happen, take a moment to reflect on the previous week, take a moment to practice gratitude, oh and drink my cup of tea!
Skincare And Haircare
After my bath I get out and complete my skincare routine and put serums in my hair, I also gently towel dry it. I also take the time to moisturise my whole body because I don’t normally do this after my showers during the week because I don’t really have time. But I thought if I’m so insistent on taking care of my face, I should take care of the skin on the rest of my body as well. I love pretty much any Body Shop moisturiser!
After I’m fully ready for bed I will either read or cross-stitch, depending on how tired I am. I try to read something light as my brain normally cannot take anymore information in. I’m really trying to cross-stitch more at the moment as I’m working on a piece that’s roughly A3 size and I’ve done maybe 2% of it. I try to avoid watching tv as I have the habit or getting stuck into a series on Netflix and then just not turn it off (I’ve just finished re-watching Prison Break, and I honestly could never get bored of that show). If I desperately want to listen to people talking then I’ll put a podcast on my speaker, usually The Receipts Podcast (definitely check them out, they have me laughing out loud to myself sitting in my room.)
When I’m ready to go to sleep, normally around 11, I turn off all my lights, spray some lavender spray on my pillow and set a sleep timer on my podcast. I know this is really bad but I can absolutely never fall asleep in silence, I have to be listening to something!
I hope you enjoyed my evening routine for ultimate relaxation. Again I want to reiterate that this is not my everyday evening routine, just something I do once a week to try and de-stress before the week ahead.
If you really like self-care check out this post on how to practice all six forms of self care.
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