I don’t know about you, but I always feel like August is a super busy and exhausting month. I think part of that is because of the Fringe in Edinburgh, but it’s also because there’s usually loads of stuff going on in the summer. Parties, weddings, barbecues, events, holidays… and lots more.
With all that going on, sometimes you just need to take a break and spend some time by yourself. These are a few of my favourite ways to unwind after a particularly long day (or week… or month!).
Shower & skincare
Most people would put “have a bath with Lush bathbombs” top of the relaxing list, but my flat doesn’t actually have a bath. Even if it did, I’m not much of a bath person – I prefer to have a quick shower to feel refreshed. If I can’t be bothered having a shower, going through my skincare routine always helps me to unwind. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming, but giving your skin a quick bit of TLC really does make a difference. I usually cleanse with the Aster & Bay Cleansing Oil, swipe on some Pixi Glow Tonic and finish with a serum, oil or moisturiser.
One of the quickest ways for me to feel relaxed is to get nice and cosy, and shut myself in for the night. I’ll put on some clean pyjamas, snuggle up with lots of cushions and blankets, and put on some fairy lights. Don’t forget to light a couple of candles too! I don’t trust people who can sit around the house with jeans on – my number one priority as soon as I walk in the door is to put on my PJs. Getting comfy, cosy and snuggly is the best way to unwind after a long day.
Eat something nice
I love cooking, so I find making dinner from scratch surprisingly relaxing – provided I’ve been organised and done a weekly shop, of course. Some of my favourite quick and easy weeknight meals at the moment are peri peri chicken wings with roasted sweet potato, pea, leek and bacon pasta, Thai red curry, and sticky chilli beef noodles. If, however, the fridge is looking pretty empty, I’ll usually opt for a takeaway instead. Even though there’s a shop round the corner, the idea of thinking what I want to cook, working out what ingredients I need, going to the shop to buy them and then actually cooking the meal is too stressful after a long day. Sometimes you just need to put your feet up and let someone else do the hard work for you!
I find a great way to switch my brain off is to escape into some form of entertainment – whether that’s a TV show, a podcast or a book. My usual strategy is to binge watch an entire series of something on Netflix – recently I’ve loved Ozark, Atypical, Friends From College, iZombie and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Failing that, I’ll watch a film, catch up with a few episodes of my favourite podcasts, scroll through my Bloglovin feed or read a few chapters of a book.
Don’t try to be productive
If you’ve had a really long and stressful day, there’s nothing worse than trying to force yourself to be productive. Unless you have an urgent deadline, leave everything until tomorrow. If I want to relax, I’ll completely ignore work emails, won’t attempt to write a blog post, and won’t even bother with productive stuff around the house, like emptying the dishwasher or cleaning the bathroom. All that can wait until another time, when you’re feeling more up to it. That way, you’ll get to properly relax just now instead of half-heartedly trying to do productive things – you’ll end up taking twice as long and putting in half the effort, so you might as well leave it alone for now!
Say no to things
I hate cancelling plans (especially last minute), but sometimes it just needs to be done. Don’t feel like you always need to give an excuse – just politely decline and put it out of your mind so you can get back to relaxing and spending some time alone. I find this is particularly important as an introvert, even the thought of having to attend a social occasion can sometimes be exhausting. Rather than cancelling things, I’m trying to get better at saying no in the first place. If I know I’m going to be tired or have a particularly busy week, I’ll just say no from the get go so I don’t feel obliged to attend even though I’m not in the mood for it, and also so I don’t end up disappointing anyone by cancelling.
How do you like to unwind after a long day?