I miss the days when there is light until late evening and those nights having dinner in the garden or terrace. I really miss summer. I don't like the short days, waking up and commuting in the dark and the cold feeling that never leaves me. I spend half my time shivering.
As a good Spaniard, I love the sun and the warmth on my skin. But as they say "good things don't last forever". I feel the lack of light doesn't really let me relax completely and the stress levels build up all throughout winter, until the first flowers start coming out, the trees are blossoming and I see proper sun light before 8am!
However, I do love cosy evenings with a blanket... And that is why I want to share with you a few ways to relax and de-stress this winter after a long day at work or simply a busy day.
1. A Warm Bath
There is something about baths that most people, if not everybody, loves. I usually enjoy them with the lights off and a couple candles on, some relaxing music and nice smell. Lately, I am obsessed with bath & body works Twilight Wood (which apparently they are going to stop). It has a sweet woody smell and makes tons of bubbles. Otherwise I put some smelling candles or oil burner with peppermint or lavender as they have relaxing properties. I stay in the bath for around 15-20 min and I come out feeling renewed. We went to luton hoo and our room had an amazing bath which I loved. One day I will have a bath like that (Life Goals!).
2. Movie Night under the Duvet
Who doesn't like a movie night? Well, my dad doesn't. Still he has a "cinema room" in his house.. It baffles me. For me, the best kind of movie night involves popcorn, microwave or something a bit fancier, a warm pair of sock, a hot drink, a blanket or duvet and a horror movie. I think the fact that I don't have to think and the tension building up during a horror movie just relax me. Action or thriller doesn't do it for me as much as it just keeps me on the edge of my seat. However, there is something better than horror movies and that is Harry Potter. Especially the first few which are a bit more light-hearted. I am a firm believer Harry Potter makes everything better.
I said on a previous post I used to meditate a few times a week. In the past few years it has become a very hype thing everybody does and the industry has grown so much. Celebrities talk about it, doctors and health gurus praise it and even Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love learns how to do it (the book is fantastic in case you haven't read it). They say just 10 minutes a day can improve your health and decrease your stress levels considerably so why not give it a go? I find nowadays we are so busy and have so many distractions we never have time for the things that are really important such as our health. But really, 10-20minutes is not a lot and once you master it you could even do it during your commute.
What have you got to do? Just start by seating comfortably or laying down, close your eyes and slowly count three times 3, 2, 1 (so in your head you would say 3, 3, 3; 2, 2, 2; 1, 1, 1). Empty your mind and relax. Don't think about anything and just imagine a feather falling on top of your head and going down your face relaxing every single muscle. It carries on down your throat, chest, arms, stomach etc and all your muscles relax. Concentrate on your breathing. Breathe in from the stomach and slowly out through your mouth. You can go through this a couple times, or before bed when you are struggling to sleep.
I will write a more in-depth post about this but this is already a good start.
4. A Good Book
I have always been an avid reader, unfortunately now I don't have as much time so I usually read during my commute as it is quite long and it makes it shorter. I am the kind of person that the first thing I do when I get home is put the TV on. I don't necessarily watch it but it kinda keeps me company. Sometimes I like to turn off the tv and enjoy a good book under a blanket with a warm tea. Lately I've really enjoyed The Miniaturist, Jenny Colgan's books, a few in other languages especially this one which I read in Spanish but you can find in English.
5. Light Exercise
Some light exercise will definitely help with stress. No need to go to the gym, a few stretching exercises or Yoga moves and the tension that has been building up in your muscles releases. They say as well running and sweating release endorphins and therefore will help you relax but I have to admit that I don't always feel like going to the gym or go for a run and have a proper sweat. The alternative is that, stretching, some Pilates or Yoga moves. When we are at work, especially in front of our computers, we usually have a really bad posture so it is essential to have a proper stretch every so often. Your muscles will be grateful!
How do you like to relax?
Let me know what you think in the comments below!