The summer holidays are finally here and whether you've got kids at home for the next six weeks or you're jetting away to somewhere sunny for a week, we're all going to be super busy over the summer months. My friends at Champneys heard I was writing a post about ways we can relax during this time and kindly sponsored this post.
So, here are some of my favourite ideas for chilling out no matter how big or small your budget is:
1. Champneys Spa Break
Something I didn't realise about Champneys is that they have spa days as well as spa breaks. In the past, I've been treated to a spa break and a couple of massages and I always think to myself that I must do this more often! (But then life gets too busy and I don't!) If you can afford to have a treat like this then a spa day is a great way to unwind. You get nine hours of pure relaxation and pampering wearing a cosy Champneys robe and flip-flops. Spa facilities include a swimming pool, steam room, sauna, and whirlpool plus you can book a spa treatment for during the day. If you get fidgety after a while like I do then there are over 20 exercise classes to choose from including aerobics, indoor cycling, yoga, meditation and Pilates.
2. Don't make any plans
Most of us rush around from getting up first thing in the morning to last thing at night. If you have kids like I do, a lot of your time can be spent ferrying them around to clubs and friends, while trying to squash in a quick coffee or phone call to your own friends at the same time. Instead of cramming as much as possible into every day, look at the spaces you do have and don't fill them up. Us ladies especially tend to feel guilty if we're not doing things for other people, but we deserve to have a little bit of time to ourselves too, even if it's only 15 minutes here and there.
3. Read a book
Lots of us like to read but never have the time. But then again, we often just sit watching the TV without really being interested in what's on, it's more just our daily habit. Instead, pick up a book you've been meaning to start reading for a while or if you find it hard to concentrate, re-read a favourite book as it will help to remind you just how much you love reading.
4. Get up a little bit earlier
Now, this will probably only work for you if you're a morning person like I am, otherwise, it just feels like torture when the alarm goes off. I love to be first up to enjoy the silence with a cup of green tea so I can think ahead to my day and plan out anything I need to. It helps me feel more relaxed and in control once the chaos of the day gets started!
5. Try out some relaxation apps
There are lots of apps out there that can help you relax and Headspace is one I've tried myself. It's amazing just how soothing that voice can be although I find it really hard to stop my mind thinking of other things. They totally understand this and work on helping you let go and unwind a little more each time you do it. Lots of these apps are free or low cost so it's worth giving them a try.
6. Go to bed earlier
One of the reasons so many of us feel stressed out is because we don't get enough sleep. We're so busy running around trying to keep everyone happy that we end up feeling exhausted ourselves and everything feels ten times more stressful! Having a regular bedtime can really help and, if like me, it takes you a while to drop off because your mind is full of thoughts, write them down on a notepad by your bed so they are off your mind and you can tackle them tomorrow.
7. Have a natter with friends
If you haven't had the chance to catch up with your own friends for a while then a natter on the phone, a coffee catch up or a night on the town might be just what you need. Talking to someone you trust, letting your hair down and having fun will do wonders for your stress levels and remind you just how much fun a break from the usual routine can be.
8. Get outside
Our summer is pretty good this year so get outside whenever you can. Go for a walk and enjoy feeling the warm, fresh air on your skin. Being in the sun tops up our vitamin D levels so it's good to get out when you can. Of course, you should always stay safe in the sun and these are the latest guidelines from the NHS. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Summerhealth/Pages/vitamin-D-sunlight.aspx
9. Volunteer your time
Giving back to your community is a wonderful way to relax and feel like you're making a difference at the same time. Each month I volunteer some time to cook at a local shelter and I love nothing more than making a nourishing meal to share with other people. Find a local cause that you really care about and find out what help they need. It's not something you have to do every week, just do the bits that fit in with your own busy life.
10. Stroke an animal
This might sound daft but stroking a cat, dog, rabbit or hamster could be just the thing you need to make you feel relaxed. Service dogs often visit hospitals and nursing homes because people find spending time with an animal really relaxes them and of course, the dogs absolutely love all of the attention! If you don't have any pets of your own then you could offer to walk a neighbours dog or volunteer to look after a pet while your friend is on holiday. It's a great way to relax and it might also help you to decide if getting a pet of your own is the right fit for your family.
I hope you find these suggestions useful and if you have any others then please let me know in the comments below.