One of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn is the art of taking time out for myself. I’m not going to go into details, but over the past few years, life has been pretty tricky – from family deaths, to serious on-going family illnesses and my own problems – there’s been times where I’ve had to taken on a carers role and it basically led to me putting everything before myself. I’ve had my fair share of different talking therapies, all which have came to the same conclusion, that I need to learn how to do things for myself and that I need to stop taking on everyone else’s problems. So, whilst it’s still a work in progress, I’ve been working really hard on trying to take myself out of stressful situations and giving myself a bit of a break. I think it’s a really important lesson to learn, and since I believe it’s incredibly important to look after yourself and your mental health I thought I’d share with you some ways in which will help take time out.
– Switch off from the internet. If I’m needing to take some time out, the internet isn’t the healthiest of places for me to go – I can find myself often comparing myself to others and it leaves me in a negative mood, which isn’t exactly ideal when that’s what I’m trying to avoid! Even if it’s an hour or a day, I put away my phone and go and do all those jobs I’d been meaning to do before the internet distracted me (we’ve all got them). And if I’ve got lots of jobs to do online with a tight deadline, I’ll just switch off from the internet for a little time and I’ll write up my posts on a pen and paper instead so they’re ready to go.
– Read a book. A pretty simple one, but it’s incredible how powerful a good book can be. If I can get myself engrossed into a read for an evening, then it can totally transform my mood and take my mind off things for a little while.
– Find a tv box set to watch. If reading really isn’t your thing, then I find engrossing myself in a tv series can be really helpful too. I make sure my phone has been put aside (as it can be far too distracting at the best of times) and I’ll binge watch a new tv show. Recently I’ve really gotten into slightly older tv shows such as The OC and One Tree Hill as the box sets are super cheap. But of course, The US Office is always a good option. Always.
– Tackle a puzzle. When my concentration levels are really low (one of my most common things when I’m stressing out) then I often find it easier to try and complete puzzles rather than read a book as I sometimes forget what I’d read a few minutes earlier. I’m a massive advocate of wordsearches because you don’t really have to think too hard about them but they really help distract your train of thought. They’ve got me out of many a panic attack, believe it or not! I even carry around a mini wordsearch book around with me at all times, yep.
– Give yourself a good pamper. Whether that just be painting your nails at the end of the day or a good ol’ bubble bath, I find nothing more relaxing than treating myself. I’ve recently got myself a shellac manicure, and as superficial as it sounds, that hour where I went to get them done really brightened up my week. If you’re feeling extra stressed, you could even treat yourself to the day at the spa. I’m desperate to try out The Mineral House in Newcastle, but if you’re not local to the North East, I recently found out about this Moroccan Hammam Lounge which I’ll certainly be checking out next time I’m in London – it sounds like the perfect retreat to take yourself off to for a few hours in the day!
– Find yourself a hobby. It’s important I think when you’re struggling to find time for yourself, is to find yourself something that’s your own. For instance, sometimes if I’m feeling like I need some time out then I’ll often pick up my camera and take photographs of my surroundings. It can be fun to try and think of different perspectives to photograph objects and places, plus it’s something that doesn’t require reassurance or assistance from other people. I’m also hoping to pick up learning calligraphy at some point – it’s a skill I’d love to learn!
– Go for a walk. Being outdoors is a big game changer for me. Whether it’s rainy or sunny, just being outside can be a great way to clear my head.
So how do you take time out? I’d love to hear your ideas!