What can you do this weekend to help you feel refreshed and revived?
It’s the weekend, a time when many of us breathe a sigh of relief and look forward to relaxing. A couple of days without the school run, the commute, college, work, whatever. But how many of us do actually make the time to really relax and recharge our batteries over the weekend? How many of us find ourselves on Monday morning, just as tired as we were on Friday, and wondering what happened to our two days off?
It’s easy to drop self care activities when things get busy, and many people also feel a bit uninspired when it comes to taking care of themselves. We can feel like we need a weekend at a spa or a holiday in order to feel refreshed and energised. While a weekend at a spa wouldn’t be a bad thing, it’s also not the only thing you can do. There are plenty of simple, affordable (or even free) things you can do to nourish your soul over the weekend and wake up on Monday feeling ready to start your week.
This is one of the reasons I started my Instagram account, @vickycwellness. I was fed up with seeing this glossy magazine image of self care and wellbeing, as if you need to be middle class and spending a fortune in order to take care of yourself. Sites like Goop are nice, but a lot of the content in the weekly email they send out seems to be focused on buying wellness: buy this expensive product and you will feel good. I don’t believe it has to be this way, and so I decided to start sharing simple things we can all do to feel good.
Self care tips that won’t break the bank
Go for a walk in nature
As I write this, the weather is fine – but really, the weather doesn’t matter. Just getting outside in the fresh air for a walk can work wonders for resetting your mood and feeling good. This doesn’t mean a walk around the shops in a crowded city centre; there’s little restorative about that scenario! Go to your local park, or perhaps a little further afield, and just enjoy the great outdoors.
Put your phone down!
How often do you pick up your phone during the day? It might seem harmless to “just check” Instagram or your email or Facebook – but it’s also not a very relaxing passtime to be scrolling through your social media feed. And checking email is never relaxing in my experience! The world will not end if you are uncontactable for an hour or so. Put your phone into aeroplane mode, put it face down or even in a cupboard, and enjoy a life that’s uninterrupted by beeps and dings.
Read a book
There’s just something about sitting in silence with a good book that can really just make you breathe a sigh of relief. It can be so relaxing, and feel so very indulgent. Reading fiction, where you can get completely lost in another world, is great for this – but non fiction is equally as good! There is of course one caveat here: reading something you need to take in for work, or a text you need for a course you’re doing: that’s work, not self care!
I posted on Instagram about this yesterday, and will eventually follow up with a blog post. Earthing is essentially just standing barefoot on the earth, and it can have the most wonderful, calming effect. My favourite thing to do in order to achieve this, is to take my daughter to a park (or the Cathedral grounds) and let her have a run around or perhaps blow some bubbles, while I wander around barefoot on the grass.
Get in touch with your inner child
Life can be incredibly serious if you’re not careful. With all the things adults end up having to think about on a daily basis, it’s no wonder we end up feeling stressed and sick. Give yourself a break, and have some fun being childish. Blow some bubbles; take your child to the park and actually join in the playing with them. Do something you might normally think of as childish or silly, and see how you feel.
Make a list
If your weekend is plagued with thoughts of all the things you could or should be doing, make a list. List everything that’s floating around in your head, and see how many of them really need to be done this weekend. Are they really urgent? Could you mow the lawn one evening after work instead? Or could you turn any of these into a self care practice simply by being fully present whilst doing them?
Spend time with friends
This doesn’t mean time where you’re all busy on your phones. Go out for lunch together, or have a picnic in your back garden, but make it a phone free zone. Chat and reconnect with each other, and enjoy each other’s company.
I know I talk a lot about meditation, and that’s because I love it. So many people tell me they “can’t” meditate but the truth is that it’s kind of impossible to get it wrong. The Insight Timer app is a great place to start because it’s free and has thousands of free guided meditations. The meditation world is your oyster!
Just say no
Quite often the things that end up taking over our weekend and leave us feeling deflated by Sunday evening are the ones we didn’t want to do in the first place. Saying no can be incredibly empowering, and using this simple, two-lettered word could well be the best self care tip anyone ever gives you. You don’t need to be rude about it, but you also don’t need to make up an excuse. If you don’t want to do something, just call or send a text: I’m sorry but I’m not going to make it. There. That’s better, isn’t it?
Have an early night instead of a late morning
We all look forward to a lie in on the weekend, and getting an early night is not very rock n roll – but did you know that when you change your sleep patterns at the weekend this can cause similar effects to jet lag in your body? Experiment with having an early night and getting up at the same time as you would during the week, and see how you feel.
If you can’t bear the thought of getting an early night – or you can’t manage to fit one in, why not have a nice afternoon nap instead? I’m a big fan of afternoon naps and find they really help me to feel better if I’m feeling tired and run down. You could even go for extra points, and buy a hammock for your resting/napping time.
Listen to music – and perhaps even dance
When was the last time you danced? Find some happy songs, turn the music up loud and allow yourself to really let go. Sing along at the top of your lungs; dance around the living room; feel your aliveness. Listening to music can be very calming and centring.
Speak to a therapist
Speaking to a therapist can be a great way to take care of yourself. Having someone to talk to can really help you to get your thoughts in order and to deal with any issues you have going on. BetterHelp is a great resource for those looking to find a therapist.