When life gets hectic it's so important to be able to take time out for ourselves. We all need time to relax, de-stress and take a breather - it's beneficial for both body and mind.
Now I know we shouldn't focus on our negatives but if there's one thing I'm really bad at, it's doing nothing!
I lead a pretty on-the-go lifestyle and it carries over into pretty much everything I do.
Midweek, when my alarm goes off at 6 am, I vow to spend the weekend lazing in bed under the comfort of the blankets, sipping a hot drink and generally just doing as little as possible.
But then my days off roll around and a heady combination of guilt and boredom kick in. Before I know it, I'm up and doing things.
Similarly, as the end of my working day approaches, I start to think about how nice it'll be to go home and just sit on the sofa. Then I'll get through the front door and think of at least five different things I want to be doing.
It's just my personality. I thrive off being busy; it's what drives me, keeps me going and makes me feel fulfilled. There are definitely days when I feel overwhelmed and just want to be able to do nothing, but I find nothingness hard work too!
Despite this, even active, on-the-go people needs ways to rest and recuperate. It just may not come in the form of a long lie in or hours on the sofa watching Netflix. Here are some of my favourite, active ways to get some downtime:
I've started spending a lot of my free time getting outdoors and following footpaths along the river, so long as the weather isn't too bad. I enjoy the sense of doing something without necessarily having a purpose. It clears my mind and the fresh air revives me far more than staying indoors would.
The past few years, I've really started to enjoy cooking and it can be incredibly therapeutic. I love setting aside a full afternoon to prepare a lavish dinner, make a cake or bake a fresh loaf of bread. Cooking can easily start to feel stressful, but when I treat it as downtime it's not hard to just get into the methodical preparation and relax as I enjoy it.
I find photography one of the most stress-relieving activities. The concentration required to set up beautiful photographs keeps me completely occupied in the moment, taking my mind off any other worries. I'm aching for longer days again so I can head out after work with my camera - it's the perfect way to switch off.
Exercise in general I find can work wonders in terms of helping me to relax, but I find swimming, in particular, to be very calming. Just like all the other activities, I find concentrating on the strokes and the feel of the water focuses my mind, taking me away from any stresses or worries.
Hair and beauty appointments
Something that I often feeling guilty about is the notion of wasting time. My weekends and days off are precious which is why I struggle to spend them "doing nothing". Instead, occasionally booking myself an appointment for a bit of pampering is the best of both worlds - I'm getting up and out of the house, while also making sure to do something nice for myself.
I often find that a "busy" day filled with these kind of activities is actually far more refreshing for me than an entire weekend spent doing not a lot. There's certainly nothing wrong with doing nothing - we all need different ways to recuperate, but this is what works for me.
What are your favourite downtime activities? Are you an active person who needs to stay busy, or can you happily do as little as possible?!