Four days later and I’m still basking in the serenity of my three day weekend. It was absolute perfection. Working in a law firm that recognizes all court holidays definitely has its perks! I don’t think any adult can deny missing all of the breaks and vacations scheduled into the school year. And snow days! Sometimes I seriously envy my teacher/school district employed friends. I started last weekend off right with a DIY spa night with my bestie on Friday, a pedicure date with a friend on Saturday, a good friend’s birthday celebration on Sunday, and a day of checking things off my to-do list, meal prepping and a massage on Monday. The long weekend offered the perfect blend of down time and social time. I had time to meditate, hit the gym, catch up on laundry, sip champagne, have a silly datenight at Gameworks and get my hair done. I very rarely feel like I have time to “do it all” but president’s day weekend was a rare exception.
There’s no doubt that a productive and restful weekend leads to a less stressful work week. I woke up on Tuesday morning with a sense of calm rather than that oh so typical morning chaos and dread. Self care works wonders doesn’t it? I started thinking about how I can emulate that feeling of serenity more often (because as much as I hate to admit it, I can’t get a massage every weekend). After a bit of rehashing I came up with a few ways to calm your mind amidst the chaos that is life (:
Banish Bluelight before Bed
Like everyone else I am hopelessly addicted to my phone, but, working at a computer all day means my eyes are strained when I get home from work. I’m certainly not perfect but for the past few weeks I have been trying to stop checking my phone and turn off all electronics one hour before bed. The bluelight has been shown to affect our sleep…and though I have good sleep habits already I’m all for improving my beauty rest in small ways. As an added bonus I wake up feeling truly rested instead of instantly reaching for my phone to check my emails/instagram I want to stretch, pour myself a mug of tea and embrace my own thoughts before I check into social media. Rejuvenating!
I constantly ask myself why I often put off going to the gym when I feel infinitely better after a sweat sesh. I love to run. On especially chaotic weeks I find myself craving the feel of my running shoes and the pavement beneath my feet. When work and social obligations take over my Monday-Friday schedule it becomes even more important that I carve out time to get moving on the weekends. Not everyone likes to run but we all can benefit from the mental benefits of physical activity. Lace up and get ready to de-stress.
If I’m being honest…meditating is hard for me. It isn’t sitting still and concentrating on my breathing for five minutes that I find dull but I personally have a hard time recognizing the benefits. I know I am supposed to feel calmer with more mental clarity and more gratitude (or something). Personally I don’t feel much of anything. Alas-mindfulness is different for everyone but crucial for inner calm nonetheless. I find journaling, stretching or intense exercise a great way to examine myself. If meditation is what works for you be sure to incorporate mindfulness into your weekly (and if possible daily) routine.
Pick a space to organize & deep clean
As much as I dread deep cleaning there is something so therapeutic about the process once you get going. If you only have a couple spare minutes over the weekend pick a drawer or cabinet to completely empty and organize. If you have more time pick an entire room to spruce up. I always feel accomplished after tackling a cleaning project I’ve been pushing off and with a great playlist or interesting podcast on in the background it doesn’t feel so torturous (dare I call this deep cleaning fun?)
Immerse yourself in Love
I have been such a nester lately. I love being alone. However, too much alone time can drive even an introvert to madness. Schedule time with those you love and stick to it (even if you’re that person who always feels like cancelling 15 minutes before you’re supposed to head out the door, not that I know anything about that). After a long work day it can be difficult to summon up enough energy for a night out-so opt for a girls’ night in, yoga class or movie night with a friend. Though it may not be clinically proven I swear the smiles you share with a girlfriend will do just as much good for your mental health as a gym sesh or massage.
Cook a balanced meal
I go through phases with cooking. I find when I am not in tune with myself I hate cooking whereas when I find time to exercise, to journal and to meditate cooking becomes relaxing, almost therapeutic. When I take time to focus on creating balanced, nourishing meals rather than just the quickest way to feed my hunger (aka takeout) I am happier. For me focusing on nourishment doesn’t mean restricting or giving up all of my favorite treats (though I do find I indulge in less sugary treats when my nutrition is balanced). A quinoa and veggie bowl, sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts or baked salmon with sautéed spinach and asparagus give me energy and make me feel radiant (from the inside out). By spending more time creating healthy meals I find I am more energized when it comes to powering through a stressful day or handling my own emotional conflicts.
If you practice incorporating these mental wellness tips into your weekly routine it will be Friday before you know it. We can’t always control the busy-ness in our lives but we can make a conscious choice to carve out time for mental health. Self care always gives back, in turn leaving you more equipped to tackle those big projects on your to do list. Have a great weekend lovelies!