Realising The Importance Of Unwinding

Happy Sunday, loves! Self care is something that is discussed in great detail, but it’s often linked directly to beauty treatments and pampering yourself. That’s not to say I don’t love a pamper night because – let’s be real, I DO! – and that’s something I make sure to incorporate into my life at least once per week, but I think there’s so many other ways you can hit that self care button and relax at the same time.

We live in a world where we’re so connected via iMessage and social media, and it’s really become difficult to let ourselves and our minds unwind. Most of us spend at least forty hours per week at work, and during that time our minds can be so wired and frantic with everything we need to get done we don’t allow ourselves time to stop. My blog is something I do in my ‘free’ time, but as I talked about in my October goals post, I was losing the barrier between ‘free’ time and any time I wasn’t at work. I felt like I needed to be constantly working on my blog whether it was writing posts, taking photos, editing photos, reading other blogs, trawling social media or just brainstorming ideas and it became so hard to let my mind escape and just enjoy being at home. I’ve been feeling extremely anxious over the past few months and it’s something I’m really struggling with right now. As a result, I’ve been trying to find all of the things that make me feel less anxious and focus on those, rather than trying to identify why I feel anxious in the first place!

Something Matt and I have prioritized more and more recently is unwinding each evening/weekend we aren’t at work. I often take a little time whilst he’s at work (either early morning, after I get home during the week or whilst he’s in on a weekend) to do all of my blog work, and I’m feeling way happier and less stressed out by giving myself some ‘me’ time back. I made a promise to both Matt and myself a long time ago that I’d not work on my blog whilst we were having chill time at home, and it’s really important to me that I stick to that.

I’m such a homebody at heart but Matt would often rather be out; we compromise on this by usually spending a little more time at home during the week, and a little more time out of the house doing fun things at the weekend. Being a homebody means I relish in all things cosy; candles, fuzzy blankets, comfy pj’s and dressing gowns are up there with my all time favourite items ever, and I just love every opportunity Matt and I get for a cosy night at home. Also, you don’t need to have a ton of time to enjoy the cosiness of being at home; often by the time we get home from work, cook and eat dinner, shower/bathe etc it could easily be 8pm! It’s about being intentional with the time you do have, and being able to roll your to-do list over to the next day.

Here’s a few little things I suggest doing at least a few times per week to help you unwind, relax and enjoy being at home.

Clean your space. I can’t really explain how or why, but I’m pretty sure a lot of people will agree with me on this one: when my space is clean, I feel happier. This is the same for my home and my car; I just need my environment to be welcoming and as clutter free as possible. I pick up our room several times per week which takes all of five minutes in the mornings, then I fully deep clean once per week. Putting on fresh sheets, hanging clothes away, vacuuming, dusting etc just makes the whole room feel more cosy and inviting, and it always makes me feel a small sense of accomplishment. We’re big believers in the fact a bedroom needs to be a happy, comforting space; it’s so important to allow yourself to fully rest at home!

Light a candle. Okay so I’m sure so many of you will already know this, but I’m obsessed with candles. Obsessed. I love love love the cosy pumpkin scents for Fall right now, and I’m genuinely concerned at how often I think about purchasing another. Ha! I feel so calm and at peace with candles burning and our pink Himalayan rock salt lamp on; it gives our bedroom the most beautiful warm pink glow and makes my heart happy.

Put down your phone. One of the best things you can do to unwind from work, friends, peers, a bad day etc is to just put down your phone. Leave it charging in another room or preferably another floor of the house and be in the moment. Matt and I always try to do this when we’re out for dinner too; so many times on date night you’ll see the couple more interested in their phones than each other. Other than maybe taking a quick snap of our food we don’t put the focus on our phones. We’re really working on not having our phones in bed at all; every night we were brushing our teeth, getting cosy in bed, then sitting on our phones for at least ten minutes just scrolling through our socials. It’s gross how attached we all our to our phones; as much as I love technology, I sometimes really despise it too!

Listen to music or a podcast. Our Amazon Echo Dots are some of our most favourite ever items we own, and we make use of them every single day! We sleep with Alexa Sleep Sounds on every night (we alternate between Matt’s favourite, ocean sounds, and my favourite, thunderstorm sounds) and it’s truly made a difference to how we sleep. We sometimes play music whilst we tidy up or get ready in the mornings, and it’s just a fun way to occupy ourselves that doesn’t involve being on our phones. I also listen to podcasts almost every time I’m driving (it’s either a podcast or Disney music, there’s no in-between!) and I find them such a fun addition to my day.

Head for a breakfast/dinner date. Going for breakfast is hands down one of Matt and I’s favourite hobbies. Breakfast food is our favourite, it’s generally way less crowded, and we still have the whole rest of our day to get a bunch of things done. We also love dinner dates because getting dressed up together, having a few glasses of wine and making the most of date night is such a treat to us! I think it’s so important to take time for food dates with your partner, your friends and your family – both Matt and I’s families love to go out for meals and it’s something I really am grateful for.

Take a hot bath. The ultimate self care treat for me personally is a hot bubble bath. Pile in your favourite Lush products, light an aromatherapy candle and allow yourself to disconnect from the world for thirty minutes at least an hour. A bubble bath can seriously make up for any crap work day, and you’ll never regret taking time out of your day for that. I’ll be sharing my favourite self care Sunday pamper routine on the blog in a few weeks!

Snuggle up with a cup of tea and your book. Ah, a book and a cuppa… that is my idea of bliss. If we’re having a lazy weekend morning in bed Matt likes to watch various football shows on Amazon Prime (he’s currently watching Sergio Ramos documentary which is all in Spanish… I mean…) and I’m so happy to curl up with my iPad and read before we get ready for the day. I also am a huge fan of sleepy time teas before bed; they really do make you feel a little more relaxed and ready for sleep, and reading a book is a great way to unwind before bed. Matt is not a reader at all which hurts my heart a little bit, but I just keep telling hime he hasn’t found the right books yet!

Watch your favourite shows. Is there anything better than snuggling up with your love and watching the series you’re both invested in? No, there is not! Matt and I often watch several shows at a time, and then incorporate the odd movie or documentary into that too. Strictly Come Dancing is my thing, so by default Matt is often stuck watching it too. He is a huge football fan, so that’s his vice and another thing we watch SO much. We love comedy shows; Brooklyn 99 was our favourite, we’ve seen Friends one hundred times and right now The Office is our ‘easy watch’ obsession. We love love love documentaries (Stacey Dooley’s are a personal favourite, obvs) and shows like Ambulance: Australia make us very happy. We change things up pretty much every evening, but it’s such a nice time to chill and chat with each other too.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful and maybe it’s inspired you to unwind a little more this coming week. Do you make unwinding a priority right now? Or are you always go go go, ticking things off that to-do list? I challenge you this week to take at least an hour each night for yourself or you and your partner, it will totally change your week I promise you!

-G x

How To Have A Better Night’s Sleep

Happy Sunday, loves!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend! Yesterday Matt and I had such a fun date day. We went for brunch at the cutest cafe called Post Box in Ponteland, I had the best veggie breakfast I’ve ever had! We spent the rest of the day doing a little grocery shopping, football watching and cleaning out Matt’s wardrobe Marie Kondo style. (I’m OBSESSED with her new Netflix show! Have you watched it?!) Today Matt’s unfortunately back at work, so although we got a mini lie-in this morning, I’m home alone until 5pm! I am however hoping to declutter ALL of my skincare/makeup and maybe a few more clothes, and have dinner ready for Matt coming home… productive Sunday’s are my thing! What are you up to this weekend?

I think during the Winter months more than ever, I appreciate every single second I get to spend snuggled in bed! Matt and I have been lucky enough to squeeze in lots of early nights recently, and we have our evening routine perfected to suit us. Today I’m sharing with you a few things that have been helping Matt and I to have the best night’s sleep.

Unwind during the evening. From the minute Matt and I arrive home from work, we spend the evening relaxing and unwinding. Even if sometimes we have to take a few minutes to send that last email or complain to one another about a bad day at work, we then switch off from the work day and allow ourselves time to relax and enjoy being together. We don’t spend much time on our phones during the evening other than to reply to a few texts or post the odd photo to our Instagram story (guilty), but we really try to be fully present with each other. I am obsessed with scented candles, and Matt has finally agreed they make everything feel ten times more cosy! I love nothing more than lighting a few candles, turning on my Himalayan pink salt lamp and snuggling up with him under our huge Costco blankets (they’re hands down the best thing you can buy this Winter and they’re so inexpensive!) watching a movie.

Eat good food. One of the best feelings in the world is snuggling up in bed next to your loved one when you both have a full belly. It’s something I’ve often took for granted but I realise just how lucky I am for this to be my every day reality! Matt and I love to cook and although we have a few favourite go-to recipes, we’re currently trying new ones out and often making things up as we go along. Coming in from the cold to make a warming, filling meal after a long day is, in my opinion, the perfect way to begin the evening. One of our favourite things to make recently is a vegetable chilli, I can’t wait to share some recipes with you over the next few weeks. I’m also very into drinking hot chocolate at the moment and I love to make one before bed!

Read or listen to a podcast. I find that whenever I do either of these things I feel so calm and relaxed. Reading blogs is my favourite pastime day or night, and I’m forever playing catch up on my favourites. I love losing myself in a good book (this year I’ve challenged myself to read 20 books). I might be a little too confident. I love to read in the bath especially, and then curled up in my dressing gown post-bath. When Matt’s on a late finish (meaning he’s not home until after 9pm) I read for at least an hour, and wonder where the time has gone! I’ve also really got into podcasts over the past six months – Small Town Murder is forever my favourite – and I find they help me unwind too. It’s different to watching YouTube or Netflix, as I don’t have to concentrate as much, and I can also listen whilst doing other things, such as planning my week, changing our sheets or cleaning.

Invest in good quality pillows, duvet and bedding. I’m a sucker for a good smushy pillow and I can’t tell you how happy I am that I picked up some new ones just before Christmas, they are SO. COMFY. Matt and I are such cuddly sleepers (anyone else remembering that Friends episode where Rachel is a cuddly sleeper and Ross isn’t, well I promise we both are HAHA) that we generally snuggle in to go to sleep and after a few minutes we’re flat out! Soft, hotel-like pillows are my jam, and Matt thankfully loves them too. If you’re in the market for new ones, Dunelm have some great options for really affordable prices that you can feel in store, I’d highly recommend checking them out!

Take time for my skincare routine. Is it just me that feels SO incredibly good after spending a tad longer than usual carrying out my skincare routine? From cleansing to toning to moisturising, it just makes me feel relaxed and refreshed, and TBH, ready to snuggle up in bed! I love to use super moisturising products and oils at night time, as my skin always thanks me for it when morning rolls around. I can’t wait to share my current skincare favourites with you, my routine will be up on the blog next month!

Use pillow mist. I love the smell of essential oils, and I got a sample size of This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray in a Look Fantastic monthly subscription box at the end of 2018. I’ve used this product in the past and honestly forgot all about it, but now I quite enjoy spraying it on our pillows before we go to sleep. Matt thought it would make no difference, but we’re sleeping better than ever, and waking up so much easier after a good night’s sleep, so it must be doing something right. The smell of essential oils is so calming and relaxing, and although it’s quite an extravagant product it’s such a fun one to use – maybe you could pick it up if you have a little Christmas money left over? I’m definitely going to invest in the full size once this is gone.

Have a relaxing bath. I could happily spend half my life in the bath! Tbh, I probably do. I love nothing more than settling in with a glass filled with Diet Coke and lots of ice and letting the minutes (cough hours cough) tick by. I shared my favourite bath products back in December which you can check out here, but any products that make you feel relaxed and pampered will do just the trick. I find that if I’ve had a bad day I tend to stress my whole drive home, then the second I’m preparing my bath I can literally feel any stresses or worries easing off. This also means by the time Matt gets home from work (most days I’m home first) I’m relaxed and feeling much happier, and we’re able to enjoy our night together. Using all my favourite pamper products will almost definitely make for a better sleep too, all products from Jo Malone or Sanctuary Spa are heaven to me!

Take ten minutes for a yoga sesh. Yoga? Again? SORRY I can’t stop! I’m more into it then ever, it makes me happy, relaxed and sometimes, quite sleepy. You can spend just a few minutes or an hour winding down, it’s totally up to you. Evenings where I can’t really be bothered to take time for yoga usually end up being my favourite sessions, I always feel like a weight’s been lifted when I’m finished. There are so many yoga practices you can find on YouTube or on apps if you don’t have your own 10 minute unwinding routine. This is my favourite routine for nights I just need a little more relaxation.

Thank you so much for reading! Did you find any of these tips helpful? What do you do to ensure you have a good nights sleep? I can’t wait for Matt to come home tonight so we can fall asle-zzzzzzz

-G x