Learn how to slow down the pace of your day. Reduce the amount of things to ‘tick off’. De-stress a little. And have more time for you.
This year, I’m trying to have a little more time added in to my routine for some self-care. And I’m actively trying to take life a little slower. You see, self-care and #slowandsimpledays have become a trending topic this year, and something which is being spoken about more often.
Learn how to slow down the pace of your day. Reduce the amount of things to ‘tick off’. De-stress a little. And have more time for you.
Previously, having lazy days without ‘achieving’ something would never happen without some feeling of guilt. By ‘achievements’, I mean having 20 plus things on my to-do list – some of which would take several hours alone just to complete. Unachievable from the outset? Most definitelyChoosing who I follow on Instagram has had a big impact. I now actively follow accounts who practise self-care. Natalie and Cassandra are just two people who I automatically think of when it comes to this topic. They’ve really helped me with learning to slow down a little – and being ok with that! I’ve now cut down my to-do lists into more manageable chunks. I’m getting there. Slowly but surely.
As part of this slower way of life, I thought I’d set myself – and you guys, a challenge. A challenge for 30 days to help boost our mood, feel better about ourselves, help others around you feel better about themselves, and generally indulge in some self-care. It’s broken down into small acts – one thing to do each day, for 30 days.
1. Give your friend a meaningful compliment.
You know that new dress they’ve got on, that amazing grade they achieved, or even a really great picture they’ve taken that you just love? Don’t just think it – tell them! Compliments are so easy to give, yet we often forget to do so. Not only will it make you feel good, but it will also give your friend a little boost too. It’s always nice to receive a compliment, isn’t it?!
2. Take an evening walk after work.
Now that the evenings are getting lighter, I for one have started enjoying taking some time out before settling down for the night, simply by going for a stroll. It doesn’t have to be long, but if you work in an office where you’re sat down all day, you’ll know what I mean when I say it’s so nice to get outdoors.
3. Write a to-do list for the week.
Yes, I’m the Monica in your friendship group. I love nothing better than a good list. If you’re new to the list life, give it a go! Writing down all of the things you want to achieve in a set week (remember not to go overboard on this!) means you’re more likely to do them, not forget about anything and it also gives you peace of mind. They say lists allow you to rest easy as you’re not constantly juggling lots of thoughts in your head, and this is something I can definitely vouch for. It’s a win-win situation!
4. See your friends.
I’ve just spoken about how I’m learning to be a better friend in my twenties, and this one has a big part to play in that. Your friends are amazing. They make you laugh. You can chat about anything and everything. They make you feel good, and vice versa.
Whether it’s simply meeting for a coffee, having a good old shopping trip, or having a girly sleepover – it doesn’t matter. Sometimes, all you need is to see your friends, take your mind off things and have some good old fashioned fun. Get the diaries out – it’s time to put a date in!
5. Read a book.
I love to read a good book, but tend to leave little time to fit it in. That’s why I’m now actively trying to put down my phone, turn off my laptop and wind down for the evening by reading. Even if it’s just for an hour before going to bed. Reading relaxes me, allows me to switch off and it’s good for you! There are so many good books out there, you just need to pick one. Hey, who knows. We may all turn out like my mum, who without fail, gets so absorbed into a book she ends up reading it every morning over breakfast and is then inevitably late for work – sorry mum!
6. Listen to a podcast.
Podcasts are pretty new to me, but I love them. Like blogs, podcasts are a minefield. There’s something for everyone – you just have to find it. I’ve become hooked to listening to 4 podcasts so far which I love and have shared with you, so if you want to save time scouring through them all, then look no further.
7. Spend a whole day watching TV and/or your favourite films.
Ah – this sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? It feels like forever since I’ve had a duvet day. If this isn’t the epitome of absolute bliss then I don’t know what is. When April showers hit, this is the day for you. Grab your duvet, get cosy, get some snacks in and enjoy, my friends. Today is a binge-all-you-want kinda day.
8. Visit the countryside, a city, or the beach.
Whether it’s a day trip or a long weekend, sometimes we just need a change in scenery to feel ready to take on the week. The UK has so many beautiful spots, you don’t need your passport to have a good time. Take the Gower Peninsula for example. Grab your coat and explore!
9. Treat yourself.
Whether that’s on a new top you’ve been eyeing up for ages, a gig you want to go to or even a cupcake you just fancy. Sometimes we all need a little bit of happiness in the way of a splurge. I hereby grant you that wish. Enjoy!
10. Donate to charity.
Donating to a charity of your choice is not only thoughtful, but it really does go a long way. Here’s your good deed done! Whether it’s donating clothes, donating money or even helping out for an afternoon – it all counts.
11. Invest in some new bedding.
Sleeping is one of life’s pleasures. Or it should be anyway. After all, on an average life time, we spend 229,961 hours sleeping – or to put it simply, one third of our lives. Thanks Google.
We all know how important a good nights sleep is to us all. No one wants to wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
Invest in a good mattress, good pillows and good quality sheets. We all know the feeling that comes with climbing into fresh bedding. And when it’s super comfy too? Even better.
12. Have a spring clean.
Lydia’s recent post about it being time to spring clean ourselves got me thinking along the same lines. For me, the perfect place to start a spring clean is by clearing out your wardrobe. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds spring has crept up on us, and our only option in terms of our clothing is copious amounts of jumpers.
It’s time to tackle your wardrobe and cupboards. Be ruthless. If you haven’t worn it in a year? It’s time to cut the ties. This way, you can then see what clothes you do have, and treat yourself to some new ones. You’re bound to need new ones…
13. Pamper yourself.
It’s important to take care of ourselves too, not just others. Whether it’s taking a long bath, getting your nails done, or getting a new hair do, it’s time to get yourself pampered. You know you deserve it!
14. Organise a date day or date night with your S.O.
This year, Harry and I have decided to have a date day, or date night once a month. So far, we’ve visited Dubai (part 1 and part 2), tried our hand at a cookery class and chilled out at the Birmingham Independent Festival. We all know life can get busy, but the last thing we should neglect is our relationships. Treat yourself to some one on one time. Date nights are important.
15. Tell yourself one good thing that happened each week.
At the beginning of this year, I saw that someone I follow on Twitter started writing down every happy thing that’s happened to her. We’re now in April, and she’s already got pages of moments to look back on.
Of course, we’re not at the start of the year anymore – but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something similar. You see, we often only remember or focus on the more negative aspects in our week. The fact the traffic was so bad to get to work. The fact that someone made an unfriendly comment to us. Or that we messed up on a job we were working on. Instead, we should remember the good things. That someone gave you a compliment. That you managed to finish a job you’ve been working on for ages. Or that you did something out of your comfort zone. However small or insignificant they may seem. Looking back at these great moments is something we’re bound to feel good about.
16. Write down how far you’ve come.
Comparison is always going to happen, no matter how much we may try to stop ourselves from doing so. You compare someone else who is the same age as you but in your eyes, has a far better job or income. You compare how you look to others. Is it helpful? Of course not. But, with constant comparison, you can forget how far you’ve actually come. What you’ve achieved in your life so far.
In fact, I never really think about what I’ve done or achieved. It wasn’t until one of the girls I work with said that when she’s my age, she hopes she manages to achieve everything I’ve done so far. Of course, I didn’t take the compliment as I should have – but it got me thinking afterwards nonetheless. That perhaps I should take a step back and look at my life from the perspective of someone else. After all, that’s exactly what we do when we’re looking at other people’s lives.
Take that step back. Think about how far you’ve come. What have you achieved? Big or small. I guarantee you’ll be surprised.
17. Bake some cookies (or a cake).
I don’t know about you, but in my eyes, there’s not much a good sweet treat can’t fix. Get your recipe book out and bake something new. Baking often makes me feel super calm, and gives me the chance to switch off. Give it a try! And if all else fails, at least you’ll have something tasty to nibble on afterwards…
18. Have a games night with your friends or family.
My friend at work has a ‘games night’ fairly often and it sounds so fun. Pull out the scrabble, monopoly or uno. Or whatever game takes your fancy! Instead of spending a night watching a film or curled up in front of the TV, it’s time to get back to basics. Play some games for a few hours and have some good old fashioned fun!
Games are for life. Not just for Christmas.
19. Tell a loved one, you love them!
We all appreciate our loved ones, but we can often forget to show it. It’s as simple as just saying how much they mean to you sometimes. So, here’s your reminder…
20. Buy some fresh flowers. Or a plant. Plants are good too.
There really is something about buying fresh flowers, or a new plant to go in the house that instantly boosts my mood. If you were an avid SIM player back in the day (or still are – no judging here) then you’ll know that having plants in your SIM’s home meant that their mood meter was instantly improved. The exact same thing happens to me – I’m sure of it. Having flowers in the house just does something to make me happy. They look pretty, and they instantly make your house look more inviting too. Not that I’m house proud or anything…
21. Say “yes” to something new.
Whether it’s going out for after work drinks adding a little spontaneity into your week, or going to a gym class with a friend, sometimes we just need that little push from someone else to just do it. So, try and challenge yourself. No matter how big or small. I’m giving you that little nudge you may need.
22. Have one day off social media.
Ooh, I can practically sense you rapidly shaking your head from side to side already. We have become a nation who sits on our phone for hours, trawling our social media sites. Give it a go. One day. Complete freedom. See how you get on. I bet you survive!
23. Make some provisional plans in the diary.
I love nothing more than seeing my diary book up. It gives me a great sense of pleasure. Perhaps because I’m a slight organisational freak, but I also like having things to look forward to. I’m a planner and I won’t apologise for it. Have a think about some things you want to do this year, or where you want to go. Write them down and see if you can start fitting them in!
24. Give yourself a ‘word’ for the year.
Again, we’ve slightly missed the boat for having a word for the whole year, but alas! Never say never. At the beginning of this year, I decided my ‘word’ would be “explore” – I stole it from Bee. Guilty. As. Charged. Since my word is “explore”, I want to do more of it throughout 2018. More holidays, more day trips and more sightseeing. Have a think about what you want to do more of, and set that as your ‘word’. I guarantee it will force you to be a little more proactive, and do more with your time.
This is a classic case of knowing you should do exercise, but really not wanting to. Don’t worry, I’ve been there. More times than I’d like to admit, actually. But, exercise really does boost your mood – think of all of those endorphins that will be released after you’ve worked out! Plus, doing exercise should help you to sleep better too (along with those beautiful new bed sheets).
Even if it’s as short as 15 minutes, doing some form of exercise is better than none. And don’t forget – you don’t have to just jump straight in the gym. It can be anything you want. Yoga, badminton, swimming or squash – you name it, you can try it.
26. Have a day off trying to ‘achieve’ or ‘do’ anything. This included!
Yep. You may think this is a bizarre one – after all, this is a 30 day challenge isn’t it?! But, this is a challenge nonetheless. To not have to do anything. To not have something pressing to think about. Or to tick off your list. Just do what you want – no pressure, no ‘deadline’. Enjoy it.
27. Smile. Smile. And smile some more.
They say your smile is your greatest accessory. If you smile at someone, they’ll smile back at you (generally). The point is, if you’re not feeling in the best of moods, then don’t let that stop you from smiling. Get in front of the mirror and smile. Keep smiling until it turns into a genuine one! A smile really does make all the difference. You’ll be amazed how it can improve your mood too.
28. Listen to music.
We all know music can have a massive effect on our mood. Blast the tunes. Get some classics playing and sing along. You get the gist!
29. Write down your own list of things which help to boost your mood.
30. Pass the challenge on!
This is an easy one, but if you’re finding, or have found this challenge good for your soul, mental health or general wellbeing – then tell your friends about it! Set them the challenge and help them to boost their mood too. Sharing’s caring.