I’m not going to beat around the bush, the past year has been stressful. Between graduating from college, struggling to figure out my career path, getting a job, and moving back home, my stress levels and anxiety have been majorly impacted. I’m definitely starting to feel more settled than I have in the past few months. Part of that I have to credit towards getting close to moving out and being excited about creating my own home with my boyfriend (a process which I’m really excited to document on this blog). However, a lot of my feeling settled also has to do with learning more and more about myself and figuring out what I need to feel well-rested and less stressed. Some of these things I already knew, because going to college wasn't exactly a cake walk, but it's still a pretty massive lifestyle change to go from student to working a full time job.
One of the most important and toughest things to do to help me reduce my stress levels has been switching off and reducing screen time. I am guilty of endlessly scrolling through Instagram as soon as I get home from work because it's just so easy to revert to. I love consuming content and scrolling through inspiring imagery but it does anything but make me feel like I'm doing something productive with my time off. Same goes for watching TV. I watch a hell of a lot of Netflix and while it can be relaxing to watch four episodes of The Crown, it's not very restorative. Reading a book makes me feel so much more relaxed long term, and while it takes more effort, it makes me exercise a different part of my brain instead of just zoning out.
I love to have a full pamper night but most days that's just not practical or even possible to commit to. I've been trying much more diligently to practice small acts of self-care on a more regular basis. Some of these things don't have to do with grooming, but I find that sometimes all it takes is painting my nails after a stressful day to make me feel a little bit better. Even something as small as doing 15 minutes of gentle yoga makes me feel reset and that I am taking care of myself.
One of the hardest things about my lifestyle at the moment is that I have a job where I don't often have weekends off, let alone two consecutive days off, which can make it extremely difficult to feel like I have time to fully rest before I start back at work. It's so easy to slip into the routine of spending all of my days off at home, in bed and watching Netflix, especially because most of my friends and family don't have the same days off as me. It's been a hard balance to strike between trying to get all of my errands done and getting in meaningful rest time. I've been trying more and more to spend my days off in a productive yet restful way, and it's definitely still a work in progress. I've found that getting out of the house is key to striking this balance. Even something as simple as going to a local coffee shop for an hour to write a blog post, feels so much more restorative and relaxing than just sitting at my desk at home and being distracted by an endless stream of YouTube videos.