Current | Ways to Relax

5 year diary, Bumpkin BettyMy friend (who is getting married 7 weeks before me) told me a few weeks back that ‘relaxed’ was no longer a word in her vocabulary, and recently I’ve been starting to realise exactly what she meant. Both myself and GB seem to have permanent wedding brain* at the moment, finding ourselves forgetting everything down to our own names at times, and doing ridiculous things like getting up at 5am to search for wedding documents we already packed and posted the day before. During the day my mind feels as if it’s full of a constant buzz of to-do’s and don’t forget’s and half written emails or half thought out conversations that I need to have with someone. Then too many episodes of ‘The Strain’ (anyone else watching it?) before bed coupled with wedding anxieties ensure a night of crazy dreams where our entire guest list turn into raging zombie vampire killers with strange snake like creatures protruding from their mouths. Needless to say I wake myself up in the middle of the night in order to add  ‘think of escape plan should zombie vampires attack’ onto the to-do list next to my bed.

So as you can imagine finding ways to switch off my brain, from the crazy vampire attacking thoughts it’s currently consumed with, has been something I’ve been exploring in more detail recently. I won’t say that any of the below activities necessarily take away my stresses or in any way diminish the giant to-do list that still lingers, but they do seem to temporarily help with a bit of immediate relaxation. A way to tune out from the noise and step away from the madness for a moment. So these are my current ways to relax, I’d love to hear yours?

Bedboat magazine, Bumpkin Betty
A mug of Herbal tea and a good magazine (Jing Jasmine tea + Bedboat magazine)

My first port of call when I want to down tools and switch off is to boil the kettle and make myself a good cup of tea. But with my addiction for herbal and loose leaf teas growing, I find a calming green tea to be the most effective in this case. My current go-to is Jing Tea and in particular I love their Jasmine blend (and not just because it looks so pretty) which is infused from pretty rosebuds. Because I spend my entire day staring at a computer screen, and most of my freetime staring at a iPhone or iPad screen, or looking into the viewfinder of a camera screen, leaving through the pages of a real magazine and taking in the images, the words and the edit is pure bliss for me. I was recently sent a copy of the new Bedboat magazine, for which the first issue is about to go live, and it’s a dreamy read. Lifestyle features, great photography and well written articles. If you’re a fan of the likes of Kinfolk you’ll love this.

wedding playlist, Bumpkin Betty
Listening to our wedding playlist (Monster rose gold headphones)

A little self indulgent I know, but whenever I’m feeling a bit down, a bit overhelmed, or a bit ‘over’ all things wedding I pop on my headphones while working or kick back for ten minutes and just let our spotify playlist run through in a random order. We complied the playlist for the final hour of the party and it’s basically full of every one of our favourite songs so it’s an instant remedy. Sometimes music really is so emotive too, and listening to some of the tracks helps me imagine the wedding actually happening, and what it will be like to be surrounded by all my friends and family (and my new husband) dancing to the tracks we love. I urge you all to compile a similar playlist of every song you’ve ever loved and play it every time your down – I promise it’s an immediate mood lifter.

Mindful colouring, Bumpkin Betty
Mindful colouring (Annie Yates colouring book)

I’ll admit I was dubious about the whole mindful colouring trend. For me creative endeavours rarely relax me, as the more I work on them, the more I strive to make them perfect and before I know it what was supposed to be an easy ten minute job has turned into a three month project that is causing me endless stress. I worried that sitting down to work on a drawing such as this would take me back to my Uni days and see me sitting up until all hours to get it just so. But the beauty with this activity is that the ‘art’ has already been created (in this case by Annie Yates who sent me this book to have a go with) and there’s very little creative thought involved in colouring other than choosing which colour of pencil to use, so the only thing you need to turn your mind to is keeping within the lines. What’s great about this task is that it needs concentration (which takes your mind away from all of those other niggling tasks and worries that are filling your brain) but not too much skill (which means your brain can relax and go into automode easily). Within no time at all you have a picture you can be proud of and you’ve wiled away a good few hours without any panicked thoughts.

Modern calligraphy, Bumpkin Betty
Practicing calligraphy (Quill London pen and ink)

Ok yes this is technically a wedding related task so not entirely taking my mind off of the wedding to-do, but ever since I took my modern calligraphy class with Quill London, I’ve found that sitting down for an hour to practice can be incredibly therapeutic. It’s only the practicing that’s therapeutic of course because you can mess around, make mistakes, try new words and experiment with shapes to your hearts content. When it comes to actually creating the finished pieces the pressure comes and I start to get stressed, so when in need of relaxation I just bring out a pile of scrap paper and doodle away.

how to relax, Bumpkin Betty
Writing a line a day (A line a day 5 year diary)

My friend got me this diary for my 30th birthday and it really was one of my favourite gifts. I must admit that there are some serious gaps in this years entries since March, but when I get into a flow and remember to record my thoughts at the end of each day it’s incredibly satisfying. Some days I write a funny memory, some days a quote I’ve heard or a little moment I enjoyed. I try not to put much thought into it, and just write whatever comes to mind but what’s great is that it serves as a little reminder that there’s usually always something to smile about even on the crappy days. Occasionally I’ll read back through past entries if I’m in need of a little chuckle too. I know there are plenty of variations of this type of therapy – from diaries (including blogs I guess) to thought of the day books and mind journals. This one seems to work for me, and it’s also a really pretty little book to give someone as a gift so there’s my recommendation.

What do you do to relax? Have any tips or tricks for me?

* wedding brain – the complete lack of normal functioning brain activity in the run up to a wedding. Simple tasks such as remembering your own name or where you put X object often become increasingly taxing. Snapping at loved ones is also common.

Linda ·

Good ideas there – I like to walk and think when I have time, but half an hour with a good book can really work too!

Jaclyn ·

Going for a walk or run always helps clear my head too. And there’s nothing better than sitting down with a book you can’t put down!