London is a city that never switches off. There’s *always* something to do, and this can be a blessing and a curse. When I first moved to London I worked all day and went out every evening. I was so excited to see all of my friends that I never turned down an invitation to drinks. Of course it was tremendous fun at first, but then after a while I started to feel like Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous- complete with constant hangovers and spontaneous hissing at my boyfriend because he dared to open the bedroom curtains five minutes before the alarm was due to go off….
Incidentally I perfected a new look during this period which my boyfriend christened ‘The Stink Eye’. You close one eye completely and fix the other one intensely on the person that’s annoying you. Seems to do the trick if you want them to cease and desist whatever it is that’s causing you to screw your face up in such an unhinged way (‘do you *really* need to have your Whatsapp notifications on loud right now? I thought so…’), but let’s be honest you don’t want to be that person!
Then something changed. I *finally* took my Mam’s advice and started taking some time for myself (why do mothers always have to be right??). I started to turn down mid-week-drinks-on-a-Wednesday-just-because and took some evenings for myself to do absolutely nothing of importance. I found I felt more relaxed and started to enjoy the times I did spend out far more. Social quality over quantity. I even stopped going out every Saturday night just because I felt like a loser staying in. At first it was painful missing out on the party, especially when I was confronted with the evidence on my Facebook feed, but it felt revolutionary to wake up on Sunday without a hangover with an entire day to just potter around. Maybe I’m just getting old 😉
I wanted to help you experience this fulfilling revelation, so I put together some quick tips:
A Guide To Finding Balance In Your Hectic 20-Something Lifestyle
1. Go to bed earlier than usual on Wednesday night: I picked Wednesday because Orange Wednesdays have ended so what the hell else are you gonna do!? 😉
Most people know that the average person needs 8 hours sleep a night, but remember that’s only an average and some people need as much as 10. Even if you do get your 8 hours in, there’s a good chance that its been interrupted at some point, so you’re likely to be operating on a sleep debt. To combat this I’d recommend having an early night at least one evening a week. I know it’s rubbish putting yourself to bed early when there’s so much Netflix to watch, but feeling refreshed and having more energy makes up for it!
2. Grow something: Seriously. Growing plants is really relaxing! There have been plenty of scientific findings which point towards psychological and health benefits of having plants in your home, and personally I can see why. Every morning I wake up and water my plants and it’s a nice, simple and therapeutic start to my day. If you’re a horribly inexperienced gardner (like me!) try a cactus (just make sure you don’t over-water it…)
I recently picked up these Hydrangeas and they make me smile every time I walk into the room!
3. Get organised: Organizing and de-cluttering your physical space can feel like you’re literally organizing your mind. Reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up was a real turning point for me, I’d really recommend it for anyone who feels like they’re constantly tidying and overwhelmed by stuff. The basic principle is that if you organize once, and thoroughly, then you won’t have to do it again- which works for me!
4. Meditate: Even if it’s only for ten minutes. Even if you spend those ten minutes thinking about what to buy for dinner at Tescos or whether you should wash your hair this evening or leave risk it till tomorrow. It will slow your mind down.
5. Make something: Anything at all, you don’t have to be creative as there are plenty of DIY tutorials out there for inspiration (and plenty on this blog! just sayin ;)).
6. Listen to music: The Spotify deep house zen playlist is love <3
7. Use a Productivity Apps: If you’re anything like me, you need a little bit of extra help to stop procrastinating and actually get some work done! I’ve been using the Zenwriter recently- it’s basically a writing app which allows you to have a beautiful minimalist screen which plays relaxing music whilst you write. I find I’m able to get about twice as much done using Zenwriter as I’m not constantly distracted by social media…
I really hope these tips help. Being twenty-something is hard, y’know? Naps at work should be socially acceptable! but in the absence of this I’d love to hear your tips for staying all zen 🙂 let me know!