There’s something so peaceful about being by the sea. Sea breeze in your hair, the giggles of young kids and seagulls calling out to one another make up the most joyous music as you watch the tide lap at the shore. It’s as if everything else falls away; your worries are sent out on a wave and all that’s left to do is relax.
I had the most lovely weekend down in Cornwall with my boyfriend and his family. It’s one of my most favourite things to do every year. August Bank Holiday rolls around, we pack up our bags, squeeze into a v packed car and make our way down to the coast.
Everything is put on pause down by the seaside. Even the locals seem to lead a more relaxing way of life. And now that I’m back home after the most chilled weekend, I suddenly feel like I’m going a million miles per hour. There’s a whole lot of advanced uni prep to be done, blog posts to maintain, birthday shindigs to organise (I’m 20 on Monday, help) and I’m feeling more like I’m being dragged away to drown by the tide myself.
And this has got me thinking.
Why do we feel the need to run away from our problems whenever we take a holiday? Why do we spend months desperately looking forward and yearning for some serious chillaxing on a beach? Why can’t we aim for a life that we don’t want to run away from?I think what I’ve found recently is that I need to be kinder to myself. I always put so much pressure on myself to be uber organised, get everything done to the best of my ability and always be on top of my game. If I find myself with a mountain of work to do, yet actually don’t feel all that up to it, I’ll be too hard on myself at the end of the day if my to-do list isn’t completely ticked off. Yes, I am someone that likes to keep themselves busy, but I definitely do find it hard to switch off. The only time I actually do find myself with nothing to do? When I’m literally forced to sit down and ‘relax’, either due to being abroad and data costing a bomb, or when I’m in Cornwall and the signal is so awful I’m left practically without a working phone. And that shouldn’t really be the way.
So today, I thought I’d make a lil list (one without pressure to tick everything off) on some ways that we can unwind, switch off and live our lives at reduced mileage. Just as cars run out of petrol, life at 100 miles per hour means that we need to recharge sometimes, too.
Without sounding like a total hippy, try meditation
Hear me out on this one. Around a year ago, I actually downloaded a meditation app, Headspace, after reading about it in a magazine. As I’ve said, I find it hard to switch off, so I thought trying meditation might actually help me unwind and clear me lil ol’ head. I think I tried it one morning, and then the next day felt I was just too busy to dedicate 10 minutes to it, and then soon after I deleted the app for storage. Typical Maddie. However, I’m now committing to downloading this app tomorrow morning, and I’ll give it another go. Meditation has proven to help so many people clear their mind and to take some time out for just them. And if I can find the bladdy storage for it on my phone, I’ll give it another go for definite.
Find that one special person who is good at making you relax, calm down and switch off
Whether this is having a pal who knows when to tell you off for working too hard, or a family member that makes you sit down in front of the telly and become a couch potato after a hard day’s work, we all need someone in our lives that reminds us to switch off. For me, this person is definitely my boyfriend. We’re kinda like chalk and cheese sometimes- he’s so laidback he’s practically horizontal, and I’m a lil stress head. Luckily, these two traits compliment each other perfectly. I find him such a relaxing presence. If I have had the most stressful of days, as soon as I pop over to his to see him, I’m instantly relaxed. He knows exactly what to say to shut me up if I’m stressing about something ridiculous that doesn’t even need to be stressed about (which is 99.9% of the time the case) and he always helps me work through tricky things that need sorting. We all need a bit of that in our lives.
A to-do list the size of a novel? Break it down into smaller chunks
This morning, I wrote down everything I need to do in the next few days. I thought getting it down on paper would help clear my head, but seeing a list spanning a good couple pages honestly made me want to rip it up and chuck it in the bin and forget about it all. Instantly. Fighting the urge, I then decided to split up the list into manageable chunks that I could achieve, daily. Prioritising what needs to be done right now, and batting away what doesn’t need to be done til later on really helps ease the panic-rising-in-the-chest feeling we all get when we feel pressured. I mean, this may sound just like common sense, but trust me, when you’re feelin’ stressed, common sense goes out the window. My boyfriend will tell you- he’s heard many a Maddie-stressed-to-the-max irrational rants in his time.
Give yo’self a curfew
As humans, we can only work for so long. Sitting staring at a computer screen for hours on end will not do wonders for your productivity; it’ll just make you slow down and get less done. Set yourself time for breaks every day and as soon as evening rolls around, stahp. I like to get most of my work done in the morning and early afternoon, and make sure for certain that after dinner is relax time. It gives ya’ll somethin’ to look forward to.
Remind yourself that there’s always time- even if it doesn’t feel like it
Today, I did not finish my to-do list. Tomorrow? I probably won’t either. But that’s because we give ourselves mountains of work to do every single day, and we’re only human. As long as everything gets done to the best of your ability, in time for the deadline, it’s A-Okay. No one will know how much time ya spend procrastinating in between.
Now I’ve finished this post, I feel a lil better for it. I hope this helps if you’re feeling stressed atm like I am – fellow English & Creative Writing students at University of Birmingham, I’m sure you’re with me when I say that getting students to do work for second year DURING THE SUMMER isn’t exactly helping those stress levels. Ahem. But it be okay- we’ll get through it x