Monday, 19 June 2017

how to make the most of your spare time

I think I’m ready to finally say it…I’m lazy! I’m someone who really has to push myself to do even the simplest tasks sometimes. Admittedly, it’s down to low-mood some of the time, but it has to be said that a lot of the time I just cannot be bothered! It’s really easy for me to plan a million things to do on my next day off, but often when it comes to it, I find excuses of just ignore my to-do list completely!
In the hope of changing my ways a little, and finding more balance with how I spend my spare time, I made a few changes, got rid of some old bad habits and made sure to still allow myself some relaxation time. I think the key to it all has been not punishing myself for those few hours when I do just want to lounge around and not do much, which has ultimately led to me feeling and actually being more productive! So, I thought it might be a nice idea to share a few things I’ve started to do to make sure I'm making the most of my spare time…

I think sleeping might be my favourite thing to do, like, ever. They say 6-8 hours a night is the perfect amount for most people; some folks need less, some need more. I think I usually get around 5-7 hours most nights, at least during the week, but there's really nothing better than allowing yourself a guilt-free lie in every now and again. Clear you diary and make sure you regularly have a day where you can take time the night before to prepare for a good quality long sleep, and have nothing to wake up for too early in the morning! Go on, you deserve it!

Put that smartphone down...
It’s official, we’re now in the ‘Digital Age’, and we can do so much now with just a push of a button, or by downloading an app. But the more we become reliant on our phones, the more we seem to get detached from those around us, and sometimes, even get detached from reality. When we see ‘perfect lives’ played out relentlessly on Instagram etc. it makes us doubt and question our own life. That’s why it’s super important to put the smart phone down every now and again, and give yourself an afternoon, a day, or even a week to go and check-in at Hotel Reality. You’ll soon start to realise again how precious real life is, and how genuine human interaction trumps followers and likes any day of the week!

Take a bath
I have a couple of friends who don’t have a bath in their home, and it completely baffles me how they can live without them! For me, sometimes taking a long, hot, bubbly bath is the highlight of my day! It’s the time when I think and reflect. It’s when I can sing obnoxiously along to Spotify. It’s a time when I can put on a facemask, hair mask, shave my legs and feel completely refreshed. Obviously, this is all possible with a shower, but I find taking a bath to be such a treat. I think I’d rather have a bath than a bed, to be honest!
Get up a little earlier to relax before the day starts
This is something I started doing lately completely by accident! I used to be someone that left it as late as possible to get up, to ‘make the most’ of being in bed. But recently, if I wake up earlier than I need to, I just get up! I use the extra time to make a cup of tea and read a book or watch a little TV before the chaos of the day drags me away with it. The feeling of not rushing is so much more calming to me than an extra 30 minutes in bed. It’s also been proven that going back to sleep when you’ve already naturally woken up will leave you groggier throughout the day!

Spend more time with friends & family
This kinda ties in a little with my earlier point about putting down the phone and taking a break from social media. Lately, I’ve been spending so much time trying to engage with my blogging audience and friend that I’ve become a little detached from my real friends and family. I have to admit, it makes me a little sad that it’s so easily done, and if you don’t catch yourself early enough, it can really start to damage the relationships you have had for years, outside of the internet.
Now, I make a point of setting aside 2 hours after work to be with Rich, just us, and I make sure I’m seeing family and friends regularly and without any distractions involved!

Tidy your Surroundings
As much as I believe in your spare time being a time for you to relax and recharge, I think a good tidy-up is the quickest route to tidying your mind! I for one can definitely relax a little easier when my surrounding are not a complete mess. We recently bought an old townhouse, which is a blessing and a curse at the same time, as the extra space means more capability for mess… sob! To try to keep on top of it all, I like to do a little every day, and make an effort to do a bit more of a deep clean at the weekend. I think it’s important, though, to plan out how long you’re going to spend and what you want to achieve before you start, so you can make sure you aren’t slogging your guts for too long, or alternatively, quitting too soon!

Get rid of clutter!
I mean this figuratively and literally! In a literal sense, this links with the previous point about tidying, as the more cr*p you have around you, the more often you’ll have to clean and tidy! I read Marie Kondo’s TheLife Changing Magic of Tidying Up last year and it completely changed my approach to buying and keeping stuff I don’t love. My wardrobe never consists of more than 25 items at any one time, and I completely streamlined the rest of my belongings because, frankly, I didn’t really want them in my life when I had a good hard think about it!

From a more figurative prospective, clearing out bad habits and toxic people from your life can do just as much good and will help you make the most of your spare time by spending it doing things and seeing people you actually like! For me, this was trying to kick the habit of watching too much YouTube! I started to become obsessed with watching vlogs, and wishing I was like them. It actually started to get me quite depressed! So I promised myself that I’d do something more productive with my time; instead of watching travel vlogs and wishing I was wherever the vloggers were, I made plans of how I could save and go and explore the world for myself! And I can’t explain how much better I feel because of it!


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