As I’ve mentioned in some of my blog posts recently (which have been less frequent than I’d like!), I’m completing a part-time masters course in marketing while working full-time. While I’m definitely enjoying the course so far, I am finding the new busier schedule quite hectic and somewhat stressful. Not only do I have lectures two evenings a week but I have reading and assignments on top of that, which doesn’t allow for a lot of free time. I love my leisure time; it can just be chilling at home watching TV or reading in bed with a cuppa, but it’s important for me to unwind sometimes and not think about anything relating to work or college. If anyone like me is struggling to find free time at the moment, whether you’re working, in full time education or just have a very busy schedule, here are some top tips of mine for squeezing in that free time to relax and de-stress.
Relax on your daily commute
This probably applies more to people using public transport like myself, where you can completely zone out of what’s going on around you. Whether it’s reading your favourite book, listening to some tunes or a podcast, it can be great to distract yourself on your commute. While at times I will be using my trip into work for college readings, it’s important to not forget about your hobbies. Personally I can feel pretty good heading into work in the morning after 40 minutes of reading a really good book or listening to good music. It’s also an opportunity to listen to try mindfulness meditation for anyone that’s interested in that. I’ve found the Calm app quite good, it has free five minute mindfulness tutorials as well as longer sessions for those that wanted to pay to access these.
Exercise (when possible!)
I know this is easier said than done, and finding time to exercise is something I’m really struggling with at the moment myself. I have something on every evening this week after work, so that’s a mid-week spinning or Pilates class out the window. And come the weekend I’m so wrecked at the moment that I can’t wait for a lie in on Saturday morning rather than getting up a bit early to go to the gym. But I know I need to exercise more for both my mental and physical health. Over the summer I was going to spinning every week and feeling so much better after each class than I did before going in. So from next week on I’m making a conscious effort to go to the gym at least once a week, as well as fitting in a run or walk. I’ve never exercised on my lunch breaks but I think it’s something I need to start. I know there’ll be some evenings where I just won’t go out and exercise, so if I fit a 30 minute run/walk into even one lunch break a week I think that could be a real help to managing my stress levels. And as Elle Woods would say:
Make time for your friends
This is a big one for me. Sometimes there’s nothing better than spending an evening with your pals catching up and having the LOLs. This weekend I decided to put work and college on the back burner and I had a girly sleepover with one of my besties. We stayed up until 2am watching movies, having a few glasses of wine and chats. It was just what I needed! On Sunday I felt nice and relaxed and much better after filling in my friend on what’s been going on with me lately as well as hearing all her latest news. I really think that time with friends is so important, they are such an important support system that always have my back and know exactly what I need when everything gets on top of me. Likewise, I always do my best to be there for them when they need me. If ever you’re feeling stressed it’s so important to talk to someone. Even if you don’t think it’s a big deal you might be surprised at how much better you feel after talking to one of your friend’s about what’s going on with you – you could feel much more relaxed and not realised how much something was stressing you out. Keeping little worries or stresses bottled up can build up a lot over time, so using your friends and family to regularly share any worries is key.
Have something to look forward to
If you have a deadline in work or college, it can be great knowing you have a nice evening or weekend away planned soon to do something fun. I’m trying to plan to do a couple of nice things over the next few months: I’ve a fun date night with my boyfriend in a couple of weeks, I’m going out for dinner with my dad this Friday and I’ve booked a long weekend in December to go to Dingle with a group of friends. I really like having nice things to look forward to and it can help motivate me to work on college projects as well – I’m going to make sure I have my assignments done in good time so that it doesn’t affect any of these fun plans coming up!
Those are some of my top tips for de-stressing, I’d love to hear other people’s suggestions so feel free to comment below! 🙂