You've put the little ones to bed, you've cleaned up (well, that will have to do 'til tomorrow) and you need to unwind. But let's face it, there is only so much curling up in front of a box set is going to do before you go to bed and the day starts all over again.
The key is to get out of your head, and your normal surrounding - literally escape. Why not try some of these splendidly relaxing ideas?
1) Make a Splash: Run a warm luxurious bubble bath and soak in the warmth and let the warm water relax your muscles. Try using a lavender oil based soap to really let the stress melt away....
We at Babycchinos love the Lavender Foaming Bath by L'Occitane
2) Book Worm: Nothing beats a good book to escape from it all. Reading has the power to transform your surroundings by awakening your imagination without even leaving the room! Reading has also been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels and relax tensed muscles.
3) Bored Games: Crack open your silly side and play a board game with your partner and let the laughs begin.
4) Add Some Colour: A new weird and wonderful therapeutic technique which has fast become a global success is the idea of adult colouring books. This simple and nostalgic pastime has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Colouring creates a balance in concentration so that the brain is engaged enough to stop buzzing but not so much that its exhausting.
Not too sure? Why not give it a try by purchasing a cheap and cheerful colouring book at The Works. Whether its a collection of owls, or tattoos or simple shapes, who knows, you might discover your next best read!
5) Take a Deep Breath: Deep Breathing and Meditation - This is a winner when it comes to unwinding....and its so simple. I was told to do this by my personal trainer when I told her I had trouble sleeping. And its magic. Try it - breathe in deeply to the stomach (let the breath make your stomach expand), relax your shoulders and close your eyes. Breathe out slowly. Do this three times in a row and believe me, you will feel the weight literally lift off your shoulders!
Meditation is the control of the mind. Once we learn to control the mind, everything falls into place - your mind is clear enough to put life into perspective. Worries and troubles become "do-able", priorities are re-aligned and most importantly, you become mindful. What does this mean? Quite simply, it becomes clear what you should be focusing on, what you should be grateful for and appreciate what we have rather than what we don't have.
To get into meditation, this can be quite difficult - to stop all the buzzing thoughts, to switch off completely is not easy. The best thing is to take baby steps. And remember, the objective is to train the mind to have a single focus. So it may help to listen to soft instrumental music to start with. Close your eyes and focus only on the music. Start with a minute, then slowly add another minute and so on. Once you are comfortable with that, take away the music and start from a minute again - focusing on your breathing this time. Focus on the inhale - how the air enters your lungs, cleansing your body - focusing on the energy that is keeping the body alive. Then focus on the exhale which takes away the feeling of any anxiety and stress with it. Like with exercise, this takes a lot of practice, but with dedication and determination, you will become the master of your mind and the world around you.
6) Get Jiggy With It: Why not try your hand at a jigsaw puzzle? The brain has two parts: the left-brain follows logic and sequence whilst the right-brain is creative, intuitive and emotional. Doing a jigsaw puzzle requires the use of both the left and right brains. The left-brain focuses on matching the shapes into place, whilst the right-brain uses imagination to conjure up the image of the final puzzle. It has also been proven that doing a jigsaw puzzle has the affects of mediation: it lowers the breathing rate and reduces the heart rate. It creates a calm atmosphere and you have something to put on the wall afterwards (after sticky-back plastic of course!)
7) Puzzle Me This: Curling up with a Word Search, Sudoku puzzle or Crossword puzzle never gets old. Like jigsaw puzzles, this keeps your brain engaged and active. It also expands your vocabulary, enhances problem solving skills as well as being good clean fun! It has been recommended by the Alzheimer's Association that we should be doing puzzles regularly to ward off Alzheimer's Disease. Pens at the ready then?!
8) Personal Pampering Session: Love the feeling when you walk out of a salon after a pampering session? Well why not recreate this feeling at home? Block out an hour and indulge in some "me time" with a home facial, mani-pedi or a good clean foot soak. We at Babycchinos love the Soap & Glory range! They have everything from Body Polish to Ultra Rich Body Butters with prices that won't break the bank!
9) The Language of Love: It has been proven that listening to music you like causes the release of dopamine - that "feel good feeling" - and reduces the level of cortisol - the stress hormone - in your body. Music helps the body and mind relax which also helps to get a better nights sleep. We personally love listening to piano instrumentals to create a really relaxed atmosphere.
10) Foodie Inspiration: Tackle a chore and unwind? Yes please! Why not look for new and exciting recipes online? This comes with the satisfaction of planning ahead as well as spicing things up by finding new and innovative recipes! We at Babycchinos love the variety of recipes on AllRecipes.com for some delectably delicious inspiration!
Got any tips on how to unwind? Comment below, we would love to hear them!