August 26, 2015

10 Ways I Like to Relax

The other day, I jotted down a little list of goals for my blog and one of them was "Don't work on nights or weekends."

I don't know that it's totally possible for me to do that, at least not right now, but I function much better if I have dedicated down time. When I work in the afternoon while the girls are napping and doing quiet time, and then work the whole evening after they go to bed, then get up and be the mom all morning, it wears me down fast.

Of course, I also don't want to just spend my down-time scrolling endlessly through Instagram, so I've been putting together a list of things that help me relax without making me feel like I'm wasting my time.

10 simple ways to relax after the kids go to bed
  1. Read. Aren't you unbelievably shocked to see this on the list? I feel like I sometimes have to force myself to put down my phone and pick up a book, but I'm always more engaged and relaxed by having read an actual book instead of captions and articles on my phone. I've also started checking out magazines from the library. 
  2. Paint my nails. Since I am always barefoot at home and wearing sandals when I'm not, my toenails are on display 99% of the time, so I try to paint them every week or two. There's something really nice about being forced to wait around for your polish to dry. And if I'm feeling really luxurious, I paint my finger nails too. 
  3. Color. I find this super relaxing (this coloring book is The Time Garden and it is so so beautiful). Plus, it's a nice way to keep my hands busy while I listen to an audiobook or podcast. 
  4. Eating snacks without sharing. If this is wrong, so be it. I bought a box of these ZonePerfect Perfectly Simple bars at Target last weekend (I got the Roasted Cashew & Dark Chocolate but I am seriously tempted by the Almond Toffee Crunch and the Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk). My children have no idea these exist, and even less idea that they're in our pantry. Just the way it should be. There's also a printable coupon for $1 off, and let's be honest - nothing relaxes me more than saving money). 
  5. Going for a walk. We're running a family 5K in October, so this probably should say running, but I would much prefer to walk. When the girls are all tucked in bed and the evening is cooling off, I love going for a walk in the neighborhood by myself. 
  6. Cooking for fun. I do a lot of cooking on a daily basis, what with dinner and all, plus breakfast muffins and granola, etc., but sometimes it's just really nice to make something from one of my Pinterest boards for no more reason than that I just want to try a new recipe (the bars in this photo are Cinnamon Roll Blondies and they are delicious but they are also so sugar-y I couldn't really stomach them. I took a few bites after I snapped this photo and I had an instant headache). 
  7. Watch a movie. I'm actually not much of a movie watcher - it's hard for me to just sit down and watch something, but sometimes if I'm in the mood, I'll put in an old favorite (Anne of Green Gables forever!) and watch while I do some ironing or paint my nails. 
  8. Organize something. I like order, and I find it calming to clean something up as long as it's not actual cleaning. But sorting my jewelry, organizing a drawer, or cleaning a shelf? That I like to do. (Also! Prime time to listen to more audiobooks). 
  9. Plan. I know - what nerd. But making my to-do list for the next day, going through the calendar for the upcoming week, and making appointments gives me a huge burst of satisfaction and helps me fight that feeling that I can't go to bed on time because I haven't done anything yet! 
  10. Work on a project with Bart. We have a lot of similar interests and it's fun to spend some time making future plans, organizing a party, dreaming about house updates, or outlining projects. 

Now I just need to remind myself nightly that I'll be happier if I do one of these things instead of squander an hour thumbing through my apps one after another.

I'd love to hear your favorite things to do when your kids are snoozing away and the house is quiet.

15 comments:

  1. Great list! I love to read to relax, but I find myself watching Netflix a lot too. It's just too easy to get sucked into TV since it's passive.

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  2. Lately, with the baby's suddenly unpredictable bedtime (is this 8-month sleep regression? is that a thing?), I can't count on much time when all three kids are sleeping. If I do get 45 minutes or so, I mostly use it to shower (always at night in the summer) and read in bed. I can only read in bed for about four months of the year, due to our insanely cold house, so it feels like a real luxury. I love to watch movies, but that's pretty much only if all kids are asleep AND my husband and mother-in-law aren't home. So about once a year.

    During the day, if I can manage to get the older boys outside and not fighting while the baby is asleep, I always make myself clean something. I never want to, but I've found that I feel like I'm much more in control if I get something cleaned that's been bugging me, even if it's something as small as getting the cobwebs off the chandeliers.

    Talk about lame . . .

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  3. I think my list is almost identical! Obviously reading, that's my number 1 way I spend my "me" time!

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  4. Making my to-do list for the next day, going through the calendar for the upcoming week, and making appointments gives me a huge burst of satisfaction too. Glad to know I'm in good company :)

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  5. My favorite "old" go to movie? A Little Princess. Best ever.

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  6. Yes, yes, yes to all of these. I feel that I should write these out and post them somewhere to remind me. I'm a graduate student, so the down time I get is very limited and precious. Most of the time, I feel that I sit down, aimlessly flip through the tv channels, while browsing my phone. I never feel really rested afterwards or like I accomplished something (be that relaxing). But whenever I do any of these on your list, I do get that feeling. It also seems weird, but a movie is much more relaxing than tv surfing. I'm also quite crafty, so I'd add art & crafts (scrapbooking, painting, jewelry making, quilting, etc)

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  7. Have you read The Fri be Hours? I loved it. It's all about finding times to do what out listed here and how we need that.

    I like to work on photo books of the year. I've done two so far and am working on 2015. It's fun. Also, take a bath!

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    Replies
    1. That should be the Fringe Hours. Typing on my phone doesn't always agree with me. Gosh there are a lot of typos.

      Corrected: "Have you read The Fringe Hours? I loved it. It's all about finding times to do what you listed here and how we need those activities.

      I like to work on photo books of the year. I've done two so far and am working on 2015. It's fun. Also, take a bath!"

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  8. I totally agree with loving the Anne of Green Gables movie. Also reading is my number one way to relax. I also enjoy letter writing. There is something so enjoyable about pretty stationery and putting your thoughts on paper. I have a few long distance friends that write back. There is something so exciting about getting a letter in the mail. Scrapbooking and crocheting are also on my relaxing list. I wish I had more time to sew but hopefully in the future that will happen.

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  9. I totally agree with loving the Anne of Green Gables movie. Also reading is my number one way to relax. I also enjoy letter writing. There is something so enjoyable about pretty stationery and putting your thoughts on paper. I have a few long distance friends that write back. There is something so exciting about getting a letter in the mail. Scrapbooking and crocheting are also on my relaxing list. I wish I had more time to sew but hopefully in the future that will happen.

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  10. I totally agree with loving the Anne of Green Gables movie. Also reading is my number one way to relax. I also enjoy letter writing. There is something so enjoyable about pretty stationery and putting your thoughts on paper. I have a few long distance friends that write back. There is something so exciting about getting a letter in the mail. Scrapbooking and crocheting are also on my relaxing list. I wish I had more time to sew but hopefully in the future that will happen.

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  11. I love to read in the bath. I've actually got my husband hooked on this too, which I never, ever would have guessed. Also, work on sewing or house projects while watching something on Netflix. And since I'm currently pregnant and therefore don't feel guilty about it, a snack of ice cream before bed :)

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  12. I've gotten away from my former rule of not working at nights, and need to get back on track. Life seemed so much more manageable when I did my blog work all day on Sunday, and saved Monday-Friday after my day job to just relax, read, watch tv, yadda. I also like lists and organizing. Somehow those two things are SO relaxing!

    xoxo - Kelly
    www.dreaminlace.com

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  13. I have been wanting to take painting lessons forever, and just recently I got to experiment with watercolors at the amazing bachelorette party my best friend threw for me! I don't have the tools or space for that right now, but coloring, I can do! I just ordered the Secret Paris coloring book, some Prismacolor pencils, and a Christmas coloring book! I plan to swap out some of our framed prints with the finished Christmas pieces to decorate for the holiday in a cost-effective way. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  14. What a great list! I also like to plan. I realized keeping everything in my phone may seem efficient but in reality things were slipping through the cracks. Now I am adopting a hybrid system with my phone and a Bullet Journal. So far, so good!

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