I'm all about self-care and self-love but sometimes it's easy to forget about those things when life is hectic and work, non-stop. My happiness isn't something I really considered in my younger years and it showed in some of the decisions I made and ultimately reflected in my health. But as I age, my understanding of health and happiness are very different to what they were when I was 16 or 17 years old. Somehow, spending next to no time with the family and working 48 hours a week became the normal, Sunday's were spent getting ready for the next 6 days of work and there was no time for me at all. I just kept going until I crashed and spent the following 6-7 months after recovering and that's no way to live your life. I wish I had a guide book to tell me then that I was more important than a career and my health much more valuable than money.

Nowadays, happiness is the most important thing to me and making time to rest and recover after a week of work by enjoying my weekends. I purposely take time out of the 7 god given days I have to make at least one of them work for me. I need time to myself in which I pamper, I eat whatever I want and I switch off the social media and work efforts, which isn't always easy. It's time to be at one with the real world, get fresh air, shop, tan, do my nails or spend the day in bed reading a book, leaving only for snacks, tea and loo runs. It allows me to switch off and regain my focus, recharge my mental batteries for the week that lies ahead and it seriously boosts my happiness and health, allowing me to take on much more hardship from work and life in general as it comes my way.

Winding down at least one of the days of the weekend is so vital to our mental health. The temptation to work and constantly be on the move is something I have to battle away at times so I understand those kind of folk who just can't sit and do nothing. However, when you really consider your happiness and health, that should ultimately change things. You should be able to really see the effect it has on your mental capacity and health when you don't take time to rest. Not only does your body suffer but your mind does too. A negative mind-set begins, everything is everyone else's problem, you're more irritable, which in return breeds arguments, depression and sometimes breakdowns in our closest of relationships and you are no longer the person you were before.

Relaxing at the weekend allows us to regain focus, clear our minds and make time to care for ourselves, which in return allows us to take on more of the tasks thrown at us in the week ahead. It gives us back some of the precious time we have to do the things that matter to us most and in the end releases those amazing endorphin's that get us buzzing and feeling good again. It's all about creating a positive environment around yourself and personally that's where I thrive the most and that's why I take the time on either days of the weekend to just be myself doing what I love most and that doesn't include a laptop, Ipad or mobile phone.

If you need a little advise on where to begin getting into a habit of making this valuable time in which you can wind down in and feel more like yourself, then here is my little guide to hopefully help you along.

1. PRIORITISE - As soon as you get in through the door from work grab a notebook and pen and get jotting down the things you need and want to do within the time you have. Create your top priority list and low and add a section of things you want to do for yourself. For example, 

Top Priority - shopping list, wash dishes, bathe pets, book haircut, and prepare dinner
Low Priority - Go to the gym, organise book shelf and paint the garden fence
Me Time - Yoga, Bath, Tan, mani/Pedi, read book in bed, retail therapy or take family out for dinner

This is just a rough and probably poor example of prioritising but as I said, this will look different for everyone because your top priority might be taking the kids to the zoo or re-decorating the living room. Your 'me' list might also be filled with a weekend away to a little B&B or just spending the day baking because that's what makes you happy. I've known girls who find the gym to be their most favourite place at the weekends and that's always on the Top Priority list for them, so this will be different for everyone. Just make sure you take 5 minutes to get things organised and ready so you don't forget a thing or add any stress to your weekend.

2. PACE - Take your time and make sure you take plenty of breaks in between chores. It can make you get into this weird mode of non-stop, can't stop - won't stop work and that's just no good, what's the point in having a weekend if you just treat it like every other day of the week? Have cups of coffee and watch your recorded TV shows in dribs and drabs throughout the housework/errands. Don't think of it as a chore, think of it as something you decided you wanted to do rather than you HAD to do. Changing your mind-set changes the situation and it makes everything much more achievable and pleasing to do. Pace yourself, what's the rush? 

3. PAMPER - I've always been a woman with a passion for pampering, it's my personal favourite way to relax and spend my weekends. There's just something so wonderful about exfoliating, moisturising, painting nails and all that jazz, even if all I can manage is a manicure it's still something I took the time to do for myself and it makes me feel so much happier and strangely more like myself. I'm not going to go in to depth about what I do for my pamper routine because I've got a post all about it coming up soon anyway. I'll be sharing all of my favourite products, including tans, nail polish brands and skincare to show you exactly what I get up to. But men should seriously do this too and I know a few who love a good old face mask and a bath, so go for it gentlemen, pamper yourself and don't be afraid to go mad with it.

4. NO SOCIAL MEDIA OR EMAILING - It's been proven time and time again that spending too much time on social media networks causes depression, stress and low confidence levels and yet we spend most of our spare time flicking through the comments, Insta pics and Facebook statuses of people we even live in the same house with. That's why I personally have started no Social media Sunday's again. After a week of work and chores I would stress myself out trying to take amazing pictures for my Instagram and I'd schedule tweets to promote my blog. After that I would reply to emails and continue my blogging work when I could be pampering myself or spending time with my family. No more social media or emailing either on the Saturday or Sunday, it's time to un-plug from the matrix and get back to real life.

Strangely enough all of these tips should and could be applied to our weekday life, as well as the weekend. Prioritising, pacing ourselves through our work and spending time and a little money on friends and family can be so beneficial and is really important. I mean really, at the end of the day our happiness and health should be of utmost important to each and every one of us, so we should be making time throughout the week as well and not just at the weekends.

But if all else fails you've got to take care of yourself and allow your weekends to be the time to wind down. How can you help someone in need if you're totally burnt out, frustrated or angry? It's when we deny ourselves rest or doing the things that make us happy that we make foolish decisions, act badly towards others and become the sort of people even our closest of friends no longer want to be around. We build a wall of negativity around ourselves and give no time to things that matter most in life, health, happiness, friends and family. So you can't spend the whole weekend relaxing but you could steal 30 minutes to pamper yourself or perhaps just go a walk, right? Then go for it.

Have a good think about it all and evaluate what's most important to you and tell me honestly that resting and recovering isn't one of them.  Life goes by so quickly and I don't know about you but I don't want to spend it working and being stressed out all of the time, at least not my weekends anyway. It's time to switch off and check in with ourselves and get busy being happy.

I really hope you enjoyed today's post. I would love nothing more than to inspire a positive reaction in people's lives through this post. I wish everyone a fantastic weekend no matter what you're getting up to, just make sure you're doing something that makes you happy! Sending you all a big squishy hug and sloppy cheek kiss,

Laura x


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