5 Ways to Relax

After a busy week, with all sorts going on, I wanted to take a moment to discuss different ways that we can take a load off our minds and unwind. For me, time to relax has to be factored in no matter what I am doing.

Some prefer to relax in company and others need time alone to properly chill out. I can do either but tend to lean more towards having some time and space to myself. The following are some simple suggestions for good ways to take time out of our busy lives and totally relax.

Nothing beats the countryside.

1) Relaxation techniques

Now we have all heard of these and they often link closely with yoga but I like to keep mine simple. I think I may have originally borrowed it from a sports class and now I regularly use it to help me unwind.

I start by laying on my back, eyes closed, and breathing deeply, in through the mouth and out through the nose. I then flex my feet so my toes point straight up and the foot muscles tighten. I breathe into that then relax my feet and move on to my calves. Working up my whole body, by the time I have clenched and let go of every pair or muscles and scrunched up my facial muscles I generally feel sleepy and chilled out.

2) Reading cosily

As a book reviewer I am always reading and for me it is something I enjoy a lot so it helps me to let go. Often I lay back on the couch with my feet raised slightly on a pillow, holding a book in front of me. Sometimes I devour my ebooks this way too and snuggle up sideways, resting the iPad on the edge of the sofa while I read. Reading in bed with a lamp nearby is also a comfortable alternative. The only trouble is when I end up feeling sleepy midway though a chapter. I then forget where I got to after I wake up, with the book strewn over the floor.

3) Fresh air

Nothing beats a walk in the countryside but I am not living right next to a mountain valley so I have to make do with what is nearby. Luckily there are a few small lakes within my area of the city and I am able to walk around them without needing to drive anywhere first. Being outside, away from screens and distractions, I can be alone with my thoughts and totally clear my head. Of course, having a walking buddy is good too, being able to put the world to rights in conversation whilst taking a brisk stroll in a park or whilst walking a dog.

4) Listen. Sing. Dance.

Sometimes I like to pop on some tunes and dance around the house a bit. At other times I enjoy singing along as well. Do whatever you need to do to feel good. Often a throwback piece of music can be just what’s needed to allow you to forget the stress of work and responsibility. As an alternative, you could do an online dance class. Equally fun and also really good for your body.

5) Duvet day

This sounds old fashioned doesn’t it? Well sometimes you just need a day to lay on the couch, eat chocolate and watch back-to-back episodes of your favourite TV series. I am not talking about when you are ill. I am just saying it can be worth planning one in every now and then.

These are just a few things that I do to unwind but please share your own ideas in the section below. If you enjoyed this post perhaps consider following my newish blog. Click here for a previous post that I wrote about how to improve your sleep.

10 Things That Stress Me Out!

Having just had a parking experience that frustrated me immensely, I felt it that would be fun to share ten things that have really been winding me up lately. Some of these disturb my reading and writing time and others just irritate me on a daily basis.

Before that – THANK YOU for 300 Followers!

Before I get started I just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone for following my new blog which now has 300 wonderful followers. I totally appreciate you taking time to read my random ramblings. Below I posted a picture of the tunnel that Julie Andrews sang in during the Sound of Music. Salzburg is my happy place as is the film.

When I am stressed I remember my holiday in Salzburg, where I visited the locations of the Sound of Music.

Back to the gripes – What things are irritating you lately?

Today I have listed my current gripes and added detail where necessary. Some just speak for themselves, I think you will agree.

Please share your thoughts in the comments and let me know your biggest bugbears. Let’s keep it general though, no naming names!

Here are my top ten (not in any specific order):

1) Pathetic Parkers

This one has affected my life a lot lately. I had one person park less than 10cm in front of me and another leaving very little space behind. If I needed to leave in a hurry I’d have had no chance. Thankfully, after some loud horn blowing by me and knocking on doors, I managed to find the person parked behind and ask him to move his vehicle.

2) All Day BBQs

When neighbours have a BBQ, I have nothing against this but why do they need to light the thing right up close to the house? Some people start their BBQs up early in the day and then when you open your windows you are inundated with smelly smoke ALL DAY LONG.

3) Bins

Don’t get me started on this one. I paid for my brown bin to be taken away fortnightly and several times they haven’t bothered to collect it. It is something I fill regularly with garden waste that I want to recycle. My friends live in areas where the service is free but where I live you have to sign up annually and I pay a fee. The service is really poor and I often end up with piles of cuttings and weeds that I cannot fit in the bin due to it not being collected.

4) Space Invaders

We just had Covid right? Suddenly the rules have relaxed and people are beginning to stand right up close again. It makes me miss social distancing because now I am queuing next to mouth breathers who sometimes smell as though they have been on the booze all morning.

5) Smoke Blowers

In Blackpool I was surrounded by smokers. Outside restaurants people are smoking and blowing it on those emerging from a lovely meal. Smoke blowers need to go and blow their smoke elsewhere as I definitely have no interest in passive smoking.

6) Hoover Bags

Every time I empty the hoover bag it opens in a weird way and puffs dust just about anywhere but in the bin that I was intending it to empty into.

7) Online Forms

You know what I am saying here. You take ages filling in a form and then it says that the connection was disturbed and you have to start again. Alternatively, if you are trying to pay for something using a safe payment site and the little circle spins around for what seems like an eternity. It says that you mustn’t refresh the page but you just have no idea whether or not you have actually paid. Then, to make things worse, you end up paying twice. That has happened to me way too often.

8) Nails

Is someone going around tipping iron nails all over the road? I have had several nails embedded in my tyres in the last year or so. Flat tyres are so much hassle to fix. Perhaps I should have learned how to change a tyre by now, but I just haven’t.

9) Doorstep Sales

This one speaks for itself. All I can say is, no matter how nice you are, I am not signing up for it. I am more likely to respond to advertising on the TV than someone banging on my door loudly while I am trying to watch Neighbours on Channel Five.

10) Environmental Ignorers

There is nothing to say here. It is way past the point of no return. No time for climate change doubters.

For some easy ways to be more ecofriendly check out my previous post here.

Thank you for reading about the little niggles that have been stressing me out lately. Please feel free to mention your own as it will be fun to make comparisons.

Money Saving Tips

Many of us are writers and bloggers or work from home and all of us are looking for ways to make savings or increase our incomes a bit. This blog article is to share a few things that I have learned about making savings and using money more wisely. I am no professional financial advisor but just sharing my own experiences. Additionally, I am not being paid to promote any services.

Can you make better use of your real money or are you living like a monopoly dreamer?

1) Have an e-savings account

I have an e-savings account attached to my Nationwide Building Society one and every time I spend, the app tells me how much I would have if I rounded up the amount to the nearest pound. For example, if I used my card to buy something for £5.19 the app would suggest I save 81p. These reminders help me to manage money and I click accept to send these small amounts into my e-savings each time.

2) Get a 0% interest credit card transfer

You hear about this a lot and I have just completed a transfer, where I have consolidated the balances of two cards onto a new zero percent interest card, which protects that level of interest for 26 months. It is saving me lots of interest fees and enabling me to make bigger payments to get the total down overall.

You can usually check whether or not you are eligible for a new zero percent credit card by using a credit check website such as Clearscore. If you apply straight away directly with the card provider, the credit search can negatively affect your credit rating so it is definitely better to go through a credit check website initially.

3) Add adverts to your website

We all have to try and make ends meet and providing content is hard work, so why not add online adverts to your blog or website. I initially did this using Google Adsense on my personal website and then used WordAds which are partnered with WordPress to add adverts to this blog. It takes ages to see the results but after a while the pennies eventually add up.

4) Buy shares

Having tried to understand Bitcoin and finding it very confusing, I was recommended Moneybox, which is an app on which you can buy shares and add savings. I split my cash between the two (shares and savings) and every week I pop some more money into the app and have enjoyed watching the savings grow steadily and the shares do well. Moneybox gives you choices that allow you to be safe or ambitious with your shares. You can choose between stock market shares in large companies such as Disney or property bonds. I have used this app now for over a year and taken some money out with a nice profit included.

5) Try Extra Acting Work

Joining an agency to become an Extra/ background actor is easy and free.

A friend suggested I join an Extras agency for when I have free time in the summer and I have been offered lots of opportunities to be an Extra on film sets or TV projects. Often I have had to reject the offers due to work commitments, but when I have taken part the income has been very welcome. Usually a standard day pays up to £200 and extra hours mean a higher rate. So far I have enjoyed pretending to work in a morgue while detectives talked about a corpse and have been a protestor watching Kiera Knightley work her magic on a movie set.

These are just some suggestions that I have made based on my own experience of trying to save and make a little extra cash. Please share your thoughts and suggestions below. If you want more blog posts about writing, reading and the environment, perhaps consider following my blog. Click this to see another post about working from home.