With so many screens to look at and people to see and stuff that constantly needs cleaning, how’s a person supposed to get a minute to themselves in 2014? Well, it turns out that it is possible; you just have to be disciplined. Here’s a four step guide to chilling the hell out:
1. Do one thing at a time
I have always been terrible at this. I can’t even walk down the stairs from my bedroom to the kitchen without treating it like it’s the last time I will ever make the journey. Heaven forbid I should descend without every used glass, load of washing and handbag in my hands in case I never get the opportunity again. Of course I could make a second trip but that would use up my essential letter opening/fridge reorganising/catching up with Coronation Street time – these tasks won’t do themselves, you know! Well, no, but doing one at a time will reduce the chances of tumbling down the stairs and landing on the floor with the entire contents of my bedroom on my head. And doing just one thing at a time is much more enjoyable. Fancy reading a book? Then just do that – don’t read it whilst simultaneously loading the dishwasher, changing the bed and alphebetising your CD collection. Want to spend time on ASOS selecting clothes you don’t need? Do it. But not with 35 other pages open that’ll distract you from the task at hand. (Particularly any online banking sites – your statement can really kill the mood).
2. Don’t feel guilty
The way to do this is to a) realise that whatever else you think you should be doing whilst you’re reading a book/watching a film/purchasing yet another leopard print dress will still be waiting for you when you’re finished and b) enjoy yourself so much that you stop caring about it altogether. I sat and watched Annie Hall last night even though my brain was telling me that I should really be hanging the washing on the line and putting the dishes I used to make my very healthy pasta, sauce and loads-of-cheese dinner in the dishwasher. In the end I didn’t do any of it until the morning (admittedly partly because I fell into a cheese-induced coma on the sofa). Well, la-di-da.
3. Put your phone down
Managing to get 1 and 2 nailed will feel like a major achievement and what do we do when we achieve something these days? We put it on social media. But in this instance we must refrain. If you’re waiting to see how many of your chums ‘like’ the fact that you’re kicking back with a novel and a tube of Pringles, how are you going to concentrate on the plot? And what if they don’t like it? Or you see that everybody on there is actually out drinking mojitos and dancing to (ENTER NAME OF POPULAR MUSIC I HAVEN’T HEARD OF) and you just end up feeling bad about yourself? That won’t be very relaxing, will it? Now I come to think of it, point 3 should really just be ‘Delete Facebook’ and I’m sure we’d all feel a lot better.
4. Don’t wait until you start crying to admit that you need to chill the hell out
Here’s a useful fact to remember: you don’t have to be on holiday to relax. Unfortunately I only realised this when I became so overwhelmed by my self-imposed 10-item domestic task list that I cried. My husband put me on a chair in the garden with a book and a glass of water and told me not to come back in until I had finished both. It shouldn’t have to come to this (also the book was The Fault In Our Stars. If you’ve read it, you’ll know that it only made me cry more but it’s the thought that counts) – it’s important to notice that you need to relax before you become a blubbering wreck.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take my own advice, turn off my computer and pop on another film. Chomping through a Fruit and Nut whilst I do so does technically class as multitasking but I think we can all agree to let this one slide.