5 Things I Do To Stay Calm and Relaxed

Life can get busy and stressful at times. Which is why it is so important for us to allow time for ourselves, so that we can stay calm and more relaxed. It can be difficult for us to allow a little “me time” and it can easily be forgotten about due to other commitments that seem more important. Our main goal each day should be to focus on ourselves a little more; to forget about stress, and take a moment to breathe.

This is why I have decided to share with you five things I do to help myself stay relaxed when life can get stressful. It is all about taking care of your mind as well as your body! Self-care does not just mean to look after ourselves from the outside, but the inside too.

1. Run a bath, play smooth radio or a relaxing playlist of choice, and forget about the world…

We all have most likely done this countless amounts of times. However, some of us can forget about how important the most simple rituals can be for our well being. Get some candles, (safely) light them and place around your bath. Get yourself a bath bomb or your favourite bubble bath, and relax while you listen to music. Try to do this once a week or at least once every fortnight. Pamper yourself while you are at it using a face mask and hey, grab yourself a glass of wine or a cup of tea and soak in your tub of relaxation.

2. Go for a walk…

Take a walk in the countryside or find your local park and take in the fresh air and beauty of the outdoors. Nature is a beautiful thing and if you can, try and surround yourself in it by going for a walk. My favourite kind of walk is during the summer in the late afternoon or evening. There is nothing better than walking through a field during a warm summer evening, watching the sun gradually set. There is beauty in the most simple of things when you start to notice it more. Walking is also very beneficial for you both mentally and physically. Take someone with you for company if you want, but do it either way.

3. Get creative…

Paint, draw, write. It’s up to you, but whether you are an artist or not, being creative is very calming for the mind. I find that painting or drawing can really help me to relax. Writing also can be very relaxing for me, especially when I can release my thoughts onto paper. If you are stressed or feeling down, write it down. Everything you are feeling or thinking, just take a pen and paper, and write everything down. You will feel better for it and it may just help you understand yourself a little more.

4. Listen to music…

This may be obvious, but music can lift your spirits and make a stressful situation much better. Turn on the radio or play your favourite music – I love to listen to Whitney, Nora Jones, Coldplay etc to really help me feel calm and relaxed and in a better mood. If you have a garden, sit outside and play a little music in the summer, or dance around your house and feel relaxed and stress-free. Another tip: if you’re really stressed or cannot calm down, take a moment to just breathe. Breathe in deeply and slowly, in and out. Repeat to calm down your heart rate and get back to relaxation.

5. Watch a film or read a book…

After your relaxing bath, or at the end of the evening when everything is done, get yourself in your comfy pjs and watch a film or open a book and start reading. Just let yourself escape from the outside world and allow time for yourself. Make a cup of tea or your favourite drink and enjoy. Make time to do this every week, you will thank yourself for it. Prioritise these things – not just work and other commitments. Looking after yourself is the most important thing you can and will ever do. It’s not being selfish, it’s called self-care and realising that is very important.

Now you have read about the things that I do to keep myself calm and relaxed, why don’t you try it…Leave a comment below about the things you do to keep yourself relaxed.

xoxo

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The Big University Checklist

Hello everyone! I have decided to do a university series of blog posts for anyone out there interested in university blogs! The first thing to think about when going to university is what to bring. When I started university, I loved reading blogs and watching YouTube videos about what to take to university. Therefore, I have created my own list of things that I think are important when packing for university. This is very long post but I hope you all enjoy! PS. I wish I was attending university again, it was the best time ever!

1. Stationery and Documents

  • Make sure that you have any documents needed for university and your accommodation – check with your university and accommodation to see what you will need to bring. TIP: Keep any important documents in a file so that they are easily available and safe – keep this in a secure place in your room where no one can find it.
  • ID – you will definitely need this for nights out and to identify yourself at enrollment.
  • Student finance letters and summary of payments to provide evidence when needed.
  • Freshers week tickets – if you want to attend any events.
  • Bank letters and documents just in case.
  • Insurance for your valuables and documents to provide evidence of this.
  • 16-25 Railcard and NUS discount card – these are handy and save you loads of money while at university. I had both of these and they were a lifesaver. Travelling home or to other places can be costly, so railcards can help to cut the costs. You do have to pay for these, but in all honesty, you do make the money back from what you pay from the savings you will get. Of course, if your university student card has an expiry date, many places will accept this as a way to receive student discount. For places that do not accept student ID, Unidays is a free app/website that you can join using your student email to receive discounts from a variety of places.
  • Set up an arranged overdraft so that you don’t get charged in case you need a little extra cash when student loans and a job just doesn’t cut it.
  • Notebooks for lectures – find yourself some lined notebooks for lectures. It may be best to buy these once you have started your classes just so that you know how many you will need. Although do take one or two beforehand for induction lectures. Notebooks that contain dividers are very useful so that you can have all of your lecture notes organised into one book.
  • Pens, pencils, rubber, sharpener, highlighters, and coloured pens.
  • Pencil case and bag to bring to lectures.
  • USB – get one that has 64GB storage so that you don’t have to worry about deleting anything. This is more than enough if you will be just using it to save word documents, but it is always handy to have extra space for photos or other files.
  • Folders/Files – use these to organise your lecture notes if you prefer. I used plastic wallets to bring to each lecture, because I found them easier to carry around.
  • Books for university – you may have a reading list of books to buy for different modules – look for these on Amazon or eBay for cheap deals. Some of these may be available in your university library, but there will be limited copies. Also, some texts may be available from your university as a PDF file for you to read.

2. Kitchen Supplies

One of the most important items you will need to bring with you to university are your kitchen supplies. This refers to anything you will need to make and eat your own food.

  • Choose plates, bowls and cutlery that have a pattern or colour on them to prevent you from having your things mixed up with other people’s in your flat or house. Also, make sure that you don’t spend too much on these – things can break at university! I managed to go a whole three years at university without anything breaking, but anything can happen when you’re having pre-drinks during Freshers week.
  • Talking about pre-drinks, it is a better idea to buy yourself some plastic cups, rather than glasses. There are many places out there that sell stylish plastic cups at great prices – have a look at Primark, as they usually sell these in their homewear department.

You will need to cook at university at some point, takeaways and ready meals can be more expensive! Luckily, I enjoyed cooking at university, but I know that not everyone does. Make cooking easier for you by getting yourself the basics –

  • A non-stick frying pan and saucepan – these are essential for cooking any meal. Also get yourself a some cooking utensils for stirring sauces and cooking meat or vegetables, as well as a sieve for draining pasta.
  • Oven dish and baking tray – these are also essential for cooking things like frozen food, pasta bakes, casseroles and beloved pizzas! If you love pizza then it may be worth getting yourself a pizza cutter and pizza tray.
  • Tupperware and bag clips to reseal things like cereal and pasta. Tupperware is essential if you want to save yourself some money by preparing your meals ahead of time. I always used to try and make my own lunch to save money and plastic throwaway packaging.
  • A tray for eating your meals on – I found this very useful when I was at university because sometimes there are not enough chairs in the kitchen to eat your food at the table. Trays are also useful to carry your food or drinks when you want to be in your room instead.
  • Ice cube tray and plastic shot glasses – these will definitely come in handy for Freshers week as well as the rest of your time at university and your new friends will love you when you’re the one who remembered to bring them!
  • Water bottle and flask for hot drinks – this will be very useful to bring to lectures, and will also avoid any unnecessary waste!
  • Packed lunch bag – get one of these with some coolers so that you can bring lunch to the library, to work, or to uni if you are in all day.
  • Obviously you will need food, but it may be best to buy this once you have moved in. But bring some essentials such as pasta, sugar, tea bags, coffee, microwave rice, biscuits, snacks, tinned soup and tuna etc. Any food that needs to be stored in the fridge or freezer should be bought once you have moved in. I am thinking of doing a post on university meal ideas – let me know in the comments if this interests you!

3. Bedroom

You will need many things for your bedroom. Some of these things are essential and some are optional!

  • Duvet and pillows – essential for sleep!
  • Mattress topper and waterproof mattress protector – these are a must have as some university accommodation can have uncomfortable mattresses! The waterproof mattress protector will come in handy when you accidentally spill a drink over your bed – you don’t want to be charged for any spillages!
  • Duvet covers – I recommend taking at least two covers for your bed so that you can have one in the wash while you have one on the bed. Also, like the duvet itself, make sure to check with your accommodation provided to see what size bed you will have before you buy the wrong size bedding!
  • Throws and decorative pillows – your room may get cold during the winter months, so make your room feel cosy and warm by bringing a large warm blanket or throw for your bed. The decorative pillow will make your bed look extra pretty.
  • Hangers – try and get some wire hangers or thin hangers to maximize space in your wardrobe. It may also be worth it to get some storage boxes for clothes or extra storage once you have moved into your room so that you know what size boxes you will need.
  • Fairy lights and decorations – these will help you to feel cosy in your new home. You can wrap the fairy lights around your bed post, or hang them up using pins on your notice board – usually university rooms have these already installed.
  • Rug – you might want to bring a nice rug for your floor as most university rooms have thin carpet that can feel horrible on your feet. If not, get yourself some comfy slippers so that you can walk around your flat or house without having to walk on the horrible floors – trust me, you will thank me when you realise that the kitchen floor is not always the cleanest place at uni.
  • Table mirror – this is essential for doing your makeup if your room doesn’t have one close to your desk. You can never have too many mirrors!
  • Desk lamp – this will be very useful for when you want to relax in your room at night without having the main light on.
  • Extra storage drawers – you can get metal or plastic drawers that are easy to carry if you think you might need extra storage. In my experience, university halls tend to have a lot of built in storage, but if you are unsure, it may be best to wait until you have moved in to decide what extra storage you may need.
  • Shoe storage rack – again, this may be better to get once you know what storage your room has and how much space you have. This will be very useful for you if you don’t have any room for your beloved shoes. You can also buy a storage device that hangs up in your wardrobe for your shoes, but this may mean compromising on space for hanging clothes.
  • Clothes rack – try and get yourself a compact sized clothes rack so that it doesn’t take up a lot of space in your room. You will need one of these in case your accommodation doesn’t have any dryers – but also because dryers can ruin clothes and make denim shrink – not ideal! All you have to do is fold it away when not in use.

4. Bathroom

If you have your own bathroom, then lucky you! You can enjoy having a shower in peace and do not have to worry about others making the bathroom a mess.

  • Bath mat – if your shower is enclosed, then get yourself a bath mat for the floor so that you can keep your feet dry when walking around your bathroom.
  • If your bathroom is a wet room, and your shower is not enclosed, then still get a bath mat – but place it outside of your bathroom door so that it doesn’t get drenched each time you have a shower.
  • Hand soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, shower gel and other toiletries that you use.
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Cleaning products – get yourself some bathroom cleaner and toilet bleach for cleaning to avoid mould and to keep your shower and bathroom clean.
  • Bath towels and hand towels – get yourself two bath towels so that you can cycle them and never be without one. You can also find yourself a towel holder that has a suction cup on it to stick to your bathroom wall. Some bathroom doors at university also have hooks on the back if you can’t find one.
  • Storage caddy for toiletries and storage for your cleaning products.
  • Flip flops – if you have to share a bathroom, then you may want to take flip flops to keep your feet hygienic.
  • Bin and bin liners – this will be very handy for your room so that you don’t have to take rubbish to the kitchen bin.

5. Technology

  • You will definitely need a good laptop with Microsoft Office installed onto it – have a look online to see if you can get a free version from your university – this is what I did! You may find that during deadline times, computers at your university will be hard to get hold of, so it is best to have your own in case.
  • Printer – this is optional but will be useful especially if you are doing an art subject or something that requires you to print off a lot of material. However, the printers at your university may be better and I found that I did not need my own.
  • Speaker – your new friends will thank you when they discover that you have a speaker ready for pre-drinking music. You can obviously also use this for your own use in your room.
  • TV – if you are allowed to bring a TV, make sure that your accommodation includes a TV license in your room as well as the communal areas. If not you may need to get a TV license depending on how you are using your TV – check online first!
  • Now TV/Amazon/Netflix subscription – this is a must have for those nights when you want to chill watching TV. Sometimes uni can be lonely and having access to movies and TV shows can really help you when you feel homesick.

6. Extras

  • You will obviously need to bring clothes, makeup, toiletries etc etc. However, a checklist for this kind of stuff will be posted in a separate post (follow and subscribe via email to this blog for updates!). Here is a list of any extra items you may need to bring or buy for your time at university:
  • Medical supplies – you may need things like plasters, antiseptic cream, cold and flu remedies, and paracetamol just so that you are prepared while you settle into your new city and home. You will thank yourself when you are hungover in your room on many occasions – and don’t forget the dreaded fresher’s flu – yes, it’s a thing.
  • Coffee maker – OK, this may seem a little lavish, but if you’re a huge fan of coffee and have some money saved then, why not? Try and get yourself a small one that can be taken into your room. Late nights doing assignments in your room + coffee maker = PERFECT.
  • Home comforts – try and bring something or a few things that will remind you of home. This could be anything from photos to decorations from your bedroom at home. The most important thing is that you make your room at uni feel like home.

There will be a variety of things missed from this list, but I will add more when I think of them. If you have any more suggestions for people who are going to university this year or in the future, please post in the comments below! I hope you all enjoyed this post – I will be doing another post on wardrobe essentials to bring to university, so stay updated by subscribing to my blog via email.

 

My Favourite Books and Books I Want to Read

There are so many books out there that I would love to read. I love the feeling of a brand new book. Here is a list of my favourite books and books that I would love to read. Any suggestions? Post in the comments at the end of this post! I hope you all enjoy reading…

1. The Outlander Series (books 1-6), Diana Gabaldon.

I am currently reading the first book of this series and I am determined to finish them all! This is such a brilliant book. If you love history mixed with fantasy, this book is for you. Set first of all in 20th Century Scotland, the main character, Claire, goes on the journey of a lifetime as she travels back in time to the 18th Century. The series has also been adapted into a TV series, which I have watched and it is brilliant! I love the history and romance in this book, it just makes you feel like you are there with the characters. A must read! I will get back to you all when I finish this!

2. The Light Between Oceans, M L Stedman.

This is another book that I have almost finished. I was almost in tears at one point. I love how Stedman has brought the history of this book to life in a moving and emotional way. Again, another historical fiction, which I love. Definitely something that I want to finish reading.

3. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold.

I have seen the film version of this book, and it is very emotional. However, it is a great film at the same time. I really need to start reading this so it is definitely on my reading wishlist.

4. P.S I Love You, Cecelia Ahern.

I really need to start this book! It has been sat in my bookshelf for a long time now and it needs to be read – I have a long to do list of reads to get through, so when I do get chance to read this book, I will provide you all with a review! Have you read this book or any of these books before? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!