Please note: I was sent a ‘relaxation hamper’ from The Grand Hotel and Spa, York to enjoy and photograph for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.
As September approaches, I’ve been taking pleasure in noticing the first signs of Autumn (my favourite season!). The other morning, for the first time in months, I woke up to a nip in the early morning air that held the promise of crunchy leaves underfoot and pumpkin lattes from Starbucks. The blackberries that push through a broken fence further down my road are turning purple-black, and the shops are full of berry coloured dresses and mustard-yellow jumpers.
A Reflective Mood
‘Back-to-school’ season always inspires a reflective mood in me, and I’ve been thinking about some of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt over the past year, which was filled with plenty of ups and downs. With my Mum being diagnosed with and also recovering from breast cancer over the winter and spring, the paramount importance of good health has been on my mind a lot this year. I’ve realised how much stress affects my own health; as a classic type A personality, I can become overly anxious and give in to my perfectionist tendencies all too easily. Over the next few months, I’m keen to implement strategies that help me to effectively manage and reduce my stress levels.
I often find that I get most stressed in the evenings – a mental habit that’s likely leftover from when I was working a job I hated and would dread going in to work the following day. I feel so lucky to no longer be in that situation, but sometimes that lurking sense of dread will still creep over me in the evenings. I’ve started implementing an evening routine that allows me to stay grounded and content and keeps me away from my other bad habit – too much screen time!
Relaxation Hamper from The Grand York
I was lucky enough to be sent a ‘relaxation hamper’ as a gift from The Grand York a couple of weeks ago. I was so delighted with the box, which was stuffed full of goodies to celebrate the pleasures of relaxing and rejuvenating from the comfort of my own home: soft, blush pink pyjamas from Victoria’s Secret; a fluffy white dressing gown, slippers and sleeping mask from the hotel; Lush bath and body products; a book about finding calm and a gorgeous ‘Autumn’ scented candle from The White Company.
My relaxation hamper has certainly prompted me to take more time for my physical and mental wellbeing, and I’m using everything I’ve been sent in my newly inspired evening routines to unwind and reduce stress:
My Evening Routines to Relax and Reduce Stress
1// Change into your comfiest loungewear
I love changing into my comfiest clothes when I get home in the evenings. Whether I reach for my yoga pants or my pjs, I like to wear something that’s soft, loose and comfy and that helps me make the transition from ‘work’ to ‘home’ mode. I also remove all my makeup and spend time over my skincare regime, rather than wait until later in the evening when I might feel too tired to do a proper job. After this, I make myself a cup of herbal tea and generally take a seat in my tiny office/library, where I relax and look at my books. It may sound bizarre, but I always find browsing through my bookshelves incredibly soothing!
2// Spend some time on personal grooming
One of my favourite things to do in the evenings is to paint my nails, as then they’re ready for the next day, and I find it quite a calming activity – it at least makes me sit still and do nothing for 10 minutes! The evenings are also a good time to top up your self-tan (I use this gradual tanning cream on my legs).
I can get a little impatient whilst I wait for my nails to dry, so I often listen to an audiobook at the same time. I particularly like listening to a book that makes me laugh in the evenings, and my number one choice is any P.G. Wodehouse book read by Jonathan Cecil on Audible. Other favourite funny audiobooks of mine are the Darling Buds of May series by H.E. Bates, The Diary of Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield and My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell.
3// Run a bath
The older I get, the more I appreciate a long, hot soak in the tub in the evenings. Lush bath bombs always add an element of fun, and I either read a magazine or continue listening to my audiobook as I feel my muscles relax after a long day.
4// Choose some light reading material
I can never go to sleep without reading at least a sentence or two, no matter how late it is, and I find that the more I read in the evenings, the better I sleep. Nothing beats lighting a candle and curling up with a good book!
I don’t choose any reading material that’s particularly heavy or needs too much concentration at night; instead I reach for books that I can dip in and out of easily, like short story collections or poetry anthologies. A light novel is always a good choice too, and I like gentle memoirs (at the moment I’m particularly enjoying collecting Beverley Nichols‘s books, which focus on his experience living in a small village and the gardens he cultivated over his lifetime).
5// Meditate and/or do some restorative yoga
Nothing helps me regain perspective more after a bad day than taking 10 minutes for some meditation or restorative yoga in the evenings. This 7 Minute Bedtime Yoga Routine from Yoga with Adriene is a favourite of mine.
Thanks so much again to The Grand York for sending me such a lovely relaxation hamper and inspiring this post!
If you’ve enjoyed this post, you may also like to listen to Episode 76 of Tea & Tattle Podcast, where Sophie and I chat more about our evening routines.