For me, there’s nothing more relaxing than a bit of pampering. If I want some ‘me’ time or need to relax, then a back massage is what I go for. I’m a huge fan of Fawsley Hall, but it’s not close to where I live so I need to find somewhere good that is within a walk or short drive from home. Nothing tenses my shoulders up more than traffic! I’ve tried a couple of places in Abingdon, but nothing really suited me. Thinking about where to do, I realised that I’d never been to Utopia Beautique, despite having lived in Abingdon for years. I had a quick look on their website to see if a back massage was on offer, which is was, and contacted them for a suitable appointment during half term and to find out if their products were suitable for vegans. I secured an appointment and the products Utopia use are suitable for vegans. Fantastic!
I’ve had a number of back massages but this was the first time that I lay on my back for my massage. There were two water filled cushions on the table, which I lay on and they were warmed to body temperature. I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first, because I didn’t think it would be possible to apply enough pressure to my back, neck and shoulders if I was lying on my back, but thought I’d give it a go.
I’m glad I did. While it was different and took a little while to get used to, it was a much more gentle approach. I can tell when a masseur gets to my shoulders and feels the humungous knots in them. Usually, they go to town on my shoulders, which in lots of cases, means my shoulders can be painful for a few days after. Not exactly the result you want. However, this did not happen at Utopia. While the masseur could feel the knots, because I was on my back, she dealt with them in a different, more gentle way. It was so relaxing and my shoulders felt relaxed and stress free, without any discomfort. I can heartily recommend it and would definitely go back the next time my shoulders are up around my ears!
So I’m back after a bit of a blogging hiatus. Things got pretty busy for a while there, between work, redecorating and getting sick so something had to take a back seat. It wasn’t planned, just unavoidable, and I did let the busyness get to me. I forgot how important it is to take time out for myself. I’ve been down that road before and it didn’t end well. As a result, this post is a little note to myself, a reminder to take care of myself, that’s its just as important as any job or chore that’s on my to do list.
- Make time for myself. I know, I know, this sounds ridiculous. How can you ‘make time’ for anything, especially if you’ve got an ever increasing list of things to do, which is probably pretty much everyone I know. But it is important because it can make you feel better, give you a more positive outlook on what’s going on and help you feel more organized and in control, which for me, helps reduce my anxiety. For example, I like to do a diy manicure/pedicure once a week. Nothing fancy, I don’t even have to paint them, though that’s lovely to do too. I used to do this religiously when I was less busy and it was simply part of my routine, but a lot of the time, it’s something that gets pushed down the list and doesn’t get done. It’s not the end of the world, but not doing it often means I don’t feel as in control as I could and I often feel like I’ve myself down a bit. I therefore need to make sure I prioritise this kind of thing and do it on a Friday evening and not leave it until the last moment on a Sunday, when I’m too tired to do it. I need to make sure I’m higher up on my list of priorities.
- Do something I love. I usually try to leave school reasonably promptly on a Friday, just to avoid getting caught up in rush hour traffic, though it doesn’t always work out that I can. A few weeks ago, I managed to do this. There were lots of things that I could’ve done, lots of urgent things on my to do list, but instead, I ran a hot bath, dropped in a gorgeous Lush bath bomb and lounged about in the bath for over an hour, watching Scandal & Grey’s Anatomy on my iPad. It was bliss! It was the perfect antidote to everything that was going on and I felt sooooo much better for it. It didn’t cost much (I always try to have a selection of bath bombs on hand) and it meant that I could put the week behind me and be in my jammies and on the sofa when I was done. It was just what I needed and I must remember to do this more often. I need to get out in the fresh air and walk. I need to veg out in front of my favourite film and do nothing. I need to lay on the sofa reading a decent book. Anything that’s not work or jobs.
- Junk food is not my friend. When I get busy and tired, I want to cook less than normal. So instead of healthy home cooked meals from scratch, it’s oven chips and beans or takeaway. Instead of a healthy, vegetable packed lunch made at home, it’s a white bread sandwich with crisps that repeats on me all afternoon. All this means I run on empty, feeling crap, a little heaver and feeling all kinds of guilt. When will I learn? I’m not saying no junk food or takeaways ever, but toast and crisps for lunch for two weeks is not balanced. It’s lazy and a sure fire way to feeling worse. In order to have the energy to keep going and not feel like crap, a balanced diet is essential. Take the time to cook properly (as properly as I can!) and make sure there’s plenty of vegetables.
When I first thought about writing this post, I had no energy whatsoever and was coming down with my first cold in ages. It hit me pretty hard. I knew that I hadn’t been looking after myself properly and felt really guilty. I’m hoping that I learn from this and make sure that I do these things as best as I can, if for no other reason than being worth it.