How to Relax (a.k.a The Busy Bees Guide to Switching Off)

Is it just me or has life been pretty hectic lately? Everyone I speak to somehow manages to incorporate the world ‘busy’ into their ‘How are you?’ reply – myself included. Good busyΒ luckily, but the last time I was in a set-up like the picture above was a very, very long time ago (spot the tell-tale ombrΓ© do!). That combined with the fact that I’m practically incapable of switching off means Mark has a crazy Anna on his hands sometimes – poor fella. So I’ve been trying to press the button on chill, toss my phone to the side in the evenings and participate in some of the following R&R activities. Let’s dub this the ‘Busy Bees Guide to Switching Off’ or the ‘Post Where I Really Need to Practice What I Preach’…

1) Do nothing. Now I don’t mean nothing, just an activity that means that you mind can turn to a pile of mush for an hour or so. Something like taking a bath, or my personal favourite – watching an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. #GuiltyPleasure #YeahIUsedAHashtag

2) Have a turn off time. This one goes out to my fellow working from homers out there. Without a traditional office environment with working hours and all that it’s not unheard of to be trawling through your inbox at 1.30am. It happens. So one thing I’ve tried doing is having a turn off laptop definitive time, which is usually 6.30pm-ish. Only under extreme circumstances is your laptop to be opened again. Like because you need to watch The Office boxset. That’s the sort of level we’re talking.

3) Read a book and lay on a weird mat. Reading ‘Running Like a Girl’ by Alexandra Heminsley (thanks for the book Carrie!) while lying on my Bed of Nails Acupressure Mat is way more relaxing that it sounds. This is the suggestion out of the five that feels the most enjoyable for me and man do I sleep well after this.

4) Werk it out. After I completed my first 5 mile race I saw it as an excuse to take a breather with the running training. One week without exerting much more physical energy than an elbow fight to get out of Oxford Street tube station and I was a pent-up, slightly stressed mess. Then I went for a run, recorded a time that was my fastest mile ever and just felt so much better about live. Β Dust off the trainers – trust me.

5) Designate a tech-free zone. Now this is one where I really need to practice what I preach. Mark and I have attempted multiple times to make the bedroom a phone/tablet/laptop free zone, but as I type this I am propping myself up with a pillow with the duvet wrapped around my legs. FAIL. The times when we have succeeded have made evenings a more social event where we’ve ended up talking on our balcony with candlelight until the wee hours (read: 10pm) or read our books (see point 3). Perhaps I should move my blogging session into the living room…


  • Lovely post! We all need to relax once in a while, take a break and enjoy! xx

    – Chaitra | PinkPot

  • Tech-free zone is ultimate if you’re wanting to switch off. I find even checking instagram and Facebook constantly can be mentally exhausting.

  • Kerry

    Def need to take note of this post…thank you! Tech free zone is soooo hard to stick to! Tempted to order bed of nails but bit of a whimp πŸ™‚

  • Great list. I find it so hard to not check my phone every 30 minutes or so, so I should defintively find some sort of free time, where no phone is allowed.

    I also find running a real stress relieve.

    Best, Lou.

  • Clementine Buttercup

    Have you read “What I talk about when I talk about running?” by Haruki Murakami. Made me want to sign up for a marathon….well almost ;-).

  • Mia

    Tech-free bedroom is an absolute must for me. I don’t even take my mobile into the bedroom, and have the charger plugged into the lounge to stop me doing so. I have a landline extension in my bedroom and anyone who needs to call me in the middle of the night would have my landline number anyway! Smartphones are the devil when it comes to being able to completely switch off – the temptation to ‘just’ check emails, Facebook etc is too easily there.

    Also, days when I fit in a work-out are the ones where I sleep better. Getting in an exercise session in the early evening, having dinner, then a bath/shower and chill-out time – I feel so much better for that, and sleep far more solidly than other nights. Love your tip about the ‘weird mat’ – sounds intriguing, wonder if it would help with my lower back muscle pains?!

  • Jessica Sutherland

    This is the type of post I really needed to read right now! I find it hard to switch off at home after work and just relax! The Bed of Nails Acupressure Mat looks very interesting . . is it worth the money? x

  • The more lifestyle posts you do Anna, the more I get the need to start running. Think I’m going to have to invest in some decent trainers soon and get out there! Thanks for the motivation and as always, great post πŸ™‚ x


    No phones, laptops, TVs or tablets in the bedroom is essential for relaxation. They emit a certain wave of blue light which mimics early morning light and causes the brain to release cortisol – the hormone which wakes you up. Cortisol is also responsible for stress – so cutting tech use results in less cortisol being produced, and your body can maintain a more natural rhythm. Anything with a screen should be a no-go after dusk.

  • Emma and Emily

    Love these rules! I try and turn off my laptop at least 30 minutes before bed, although I must admit that hasn’t been happening recently!

  • I love the work out one, exercising can really help you relax a lot! I feel quite stress free just after a hard work out!

    The Velvet Black // UK Style, Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

  • Hope

    I am going on holiday today, and I just know I am going to find it hard to turn off, and it always infuriates my boyfriend when we are on holiday H xx

  • This was so lovely to read: I myself struggle with working full time, especially on my laptop: between blogging and doing graphic design I never leave the screen. I will try to follow your tips – running is already something I can tick off though πŸ˜‰ x

  • I struggle to turn off myself so this was so helpful for me, thank you!

    Maddy, xo // UNSTITCHEDD

  • Great tips, and very true – life is so fast paced these days! Love the sound of the bed of nails mat! I get really stiff sitting at a computer all day.

  • Great tips Anna, sometimes work really does over rule your life & it can be hard to just re-charge your batteries.
    nlmorgan, lifestyle & beauty

  • Ooh that mat looks interesting! And totally agree with number one – do nothing! πŸ™‚

  • Linda

    I watch KUWTK everytime I want to relax haha!

  • Jessica Thoma

    I agree with all of these points but still find it quite hard to stay away from laptop/iphone in the evenings even though I know I better should.. oh my πŸ˜€

  • Charlotte C

    This is great! I love your blog posts x

  • I love tip 3 and 5! I’m trying to go to sleep earlier and not use any technologies either…I got so many books now and I’m trying to read them all so I think I will try to read more before bedtime! πŸ˜‰

  • I love this and I love your blog!

  • Marianna Papagiannopoulou

    Awesome photo, dear!!!!!

    Nice tips, I thing I’ll have to try them too!!

  • Alexandra

    Great tips, will defiantly be trying them out

    • doesntmatter

      you mean definitely?

  • i love getting away from my phone for a little it makes me feel more relaxed πŸ™‚

  • I definitely think exercising helps me to feel more relaxed!

  • Hannah Burrows

    Exercising really helps me relax – it basically just tires me out haha! I also love to read – it totally takes my mind off whatever I was thinking about before xxx

    Blog This With Hannah

  • doesntmatter

    what does ‘wErk’ mean? Did I miss something here?

  • That picture of you is beautiful! It’s really hard to switch off although I do think working out helps a lot and helps me relieve the stress. Now, a tech-free zone? I don’t think I will ever be able to do that!

  • Random Indi
  • That is such a cool shot! Thank you for the tips; I need them right about now :/

  • This suggestions are good but at the same time, it is too difficult to bring them to practice. Hehehe..
    But yup, I agree with all of your suggestions and I am myself trying to incorporate these things in my own life. that turn off your laptop at a particular time is REALLY IMPORTANT!
    My Blog:

  • emily couture

    cute picture and lovely post πŸ™‚

    emily xx

  • Chantal

    I sometimes have trouble relaxing. I always find that there’s something else that I have to do after I’ve done everything I needed to do haha. x

  • Such a good idea for a blog post ! You’re so right… For example today I experienced stand up paddle, it was so much fun, and i forgot about the coming working Monday, stress… it’s was so much fun !

    Love from France, Victoria

  • Hannah Morrison

    I’ve been having trouble relaxing recently because I’ve been stressed out by exam results but now that I have them (and they were ok) I think I’ll find it easier to relax πŸ˜€

    Brilliance With Me

  • It can be hard to switch off and relax but you’re right it really is important – Put down the laptop! πŸ˜‰

  • I need to learn to switch my laptop off at a decent time!

  • These are good ideas just for switching off πŸ™‚ I think I need to give them a go πŸ™‚

  • Great advice. My mom has one of those acupuncture mats, maybe I should borrow it from her and give it a try.

  • Bruni

    Reading this while I look for possible outits for a photoshoot on a friday at 11:20 pm. Not good. Turning my computer of NOW!

  • I definitely need to follow your tips as sometimes I find that I can’t switch off and then I get up at 6am on a Saturday like I am now! xx

  • The timing of this post couldn’t have been more perfect quite frankly! The acupuncture mat sounds so weird but so intriguing??

  • emma

    I can really relate to this! Only instead of keeping up kardashians I watch geordie shore…

  • I try to get off the computer all together by 9:30, finish blog stuff by 6 and spend time in a new area of the house so I feel refreshed (and interact with the fam) #3 sounds fab and I need to try to run again it was so nice doing a little jog every day

    Lauren x

    Britton Loves | Fashion Lifestyle + Photography –

  • Stephanie Forster

    Very helpful post. I’m busy all the time as well. Thank u, girl. πŸ˜‰ β™₯

    xo Stephanie

  • Jillian Kaplan

    I loved this post, I am busy all the time. I am also a new blogger so I am enjoying exploring this new world πŸ™‚

  • Allison

    I have been a big ball of stress lately and I find myself suddenly with NOTHING scheduled to do and I just don’t know how to sit down and relax – I’ve just been taking a ton of baths which is lovely but slightly less so when its 90 out!
    Allison from

  • lauren

    So true about going tech free but it’s so hard everywhere you go today you see people on there phones sometimes just putting them down and having. A proper conversations helps a lot and is so much better talk face to face rather than a computer screen

  • Toria Frances

    This was such a good post and something I really need to take note from! I rarely take time to myself and me and my partner are often late into the night on our gadgets! He might need to read this too!! Nail on the head.

  • Suzy

    I’m lucky enough to live near the beach and I try to get down there as much as possible to relax – leaving all my tech behind of course!
    x Suzy

  • Manouk

    Doing nothing is very difficult.. I tried it on my vacation and I don’t think I was bored.. It’s just that I had soooo much time to think it kind of made me anxious if that makes sense?

  • Carrie Ward

    You’re welcome! X

  • The Queen of Dreaming

    Great post! πŸ™‚ and I’m reading it while I’m sunbathing by the pool πŸ˜‰

  • Mikayla

    Great post! It’s also really handy for students or those who work multiple jobs! Really love the inspiration!


  • I NEED that acupressure mat! I am definitely always in need of a way to relieve my stress, and now that I’m 2500 miles away from my masseuse (aka my boyfriend), I definitely need something like that!

  • Hectic is a great word. It really is.

    I think this is a terrific list (though I’d rather watch paint dry than keep up with a Kardashian).

    The tech-free tip is so excellent. Especially for people who are connected all the time. It’s a hard habit to break, but I think it’s a good idea to make an attempt. πŸ˜‰

  • Both me and guy work from home so we have the tech/work problem on crack! Totally agree to have a switch off time and no-tech zone but we are honestly awful at it!! Does that mat really work?? tempting!

  • Jennifer

    My job requires me to be on the computer quite a lot and starting my blog has increased this even more. Totally agree on the tech-free zone, it’s something we all need

    My Most Coveted| A Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  • fab&otherf*words

    Love these tips. I’m with you with switching off to Keeping Up With The Kardashians too! Thursday night is switch my brain off night whilst I soak up my favourite reality TV. Can’t beat it. πŸ™‚