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Day 12: 10 ways to take time for yourself

January 12th 2015 / Anna Hunter

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Do you end the day more stressed out than serene? #StartBetter and end on a high with these expert chill out tips

‘Me’ time may seem like a cliché, until you don’t have any that is. Living life at breakneck speed without taking a break to recharge or reflect leaves us drained and under par; starting the year refreshed is dependent on fulfilling time out, not punishing resolutions or a killer back-to-work schedule. Keep up your reserve, energy and happiness levels with these soothing suggestions from personal trainer Dan Roberts and wellbeing wonder Keah Lan.

Dan’s Roberts’ recommendations

1. Make fitness a social activity - run with friends, go indoor rock climbing or have a personal trainer come over to your house for a family workout.

2. Distance running is often described as moving meditation - I listen to audio books via Audible when going for my regular Sunday morning run in Richmond park.

3. Fitness is me time. If you only train because you feel like should then that's a shame in my opinion. Always be up for trying new exercise, sports and activities, be it crossfit, badminton, Krav Maga, netball, running, trampolining, yoga or something else a little outside of the box. Schedule in some exercises or classes that you know you’ll connect with and a few that you’re unsure about. Unless you try all the options, how do you know?

4. My Methodology X workout was originally designed for time-starved models pre and during fashion week- I made workouts very short and very intensive using super-maximal intensity training- a variation of HIIT training. The body weight circuits are only 30 mins long but very intensive so as to maximise weight loss and toning in the shortest amount of time possible. However, by making some of the movements quite complex you have to really concentrate- you are actually learning skills based on dance, martial arts and Spiers conditioning, and in this way you are exercising mindfully. The whole programme has an implicit mindful exercise theme running through it- focusing on the here and now and giving your full attention to an exercise is great for you and gives you me time.

How Keah Lan keeps cool

5. I give myself a five minute facial massage with my face cream before I leave the house, and a ten minute one after my bath or shower using facial oil. This not only makes me feel calmer but my skin looks a lot calmer too! Place your fingers on either side of your temples and massage slowly, use organic facial oil if you can. Gradually massage the whole face using circular movements, then place two fingers in the space between the eyebrows (the 3rd eye point) and press firmly in a circular motion. Continue to massage the face and gently press on the sinus points, then lightly circle around the eye area and work towards the ears, onto the scalp. Finish by rubbing the palms together until warm and hold your hands over closed eyes. You will feel instantly relaxed and rejuvenated.

6. I have a subscription to Yogaglo and I love their meditation podcasts. They run from five minutes to an hour and there are different levels and sessions to appeal to everyone. I usually do a 20-30 minute one during my busy day to keep me grounded and relaxed. When I’m at home I like to do a longer one either in the morning or afternoon. I recommend this to all of my clients as it allows you chill out on your own time and hence there is no need to rush off to the tube or try to relax when you’re not in the zone. They also have yoga podcasts which I do three times a week to keep relaxed and energised.

7. Keep a journal. It is impossible for an individual to overcome frequent anxiety if they do not understand why it is present. I normally spend a few minutes each day jotting down daily happenings: successes, failures, and everything in between. Not only does this help me to comprehend more about my daily routine, and myself, but it also helps me to target stressors.

8. Lastminute.com is a saviour for midweek spa deals- for £30 you can enjoy a wonderful spa in the middle of London. Taking some time in your day to relax in the steam room, sauna and swimming pool can make you feel miles better.

9. As a reflexologist I swear by foot massages as a way of staying grounded and relaxed. After a long day’s work I sometimes whip out my oils and give myself a 5-10 minute foot rub, pressing on all the points that will help me to relax such as the adrenals, solar plexus and head points. Find out more about reflexology or book a session with Keah here.

10. During breathing exercises during my commute helps me stay relaxed (especially at rush hour!). Close your eyes and breathe in and out through your nose. Then start to make the inhales as long as the exhales. Notice how the air travels into the nose and down the throat and into the lungs, and how it travels back out. Notice the warmth or coolness of your breathe on the upper lip. Do this five or ten times to put stress back in its box.

How do you make sure that your ‘me’ time happens? Do you have any tips of your own? Tell us on Twitter or upload an image to Instagram using the hashtag #StartBetter.

This feature was written in partnership with Clinique #StartBetter

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