I’m actually having a pretty good day today. I’ve had a nice string of them recently. However, on good days I often think about bad days. Not in a way that makes me sad. But in a way that makes me smile. Any bad day you have will eventually lead to a good day. I like to be thankful that I’m experiencing a good day. And whilst I know I’ll have more bad days in the future, I try to push that from my thoughts and just live in the present. Don’t question it. Good days also make me respect the bad days. Because sometimes they are needed. Sometimes we need to completely reset and the only way that happens is by having a truly rubbish day. So I want to focus on that day. Because I think on those days just being by yourself and having a good cry can be really healthy. You should never suppress tears. You also don’t need a reason for crying. People will tell you the opposite but they are wrong. If your body and mind are telling you that you need to cry then do it. If you are able to release something, whatever it is (maybe a bit of stress, some anger from something that’s happened that day, or maybe you just feel like you’re drowning a little less today), then you’re that little step closer to having a good day. And a good day doesn’t have to be the goal, working through the bad days step by step is impressive enough. But having that little inkling of future adventure or warmth or contentment might just push you forward. So to help you on those bad days I’ve compiled a playlist of 100 songs To Cry Your Eyes Out To. Because we all know there’s no better combination of sadness and slow, atmospheric, acoustic music. So close your door, ignore your notifications, lie down and just breathe. Maybe you need to get up and dance when the moment takes you. Maybe you need to thrash your head to get the energy out. Maybe you fall asleep as you listen and feel refreshed when you wake. Whatever it is, these songs are here to help you. I hope you find some new favourites. Personally, the only two songs I might possibly ever need to live are I Shall Cross The River – The Black Atlantic and Human – Of Monsters And Men. They allow me to breathe. I’m sure you have some of your own. I hope this playlist does something for you. Moves something in you. And then who knows, maybe tomorrow will be better.
Today the weather is lovely. The sky is electric blue and the sun is slowly burning my retinas. I can smell the fresh cut grass, it’s delicious even though it’s making me sneeze. The colourful flowers are making me smile. It’s bank holiday weekend. It’s day three of the four day weekend. I’m drinking beers in the garden whilst listening to Pixies with my boyfriend and my brother. Life is good. Sometimes you just have to stop and breathe. I find today’s song really helps me do that. Simply breathe in and out when they say. I hope you’re having an excellent weekend wherever you are.
Human – Of Monsters and Men
During my holidays over the last few years I’ve tried to decipher what makes an optimum trip for me. I think it’s easy to get overly stressed out on holiday when we should be having fun. Our stress often begins in the packing stages (see last week’s blog post: https://sarahwilliamsandco.com/2019/04/04/minimalist-packing-list/) and lasts all the way to the ignored dirty suitcase two week’s after you get home. It should not be like this, am I right? So here’s a few tips to help you have a boss vacation whilst also remembering to keep self-care at the for front of your mind.
1. It’s super fun to try and pack eighteen different things into one day, and if you’re on a short trip it’s often the only way to see everything but try and be realistic. Timings you plan beforehand will always go awry because tourists. They’re the worst. Also you might want to stay longer at somewhere you like a lot. You’re going to have to prioritise so that if you don’t get everywhere you’ll be happy with what you managed to see.
2. Holiday walking pace. That’s something my sister invented. You have a home pace which involves marching to work, around the supermarket and such but on holiday you’re supposed to stroll. You want to actually enjoy yourself and take things in, not just tick them off a list.
3. Try not to have too tight of a budget. Obviously way easier said than done. But whilst you’re saving maybe try and keep a little bit back that you haven’t assigned to a daily budget. That way if you’re sat by the Seine having the time of your life and don’t want to go home then you don’t have to. Have the extra glass of wine because you will never be there in that exact moment again.
4. If you want to lie in, fucking lie in. I don’t get this whole waking up at eight am on holiday and then running around until you pass out from exhaustion. Don’t forget you’re on holiday. You’re literally supposed to be having a break. When you go home you’ll probably be back to the working life grind. You can get up early then. Remember to relax, the place will still be there when you wake up. Allow yourself to sleep past twelve if you’ve been out the night before enjoying the booze.
5. Make your trip your own. What I mean by that is research the place you’re going to. Don’t just hit the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe. By all means visit them. I’m in Paris right now and I’ve been to all of them! But finds ways to make the city you’re own. I like to find amazing veggie food using HappyCow. I love to find well-known and hidden away bookshops and spending all my money and time there. I love finding any park, locating the fountain (they’ve all got one) and then just sitting there in the sun listening to the water. I’m actually sat in Jardin des Tuileries right now writing this! I like to find alternative bars and an Irish pub cos I just think that’s hilarious. Take the time to do things other people won’t ever do because that’s what gets you up in the morning.
6. And duh, always remember to have fun! Sounds like an easy thing to do but sometimes it’s not. So give yourself that minute to fume and the person who just pushed in front of you on the metro but then release it and carry on with your excellent day.
Paris (Ooh La La) – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
So it may not be a Friday and this may be six weeks late buuuuuut I’m bringing you a self-care Christmas Special. Because what even is December if you don’t kill the Christmas theme over and over, right?
Now we all love Christmas. We go on about it all year, people have countdowns going from literally January. But I think sometimes we can work up to a moment so much that it’s inevitably underwhelming. Or we just try so hard to make a moment perfect that it pales in comparison to our imagination.
But through it all we’ve just got to remember to breathe. Be present. Realise what any holiday is really about. Yeah, you might think it’s really about presents. But you know it’s about being with people you love, doing good. So this week I’m giving you a few different self-care ideas that will get you through the holiday period hopefully stress free. Because times of joy should not be stressful.
Before you eat the insane amount of food I know you’re going to maybe do a few light stretches. Then if you’re not completely smashed when you’re going to bed, maybe do a couple more. Stretch out those tummy muscles. Nothing complicated just a quick five minute yoga sesh. Yoga With Adrienne on YouTube will have you covered.
If you’re unfortunate enough to have a family full of tories or just general nobheads feel free to debate when you think it’s necessary but it you know they’re not listening, instead of ruining your day just remove yourself from the situation. Or sometimes we even argue with people who we consider soul mates. It happens, we’re right under each other’s noses. Just go for a walk after your massive Christmas meal. Clear your head and work up the smiles to go back in.
This one is for all my veggies out there. We all know the pounding of uninformed, moronic questions you might get from your aunties new boyfriend. But, like, if you had to choose between a cow and a dog. But if you were on a desert island. In a zombie apocalypse. Yeah, but the chicken is gonna be killed anyway. The answer is still no. Take a deep breath and count to nineteen. Why so high? Because I know the question is so idiotic that five seconds just won’t cut it. Release the angry energy and move on with your day. Hopefully he’ll get hit by a bus next week anyway.
If you’re an unnecessarily competitive person, don’t play games. You’re only making your family hate you. They may be politely laughing at your tantrums but they really want you to grow up and just realise it’s a fucking game of monopoly, man. Sit down.
Remember that this is your break as much as anyone else’s. You need to do what you want to do. If you don’t want to wear a Christmas hat cos it itches your head and you feel stupid, then don’t. If you don’t want to play charades because you can’t bear to act out Finding Nemo one more time, then don’t. If you want to go and be alone and read a book for an hour or two, do it. If you want to eat another chocolate even though your rude grandma is making comments, ignore her and eat it. You’ve worked hard all year so don’t forget that this is your time to relax. Do what you need to do. It’s all about self-care, mate. So keep that centre.
And that’s it, kids! Go and enjoy your holiday season 🙂
Step Into Christmas – Elton John
So I’m starting a new segment, you could say. I mean, come on, you’re getting two posts in three days here so anything is possible. Anyway, it’s about self-care. Cos I think we could all do with slowing down now and again, give ourselves some love. We get to the end of the week and we’re pulling our hair out and holding our eyes open with pencils and seventeen cups of coffee. We want to dropkick our annoying colleague in the face but we also need to pay the bills so we better not. We want to drink into oblivion but we did that last week and we still can’t remember the particulars. Now, I’m not saying you can’t go drinking, I fully support that. But I think we’d all feel a bit better if we gave ourselves just a second alone at the weekend as well to recharge. To get colour back in our cheeks and that sparkle back in our eyes. I know you’ve got aspirations and dreams and big plans. And I really want them to work out for you. So you’ve got to listen to me. The point is to take time to do something that will serve you. Only you. It needs to relax you, or bring you joy. It needs to make you sigh with relief or it could challenge you. But it has to serve you, that’s key. But, Sarah, what could I do? Well, friend, I’ve got your back. Each Friday I’m going to set you up with a nice little idea for the weekend. Do it, don’t do it. Do something similar or something wildly different. Just do something.
This week we’re starting off with one of the biggest basics when it comes to self-care. Candles. Or incense. Or a new bloody air freshener if you’re that way inclined. Find a scent that soothes you and will seep through your living space ’til you’re feeling fucking zen. I recently got a candle from HomeSense and it’s amazing. It’s called Tobacco Oud by Ninety Six. It smells nothing like smoke. It’s creamy and intoxicating and wraps me with warmth as much as my blanket does. I’ve also just purchased the M&S Christmas candles cos they smell bloody brilliant, all spices and apples and myrrh. Hmm. I’m not lighting those yet though so I’ll get back to you. I’ve also been loving incense recently. I’ve found my favourites right now are Raindrops, Frankincense and Cherry Blossom. All are perfect for the autumn, even the Cherry Blossom. I get mine from Shared Earth in Liverpool but I suppose you can get them from any cool shop. Simple as, really. So off you go, kids, treat yo self!
Luv, Hold Me Down – Drowners