Living in a ‘hub’ city of the world is probably one of the least relaxing places to live – followed closely by an oil rig and the Amazon jungle… Like many graduates I was drawn in by the bright lights and opportunities but making the transition from life as a country bumpkin means that I’ve found it hard to relax.
My top tips for relaxing in a London are:
Find a good park. I’m not talking about well known busy hotspots like Hyde Park or Regents Park – whilst they are lovely they are often teeming with people. Find your local hidden gems or venture further afield to Richmond or Hampstead Heath where there’s more space. Personal favourites of mine are Kyoto Garden in Holland Park, my local Ravenscourt Park but there are lots of hidden gems.
Switch off. This is something I’m notoriously bad at. You’ll see people trudging through their life in London hands and eyes firmly fixed on their phones from dawn till dusk/midnight/2am. Putting your phone out of site and out of mind even for an hour to have a walk, drink a coffee or read a paper is really important
Make friends. Yes, people make good friends but I’m actually talking about animals. Pets are often used as therapy for the elderly or infirm as they have been proven to decrease stress. If you don’t have your own pet get on Borrow my Doggy, offer to walk a neighbors dog or even befriend the local cat. After a shitty day I seek out the little black moggy which sits on the wall between the bus stop and my house and ‘hang out’ for 15 minutes!
Don’t eat at your desk. This is the eternally bad habit of city workers – particularly in the UK. In Germany and France people lunch together and will take the full hour whereas my experience in London is often a limp sandwich devoured antisocially at our desks. People in Germany and France aren’t any busier – the world probably won’t fall apart if spend 15 minutes away from your desk. You will return with a fresh mind an maybe even a smile.
Take time for yourself. As a young person living in London you will almost certainly be sharing your personal space with someone, whether it’s a flat share with strangers, significant other, flat mates or family. Taking time for just you is really important. I have my ‘hour’ every day without fail. It’s that little bit of alone time I need to retain my sanity in a busy city. During this hour I can be found doing a facemask, drinking a cup of tea, watching some TV or just doing nothing. Even take a morning off work just to be alone – you’ll leave the house feeling refreshed.
I’d be really interested to hear what you do to relax in London, a city or life in general so please share your secrets!