As you get older – and I don’t mean old, I mean older – you begin to realise how important relaxation is. When you’re a kid, there is the feeling you always have to be doing something. Something energetic. And then you get a job, get a family, whatever it may be. Then you realise that the more time you spend doing things, the less you spend appreciating what you have. And you recognize the benefits of tranquil time.
Now, tranquil time doesn’t have to be spent in front of the TV watching box sets and becoming at one with the sofa. Although on occasion that’s nice. A lot of us can’t fully relax if we aren’t mentally or physically switched on in some way. But there is a difference between being active and being hyperactive. One of the best ways of taking a beat and letting life happen is to get a hobby where you make things.
Some people will call it crafting, but it doesn’t have to always be that. It can be anything where you get the component parts, arrange them and process them to become something worthwhile. You don’t have to be hectically busy, it’s better if you aren’t. The idea is that you can do things at your leisure and enjoy the outcome. You can do it yourself or rope friends in. The key point is to have some fun with it.
Have you noticed in the last few years that all of a sudden there are candles everywhere? In most supermarkets there is a lot of space devoted to them, and that space is usually filled with people sniffing. There are more of those people in winter, but some of them have colds. The rest of the time, they’re just appreciating a good scented candle.
What they aren’t appreciating is the price. If it was good sense to pay that much money for something you’re just going to set on fire, people wouldn’t have given up smoking. And anyway, you can make them yourself, cheaper than the branded ones by a long way.
You’ll need wax, dye, scent and a mould, unless you want to make them in jars. You’ll also need some wick, and a double boiler. This can be made by putting one saucepan on top of another. Fill the bottom one with water and put the wax in the top pan.
The process is very simple. You need to melt the wax, let it get to a certain temperature and then add the dye, just a little goes a long way. Let the wax cool for about thirty seconds, then add the scent and stir it through. In your mould or jar, fit enough wick to the base using some glue. Glue dots from Glue Guns Direct or similar are the best way. Holding the wick straight, pour the wax in and then let it cool. Voila, you’ve made a candle. You can even sell them on the side for some extra cash.
Oh, and never use the candle pan for cooking – it will taint and even toxify the food.
If the above sounds fiddly, then maybe you’re not the craftiest type around. Believe me, a lot of us aren’t. But all of us can cook. No, really, we can. You might not think so, but it’s just following instructions and looking at food to see if it’s done. Top chefs might suggest that it’s more of an art, but they’re just building their part. Okay, so we can’t all make a perfect souffle, but we can all cook something.
Or you may be thinking “I know I can cook. I do it every day. I just don’t want to do it for fun, too”. We can all sympathise with that, but it can be a more enjoyable pursuit if you decide to do something a bit different. A change is as good as a rest, they say. So trying a different cuisine can be enjoyable – try Mexican, Thai or something more adventurous.
There are more than a few reasons why trying something different in the kitchen is a good idea. You can adopt the best new creations into your usual meal rotation. This stops dinnertime getting repetitive. Additionally, you can widen your palate and get some new foods – and thus, a better range of nutrients – in your diet. Cooking can be stressful when you’ve got about an hour in which to do it. But if you’ve a whole afternoon, it becomes very pleasant.
Starting A Blog
Yes, not exactly reaching outside the bounds of experience, maybe. But the truth is that more of us are reading blogs than ever before. Some of them are probably better than others, but they all have value. If you’ve ever thought of writing in a career sense, then it is a very good place to start. An increasing number of people working in magazines, and the media started with just a blog. It can even lead to a book deal.
Even if you don’t consider your future to lie in the printed word, blogging can be a release. A lot of us can be prone to over-thinking things, which then makes it harder to relax. But if you pop open your laptop and get some of those thoughts out, you then have an outlet for what you want to say.
You’re in control – do you have thoughts on politics you need to express, and they’re too long for Twitter? Are people always interested to hear your musings on the latest episode of one show or another? Do you despair at other people’s parenting mistakes and want to give the benefit of your wisdom? There’s always something to write about – and with all media becoming more and more online-focused, it’s a rich seam.
Most of us don’t think we’re creative. We look at someone who can write songs, create poetry, sew a dress or paint portraits and are envious. But the truth is we can all create, it’s just that we all have our outlet. Finding yours can allow you to use that free time productively without having to run around madly.