3 Key Concepts For Relaxation

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think of the word, relax? For me, I often picture myself having fun on holiday sunbathing in the summer sun, somewhere hot and exotic. Deadlines, clock-watching, routine – it’s all out of the window. At the risk of sounding a bit hippy, I’ve noticed that when I am relaxed I quite literally live in the moment. As we push through the final stretch of the year, it can certainly feel that we can only give permission to ourselves to relax once we have achieved X,Y, and Z. That we need to push ourselves as far as we can, until we’ve earned it. However, that does not need to be the case. Whilst I am a huge advocate for hard work and productivity, I also place immense importance on balance.

Here are just a few tips which have helped me to find some balance and time for relaxation:

1. Get comfortable with setting boundaries

I spoke a lot about the importance of getting organized in my blog post, Get More Time Back In Your Day. It is important to remember that with organization, also comes boundaries. It may sound ironic to plan time in to relax, but I promise you will reap the benefits if you do. In order to prioritize relaxation, it may however require you on occasion to say no to other things. I’ll be the first to admit that this is something that I have always found very difficult, but have got a lot better at in recent years. As a result of setting boundaries for myself, it means that I have time in my evening to dedicate to that episode on Netflix I’ve been saving, or even time to blog – both things which I find therapeutic!

2. Set the mood

We all know atmosphere is so important for relaxation. How the smell of one cinnamon candle can lift your mood and get you singing, “All I want for Christmas” without even realizing it. Whether it’s a bath, fragrance oil diffusers, or even the smell of a simple hot-chocolate, play to your senses and set the mood for relaxation. Switch on those fairy lights and focus on what you can smell and see, as you cozy up in your dressing gown, and feel the tension slowly melt away.

3. Empty your mind

My third recommendation is planning to actively do something, which will by default empty your mind. This can include going back to your childhood roots with some art therapy (yes you really can get colouring books for adults!) Take time to do something that you find de-stresses you. It may be painting, knitting, or taking the dog out for a walk, all of which serve as a form of mindfulness. Some other ideas can include meditation, breathing exercises, light walks and one to one conversations with someone close to you.

Each of these concepts will help you to minimize restless thoughts and create some peace and quietness in your day, essential for relaxation.

What are some of the things you do to relax? Share them with me in the comments below!

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Phillips Sonicare Protective Clean | Review

Six months ago I made a decision which really has changed my daily life… I bought a new toothbrush! On the theme of wellness this month, I thought I’d take a different angle and drive your attention to those pearly whites. It’s rare I write posts about something so basic, but I have been so impressed with the results of my recent upgrade, so I thought I ought to write a review.

I have always tried to take great care of my teeth, and to this day *touch wood* I haven’t had any filings or dental work. I keep up with my two dentist and hygienist appointments a year but other than that, I stick to the basics of brushing and flossing twice a day. However I must admit, flossing has always been touch and go. Yet now that I’m not scrambling in the morning to get out of the door to catch my train to work, it’s definitely become more of a regular habit, as opposed to a white lie that my hygienist would hear. After spotting a discounted deal on the Phillips Sonicare Protective Clean brush in pastel pink I decided to invest. I mean, why shouldn’t your toothbrush be both functional and aesthetically pleasing?

Find on Amazon here

In addition to the toothbrush you also get a travel case, charger and one toothbrush head. At first, I was surprised just how ticklish the toothbrush was. I genuinely had to turn it off because there was a lot of frothy dribbling toothpaste everywhere, (there’s a reason why this is a blog post rather than a video!). But I stuck it out and am so glad that I did. I like the fact that the built in pressure sensor lets you know if you are brushing too hard, and the brush even reminds you when it’s time to replace the toothbrush head. Now that is smart! The brush claims to remove seven times more plaque than a manual toothbrush, and whilst I may not be able to prove if this is true, I can say that I can really notice the difference of how clean my teeth feel. Since using this over the last few months, it has also definitely made my teeth whiter- and that’s without even changing my toothpaste. I recently paid a visit to the dentist, and even they commented on how great my teeth are looking! Plus I can confirm that the toothpaste froth is now down to a minimum.

Despite using an electric toothbrush for at least seven years, it’s fair to say that there absolutely is a difference between electric toothbrushes. I now actually look forward to brushing my teeth! You may be thinking, “But Natalia, it really isn’t that big of a deal.” Well I would argue this upgrade is up there on one of the best purchases I have made this year! Now there’s something I didn’t think I’d say, but hey that’s 2020 for you! Get ready to add to basket on Friday 27th November!

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way every day this month, don’t miss out!

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8 Minute Total Body Workout

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8 Minute Total Body Workout

If you have followed me on my blog throughout 2020, you will know that living an active lifestyle has been a main focus of mine this year. I am pleased to say that I am now into my 11th month of consistent exercise and I am feeling better than ever. I personally love exercise routines which have a combination of both Pilates and high intensity interval training (HIIT). I find them fun, but also challenging enough to build up a sweat. Pilates is great for improving your posture and muscle tone, as well as improving your strength and flexibility. HIIT however focuses on quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by a short recovery period which will be sure to raise your heart rate, and burn fat in quickly! If you are looking for a new workout to try, here is my current favourite total body routine. Save the below workout for either your next warm-up, or use as a basis for a circuit. For a warm-up I would recommend that each exercise should be completed for 30 seconds and be repeated twice through. Let’s get that heart rate pumping!

1. Mountain climber variations
Mountain climbers or floor sprints as they may also be known, are sure to get your heart rate up!

Mountain Climbers | Illustrated Exercise Guide
  • Variation 1. Begin in the plank position, with arms directly under the shoulders and lift your right knee straight forward, as if to sprint towards your right elbow. Repeat with left knee.
  • Variation 2. Bring your right knee diagonally to your left elbow. Repeat on left handside.
  • Variation 3. Bring your leg to the outside of your elbow and repeat on both sides.

2. In and out’s
Not as evil as a regular burpee!

  • Position yourself in the plank, but jump forward to bring your knees directly under your chest.
  • Next jump back into the plank and repeat.

3. Forearm hip dips

This one targets your core, but specifically your obliques!

  • Position yourself in the plank but this time rest on your forearms.
  • Twist your core from side to side, trying to keep your back as straight as possible, without dipping into the floor. It’s harder than it looks!
70+ Core Excerises ideas | workout guide, abs and obliques workout, spotebi

4. The 100
Time for some Pilates! This classic Pilates move is sure to burn your abs!

Pilates Illustrated: Your Core-Strengthening Workout!
  • Sitting on the floor with your legs straight in front, bring your legs up into the tabletop position. Make sure to keep your head, neck and shoulders lifted off the mat.
  • Your lower back/spine area should be on the mat. Imagine there is a string going from your belly button, through your back to the mat to keep you centered.
  • Taking deep inhales and exhales, begin to bump your arms up and down for 100 reps (or however many you can do in 30 seconds).

5. Dish tuck
Another Pilates fave – remember to exhale for power!

Seated Knee Tucks | Illustrated Exercise Guide
  • For beginners, place your arms just beside you on the mat. If you are looking for a bit more of a challenge, extend your arms back and out.
  • Tuck your knees into your chest and repeat, exhaling as you bring them in, and repeat.

6. Oblique side plank
Wake up muscles you never knew you had!

Side Plank | Illustrated Exercise Guide | Workout guide, Abs and obliques  workout, Oblique workout
  • Stack your feet either on top of each other as above, or put the top foot just in front of the bottom leg for extra support.
  • Either hold for 30 seconds with your hand on hip or hand in the air, or do pulses towards the floor.
  • Repeat on the other side on the second set and feel the burn!

7. Tricep dips
Give a new meaning to couch potato

Tricep Dips | Illustrated Exercise Guide
  • Using either your sofa or a chair, place yourself just over the edge, extending your legs forward and elbows back.
  • Slowly lower your body into a 90 degree angle, keeping your elbows straight back and close to target the triceps, rather than pointed out wide.
  • Lift yourself back up and repeat.

8. Squat jumps
End on a high!

Squat Jacks | Illustrated Exercise Guide
  • Standing with feet hip width apart, lower yourself down into a squat, keeping your upper body as straight as possible.
  • Push back into your heels and jump up in an explosive movement, landing back into the starting position and repeat.

Let me know if you tried the workout and what you thought of it!

The above sporting images can be found on Spotebi, Style Blue Print and The Every Best of

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way every day this month, don’t miss out!

Come connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

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Mindfulness Chocolate Challenge!

Mindfulness is a type of meditation which focuses on the awareness of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment. It is free from interpretation and judgment of your own thoughts and feelings. Practicing mindfulness helps to relax the body and mind, as well helping to reduce stress levels. Today I am sharing with you a guided mindfulness activity. This was one of the very first things I did when I began studying for my Psychology degree, so it’s super beginner friendly if you haven’t tried mindfulness before. All you need for this activity is 5 minutes, 1 chocolate (or a raisin), and a pen and paper (or your phone will do).

The below activity was sourced from Duke Intergative Medicine. My personal choice for this exercise is a small Celebrations sized Malteser chocolate! Ready to begin? Find a comfortable and quiet spot and get your chocolate at the ready…

  • First, unwrap the chocolate, take it out of it’s wrapper(if it has one), and hold it between your index finger and thumb. Focus solely on the chocolate and try to imagine that this is the very first time you have ever seen this food.
  • Take some time to examine it carefully. Really look at it. Give it your full attention.
  • Allow your eyes to wonder across the chocolate, focusing on it’s shape. Are there any different colours? What does it’s surface feel like?
  • Examine it’s texture and note if there is any light shining on it, or if there are any shadows.
  • Begin to turn the chocolate between your finger tips, and continue to focus on it’s texture.
  • Apply a very small amount of pressure to the chocolate – is it soft or is it hard? Feel free to close your eyes if that allows you to really focus on how the chocolate feels between your fingers.
  • Recognize this is as chocolate. What thoughts do you have about this chocolate, if any? Are there any specific memories that come to mind? Do you like or dislike them?
  • Now hold the chocolate under your nose, and take a few natural breaths in. With each inhale, notice how the chocolate smells.
  • Continue to breathe the chocolate in and out, but now turn your attention to the effect this has had on your mouth and your stomach.
  • Slowly bring the chocolate close to your mouth. Notice if you have begun to salivate, as your body and mind prepares itself for eating.
  • Next without chewing, place the chocolate gently into your mouth.
  • Over the next 10 seconds or so, feel the chocolate with your tongue and become aware of the sensations of having it there.
  • Take a moment to become aware of this deliberate pause. How does it feel to take some time before eating this piece of chocolate?
  • When you are ready, prepare to chew. Take one or two bites into it without swallowing, and notice what happens when you do so. Bring your full attention to the chocolate’s taste and texture as you continue chewing. How does the chocolate’s taste and texture change in your mouth?
  • When you feel ready to, swallow the rest of the chocolate, focusing as you do so as it travels down to your stomach.

How does your whole body feel after completing this exercise? Take a few moments to write down any reflections and answers you may have to the following questions:

  1. Was there anything that surprised you during this exercise?
  2. What did you notice about the chocolate in relation to sight, touch, sound, smell, and taste?
  3. Did you have any thoughts or memories that you recalled during this exercise? If so, what were they?
  4. What is one takeaway from this exercise that you will try to apply to your future eating habits?

I hope that you enjoyed this mindfulness eating exercise! Redoing this activity reminded me how I used to take a moment on my commute to practice mindfulness. This helped set me up for the day ahead, as well a block out any possible annoying commuters…! If anyone has any other activities that you find useful, please do share them in the comments with me.

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way every day this month, don’t miss out!

Come connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

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5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

Do you have a couple of hours spare this week? Of course you do! I see you getting ready to catch up on the latest episodes of The Undoing (good choice too may I add). I am also a huge movie and TV fan (check out my list of 10 shows to binge in lockdown if you missed it) but I find that when I fall into the routine of simply, “work-eat-watch-sleep-repeat”, it can actually make me feel demotivated, rather than relaxed. So today I wanted to share with you five other easy ways that you can look after yourself this week, and get some wellness back into your life.

  1. Block Out Your Week
    If like me you are still working from home, I challenge you to spend 5 minutes this week planning your diary. Monday’s and Tuesday’s are my busiest days of the week and if I am not careful, I could easily work all day without a break. Therefore I have been making an effort to schedule time in my day specifically for a lunch break, and for a workout. This helps keep me accountable, as well as prioritize the things I need to function best and work efficiently. By scheduling this time into your diary, you will also hopefully prevent any sneaky meetings from going in! As well as this, by planning out your days with specific focus blocks for work, you will begin to distinguish between which tasks are “urgent”, and which are important. In turn, hopefully this will help you manage your time better and feel a bit more productive.

  2. Autumn Clean
    It’s not rocket science to recognize that there is a correlation between the state of your working environment and your mood. Whilst “Autumn Clean” may not have the same ring to it as “Spring Clean” does, I challenge you to find 20 minutes in your week to spruce up one area of your choice. My goal this week? My beauty products drawer – it is in dire need of some TLC since it’s last tidy back in March… eek! Whether it is your desk drawers, or the chair with the mysterious growing pile of clothes on it, choose a small area to tackle first and see how it instantly makes you feel lighter!

  3. Rise and Shine
    One thing that I have been trying to get better at prioritizing, is my morning routine. Since working from home, my snooze button has become a lot more frequent. I also find myself checking my phone first thing in the dark, then proceed to roll out of bed 3 minutes before I have to log on for work. Last week I decided to try and wake up 15 minutes earlier than I usually would. Whilst I must admit there may still have been a snooze or two, having an extra few minutes to myself in the morning before I went straight into work mode, helped me feel a bit more prepared for the day ahead. Try it and let me know if you feel the same!

  4. Go Outside
    At times, it can feel near impossible to tear yourself away from your desk. However, if you are going to do just one thing from this list, I would recommend this be it it. During the work week, try to commit yourself to at least one 20 minute walk a day. I always notice a dramatic difference in my mood after I have had some fresh air; something which has been lacking now that I don’t have a commute. If there are no furry friends or companions to keep you company, do what I do and listen to a podcast as an incentive to get you away from your desk. Remember, daylight will not hang around for you in these colder months and you can always continue to work an extra 20 minutes in the evening if you absolutely need to.

  5. Mix It Up
    This one requires a bit of thinking from you. What is one fun thing you only give time to when you go on holiday or when it’s the weekend? Is it playing your guitar? Crocheting? For me, it is reading. I am a repeat offender of starting a new book on holiday to then only forget about it as soon as I step off the plane. This week, choose one fun thing you like to do and spend an hour doing it.

I hope this list gave you some inspiration for simple but effective ways to put yourself first this week. What other things would you recommend doing? Let me know in the comments!

If you enjoyed this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way every day this month, don’t miss out!

Come connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

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