Summer is the time to relax. And if you're anything like me, so is spring, autumn and winter!

That aside, with all the beautiful weather going on, there are so many opportunities to down tools and soak up some vitamin D.

And even if the sun isn't shining, just having some time to zone out at home is a great way to gather your thoughts and feel happier!

There are of course lots of ways you can relax at home. After all, it's your own personal space to enjoy.

However, if you've been rushed off your feet recently, or the family has been super busy, here's how to make sure you get a little me time and some of the ways you can do it.

1) Al fresco dining

The best thing about summer – and just warm weather in general – is that you get to eat outside. Set up a picnic or folding table outside and make something lovely. Personally, I love a pasta dish when it's hot outside.

And if you're looking for a little taste of Italy in the garden, dishes such as pan-fried sea bream with a selection of mixed leaves is a really wonderful accompaniment to a brimming glass of Pinot Grigio. Add in a few rosemary potatoes and a squidgy chocolate brownie for afters, and you have yourself a very respectful evening meal.

2) Bubbles galore

A long day at work or with the children and you're flat out. And even though a lovely dinner is one thing, that usually requires energy – something that right now? You just don't have. An important part of relaxing is taking care of yourself. Something that none of us do enough of.

One of the best ways to relax and completely zone out is a deep bath. And if you're going to do it – do it right.

Make sure you start out with a clean and tidy bathroom, hiding all your clutter away in an under sink cabinet.

Then fill the bath nice and deep with your favourite bubble bath or bath fizzer. Perhaps light a candle or get some incense on the go. And while you're at it, make yourself a lovely herbal tea or a tall glass of something cool and fizzy.

Soak away the tension and feel all the better before a good night's sleep.

3) Snuggled up on the sofa

The sofa: home of all relaxation, good conversation, easy dinners and movie watching. It's true that life at home is truly made by the sofa. So when you're looking to unwind, it only makes sense to make the most of yours.

Snuggle in, pile up the cushions, put your favourite film on and make sure the drinks and snacks are stacked high.

young woman with blonde hair sitting on her sofa with her small white fluffy dog

4) A little mindfulness

Time to yourself should always include some quiet time. Not just away from the TV or your phone. But time to actually properly switch off and clear your mind. Mindfulness is a great way of doing this and really help boost your mood too.

Find a quiet spot somewhere in the house, get comfortable and concentrate on being in the present. Take long, slow, deep breaths and let any worries you have drift away.

5) Kitchen comforts

Cooking can be really therapeutic. If you feel at home in the kitchen, then creating something new and delicious is a great way to unwind.

However, if you're looking for something a little slower paced, baking is a really relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

And I find one the most relaxing parts of baking is the decorating. Once your cakes and cookies have cooled, grab the icing, melted chocolate and colourful little stars, sweets and flowers and get going!

It also helps to have lots of hungry mouths nearby who need feeding!

plate of deliciously gooey chocolate brownies

So make sure you take some time out regularly at home to relax. Feeling inspired? Head over to our Instagram and Facebook pages @HartleysDirect.

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