Lockdown - Relaxing at Home
I haven't written a blog post for far too long but lo and behold, I've got some time on my hands at the moment so here is my offering for 2021 (I should be writing one regularly but as you can see this hasn't happened - nobody's perfect!)
First point to mention is that I know that everyone's circumstances are different at the moment (we're in the same boat so to speak but definitely sailing in different waters), so we must be careful not to compare ourselves to others as it will only make us miserable. We are all facing uncertainty and need to move through it as best we can.
So, along with routine, staying connected, regular exercise and eating well (all important for our overall sanity and wellbeing), we must also focus on relaxation. Given that it's January, and bloody freezing outside, we are mainly doing this in our homes and although a relaxing peaceful evening at home is definitely one of life's greatest pleasures, it's made rather less pleasurable by the fact that we're doing it every bloomin' night!
I give to you, a list of things to help you relax at home, all taken from advice I've sifted through on the internet or from books/TV shows/Podcasts. I've had plenty of time for 'surfing' lately but it actually isn't very relaxing so I've done the hard work for you - keep the laptop/phone time to a minimum if you can (once you've read this blog post obviously!) It's not rocket science but it might just inspire someone, somewhere....
1. Meditate: My favourite app is Mind Detox - great for zoning out of the everyday whilst improving yourself at the same time. Give it a go if you haven't already - just 10 minutes a day could make all the difference.
2. TV: Either a watch a film or binge-watch a series. We have been watching Modern Family with the kids, The West Wing, Grace & Frankie, The Crown and Dream Home Makeover - if you haven't discovered the latter on Netflix, give it a go. Shea is an American interior designer with amazing taste and her homes are stunning.
3. Have a bath: I'm talking candles, some luxury bubble bath, a magazine and maybe even a face mask (and make sure you broadcast to the household that you'd like to be undisturbed - you don't want family members wandering in and out asking inane questions such as, "Why isn't the internet working?" or "Where is the dog lead?"
4. Yoga: I have been practicing yoga for quite a few years now and I still struggle to get my feet flat on the floor in the downward dog position (don't even talk to me about the camel!) but the act of taking half an hour out of the day to do something for 'you' that is calming and helps strengthen and stretch the body can only be a good thing.
5. Read: So if you're not a reader of books, magazines/newspapers will do. If you are a reader of books, I can tell you that I've read these and LOVED them:
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (this is the first of 4 great books in the series)
The Glass Room by Simon Mawer
The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Anything by John Boyde, Nancy Mitford or Robert Galbraith (I grant you, a strange mix)
Lastly, I must mention my most favourite book of the moment, Happy Inside by Michelle Ogundehin. I read it some time ago but have been dipping in and out of it for her various nuggets of wisdom - "A wonderful look at how to transform our homes to be more mindfully aligned with our true nature and a reflection of who we are". It really is a fabulous book.
6. Cook/Bake: There are so many recipe books and cooking programmes to choose from and right now, thinking about something interesting to have for dinner is more difficult than ever. It's a great way to keep kids occupied too. For regular inspiration and great ideas, follow @geecartwrightcookery @ghilliejameswriter or @annabellemaclayfood on Instagram.
7. Board games/cards: Actually getting anyone in the household to sit down to play a game is enough in itself to keep you occupied (although not a very relaxing pastime) but once they're convinced, it's a great way to spend an hour or so. We've just discovered Linkee (maybe get the junior version if you are playing with kids under 16) and you can't go wrong with Forecast Whist (The Guardian online has described it perfectly)........ https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/nov/22/rules-card-games-oh-hell
8. Have a nap: Not to be underestimated - when else would you get the opportunity to go up to bed in the middle of the day for a kip other than in lockdown? All the more reason to make your bed seriously inviting, so make sure you have plenty of cushions (you might need to convince the other half in your life of their merits as for some reason they seem to have an aversion to the things) and a couple of blankets to keep you cosy. Good lighting is also key.
9. Have a clear-out: Chaos breeds anxiety (in most people) so this will keep you busy and make you feel much happier in your space. What's not to like? If you decide to go through old photographs or love letters, this could keep you occupied for hours (and maybe something to add to No.10 on the list......)
10. Create a 'Vision Board': Not one for everyone but it's great for inspiration if it reflects goals you want to achieve or images/keepsakes/photographs that simply make you happy. Keep it somewhere prominent so you can remind yourself often of the places you want to visit this year, what you're aiming for over the next few months and how lucky you are to have family and friends.
I hope that you might find something on the list that appeals to you, especially if you're one of the many people out there feeling the strain of spending so much time indoors at the moment.
Wishing you a peaceful, restful and healthy 2021.