Keep Healthy in lockdown heart and soul
One of the hardest things to deal with in lockdown is to not fall into the trap of thinking that this is dead time. In other words, lost time and that life will start for real when the restrictions are lifted.
This kind of thinking is soul destroying.
Speaking about happiness, Gretchen Rubin, writer of The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun has a great quote that stands just as much today as it did when she wrote it:-
“It’s about living in the moment and appreciating the smallest things. Surrounding yourself with the things that inspire you and letting go of the obsessions that want to take over your mind. It is a daily struggle sometimes and hard work but happiness begins with your own attitude and how you look at the world.”
Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 3 – Be creative – make something
Studies show that creative people are better able to live with uncertainty because they can adapt their thinking to allow for the flow of the unknown.
So I’ve put together a list of ways to be creative.
- I learnt a new word this week – amigurumi. It’s the Japanese word which describes small knitted or crocheted stuffed toys, often in the shape of characters, animals, mini foods, household objects. And I can’t resist this pattern for a miniature crocheted Freddie Mercury. It’s absolutely adorable. However I’m starting my journey into the world of amigurumi with this cute little donkey I bought at Aldi this week!
- They say everyone has at least one novel in them so what better time to start, if you’ve always had a hankering to see your name on the front cover of a book. Don’t know where to start? Futurelearn has a free course Start Writing Fiction.
- In the same vein, why not write a song. Futurelearn also has a free online course in songwriting where you’ll be able to explore the mechanics of songwriting and meet established songwriters.
- Cook something delicious and comforting. In every culture, food is used as an expression of love and togetherness. Comforting not only for the maker of the food, but for those who get to eat it. For me it has to be homemade soup and bread. Tomato soup with these delicious cheese spelt scones put a smile on everyone’s face – even the teenager!!
Why does it feel so good to sing?
Whether it’s in the shower or part of a mass choir, it can help you feel amazing, physically vibrant, uplifted and energised.
I love watching the programs Gareth Malone does, where he seems to help to transform people and communities through the power of voice.
And, thankfully we’ve discovered that social distancing is no barrier to communal singing with virtual choirs springing up locally, nationally and internationally.
But there is tremendous joy to be had from putting on your favourite track and singing your heart out. Here’s my top ten (at the moment!) for lifting my spirits.
- Every little thing is gonna be alright – Bob Marley
- Titanium – David Guetta ft Sia
- Place your Hands – Reef
- The Best Day of My Life – American Authors
- Shake it Off – Taylor Swift
- Dancing in the Moonlight – Toploader
- Pompeii – Bastille
- I’m a Believer – The Monkees
- Pencil Full of Lead – Paolo Nuttini
- I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas
Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 3 – Declutter
‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”William Morris
Whilst you can declutter everything from your inbox to your emotional baggage, I mean the not-so-simple act of creating a calm and easy space to live in.
My guru for this is FLY LADY, who termed the great phrase of living in CHAOS – Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome (obviously you have to say it ironically, during lockdown!)
I swear by Fly Lady’s process of focusing on a small area. The prospect of decluttering the whole house is overwhelming and defeats most of us before we start. Here’s some guidelines that really work :
- Pick a small area – a drawer, a shelf, not a whole cupboard or a whole room.
- Pick up two bags – one for the charity shop, one for the bin.
- Set your timer for 15mins.
- Pick up each item and decide if you use it or love it. If the answer is no, is it good enough for the charity bag. If the answer is no, put it in the bin bag
- When your alarm goes off, put the rubbish in the bin, the charity bag to one side for your next declutter session. Admire your handywork!
This routine can be repeated as often as you feel like, but go back to where you left off. That way you really get the beauty of it, that you can see your progress and be inspired by it!
Get plenty of sleep
This is a tricky one. I know from experience. You can always exercise more to get fitter, eat better to be healthier but you can’t make yourself sleep better and without it everything can fall apart.
I can’t guarantee that these things will fix poor sleep, but I’m pretty sure that if you don’t do them, you won’t sleep well.
- Fix both your bedtime and your wake up time.
- The first stage of sleep is the winding down time. Tell your brain it’s time to wind down by having a routine.
- Turn off screens 1-2 hours before bedtime, even the T.V. I know, even as I’m writing this, I’m wincing at your reaction, but it really does work. This point alone has transformed my sleep pattern.
- Make sure there is no light at all in the bedroom when you’re trying to sleep so remove all electrical equipment with standby lights and use blackout curtains.
- Get out in the fresh air for at least 20 minutes, preferably in the morning. It’s just as important to manage our light in the daytime as it is to manage our dark in the nighttime. According to Dr. Rangan Chattergee, in his book The 4 Pillar Plan, “Getting the right kind of light at the right point in the day can have amazing effects throughout our bodies”.
I hope this gives you some food for thought and inspires you to take on a new challenge.
And I know it doesn’t go without saying that I hope you are staying safe and looking after yourself and your loved ones.
If you need someone to talk to or advice – specific or general, please feel free to text or ring me on my mobile – we could even have a ‘virtual’ coffee via FaceTime, Skype or some such technology.