First of all – how are we all doing!? I hope you’re doing well.
If you’ve been spending time on social media, you may have seen a lot of productivity-centric posts. Erin Bolens captures this whole productivity movement amazingly in her poem ‘Miss Pandemic 2020.’
Now, I’m not a huge fan of this whole ‘you have to have a side hustle’ attitude. I think it’s really important to remember that you are allowed to take time for yourself and do things that make you happy – you don’t have to learn a language, build a rocket to the moon, or lose 3 stone. Just be you!
I’ve seen a lot of really damaging ‘get fit not fat’ mantras in the media, and I just want to say, who cares if you put on a few pounds? I’m sure the vast majority of us are finding comfort in food right now, so don’t beat yourself up about it or let anyone else make you feel bad.
When it comes to creating happiness, I find that being creative really helps. So, I thought I’d share what I’d been up to. This is by no means a recommendation blog, however, I have included recommended links/resources if you are interested in any of the below. I would love to hear what you’ve been up to, too – even if it is watching the entire contents of Netflix and Disney+!
I’m sure that this pandemic hasn’t produced a baby boom, but a banana bread boom, and I have fully hopped on the bandwagon.
I hate wasting food at the best of times, so it’s been a good opportunity to chuck any ‘sad’ bananas into a loaf. My boyfriend Charlie made a ridiculously great one, so if you want to have a go, this is the recipe he used.
We’ve also been using our frozen fruit to make smoothies and milkshakes. By some amazing coincidence, we’ve had a Nutribullet, a recipe book, and frozen fruit all at the same time, so this is probably the most nutrition we’ve had in a long time. Never have I been more grateful for impulse buys!
To balance such resourceful nutrition, we’ve been thanking our slightly neglected baking cupboard for all its treasures. I’m talking cakes, nests, bread – whatever we can throw together. Charlie’s co-worker even dropped us off a sourdough starter, which is currently in-progress. His name is Albert and he makes me feel a little pretentious…
As the weather improves and we thank our lucky stars (and immense privilege) that we have a garden, Charlie and I have been working on a loooooooooong overdue garden makeover.
After several days of weed picking, dead-ending, and replanting, we’ve made it into a really lovely spot. I’ve downloaded RSPB’s app to find out which projects I can work on to make the garden as wildlife-friendly as possible, and I’m hoping some birds pop by soon!
I love being creative, even if my output is pretty haphazard. Whether it’s writing, painting, drawing, sculpting, or experimenting, I’ve always found crafting a fun way for me to keep my mind and hands busy. While Charlie has been using the sewing machine to help colleagues with bags and covers, I’ve been hunting around the house for upcycle materials.
Along with using air dry clay to bring some Pinterest ideas to life, I’ve been using:
– Nutella jars to make lanterns
– Sauce jars to make fairy light holder
– Soup tins to paint and create pen pots for my colleagues. (The stickers are from Gemma Correll)
– Soup tins to create planters (which, yes, was entirely inspired by Animal Crossing). The dinosaur sticker is from IllusBee’s shop
As I said, they’re all a bit haphazard, and some are definitely better than others!
There’s lots of inspiration out there, but here are some links I’ve found helpful:
Yoga has helped me keep active. Usually, I’m a walker, cyclist or sea-swimmer, but considering I can’t go outside, this has proven to be a good enough alternative.
I’ve tried it quite a few times over the years, but never really got into it. When I was unwell as a teenager I was told to ‘just do yoga’ because it would ‘cure’ my depression. It was beyond patronising and I struggled to get into it long-term.
However, I’ve really been into it recently. My workplace is very generous, and as part of our wellbeing initiative, pays for a yoga instructor to come to the office each Tuesday lunchtime to run one-hour sessions.
She now runs her sessions online, and it’s with her that I realised that yoga shouldn’t be a chore; it should actually be invigorating, relaxing, and a way to practice mindfulness. (Sidenote: her name is Lottie, and she’s currently running online sessions – check her out, here, if you like.)
Since shielding, I’ve been following Yoga with Adriene thanks to a recommendation from a lovely coworker. The 30 Days of Yoga playlist has been great for preventing my body from deconditioning by making sure my muscles and joints keep moving.
From what I gather, Adriene is very anti-superficiality and doesn’t care about six-pack abs and pulling Instagram poses; instead, she promotes the message ‘find what feels good’ and insists that you listen to your own body. She’s mindful that everyone is different, and provides alternative moves for those who need to tailor the session.
There’s a ton of other videos on her channel, but this challenge has been great for making sure I’m committing to my practice.
With the daily briefings and a saturated social media feed, I’ve enjoyed jumping into different realities. Animal Crossing has been wonderful for me and so many people all over the globe to zone out, go fishing, and shake some trees!
I’ve also been working on my Goodread’s challenge, which is to read 68 books before the end of 2020 – I’m now 25 in! At the start of the year, I set myself the additional challenge to make 2 of these books Ulysses and War and Peace. I’ve made pretty good progress with both, although I am finding War and Peace slightly easier than Ulysses…
I’m always finding new things I want to learn, whether it’s to do with illustration, literature, or my industry. I’m currently using FutureLearn to dip in and out of a course on Jane Austen, as well as watching webinars related to my job role.
As I’ve always been academic, I find myself inspired when learning new things, so I’ve really appreciated having the time and accessibility to get involved. FutureLearn have lots of free courses across a wide range of subjects, so if building skills or beefing up your LinkedIn is something you’re itching to do, feel free to take a look.
I feel very lucky to be able to occupy myself with so many different outlets, and I’d love to know what you’re doing to stay sane. Let me know your Netflix recommendations – mine would definitely be Tiger King…