Wellbeing in a Lockdown

First things first! Let’s stay healthy, not just physically, but also mentally. It’s scary and uncertain, we don’t know what’s going to happen or how long we are going to be on lock down. For lots of people this is going to have an immense impact on their wellbeing. Over the last year and a half while we were living in London, I was working from home, I didn’t have friends nearby and we didn’t have much money, so I couldn’t go do things… sometimes I felt really isolated and depressed. So I feel like I’m well versed in the art of isolation. 

Here are a few tips that have helped me, and I hope they help you:

Limit your news consumption – it’s really important to find a healthy balance between being well informed and being consumed by the media coverage. I don’t know about you, but I was listening to the radio, podcasts and watching the news coverage non-stop. By the end of the day I was a ball of nerves and all I could think about was the virus, so try if you can to limit your news intake. Try only checking the news once a day or dedicating one day a week to listening to your news podcasts. Go easy on yourself, you do need to keep up to date on what the rules are, because they are changing rapidly, but you’re not saving lives by checking your BBC news app every 30 seconds.

Stay connected – I have spoken to my friends more in the last two weeks than I did the last two months. Everyone is reaching out to each other and it’s a really beautiful thing! Now is the time to reconnect with old friends, reach out to family and colleagues. Make sure you have a support system around you! If you are isolating with friends or family, it can put a lot of strain on your relationship, so be kind to each other. Me and Joe have a lot of experience with living in small confined spaces with each other over the last couple of years, first in our van and then in our tiny house in London. I would say, the most important thing is to keep open communication. It’s going to be hard sometimes; you’re going to get sick of the people you live with and that’s ok. You need to be able to tell them when you need space, to set boundaries and to be considerate. Its ok to say you need alone time and lock yourself in another room. 

Find new interests – I’m the queen of doing bits and bobs around the house, I love cooking, crafting and reading, but a lot of people don’t have at home hobbies. Here on this blog, I’m going to try and do some more posts about hobbies, to inspire you to try some new things. Now is the time to take something new, learn to knit, do some DIY or learn how to make a new meal. You don’t have to start writing a novel or invent something life changing. Start small!

Help someone out – It feels really frustrating being sat at home not doing anything, while the world it going to hell in a handbasket outside. But there are lots of things you can do to help. Sign up to be a volunteer. If you can leave your home, you could be getting food and medical supplies for people or you could be making meals for key workers. If you can’t leave the house you can be supporting vulnerable people over the phone, helping with online admin, etc. This week we put a note in our window offering help to anyone in isolation and offering to bake bread for anyone that needed some warm freshly baked bread to make them feel better. 

Be kind to yourself – the most important thing we can do for ourselves now it to be kind to ourselves! If you don’t want to do a bunch of home workouts, fuck it, don’t worry, maybe it will come later. If you want to eat comfort food, or play computer games all day, give yourself a break. I, Amy, am giving you permission now: kind to yourself! Channel your inner Mediterranean heart and master Il Dolce Far Niente, the art of doing nothing.

Are you looking for a book to bury yourself in? Here are a few suggestions for books worth isolating to read. So, buckle up and snuggle down because here are my favourite books to relax while reading… no post apocalypse reads here, nothing dark, just stories to transport us away:

Prodigal Summer by Barbara, Kingsolver 

Set in the southern Appalachia, this beautiful book weaves three stories together. All set against the beautiful backdrop of the forest and hot humid summer. This truly delightful book is uplifting, sexy and rich with description. 

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Sometime the most relaxing read is one you’ve read a million time. No surprises here thank you; we’ve had quiet enough of the unexpected in 2020! The Hobbit was my favourite book as a child and I saved all my pocket money for a year to afford the £30 audio cassette tape and listened to it so many times that it wore out. The flow of the narrative is just like a folk tale or fairy story. All the songs and riddles – it’s beautiful.

The mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

My go to when I’m feeling anxious is Agatha Christie. Ok this might sound odd – a murder story, when you’re feeling anxious? But we all know how it’s going to go! There is a murder, lots of people saying things like ‘tally ho’ and ‘he was an awfully good sport’, then Poirot comes in… twists and turns… the murderer is found, and justice is had. What’s not to love? You’ll be on the edge of your seat the whole time. I have probably read 25 or so Agatha Christie books and I have never guessed whodunit, the woman is a genius!

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

This is what i’m talking about with Il Dolce Far Niente.
Do you fancy a book that doesn’t really have a story line? Do you just want to float along on a sea of beautiful description? Dream of a life in the sun, that none of us can realistically afford? Then this is the book for you! It’s a classic piece of travel writing. If you like this also check out Driving Over Lemons.

Other things to keep us entertained in this time:

Answer Me This – Podcast 

These guys don’t get enough credit! They were the first podcast I ever listened to, back when I had an iPod Classic! I’ve listened to all their episodes a hundred times over and when I need something to lift my spirits I turn to Helen and Olly. It’s a very simple format, the audience sends them questions and they answer in an amusing way. 

Dolly Parton’s America – Podcast

Who doesn’t love Dolly Parton? That’s the whole premise of this podcast. Dolly is the great unifier: young and old, black and white, conservative and liberal, we all love her. And if we can all come together in our love of this great woman then why can’t we come together over other things? It’s so well edited and written. It’s the best thing I’ve listened to for years! 

Homesickness by Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou – Song

If you’ve watched to much news and you feel the panic rising, put this song on and promise you, you’ll feel a lot better. You’re welcome.

Ok folks, stay safe, let’s hold each other close (metaphorically, obviously, let’s keep the social distancing on point) and don’t forget to be kind to yourself! 

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