9 April 2020


^^ A throw back to a visit to Godolphin House, a beautiful National Trust property nearby ^^

I know there are mountains of blog posts and videos about this subject right now, but I wanted to share some thoughts and ideas with you because, as a human being, I find it very hard to switch off and am used to being on the go. I am also someone who loves freedom to move about and can easily feel hemmed in by life so, even though I already work from home, there have still had to be some adjustments made, more so for mental health then anything else.

As you will already know, if you have been here with me for a while, I talk openly about mental health struggles and how they can be crippling sometimes. The smallest thing can set them off or trigger them into a bit of a frenzy, but I have managed to stay on top of everything right now, much to my surprise, and actually find myself feeling content and calm most of the time.

I feel like I have accepted the way things are and only allow myself to dip in and out of the news to stay updated, rather than saturate my brain too much with it. Some days I do listen and read a bunch of things, and that is because I want to do it, but I am acutely aware of the early signs of anxiety or depression creeping in, and I should be after all these years living with it, so I am able to step back and do something to distract my thoughts when I feel it is too overwhelming.

I have had to learn new routines that include many more joyful moments; that actually sounds silly when I type it (and say it in my head), but before this virus came rocking into town, I almost felt guilty for taking a few minutes to do things that made me content through the day, thinking that I should be working or doing something super productive, when in-fact these small, happy things, actually are productive. They are productive for my mental well being and therefore my working state too. You have to look for positives right now, and these little things in my daily routine have now become staples and I realise that, by allowing myself to lift my mood in these ways, my days are more fulfilled, who wouldn't want that? 

^^ Last summer I went to St Michaels Mount for the day with Peta, look how pretty! ^^

With each of these teeny, tiny things I am doing, the biggest thing I have noticed is that I have slowed down to do them, rather then seeing them as a thing on my to do list to get done as fast as possible and move onto the next thing. For example, as silly as this may sound to you, I feed the birds every day; before the world went crazy, I would rush outside into the garden, put their food down and come in. Now I open the back door, breathe in the fresh air and actually smell it, let any nostalgic thoughts come in, and as I feed the birds I am looking around for them, seeing with little ones are about (and yes, I am not shy to say that I talk to them too... I always talk to animals, that is a constant!). Once I come in, I sit on the edge of the kitchen table and watch as they fly in to feed on whatever treats I have left them. I love watching them hop about, peck the grass and forage for seeds, worms and bits of the food I have put down. I find so much peace in this and getting to know the individual characters that come in; there is always a distinctive feature you can identify them with if you look! This whole process doesn't take much of my time up, but it is such a joyful routine now.

Other than feeding the feathery friends, here are some other things I looking forward to every day:

Getting some fresh air as the sun is coming down (and at many other points in the day, where the weather allows). As the sun comes down on a nice day, I can just walk around the garden or sit on the chair and watch Gizmo enjoying the late sun (it's her favourite and she follows it around the garden until the bitter end).

Since I got an oil diffuser for my birthday from mum and dad, I have taken to popping lavender oil in there and switching it on first thing in the morning whilst I make some tea and breakfast. It is like it resets my calm levels as soon as I hit the 'on' button. I honestly love it so much and can't wait to explore other oils in there too, but for now, lavender is my favourite by far. 

It goes without saying that I enjoy time with Gizmo daily, but our new routine of either an afternoon nap or me reading whilst she is laying all snuggled up to me is pure heaven to me. I go and join her wherever she may be laying at the time, usually our bed or the spare bed, and as soon as I lie next to her she moves and cuddles up close. It is a wonderful half an hour of my day and I look forward to it so much.

Something that I have really got into doing is listening to audio books whilst I do mindless tasks like cleaning. I actually love cleaning too and it is definitely on my list of things that bring me joy, but with everything that is happening, I can sometimes find my mind heading off to worry-ville when I am doing things that don't take massive brain power, so listening to a book through headphones whilst I clean is so helpful. The escapism it provides is truly wonderful. If you have any recommendations whatsoever for books you have either read or listened to please do leave them in the comments for me!

I really look forward to checking in with my little plants everyday too. I don't water them every single day, but I just like to look at them and see what may be new. My monstera plant, Matilda, is often surprising me with a baby leaf here and there, which makes me so happy! I have realised how important plants are in my living environment and, when this is all over, I need to get some other varieties.

Voice/text messages have been a god send through this for me. Being able to leave silly memos for people and receive them back again have brought so much laughter. Then there are the endless memes of course!

Planning out what I will be doing the following day in my planner before I go to sleep is something I really look forward to each night! It takes just a couple of minutes to do, but it empties out my brain and helps me feel like there is a sturdy plan for the next day. 

Through these times I have also come to love my new routine of training a bit later in the day. My body feels better for more sleep in the mornings and doing a bit of work on my computer before the sun comes round into my office. When that happens I usually train and shower and then pick things back up work-wise after that. The routine I have right now flows so well with me and I am enjoying it a lot (but missing the gym heaps too!).

With those daily joys in mind, I have put together a little list of things that I am either doing already or will be doing to help fill some spare time right now (although can I also add that I do have days where I literally cannot do anything but sit/lay and just 'be' because life just gets too overwhelming... we are just human right?!).

Creative Cooking
I think it is safe to say that we have all had to become a little bit more creative with what we are cooking as we can't get everything we may need in the shops right now. Batch cooking with a few random tins of things and whatever is in the fridge is a new and fun thing to do sometimes!

Watch old movies
I am a bit of a sucker for the older Disney films and kids films, like The Wizard of Oz and similar things, and it is nice to pop on a happy film in the evenings, rather than subject yourself to endless programmes about what's going on in the world (they are everywhere aren't they!). Thanks to the magic of Netflix/Disney+ (and all the others) we can build up happy little film lists now and I am on board for that!

Create... anything!
Creativity is so relaxing, no matter what it is (colouring pages - get my free ones here, random biro patterns, painting, collage) and I highly recommend giving it a try. What I thought would be so nice is to just make little cards for your friends and family, even if it is just a hand written happy thought or quote on the front, and take the time to write some nice words in there and send them out. How lovely would it be to receive something like that. If hand made things aren't for you, just do something digitally; print out a photo you have taken and write a note to go with it and send that out. Just something to make someone smile seems like a perfect project to me!

Failing that, you can get amazing pre-designed projects on-line, such as little embroidery hoops, which would be so nice to get stuck into at night time as a cool little project. I have seen some super pretty ones on Etsy that I really fancy trying.

Spring Cleaning List
If you actually enjoy cleaning then this will be joyful for you, if you don't...I'm sorry! I have started scribbling down some of those deep-cleaning things and other bits and bobs that I want to get done, such as pulling out all my clothes in storage and sorting through what needs to be washed, brought out of storage or donated. This process includes a clean of the wardrobes too (not so much fun!). Any bigger jobs like that will make you feel so much more organised when they are done.

If you need a helping hand with list motivation you can always treat yourself to one of my printable planner sheets or new printable to-do lists, or check out the physical ones too!

Write daily gratitude lists
Daily gratitude keeps me sane, literally. I have always noted little things down that make my day happy, and this can be anything at all. The trick with this is not to be self-conscious about what you write; if you saw a bee in the garden and you felt joy from it, write it down, no one has to see it but you are just reminding yourself of what has made you smile in the day. If you keep a diary you can note things in each day there, that way you can look back at these things and will always be reminded of those moments!

I will leave you with those ideas for now (or else this post will never end!) but let me know what you are doing to bring happiness to your new routines in the comments, I am really excited to know because I have already taken heaps of inspiration from other people and would love your thoughts too.

Have a wonderful rest of day my lovely.

^^ Almost exactly one year ago Joe and I visited Enys Gardens with our friends Kimberley and Darren, sadly no one will get to see the famous bluebell display this spring ^^

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