In challenging times, our mental health can take a bit of a battering. Whilst we all have work to do and kids to look after and we’re all worried about our families in this time, it’s still important to take the time to look after yourselves. That means switching off and doing something for you. I know if you have lots of responsibilities this can be a challenge, but try and carve out 20 minutes to do something you enjoy. Please, switch off from the news, social media and work at some points in your day.
A friend of mine (thank you so much Linzi Gribbin) shared some ideas she found for switching off, and I’ve added a few into the mix. Lots of them are free and because of this whole situation we’re all in they are a bit technology heavy but I hope they help. If you have anymore ideas please leave a comment and share it!
For some of us getting to the gym is our escape; our ‘me time’ to unwind. It’s a little bit more of a challenge when you’re stuck in the home.
Remember you can go for a walk, run or cycle alone, or with members of your household, once a day.
YouTube has unlimited workouts to suit all tastes – here are some recommended ones.
- Joe Wicks. I think half the nation is doing PE with Joe Wicks every mornings. However he also has some videos for seniors which are a little less intense if you’re not looking for an extreme workout, as well as tons of others. Search ‘Joe Wicks’ or ‘Joe wicks seniors’ on YouTube
- Yoga By Adriene gets a really good reputation as does Fitness Blender. Search ‘Fitness Blender’ or ‘Yoga by Adriene’ on YouTube
- Cosmic Kids is a great one that does yoga routines for kids with various themes like Harry Potter, Frozen, Star Wars but it’s honestly so well done. I tried it the other day with my 3 year old and it raised the heart rate and she did it for hours! Search ‘Cosmic Kids’ on YouTube.
- There are also lots of dance classes on youtube. The other day I did the Oti Mabuse kid friendly Greatest Showman dance routine class with my 6 year old and it was brilliant fun. You can pretty much search for any dance routine on youtube and find it though. Is there a dance you’ve always wanted to learn? Search ‘Oti Mabuse greatest showman’ on youtube.
Mindfulness & Switching Off
Switching off can really be a challenge right now so some of us might need some extra help to unwind.
Here are some of Linzi’s top tips:
- Limit your news and social media intake. Remember social media has a lot of unverified news being shared on it, and even verified news can increase anxiety. Switching off really does help, and when you see a ‘click bait’ headline with the worst case scenario, try not reading it. You’ll probably feel better.
- Tackle that job in the house that you’ve been dreading; think how satisfied you’ll feel when you’ve cleaned out that cupboard.
- Set up a conference call with your pals. Skype, Zoom and House Party are all excellent. (You can play games together on house party).
- Try a guided meditation or mindfulness session: Headspace, Insight Timer and Smiling Mind provide guidance on switching off! (All of these are apps.)
Why not make something you’ve never made before? Or an old favourite? A childhood comfort food? If you’ve got a good recipe, feel free to share in the comments below.
Edit: I joined the bread making trend. Could’ve killed a duck with the resulting brick I created a la About A Boy.
I mean, we all know about TV, don’t we. By the end of this we’ll probably be sick of it. But here are some of my favourite shows I’ve watched lately:
- Schitt’s Creek – Such a beautifully funny, feel good and bingeworthy show.
- Ozark – See those TV shows that you cannot wait to continue? This is one. Lots of drama, great storylines and brilliant acting.
- Delve into the Marvel Cinematic Universe – All of the Marvel movies are on Disney+ (which you could watch in order if you wanted to really dive in but TBH Iron Man 3 is not a necessary watch…) and there are 4 Marvel series on Netflix too.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer – the entire collection is on Prime if you fancy rewatching this classic.
- The Witcher – An excellent fantasy adventure series that’s brutal and funny and features a leather clad Henry Cavill very frequently.
- Peaky Blinders – Brilliant acting and brilliant storylines.
- Jane The Virgin – A lovely easy watch and really funny too.
- Friday Night Dinner – Available on All4, this one makes me laugh out loud when we watch. WILSON!
- The Morning Show – This one is on Apple TV and oh my god Jennifer Aniston is amazing in it. I couldn’t stop watching once I started. Brilliant show.
You will most likely know this already if you have kids, but there’s a new Disney streaming app: Disney+. You can sign up for a 7 day free trial (after than it’s £5.99/month so if you don’t want to pay set yourself a reminder to cancel). It has every Disney movie, Star Wars, Marvel and National Geographic Docs plus loads more.
If you have a smart phone, or Alexa (or similar) device, you can use this to listen to podcasts. It’s a great way to get some non-screen time related entertainment. There are so many to suit your tastes. You can also get access to loads of original podcasts with an audible subscription. I’ll add some of my favourites below.
- Freakonomics Radio
- Armchair Expert
- Thanks a million with Angela Scanlon
- No Such Thing As A Fish
- Off Menu
- S****ed, Married, Annoyed
- Teacher’s Pet
- World Book Club
And on Audible:
- A Grown Up Guide To Oceans
- Steven Fry’s Victorian Secrets
- We Need To Talk About The British Empire
- The Sun King
- Evil Has A Name
- A Carnivores Crisis
An oldie but a goodie, books can be the ultimate switch off and whilst the physical shops may be closed, currently you can still order books online or download them onto your e-reader or smartphone.
I also really like listening to audiobooks as I walk the dog (or the kids) or get on with stuff around the house. Highly recommend an audible subscription if this is something you’d use. I’ve found some great books on there. (And found some great books via the world book club podcast!)
Beauty and self-care tips
I’ve never really been one for skincare or anything like that but I recently started a little nightly ritual and to be honest it just makes me feel nice. If it makes my skin look nice and glowy then bonus.
That’s my wee daily self care routine for now. I feel like the phrase self care gets flung about all the time now and means all sorts of things to different people. To me it just means doing something that makes you feel a little bit better, whether it’s sitting eating a creme egg with your favourite jammies and a good TV show, buying yourself something you’ve wanted for ages, heading out on a solo walk or run or cycle just to be alone, or even locking yourself in the bathroom for 5 minutes with your phone just to get some peace. Do what you need to do to feel sane = self care.
I haven’t done anything crafty in a while but there’s something about making things yourself that’s just very calming. I love wooly crafts like making pom poms or crocheting but what I usually do is head onto pinterest, take a look around and see what I fancy. Colouring in is actually really calming too.
Even if you don’t have a big outdoor space you can do a lot of window ledge gardening or you could grow veg from scraps. Things that are super easy to grow are tomatoes, potatoes, courgettes and lettuce.
Playing with my plants is something I really enjoy. Taking some cuttings, plonking them in water and waiting for the roots to grown is one of my favourite things to do.
Lots of kids are painting rainbows to put on their windows (adults can too – I enjoyed making mine on Sunday).
I’ve been making wee zoom quizzes for the family. It’s become a weekly thing now that we all do and although it’s crap we can’t see other in real life, it’s quite nice spending time with them and hearing my dad and uncle’s daft jokes, seeing my cousin try to count his score after too many beers and just hearing everyones voices.