This year has been a tough year for everyone. Challenging with so many travel restrictions and local lockdowns. Some have health worries or suffer cutbacks at work. Across Europe right now most countries are in a second lockdown. Other locations have curfews in place as the pandemic drags on. To Be Kind to Yourself is probably the most important thing you need to do right now.

As many people are finding staying indoors and the lack of social life challenging. I´m sharing my experience of lockdown so far. From travelling every 2 weeks and spending almost all of the time away from home. I now spend around 22 hours of each day at home. The switch in lifestyle has been huge. I imagine I´m not the only one whose life has changed so much. So I thought I would share how I get back to midpoint and calm frazzled nerves.

How to Be Kind to Yourself

While some recommend meditation or yoga. It may not be for everyone. I have never really got on with meditation or yoga. Good apps for mindfulness are Calm or Headspace. However I find other things equally comforting or restorative. Depending on your personality and hobbies, different things will fit in to your lifestyle. Some of them may not seem obvious ways to unwind but they work for me.

Here are my go tos when I have had a stressful day or am getting frustrated with the curfew rules.

November in Granada Plaza Nueva

Walking

I live in a city, although there are nature trails in and around the city, I love to walk around the city centre. Taking in the historic buildings and watching people going about their daily life. Every single day I try to walk 10,000 steps (sometimes its more). Of course I´m lucky as I live in a place where it rarely rains. If it does rain or get cold I still go on my walk (mad dogs and Englishmen). Some days I alternate walking through the park beside the river or change the route to head to a different part of the city. I may listen to music, podcasts or just walk. It depends on my mood. I´ll easily spend 90 minutes walking each day.

Scone at Bettys Tea Room York England

Baking

Baking (rather than cooking) is something I love to do. Cooking seems to be a chore where baking is fun IMHO. Usually I choose typical British recipes like Scones or something easy like a fruit crumble. Carrot Cake or Banana Muffins are also favourites when I have a little more time. Since the first lockdown in March I´ve not had any problems sourcing ingredients to bake. Even so I try to have plenty of store cupboard staples so I dont need to pop out before baking something. (Flour, brown sugar, butter, milk, eggs.)

Music

Music can be a great mood booster and can help reduce stress too. So it maybe a good idea to listen to music first thing to start the day upbeat.  Listening to quieter tracks as you wind down in the evening. For something extra soothing at the end of the day try Canon in D by Pachelbel, its great to calm frazzled nerves.

For daytime sounds as I work from home I choose Paolo Nutini, Amy Winehouse or Sam Smith.

You can use a streaming service such as Spotify or Amazon Music. These online platforms also have the option to create you own playlists too. At the moment there is a free three months deal oon Amazon Music.

(Do remember to cancel before the expiry date if you don´t want to pay for the subscription.)

Workout

Sadly I had to cancel my membership at my gym. This was a tough one for me. Attending zumba classes, body balance and X Core every week is something I really enjoyed. Having the pool and spa area was a huge bonus too. So since the summer ended I have been getting in my workouts again at home.

Although its not the same as classes with other people. I quickly shifted to training online. I adjusted the furniture at home and dusted off my exercise mat. Each week I train with Joe Wicks – The Body Coach on You Tube. He puts up 3 or 4 sessions online each week.

Sometimes for a change I look up online classes that come up on Instagram Stories/live. For example my Gym has online classes and an online timetable each week. Other personal trainers and companies do the same. It´s just a question of finding ones that you enjoy doing.

When you exercise at home its easy to be distracted and sometimes harder to be motivated. So I get my gym clothes ready and have a specific routine that I plan. This way I manage to get 3 or 4 sessions per week done. I feel a lot better afterwards. Also I´m not so worried about all the extra calories from my baking either.  ;  )

Reading

Since the first lockdown in March I have started to read again. A pastime that I have always loved but seem to have forgotten. In my home office I have a bookshelf full of books with the best of intentions. I intend to read them but never find (make) the time to. This month I am reading One August Night by Victoria Hislop. Set on the Island of Crete in Greece, it´s a sequel of the Island which I really enjoyed.  Here are My favourite Books about Spain that may give you some ideas too.

Library Salamanca University Spain

Be Kind to Yourself – Basics

As my daily routine was totally scuppered in March I have created a new one.

  • Get dressed in comfortable clothes but ones that I feel good in.
  • Hydrate. Drink plenty of water. In Winter I drink lots of herbal infusions and tea.
  • Plan your Exercise time. Getting my 10,000 steps in, first thing in the day or training with Joe Wicks online for 20 minutes.
  • Go to the office. My home office is a separate room. I have created a standing up desk area and a normal desk space so I can interchange. It´s better to switch postures for my back. It also helps to focus too. I have a timetable so I close down my workstation at around 7pm latest. On weekends I try to limit my time spent ´at work´ maybe I do a few hours or so.
  • Plan your meals. I plan meals for the day so that I dont end up eating rubbish. Lots of fruit is visible in the kitchen so I can grab and go if I need a quick snack. I dont have unhealthy snacks in the house so I am not tempted by them.
  • Create a weekend.  Make the weekend distinguishable from the rest of the week. I order home delivered food (as restaurants are closed). I spend more time outdoors. Also I choose a movie to watch or spend a while reading. I might make time to do a home pedi, mani or facial. Trying to replicate what a weekend would be before lockdown.
  • Treats. Think of small ways you can treat yourself. Get a home delivery of restaurant food. Buy flowers or a plant to brighten up your dining table or home desk. Put a little perfume on in the morning. It doesn´t have to be expensive, just something that makes you happy and enjoy the moment.

Find more resources at MIND: Tips for Everyday Living

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Be Kind to Yourself - Tips to get Back to Midpoint
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Be Kind to Yourself - Tips to get Back to Midpoint
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How to be kind to yourself. While meditation may not work for everyone reading, listening to music or baking may help you to reset and get back to midpoint.
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