We are all doing what we can to get by at the moment. Here are my go to self care rituals that are keeping me grounded, sane, positive and happy during lock time:
1. Mindfully preparing my coffee every morning. Ed and I got so into our coffees in Australia that we have become annoying coffee snobs. Ed even did his barista course while we lived in Sydney and we take our espresso machine camping. We are those kind of campers. It’s the first thing I think about as soon as my eyelids open in the morning. The smell as I open the coffee tin hits me in the back of the skull and immediately gives me an endorphin rush. I love taking my time to ensure my cuppa has the perfect espresso to steamed oat milk ratio. And that first sip, standing in my kitchen in my Uggs and my dressing gown as I look out of my window at the garden and hear the birds chirping is simply sublime. Now my day can begin.
2. Having a cold blast in the shower. For 30 seconds after I’ve washed, I turn the taps all the way to arctic. I breathe deeply in and out through my mouth – almost to the point of hyperventilation - and smack my hands up and down my limbs to awaken the blood vessels. It’s not Wim Hoff method, it’s something I do as an antidote to my vata dosha (my predominant ayurvedic type). It’s revitilising, if nothing else, and the noises I make while I do it apparently amuse my family…
3. Exercise. Aside from a run out in nature every now and then, I’ve discovered HIIT and Barre classes. Oh my! Why have I not done these before? Actually I know why: a lack of time and money. Thank you lockdown for introducing these things to me, and to generous studios and trainers for offering them for free. And thank you IGTV which means I get to do these classes while the boys watch TV after home school and not at some other inconvenient time. The best!
4. Podcasts. I listen to these on my run. My favourites are How to Fail by Elizabeth Day, Happy Place by Fearne Cotton, Feel Better, Live More by Dr Rangan Chatterjee and Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations. (Can you see a theme here?)
5. Breathwork. I’m so grateful to @breathewithjames for offering his incredible practices on Instagram live. Breathwork is said to help you to tap into the subtle bodies: the inner koshas as we call them in yoga - your emotional and energetic bodies. Yes, it’s a little woo woo but it’s also fantastic. Sometimes I feel euphoric afterwards, other times very chilled. The last time I did it I felt teary with gratitude for my lovely husband and children: my great teachers who are spending lockdown with me.
6. Listening to music that I can sing and dance along to. I’m loving BBC 2 Sounds of the 90s – choon after choon after choon, people. I turn my speakers right up after dinner to have a proper boogy and singalong in the kitchen every night. Luckily my boys are little enough to think I’m hilarious rather than embarrassing, and it boosts my mood like nobody’s business.
7. Reading. There are certainly great things to watch on TV right now (Normal People is achingly beautiful) but in my humble opinion nothing beats curling up on the sofa after the children have gone to bed and devouring a novel – preferably with a large glass of wine in hand. I’m currently reading City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert and next up will be Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo – a copy of which was kindly left out by one of my neighbours on her front wall.
8. Speaking of neighbours my lovely community are keeping me positive right now. I love seeing their smiley faces when we clap for carers on a Thursday night, or how we are all keeping each other informed on our WhatsApp group of when the Tesco is restocked or how long the queue is at B&Q . We’ve even managed the occasional socially distanced drink with some of them!
9. Crystals. More woo woo! I sleep with two beautiful stones next to my bed gifted from my wonderful yoga besties. A tiger’s eye for protection, mental clarity and to dispel fear and anxiety. And an absolutely gorgeous amethyst from the Himalayas - actually brought back from India - that helps balance mood swings, relieve stress and dispel anger, fear and anxiety. Pretty useful right now huh?
10.Teaching my online yoga classes. Hand-on-heart I’d be lost without teaching right now. My classes give me purpose and I love the idea that they might in some small way be helping my students get through this crazy time too.
What has been keeping you smiling? I’d love to hear.