The continuing fight against Covid-19 means that we are in the middle of another lockdown with no absolute certain end in sight. We heard earlier this week that there will be no St Patrick’s Day parade. While we could probably have predicted this it is still another dampener on our potential plans.
In a time when we find ourselves with an unprecedented amount of free time on our hands, it is essential, for our mental well-being especially, that we make valid use of these days when we could find ourselves being overwhelmed with negative thoughts and pessimistic attitudes to life.
Finding something, however small, to concentre on is the best way to get through all this. You could begin by drawing up a list of things you have always wanted to do but never had the time for, and then check out which of them you can do at home. Concentrating on a project that you have had in the back of your mind is not only an excellent focus but may turn out to be very rewarding.
I read recently about a woman who decided to renovate her garden. This began by painting the fence but then she started to work on one little area that evolved eventually into a memorial to her father, who had died suddenly. This whole endeavour enabled her to come to terms with his loss.
One of the few things we are allowed to do is exercise outdoors and walking is an excellent, easy and cheap way to keep fit. If you are not a fan or find it difficult, maybe because of weight issues, it can still be approached in a gradual way.
Begin with a five minute walk around the block and gradually increase it day by day. You will soon find yourself doing a good half an hour effortlessly. Keep going, even if you are not always in the mood, and if pursued it can even help with weight loss.
Why not take up cycling if you are looking for a change in routine? Hiring a bike, as a first step can be a useful start if you are unsure about whether cycling is for you. There is a great feeling of freedom to this activity but it may be better to avoid the open road. Stick instead to the quiet back streets and parks. Invest in a safety helmet and lock and lights although it is probably wiser not to cycle at night, especially if you are just beginning.
You may not be a gym bunny or feel able to follow any workouts. However, there is a very simple and enjoyable way to incorporate a bit of activity into your life. Take two cans of beans or peas, large one’s mind, and lift up and down and across while moving around to your favourite music! At least this gets you moving, albeit it in a low-key manner.
There has never been a better time to take up a new hobby and there is a wide variety to choose from. Years ago almost every woman (not meaning to be sexist) knitted and many are turning to that again. Crochet too is another option and there are plenty of lessons to be found online which take you through the basic steps.
There is a lovely sense of achievement when you have created something. A friend of mine makes baby cardigans which are a delight to behold and which have made lovely and very personal gifts. She has recently taken up sewing and has made us all face masks.
Someone else I was told has started doing jigsaws again, something I used to love when I was a child and there are of course very complex ones available which are quite a challenge to complete. Even colouring books are not to be regarded as just for children. Recent research has shown that this activity brings with it a great sense of peace as well as relaxing the brain, and again there are adult colouring books with images like intricate and glorious peacocks to be filled in.
Take it easy
Those of us who have a love of reading now have the opportunity to read that book we always meant to, or a series such as the works of Anthony Trollop or Jane Austen.
Why not learn to cook, brush up on your French, or even take up a new language? When we are allowed to travel again it would be so rewarding to visit a country with a working command of their language.
Don’t forget to pamper yourself with a face mask and general self-care day, nails, and feet balms. Cherish all the good things in life, stick to that routine, keep in touch with people, and above all reach out to others if you need help. We really are all in this together
Written By Marie – Therese Cryan