I hope everyone is keeping well and safe right now. This is my first blog post of the year. Who would have thought I would be writing about a global pandemic? It has been a strange few weeks that have turned things on their head for many people. With all the stuff on TV and on social media, it is all too easy to slip into a place of anxiety. My parents are both in their 70s with health issues so trying to keep in my usual work routine has been a bit of a challenge. Thank goodness for meditation and yoga.
I have to admit that I am not much of a socializer. My idea of a wild night out is badger watching. So being in lock down has not been as difficult for me as for some people. However, if you are finding being at home a lot a bit of a challenge then I have a few ideas for helping pass the time and lessening the anxiety.
1. Try to limit your exposure to the news, be it on the TV, radio or social media. It does make a difference. While many of us will want to keep up to date with current affairs, being constantly bombarded with information about the crisis wears us down. I watch the headlines in the morning and the evening news to hear the government's latest advice. Other than a quick social media check-in twice a day, I stay away from Facebook. The time will come when I can go back to my usual routine - but right now I need to step away.
2. Focus on what you can control rather than what you cannot. Covid-19 is going to do what it is going to do. We have no control over that. We do have control over washing our hands regularly, not touching our faces (which makes it easier for the virus to enter the body) and following the rules set out by our governments.
3. Try new things. If you have ever wanted to try a new, craft, learn about a new subject or speak a new language then this is a great time to do it. It does not have to cost you money. You Tube has some great 'how to' videos on almost every craft you can imagine. Future Learn offers free short online courses in a huge variety of subjects areas, from professional classes to history and science. There are even classes on dealing with Covid-19. Duolingo is a free language learning app and web site and has 35 different languages available - including Latin and Klingon. Currently I am taking a business course, several art courses and am thinking of learning a little Spanish. It all helps keep my brain from running away with itself.
4. Ever wanted to read some classic literature but can't find the time? Audible is currently offering free access to some of the classic literature, e.g Frankenstein, Jane Eyre, A Brave New World, Anne of Green Gables or Winnie the Pooh. It is only a small collection as it is aimed at children who are being home schooled right now. But it is a nice selection to listen to while you craft, exercise, tidy up, etc.
5. Do you have any 'work in progress' pieces that you never got round to finishing? Yes, I am guilty. I have a badger painting and two ladybird paintings that I want to get finished on top of several knitting projects and now is as good a time as any.
6. Yoga and meditation. As a sufferer of anxiety, I fall back on both yoga and meditation regularly. I have practised both for over 20 years and have found them invaluable for my mental health. If you are interested in checking them out, there are a wide variety of yoga/meditation videos on YouTube to suit different tastes - but I can recommend Yoga with Adriene for yoga. She is enthusiastic and encouraging - and has a cute dog who helps too.
You can find lots of different kinds of meditation videos and podcasts out there too, ranging from guided meditations to natural sounds. Future Learn also has a few courses on mindfulness if you want to learn a bit about it. However, a simple meditation practice consists of breathing in slowly through your nose while counting to eight, then releasing the breath slowly through your nose for a count of eight. Repeat as often as you need to. I use it most days when things get on top of me and it does help me slow down.
Finally, if you are looking for some simple tutorials to follow during this quiet time, I have a few free ones on my blog. The links are below.
Simple silk bracelet tutorial
Silk cord and paper bead bracelet tutorial
Journal Planner Charm Tutorial
How to make a glued notepad
I also have a few paper bead and jewellery tutorials for sale on Etsy which you can find here. There is lots of inspiration in them as well as clear photos and instructions on making jewellery components, bracelets from paper and paper beads.
I hope the links and information above helps someone out there. The world is out of sorts right now but I hope it will find balance again very soon.