Tag Archives: wellness

5 Feel-Good Activities to Lift your Mood

Wellness and woodland

Following months of lockdown, home-schooling and solitary working, I have recently introduced Wellness Wednesday to Dairy Diary

 

We spend half an hour or so, each week doing an activity to lift the spirits and regain some of our joie de vivre.

 

Here are some activities that we have tried, which you may also find helpful.

 


 

1 Take a sketchpad and draw a box. Decorate the box with anything you like – felt tips, paint, pencils, collage, in any pattern you like. Then close your eyes and imagine filling this box with everything that makes you feel anxious or stressed. Close the lid and visualise someone that you trust pushing this heavy box out of sight.

 


 

2 Take a slow wander through your local woodland or parkland and really focus on the sounds you can hear; listen to birdsong or the sound of water (if there is any). Then notice how many different colours you can see, in particular how many shades of greens there are.

 


 

3 Take a piece of paper and write I’m grateful for……. at the top. Play some relaxing music (there are lots of playlists on Spotify or Alexa) and write everything and anything you can think of.

 


 

4 Go outside and breathe slowly and deeply. Sit somewhere comfortable and watch the clouds. See what images you can see in the shapes they have formed.

 


 

5 Bake. And while you do so really notice the process: the textures of the mixture, the smell of the ingredients and, of course, the flavour of the finished product. As it’s Easter tomorrow you could bake these cute Mini Simnel Cakes.

 


 

Emily Davenport
Emily Davenport
I post a blog every week featuring food, family and fun. There are lots of useful household tips, crafty ideas, giveaways and delicious recipes that I think you will find irresistible.

Bring a little joy every day

Discover new walks

Even for the most optimistic among us, it’s been challenging to remain cheerful over the past few months

 

There are ways however, to bring a little joy into our lives each day – tiny things we can do to add some colour and relieve the monotony of lockdown.

 

  1. Wear your wardrobe

Not all at once, obviously! Work your way through your wardrobe from right to left (or left to right if you prefer) wearing a different outfit every day. Obviously summer clothes are not ideal right now so place them at the other end, but otherwise enjoy everything that you own.

Try new outfit combinations, wear a glam dress with thick tights and boots; have fun with what you wear rather than reaching for the same old jeans and jumper. I have given myself the challenge of buying no new clothes for a whole year (this is a HUGE challenge for me!) and have found that this method helps me to love what I own all over again.

 

  1. Discover new walks

It’s all too easy to fall into the routine of the same walking route every day. But even in your own corner of Britain, there’s bound to be a new route to be discovered. Dust off an old Ordnance Survey map and take a look at what public footpaths surround you, or visit walking-routes.co.uk or walkingbritain.co.uk for new ideas.

When out walking, notice nature – listen to birdsong, watch the ducks on the pond, or look out for crocus and snowdrops as they begin to appear. This mindful activity helps to focus the mind on positive things, rather than negative.

Take time to love the sunset
  1. Connect with your local community

Join your local Facebook group and share uplifting photographs of the walks you have enjoyed or snippets of local history that you think locals may enjoy. Or make a batch of marmalade and put it in a basket in front of your home for passers by to help themselves.

 

  1. Put on your favourite lipstick

Be the most glamorous in town when you go on your daily wanderings (avoid this when shopping though – lipstick and a face mask are not the best combination!) And smile at everyone you pass. A cheerful ‘hello’ can mean a lot to someone who may not have conversed with anyone that day.

 

  1. Phone/Whatsapp/Facetime a friend

A catch-up and a good laugh, reminiscing about good times, is a wonderful tonic, and proven to lower stress levels.

 

You may even want to nominate your friend to receive a beautiful bouquet; we’re giving one away this month

Take a look at our Facebook page for more info.

 

Emily Davenport
Emily Davenport
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The Art of Calm

The art of calm

In many ways, our lives are more taxing than ever before, and in particular, the past year has put much more stress on us all

 

Making an effort to incorporate moments of calm into your day can have positive effects for mind and body, including enhanced concentration and contentment.

There’s no denying that modern life can be stressful. Faced with longer working hours and the magnetic tug of our smartphones, choosing calm in the midst of chaos can sometimes feel like an insurmountable task. In today’s technology-oriented society, it can be tricky to stay connected in the present. We are faced with a flood of information, whether in the form of news, television programmes, app notifications or messages from friends heralded by our buzzing smartphones. While being more connected than ever does have its benefits, it can also leave us aching for a quiet moment to ourselves.

It’s not the being calm itself that is difficult,
but remembering to slow down.

Should you find yourself stressed because you’ve taken on too much or your day has veered off course, taking a moment to gather your thoughts can be hugely beneficial for your state of mind. Opting to stay calm is a mindful act; a choice to be present and aware.

The best thing about adding mindful moments into your day is that over time, you will form a new habit. What’s more, it doesn’t have to mean retreating to a dark room to recite rounds of ‘om’. It can be as simple as you like and adapted around your routine so that it becomes as much a part of the day as the school run or boiling the kettle.

Just breathe

Paying attention to the breath is one of the simplest ways to introduce calm when your mind is racing. A round of deep breaths instantly slows the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the fight or flight response.

Set an alarm on your phone or computer for a time when you know you might be feeling swamped, like returning after lunch to a full inbox. Choose a calming tone – a bell or singing birds – to sound the alarm, and to differentiate it from the beeps of notifications. When the alarm chimes, inhale deeply for at least four breaths to relieve tension. As you breathe in, become aware of the sensations in your body. Exhale for four beats. Repeat regularly.

Listen deeply

Instead of focusing on your noisy thoughts, try concentrating on the sounds in your surroundings. Pay attention to whatever you can hear, noticing chirping birds or the white noise of the washing machine. Awakening this sense will lead you to notice the beauty in the present, in all its fullness.

Slowly does it

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can help to tackle each item on your to-do list in a conscious way by ‘mono-tasking’. Say to yourself: “I’m going to do the washing-up for 10 minutes” or “I’ll answer emails for 15 minutes”. This can bring order to what might seem like a never-ending list.

Go with the green

Spending time in nature relaxes the mind and body. Research has proven that just being among trees lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body and can have beneficial effects on blood pressure and heart rate. You don’t need to trek to your nearest forest to reap the benefits, either. Watering the plants or sipping your morning coffee outside can be just as soothing.

 

The art of calm

Use your imagination

Visualisation may sound a little out there if you’ve never tried it, but it can be a fantastic way to reduce stress. It is the practice of imagining yourself in a safe, peaceful state, in a place that makes you feel relaxed. The human mind is astonishingly powerful, and by visualising tranquillity you will start to invoke calming feelings in the body, relieving tension.

The power of visualisation has been backed by science as studies have found that the mere act of imagining creates new neural pathways. Set a 1-minute timer and imagine yourself in a place that makes you feel serene. Repeat throughout the day for best results.

Savour suppertime

Ever find yourself wolfing down dinner without really focusing on what you’re eating? Mealtimes, given how routinely they occur, offer a superb opportunity to practise slowing down. Switch off autopilot and take your time noticing the texture, flavours and aromas of your meal. Eating more slowly will also do wonders for your digestion.

Give yourself permission…

…to embrace imperfection. So much of the pressure we heap on ourselves is about reaching unattainable standards of perfection. You might be surprised to find there’s joy in the not-quite-perfect. The Japanese have a word for this – wabi-sabi – which realises that the only constants in life are the three ‘i’s: impermanence, imperfection and incompleteness.

Once we realise that nothing lasts and nothing can ever be perfect or ‘finished’, ourselves included, we free up our minds to focus on the present. And in so doing, adopting the art of calm suddenly feels much more achievable!

 

Emily Davenport
Emily Davenport

I post a blog every week featuring food, family and fun. There are lots of useful household tips, crafty ideas, giveaways and delicious recipes that I think you will find irresistible.

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