Blimey! It's Week Four of so-called "Lockdown" in The Highlands, the kids have started the first week of the summer term and people, everywhere, are doing what they can to make the best of the situation. Here are a few things that we are doing which have worked for us.
A good friend, who is a hardworking GP, kindly recommended this meditation app a few weeks ago. She uses it to help herself to relax before going to bed, after a day on the front line working for the NHS. It is a Meditation App which offers 20 free meditations. It is free to register and very easy to use. We decided that it might just possibly be a better way of unwinding than our usual glass of el vino! We now use it regularly and it is truly a godsend. Let's face it, if this works for our hero GP friend, it must be pretty amazing!
2. Create a Space in Your House Just For YOU.
We are usually working non-stop in our shop so frankly had not previously spent an awful lot of our time at home. So, after spending the first week of "lock-down" in a weird state of shock, manically cleaning and de-cluttering, I unearthed this rather lovely chair that sits at the side of our bed. Hitherto it has been hidden under a mountain of clothes and books. I sat down on said chair and burst into tears. I then got up and felt a whole lot better. I realised that this space could become a lovely wee retreat, somewhere I can chill, even if for just half an hour. My top tips are to have a positive space that's just for your own self - with a few treats close by to appreciate, a candle, a cracking novel, handpicked by a good bookshop (The Old School Beauly of course!) - whatever helps you to relax.
By the time we closed our wee shop in Beauly, my hands, like those of our staff, were raw and sore. We had all been furiously cleaning the doors, the products, the customer toilets, the card machines and terminals. Of course, we were also constantly disappearing off to the staff loo to clean our hands. It was pretty relentless. Now that most of us are all home-based, we are still "hand washing for Britain" but we are also able to take a bit of time to care for our hands. My top tip - I am serious here - is to absolutely slather on a good hand or foot cream once a week before bed and then put on a pair of bamboo hand mittens or moisturising bamboo socks. When you remove the mittens/socks in the morning, your hands and feet will feel soft and totally loved. In my case they feel about ten years younger which is nice! We have hand mittens and socks in our toiletries section and lots of lovely moisturising hand creams (Scottish Fine Soaps, Arran Aromatics, Eco Bath, Burt's Bees, Siabann etc). Have a wee look here and remember that we deliver free in the UK with respect to orders over £45.
4. Write It Down!
I have always kept a diary of sorts, albeit this latterly comprised of never ending lists of jobs that I had to tick off but somehow never completed. When the pandemic started, I invested in a beautiful Journal because I wanted to record as much of this time as I could. I have found this really helpful as a means of taking stock of events and trying to put them into perspective. I also want to record this time - this is history in the making and I find it reassuring to imagine looking back on this period in the future and reading my Journal. I will probably be thinking to myself, "Blimey! What a pea brain - why did she do that?" rather than, "Cripes! What a heroine!" Anyway, it's a practical way to try and rationalise these times and I can recommend it.
5. Turbo Charge Your Daily Exercise and Do It in Style!
Ok. Let's be honest here. Have you ever seen so many people out and about getting exercise, all shapes and sizes, all ages and abilities? Well, that has to be a good thing in my book and long overdue because we tend to be a nation of couch potatoes when left to our own devices. In the first week, I wore my (only) pair of fairly ancient gym shoes, my one pair of leggings (reserved for DIY jobs) and a jumper. I caught a glimpse of myself and realised my other half was looking at me with a look of quiet horror - don't worry, this does happen quite often but usually when I am in full new stock buying mode on behalf of the shop. Moi decided that this daily exercise malarky was not a reason to fling myself on to the sartorial refuse heap. So, moi sharpened up, invested in a nifty pair of practical but sleek sneakers, a nice pair of super stretchy and comfy jeans and a couple of rather nice organic cotton tops. At least now, when I do my daily exercise, I don't need to throw myself behind a bush for fear of the neighbours seeing me. I may throw myself behind a bush to ensure social distancing but that's another story!
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