Tag Archives: rest

Self Care In A Pandemic (31): make Time To Play…

As Christmas approaches, we may find that even in a pandemic, and even for some who are possibly going to be spending Christmas day alone, that we still have ‘to do’ lists.

It’s important that despite the things we want to try to ‘fit in’ to make the most of our time (or just to keep on top of our daily lives) that we also find some ‘down time’ to rest and play. For some of you who like that greater sense of control, perhaps it is actually something to include on your ‘to do’ list. lol 🙂

What I’m saying is that it’s important to rest, to play, to take time out and to not feel bad about it. The shortest day has passed and now, daylight hours for most of us will begin to lengthen. We will be looking forwards to Christmas in a few days, which may be a quieter or more solitary experience this year for many, and then we will approach new year 2021.

These collective events and experiences always intrigue me as there is something of the ‘collective consciousness’ about them. That is to say, unlike in times in our own personal life journey’s when there may be a significant event, date or change point, due to how much of the world lives according to the Gregorian calendar, we share these experiences, even if our individual lives differ significantly from one another.

Come the new year, like it or not, we will be out of ‘holiday mode’ and even if not much else changes, we will have to consider things like how to move forwards with jobs, living situations perhaps and other things related to our own change points and also to changing regulations related to the pandemic.

So use some of this time, without guilt, to relax, rest and play. It’s important for your wellbeing, as long as what you choose to do is actually good for you or restful, so choose wisely.

What do you like to do in your ‘down time’? Do you watch films, play games, go for a walk outside if possible, paint, draw, listen to music, chat to a friend, curl up and read a book or simply lounge about for a while?

I hope you find the chance to catch your breath, to rest, and to look forward in Advent to the True Light of Christmas.

Peace. x

Photo by Sam Lion on Pexels.com

Self Care In A Pandemic (8) Wellbeing Breaks…

“Come apart by yourself and rest awhile” ❤

I’ve been appreciating the benefits of some of the self care elements that I’ve explored in previous blog posts in this series. Those such as having a structure, order and routine / purpose to our days, healthy habits, and boundaries of various sorts, and so forth.

For example, today I was able to have a reasonably productive morning routine, check in with work, meet some key deadlines and correspond with colleagues on various issues, update logs, and keep things on track for myself and other people in related teams. I took a short break for exercise, food and a bit of fresh air by stepping outside for a few moments. That being said, I have been having tension headaches for the past couple of days. Although as someone who feels more energised in solitude than in busy atmospheres of a lot of company / people (which my usual office life would involve…I suppose you could call me an introvert then, and I’d happily embrace that term – someone who loves company in smaller settings with deeper connectedness, loves her own company, and feels really stressed out and anxious with the overload of information from busier settings), I still have found a sense of stress during my working day from time to time.

I love working from home far more than working from the office, as I still can keep in touch with a few close friends by email, without the stress of all the other people and goings on and commutes and office politics, etc! Even so, having routines, structure, and self care in our days doesn’t mean that within these we don’t feel a challenge to our wellbeing.

Taking what I’ve decided to term a ‘wellbeing break’ is making a sort of commitment to yourself that your wellbeing is important. Although the structure of a working day from home, if that’s your situation, might be a positive, in and of itself it isn’t enough. Within that structure you might experience stresses of emails, demands, expectations and deadlines from other people, and that can affect up physically, mentally and emotionally in a variety of ways, which can lead to a build up of stress and we might not feel or be on top of our game.

So within those structures and boundaries, it is important to learn to listen to what our bodies are saying to us. I realise that the tension headaches start to appear when I am working and even though I might be doing a great job from my boss’s perspective, the external output isn’t necessarily all we should be focused on. So if you are feeling a bit stressed or unwell during the day, take time out to check in with yourself, and do something that will help you feel well and get back on track. This could be switching your computer off for a while and coming back to tasks later, getting some fresh air, eating something healthy or exercising, doing something creative and so forth.

I think we need to be able to manage boundaries and expectations with ourselves and each other and this also involves working on our communication. We don’t need to rigidly stick to our desks when working from home for a set number of hours, as it is important to take care of our wellbeing too, and that may make us far more effective and efficient and helpful to others in the long run.

I’ve talked about things that I’ve experienced, but even if your situation is completely different to mine, and even if you are taking steps towards looking after yourself, which is wonderful, in the middle of those positive things, you might have ups and downs, and that’s ok. So, if your body is telling you something for example, your head hurts more, you feel tense, stressed, anxious, worn out etc, then listen to it, take a ‘wellbeing break’ and find out what is going to work for you to take care of yourself and notice and respond to those often uncomfortable, but so very helpful and important internal cues.

Take care my friends, and remember to take it one step at a time. x

Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

Life after lockdown. *An Uncluttered Mind – From Mess to Rest*.

I’m enjoying a beautiful view of the city as I type. What started out as a grey and rainy day has given way to sunshine and blue skies, and as I write I can see cars stream along the motorway bridge, and in the far distance I can see hills, tall flats, church spires and dark green leafy trees.

Above the pale blue there are a few cotton candy like white clouds, and above them some heavy grey clouds moving slowly across the sky, giving glimmers of hope through gaps from which blue skies and sunshine can be seen.

After some days of rain, it is a comfort to see the sun and shadows shine through my windows, making patterns with light and shade on my wooden living room floor.

The steady stream of traffic makes me wonder where people are coming from and going to, although it is not overly busy. This scene in itself, in my peaceful, newly tidied living room with a glimpse of the outside world is beguiling in its simplicity.

We are still living in uncertain and unsettling times. Every time I watch or read the news I see more information about the pandemic that we are living through. I hear of tensions in the world with regards to upcoming elections, misuse of power, racism and injustice and suffering and anxiety about the future as children go back to schools, as we approach autumn and winter time and people fear for a ‘second wave’ of the pandemic getting above the capacity to manage it.

We’ve probably all become familiar in these times with the concept of focusing on what is within our locus of control. Initially writing about life post-lockdown, I am now writing during a time of some restrictions being reinstated in my city due to new outbreaks, and elsewhere in the UK there are local lockdowns.

This past week I have been using my time at home while I await updates from work, to do a big home declutter and reorganisation. I’m glad for the time to do it because otherwise things always seem to wait for another day. For motivation I’ve been watching some programmes on You Tube about hoarding, decluttering, and deep cleaning and organisation.

Just as with clearing out our homes, we need to take time to clear our minds of clutter, and unhelpful thoughts and thinking patterns, and unsurprisingly the state of our immediate environment can affect our inner state in terms of our emotions, thoughts and outlook on life.

While in this pandemic there is a lot that we can’t control, things that we need to look at through the lens of Faith, there are things in our immediate surroundings that we can do to help us to gain more clarity of mind, peace in our surroundings in our homes as we spend more time there and giving ourselves the chance to reflect and consider how to move forwards in our individual lives and to seek out creative solutions. When we are burdened by the clutter around us, we won’t feel as free to think, reflect, solve problems, create, or grow.

And just as in the process of decluttering, tidying and making things beautiful, we face phases of having to look at the mess, sort through and make decisions on what is important enough to keep or discard, and finding a place for each thing in order to simplify our lives and promote wellbeing by reducing stress as our lives become more ordered in our environments, we also go through similar processes as we sort through and process our thoughts and experiences.

So whatever uncertainties you may be facing in this pandemic, and in life in general just now, perhaps you can take a fresh look at what is within the realm of your control, and what steps you can take to change things for the better. A practical first step is to look at your living space and ease the load off yourself by getting things in order, and creating spaces that free you up to do things you enjoy and pursue creativity and seek peace and relaxation during this unsettling time in the world.

If you need help with this, I have several posts in my section on Home and Lifestyle that can help to get you started and avoid feeling overwhelmed. While we spend more time in our homes this year, where possible, let’s try to make some changes for the better that will help us to move forwards with greater clarity of mind, and less anxiety in our hearts. x

Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com

Surviving The Pandemic Together. Words of Encouragement (22): *A nice safe space*.

*A nice safe space*.


For those of you with gardens, you may be sorted with this one 😉 For the rest of us, we may be apprehensive to go out even for that once a day form of exercise. I am, as I live in a building with a footfall of hundreds of people within the two blocks of ten and twenty stories, with each floor having at least 6 or 7 flats housing single people, couples, small and larger families. I feel safer and more socially responsible staying inside.


I think it would be a helpful thing for us all to have a nice safe space in our homes or our gardens where we can be ‘tech free’, switch off from the world for a few minutes, and relax and enjoy. Something much needed for our mental and emotional health in these days. Feel free to share pictures of your little ‘getaways’ to inspire, uplift and encourage others reading this. Alternatively, the ‘blanket fort’ is a popular choice – # staycation vibes. 😉 😎 Don’t compare with others, and make the best of what you’ve got .

Here is a little look into my attempts to recreate a beach-house vibe 🙂

Rest well. x

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Planning a restful ‘retreat’ one step at a time (1)…

(1). Beginnings:

If you’ve read my earlier post at the beginning of February (2020), you’ll know that I feel compelled to continue through this month with the theme of ‘Rest’. If you haven’t read my earlier post, in summary I had a great January, yet at the start of February I have felt tired, ‘under the weather’ and not in the best of health. As such, as I often ‘theme’ my months to help me have a better focus and direction, as well as to feel more positive as I move through the year, I am honing in on the idea of rest.

Well friends, ‘life as it happens to be’ is happening as it is, unfolding one step at a time, and I hope you’ll journey with me as I discover more about rest this month. If you’ve been following me for a while, or have looked back at my posts over the past few years (since mid 2017 when I started this blog), then you’ll know that I do like to have myself an at home ‘retreat’ or two throughout the year. Sometimes these have a particular focus such as faith, or a writing retreat, or creativity. I hadn’t planned to start thinking about one so early on in the year, but it seems that I need to for my own wellbeing.

At home retreats can be fairly simple, with relatively little planning and preparation depending on how organised you generally are, or you can put more time, thought and effort into things depending on your needs. I have written about planning retreats in the past. With where I am at right now, I think the planning process itself is something that is good for my mental health, if that makes sense. It helps me not to allow myself to feel overwhelmed or give in to the lack of energy, or to feel ‘frazzled’ that I can’t keep up with things at home what with working full time and feeling a little less than my best at the moment. Some people have holidays coming up at this time of the year, but as I haven’t got anything in the diary just yet, the planning gives me those similar kind of happy ‘vibes’ and something other than the day to day routine to put my attention and focus into.

Do you ever find that planning even the simplest of things, trying to make something special out of the ‘ordinary’ helps to keep you in a positive and healthy frame of mind? I think the process of doing a little bit at a time with the build up to something, even if it’s a weekend of restfulness, is quite special, particularly after the Christmas and festive season for which there was the lovely build up and collective nostalgic feeling which with the season has now passed.

Therefore, I’m inviting you to journey on planning a restful retreat one step at a time, easy does it, no stress, more rest! If you like, please join in and carve out your own little pockets of rest this month. xx

woman in white tank top lying on gray bed
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Revisiting Rest…

I had a pretty great start to the year with a successful and productive January. However, February so far has seen me feeling not quite my best, and struggling a bit with it.

In January I managed to re-establish a work routine, keep in touch with my family, blog consistently, exercise, meal-prep healthy meals, get back into reading regularly, meet up with friends, go to live music events, go out to dinner, persevere with spiritual pursuits and maintain my home.

The first day of February was pretty great too, despite me feeling a bit drained and tired. I saw a good friend and her baby, after 7 months, so it was a lovely time to catch up and get lots of cuddles from the little one. I know it’s only 5th February, but I have been feeling a bit out of sorts since then, and trying to re-establish some kind of balance.

Initially feeling physically drained and tired, I was unable to keep up with all of the things around the house I wanted to do, which in itself I find a bit frustrating. Added to that I just haven’t had the energy to keep up with healthy habits such as meal prep and exercise, and shopping for healthy food. Oh how nice it would be to have another pair of hands to help out with all the day to day things in life, but I live alone and have to take responsibility for myself. On top of this I’ve been experiencing dizzy spells again, fatigue, restless and sometimes sleepless nights or nights of disturbed sleep, fever, cough / cold and shivers.

My body and mind need a rest, and yet there is so much to do that just isn’t getting done.

I usually like to ‘theme’ my months. It looks like February’s theme requires to be around revisiting rest. Physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally, the signs are there that I am in need of refreshing.

It isn’t quite what I would have had in mind for this month, but needs must, and if we don’t have our health and wellbeing then we can’t fully enjoy what we do have.

Sometimes our bodies and minds let us down be it in big ways or just the smaller frustrations of life and we need to listen to them when they tell us to rest.

And so for February I will be revisiting the idea and theme of rest, in the hope of finding some rejuvenation in the process. Perhaps it will be small steps, but hopefully we will mutually find some encouragement along this journey.

Do you ever try to set a theme for your months or weeks? If so, what is February looking like for you? x

orange cat sleeping on white bed
Photo by Александар Цветановић on Pexels.com

Boxing Day ~ A day of rest, reflection and play.

I wonder if you share a similar fondness as I have for ‘boxing day’, the day after Christmas?

Many of us have spent the preceding days or weeks in preparation in various ways. For some of us, we have been preparing ourselves spiritually by contemplating the fulfilment of thousands of years of prophecy in the Birth of Jesus Christ, and what this means for humanity and for our own lives. We may have spent time during the Advent season exploring scripture and praying and meditating upon these great Truths that changed the course of human history, and continue to do so.

I imagine, however, that the vast majority of people in a broadly commercial and secular world have been busy with the things that the Christmas and holiday season brings with it such as Christmas meals or get-togethers with work colleagues, friends, acquaintances; tying up loose ends at work; buying presents; decorating our homes; visiting family; shopping, cooking and all sorts of other festivities.

Christmas day has come and gone for another year (and yet the true meaning and significance of Christ~mas is eternal), and perhaps you have had a good day, or maybe it was stressful and challenging.

I wonder if you breathe a sigh of relief as we enter into boxing day, a day where you can rest, knowing that the preparations are done, and you have time before ‘normal’ life sets in again to rest and enjoy.

Boxing Day:

According to Google, ‘boxing day’ as a term originates as follows:

“The Oxford English Dictionary gives the earliest attestations from Britain in the 1830s, defining it as “the first weekday after Christmas day, observed as a holiday on which postmen, errand boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas box”.”

Commercialism:

I used to think that it was so called because it was traditionally when people opened their Christmas presents or boxes. It is nice to discover that it was in fact a day of giving to others for their service as postmen and errand boys, etc.

Today it seems that ‘Boxing Day’ is synonymous with ‘sales’ and shopping, and this is quite unfortunate.

Avoiding the Shops and Sales, for a day of Reflection, Rest and Play:

I’m not sure about you, but I personally like to avoid the ‘madness’ of people rushing after so called ‘bargains’, pushing past each other to get to the ‘boxing day sales’, or spending a lot of money online searching for the next material thing that we and our loved ones probably don’t even need.

It is nice after Christmas to take some time to relax, rest, play and enjoy what we already have, what we have been given, what we truly are celebrating, and to be present with the people we care about and love if this is possible. Even if we are on our own, we can take that time to think, to enjoy, to be grateful, rather than to be greedy.

A sigh of relief:

So as you embark upon the 26th December, what does this day hold in store for you? Will you rush on to the next material thing, or will you take time to slow down, rest, recharge and enjoy and be grateful?

Personally, I’ve spent the morning with my family, praying on my own, and am now snuggled up in a blanket as I type. I have no intention of hitting the shops, but of enjoying the simple things today, resting in the Light that I have been celebrating, and being thankful for the rest and blessings after a busy season.

I hope you are able to put your feet up and enjoy some quiet time today too.

photo of two brown wrapped gifts on wooden table
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

A Mental Health Winter Survival Guide – Quick Tips for those tough days (9).

Sleep it off: sometimes we really need the chance to rest our bodies and our minds. If you have tried the other tips, maybe you could try to get some sleep. Make sure that you have eaten well and maybe have a warm drink and then giver yourself some rest and the chance to heal.

close up photography of woman sleeping
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Winter Survival Guide (13) ~ Sleep well.

During those holiday days when you may not have the structure of your usual routine, it can be easy to fall into bad sleep patterns. That’s not to say you can’t stay up late, but just over all make sure that you are getting the right amount of sleep for your wellbeing, I think between 7 to 8 hours a night is recommended. Try not to oversleep or deprive yourself of sleep, and if you need to nap during the day from time to time, then perhaps the winter ‘hibernation’ and holiday period affords a good opportunity for you to catch up on your rest and recharge your body and mind.

Keep everything in balance as much as you can. You might have a lot of events to attend to (or you may not) such as family gatherings, work nights out, meeting up with friends, or maybe travel as well. Be careful not to overstretch yourself while you try to make the most of your time, and be mindful of how important good sleep is for your overall health and wellbeing.

Rest well. 🙂

closeup photography of adult short coated tan and white dog sleeping on gray textile at daytime
Photo by Christian Domingues on Pexels.com