Before last march, I only ever associated the word ‘lockdown’ with an old Kanye West song. Fast-forward a few months and these two words combined in one, having become the only reality that we know. Despite the fear of the unknown, when the first lockdown began, there was a bit of an excitement to the whole pressing pause and staying at home malarkey.
We excitedly sat in front of our laptops with a glass of wine in hand, going through countless Zoom quizzes, virtual birthday parties and escape room challenges. We made ambitious lists of things we wanted to achieve with all this extra time at home. But now, nearly a year later, the novelty of all the virtual gatherings has worn out, and most of us have long given up of those lockdown upskilling plans.
So, this (hopefully) last lockdown is all about finding inner peace. We have all been affected in one way or another but there are always ways to find your calm. Next time you find yourself aimlessly wandering around the house, try one of these pick-me-up suggestions.
If there was one thing that we learned during the first lockdown, that is the abundance of at-home activities that you can do. Pottery should always be on your list. I recently got myself the Sculpd beginners pottery kit which brought me more joy than I expected.
The kit arrives with all the tools that you need, two pack of air-dry clay, paints and the glossy varnish which gives your pottery the water-resistant finish. There is something really calming about modelling the clay. It is sort of like an adult’s version of Play-Doh, except you can actually use the things that you’ve made. After all, we can all do with an extra plant pot, vase or even a mug. You can go for any shape or form that you like and let your imagination run wild. The clay is your canvas.
Drawing with watercolour pencils
Speaking of canvases, I couldn’t miss my all-time-favourite activity – drawing. Though this time, I am specifically referring to drawing with water-based pencils. There was a surge in purchases of those ‘colour by numbers’ paintings during the first lockdown, and whilst they are just fine, I find them very creatively restrictive, so I recently started using watercolour pencils. The beauty of these pencils is that whatever you draw – good or bad – it can completely improve just with a splash of water. You can find these in your local WHSmith.
Upcycle some furniture
Everyone loves a bit of DIY around the house. Whether you have an old stool, or a whole kitchen cabinet, now is the best time to get your hands dirty.
In recent years, upcycling has become a huge trend influenced by the growing number of interior designers doing DYI videos online. We all know that it looks easier that it actually is, but even so, stripping the colour off an old cupboard with a few after work sanding sessions, can be much more relaxing than you think!
Start a journal
Dear diary, today I woke up at 8:45am, brushed my teeth, walked to my desk with a blanket around my shoulders, opened my laptop, and the rest is history.
Yes, journaling, or keeping a diary, doesn’t sound so exciting but writing down your thoughts and affirmations can have a positive impact on your mental health. It also helps you keep a structure to your days so that they don’t all become one big blur of a never-ending lockdown.
Companies such as Papier sell wellness journals which split the pages into health-related sections such as self-care time, meal prep, and even water intake.
Plant some herbs
It is no secret that best time for planting anything is spring, but there are lots of herbs that can be planted all-year-round.
You don’t need to be a pro gardener to pot a few seeds but once you see the green stems showing up, it’ll bring you that warm sense of accomplishment. Most herbs that we use in our daily cooking such as basil, parsley, coriander, thyme, rosemary, mint (hello winter mojitos!), are easy to plant and keep alive.
Depending on which seed you pick all you’ll need is small pots (12 – 15cm tall), all-purpose compost and enough space on the windowsill. You can pick up your herb seeds from your local garden nursery or online and for tips on indoor gardening, you can check out The Capsule.
Top tip: If you love spring onions, next time that you use them, cut off the ends of the bulb and put the remaining bulb with the roots in a small jar with water. Put in a well-lit area and keep topping up the water. In a few days green shoots will start to emerge. You can then replant it in a pot or keep in the water and cut the green tips once they have grown enough.
Make your own bath bombs
As I mentioned already, lockdown 3.0 is all about relaxation, and what a better way to relax than a bath?
Up your game and add one more at-home activity to your list by making your own bath bombs. The main ingredients you’ll need are baking soda, citric acid, Epsom salt and corn starch. Most of these can be found in your local shop or pharmacy. For the aroma part you can add any essential oils of choice – lavender for good sleep; chamomile for calm; peppermint for an energy boost, or rose for reducing anxiety. Find full DIY bath bomb recipes at The Soap Kitchen.
Top tip: If you want to bathe in milk like Cleopatra but want to do it in a millennial-vegan-esque way, then fill a small cotton bag with oats, then leave in to soak in the lukewarm water for 10 to 15 minutes. Oats are known their benefits on skin such as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
What else can you do?
There are many ways to find your calm, you just need to figure out what works for you. I often try and spend my Sundays baking something new. Last weekend I discovered the beauty of puff pastry. I used half of it for homemade sausage rolls, and the other half for raspberry cream-filled horns. Lots of people choose meditation and yoga to help ease anxiety. Other people find pantry reorganising very relaxing because sometimes the feeling of conquering even one small part of your life can bring you the endorphin boost that you need.