Let’s start with a question. How are you doing? I bet that these times are difficult for you. They are difficult for many of us. Maybe you’re a student struggling to stay motivated and feel lonely because you can’t socialise or even go to see your family. Maybe you’re like me, a graduate trying to get your foot into the world of full-time working people. Perhaps you were furloughed at work or made redundant, and now you feel lost. Maybe you’re on maternity leave, not able to show your small baby to your family and friends. It is all very tough and depressing, isn’t it? I won’t pretend that I can imagine what you’re going through, but I can at least try to bring you a few tips on how to keep yourself sane. What keeps me sane during these difficult times? I listen to the online content by my church, but I also have a few tips that could be helpful for everyone. I know this article isn’t all about books, but I felt like this kind of reading could actually help some of my readers. How about we dive right into it?
1. Explore different worlds with books and audiobooks
Books have always been my favourite escape from reality. If you’re planning to buy new books, try to take a look at indie publishers. Bearded Badger Publishing Company (my friend Paul set up the publishing house this year and is sending out the first book Seven Nights at the Flamingo Hotel by Drew Gummerson this month!), And Other Stories (great selection of translated literature and more, I have Theft by Luke Brown waiting for me on my ebook reader), Bluemoose Books (I can recommend Saving Lucia by Anna Vaught, and I’m planning to get Leonard and Hungry Paul by Rónán Hession), Galley Beggar Press (I’ve been wanting to read Patience by Toby Litt and Lucia by Alex Pheby for the longest time) – this is just a few examples of publishers that deserve all the love in these difficult times. But there are so many more publishers who need your support!
Some of the books I enjoyed reading:
- Markus Zusak – The Book Thief
- Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
- Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice
- Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman – Good Omens
- Milan Kundera – The Unbearable Lightness of Being
- Jack Kerouac – On the Road
- Haruki Murakami – Kafka on the Shore
- Jordan B. Peterson – 12 Rules of Life
- Jon Krakauer – Into the Wild
My favourite audiobooks this year:
- Matthew Walker – Why We Sleep
- Susan Cain – Quiet
The most beautiful magazine I started reading this year:
And I promise that other points won’t be this long.
2. Get to know yourself better by journaling
Journaling is such a calming thing to do. I find it beautiful that everyone gives their journal a different purpose. You can write about what’s happening in your life. Or you can just devote your journal to what you’re grateful for. If you’re more of an artsy person, you can set up an art journal and get carried away. The most important thing is not to feel pressured. It’s your journal and your rules, so set yourself free.
3. Show off your skills with fun crafts
Are you planning on making some handmade Christmas gifts this year? I don’t consider myself being a crafty person. However, I’ve always enjoyed origami, and I began to learn how to knit. Whether it’s drawing, embroidery, knitting or some other crafts you want to learn, I’m sure you’ll find many free tutorials online. However, if you’re going to make your friends and family happy with some handmade presents, all that matters is all the love into making it, no matter if it’s a poem, a picture or your first handmade hat.
4. Learn something new and move forward
Every day is a good day to learn something new, isn’t it? A few months ago, I took my first online class, and I fell in love with it. I use Skillshare; however, you can find many free online learning platforms. Do you want to improve your writing, drawing, social media skills or broaden your marketing knowledge? Now is the right time!
5. Exercise and move your body
I’ve never been a sports person, but honestly, now that I work out six times a week, it always is my favourite part of the day. It makes me calm, happy, and at least for a moment, I forget about all my worries. You don’t need to go to the gym to have a good workout as there are many great videos on YouTube. Or you can always go for a walk. You can go to the park nearby or just explore your town or city.
My workout guru on YouTube: Heather Robertson
6. Find out what’s going on in the world with podcasts
If you’re not in a mood for reading the news or a book, or when you feel lonely, listening to a podcast is a great thing to do. You can choose from many different genres, depending on whether you want to learn something, laugh or just relax.
7. Let meditation and yoga take your worries away
Sometimes, all we need is to relax and let go. Let go of all the worries and stress. Find your balance and find yourself. The Internet is full of guided meditations. Depending on your intention, you can choose a yoga video to follow on YouTube. There are plenty of them, and I’m sure you’ll find the right one for you, whether you’re a beginner or more advanced.
My favourite yoga YouTube channel: Yoga with Adriene
8. Dance and sing in the kitchen while cooking (or baking) the most delicious meal
During the first lockdown, everyone was making banana bread. What will it be now? Sourdough bread? Maybe. But don’t get carried away with trends. The Internet is full of wonderful recipes you can try out. Or perhaps it’s time to take out the collection of family recipes and let the familiar tastes and smells bring you back in time. And while you’re cooking, there’s nothing better than listening to a fun playlist and dancing around.
9. Call your friends and family
As someone who lives approximately 1,600 km from her family, phone and laptop are the most common ways of how I connect with them. These calls to my parents have become our daily ritual, and seeing their faces always makes my day, no matter how bad my mood gets. I really believe that when you feel down, hearing the voice of someone you know, can make your mood much better. Or at least it will make you feel less lonely. I’m hoping that most people will be able to spend Christmas with their families this year. And I really hope that all of you will be this lucky.
10. Snuggle up with a comfy blanket, a cup of tea and watch your favourite movie
Getting comfy with a hot drink and something to watch is one of my favourite things, no matter if it’s a movie, TV show or some YouTube video. Below, there’s a list of all the movies, TV shows and YouTube channels I currently love, so I hope that you’ll find there some inspiration. And what tea should you get? My favourite one is now Chamomile, vanilla and manuka honey from Pukka Herbs. Hands down the only tea that calms me down and makes me sleep like a little baby.
Films I watch over and over again:
- Into the Wild
- Pride and Prejudice
- The Intouchables
- all Harry Potter movies
- Jerry Maguire
- The Polar Express
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- The Holiday
- Love, Actually
Comfort TV shows I can’t get enough of:
- Gilmore Girls
- Doctor Who
- Pride and Prejudice
- The Big Bang Theory
YouTube channels I’m currently obsessed with:
- Flying The Nest – the best travel channel, now spicing the content up with their adorable baby Hunter
- Kutovakika – a brilliant content on creative selfportraits, Kika has recently started to make more personal videos as well
- Nika Nikita
- Nathaniel Drew and No Backup Plan
I know that this is one of the longer articles, but to be honest, I loved writing it. Hopefully, I gave you some new ideas on what to do at home in these uncertain and lonely times. I also believe you’ll enjoy all the resources linked in the article. I don’t work with any of those brands, companies or channels, so it really is based on my personal preferences, and I genuinely love everything I shared.
Hope you’re all well and healthy.