As far as things go, I think it’s safe to say that 2020 (so far) hasn’t gone to plan for anyone. Each day over the past few weeks has brought worry, uncertainty or sadness (sometimes all three), and I don’t think there’s one person in the modern world (or otherwise) who hasn’t been affected.
But, as always, I think we have to try to be positive once in a while throughout this crisis – even if it’s only for a fleeting moment. Many of us have found being positive harder than ever or, at times, impossible.
I won’t try to speak for everyone because we’re all dealing with this in the best way that works for ourselves but, for me, I’ve had to work extra hard at finding the good things in every day and to keep myself going so I don’t become one with my duvet and stay in bed until this all passes.
So, I’ve found a few things that make me happy. As much as I love FaceTime calls with my friends and all of the extra time George and I have together (hey, babe!), these are things that are just for me. They allow me to get outside of my own head for a little while so I can come back feeling a little bit lighter and a little bit happier.
These are by no means ground-breaking things, in fact, they’re pretty simple, but I think that sometimes happiness comes in the simplest form.
1. Friends and Schitt’s Creek
Ah Friends, is there anything it can’t fix? I’ve been making full use of all 10 seasons being on Netflix and finding it funnier than ever. While I can’t deal with intense or scary content at the best of times, now more than ever I really need whatever I’m watching to be funny and lighthearted. No baddies, no murder, no ‘what’s going to happen next?’. Just pure happiness, please.
Schitt’s Creek matches this criteria perfectly – maybe even more so than Friends. Yes, I said it. If you haven’t watched it yet, prepare to fall in love with the Rose family and the whole of the town. If a cup of hot chocolate was a TV programme, it would be Schitt’s Creek.
2. Home workouts (shock horror)
Let me preface this by saying I was never one for regular exercise. Yeah, I’d join the gym for a few months every so often, but I could never stick with it. Last September, however, I started doing small group personal training classes and I haven’t looked back. Until the COVID19 crisis began, I was going to classes twice a week, every week and I really enjoyed it. Some weeks were harder than others, of course, but I went purely for how good I know it is for my mental health – even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time.
So, when the gym shut down a few weeks ago (like every other gym in the country), I knew I had to do something else – and that it would be more important than ever for my headspace. I’ve gone on a walk of some sort every day since I started working from home (within the 2km radius, recently), and whenever I feel like it (once or twice a week), I’ll do a home workout. I’ve tried this one and this one by MadFit, and this one by Alice Liveing. They’re not so hard that I hate every second, but hard enough to get your heart rate up. Plus, you only need a yoga mat or a towel.
3. Learning calligraphy
When I found out a few weeks ago that I’d be working from home for the foreseeable future, I knew I’d have to find something creative to do to keep my mind busy. As much as I love Netflix and reading (more to come on that), I wanted to try something new too.
I ordered this modern calligraphy workbook on Amazon, and this brush pen, and it arrived about two weeks ago. While I haven’t gotten very far in it yet, it’s been really enjoyable learning how to do something new, but it’s not so hard that it feels impossible. Plus, maybe I might even be able to make my own ‘thank you’ cards with my new skill one day!
4. Reading before I go to sleep
I posted on Instagram a few weeks ago that I’ve been having terrible nightmares recently. They leave me feeling totally exhausted and pretty much off for the rest of the day. While they haven’t completely stopped, I realised that going on my phone right up until I go to sleep probably doesn’t help, so I dug out my Kindle and searched for a happy, easy peasy book to read.
For me, now isn’t the time for the latest Man Booker Prize-winning novel. Now is the time for kooky characters, small towns and small but enthralling plot twists. I’m currently reading The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary and it fits the bill perfectly. It’s written in a similar way to the Confessions of a Shopaholic series, so if you loved that, it’s likely that you’ll love this. It’s a marshmallow of a book, if you will.
Of course I had to mention baking, no? Banana bread is the new must-have accessory – and for good reason. You can’t really go on your phone while you’re baking and, in the end, you have something delicious to eat. Again, I don’t like things to be too complicated or difficult when it comes to baking. Like watching Friends and Schitt’s Creek, all I have the capacity for baking right now are recipes that can’t really go wrong.
I’ve made Becky’s banana bread, James’s flapjacks and chocolate chip cookies from the Deliciously Ella app and, man, they’re all delicious. If something has five ingredients or less, it’s a winner before I’ve even made it.
And there you have it: the five small things that have made me happy while social-distancing. You’ve probably tried a few of these things yourself, but hopefully there’s one or two recommendations in there for you to try out.
Thanks for reading, stay safe and be gentle with yourself. Now, I’m off to eat some flapjacks.