This year I’ve thoroughly embraced the simple life and it’s stopped me going mad! There’s no telling what might have happened otherwise.
- By doing more seasonal, plant-based cooking I’ve felt a greater connection to the planet and feel much healthier
- I’ve taken every opportunity to get outside, breathe, and feel immense joy by being surrounded by nature
- I’ve carved out time for crafty, creative pursuits, giving my brain chance to reboot
All these things help me persevere with work and be more productive, and I feel healthier and more positive about life because of it.
As Christmas busyness threatens to take over (or we’re all fed up because we’re still in lockdown or a strict tier system), read on for ideas how you can stay sane in a mad world…
1. Cook seasonal plant-based meals
Although I’m not vegan, or even vegetarian, I do love my fruit and veggies. So I’ve started including more plant-based foods in my diet. Fruit and veg is especially tasty and full of goodness when you eat it in season, and I’m loving all the new recipes – like this one.
By choosing organic from local suppliers you’ll also be looking after our planet. Think fewer cows farting and more wheat blowing in the breeze. Simply, when you eat more plants and less meat, you’ll help reduce the amount of climate-changing gases in the atmosphere. Currently 14.5% are from meat and dairy production.
- supports your immune system
- reduces inflammation
- helps you maintain a healthy weight
- the extra fibre improves the health of your gut
I especially enjoy the variety of colours and textures of ‘plants’ and when you eat the rainbow, you’ll get most of the nutrients you need. By eating a little high quality meat and dairy too I manage to get the full whack.
So how does this keep me sane? Well, by eating more plants, and less and better meat and dairy, I’ve got so much more energy and feel healthier. It’s also incredibly satisfying knowing I’m helping the Earth breathe again.
2. Get outside and enjoy nature
I’ve shared before some of the things I love doing outside: mindful photography, forest bathing, mountain walking to name a few. But the best thing? You don’t have to spend any money to enjoy it! Just sling on your coat and some sensible shoes, go for a walk (or sit) and breathe. There’s nothing like inhaling the scent of a pine forest after fresh rainfall or soaking up the earthy aroma of leaf litter. Try watching the birds flit about in the morning sunshine while a cool wind brushes your cheeks and clouds scud across the sky. What joy!
There’s no doubt about it, nature is good for you.
A growing body of research shows it can reduce stress and promote healing, improve your mood, promote calm and reduce feelings of isolation. And to reap the benefits all you need to do is spend at least 120 minutes in nature every week. If you’re pushed for time try netwalking or using your walk to do some creative thinking.
3. Make time for crafty, creative pursuits
When the nights draw in, strangely I quite like it. There’s time to relax and settle down to crafty pursuits without feeling the incessant pull of the outdoors. It’s easier to sit still and focus and it’s good for your mental health.
Right now I’m making pom-pom Santa decorations and Christmas cards, but anything that takes a bit of effort, involves multisensory engagement and repetitive actions can give your brain time out from the daily grind. It could be knitting, pottery, painting, whatever, but if you can be mindful about your crafting, even better. Most crafts can engage your senses fully, keeping you in the present moment, which is a healthy distraction from other stresses in your life.
Crafting certainly gives my brain time to unwind. So much that I’m more able to sleep after a crafting session. It’s quite meditative and calming, and there’s something about repetition, so I’ll often use it as part of my relaxation routine before bed. And we all know how a sleepless night can drive you insane. I’m having none of that thank you!
To stay sane in our mad world, enjoying the simple things is key. As Robert Brault says, “If you can’t enjoy the little things, one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.” And if your wellbeing isn’t a big thing, what is?
By simplifying your life you can stay sane at home and at work.
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