Lee Jones is one of our founding members of the Cat's Pajamas Collaborative - in fact she was the first founding member! So pleased to publish Lee's follow up to her last blog that we published as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.
I spoke in my last blog about my intention to slow down and spend time on the things I valued most. I hadn’t bargained on a global pandemic getting in the way, but now I’m not the only one focussing on a change of pace.
The lockdown has also generated a different sense of community, particularly online, as people are adapting how they deliver their businesses and engage with their customers, as well sharing their knowledge and skills to help others get through these strange times.
I’ve taken and embraced as many opportunities as I can – all aligned with my values – and have learnt so much, found new interests and built new connections. Here are some the things that have been keeping me going during lockdown…
Health and fitness
Whatever your fitness preference – armchair stretches to intensive HITT sessions – there is so much choice on offer at the moment. Daily live classes on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Zoom. Recorded workouts. Free, donation or fee based. There is something to suit everybody.
In addition to getting outside for regular walks, I’ve built a weekly schedule of online classes. My gym has created a whole new virtual timetable. And some of my IRL teachers are doing regular live sessions. It has allowed me to try new things and through the live classes I can still feel connected with others.
A quick search online and the choice is endless. Check out what your local fitness centres and teachers are offering. I am particularly enjoying Psycle’s daily Instagram live classes, Viloma Yoga is my sanctuary with twice weekly Zoom classes and fortnightly free meditations on her Facebook page, and Pilates and Yoga with Jade has a great range of YouTube videos and does regular Pilates HIIT circuits on Instagram.
There are several well-known apps available if you are interested in practicing or learning more about meditation and mindfulness; Headspace, Calm, Just Breathe to name a few. They have a range of free content – including regular Instagram and Facebook live sessions and Q&As - and some are offering discount subscriptions to keyworkers.
I’ve been loving Jasmine Hemsley’s content, which has ranged from weekly sound baths to discussions with health and wellbeing experts from all around the world.
Lots of people have been putting content online – from museums who are providing virtual tours and talks whilst their doors are closed (I’m really enjoying content from V&A), to local business owners who are helping people to cut their own hair, do their own beauty treatments or tackle those DIY jobs that can no longer be avoided.
In the past few weeks I’ve taken a few short online courses – learning about new topics of interest and brushing up on my existing skills and knowledge. FutureLearn is a favourite, with thousands of free courses from universities across the globe. New Skills Academy and SkillShare are both great resources as well.
Sewing, knitting, baking are all things I like to do to switch off, but I never seem to have enough time. During lockdown I’ve been able to dust off my needles and pick up those unfinished projects.
Lockdown has offered people the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill or reignite a passion for an old hobby. The great thing about the crafting community is that there is a lot support and sharing of skills. YouTube is a haven of tutorials for any technical snag you might encounter. There are websites such as bluprint that are offering discount and free courses during this time. I’ve been enjoying Sew Over It’s live sew-a-longs, and if you missed it Kirsty Allsopp had a great show on Channel 4 (available to watch again) providing lots of crafty inspo.
My AirPods have definitely earnt their keep over recent weeks as I have developed a new soundtrack to accompany my days.
I’m a big fan of the old Spotify playlist; not only can you curate your own, but you can follow others (thank you Dishoom for providing the tunes for my cocktail hour!) and get recommendations to discover new music based on your listening preferences. And for a social media mash-up, I highly recommend Tim Burgess’ listening parties on Twitter for a trip down memory lane.
Then there is the world of podcasts – whether it’s a tv-show spin-off, bored comedians chatting to each other, real crimes being reinvestigated, international thought leaders providing insights into big topics, or small businesses sharing their skills and expertise – there is a podcast for every topic. I’ve got a long list of podcasts I follow, but I’m particularly enjoying The Quiet Life and, of course, Cat’s PJ’s own podcast.
So, my life at the moment might be slower, but it is definitely brighter and more entertaining (as much as it can be whilst I can’t see family and friends). This list is the tip of the iceberg for what is out there, and I love exploring to see what else I can find. Let me know your recommendations and what else you’ve been doing during lockdown to stay balanced.
If you want to connect with Lee you can follow her on Twitter via @leecjones