Nudge nudge

Earlier this week I ventured out on the roads, the first time in the car in 9 weeks. It was strange to be driving again.

I think this must have been the longest period in my life I haven’t driven. Have to admit I was a bit nervous about setting off. But as soon as I started the engine everything clicked back into place.

I haven’t run in 9 weeks. I was supposed to be running 8 half marathons this year. That is well and truly out the window now! But driving again has given me a little nudge to get back out there. So tomorrow I’m going to venture out for a run, nothing major. And then the next day a longer run…

This is change management in action. Sometimes a little nudge is all that’s needed and things start to fall into place like dominoes.

Btw. Car started first time. That’s Volvo build quality for you. A mechanic friend has advised me to run the engine and take it for a spin every so often. A good tip; never know where it will lead.

Stay safe. Stay active.

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Let’s get baking

Before lockdown part of my weekend routine would be to go to a local garden centre in Maidenhead called Stubbings for a mooch around the plants and have tea and cake.

The star baker there is Trudie. She makes amazing cakes. Over time we got chatting about baking. In February Trudie gave me a baking masterclass. It was amazing. I’d found a relaxing new hobby.

Then COVID struck and I never expected what would happen next…

Over the last 8 weeks Trudie has helped me with baking via FaceTime – new recipes, top tips and sourcing ingredients. Victoria sponges, scones, Marmite biscuits, banana and custard loaf were just for starters. This weekend it’s lemon drizzle cake.

It goes without saying that these are challenging times. Having something calming to do to switch off from the world has made a huge difference.

I can really recommend baking. It’s super relaxing. If you ever need any simple starting out recipes please let me know, I’d love to help if I can.

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek2020

Curry night

One of my neighbours made a curry for our street – chicken Kuzhambu and Idli (rice steam cakes) – to raise money for children with autism and sensory needs in the UK and India. She cooked a mass curry in her kitchen and personally delivered them to the street. Wonderful!

Sleep tight

I used to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Not any more.

My brain activity has just been off the charts over the last few weeks. I found it difficult to properly ‘switch off’ and sleep. In the morning it felt like I’d been awake for hours and be shattered.

Sleep is SO important. There’s no magic bullet. I had to improve my sleep process. After trying a few things a mix of these seem to work for me:

☕️ Cut coffee early pm, go to herbal tea
📺 Turn off TV, stay off the Twitter, phone down < 10pm
🧘 Walk / yoga clears Covid cobwebs
🧀 Avoid late night fridge cheese raids
📚 Read an adventure; ‘The Name of the Wind’ is great
🏗 Evening project; I’m building a giant Lego Batmobile which is super relaxing
🛀 Neatly fold the airing cupboard
✍️ Write / draw; working on my 1st stand up comedy routine
🧠 Get Headspace, the 45 min ‘Cat Marina Sleepcast’ is simply wonderful
📔 Keep a sleep diary

These have helped me sleep better. To improve a process keep things simple. See how things work with ‘pain points’. Try out new things and keep track so you can see what works.

Our brains are wired in complex ways, finding a path to relax will be different for all of us. I hope these may help you find calm.

Stay safe. Sleep tight.

sleep tight