Nobody told me there'd be days like these… Strange days indeed

 

- John Lennon

It’s bizarre, looking back at the beginning of 2020 and remembering what we thought the year would be like. What we’d be doing. Where we’d be going. It’s safe to say that none of us thought it would be like this.

This once-a-century occurrence has been profoundly shocking for many of us, me included, and I’m not ashamed to admit that the mix of terrible headlines, upheaval and uncertainty has had me battling anxiety and stress, as I suspect you have been too. 

But I feel I’ve got to a good place and I thought I would share some of the things that have got me here. I’d love to say that I’ve achieved a state of perfect calm at all times, but I’d be lying. I have calm days, and then I have days when I’m rattled. But on the whole I’m going in the right direction, and I hope you are too. If you’re not, here are some things that might help.

Manage your world

We already knew social media and 24-hour news cycles aren’t great for mental health, and this is doubly so when they’re filled with scary stories, opinions (informed or otherwise) and some outright lies. I’ve chosen to limit my news intake, because an overly-sensational story can leave me feeling overwhelmed and helpless, and there’s no benefit for me (or anyone else) if my stress levels are soaring over something I can’t change.

I check the BBC News app once a day (alright, twice), I’ve pruned my Instagram feed. My background stress levels have improved enormously.

CBD

Well I would say this, wouldn’t I? But I’ve found it an enormous help. Stress, Anxiety, Insomnia: these are all affected by the Endocannabinoid system (ECS). And when external factors throw things out of alignment, CBD is a tool that can help restore balance, working directly into your ECS.

And let’s face it: sometimes you just need some me-time. So the sensory indulgence of a good chocolate or the relaxation of a cocktail are more important than ever, and you’ll find ways to enjoy both with CBD in our online shop.

Letting nature do its thing

“Nature itself is the best physician”, said Hippocrates almost two and a half millennia ago, and it’s as true now as it was then. One of the biggest sources of calm I’ve found has been getting closer to nature, wherever and however possible. Whether that’s getting my hands dirty in the flowerbeds, standing still and enjoying the birdsong or just taking the time to notice the aromas and textures of the botanicals we use in our products, it’s made a big difference to my day. And I’ve particularly enjoyed the beautiful, evocative natural images from Grace Alexander.

Keep moving

Mens sana in corpore sano. There’s a wealth of peer–reviewed studies that prove aerobic exercise reduces anxiety, mental fatigue and insomnia. As well as regular Pilates (and a bit of Joe Wicks with my daughter), I love Yoga with Adriene’s wonderful instructional videos and mindfulness advice. Perfect for mind, body and soul.

Healthy eating

I’m a huge fan of Susan Jane White and her “taking the hell out healthy” approach. Her recipes are the perfect mix of clean living and delicious indulgence, and her ‘clever batch’ expertise means you’ll fill your freezer with welcome gifts for your future self!

On a side note: thankfully things have calmed down at the supermarkets, but it gave me a little glimpse of what it must be like to worry about where your next meal is coming from. The wonderful people at City Harvest are currently working 7 days a week to rescue surplus food and get it to the foodbanks, hostels, refuges and other places that help feed London’s hungry. If you’d like to make a donation to help keep their vans on the road, you can do so here.

Creating

Engaging the creative parts of your brain does wonders for the your mental health. For me, things that engage my body in a non-verbal activity – painting and pottery are two favourites – is like a meditation for me. For inspiration, Tortus’s beautifully curated Instagram reminds me of how tactile and alluring clay can be in the hands of an expert…you almost want to reach out and eat it!

This too shall pass

I hope some of these suggestions are useful, however you’re feeling. We won’t be here forever. Remember to breathe, to focus on the moment (don’t borrow sorrow from tomorrow, as they say) and remember the words of E.B. White: "Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day."