Sorry for the bad spring pun, but there’s no better time to help each other to feel a little more inspired, motivated, cheered, relaxed… you name it, we’re here to help. With the news changing all the time and modern technology sometimes giving us a little bit of an overload of information at times, we wanted to share the ways we like to unwind, have fun or just refresh our motivation in this modern day.
So, here’s our top tips from the CT team to keep you going, whether you need to de-stress, or are stuck at home, or are just looking for some fun new ideas.
Try a meditation/mindfulness app
You might have heard of apps like Calm or Headspace and decided they weren’t for you, but it’s never been a better time to give them a go. All it does is give you a structured way to learn and practice meditation, breathing exercises, and mindfulness. It’s more important than ever to find time to be relaxed, in the moment and to sleep well, and apps like Calm and Headspace really help you to manage this.
This suggestion comes from Lola, our Client Development Executive: “I love using Headspace, it just helps you to switch off when you’re feeling anxious.”
Got more free time at home? Get imaginative with your cooking
Like many of us now, you might be working from home a lot – possibly for the first time! It can take some time to adjust, but the zero-minute commute time is a definite win. With the freed up time for your evening, you can give yourself the time to cook a homemade dinner and experiment with new recipes. This can really help to relax and clear your mind after a day of working at home, helping to round off your work day and even turn your ‘home office’ back into a relaxing zone.
Our Client Director Martha loves leafing through Anna Jones‘ cookbooks for new and nutritious recipe ideas: “She has great options for batch cooking to keep you stocked up, and her recipes use a lot of store cupboard ingredients that make it so much easier when you don’t want to be out and about much.”
Stretch your legs
Our Client Services Manager Lily recommends staying active to keep spirits and motivation up: “In the words of Curtis Mayfield, keep ‘Mov(ing) on up’ whilst you’re at home. Your mood can be heavily impacted by lack of movement so keeping active in your house or garden will help keep you feeling fresh and reduce anxiety. Check out YouTube for mobility or non-equipment work outs and pop on your fave playlist – even if it’s for a dance round your kitchen whilst you make a cuppa.”
Pick up a book
Sorry to sound like a hassling parent, but there’s so many distractions around that it’s a fair reminder to add! Put aside any distractions and choose a book to read – particularly before bedtime to help unwind and mediate any troubles. Customer Thermometer’s CEO Jim has a recommendation if you need one – “The Rivers of London series of books by Ben Aaronovitch. He used to write for Dr Who so the books are snappy and exciting with some great and daft stories. Good to easily get lost in for a few hours.”
It can be hard to find the time in this technological era, but when you’re travelling, on lunch, just finished work, heading to bed, whenever it might be – why not try and find an hour to read a chapter?
Find a new favorite series
There’s no harm in finding a new series to tune into – if it’s fun and helps you to unwind after a busy day, it’s worth it.
Account Director Andy recommends The Mandalorian if you’re short of recommendations: “It’s a Star Wars TV series made by Disney – much better than the films they made! Without sounding like a massive softy, the best part about it has to be Baby Yoda. It’s absolutely adorable. But really, I should say the fight scenes and action…”
Listen to a feel-good playlist
Okay, it’s simple, but always worth remembering if you’re feeling a little stressed – listening to a few feel-good songs (and potentially having a small dance party) can help boost your mood. We love the motivation of some upbeat classics, so we decided to share our favorites for you in a playlist here. Try either finding a pre-made playlist you like, or make your own of your favorites and get it playing when you particularly need a boost.
Get creative with your ‘gym’
Dan, our Software Developer, swears by the Nike Training app: “it’s great to have loads of workouts that you can do at home, without expensive gym equipment.”
With gyms being less available at the moment, it might be time to get creative and try an at-home workout, if you haven’t already. Particularly if you’re working from home and aren’t walking as far, having the structure of an app or a workout video to guide you through a workout can be just as effective as the real deal. There are even workouts for when you’re at your desk, so there’s plenty of flexibility with it!
Be silly with your kids!
It can be hard for children to understand these uncertain times that we are faced with and naturally they will feel worried. Being silly is a welcome distraction in our house and a great way to connect and feel good. Whether it’s a pillow fight, a tickle war, dancing around the kitchen, splashing in muddy puddles, making a camp in the living room or having a water fight, they all help you connect with your kids, have fun, and above all laugh your head off! The perfect ‘feel good’ medicine.
Find new ways to enjoy the daily routine
We’ve discussed the importance of simple routines like cooking a nice meal at a time like this, so we wanted to suggest something that will help with that but also provide a bit of humour too.
Our Marketing Operations Executive, Sophie, is a huge fan of the Bon Appetit magazine and YouTube channel. The videos are filmed in the Test Kitchen in New York, with regular series such as making gourmet versions of candy, and blindfolded taste tests to re-create recipes, along with recipes that are accessible enough to make at home.
“It brings together the best of a cooking show, with reality and comedy mixed in. I find it really soothing to watch as you become familiar with the Test Kitchen team and can interact by making the recipes at home. My favorite episode for any new viewers has to be when Brad and Claire make sourdough.”
Make time for some belly laughs
Speaking of quality YouTube content, we wanted to include something that makes us chuckle. Because of this, next on our list is Bad Lip Reading, a YouTube channel where, well, they do bad lip readings of popular culture. Our Founder, Lindsay, said “I have to be careful not to listen to this very often because it really gets stuck in your head!” These videos make us laugh a lot, so we hope you can do the same with our suggestion or with something similar. Laughter is therapeutic and there’s never been a better time for it!
Get out for a moment and enjoy nature
Okay, so even if it’s not huge fields of green grass a stone’s throw from your workplace or home, it’s worth getting out for a walk in the fresh air. Not only can this help to clear your mind but it’s important when you’re working in the same space all day to recharge. Head of Client Services, Liz: “try to get outside every day and spend some time in a green space. Whether it’s the countryside, a park, or even just walking along a nearby street with some pretty gardens… contact with nature has been shown to reduce stress levels, lift the spirits and improve mental health. The break from your usual daily activities will also help you recharge and stay focussed for the rest of the day.”
Find a screen-less hobby
It can be hard to switch off when the news moves so quickly and phones are always at hand. Because of this, it’s worth trying to find something else you enjoy to relax and avoid screens for a while – be it a book, embroidery, or why not try something simple? Our Finance Co-ordinator, Candy, recommends having a coloring book to hand for switching off in the evenings (there are plenty for ‘grown-ups’): “to relax I color in, I find it so relaxing and it de-stresses me straight away.” You don’t have to be really artistic to do it, and the simplicity of the task means you can switch off when your thoughts are busy.
Have your work set-up ready
Development Lead Andy is always equipped at his desk with a glass of water, and possibly a snack or two. He recommends this as his top tip for getting your head down to work: “It just means you can sit down and focus while also taking care. Drinking lots will also give you a natural break in your work to stretch your legs and move around.”
We know that drinking lots of water is good for us for a number of reasons, but helping to concentrate while working is a pretty key one for this. Get yourself a nice big glass/flask and keep it topped up – there are even those that help you to keep tabs of how many you’ve drunk, so you can set a challenge to have a certain amount in a day.
Do what’s best for you
It’s been uncertain and unsettled times in the world recently, but we hope this has helped you to feel a little more inspired as to ways to look after yourself and others. The most important tip is to do what’s best for you, and hopefully some of that will echo what we suggested above. From the CT team, take care!