Create Your Toolkit

Breathing, cleaning, dancing… drumming, gardening, reading… talking, writing. These activities help in feeling relaxed yet aware. When things are overwhelming, I do some of these and it helps. They are part of my toolkit. Awareness springs from these actions, that we are all united and playing to our strengths makes an impact.

We all currently have more time to fill, because there are other things we’re unable to do at the moment. Moving through a task list calmly is easier with some of these activities sprinkled across the week. Approach your own list of toolkit items and see them as mini breaks. Many of us have cancelled plans. Enjoy them in other forms:

  • 10 seconds of slow breathing each time you feel tense
  • 1 minute of stillness staring at a tree when you feel sad
  • 2 minutes of making a drink and absorbing the senses to comfort you
  • 3 minutes sending a text to share a joke/memory
  • 5 minutes in a very warm then cool shower to revive your body and senses
  • 10 minutes of rest laying down or seated in a spot of your choice
  • 15 minutes chatting/video chatting on the phone
  • 20 minutes writing a letter to a local neighbour/friend and walking to deliver it
  • 30 minutes timed clean-up around house with other members to music
  • 40 minutes baking/cooking a meal from a recipe book together
  • 60 minutes listening to music or playing an instrument
  • 80 minutes exploring a website or You Tube channel as a “holiday” travelling around a museum, art gallery, island or city.
  • 90 minutes for a film, documentary or episodes that entertain / engage the mind
  • 2 hours reading a book, practising a language or listening to a memoir
  • 3 hour chunk of focus time applied to a creative project or hobby on a weekend (scrapbooking, yoga, creating photo albums digitally you can gift later on this year, learning new recipes, telling jokes at the dinner table, washi taping your photos or cut-outs from magazines onto walls, dancing etc)

These actions allow the craving for peace, quiet or space we all need, or enable that restless feeling (caused by stress and uncertainty) to have a container through which to channel it. You can double up on them. Listen to podcasts while cooking. Shower yourself with compliments (not just water) in the shower. Whistle with the birds, make paper chains or vision boards out of old newspapers / journals.

With charity shops among the closures at present, decluttering is a good use of time, though only so much can be gathered in your space for donation; once you’ve decided it doesn’t belong. Rummage for things in decent condition to gift family and friends that are local or you may be dropping essentials to. Use Thursday’s Clap for Carers to ask neighbours if they would appreciate something.

Circulating these small items may bring welcome distraction. I’m not advocating people shove junk through other people’s letterboxes. The odd magazine or crossword book may be welcome. Anyone with photo duplicates can use them as postcards. Scribble a note and use your daily walk to drop it through a local relative’s or friend’s door.

A carrier bag cut up in 4 will wrap 4 paperbacks well. The plastic is easy to write on and old messages can be scribbled out; so the plastic can be re-used several times. It also makes good packing material in draught excluders. Shredding or organising paperwork to a movie or knitting / sewing for hospitals to produce scrubs or blankets are useful.

All these things maintain a rhythm, give purpose and reduce stress. These activities and others like them shift the brain into alpha state; a slower electrical current of 7-14 cycles per second. This wash of slower current is good for health. Decision-making, focus and mood are all improved by them. Items needed can be placed in a bag, drawer or trug; so that you can reach for them when needed.

Ideas for Your Toolkit: Immerse yourself in ART, draw or exercise. Do some CREATIVE RE-PURPOSING or retreat (virtually) into the WOODS & HILLS. Journal, dance or simply BREATHE… then make SOUP – because kindness includes you 🙂



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