Wherever you are in the world, it is very likely that you have been told to stay inside as much as possible in order to stop the spread of the increasingly devastating Coronavirus. It can’t be stressed enough how important social distancing and quarantining are to the health of everyone, but especially the old and vulnerable. Nonetheless, it’s okay to feel down in the dumps, lonely or even bored while doing our civic duty. It’s normal to feel restless. If you, like me, are facing the temptation to re-watch the US Office for the umpteenth time, then I present to you some alternative suggestions!
You’ve heard of adult colouring books, croqueting and other mindfulness trends, but perhaps you are looking for something new to soothe your soul. The Art of Mindful Origami uses 15 origami projects, ranging in difficulty from basic to complex, as tools to develop mindfulness. Origami (折り紙) comes from the Japanese words ori meaning “folding”, and kami meaning “paper” and is the traditional art of using paper-folding techniques to make sculptures. This book by Dr Richard Chambers – clinical psychologist and internationally recognised mindfulness expert – provides gentle instruction, step-by-step diagrams and enriching information on the history of the art. It even comes with quality, patterned origami paper that can be torn out and used. As well as giving you something to do while you’re stuck inside, The Art of Mindful Origami will challenge your artistic skills and give you something to work towards. Why not challenge friends and family to learn along with you? Over Skype of course!
With Spring still daring to happen while we are all being told to stay indoors (or the warmer autumn weather!), lots of people have been spending more time in their gardens. Getting green-fingered while remaining behind the confines of our garden gates is perhaps the perfect way to tackle cabin fever. The Gardener’s Quiz and Puzzle book, written by BBC garden writer Simon Akeroydin in collaboration with puzzle expert Dr Gareth Moore, is the perfect companion for anyone who wants to actively improve their botanical and horticultural knowledge. If you aren’t so green-fingered yourself, but know a parent or grandparent who is, this fun and informative book makes the ideal gift. Lots of elderly people will be protecting themselves and others by staying at home, but none of us are immune to boredom, so why not get them something that will let them know you’re thinking of them.
When was the last time you put pen to paper and simply let yourself write? Most of us lead busy lives where we rarely find time for self-reflection and goal-setting. So, what better way to spend the gift of time than by starting a journal? The Journal Writer’s Companion is a beautifully-crafted handbook that provides guidance, prompts and inspiration for any type of journaling you wish to embark on. Whether you have been meaning to try the bullet journal trend, or cheer yourself up with a bit of gratitude journaling, you will find all the help you need in this book. The Journal Writer’s Companion is a companion, not a teacher. It emphasises meaningful output over perfection, and utility over trends, while still inspiring a sense of freedom and creativity.
Perhaps one positive thing to come out of this pandemic is a sense of cross-generational comradery. Every healthy young person who practices social distancing or self-isolation is potentially saving the lives of older and more vulnerable people. The sad reality is that Covid-19 is already affecting our elderly population. But perhaps this is an opportunity for us to re-discover how much we value their love, wisdom and experience. If it has ever occurred to you that recording your family history might be a worthwhile thing to do, now is the time to put that into action.
Finding True Connections is designed as a series of double-page spreads, on the left-hand page is a prompt question, while opposite are notes on how to gain the most meaningful answers. Our elderly family members are likely to be feeling especially lonely at this time, so this is the perfect way reconnect and work together on a project that will deepen your relationship.
Any one of these books would be an ideal starting point for anyone wanting to learn a new skill, practice mindfulness or generally enrich their life. So, as we leave the office behind (and I’m including the hit ensemble comedy in that) to spend more time at home, let’s be sure to make that time really count!