Five Activities for Enrichment
The Easter Bank Holiday is upon us folks! For many of us it's a four day weekend where all of sudden there's no brunch to attend, no sunbathing in the park (repeat: NO sunbathing in the park) no afternoon drinking in a pub garden and no family Easter roast.
If you are among those heroes who have to work this weekend, THANK YOU, you are awesome! If you're not, and you're genuinely considering just working like normal on Friday and Monday, which we've heard worryingly often this week, then read on for some ideas on how to fill your time. We can guarantee they're likely to be much better than just carrying on with your job...
1. Read a book
Scientific studies have shown that reading protects memory and thinking skills, and slows down cognitive decline. It’s also shown that we tend to absorb information better when we’re focussing on a book as we are less likely to click away or switch between content like we would on a digital device. Apparently literary fiction also makes us more empathetic, as we involve ourselves into a story, usually about a particular character’s life and experience for a longer period of time than we would when watching a film or TV show.
If you’re struggling a little with the stress and anxiety of the current situation, reading can help you relax by taking you away from the present and into a completely different world - you just need to make sure you’re not checking Insta after every page!
2. Watch a documentary
It’s easy to plump for binge-watching some of Netflix’s epic trash (and by trash we mean excellent television, *ahem* Tiger King), but there’s also some incredible documentaries that really stimulate the learning side of our brains too. If you’re not massively into reading, this is a great alternative for soaking up curated chunks of knowledge on new topics. Some of our current favourites are:
Cowspiracy: meat industry vs. climate change, a tough but important story;
Virunga: follows the story of Virguna national park where it’s rangers vs. corporate baddies. Also includes cute gorillas;
Gaga: Five Foot Two: a great #BTS of life as Lady Gaga, this truly changed our media-fuelled view of her;
Chasing Coral: how climate is impacting one of the largest and most crucial ecosystems on Earth. Learn about life under water.
That Sugar Film: a look into just how much sugar is in “healthy” food;
Revolution Food: stories of farmers producing good food and how food is being used for good across the world;
Life Off Grid: showcases people in Canada who live completely off-grid, a fascinating way of living, particularly for those of us into a more sustainable way of life;
Human Flow: a slightly harrowing film that looks closely at the displacement of millions of people escaping war, climate change and famine, forcing them to become refugees.
The Next Black: a film exploring the future of fashion, what it means to be truly sustainable and how technology plays a role;
Life In A Day: an exploration of normal life through the submission of 80,000 YouTube submissions from normal people in 192 countries;
Nature’s Great Race: amazing landscapes and beautiful animals, this follows the most significant land immigrations of elephants, zebras and more;
Free Solo: introduces the story of a free-climber in Yosemite, experience breathtaking moments that make you gasp out loud.
3. Make food from scratch
It’s no myth that food made by you tastes so much better. Why? You can literally taste satisfaction. Although this might not apply for your routine weekly meal plan, trying something new and a little complicated really makes for a delicious and gratifying meal (although don’t be afraid to fail and say, this is gross, it does happen!) Things like making your own pizza, fresh pesto, chutney or cereal bars involve relatively simple recipes but a super tasty result.
4. Face mask and meditate
Yeah baby! =One of our favourite things to do right now is have a little sit down and a pamper. The usual face mask routine typically goes like: apply mask, scroll Instagram (and now TikTok, guilty!) for 15 minutes, rinse off, sit down to scroll Instagram again. This weekend set aside 30 to 60 minutes to really pamper yourself:
> Start by finding a meditation track - you can access some great free ones on Headspace without having to sign up to their subscription, or there’s lots of options on YouTube.
> Run a shallow bowl of warm water and gently cleanse your face with your favourite cleanser, use a face cloth or flannel to get round all the nooks and crannies and then use the squeezed-out cloth to massage your face.
> Next apply your facemask and then sit comfortably on the sofa, bed or floor and allow yourself to sink into the meditation session. If it’s a long one, don’t forget to set a timer for your mask. Close your eyes and relax.
Afterwards, it’s a good idea to listen to some soothing music or read a few pages of a book or magazine to bring you back to the present before inevitably diving back into digital.
5. Do something arty
If you haven’t managed to order a Painting By Numbers before this weekend, do not panic. Undertaking any kind of crafty activity uses a different part of your brain to that which your usual work will (unless of course you are an artist, in which case you should do some Excel???)
There’s lots of different things you can do with relatively little equipment at home. How about trying to draw some of the objects in your home or your view from the window? Try drawing some abstract shapes and colour them in, or make some homemade cards or postcards to send to friends or family members that you haven’t seen recently.
For inspo we’ve got some simple ideas on our Handmade Crafts Pinterest board.
Happy Bank Isolation!