· By Oonagh Simms
How to find calm in the everyday
The reality of all our lives is we’re in crisis. Because, well, we’re told we are. And even if it has yet to physically affect you or your family or your friends then the daily shake down of death tolls, the finger pointing and adjusting to a life in quarantine will certainly have you on edge. So how do you find joy? How are you still ‘you’ if the ‘you’ went out to work or to gigs or yoga or had a local? For me, this last month has been about discovering the small, simple things that bring pleasure. And I thought I’d share them with you.
Baking and cooking has become even more therapeutic and physical than it was before. Each action of kneading or mixing or beating brings a level control that’s lacking from EVERYTHING else. An urge for timings, set temperatures and boiling points. My team are furloughed so it’s just me in the bakery. With no surrounding units open, no visitors, and no traffic this has created a cacophony of delicious soundscapes for each part of the marshmallow making process. The low bubble of boiling purée and the enveloping ‘thlop’ of gooey marshmallow fluff collapsing into each tray. It’s been thrilling. And strangely calming. It reminded me of those slightly odd ASMR videos that can drag you into a YouTube spiral when you’re feeling in need of a hug. I’ve recorded some of it for you to have a peek at- listen with the sound on.
Wow, we took that for granted didn’t we? The outside and all the loitering, running, walking and stopping. I’m now going on extra long dog walks in the new silence, punctuated by enthusiastic smiling at strangers. No cars on the road and no planes in the sky so the air is tangibly more breathable. The light has been hazy and pink and I can listen. The sheer joy these walks are bringing me have caused me, at times, to skip up a hill. Actually skip.
Every week I am finding a different charity to donate to. In those first few days I gave to Action for Children’s Emergency Coronovirus Appeal, Week 2 was to the Women’s Services Emergency fund by Rosa. Last week I gave to Leeds chef Matthew Healey’s inspiring efforts to provide meals for NHS staff. This week I’ve given to my local food bank ( food banks take financial donations as well as physical items and this is especially useful now if you are unable to get there to drop off) This is the money that would have been spent on a meal out or a glass of wine after work or something else that used to seem vital and now seems frivolous. Have a nosy at some of these causes and let me know if there are any that you’re supporting- we’re in this for a while.
Or, ‘Yoga with Adriene' as the world now knows it. I have been a long time advocate for Adriene, god, I love her. I’m not even really that into Yoga but I love her daft little asides, her gentle nudges towards stretching further, the fact she sometimes sings. Her lovely glossy hair And her dog. I’m glad she’s a big deal now.
Our CBD marshmallows have been our bestseller for a while and I am now a true proponent for using CBD. It has given me more focus in the day and makes me sleep better at night. I use The Tonic- all of their lovely CBD products are ‘full spectrum’, meaning they contain more than just CBD and are packed with a full array of Cannabinoids. We’re using the 4% which is the 400mg CBD oil in our marshmallows. This is great for joints and muscles and encourages calm. I really felt it has an immediate impact on me and is by far the most effective CBD I’ve tried. If you’re looking to try CBD at the moment then we’ve teamed up with some of our favourite brands to create a Limited Edition Netflix and Chill bundle.
Writing notes from total strangers to their loved ones. I now live for this. We always handwrite the personal notes from customers but at the moment they are so joyful, moving and sad all at once. It takes me hours in the morning to write all the little notes- knowing it means SO much to the recipient each note has become more significant. From the big sister who wrote 'remember when all this is over and we can go out dancing...I'll still always be right'. To the son who sent his mum her favourite flavour and told her to 'toast these and think of all of us. we can't wait to have you back around the fire- we love and miss you always'
These are my simple things. My current grounding. Because when we’re out of this things could go two ways. We’ll either take on board all the social injustices it threw up. The low pay of key workers, the poor housing and the need to invest in public sector infrastructure. Or, things go back to how they were and we become more protectionist, guarded and with the privilege that we’re the ones who are ‘ok’. I would like to think it’s the former. That our future will be filled with clapping for the NHS on our doorstep, donating money to Captain Tom Moore, leaving notes to strangers and painting rainbows on windows.