2020, you can certainly go down as one of – if not the – weirdest year on record.

But in the spirit of attempting to maintain some sanity and mental clarity – and I must say thanks to the suggestion of a dietitian I’ve been chatting to – it feels good to lean into what feels good. And unlike earlier this year, I have to admit that what feels good is no longer is a regular G&T with dark chocolate on the side while burning myself out trying to do ALL the things. (Don’t worry gin and chocolate, I still love you. I just think we’ll benefit from some social distancing.)

But back to feeling good. After chatting to a non- diet dietitian to double check I am nourishing myself in a way that hits all my nutritional needs after more than five years of pregnancy and breastfeeding we started to talk about how we like to perk ourselves up when we’re feeling low and run down. It’s such a simple concept, but a great one. So I began to compile a list of things I can reach for that make me smile, and that nurture me and mine on many levels.

I love this suggestion so much that it seemed like a great idea to share it, especially at a time of year that is joyous for some but most definitely be hard for others.

Here’s my feel good list, just in case it helps someone else.

A feel good list:

Good for the ears. Podcasts and music. Always

Good for the eyes

Old favourites: Fleabag, Gilmore Girls, Jamie Oliver anything, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Rosehave, The Crown, Umbrella Academy. You get the idea. Something light, funny and not too intensive.

Good reads, such as The Constant Rabbit by Jasper FForde – or actually anything Jasper Fforde actually. Olive by Emma Gannon, Queenie, The Love Square by Laura Jane Williams. A few pages at the end of the day makes all the difference, and I’m also devouring audiobooks purely because it’s easier to pop one on while cooking/walking.

Good for the Tastebuds

  • Simple one tray bakes. Normally we throw salmon or chicken on a tray, with potatoes, fennel, cherry tomato and dired oregano and drizzle with oil. A load off our shoulders and an easy meal for dinner.
  • Slow cooked anything. Bonus points if it can be frozen for a later date
  • Chocolate. Of any kind.
  • Apple and raspberry crumble or apple pie
  • Haloumi baguettes from our local bakery
  • A fresh mango
  • Banana, peanut butter and cinnamon on toast.
  • A meal that you don’t have to cook – thanks freezer/Steve!
  • Hot chocolate. Peppermint tea. A milky black tea. Coffee. A smoothie. A cold G&T.

Good for the soul

  • Lying on the grass in the sun with music playing. Eyes closed is a bonus
  • Deleting social media and putting my phone in the house for the afternoon.
  • Daily walks, toting the kids along in the pram, with an audiobook playing in my ears
  • A cup of tea, that I drink before it gets cold.
  • Making bread dough. Or pizza dough.
  • Not making bread dough or pizza dough, and instead saying I’ve done enough for today. I’m working on this one. I’ve found I’m good at saying no to others but then “should” all over myself.
  • Ditching all plans in favour of a zero plans day and playing with the kids.
  • Even just ten minutes of yoga asana on the grass, with the kids climbing all over me.
  • A shower by candlelight
  • Using all the masks, lotions and potions I own.
  • Baking with Jman.
  • Cuddles on the couch with a few books to read or Bluey on the TV.
  • Picking herbs and salad leaves straight from the garden. Inspecting new flowers we’ve planted.
  • Spending time drawing with chalk on the pavement or fence.
  • An early night
  • Meditation.
  • Talking with a friend, preferably face-to-face but even just reaching out via text will do.
  • A double up, but reading and journalling.
  • Drinking a glass of water.

Reading through this, it all seems pretty standard. But that’s the thing. It’s so easy to get swept up and forget ourselves in the mad rush of life.

What do you have on your list?

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