When life gets you down, it helps to focus on the positives, but also to recognise how you’re actually feeling. This post is all about my spring favourites for 2021, the little things that have kept me going. I’m also sharing how I’m actually feeling because I know I’m not alone with mental health struggles. If you’ve also had a rough start to this year, maybe some of these recommendations will brighten your day!
Uncertainty of Life
As parts of the world are starting to open up, while other areas face surging cases, I’ve found this spring confusing and difficult. In many ways, we are being encouraged to get back to “normal”, but I’m just not ready. Life seems static and uncertain. Work has been extremely busy, and I find myself living one day to the next, desperate for a rest. It doesn’t help that warm weather has remained aloof; I mean, snow in April in the UK?! My blog is a place of positivity, but I also want to be honest and say what many others are thinking – life right now is exhausting.
Make a Change
It’s difficult to recognise negative thought patterns and low mood when you’re in it, living with that black cloud over your head. I got to about mid-March before I decided that enough is enough; I shouldn’t have to feel sad and anxious all the time. Recognising that you need to make some changes is that crucial first step. For me, some of those changes involve taking herbal/homeopathic supplements for my anxiety and low mood.
I wanted to add a disclaimer here before I discuss these products below. Although these products are my spring favourites, you need to do what’s right for you. If you have bad reactions to medication, check with your doctor before taking supplements. Alternatively, for many people, therapy, meditation, or exercise might work best. I’m not saying that some herbal drops have fixed my mental health issues, but they have helped. For that I’m grateful, and they deserve recognition. Now, on to the spring favourites!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
I enjoy an alcoholic beverage from time to time, and my preferences are wine, tequila, and gin. I normally opt for Bombay Sapphire, or a flavoured gin, but recently Lucy bought Roku Gin, a Japanese brand. This gin is smooth and has delicate floral and citrus notes. Most often I drink it with lemonade (Sprite). Highly recommended if you like subtle gins!
I get a craving for this salad as soon as warmer weather arrives. This salad is comprised of spinach leaves, diced cucumber, cashew nuts, diced cooked beetroot, and crumbled feta (I use vegan feta). Sometimes I add a balsamic dressing, but other days I use whatever dressing is in the fridge. Full of vitamins and healthy fats, this salad is satisfying and perfect for lunch or dinner. You can find a complete recipe here: Weeknight Meals in Lockdown
I finally went and got my eyes tested, though I knew that I was overdue for an updated prescription. The optician wasn’t surprised that I was getting headaches, couldn’t read subtitles on the t.v. or road signs, and had a hard time seeing in the dark and bright sunlight. A significantly updated prescription and two pairs of glasses and a pair of sunglasses later, and I’m seeing ALL THE THINGS. Lockdown screen time really took a toll on my eyesight, and my recommendation is to go get your eyes tested if you’re overdue!
It’s the little things in life that can make the biggest difference. I bought some insoles for my boots and wellies to support my weak ankles and pronation. A small piece of foam has made walking Wilbur and pottering around the allotment much more enjoyable.
If you’re in the UK and are looking for an affordable ethical and sustainable soap brand, I recommend Faith in Nature. You can get this soap online and at Waitrose and Holland & Barrett. My favourite scents are grapefruit, hemp, and rosemary. Their shampoo bars are also great, I’m a fan of the dragonfruit scent. You can read more about their shampoo bars here: Review of Shampoo Bars
Anxiety Roller Ball
I’ve been using an aromatherapy roller ball to help calm me when I’m feeling anxious. It’s from an Etsy seller called Me England. The botanicals include ylang ylang, lemon balm, sandalwood, and geranium. I dab this calming scent on my pressure points whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed.
Bach’s Tinctures Rescue Remedy
These are homeopathic herbal supplements and tinctures. I have the popular Rescue Remedy which is for anxiety and low mood. It doesn’t fix my mental health problems, but it seems to make me care just a little bit less, like a dulled anxiousness.
The Salt Path by Raynor Winn
I read this travel diary/ memoir on the Libby app through my local library. It’s a beautiful account of a couple walking the South West Coast Path, and coming to terms with illness and homelessness. I’ve been to quite a few places in Devon and Cornwall, and I loved and connected with the accounts of the natural beauty and seaside villages. It’s a 4⭐️ read.
Suburban Homestead YouTube Channel
Siloé Oliveira is a hidden gem on YouTube. He creates BBC/PBS quality videos about his gardening adventures, all with a vintage charm. What’s really impressive are his histories of specific vegetables. His research, presentation, and design of these informative videos is truly outstanding. I’ve linked the video on how beets changed the world below, but his lettuce history is equally fascinating.
It now wouldn’t be a favourites post without including Wilbur! Let’s face it, having a 10 month old puppy takes up most of my free time. Dachshunds are fickle beasts and I try and do anything to keep him entertained and quiet. One recent change over the last couple of months is that Wilbur is now sleeping through the night. If you’re thinking about getting a puppy, and a dachshund specifically, I recommend looking into issues with separation anxiety.
We wanted to crate train Wilbur to sleep downstairs and this was a challenging process, because doxies struggle with independence. One aid that really helped Wilbur fall and stay asleep on his own is a white noise machine. We put it on ocean wave sound at bedtime, and from time to time, Lucy and I end up falling a sleeping to the calming rhythmic sea noise. Money well spent!
A second recommendation is a puzzle game for dogs. This will depend on the breed, but if you have a scenting dog, I’ve now learned that they absolutely need mental stimulation through scent games. Wilbur loves his puzzle! We let him have two rounds of finding chopped up treats in the afternoon, and it’s just enough to tire him out a bit and keep him happy. I highly recommend the brand Nina Ottosson for its durability, and this model specifically because it doesn’t have removable parts.
As you can see if you’ve read this far, this spring has been a bit of a slog. I’ve sought comfort and pleasure from little things, which has certainly helped, even if that little thing is a tasty salad, or an aromatherapy ointment.
I’m happy for those people who are excited to get back to enjoying their social lives (safely). For those of you who are dealing with the trauma of the pandemic (be it ill health, bereavement, or financial insecurity), I’m truly sorry. Lastly, for those of you who are doing relatively fine, but not really fine, in terms of your mental health, I get it. Let’s just take it one day at a time.