My top 10 activities whilst burning a candle in isolation

We’re all facing unprecedented and challenging times during the COVID-19 lockdown away from partners, friends and family, but it does open up opportunities for a little bit of “me time”. Do you have a collection of scented candles that you haven’t lit yet? Or are you unsure of when to start burning yours? Listed below are some of my favourite "me time" activities to do whilst burning a candle during isolation. (Don’t worry though, if you don’t yet own a candle, you can head over to my store and order one now).

  1. Learn something new – this could be whatever you want it to be, bearing in mind you’re confined to inside space. Whether it’s learning a new instrument, taking the time to sketch or studying the basics of a new language, retraining your brain has shown to reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure and slow the onset of dementia. A few years ago, I learnt how to knit and can now produce beautiful garments for family, friends or myself. I personally find that knitting provides a form of escapism and a sense of achievement once I’ve completed the finished article (and I promise you it doesn’t always look granny-like!). If you’re keen to give knitting a go then Lauren Aston Designs has some great starter kits and easy to follow instructions for beginners.
  1. Discover a new artist or genre of music – a recent personal favourite of mine is Dermot Kennedy, a talented, up and coming, Irish singer-songwriter. His music has a chilled vibe that makes it easy to de-stress, especially when relaxing in a bubble bath with a soothing candle.
  1. Record previous adventures and establish a travel bucket list – unfortunately you can’t travel in this current climate, but you can reminisce about previous adventures by keeping stock of the countries/cities you’ve visited. I recently came across the Adventure Book, which is a perfect way of recording past experiences and future travel plans. With a space for all 195 countries included, you can draw, write, stick, paint etc. in this creative journal.
  1. Pick up a new book – whether it’s continuing a current series or exploring a different author or genre, there’s nothing quite like getting lost in a story. I’ve recently started reading more crime and thriller novels by Lee Child and Linwood Barclay and have often found that I haven’t been able to put the book down.
  1. Organise your photographs – what better way to utilise your time spent at home than to arrange and folderise your many photos on your mobile or camera. If you want to take it a step further and print out extra special snaps to put on your wall or to create photobooks, then I would recommend La La Lab, an app that allows you to do just that. My favourite is the vintage style prints as you can add your own caption to each one.
  1. Learn a new recipe – want to impress your partner, family or friends with a new dish once the lockdown is over? Now is the perfect time to pick up a recipe book or research that meal online that you’ve been meaning to try and cook yourself. I made my own katsu curry recently and it went down like a treat. If you want a simple-to-follow recipe, then the Good House Keeping has a range of recipes that will make cooking your new interest.
  1. Listen to a podcast – no matter what your interests are, whether it’s educational that you’re after or something a little more light-hearted, there are podcasts for everyone. I find them particularly useful if I’m not in the mood for reading. As I come from a healthcare background, I tend to find that I’m usually drawn to these types of podcasts. One that caught my eye recently was ‘why we sleep with Matthew Walker’. I don’t think I properly appreciated sleep and the importance of it until I gave this podcast (and consequently the book) a go.
  1. Implement a home exercise programme – I appreciate that we’re only allowed to leave the house once a day for no more than one hour, but it’s vitally important that we keep our bodies as active as possible. Performing a short home exercise programme in your garden or even just in the lounge, can help you to burn off calories, maintain muscle strength, improve endurance, and boost your mental wellbeing. If it’s short and quick workouts that you’re after then Joe Wicks (the Body Coach) has a library of 15 minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) sessions that are perfect for this.
  1. Prepare for future celebrations – get ahead of the game by planning and ordering birthday presents, wedding gifts, or cards for any occasion whilst you have the time to sit down and focus. With local shops temporarily closed then online companies such as Moonpig and Funky Pigeon are great for creating personalised cards with just a few clicks.
  1. Keep in contact – there’s nothing more important than staying in touch with loved ones during these unusual times in lockdown. Although we physically need to isolate, we don’t need to disconnect from people entirely. I’ve found that the most enjoyable channel of communicating has been through using apps such as Houseparty and Zoom for face-to-face catch ups with family and friends.