Monday 4 May 2020

How to Stay Sane

Welsh Poppy in the Sunshine
As we first entered 'lockdown' I ran a series of posts over on my Facebook and Instagram pages sharing some of the ways I stay sane in the hope that it would be useful for people at this strange and scary time.

I had a really good response so I decided to gather some of the ideas together in a blog post, so here you are: My guide to staying sane! I hope that some of my strategies will be useful to you but 'sane' is of course a very personal and individual thing. Remember to be kind to yourself and to do what you need to do to stay well.

Part 1. Draw Something

Daily Drawing: Birds in the Garden
I've written a lot about drawing on this blog over the years and how beneficial it is to me and, I believe, to pretty much everyone. In this instance I'm talking about drawing just as a process, the outcome really doesn't matter. Get lost in the feel, the look , the sound of your chosen implement moving across the paper. Enjoy the quiet focus of looking and getting to really know about what you're drawing. With practice your drawing will improve no end and hopefully you'll enjoy not only the process but some of the outcomes too.

Part 2. Have a Cup of Tea (or Coffee)

Fabric Teacup
Have a nice cup of tea. It won't solve your problems but taking time out to sit quietly and really enjoy a nice, hot brew can help calm you and get things in perspective. I also like to have a nice cup of tea with me when I'm drawing, stitching, gardening, doing anything at all actually.

Part 3. Get close to Nature

Oh Deer!
Being close to the natural world, whether that's a dandelion growing out of a crack in the pavement or a deer bounding across your path, reminds us that there was a before and there'll be an after and really we are all just a small part of something much bigger. Personally I find that very comforting. It is also a constant source of wonder to me the infinite variety and adaptability to be found in the natural world.

Part 4. Stitching

Stitching: Work in Progress

Stitching is something I always return to, especially during times of stress and anxiety. I find that the repetitive rhythm, the tactility and focus required for hand stitch are perfect for keeping a busy mind occupied but it's also not too taxing. I find the same goes for knitting and crochet and since this crisis started I've been doing a lot more of all these things!

Part 5.  Grow Something

Planting a seed implies a belief in the future and at a time like this that's more important than ever. Growing something is immensely satisfying, watching it grow and develop and maybe even turn into something you can eat is both exciting and relaxing at the same time. It's also a good chance to practise Part 3 and get close to nature.

Part 6. Simple Pleasures

A Sunny Day
It's easy to get dragged down and worried, especially at the moment, but taking time to 'count your blessings' really does help. From a nice cup of tea (see part 2) to your favourite film being shown on TV to a good cup of coffee to clean sheets on the bed it's important to take a moment to notice and appreciate these things. It's also one of those things that the more you do it the more you'll notice how many good things there are in our lives even when times are tough.

Part 7. Reach Out

Feather Collage
You are not alone, we're all going through a roller coaster of emotions at the moment so don't feel that it's just you. Reach out and enjoy the wonders of modern technology; phone your friend, whatsapp your cousin, skype your sister in law. We have so many ways to stay in touch even though we can't be together.

Stay safe and stay hopeful; I truly believe we have the opportunity to come out of this and to create a fairer, happier society.


  1. Thanks Helen. I enjoyed reading that, found it helpful and - I may not draw well but I'm taking a lot of photos instead!

    1. I'm pleased you enjoyed it and taking photos is also a good creative way of staying sane!