Small acts to boost your endorphins

Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out – Anton Chekhov.

Week 7 of Lockdown and by this stage some of us are succumbing to Cabin Fever. Luckily there are plenty of things proven to release endorphins and actually make us feel good. Some of them are so simple they scarcely need mentioning: taking regular exercise, drinking plenty of water, spending time in nature, writing a list of our achievements. Others we might need a nudge to recall. We hope these ideas serve as a reminder of what it means to feel alive and connected:

1. Hug yourself: a proper hug like you haven’t seen yourself for a few months. Supposedly it has to be for 20 seconds or more to work its magic.

2. Get in touch with all your senses:

See: Take in a long view. This is tricky in London but perhaps you could go to the top of your building, across a park or down the river and look how far you can see. Looking beyond the horizon has been proven to boost endorphins.

Hear: Turn off the radio; listen to a new music playlist or the birds singing.

Taste: Gone are the days of Pret at the desk, so make each meal an occasion even if it’s just taking a plate into the garden. Stop whatever you are doing to savour each mouthful. Take time also to decorate your table – if you need inspiration then check into @Britishstandardcupboards IGTV Thursday 7th May at midday to hear Lisa Mehydene of Edit58 give a napkin tutorial and tablescaping ideas.

Touch: All the advice – ‘don’t touch your face’, ‘don’t touch the surface’ etc. can make us feel alienated. Touch whatever is safe to touch and feels good as often you can. A pet is best as they don’t answer back. Fresh sheets are up there too – for crispness we like The White Company.

Smell: Lavender and vanilla are known to release endorphins. How about keeping a lavender bag on the desk for stabbing sewing needles into – double whammy.

3. Cook something new: Imagine you are on your way to your favourite restaurant and your mind wanders to what might be on the menu. Then recreate at home. How hard can it be? We have been checking out where we can buy razor clams online … J Sheekey we miss you!

4. Find your equivalent of chopping wood = feeling good. So, an act that is both exhausting and useful. Weeding the flower bed (2 hours on Sunday afternoon never felt better), clearing out a room/cupboard (mmm maybe not so much).

5. Feel good food:  add dark chocolate, almonds, spicy food, and strawberries to your diet.

6. Connect with your inner child: putting pen to paper always feels good. There is a reason why there is such a proliferation of colouring in books out there, we like this one from Patch NYC.

7. Watch a funny movie: Netflix with its automatic play-next-episode zaps both time and energy. Remember A Fish Called Wanda, Shaun of the Dead, Midnight in Paris, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Sideways, Mrs Doubtfire and Zoolander? It might be time to revisit a favourite.

8. Finally, hang in there.

— Annie Reid
6th May 2020