Happy Sunday and well done for getting to the end of February! I don’t know about you, but February seems to have been both a super-fast and an incredibly slow month to live through. Wibbly wobbly timey wimey has certainly been at play this month.
It has been quite the week here. One of those weeks that had had so much going on that I’ve hardly known what I’m doing from one hour to the next. Work has been intense to say the least, and the home-based to do list has been full up as well. But here I am, I made it, and I even managed to both sleep and eat as well. Result.
Sitting down to write my weekly blog I wonder which bits from what’s been going on you’ll be interested to hear about, probably not most of it… but that’s okay, thankfully there have been some other things I can talk about!
Two Sunny Days to End February
It’s been a glorious final weekend of February. Blue skies, sunshine, it’s even been reasonably warm. I’d like to say I made the most of it, and I kind of did, but I also didn’t. I mean, I certainly spent more time inside than outside, the lockdown level of motivation is real.
I went for walks from my front door both days, did a couple of outdoor chores, but mostly enjoyed the sunshine beaming through the window as I stayed at home. I hope and pray we get good weather in spring and summer, weather that will encourage me to get out hiking for real when restrictions are relaxed enough for me to be allowed to do so.
I would honestly love to drive to a big hill or the coast for a full day hike, stopping at a pub or café midway for lunch and a cup of tea. Alas, walks from home are the nature of our lives at the moment. It’s not so bad; I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I can understand and follow the restrictions without liking them very much.
For today’s walk in the sunshine, I decided to do a loop to the next village along that I did at least weekly last summer. It’s my go-to route in a lot of ways because it’s not far (about four miles, just over an hour), it feels deep in the countryside despite being really close to home, and it’s basically flat with easy terrain and so is not strenuous or difficult. It’s one of those routes that I can walk knowing it will calm my soul and clear my head, always returning more content with life than when I left.
I was rather hoping that the reasonably dry week would mean the fields would be much less of a quagmire than they have been over the winter. That mud bath being the reason I’ve not done this particular route for a good while. And the paths were much better than they have been in some places, giving me that weird looks-squelchy-but-is-just-very-sticky mud that happens when incredibly wet ground starts to dry out, it really was quite terrible in other places. I know, it’s going to take a lot more than two sunny days to make that ground nicer for walking! I should have taken a photo of the bit that beat me – I turned around and headed a different way when I realised just how deep the mud was; I wasn’t prepared for bog snorkelling this afternoon.
It was nice to be out though, especially seeing as I didn’t need a coat and did need my sunglasses. The birds were singing loudly, I finished my latest audiobook (Silence by Erling Kagge, another very enjoyable commentary on life), and I got away from the noise of other people for a while.
I had a quick look at the weather forecast for this week and it seems the first few days of spring are not going to be quite as nice as the last few days of winter. Still, I will continue to do my best to get my One Hour Outside every day, and keep up with my 10,000 steps a day for Lent challenge…
A Habit Too Far?
That 10,000 steps a day for Lent challenge I mentioned in my last weekly blog (Weekly Blog Episode 58) has been proving more than a little bit difficult this week. By Wednesday I wondered if it was a habit too far for lockdown. I have already acknowledged that the only reason 10k steps was possible in my normal pre-pandemic life was because of all that incidental walking I would do during the course of a day. None of which happens when we’re being made to stay at home the vast majority of the time.
This week I have got well into the evening every day with a significant chunk of steps still to walk. I’ve resorted to walking up and down the stairs, doing chores in a wholly inefficient manner, or just march along to music for a while to reach that self-inflicted milestone. 10,000 steps is a significant number, it’s five miles or there abouts, and it’s testing me more than a little bit.
But still, I have managed hit that target every day (just…). That has to mean something. Probably that I’m stubborn.
I rather hope that the coming week, and the rest of Lent, are not as difficult. But I suspect they will be, at least until the evenings get much longer and we have a bit more freedom to go out more often than we’re currently meant to. We’ll see. I’ll let you know.
And so what about those other habits I’m trying to form in 2021? The ones around learning Spanish, reading (well, listening to) more audio books, and stretching that I introduced in Weekly Blog Episode 54? I’m pleased to report they’re all going well.
My Duolingo streak is now up to 37 days, and I’m feeling like the little and often method is allowing the still very basic words and phrases to find their way into my memory bank. I did consider adding a second language into the mix and using the app to help me remember that reasonable level of German I once had, but talking to a friend today reminded me that I should concentrate on Spanish seeing as that is my goal for 2021.
I still need to stretch more, and intentionally listen to more audiobooks (I want to add fiction into the mix, too), but both are still working for me at the moment.
How are your challenges and habits going? Did you set yourself a Lenten challenge that is proving a little more difficult than you had hoped?
Three Wholesome YouTube Channels
Every now and again I like to share some of the YouTube channels I’ve been enjoying. And recently, those channels have all focused around what I think is best referred to as “wholesome” living. That is, life where the little things have meaning, nature and the outdoors play a big role, and being cosy at home is a happy way to end each day.
I subscribed to Athena Mellor’s channel after joining the Alpkit Night In (read Weekly Blog Episode 54), and I’m so glad I did. Athena is a writer, photographer, story-teller and earth lover; passionate about adventures in the wild, pushing her boundaries, learning from nature, protecting the earth, and sharing through photos, words and film. Her channel is adventure focused, big and small, and she talks a lot about the physical and mental benefits that being in the outdoors holds.
I came across Jonna Jinton’s channel when I was in a YouTube hole one Sunday a few weeks back, and am thoroughly enjoying her stories of simple life in the far north. Jonna is a Swedish artist, musician and filmmaker living in beautiful woodland in the North of Sweden. Her channel offers glimpses into her everyday life, which is far from “every day” in my book. I’ve even been known to have Jonna’s stunning Swedish music on in the background while I work or stretch, it’s just beautiful.
The third channel I’d like to recommend is The Cottage Fairy. Paola describes herself as a quiet fairy, and she uses her channel to share snippets of life in her rural cottage in Washington State. She’s an artist, book lover and day dreamer. I don’t think I could ever live quite as rurally as Paola does, but I do enjoy the idea of it and can see why people do it. Her videos always include beautiful creations as well as amazing scenery.
Are there similar YouTube channels that you enjoy? I’d love to add a few more wholesome channels to my subscriptions list, channels about adventure and the outdoors, nature and creative living. Drop your suggestions in the comments box below.
As always, I would really love to hear from you in the comments below. Let me know what your favourite thing about the last seven days has been, and don’t forget to get your One Hour Outside today… whatever day you happen to be reading this on!
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If you enjoyed reading this blog, if you think my weekly blog series is a good idea, and especially if you got to the end of this episode, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. And I can’t forget the vloggers’ catchphrase – please like and subscribe for more posts like this in the future! Come on by next Sunday evening for the next in the series.