• Luke Dowding

Five Ways I’m Looking After Myself Right Now

I'm attempting to embrace some of my experiences and learnings from the past 15 months; here are my top 5:


1. Loose-leaf tea:

Yes, I’ve taken another step up the “that guy” ladder and abandoned the problematic teabag in pursuit of the zen that only a pot of loose-leaf can offer. Being in the privileged position of being able to work from home during the lockdowns meant I was offered a new way to use my time. The process of making a cup of tea was no longer a hastily thrown bag into a mag which was then roughly prodded for a minute or two before the (hemp, obvs) milk was added. Now I can gently wait for my tea to do its thing, and perhaps take the few extra minutes as an opportunity to take a breath or two. Plus, the tea tastes so much better, it’s easier to support smaller and fairer businesses, and I don’t have to worry about whether my teabag is polluting me or the planet.


2. Yoga:

I’ve banged on about this enough to anyone who will listen, but honestly: game changer for me. My desire to daily get on the mat says it all – it’s not forced, it’s enjoyed. Whether it’s yoga, ballroom dancing, or table tennis – get your body moving and experience the benefits.


3. Reading for fun:

Reconnecting with reading for pleasure has been a beautiful experience for me. I remember being a voracious reader as a child and teenager, and then sort of drifted away a little in my twenties. I’ve always had a book on the go, but now I’m certain to have at least one that I can’t put down and a couple that I’m reading for information or personal growth. Submerging myself into the chapters of a book has been truly cathartic, so grab yourself something in print, digital, or audio and allow yourself to leave behind the world for a little while.


4. Making plans, but not all the time:

I have long been a glutton for a full calendar – if there’s a gap, fill it. Yet slowing down over the past 16 months has nurtured in me an appreciation for the days that follow a gentler pace. I’m a social being and so I need to watch that I don’t fall into patterns of isolation, especially as I continue to work from home, but I’m valuing the days in which the candle isn’t being burnt at both ends, just as much as the days where I run out of candles to burn.


5. Eating fresh and natural foods, and chocolate:

This is not going to be a lengthy thought piece on my relationship with food, but balance is the new mantra I’m seeking to embody. I’ve always sought out fresh, natural foods wherever possible and truly believe that we feel better when our bodies are not pumped full of unnecessary sugars and additives. Access to good food is a privilege though, and I recognise that for myself – and the time and enjoyment I have for cooking meals. BUT! I do adore chocolate and have given up trying to convince myself that I’m healthier or better off without it. I tend towards the higher concentration of cocoa solids these days, but I still do love a slab of sticky and sweet milk chocolate too. Either way, I’ve learned that cutting something I love out of my diet, or restricting it to the point of obscenity, just doesn’t work for me (or most people, I’d argue). There’s nothing quite like a bite of chocolate washed down with a scorching cup of tea, and I don’t want to live in a world without that feeling.

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