Week two of juggling working from home with home schooling a 6- and 9-year-old and I’m starting to feel a little frayed around the edges.
I may have nailed navigating the Seesaw app, but simultaneously role-playing Little Red Riding Hood, discussing ‘fronted adverbials’, answering at least 137 questions per hour and providing endless snacks all while, you know, pulling off a day of adult work is proving a little challenging.
All the good intentions of Dry January evaporated on 5th when Boris decided we should all ‘stay at home’, again. But while the end-of-day wine/G&T helps, there are some WFH hacks that make things just a little easier – or at least help salvage a little me-time.
CBD for stress
CBD oil has rapidly become a popular self-care alternative, but one of the most commonly asked questions is how is CBD different from marijuana? Basically, it won’t get you high, because it doesn’t contain any tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. However, CBD is said to relax you and we all need a bit of that right now.
CBD stimulates the receptors in the human endocannabinoid system which in theory helps create balance in the body and mind, relieving the symptoms of stress and anxiety. OTO Balance 20% CBD roll-on (8ml, £79) can be rolled on temples or wrists three times a day, or whenever you need a moment of calm. The slick, black rollerball bottle contains the optimum amount of CBD per day (40-60mg), combined with calming lavender, camomile and cajeput – an oil found in the leaves of the mytraceous trees in South East Asia which is said to alleviate restlessness.
Ditch the kitchen chair
Achy lower back? Knotted shoulders? Numb bum? Like me, you’ve probably discovered the kitchen chair just isn’t going to cut it anymore. When it comes to home office chairs, it’s all about ergonomics, but it helps if it looks a bit sexy too. Top of my list is Oslo-based Varier, who have been creating Scandinavian design icons since the late 70s with movement at the core of the brand. The Thatsit Kneeling Chair (from £795) comes complete with concave backrest and adjustable knee pads designed for seamless transitions between different positions to help keep your posture in check. You can even gently rock on it to ease your muscles when stuck on a long zoom call.
I received the Neom Wellbeing Pod (£90) for Christmas and love the fact it brings a little bit of spa-life to the home – especially now we are being kept indoors. At the start of the day, I top it up with water, add 5-10 drops of desired oil blend and let it fill the room with a fine mist of scented vapour. I like to think the spa fragrances help to keep the me and the kids in good spirits and boost our wellbeing (and it certainly looks lovely and indulgent). I use the ‘Boost Your Energy’ blend with Sicilian lemon and fresh basil to get us going in the mornings, the mood-boosting ‘Make You Happy’ with mandarin and ylang ylang during the day and the go-the-hell-to-‘sleep’ blend with English lavender, sweet basil and jasmine at night.
One way to find some much-needed calm during WFH/home-school life is meditation – and there are loads of free videos on YouTube. I opted for the 10-minute ‘The Star In That Which You Are’ Healing Meditation from therapist, Tamara Heppell, at Three Graces Spa at Grantley Hall. The spa was awarded the ‘Best Spa for Wellness’ (sponsored by Wildlife Botanicals) at the Good Spa Awards 2020, for their cutting edge and creative approach to their wellness experience for guests. The combination of Tamara’s soothing voice and Tibetan singing bowls had me sinking into the floor in no time. Most kids can manage 10-minutes too – just ply them with blankets and eye masks and tell them even Baby Yoda meditates!
Ditch colleagues for house plants
Now that winter is in full force, house plants can help to provide that crucial mood boost until spring arrives. A little pot of greenery on your desk or dotted throughout your house can lift your mood, as well as helping to remove toxins from the air you breathe. Research even suggests that leafy plants like Monsteras and Anthuriums can boost your creativity. So, it’s no surprise that searches for “house plants delivered” increased by 400% since lockdown. Online indoor plant delivery company, Bloombox Club, was created by Dr Katie Cooper, previously a practising therapist and psychology lecturer. Katie had the idea of developing a plant business with an explicit focus on wellbeing, having realised how beneficial plant care can be on our mental health.
This is not the time for rubbish coffee. I need the hard stuff and I need it delivered to my door so I never have to wake up to an empty coffee pot *shudders*. Luckily, I have a local coffee roaster, Moonroast, a few miles from my door, but they also offer filter or whole bean coffee subscription, delivered conveniently through your letterbox. All of their beans are sourced directly from origin from small farms in coffee-growing countries like Rwanda, Kenya and Guatemala. With over 400 coffee roasters gracing our shores, you should be able to find one local to you.
If all else fails…hide in the bathroom
Let’s be honest, the only moment of solace most of us get right now happens in the bathroom! So you may as well make it spa-worthy. Lock the door, turn the hot tap on full and reach for the candles. Comfort Zone’s Tranquility Candle (280g, £25), pictured below, will transform the room with its luxurious and alluring scent of sweet orange and cedarwood. This cosy candle is perfect for the colder months and with 55 hours of burn time it will cover a lot of stolen baths.
I love to add a couple of capfuls of ESPA Restorative Bath Oil (100ml, £30) which is described as a ‘hug in bottle’. The aromatherapy blend combines palmarosa and rose geranium with lavender and sweet orange so not only does is smell divine, it also leaves my skin feeling silky smooth and hydrated.