Sunday stuff 22/3/2020

Friends say they are struggling because they are either going without the normal routines and habits that keep them physically and mentally well. Habits have been disrupted or they’ve stopped working. My ability to read has plummeted which is one of my cornerstone activities in keeping myself mentally stable. When your tools don’t work, the anxiety gets worse.

I wish there was a magic wand, but all I can do is share some more ‘stuff’ that might be of interest, use, a distraction or lighten your spirit.
And if you too are struggling to stay ok, you are not alone.

Get outside, if you can

There’s a lot of confusion over the difference between social distancing and self-isolating. If you are displaying symptoms, or a member of your household is, it’s self-isolating. We are still being actively encouraged to get outside while maintaining at least a 2m gap between us and anyone not in our household.

We’re so lucky to live where we can walk out the door and into this (see photo), but just a long walk yesterday did me the power of good. Share a secret though – today I didn’t even want to get off the sofa. Which is when I know I need to get out so I did some very minor bits in the garden. It helped.

And of course it would be absolutely the safest thing to do if we all stayed inside for however long this takes, but that’s simply not possible for many people, and it would be dire for our mental wellbeing.


I’ve been using this guided meditation app for a couple of years and it have been very effective at helping me stabilise my mood and rationalise my feelings. They’ve made loads of content free and there are free trials too.

Visit the website.


I find these easier to listen to than audiobooks at the moment. Fortunately is a favourite – Woman’s Hour’s Jane Garvey and The Listening Project’s Fi Glover chat about life that I recognise and have brilliant guests on from the world of broadcasting, arts and creativity.

Here’s some more podcasts I have enjoyed:

The Infinite Monkey Cage: popular science with Prof Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince and a panel. Also try the Curious Case of Rutherford and Fry.

In our Time: Long running R4 panel discussion covering all sorts of historical topics, culture, arts, religion and more. The shows are short introductions to all sorts of fascinating topics.

The Missing Cryptoqueen: Short investigative series about the woman who started a version of BitCoin that is not all it appears to be. Fascinating.

Women Talking About Cars: The always brilliant Victoria Coren Mitchell interviews women about their lives through the medium of discussing their cars. It’s very funny!


Classic FM : Smooth Classics. 3 hours from 10pm each night (and on catch up) with no adverts, no news and lots of soothing classical music. I often listen when I read.


Need to get off planet Earth for a while? Try Endurance by Scott Kelly. The story of his year on the International Space Station and his journey to get there.

Difficult Women: a history of feminism in 11 fights. Helen Lewis. And so much more than that. A wake up call to stop the infighting. Stupendous. I suspect I may be gifting this to people. WHY DIDN’T I LEARN ANY OF THIS IN SCHOOL. Very readable.

Meadowland, the private life of an English field. John Lewis-Stempel. An absolutely glorious book. Rich and deep and mesmerising. And if you can’t get outside, will evoke our green land.

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