No matter where we are in the world, or what we’re doing, we’re all dealing with a lot right now. Some of us are working long hours, some of us have a lot of time on our hands and the rest of us just don’t really know what day it is. But with all that said, we’re figuring out how to stay positive, how to look out for each other and how to take care of ourselves.
We’ve had quite a few conversations recently around what self-care means to us as individuals during this time, and even within our small team, there are so many different opinions on what self-care looks like. With those conversations in mind, we wanted to share a few of our favourite self-care activities in hope that you may find something that helps you.
The last year has been incredibly tough and whilst it’s great to learn new things and push ourselves sometimes, the ‘I’m going to make the most of my extra time’ vibe that we felt in the first lockdown has definitely subsided. For most of us, lockdown has meant less human connection, less movement and a lot more time in front of our screens, and meditation or a hot bath don’t always help.
There’s a lot going on for us all and never has it been more important to look after ourselves. So, whether you’re up for learning yoga or you’d rather turn your attention to something else entirely, we hope this list of activities will help make coping with the start of 2021 a little better.
Now, first things first…
PROTECT YOUR EYES
As eyewear makers, this is a big one for us. A lot of us are spending more time looking at our screens than we ever have done before and it’s likely not doing us much good.
There's been an increasing awareness of eyesight risk warning from lockdown screen time. We’ve also noticed an increase in questions about our prescription services and blue light options, as well as how to make sure you’re getting what you need when ordering eyewear from home.
For those of you who need glasses or have found yourself struggling due to extended screen time, making sure you have the correct prescription is really important. The good news is you can still go for eye tests within the current lockdown regulations.
Once you know what you need you can come to us and we can make sure you get the right lenses put into your new frames. When you order prescription lenses, we will need to know your PD measurement.
You can ask your optometrist to do this or you can do it yourself following our PD measurement guidelines.
We also provide a blue light option for those of you concerned about the impact of blue light on your health. For those of you that are new to blue light, you can read more about it here: what is blue light anyway? Our blue light filter lenses are available to add on to your subscription at check out.
Once you know what you need prescription wise, you can choose your frames. This is where not being able to try them on is a problem. But we’ve got a couple of options for you that make that problem disappear. You can order up to four styles to try on at home with our Home Try-On service or, if you have an iPhone X or above you can try them using our Virtual Try-On.
If you’re still not sure where to start or how to know which frames will suit you best, drop us an email or give us a call and we’d be more than happy to help you figure it all out.
So, that’s your eyes taken care of. Now, beyond eyewear we’ve been taking self-care inspiration from all over the place. There are individuals we follow on social media as well as some great articles, apps and suggestions from friends. We’ve compiled the eclectic list of non-self-care self-care advice into an orderly list for you and we hope there will be a few on here that you’ll try and love. Here we go...
LEARN THE ART OF CURATION
We’re all well aware that social media can negatively impact our health, and whilst we know it’s not good for us to be online all the time, the majority of us are not ready to sign off completely.
It’s good news then that there’s another option… the art of curation.
Social media is what we what we make of it. It can be inspiring, uplifting and educational, or it can be demoralising, depressing and dishonest. The art of curation means we can choose what we want our time on social media to consist of. We can choose who we follow and take inspiration from, we can choose where to get our news from, where to learn from and where to go for entertainment. It's up to us.
We recommend taking some time to go through the accounts you currently follow. Think about how they make you feel and if it’s not a positive reaction, unfollow. Learn more about curating your social media feeds here: an alternative to quitting social media.
ENJOY A GLASS OF WINE (OR WHATEVER YOU FANCY)
Whether you’re drinking or not, this year has been testing and we’re all finding our own ways of coping. For us, a glass of wine on a Friday night is the perfect end to the week and a little something to look forward to in amongst the chaos. If you’re not doing Dry January this year, don’t feel bad, it’s really not the end of the world! If you are, good on you!
For those of you who are enjoying a glass or two at the end of the week, we’ve come across some great delivery options (in the UK)…
Provisions London — Provisions is a shop and importer in North London specialising in raw milk cheese, natural wine and artisan food products.
Gnarly Vines — Gnarly Vines work with authentic, quality-led producers and suppliers to offer a selection of natural, organic and biodynamic wine, beer, and other supplies.
There are also some great no or low alcohol options out there such as…
Feragaia — Scotland’s first distilled alcohol-free spirit made from land and sea botanicals.
Drink Mary — a low alcohol botanical blend made with responsibly sourced garden herbs.
Pentire — Botanical, non-alcoholic spirits made by distilling unique plants native to the Cornish Coastline
EMBRACE LOUNGEWEAR LIVING
Let’s be honest, we’ve been in loungewear more than we have anything else over the past year, so why not embrace it? Our friends over at Riley Studio, have extended their gender neutral, planet-kind loungewear range recently and we won't lie... we’re a little bit obsessed. If you invest in anything this year (apart from a good pair of glasses) comfy loungewear is a solid choice.
Riley Studio, 'Human Kind' Track Pant
HAVE A CLEAR OUT
Clearing stuff out feels good, especially if you’ve been meaning to do it for weeks. Sorting through old things you haven’t looked at for ages and making space for new things has been known to help us think more clearly too.
We’re not saying you need to fully Marie Kondo your home but maybe start with tackling that one draw you’ve been putting the need-to-sort items into for a while… it's a good time passer, if nothing else!
WRITE A LETTER
One of the reasons we’ve all spent more time in front of our screens recently is connection. We can’t see our friends, family, colleagues so we video call them instead. The problem is, after a long day working the last thing we need is more screen time. The solution? Take the old-fashioned route and write letters. It’s incredibly satisfying to sit down and write without digital distraction, plus you might get one back and we all love when something arrives in the post that’s not a bill or a leaflet for the local pizza shop, don't we?
RESEARCH SOMETHING YOU’VE ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN
We’ve all got that slightly obscure topic that we’ve always been fascinated by, but don’t always have time to indulge in, don't we? If you have a bit more time on your hands at the moment and you’re feeling restless, delve into your passions.
Every Monday, we share our MONCmondays, a place for us to share all things that are inspiring us in the studio. Whether it be something to watch, read, listen to or places to visit. Follow along on Instagram or sign up to our newsletter and if you don't have an obscure interest yet, you will do soon!
SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES
It’s no secret that doing good also makes us feel good, and small businesses need all the help they can get at the moment. There are so many ways to help that don’t involve directly buying something too...
- Tell your friends and family about them.
- Follow and share their profiles on social media as well as products you've bought from them.
- Tell your friends and family about them.
- Write reviews for them.
- Send them a message with any helpful feedback.
As a small, independent business ourselves we love hearing about others so do share your favourites with us!
No, you don’t have to take up any big exercise goals or push yourself to hit new personal bests, just get out for a walk at your own pace. Walking can improve your health, plus it’s often where great ideas come from: Why everyone from Beethoven, Goethe, Dickens, Darwin to Steve Jobs took long walks and why you should too
The Netflix pull is something most of us know all too well, but when you’ve spent your day at a screen it’s the last thing you need. Reading a gripping novel or a magazine you’ve not had the time for is a great way to spend the evening instead. We’ve even heard that reading in the bath, with a glass of wine, does the trick. We'll test it and let you know.
MAKE SOMETHING WITH YOUR HANDS
As craftspeople, there is little else more mindful in our opinion than making something with your hands. Whether it’s sewing, knitting, carving or potting, there are so many wonderful things to try your hand at. Here are a few of our personal favourites:
Stay Home Kana Clay Club
TEST YOUR COOKING SKILLS
First came the frenzy of baking our own bread, then we went mad for banana bread. Back in April, at the height of lockdown, everyone was in the kitchen cooking and baking. Here at MONC this hasn't changed for us and the whole team is still whipping up new recipes on a daily basis. A personal favourite of ours is making pasta from scratch, how about you?
SEND FLOWERS TO A FRIEND
GET INTO YOUR ART
If you’re not creative this might not sound like an obvious option, but we still highly recommend it. It’s not the end result that’s important, it’s the process. Whether you’re painting by numbers or throwing paint at a canvas in the garden, art is what you want it to be. The process can be incredibly mindful, as well as rewarding if you end up with something to hang on the wall at the end.
Last summer as part of our Adapt and Create campaign, Becky Okell painted a picture of Freda Kahlo for a friend.
Becky O'Kell, co-founder of Paynter Jacket Co. for #adapt and create
BROWSE THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ARCHIVES
'Mountain Air' photographed by Karen Kasmauski, Nat Geo image collection
START SOMETHING WITHOUT PRESSURE
Starting something as a side project, without the pressure of needing to make money from it, can be a great way to let an idea flourish. Plus, if you’re feeling lost it can give you something to focus on. It was a piece by Paynter Jacket that got us thinking about this…
“Side projects take you down new rabbit holes.
They're led by curiosity.
There's no pressure.
No plans for world domination.
Just a lot of learning.”
Your self-care belongs to you. It’s not up to anyone else to tell you how to take care of yourself and that’s not what this list is about. We wanted to pull this list together because these are things that have helped us and our community in the past. We're sharing them in case they can help you too.
We’d also love to know if there’s anything you’d add to the list, it's a work in progress! Let us know your suggestions via email or Instagram and we’ll add them in, the more the better! Let’s all help each other take care of ourselves.