Q is for . . .

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Sometimes all we need is a little piece of quiet. Quiet from the hustle and bustle of the big, wide world, quiet from noise of our everyday lives, quiet from our own whirring thoughts. But, in a world that can sometimes feel deafening, how do you slow down enough to let the quiet in? Well, today we’re going to suggest a few things that might help…

The M word with Learn Devon

Mindfulness

Did you know that lots of the suggestions we’ve made in today’s blog post include mindfulness practise?

The idea of ‘mindfulness’ can be quite polarising, with some people swearing by it and others disregarding it as a waste of time. And there are lots of people who don’t really know what it is – it’s that thing with all the adult colouring books, right?

Mindful.org has a great article on what mindfulness is and what it means, defining it as: “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” It’s something we all already know how to do, we just need to learn to tap into it.

Learn Devon is a great resource for free mindfulness courses and workshops, taking you through, step by step, to help you practise mindfulness to reduce stress, anxiety and cope with difficult situations. And they really know what they’re doing. Their courses are free and tend to book up quite quickly. Keep an eye on their website for more details.

Their mindfulness challenge back in November 2020 was a roaring success, with 67% of participants saying they felt more relaxed, 55% saying it helped them cope better with lockdown, and the vast majority (92%) saying they would recommend it to friends and family.

Mindfulness reading suggestions

If you’d like to learn more about mindfulness, we have some brilliant eBooks and eAudiobooks on Overdrive and BorrowBox that can help you find out more and learn tips and techniques to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine. Take a look at some of our top picks below:

Go into the wild

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Funny how improving our wellbeing can so often come back to the time we spend in nature. But that’s because it really does help (for most people, at least). Whether it’s the fresh air, the change of scenery, or even the change of pace, setting out into nature can help us to slow down and take notice of the small things.

If you’re up for walking as your daily exercise, then Ramblers.org.uk have some great resources to help you find places to walk, guidance around walking during covid-19, routes for different abilities and more.

If you’re unable to travel to a rambling route, or if that sort of exercise isn’t suitable for you, then there are other ways you can capture those moments of stillness in the great outdoors. Sometimes, simply heading to your nearest green space is enough – whether that’s your own back garden or your local park. Try just spending a few minutes outside – even in this chilly weather.

No matter where you are, try this tip for letting your mind slow down or take a break from anything that’s worrying you: Close your eyes and count to ten. When you open them, try and find three things that you can see, or hear, that you hadn’t noticed before.

A hashtag for tranquillity

Quite In The Wild

If you’d like a little dose of nature at a time when you can’t get out there yourself, we have a couple of hashtags that are sure to brighten your day.

#quietinthewild and #whimsicalwonderfulwild are two hashtags that have over 400K posts between them on Instagram and most of them are just, well, lovely! Images with these tags tends to capture that almost intangible sense of stillness, calm or tranquillity that being surround by the natural world can bring, and they are well worth a follow if you’re an Instagram user.

And perhaps, next time you do head out into the countryside, or onto the moors, or walk along the coast, you’ll find your own moment of #quietinthewild, snap a photo and add to this beautiful collection.

Bird Song

Listen – what can you hear?

Here’s another great activity to help you create a moment of stillness and calm – listening to bird song. This one can be done pretty much anywhere – you might even be able to do it from the warmth of your own home if you just crack open a window.

And while this is a lovely activity to do by itself, if you’d like to be doing something a little more proactive, why not try to see how many birds you can identify? The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (or RSPB as it’s more commonly known) have a brilliant bird song identifier on their website that includes all the most common garden birds.

And while you’re at it, why not sign up to the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch This year it runs from the 29th to 31st of January, so there’s still time to sign up. All you have to do is spend an hour in your garden, or looking out of your balcony or window, and try and identify what birds you see – simple!