June 2021

Although pandemic-days pass slowly, the months are passing quickly. The six months since Christmas have been filled with little more than trying to guess when we might be able to live with fewer restrictions and, once again, be free to make our own decisions.

Living on a knife-edge (is the situation a bit better or a bit worse this week?) has filled the days with endless speculation about the ‘next steps’ and that has completely absorbed me for months. Absorbed me to the point that I have had little bandwidth for anything other than eating, sleeping and other essential functions. Living within a speculative bubble is, perhaps, a little better than living in an anxiety bubble (so 2020) but the effect is similar…the months rushing past!

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Anyway, for these reasons 2021 has been quite Minimal-ish so far. Little shopping. A few pub visits (outdoors). About three daytrips when the museums opened. No holidays.

My (mostly) stay-at-home existence was also influenced by my vaccination status, but now that I am fully vaccinated there are still few places that I am able to go since visitor numbers remain restricted. Now that I am willing to venture out occasionally I am longing for the chance to be just a little spontaneous.

I wonder when we will be able to make a spur-of-the-moment decision again?

©SD Wheelock

Photo from Pixabay

Welcome to Minimal-ish

Welcome to Minimal-ish!

Minimal-ish describes my lifestyle, choices and overall philosophy.

I call myself Minimal-ish because I do not think of myself as a Minimalist. Minimalism seems too extreme for me. If you were to look inside my front door you might say that I have too many possessions to be described as a Minimalist…and I would agree.

In describing myself as Minimal-ish, I consider that I am generally heading in the direction of Minimalism, though I may never get there. I try to live a simple and healthy life, conscious of my overall consumption. I try to make sustainable choices. I have found a few things that work for me and, therefore, I make few changes. I am vegetarian. I eat the same things most days. I like to walk, which counts as my daily activity. I get as much sleep as I can, though I am not a good sleeper. I use mindfulness and meditation to help with my anxiety and stress. I clean about once a week – I wash my hair, vacuum, clean the bathroom and change the bedsheets every Saturday. I cannot remember the last time I ironed any of my clothes. I am not a fan of multi-tasking. I add as little as possible to my diary, scheduling a maximum of one appointment a day if I really need to make an appointment for something. I do not watch much TV. I read a lot of ebooks.

In recent months we have been living with stay-at-home orders and many shops have been closed (I live in England). During this time I have learned that contentment can be achieved more easily than than I imagined – for example, I have been happiest when sitting in the garden listening to my favourite songs on repeat (using my preferred app). Most of my possessions have been a part of my life for many years and during this pandemic I have lived quite comfortably with my old stuff. Almost all of my shopping has been online grocery shopping. I bought some bathroom towels and my husband bought a new phone, but I cannot think of anything else we have bought for months. Though I do not consider shopping a leisure activity, I now recognise that my few pre-pandemic shopping trips were often fuelled by boredom, rather than need. An unexpected takeaway lesson from this period which will help me on my Minimal-ish path.

England will be attempting to re-open in spring and summer 2021 but I do not plan to do much shopping when the shops re-open. I have had plenty of time to realise that I need very little to live well. I have missed the cinema and the pub, but I feel no need to accumulate new and shiny things. What about you?

© SDWheelock

Photo from Pexels

Back to Basics

While 2020 has forced many unexpected experiences upon us all, I am finally starting to feel like I might be ready to think about moving forward – slowly and cautiously.

For the last three months I feel like I have been in survival mode, but with the passing of the initial shocks and resultant anxiety, I am ready to think about returning to more recognisable habits.

The place I want to start is my health. Since I still don’t know what the future will hold I want to stay healthy by eating well but need to think about a sustainable ‘back to basics’ approach. I still have little energy, time or money to spare but healthy eating is important for my medium and longer term health.

In general, I have no patience for health fads or superfoods, mostly because the claims have no real merit, but also because they are fussy and expensive.

The main barriers to healthy eating are often our busy lifestyles and the perceived cost of healthy foods, but we do not need to cook everything from scratch or buy expensive ingredients. Processed foods are often identified as unhealthy, but a large range of foods are processed in different ways and I choose processed foods like canned pulses and frozen vegetables that are healthy choices which can contribute to balanced meals.

Considering a ‘Back to Basics’ approach has helped me to plan healthier meals while saving time and money:

Canned food

I use canned food as the base of a meal or an addition to a meal. Canned pulses, like chickpeas, beans and lentils provide protein, fibre and various nutrients. Canned vegetables are useful for curries, stews and pasta sauces.

Choose value brands

Value or economy brands are great value and provide similar nutrients to branded versions of foods – think pasta, passata, rice and canned vegetables, potatoes or fruit (just look out for added salt and sugar).

Frozen food

Frozen fruit and vegetables tend to be cheaper than fresh and are equally nutritious, given that the freezing process preserves nutrients. Pre-cut fruit and vegetables are convenient because they can be quickly added to a meal in whatever quantities I prefer. Also, frozen food doesn’t go bad, so my money isn’t wasted and there is less food waste overall.


Swapping to wholegrain pasta and rice for more fibre contributes to better health for little or no extra cost.

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All set for the week ahead

With a store cupboard full of canned food and frozen foods in the freezer, it is much easier to feel prepared for the week ahead and confident that I will have healthy food to hand when further 2020-induced anxieties arise.

Adapted from an article in OM Yoga magazine

Choose Good Food for Good Health