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  • Writer's pictureAnna Knight

Pandemic friendly "soft play" dates

If you tuned into this week's episode of 'Navigating the Storm', you'll know that 'Soft Play' dates don't involve ball pools, big foam shapes and chasing children in your socks. A 'Soft Play' date is giving yourself the gift of one hour - just you - to do something brilliant. Unplugging yourself from social media, telling your nearest and dearest that you aren't available and doing something to feed your soul.

When was the last time you did that? Took one hour out of the 168 available every week, just for you?

When I introduce 'Soft Play' to my coachees, the question I hear most often is "but what would I even do?!" Generally, my response is "whatever sounds the most tempting right now" but that doesn't quite work in a pandemic. The thing that your soul is crying out for might just not be available right now. Unfortunately, there's no magic coaching cure for Covid - believe me, I've checked!

So I've rounded up some ideas for you below. Have a browse, listen to your body and your brain for feedback, and make the commitment to gift yourself an hour this week for something that sounds delicious.

Creative Ideas

In honour of Mel, our producer/tech guru/this week's podcast guest, let's start with some ways to get your creativity flowing...

  • Get an adult colouring book (I've got my eye on this sweary delight)

  • Modelling with fimo

  • Bake something decadent

  • Learn origami

  • A craft kit (another hint from my wishlist)

  • Wine cork crafts (an excuse for a glass or two!)

  • Follow a YouTube paint tutorial

  • Try hand-lettering

Socially distanced excursions

I think we've all felt the need to get out of the house pretty regularly since March, but if you're anything like us, it's easy to get stuck on where to go! Why not try one of these...

  • Splash in the sea

  • Go for a walk in local woods

  • Take your camera for a walk

  • Drive with no destination (last time we did this, we found an 11th Century castle!)

  • Get a drive-through coffee and cake

  • Explore your local streets (I bet they've changed since Spring!)

  • Watch the sun rise or set

  • Rent a bike (or e-scooter if there's a scheme near you!)

Sustaining activities

These are one of the two essential categories of rest! They are the things that nourish you, help you fill your energy back up, and feel absolutely yummy when you're feeling flat...

  • Take a fancy bath (maybe with a nerdy candle or two?)

  • DIY spa - manicures, a facial or investing in a shiatsu massager

  • Yoga session (Yoga with Adriene is my go-to channel)

  • Duvet, PJs and that film (or TV show) you've been meaning to watch

  • Take a guided meditation (even better if it takes you somewhere new)

  • Make yourself a fancy cuppa and flick through a magazine uninterruped

  • Journal about all the things you are grateful for

Stimulating activities

The other essential part of effective rest! Here are some suggestions that will get your mind moving, your soul singing or your blood pumping...

  • Dance like no one is watching (because they aren't!)

  • Take a virtual art gallery or museum tour

  • Listen to something uplifting

  • Watch a comedy special (Netflix has some hysterical female and non-binary comedians!)

  • Revisit the music from your teens

  • Read the works of a new-to-you poet (like Alex Elle, Key Ballah or Olivia Gatwood)

  • Read a book you'd never normally pick

  • Read a book you've fancied for ages

  • Learn a new language (why not pick one for your dream holiday destination?)

  • Make a photo book and revisit past happy memories

Hopefully, something on this list appeals to you. Finding the right 'Soft Play' date is a personal thing - there will be some that you love the look of, and others you wouldn't touch with a bargepole. That's totally normal!

Let me know in the comments what you tried, how it went, or if you have ideas that I missed off the lists!

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