Designer Sofia Andreasson is emerging herself in these three mindful practices at home to keep pandemic anxiety at bay, and as a specialist in Trends Researcher she knows she’s not alone…
1.Bake some bread
Try some mindful baking – in particular bread making. Studies* have shown that bread making has many therapeutic qualities. I’ve taken to making sourdough bread as an anxiety outlet. In a time where many aspects of my life have gone completely digital, and there’s constant worry and stress around the pandemic, I find the process of bread making becomes a grounding, mindful activity that keeps me in the here and now.
And I’m certainly not alone. Google Trend searches for ‘bread’ have hit an all-time high, while #breadmaking has garnered nearly half a million posts on social media.
2. Get your hands in the soil
Discover the health benefits of gardening. The majority of my free time is spent in the garden as I’m a keen amateur vegetable grower, and during these past months the garden has become my personal refuge.
Studies are starting to uncover that gardening can reduce stress and anxiety and improve mood, and even reduce symptoms of depression.** And the one I find most intriguing is the quite new research which shows that a specific type of microbe found in gardening soil – mycobacterium vaccae – increases levels of serotonin (the human happy chemical). ***
And again, I’m not the only one getting their hands in the soil. Online gardening courses are growing in popularity, while grow-your-own products like hydroponics and windowsill solutions, along with seed sales are all seeing significant uptake.
3. Take a forest bath
Just like many other Swedes I’ve also taken to spending more time in nature and particularly in the woods for some ‘forest bathing’ to reconnect with nature and the seasons.
‘Forest bathing’****or Shinrin-Yoku is a Japanese method that has developed in response to the worldwide growth in stress levels. Research shows that after spending time in the forest, your blood pressure falls, your stress hormone production is reduced, you sleep more deeply, your ability to concentrate improves, and your immune system is boosted. Try taking it one step further. At first one can giggle but as we have to keep a distance from loved ones right now, try hugging a tree. The Icelandic Forestry Commission is even giving lessons in it.