Treat yourself

With so many reasons to be worried at the moment, it's no wonder that many small business owners are suffering from symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. That is why it is important to take a bit of time out for yourself, and focus on something outside of your immediate concerns. Just for a little while, try to stop thinking about your family, your business, the children and your staff, and dedicate a little time to just looking after yourself.

We've collected together some suggestions for how to treat yourself whilst not leaving home - and all of them are free or very cheap. Relax and enjoy!

Calm your mind

Calm lakeCalm has put together a collection called Calm Together, consisting of its favourite meditations, calming exercises, sleep stories and music. All the resources are completely free to use and share.

Insight Timer has 45,000 guided meditations to help you relax, sleep better, lift your mood and deal with anxiety. All their playlists are currently free, and include relaxing music and uplifting talks as well as meditations.

Headspace will teach you the essentials of mindfulness, and is offering a collection called Weathering the Storm for free via its app. The collection includes meditations, sleep, and movement exercises to help you feel better.

The Mindfulness website is a good place to start if you are totally new to the subject of mindfulness and meditation.

Catch up on culture

The LouvreNational Theatre at Home is putting on a series of plays, with a new one streamed every Thursday via YouTube and available to view for one week. Recent productions include Frankenstein (with Benedict Cumberbatch), One Man Two Governors (with James Corden), and Jane Eyre.

The Shows Must Go On is streaming a selection of Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals on YouTube. There's a new production every Friday at 7.00pm, which is then available to view for 48 hours. Recent productions include The Phantom of the Opera, Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Virtual museum tours: Some of the world's major museums are offering free virtual tours of their collections. Some of these are a little basic, but others are very slickly put together indeed. Why not have a wander around the amazing collections at museums such as:

British Museum
Vatican Museum (including the Sistine Chapel)
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Musee d'Orsay

Relax with a book

Audible is the leading audio book app, and you can get a 30 day free trial (after which it switches to £7.99 per month).

Kindle Free Books offers you a free Kindle e-book every day. Just download the book from Amazon via their website.

To browse through a whole range of free e-books in a variety of formats, not just Kindle, check out the list of download sites on LifeWire:

Learn something new

Learn to play the guitar with 50% off an annual plan (which includes a 14 day free trial) of lessons from Fender Play.

FutureLearn has hundreds of online courses from top universities and specialist organisations. The courses are short, typically between two and eight weeks, and all are free (there is a small charge if you want a certificate at the end). With courses covering a vast range of subjects, you're sure to find something to pique your interest.

Yoga with Adrienne is a great place to get started with yoga - or to get back in practice if you've not been able to get to class for months. There's lots of different levels to choose from on her YouTube channel.

Duolingo is one of the best free language learning apps. With just a few minutes a day, you'll really find yourself improving quickly. Has been used in our household for learning Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian and Danish!

Treat yourself to a freebie

For a selection of all sorts of goodies for free, take a look at the Freebies section on the Latest Deals website. The offers are mostly sample sizes or trial packs or in exchange for liking promotions on Facebook/Twitter, but they're all FREE. So why not sign up for a selection and then just be pleasantly surprised when odd things arrive at your door over the coming weeks - each day brings a little suprise!

Treats on the cheap

Treat yourself (or anyone else who needs cheering up) to some bargain flowers from Delightful Flora. For a limited time they are offering up to 60% off all bouquets, plus an extra 10% off at the checkout.

VoucherCodes is a good source of money off deals on all sorts of brands and products. Take a look:

Fun and games and random stuff

Cards Against Humanity have launched a family-friendly edition, and you can download and print out the cards for free. So now you can have a good laugh with the kids without having to explain some of the more awkward concepts of the original version.

Adult colouring pages from JustColor include a series of art therapy pictures, which promote relaxation and reduce stress while you focus on colouring them in. And they're all free.

Netflix has loads good stuff, but if you'd like a nice wholesome love story, with loads of comedy and complicated intertwining plot lines, and a dashing hero being nobly heroic, and interesting insights into the differences between life in North and South Korea (yes really), I strongly recommend Crash Landing on You. It's like a warm hug, and you'll be so busy binge watching it that you won't have time to worry about anything else.


Posted by: Clare Freeman
Date: 5 May 2020