• Simon Birdsey

Fitting Jossed into your daily life

It should be fun rather than another added pressure

Last weekend I had conjunctivitis and a throat infection and I was expecting this week to be a recovery week.

It started off fairly slowly. My yoga teacher has been on holiday for a fortnight, so I decided to give pilates a try on Monday morning instead. I've diagnosed myself with a tilted pelvis and nearly all the recommended exercises were covered in the class. So that's a physical box ticked!

One of my recurring boxes is to try a new magazine. On my last board I read 'Louder Than War' and discovered in it that Steve Lamacq has put together a compilation of lesser-known Britpop songs called 'Lost Alternatives'. I found the playlist on Spotify although I was expecting it to be about 4 hours long, so I was saving it for the bank holiday. But on Monday afternoon I had 500 leaflets to deliver and that seemed like as good a time as any to put it on. I especially enjoyed 'Everything Flows' by Teenage Fanclub, 'Drink the Elixir' by Salad and 'Pink Carnations' from Animals that Swim. 'The First Big Weekend' by Arab Strap made me forget what I was doing and 'Strachan' by The Hitchers put a big smile on my face. I'd totally forgotten about 'Monday Morning 5.19' by Rialto though.

It seemed fateful that I delivered the last leaflet just as the penultimate track ended and 'Miss Parker' played as I cycled the short distance home.

I did a First Aid refresher course on Tuesday, which I can't count because it's been a previous box, but that allowed me to renew my Coaches Club membership before the start of the new football season and that was very satisfying. I also listened to a podcast about Biofeedback in the afternoon, which is part of some research that I'm doing for a relaxation box.

On Thursday I took my dog, Max, to the vets. I was there with him about 6 weeks ago to have a lump looked at. They left it up to me whether he had any treatment which I wasn't really happy about because, being an anxious type, I'm prone to avoiding uncomfortable situations. I've put it down as an Achievement box to get it resolved properly though and when I saw a different vet this time they recommended that he had it removed. I don't think that I would have got to that stage if I hadn't committed on my board to doing the right thing.

I've had a bag of protein powder for years and it really does need using up, so I've put it down on one of my blank squares. I'll only use it when I go to the gym, which makes it a sneaky way of tricking myself into working out more.

The Parkrun is still on my board. I was walking around the first section again on Saturday and I could feel my muscles tensing up. I made myself a deal that if I made it all the way around the first part that I could then race off with my bike if I wanted to. Funnily enough, after that, I made it all the way along the next path and out the other side and I felt a lot better than I expected to.

On a Saturday I normally meet friends for a walk and coffee but they were all busy and the end of the Parkrun coincided with the start of a climate change film festival. I'd seen the first film, 'The Age of Stupid', fairly recently and I wasn't that sure if the event was for me but I've got environment boxes to fill and the alternative was probably to spend the day at home, so I decided to go for it. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it and you can't beat a free lunch. I was tempted to join them for a curry before the final screening, as it would have ticked off a social box, but it was time to head home. Fortunately, I was able to watch the film, called 'Being the Change' on Amazon when I got in.

I haven't gone that far out of my way this week but I've ticked off a Physical (Pilates), Pleasure (Listen to 'Lost Alternatives') and an Environment (Climate Change Film Festival). I've also made progress with a Relaxation (Research Biofeedback), an Achievement (Max's Lump) and a blank box (Use up protein powder).

For me the board is about spotting opportunities, pushing yourself to do things that you might not be entirely comfortable with and developing healthier new habits. One day I went to view an exhibition of posters at the Lion Salt Works, cycled along the canal and through the woods to check out the boardwalk at Marbury Park, got a milkshake from the Milkbot and then took it to the football to watch one of the local teams play in the FA Cup. Each activity by themselves might have seemed overwhelming but by combining them I built up some momentum and it felt great that I was able to tick off lots of boxes.

Even if you're laid up at home there are things that you can do. By default I would probably normally watch repeats of sitcoms I've seen hundreds of time before but I'm trying to actively choose what I'm watching instead. On this board I've decided to pick three Emmy-nominated shows and I've gone for 'Fosse/ Verdon' on the BBC, 'When They See Us' (Netflix) and 'This Is Us' (Prime). I've also found that the FA Level 1 in Football Psychology is free to take online, so that will fill one of my Learn boxes. And I've made it a goal to listen to 50 albums that have been released this year.

One of the reasons that I started Jossed was because I didn't want to take the easy option and to do the bare minimum until I somehow felt confident and energised enough to do things that interested me. I wanted to take small steps each day towards feeling better. You don't have to change your life overnight or accomplish all of your goals in the next 3 months. Just try to actively engage with the world and look for ways that you can incorporate your boxes into your normal daily routine.

"I haven't gone that far out of my way this week but I've ticked off a Physical (Pilates), Pleasure (Listen to 'Lost Alternatives') and an Environment (Climate Change Film Festival)."

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