• Lauren Harley

As we ease out of lockdown...

Last week, you might have noticed a gap in the Mindfulness column because I failed to write a piece. I was overwhelmed with work, study, and life stuff and had no capacity for anything else. I’ve been battling with a head cold that seems to be gone but then comes back with a vengeance out of nowhere! So for the past two weeks, I’ve been very up and down. Anyway, if you missed my apology on Instagram: I’m sorry. Missing last week’s post has been in the back of my mind because even if a few people benefit from reading my posts, I felt like I failed them - you.

I share the truth with you because I want to show you that it’s ok to be human and not to be perfect all the time. Nobody is perfect anyway but if you miss a deadline, an event, or even a birthday (I know, it’s not nice), it’s nothing most - if not all - of us have been through. I had a couple of non-judgemental days and they have gotten me through, keeping me above water. I love that having a non-judgemental day has become embedded in my life - quite naturally since I failed to have one a few weeks ago…

Something else I have been doing in a desperate attempt to keep well is:


Remove caffeine from your diet for a day


Like I said before, I do this sometimes anyway but on the day I planned a few weeks ago it didn’t quite work. The last couple of weeks, however, I have had I think three caffeine-free days mostly in my desperate attempt to be free of my lurgies.


I have never been an all-day tea/coffee drinker so whenever a colleague offers me one I mostly decline. When I do accept, I’m either about to drop from exhaustion or need a boost because it’s cold, or I’m feeling down or something like that.

I’ve always maintained that one tea/coffee in the morning is fine, otherwise, I tend to rely on caffeine and have to drink them all day. Drinking water or caffeine-free herbal teas really do provide more energy (for me anyway) and I don’t know why I don’t opt for caffeine-free days for more often. I strive to eliminate caffeine from my diet apart from the odd occasion - not forgetting those delicious Espresso Martinis!

I do like the taste of both tea and coffee and I guess I could substitute with decaf but I feel like it’s unnatural to remove an ingredient from a natural product. But that’s just me...


I’m not too hung up on the amount of caffeine I consume and know that green tea has lots of health benefits but I do recommend you try it if you are not prone to caffeine withdrawals as I know the side effects can be unpleasant. Whenever I have a caffeine-free day and since I’ve limited my caffeine consumption, I’ve gained more energy, my skin is much healthier and I drink more water - not to mention my mood is much higher which is the most important thing!

Smile at someone that you pass in the street today


I do this most of the time but today I smiled at a neighbour I’ve never seen before (could be new). I was walking back to my door, having been to the post office and I just felt like I needed to smile and it lifted my mood. Not that I was particularly down or anything but these small gestures really go a long way for my mental health. Whenever I don’t smile, it consumes me and I question myself as to why because it costs nothing to show some kindness. If the person doesn’t smile back, it doesn’t matter - they might be going through something or they just don’t smile at strangers. The important thing is how it makes you feel and it reveals a lot about your character.


Have a good week and if you can’t live without coffee, why not try to smile at other commuters on your way to work; your neighbour when you put the bins out; or a child on their way to school?

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