This year’s lockdowns have seen many of us spending time indoors and trying to keep ourselves entertained at home. This can be a challenge for those who are used to an active or outdoorsy lifestyle spent in nature, as it can be tough to find meaningful things to do. I struggled with this too, until a friend said she kept herself occupied by simply pottering around her house most of the day. I tried it, and found it too rewarding to keep it all to myself!
Pottering around is all about keeping busy at a leisurely pace, without feeling the need to have specific plans for things that need to be achieved. It’s about letting your eyes wander and finding things that could be done, instead of having a pre-planned list of tasks in your mind.
So, in my case, I started by sorting my fabric stash by colour and then moved onto my button stash. Next, I went to the kitchen to make myself a coffee and put all the bagged spices into glass jars, then picked some rosemary from the garden and set it to dry. That’s what it’s like to potter: finding enjoyable tasks that don’t feel like a chore; little jobs you want to do, not tasks that you have to do.
Tidying your wardrobe is a perfect pottering task shutterstock/Kostikova Natalia
Pottering around is also about choosing activities that you can look back on and admire or enjoy, and about allowing yourself to jump from one thing to another without feeling guilty about it. However, scrolling down your phone or sitting in front of the TV doesn't count as pottering! Indeed, keep your pottering digital free as much as possible and you’ll find it much more rewarding this way.
I’ve come to think of pottering as a coping strategy. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed, busy, or anxious, and please raise your hand if you haven’t felt any of these emotions this year! There’s no right way of dealing with these feelings, so the more tools we have, the better our ability to weather any storm will be. In fact, pottering can really help when we feel outside of our comfort zone. How? Here are a few examples:
“Potter around for a while and you’ll discover pleasure and beauty in small things. Pottering helps you learn to pace your routine and slow down a notch.
You may want to have a look at this article, where Anna McGovern describes the benefits of pottering. She found herself overwhelmed by that familiar feeling of everything happening at the same time, struggling with a busy schedule, with personal and professional disappointment, and emotional exhaustion. To cope with the situation, she decided to set aside one day a week to just potter around. And, in her own words, making that decision changed her life, and in the end she published a book about it.
If you need some inspiration to get you started with pottering, here's a list of ideas to get you kick-started into action:
Pottering around in the garden shutterstock/goodluz
One last suggestion is to keep track of all the good things that happen once you allow yourself time to potter. This will generate awareness and appreciation for this way of using time, and you may discover something new about yourself too.
Pottering around is a great coping strategy that you can turn into healing self-care sessions where you experience time without pressure and learn to just be. So, are you ready to become a potterer? Give it a try, discover the magic of pottering about, and find peace, contentment and happiness. •
Are you a happiness.com member? Sign up for free now to:Stress management | Healthy habits | Simple living
A social sciences graduate with a keen interest in languages, communication and personal development strategies. Dee loves exercising, being out in nature, and discovering warm and sunny places where she can escape the winter.
What exactly is Niksen, the Danish art of doing nothing? Dee Marques takes up the arduous challenge of, well, sitting and doing very little at all,
There have been plenty of feel-good health and environmental stories in the press during March. Ed Gould rounds up his Top Ten from the past month to
Death is unavoidable, so why is it still taboo? And why do we not prepare for end of life better? Ed Gould looks at why planning for our passing