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Self-help Pottering mindfully sounds like too much hard work

"Pottering is like a less alcoholic version of hygge, ditching the distractions of tech and simplifying life"

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It’s like most life-improving trends — they sound
OK in theory but keeping it up can be hard work

It’s like most life-improving trends — they sound OK in theory but keeping it up can be hard work

It’s like most life-improving trends — they sound OK in theory but keeping it up can be hard work

In a year when living is as slow as it's ever been, the new self-help advice is to slow it down a little further.

The art of doing nothing has been elevated to spiritual nirvana, but if you have to read a book about it does that count as doing something?

Step forward Pottering: A Cure for Modern Life which is somewhere between faffing and drudgery, depending on whether hanging laundry on a line is a mindfulness opportunity or a pain in your smalls.

And if it conjures up an image of Demi Moore slinging a set of mugs together with Patrick Swayze this may not be the life philosophy for you.

Author Anna McGovern advocates the satisfaction of a small chore well done, like rinsing milk bottles by hand. Who has milk bottles any more, but I get the idea.

In the spirit of enjoying the slow pace of a gentle occupation I tried mindfully rearranging a drawer. I took everything out, cleaned it without worrying too much about the origin of some suspect stains and the unhealthy collection of wine corks, and returned the contents to their rightful place.

All was well with the world until two days later when its normal state of sticky chaos had returned with reinforcements thanks to the other drawer users who don't get that I'm trying to be mindful here. I may be doing it wrong.

It's like most life-improving trends. They sound OK in theory but keeping it up can be hard work.

I barely dabbled in the world of Mrs Hinch, her Pink Stuff and her army, apart from that one attempt to clean the stainless steel sink with fabric softener. It came up a treat and smelled lovely until someone used it and then it just looked like our sink again. Marie Kondo made a mint with her idea that an uncluttered home leads to an uncluttered mind, and her philosophy that we should get rid of belongings that don't spark joy. She was slightly overtaken by lockdown restrictions which meant we got rid of belongings because we were really bored.

Hygge was much more up my street with the easily achievable beer, candles, cosiness and mates. It's basically a description of the Covid winter ahead, without the mates.

Pottering is like a less alcoholic version of hygge, ditching the distractions of tech and simplifying life.

While searching for its core beliefs I stumbled across Your Simplest Life and barely got out alive. After reading about developing a safe psychological space for accomplishing achievements I felt inadequate before the end of the sentence.

I can just about cope with a To Do list no longer than a Post-it, and life goals are grand as long as you don't go on about them.

If you can wake up in the morning and know what's for dinner today, that's a worthy life plan. I assume anyone who has a 10-year life plan has taken a quick look at the events of 2020 and decided to backpack round Donegal instead.

But if pottering seems too much like hard work Radical Rest: Get More Done by Doing Less will create next year's buzz phrase, with advice on how to make sleep more efficient, or 'cultivate a relationship with rest', according to the blurb.

Rest should not be considered as an indulgence or a passive activity apparently, just when I was pretty sure I'd got the hang of sleep.

I'll try another potter and a ponder instead and this time try not to put my back into it.

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