Take part in our Sky Gazing Challenge and win a free copy of our mindfulness book ‘Slow Down and Be.’
Wherever you are in the UK, at the moment we are all facing restrictions on our lives and some of us are in lockdown again. Next week, or even tomorrow can feel uncertain, never mind making plans for next year. You may have a lot of worries around coronavirus or uncertainty around your job or standard of living. You may be in isolation or at home more often and unable to do the things you used to and enjoy the freedom we are all so used to.
It is easy to feel despondent and down, and wonder ‘when will this all end,’ and ‘will things ever feel ‘normal’ again’. You hear people talk about a new ‘normal’ and maybe that makes you feel uneasy too.
So much seems to have changed; it is easy to get lost in Covid-19 news, and to feel overwhelmed. For this reason, we have decided to create a challenge to help take your mind off things, at least for a little while, even if only a few minutes a day. A few of you may have tried our 30 day song challenge during our spring lockdown, and we got great feedback from those of you who took part.
Taking Your Mind Away from Worry
Our technique to help people to stop cravings and bad habits is called our ‘Simple Stopping System,’ (SSS) Our ‘Stop Smoking in 5 Minutes’ book is available in hardcopy or ebook on our website and will guide you through stopping smoking 5 minutes at a time. Why 5 minutes? A craving lasts only 5 minutes… So if you start tackling one craving at a time, you will get through each 5 minutes until the cravings go away entirely.
At the moment, it might seem like we are in a dark tunnel of the never ending pandemic. However, if like the simple stopping system, we focus on today, just now, only a few minutes at a time, every day, we realise we can focus our energies elsewhere and find enjoyment in things and take our mind away from worry. Look around us, enjoy nature, enjoy quality time with our families, take up hobbies like reading, or walking, and take our minds off coronavirus news and worries for a short time. Our Living Life to the Full eBooks are available on Kindle and as Apple iBooks and can help you to feel happier and practice key life skills.
With the winter evenings now upon us, the night sky is constantly changing, winter is a great time for families to start sky gazing because it gets dark early enough for even the youngest family members to witness the stars and the changing night sky.
Why Sky Gazing Is Good For You
Being outside is so beneficial to your health, we have shared many tips in previous blogs about the benefits to your health and wellbeing of fresh air and exercise. Looking up at the stars feels meditative and relieves stress and calms your mind. It is easy escapism without any technology! You just need your eyes, a pair of specs if you need them, for comfort a reclining chair is good, or you can end up with a sore neck or if its dry a warm blanket on the ground. And of course, be prepared in the right clothing at this chilly time of year. Why not make an evening of it, if you have a garden, chose a nice night to enjoy some hot chocolate while you search for the stars and even enjoy a winter bonfire.
Being Out In Nature
While you can see the stars from anywhere- being out somewhere rural gives you the best views, with less street lights and noise from the city. However, this time of year is great for identifying different types of clouds and levels of rain and you can do that from anywhere any window and in the middle of town!
Sky gazing can inspire you- have you ever looked at the sky or the stars in the evening, and quickly grabbed your phone to capture the amazing view? Sometimes these photos can’t do the nights sky justice, perhaps you can get creative and might try and paint it instead.
Relieve Your Stress
Just stopping for a few moments, out in the fresh air and focusing on the sky can make you feel more rested and at peace. Looking at the clouds and thinking about their shape – what do you see? This can be quite a mindful activity and is fun for children too.
Sky gazing with the family can feel like a really nice bonding experience as you chat through what each person can see in the sky. It is a great talking point, as someone spots a shooting star and shares their delight with the next person.
Learning Something New
No matter how often you look at the sky, you will always spot something different! Do you know your constellations? Do you know the different cloud names and classifications? It’s never too late to learn.
It’s Free Wherever You Are
Sky gazing is open to everyone- no matter your age, where you live in the world, or whether you have a garden or not. It is a magical and inexpensive way to reconnect with nature. You’re guaranteed to be left awe-struck by the sheer size, and beauty, of the universe. If you want a little guidance you can download a star gazing app, which will help you plan observing sessions, find satellites and the International Space Station. Find out more about star gazing apps here.
No matter where you live- in the countryside or a house with a garden or in the city in a high rise you can look for stars. With the option to meet in restaurants and bars and cafes limited for many of us, you can get together with friends for a walk outside and watch the sky.
Sky Gazing Activities For You to Try
Watch out for the penumbral lunar eclipse which will take place on 30 November 2020. However, there will be a longer wait for the next total lunar eclipse. Take a look here for some upcoming celestial events.
Here are some other ideas to think about:
- Have you ever watched the sun set? What better way to start your stargazing extravaganza than by watching our own star set?
- Look for Shooting Stars- This requires a little patience. The key meteor showers are Quadrantids in January, Perseids in August, Leonids in November and Geminids in December.
- Search for the Constellations
Orion’s Belt- This is one of the easiest constellations to spot. Look to the south-west for three bright stars close together and almost in a straight line. The two stars to the north are his shoulders and the two to the south are his feet.
Can you spot the plough? Why not look for Satellites- If a light is moving slowly across the sky and it isn’t flashing then it is likely to be a satellite. Look online to find out when the Space Station will pass over your house.
To win a free copy of our ‘Slow Down and Be’ book, complete any or all of our sky-gazing activities, or create your own and share them with us. To enter, either post your photos to our social media pages or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Try some of these activities, or come up with your own!
1. Make a poster with the the 15 constellation names and meanings.
2. Learn how to photograph a star trail.
3. Learn how to star hop.
4. Take part in a star gazing evening.
5. Get creative and paint the day or night sky!
6. Spot and photograph- or paint the different cloud names and classifications.
7. Make a Sun Dial.
Or why not come up with your own sky gazing activity and share it with us!
The Living Life to the Full Team.