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Your Quarantine Toolkit: Books to Help You Manage a Second Lockdown

As we face a second wave of the pandemic, restrictions are once again coming into place all over the world. Have no fear, these books may help you to navigate through the second lockdown.
by Fiona Wiedmann | Nov 17 2020

2020 has been a year unlike any other. With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic the world rapidly shifted, implementing restrictive measures to slow the spread of the virus and with the onset of a second wave, many countries worldwide are moving back into lockdown status.

These extended periods of time indoors have forced people to get creative and make the most of their lockdown by learning new things and exploring different ways to grow. And this is where the Blinkist app comes in to help.

“Blinkist encourages you to read more nonfiction books. The app contains cleverly written digests—called Blinks—where books are broken down into their main arguments.”
– The New York Times

Here at Blinkist we gather insights of the nonfiction books from around the world. and compose memorable, easy-to-understand information packages which can be read (or listened to) in just 15 minutes.

“With Blinkist you can boost your knowledge and gain new perspectives so that you can be a better professional, a better partner, or a better you—and finally get through your book list or make sense of the increasingly big and busy world of ideas.”
– United Nations, World Summit Awards

This concept is supporting millions of people to change their lives for the better. With the current global situation, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure. Empower yourself with new knowledge and healthy methods for self-awareness gathered from some of the world’s best writers.

We suggest starting with these ten diverse titles which offer actionable advice and compassionate strategies to help get you through the second lockdown.

A World as We’ve Never Known It

Despite lockdown life being hailed the ‘new normal,’ sheltering in place has led to a complete upheaval in our personal lives with the world looking nothing like it did this time last year. The anxiety from this is being felt by many all around the globe. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in a world filled with stress, negativity and grief and not having an ounce of control over the situation is a source of extreme anxiety for many. What’s crucial however, as Matt Haig writes in Notes on a Nervous Planet, is that you have the power to modify your experience of it.

Haig promotes cultivating your own calmness by, for example, reducing how much news you consume daily. Ultimately, he argues that being mindful of what you do and your behavior is the first step towards shifting your patterns and creating a less anxious and stress-filled life.

Be Kind to Yourself

Some days it may feel like your mental strength and ability to cope with the ever-changing crisis is wearing thin. With no end to the pandemic in sight, this comes as no surprise. Nevertheless, with the right tools at your disposal, it might be possible to boost your spirits. Did you know, for example, that you can strengthen your own resilience?

In Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakeable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness, authors Rick and Forrest Hanson guide us through simple practices that lead to building greater personal resilience. These include embracing pleasure, being grateful, having self-compassion and ultimately, making use of your own inner power and resources.

Similarly, Self Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff is a tonic for the self-criticism and feelings of inadequacy which many in the modern world are troubled by. She suggests radical acts of self kindness, such as giving yourself a hug next time you need one. This releases the exact same chemicals as when someone else wraps their arms around you! She stresses that it isn’t selfish to be self-compassionate. It is completely necessary, pandemic or none.

Psychotherapist Philippa Perry invites us to “invest in optimism” and encourages familiarity with your own inner emotional life in How To Stay Sane. In doing so, she says we have the power to draw more positivity from our current circumstances. She provides us with brilliant coping strategies for when we feel like we are reaching breaking point.

All Work And No Play…

There was a time when work and leisure were two clearly separate things. There was a place for work and home was a place to rest. However, the pandemic has accelerated an existing trend towards more people working from home, further blurring the lines between work and leisure. This leads to people working too much and feeling burnt out. Do Nothing: How To Break Away From Overworking, Overdoing and Underliving by Celeste Headlee counteracts the idea that the busier the better.

To combat overwork stress, she recommends tracking exactly how you spend your time over a period of a few days, even when you are just mindlessly scrolling the internet. Then, she advises creating a schedule for yourself that prioritizes leisure not productivity. This will help redirect your focus, and rediscover what is important to you.

For many, part of this leisure schedule will be about making time for creative projects, but as Austin Kleon writes in Keep Going: 10 Ways To Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad, escaping the chaos of current affairs to do creative work is tough. Much like Headlee, Kleon recommends building a creative routine. Even if this feels completely alien to free-spirited creativity, it will, in fact, control how you show up for the work and how ready you are to receive when inspiration does hit.

Cultivate Your Environment

Many of us have spent more time inside and at home in 2020 than ever before. In this confinement, your mind may have drifted to your dream pad. Whatever this may look like, it’s possible to cultivate an enriching environment for yourself in your own digs.

Take the Japanese wisdom of Wabi Sabi. The book of the same name by Beth Kempton examines the countless benefits to adopting the ‘elegantly simplistic’ lifestyle and mindset. Wabi Sabi stresses the fact that homes are to be lived in, without the need for perfection. They are the place we should feel most at ease. Why not try some Wabi Sabi decluttering? The aim of it is not to achieve complete minimalism, but a good clear out can help you focus on what’s important and de-stress you.

While we’re on the subject of making your home feel its best, let’s take a little inspiration from the Danish—people, not the pastry—because if there’s anyone who knows how to get through harsh winter months indoors, it’s them. The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well by Meik Wiking will help you to cultivate the feeling of Hygge in your life. Think candles, a cosy nook, and a hot cuppa in the hand to unwind!

If in Doubt, Breathe it Out

If everything feels particularly overwhelming, did you know something as simple as breathing can help? Breathing correctly has a huge impact on both your mental and physical health. In The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama, author Richard Rosen guides you through starting your own personal journey to better breathing. With extra time on your hands, perhaps it’s time to clear those nostrils and take some time for you.

The Power of Movement

Equally beautiful in its simplicity, the power of moving your body can be a transformative activity and the science stands behind this. This is mapped out in Shane O’Mara’s In Praise of Walking.

For many, taking a walk outside is one activity that’s allowed during lockdown, which has clear positive effects on brain function. It will help you to think clearer, encourage creativity and, of course, keep your muscles active during this prolonged sedentary period.

If the thought of spending stacks of time outside in the coming colder months is off-putting, why not draw inspiration from another Scandi concept: the Norwegian Friluftsliv. Translating roughly to ‘open air living’, Friluftsliv, much like Hygge, is more of a mindset than an activity. The term was first conceived by playwright Henrik Ibsen way back in the mid 1800s. Embracing the Friluftsliv lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to become a sudden outdoor expert, but can be as simple as taking walks, bike rides, or enjoying swims in nature.

Blinkist Supports Real Change

Using Blinkist has been life-changing for its 16 million users. The app helps them to gain new knowledge that can make a real difference in their daily lives. With the current disruption to our everyday routines, now is the perfect time to develop new skills and apply them to something new.

In fact, 87.5% of 3,500 users surveyed in the US said they often make changes to their lives based on what they learn on Blinkist.

“I read a lot of management, self-improvement, and entrepreneurial books through Blinkist because I can gain specific knowledge on my industry or on ways to improve myself.”
– Steven Renwick, CPO of Regis24

Each piece of content includes constructive advice, specific examples and practical tips that make the new concepts easy to understand and apply. For every title there is a conclusion that neatly wraps up the key takeaways to help connect the ideas and reinforce the advances users can make in their own careers or personal lives.

“Blinkist has helped me read more – period. I love that I can get the key learnings from 10+ books a week, and immediately implement them in my own life.”
– Hitha Palepu, entrepreneur and author

Discover the Joy of Learning by Listening

What’s more, these insights are available to read and listen to. Listening with Blinkist ensures learning never has to be deprioritized and can fit easily into any moment of the day. It also caters to the diversity of learning styles.

As it turns out, listening is the most popular way people use Blinkist, with around 70% of the 16 million users opting to listen as opposed to read the 15-minute explainer packs. This comes as no surprise given that around 30% of people retain information better when it’s listened to.

Find Your New Favorite Title with Expert Curation

Sometimes the biggest hurdle is knowing which book to choose.

Blinkist is constantly adding new titles across 27 categories to ensure users can explore a broad range of interests. A team of expert curators scour through bestseller lists—like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal—as well as Amazon charts and awards lists to find hidden gems so that you don’t have to.

If you don’t know where to begin, check out Blinkist’s curated lists. These lists gather titles related to certain topics—like mindfulness and flow—and give recommendations from visionaries like Tim Ferriss, Arianna Huffington, and Bill Gates.

Users can also get tailored recommendations on the app. After reading a few titles Blinkist will learn what they like and begin to suggest other books that offer a similar perspective.

Through curated reading lists, individualized recommendations and expert suggestions, users can discover new ideas, authors and topics that they knew nothing about before.

Join millions of other learners and download Blinkist today so that you can face the second lockdown with new knowledge and hope!

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