NST September 2022 Picture yourself on a boat on a canal

NST September 2022

Picture Yourself On a Boat On a Canal

This month (because we like to mix it up) we will be taking a cruise along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal from Wigan (boo) to Leigh (hooray). At Leigh bridge 
(that bridge, the bane of my life) the canal changes to become the Bridgewater Canal and we will continue via Worsley, Eccles and Salford to Manchester (if we're very good abundant may make us 'our tea' or provide a picnic).

Life on the water is simple, pretty basic. We will be stopping along the way but the shops are generally quite a distance away so think about what supplies you need (using basic cooking facilities) and how and when you are going to get them. You might want to think if you want to go to the swimming baths rather than shop because shower facilities are limited and you might need to spend all day refilling the water tank on board (I'm not expecting you to stop washing at home, but this is a gentle reminder of the way many people even in this rich country, are being forced to live). 

Space is limited on the boat and you will be more exposed to the elements, so think about warm clothing. There are many areas with good walking and abundant bird and wildlife on our route so you need some good stout shoes. Most of the conservation areas have been reclaimed from old pit workings and spoil heaps - it's never too late to turn your life around, live the life you have always wanted and give something old and ugly a total transformation. Think about the space you inhabit and if there are any low cost ways you could improve it, for yourself and your community. If you can manage on holiday with a bag of clothes, a small toiletries bag and minimal gadgets, why do you need clothing that overflows into the spare room, 20 different hair and bath products and cupboards full of machines that barely see the light of day.

So who wants to come along on our fleet of canal boats this September
The Challenge (runs for the whole of September)

SIMPLIFY Many of you are decluttering converts but it may be time to look again at your possessions and assess whether they fit in with your life now or in the future. Are you hanging on to things that are sentimental, aspirational, just in case? This is not a major declutter but try to find a small space to sort/ improve or think of some organisation to improve your daily/ weekly routine (no f0xh0les you can't give away all your children). Oxfam is running a second hand September challenge (Can you only buy second hand for one month?) which I've signed up for so I may pass on ideas from that.

ESSENTIALS Pay to your debt or savings first, live on what is left - simple but becoming increasingly difficult for many (50% of the population in fuel poverty by the end of the year). You may need to revise your budgets and keep a close eye on them in the coming months. Spend Free Days Aim for 15 (every other day or save them all up for a shopping frenzy). Check your Goals and improve on them or adjust them as necessary. Budgets should be set before the start of the month, try for basic budgets this month (it doesn't mean no fun, we always have fun).

PLANNING and PREPARATION The seasons are changing, What needs to change in your life, your home, what challenges need addressing. Check out what you have (food, warm clothing and bedding, candles/ alternative cooking set up for the predicted power cuts) and buy (or make) what you need. Autumn harvests can be turned into supplies or gifts, gather conkers, colourful leaves and willow branches for crafting (depending on the age of your children/ grandchildren. Kick your way through the fallen leaves (raking them up is bad for your garden and the environment), show your support for Peppa Pig by splashing in puddles (do it when no-one is watching if you don't have a suitable child to use as cover). Live in the spirit of the season and enjoy your life, whatever the weather.

THINK ABOUT EVERY PURCHASE Is it a need or only a want (wants can be important too but limit the amount you spend or wait before purchasing - 3 days, a month, until you've reached a savings goal). 

EAT to nourish your MIND and BODY and support your IMMUNE SYSTEM. Your body works hard (in some case for many years now). You need to support it by giving it the fuel it needs to work properly and cutting back on things that harm you.

MINDFULNESS My course was immensely helpful and I'll pass on little nuggets that don't take long but can reap big dividends - breathe, spend time in nature, slow down.

BE KIND Life is tough and for some it's getting much tougher. Be kind. Be generous with your time, money and energy where you can. This does not mean saying yes to every request - you need to be kind to yourself and look after yourself first (you're no use to anyone else if you don't)

EXERCISE 4 times a week for at least 30 minutes (broken into 10 or even 5 minute chunks if you need to). Concentrate on what you can do, not the things you no longer can. Do what you can to keep the function and mobility you still have and to ease any aches and pains - that might be ankle circles, shoulder shrugs, stretching like a cat or resting. Listen to your body, don't overdo things but keep moving.

REPORT DAILY (if possible), report things to be grateful for (even a bad day will have some golden moments). REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, REPAIR, REPURPOSE, then RECYCLE.  Get your brain working on creative solutions, save money, reduce waste.  



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