So we are all on lockdown, as decreed by the Government...
It’s hard to cope with self-isolating, especially if you are suffering from Mental Health issues but we are all here, so what are the positives of self-isolating?
Sharing a daily walk as a family
Personally, I’ve been walking every evening with my family for an hour. It’s our exercise (as well as Joe Wicks in the morning) and it’s been a great bonding exercise. No phones on the walk and we actually talk as a family, plus you are actually exercising. When you visit many other countries you notice how families go out for a walk every evening, spending time together, talking to each other. It’s great to see families engaging and not constantly staring at a screen.
A change in Attitude
It’s so important to think positively and make the most of this unscheduled time together. Once you get over the practicalities of not leaving the house, a week down the line everything feels ok, the world hasn’t stopped turning and as a family, we’ve found ourselves in a happy place and enjoying a slower pace of life, embracing the slowness.
Self-isolation is a massive change in lifestyle, and we all need to be aware that for some people, self-isolation is a time of extreme anxiety and loneliness. But for most families, they have jumped from leading an extremely busy life - juggling life, working, school or nursery and regularly catching up with friends and family – to suddenly, no rushing around and being able to spend time on everything we do. At first, having nowhere to be and no one to see felt weird but as we all are settling, could it be, that this is actually a liberating time, we can all feel a bit freer and just take each day as it comes, no plans.
From Indoors to Outdoors
The outdoors is still there to be enjoyed, in moderation. And if you are lucky enough to have a garden, then you can just sit in the garden and listen to the birds and watch nature. How often do we have time to just sit and be? And while you’re in the garden why not get more involved in actually gardening. Embrace gardening, it doesn’t have to be the preserve of the retired. Gardening can be enormously therapeutic for some people and the best thing is that you get to directly benefit from the results of your hard work. You can tie your newfound love of gardening with the modern age and post pictures of your garden handiwork online.
Children can find it tough to keep up on walks, they do have smaller legs after all. But try to make walks an adventure, engage them in walking and most importantly, make it fun. Invent treasure trails and hide sweets on the walk, sugar free of course.
Try to spot birds and wildlife and appreciate nature. There is something magical about spending time in nature with your family
Enjoying daily chores
I will be really honest here, I hate cooking. I find it so boring. It’s so tricky, half of the family are vegetarian and half are meat eaters, so invariably it’s hard to cook one meal and cover all of the bases. However one bonus of the enforced lockdown is preparing cooking meals from scratch with the extra time we all have. It’s a joy not to have to rush to get dinner ready once you’ve got home from a busy day at work. There is time to try out new foods, experiment a bit in the kitchen.
Other things to try are those annoying DIY jobs that have been hanging around. If you have the tools at home then why not take this opportunity to finish off those jobs. Think about that dining room table that you’ve been trying to sand and paint/Varnish for months. Well now here’s your chance, you’ve got bags of time on your hands so why not give it a try. Get the kids involved, get the family involved and create a family memory from this whole crisis.
The unexpected benefits of slow living?
We all spend our lives living at one hundred miles per hour. Our weekends are packed, our weeks are packed and when do we actually stop and look around. To quote Ferries Bueller ‘Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it’. Slow living is about appreciating the simple pleasures in life: sitting in the garden and enjoying the warmth of the sun on your face; telling stories to your children and laughing together.
Our family have found that we are all sleeping much better. It’s easier to get to sleep and everyone is sleeping so much better. The pressures and stresses of daily life aren’t whizzing around in our brains.
Another added benefit is a general improvement in our family relationships. Being in self-isolation means we now have the time to talk to each other about things instead of our chats being so rushed.
The key to managing anxiety about the current situation is to focus on the things you can control and the positives. You can’t control the news or the spread of Coronavirus, you can only follow advice from the Government, you can’t influence it so try not to let any of the news increase your anxiety. More importantly try to minimise your exposure to Social Media. Most of the information on Facebook isn’t credible so try to read it with a pinch of salt. Yes, there will be moments when you’re fed up with constantly being stuck indoors, the children fighting, etc. You miss your freedom, long for postponed trips, dinners and drinks with friends but, for now, all we can do is focus on the present and enjoy the little victories.