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Well I’m going slowly stir crazy as the reality of Covid19 lockdown kicks in and the chaos of five children and two adults in a small cottage becomes a normality. The task of working from home and actually being productive in amongst the noise and disruption of five children musing, meddling and moaning is a test of mental strength, but at least there is no room for writers block.  I’ve seen plenty of advice and headlines quoting, ‘self isolating’, and actually this is sounding rather appealing especially as it conjures up images of a small shed down the bottom of the garden filled with books, a desk, typewriter, a large glass of wine and peace.  Yes, I know this is not what self isolating refers to, but it’s my version and it sounds pretty good to me, especially as I fight to hear myself think or formulate a thought without interruption.  I am aware that I’m doing just fine, as in reality nothing much has changed in my life, because the chaos of children running around all day, energetically demanding my attention, whilst grabbing moments to write, edit and breathe is nothing new, but I miss the freedom of being able to put my coat on and say ‘enough, we’re going out!’

I feel for the families who are not used to being stuck in with their off spring whilst attempting to home educate, because I know only too well the pressures that comes with trying to deliver an education from the kitchen table, but now the options of learning through trips, exploration and outside classes are not possible it’s all feeling a little mundane. I’ve never considered myself a home schooler but an out-schooler, so being in is requiring a little adaptation, but we have plenty of crafting projects to attend to. So, I think the girls may miss running around the woodlands and visiting shows and exhibitions but they will be enjoying having the time to learn rag rugging, felting and soap making.

I live in a small town, where all the shops are within walking distance and so I have watched as the shops and businesses have closed there doors due to Covid19 and I have been thinking of the small business owners and their families at this difficult time. My income and business has been affected because the shows and events I was booked for this year have been mainly cancelled, indeed the current climate is one of change and challenge.  I’ve read so many headlines about food hoarding and domestic violence rising as a result of the social isolation rules and I  think it’s  so easy to become stuck in our heads and fall victim to mental health disorders during a period of isolation. Limited fresh air, sunlight, lack of interaction and freedom is not healthy. I feel that we will all suffer from a lack of fresh air and sunlight this year. Also as humans, we find purpose in doing and we find purpose and happiness in solving problems and connecting with one another, with the mandatory period of isolation, our natural ability to perform many basic functions are restricted and in such circumstances there is the risk of us falling into depression, anxious thoughts, and mental turmoil.  As the world is undergoing a large scale experience of isolation, I think it is more important than ever to stay grounded in who we are and what our world is. We need to work on avidly avoiding feeling stagnant and frustrated, . Here are some tips to avoid falling into a potential depression and ease the anxiety that might come with these difficult and uncertain times:

  1. Show gratitude

We are living in unprecedented times.Things are changing rapidly and nothing it seems can be taken for granted, so it’s important gratitude for the things you have that might disappear tomorrow. Nothing is ever certain, a testament that is proving to be true now more than ever. If you are feeling fed up, try making a list of all the things you are grateful for and focus on them.

  1. Get Creative

When you are feeling at a low ebb try creating a mood board, where you dare to dream and record all the things you would like to create, do  and achieve in the future. This should be something you can add to and you should position it somewhere you can see it frequently. It’s a great creative exercise that really taps into the law of attraction.

  1. Get out of your head

Find a way to escape over-thinking and negative thoughts by removing yourself from your headspace and getting into the physical every once in a while. Find something that you want to work at improving physically there are plenty of things that can be done indoors and this could range from starting a yoga, learning to play an instrument, to tap dancing or belly dancing. Find a physical practice that can help remove overthinking and place you back into the present. We are so fortunate that in our modern lives we have a world of online ‘how to’ videos and tutorials available, so we can turn our isolation time into a creative time for learning and self improvement.

  1. Reflect

It is easy to confuse reflection with dwelling. Do not dwell on the past or things that cannot be changed since that only breeds “what-if” scenarios which, in turn, spike depression and anxiety. Instead, use the time of self isolation to reflect upon what positive changes can be made in life and in your life routine. Think of positive and realistic ways in which you can use this period to work on elevating yourself and making life better in the long term.

  1. Meditate

Over the years I have fallen in and out of love with meditation. I’ve seen huge benefits when I’ve practiced it, but I am guilty of letting life get in the way of this and yoga. It helps to detach us from our thoughts and observe them in a more objective manner which helps us avoid falling victim to depression and anxiety. There are plenty of YouTube videos that help you get started and lots of online guides.

  1. Take time out

Within the last decade or so, life seems to be a never-ending loop of overwhelming tasks and messages. In a period of living that is increasingky online and digital it’s hard to just disconnect from everything and take things slow. Use this isolation period to your advantage. Even if you have to still work from home or focus on caring for your family or loved ones, things are still less intense which gives us a moment to sit back and just rest. There is nowhere to go or be. When was the last time you allowed yourself to do nothing? Embrace quiet and peace for a second and your mental health will thank you.

  1. Catch up on sleep and create a healthy lifestyle

Before I had children and a busy household to steer, I was very interested in health and well-being and not only was I interested in natural health , but I got to also got to put things into practice.  I am guilty of not carving ‘me time’ into my daily routine and ending up exhausted. Our physical health is a direct influence in our mental health. Modern life is stressful and busy, I believe we are all under immense pressure, but the extra time that stems from this isolation can be used  to cook nutritious meals for yourself and begin a healthy bedtime practice to help get more sleep and refection time.  Good nutrition and an adequate sleep is essential in helping our bodies manage stress better and boosts our immune systems which can impact the negative thoughts and feelings that come and go in our minds.

So in these difficult and uncertain times there is little we can do than sit back and wait, but whilst we listen to the worrying news and recognise that other than abiding to isolation rules we are powerless to effect change as this terrible pandemic unfolds, perhaps its time to focus on what we can change positively in our lives.

Stay safe and positive!