Whilst we sit here eagerly awaiting the Government’s next big announcement on Sunday, which will hopefully mean at least starting to understand what the Governments plans are for loosening social distancing restrictions, I wanted to share with you my Top 5 things which are currently helping me to get through lockdown.
I’m not talking about the big things. Although I will be eternally grateful to have a roof over my head, hot, fresh water, and food 🙏🏻
For the purpose of this blog, I mean the other things, some small, some big, most of which won’t cost you a single penny. I’m talking about the things that give you that pick me up whether you’re feeling blue, or whether you just want to start or finish your day in the right way.
So here you go, my Top 5 Essentials to Surviving Lockdown.
1) Family & Friends
It’s been 7 weeks since I last saw my family.
I’m grateful that I took the slightly risky decision to head home for the weekend just before tighter lockdown restrictions were enforced.
One of my brothers and my mum are in the ‘at risk’ group, so it will be a little while yet, even if restrictions are lifted, before I can head back home to see everyone.
So far I’ve only really missed one trip home (which would’ve normally been at Easter). It’s not like I go home all the time. But when you can’t go home? Well, it feels kinda different. You miss everyone that bit more.
I am, however, grateful for our weekly Whatsapp video calls (despite the fact we all end up talking over each other and ending the call with a headache 🙈), and our daily chatter in our family Whatsapp group gives us a chance to check in and update everyone with the exciting things we’ve done that day…oh wait, erm, the most exciting things we’re all currently doing is sitting in our gardens and filling our bellies with food, but anyway it’s important to remember the little things, and to be grateful we are all healthy and that we have each other.
Then there’s my friends, who I don’t see enough of in ‘normal’ circumstances, and who will send me messages during the ‘normal’ working week and I take far too long to respond to.
Yet, during lockdown, I think we’ve all made a conscious effort to try harder. I for one, am trying to check in on people at least a week to make sure people are doing ok, whether that’s by phone, zoom calls, whatsapp messages, or even a good old fashion letter.
I can’t wait to see all their faces again. In the flesh. As much as social media is currently keeping us all connected, it certainly doesn’t replace those moments of connection. A smile as you greet them, or a hug. Let’s hope we can still give those once things are back to ‘normal’!
Then there are the new friendships which have been formed during lockdown. The neighbors who are checking in via text and leaving freshly baked goodies outside your flat door, the people who live in the flats opposite who always acknowledge you when you’re outside every Thursday at 8pm clapping for the NHS, and last but not least, the amazing online community. We all have love hate relationships with social media, but I’ve loved upping my engagement on social media during lockdown, creating new friendships and learning so much from those I engage with.
Who knows what will happen to these friendships when lockdown restrictions ease, but I for one can’t wait to see what lies ahead for all of us.
2) Pigtails, Headbands and Mark Hills MiracOILous Moroccan Argan Oil
Confession time…The last time I had my hair cut, wasn’t just pre-Covid. It was pre-India! Yep, that’s a whole 5 months without a haircut!
I mean I’ve never been very consistent with getting my haircut, but even to my standards 5 months is excessive!
I’ve also always been a wash your hair daily kinda girl! But knowing full well that I wasn’t going to be getting my haircut anytime soon, some things were going to have to change in order to try to keep my Barnet in as good a condition as possible.
In a bid to ensure the tips of my hair stay in something like near normal condition, and not ending up looking like a dry old brush, it was time to give up on the daily hair washing routine. So instead, I bit the bullet, and started washing my hair every 2 days (which I’ve now extended to every 3).
I always worried about my hair looking greasy, and sometimes, when I didn’t wash it, even if I showered, I would end up feeling grubby which would lead to a very grumpy mindful gingernut.
Even 3 days in, my hair doesn’t look greasy, but I am finding alternative ways to style my hair so if it does start to feel a little bit sad, it’s less obvious. When I say alternative ways, I mean alternative ‘way’. Despite my Nanna being a hairdresser, sadly that gene wasn’t passed down through my dad! Pigtails and headbands have been my number one go to so far! They are so easy to throw together and they hide split ends incredibly well. I have an array of headbands that give it that finishing touch and makes sure any stray hairs stay put throughout the day.
My other saving grace hair wise has been Mark Hills MiracOILous Moroccan Argan Oil.
I’ve tried hair oils before, and never had much joy, but this one is beautiful, but be careful if you try it. It’s definitely a case of less is more!
My hair doesn’t really need the oil on wash day, but on days 2 and 3 when my hairs starting to dry out a little at the ends, I squirt a small amount (literally no more than 1 pump) into my hand, rub my hands together to heat up the oil, and then smooth over the ends of my hair (which is also really easy to do when your hairs in pigtails, as I just smooth it over the sections which aren’t plaited at the ends)!
Thankfully, my hair feels like it’s surviving and feels in relatively good condition. So hopefully, by the time I walk back into my hairdressers, all we’ll be dealing with are a few split ends…
3) Having Things To Do
If this lockdown lasted an entire year, I promise you now, I would not get bored.
I guess I’m lucky in that I’ve always had a lot of hobbies. I like to keep myself busy.
So whether its writing, reading, pottering around outside on my terrace, making cards for family and friends, baking…the list goes on, I always have plenty to do.
I’m by no means an expert in any of these fields (although who knows by the time lockdown finishes!), but I love trying new things, which means I never have time to get bored 🙌🏻
And as much as it pains me to say it, I know I’m also lucky to still be working at the moment, as that means I have little spare time, particularly in the evenings to try to keep myself amused.
The one thing that seems to keep me balanced. It’s one of those things that in ‘normal’ circumstances goes on the back burner. A lot! It’s one of those things I always plan to do, but late nights at the office, or in town for meetings, too tired from a draining day at work, off on the occasional evening out, means that I’m not consistent with my exercise routine.
Yet, believe it or not, I love exercising. I love the feeling you get from working up a good, healthy sweat, and the feeling you get afterwards, where your bodies tired, but your mind is all of a sudden wide awake again.
If I find myself having gone a few weeks without exercise, I can feel it impacting my mental health. All of a sudden, without exercise, everything seems a little bit more overwhelming and unmanageable.
During ‘normal’ circumstances, when I do get myself in the zone to exercise, I would normally find myself going for a long walk, a jog around the local park, or occasionally doing a home work out.
And it’s those home work outs which have worked their way into my Top 5 Essentials to Surviving Lockdown list.
When social distancing restrictions were first implemented here in the UK, I decided to take a social distancing walk to my local park. That was back on 22nd March. Almost 7 weeks ago.
If your questioning why I haven’t been since when technically under government guidelines I could take my daily 1 hour exercise there, well the answer is quite simple.
At that time, there were too many people in London’s parks who seemed to think they were immune from the Governments social distancing guidelines. I felt like I was the only person in the entire park trying to social distance myself from others.
After that, I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. So except for a couple of trips to the supermarket 200 metres up the road, and a short, local drive to get a change of scenery, I haven’t left my flat.
So home workouts really have been a godsend, in order to make sure I stay relatively fit and healthy during lockdown.
At the moment, I’m working out 3 times a week. As soon as I finish work, I change into my gym gear and work my way through 3×3 Melissa Chalmers circuits.
A friend introduced me to Melissa’s workouts a while ago, and since then I’ve been relying on her for my exercise programme.
What’s great about her exercises is that you need very little equipment (largely just a set of dumbbells or bottles of water work fine if you don’t have access to those), a lot of her workouts are flat friendly, and all of her posts let you know which parts of the body that particular exercise is working on.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have days where I wonder if I can be bothered to work out, but it’s now firmly part of my working from home routine, and by exercising consistently, it’s harder to forget the positive impacts exercise has on not just our physical health, but our mental wellbeing too.
I’ve mentioned gratitude a lot already, but it really is so important to be grateful for the little things right now.
I’m finding so much more pleasure in the smallest things. Sometimes just simply noticing the way the sun is shining beautifully into my flat, or the shadows cast against my wall when the light hits a lantern, or watching the plants on my little London terrace coming to life once more.
Sometimes it’s deeper than that. Sometimes, it’s the message from a friend you haven’t heard from for a while who reaches out to make sure you’re doing ok, or the neighbours who return your cake tin with beautiful homemade cup cakes inside, or the letters sent to you by a friend and each of her daughters who had also taken the time to write their own letters 💕
Sometimes it’s also good to be grateful for the bigger things. It’s about being grateful for the wonderful work our NHS carries out on a daily basis, caring for our sick, making some better, but also having to help families deal with their losses when they can’t be by their loved ones side.
Sometimes it’s recognising our local shops who are finding creative ways to keep their businesses going, and in turn, helping our communities to survive.
Sometimes, it’s just simply about being grateful for the wonderful sunshine we’ve had in London this spring, and with that, the pure blue skies, and with less traffic in the city, much cleaner air.
So many of us have lost people we love over the last few weeks. Family members, friends, colleagues, people who are the beating hearts of our communities.
Yet, there is still so much to be grateful for. Sometimes we just need to stop what we’re doing, take a deep breath, and take a good look around us, to remind ourselves of all the little things we have to be grateful for 🙏🏻
In fact, I challenge you to try that now (one you’ve finished reading this post of course…). Take a moment, find yourself somewhere comfortable to sit, close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Then just spend 5 minutes thinking about all the things you are grateful for right now.
So there we have it, my Top 5 Essentials to Surviving Lockdown. I hope you found that useful.
What’s been helping you to get through these difficult times?
I’d love to hear from you, so please let me know your tips and tricks in the comments box below.
And don’t forget, we’re not quite through this lockdown yet peeps, so please Stay Home and Stay Safe 🙏🏻💕🙌🏻