LIFE in lockdown is a challenge for us all, but households across the country are making an amazing effort to adjust their lives and entertain themselves.
Happily there have been some upsides among the challenges, as busy executive and mum Lynsey Morton found out.
“Prior to lockdown, I would get up at 5.30am to catch an early train from Brighton to my office in London,” says Lynsey, 45.
“If I was lucky enough to find a seat in the packed carriage, I’d catch forty winks. Now I’m working from home, I’m using the time I’ve gained back in my day to reignite my love of reading. Rediscovering books has been a real upside to lockdown.”
Lynsey works full time and lives in Brighton with husband Trevor, 48, their daughter Sadhbh, ten, and son Tadhg, eight. Trevor is the local butcher and his shop has been busy since the first lockdown began, so at times when home schooling has been unavoidable, Lynsey has helped her two children with their schoolwork.
Her love of books is shared by her daughter. “Sadhbh is an avid reader and during lockdown she’s also been able to connect to that passion by finding new websites and workshops online,” Lynsey reveals. “She’s thrilled to be taking a series of creative writing classes on video calls with her favourite author Gareth P Jones. Maybe she’ll produce a lockdown bestseller!”
Lynsey has also looked to the internet to keep her favourite pastimes going. “I used to squeeze in a couple of gym classes in the week and was initially at a loss when the gyms closed – I don’t enjoy running in the cold and dark.
“But the discovery of online fitness classes has opened up a whole new world. With so many people here doing garage clear-outs, I was really lucky to pick up a set of kettlebells from a local Facebook page and found an amazing local online provider – Fitness Fix – to work out with over Zoom. Not only have I been able to stay active while staying safe at home, but it’s also really uplifting to see a friendly group of faces to have a natter with.”
‘We created many happy memories’
Hardworking mum of two Sheena Tanna-Shah is used to juggling her job as an optometrist with running her healthy treats business.
But since lockdown began, she’s enjoying more time with her husband Piyus, 37, and daughters Sienna, nine, and Isla, seven, at home in Northampton.
“I love being at home with the girls and I know that this is going to sound odd, but I also love home schooling.
“Both the girls do Zoom classes at 10am, so that’s when I’ll get on with my work,” says Sheena, 37, whose firm Pure & Raw Goodies sells snacks online and also offers nutrition coaching.
“They have their own study areas, but I make sure I’m nearby so if they need me they can come and get me.”
Sheena, who has written a book called Perfectly Imperfect Mum, believes it’s important for mothers to take the pressure off themselves.
“Seeing other people making perfect meals on Instagram can make us feel guilty and start judging ourselves.
“As long as our intentions are there and we try our best, that should be good enough,” she says.
“If you want to have beans on toast or chips for dinner, that’s OK.”
What’s really helping Sheena feel calm during lockdown is practising mindfulness daily.
“Whether we’re eating meals, brushing our teeth, looking at our phones and watching TV, we’re always multitasking,” she says.
How to…stay mindful
Every Mind Matters can help you look after your mental wellbeing with a free NHS online action plan, with simple steps to manage anxiety, sleep better, and boost your mood. For your plan, visit Every Mind Matters today.
If you are in Scotland, go to Clear Your Head.
For more information visit:
Northern Ireland: nidirect.gov.uk/
“So we started practising mindfulness as a family and creating our own little videos so that others could benefit. We go on mindfulness walks, becoming more aware of our surroundings.”
As an active family, the Tanna-Shahs have had to get creative during their time at home – and they have found themselves trying activities that they would never have imagined doing.
“None of us are dancers at all, but we thought: ‘What can we do to make things more fun?’
“So we filmed ourselves doing a dance to Superheroes by The Script and shared it online – we love that song. And we just did some simple moves,” says Sheena.
“Before lockdown, I would have never dreamt we’d do anything like that, but these are the moments we’ll remember!”
She adds: “Isla loves Enid Blyton books, so we did a midnight feast in the garden and looked for shooting stars. It wasn’t something that we’d usually have done.”
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