I’m not going to lie – I’ve found it hard to write this month’s blog post. Initially I was planning on giving some ideas on Spring activities in our local area, however many of these have now been cancelled or postponed. The current global and local COVID-19 crisis has affected absolutely everyone I know, and I am aware that lots of you will be experiencing anxiety and stress over work, finances, childcare and your health and safety. I didn’t want to completely ignore what is going on as – we are living it too! In Ebbsfleet Garden City, as in the rest of the country and world, we are trying to adapt to this new and daily-changing way of life. Both myself and my husband are working from home for the foreseeable future, whilst also looking after our two kids once schools close at the end of this week.

 

One thing that keeps standing out to me amongst the strain and panic is that embracing a slower, more mindful and family-centric way of life, where we are not so tied to materialistic possessions, activity and purchasing, could have a positive impact long-term. For the immediate future, my biggest concern is how we can all keep on top of our mental-health and physical wellbeing, even in a world of social-distancing and self-isolation. I am by no means an expert, but I thought I’d run through a few things I’ve been doing over the past week since being mostly confined to the house.

 

Keeping mentally positive

While social media will be crucial in helping many of us feel connected over the upcoming weeks, I think that it’s also important to put our phones down. I’ve found myself feeling much more anxious the more I read and watch the news, as there are so many unknowns you will never have that sense of being fully informed and at peace. Check the latest updates quickly in the morning, then try not to let yourself be bombarded throughout the rest of the day. I’ve also seen the great British sense-of-humour come out in full force over the past few weeks – don’t feel like you’re not taking things seriously by having a laugh, we all need some comic relief!

 

Cleaning

This is going to sound crazy and no, I’m not trying to pressure you into feeling you need a spotless home on top of everything else! However, I have found that doing mindless chores that have a visible result really helps to calm me down when I feel anxious. If you can’t switch your mind off, ‘stress-cleaning’ can help you feel in control, get rid of anxious energy and decluttering makes your environment more soothing. Whether its wiping down my kitchen surfaces, loading the dishwasher, scrubbing the bath or having a good vacuum, I find cleaning to be a productive way to distract myself from worrying.

 

Staying active

While exercise is the last thing I feel like doing when managing two cooped-up pre-schoolers, trying to stay on top of my job and keep the house in some form of order, it is so, so important! If you are not a ‘gym person’ and don’t know how to self-motivate, lots of online companies are providing free workout sessions on social media (@rwl are doing one half hour session a day on their Instagram Live for the next two weeks). You can also access free classes if you have a subscription to Amazon Prime Video. These range from yoga, pilates, HIIT and full-body workouts. I’m doing a half hour session every morning, just in my living room on the carpet. It makes me feel much more energetic, positive, and ready to face the day.

 

Locally, the usual Sunday Active HIIT class is moving online, with FREE home workouts being posted to the Facebook Group, you can join here. TMG Fitness are also moving online, trialling live online classes for members.

 

I am also trying to make sure I go out for a walk at least once a day. In Ebbsfleet we are lucky in that there is a lot of open space where you can safely wander around while keeping the recommended 2m distance from others. If you have kids get them on their scooters and go for a brisk walk, take your dog out, or just yourself off for a jog on your own to clear your head. Parents have been advised to keep their kids away from busy playgrounds where you can’t monitor who your child is coming into contact with, which is advice I definitely would echo. However, we are blessed with some lovely, wide open spaces in the Garden City that are perfect places to let your kids have a run around and release some energy.

 

Remaining connected

This is probably something that seems very difficult for those in self-isolation, or even just wanting to minimise their contact with others outside of their immediate family. We are all in the same boat, and I have been so incredibly uplifted by the community spirit and generosity that has surfaced over the past few days. We really are very lucky to be in an era where it’s never been easier to keep in contact, be it on phone, FaceTime, WhatsApp or any number of social media platforms.

 

There are however plenty of people, particularly those who are older, who may not have access to this technology. If you know anyone in your neighbourhood you think may be potentially cut-off, please do reach out to them. While the situation is very fluid and constantly changing, organisations such as Age UK North West Kent are still offering initiatives like their Fresh Meals Service, if you are interested and able to volunteer or sign up have a look at their website.

 

Sunday Active held its first live talk on its Facebook page on Sunday and these will be a weekly occurrence, they will include some general motivation and tips to stay active. This Sunday 19th March it will be a special Mothering Sunday talk, so grab a cuppa, pop yourself on the sofa and connect with everyone watching. Ebbsfleet Baptist Church, who run the group, have stated that anyone, Christian or not who is in need of prayer, a chat on the phone, or any other assistance can always email ebbsfleet@seba-baptist.org.uk or message on their Facebook page.

 

I know that not everyone is on social media, however if you are a resident in Ebbsfleet Garden City I would really advise you to join one of the neighbourhood groups, where people have been posting offers of help as well as requests for certain items. Whether its nappies, eggs or the hallowed toilet roll, I’ve been really touched at how willing my neighbours have been to offer their help when people have been unable to get to the shops or find what they need. Groups that are very active include Castle Hill, Ebbsfleet – Residents Only, Ebbsfleet Green Residents Group and Springhead Park Community.

 

Wishing you all the very best in the next few weeks, please follow the NHS and government advice, stay safe, healthy and lets all look out for each other as much as we can!

I’m not going to lie – I’ve found it hard to write this month’s blog post. Initially I was planning on giving some ideas on Spring activities in our local area, however many of these have now been cancelled or postponed. The current global and local COVID-19 crisis has affected absolutely everyone I know, and I am aware that lots of you will be experiencing anxiety and stress over work, finances, childcare and your health and safety. I didn’t want to completely ignore what is going on as – we are living it too! In Ebbsfleet Garden City, as in the rest of the country and world, we are trying to adapt to this new and daily-changing way of life. Both myself and my husband are working from home for the foreseeable future, whilst also looking after our two kids once schools close at the end of this week.

 

One thing that keeps standing out to me amongst the strain and panic is that embracing a slower, more mindful and family-centric way of life, where we are not so tied to materialistic possessions, activity and purchasing, could have a positive impact long-term. For the immediate future, my biggest concern is how we can all keep on top of our mental-health and physical wellbeing, even in a world of social-distancing and self-isolation. I am by no means an expert, but I thought I’d run through a few things I’ve been doing over the past week since being mostly confined to the house.

 

Keeping mentally positive

While social media will be crucial in helping many of us feel connected over the upcoming weeks, I think that it’s also important to put our phones down. I’ve found myself feeling much more anxious the more I read and watch the news, as there are so many unknowns you will never have that sense of being fully informed and at peace. Check the latest updates quickly in the morning, then try not to let yourself be bombarded throughout the rest of the day. I’ve also seen the great British sense-of-humour come out in full force over the past few weeks – don’t feel like you’re not taking things seriously by having a laugh, we all need some comic relief!

 

 

Cleaning

This is going to sound crazy and no, I’m not trying to pressure you into feeling you need a spotless home on top of everything else! However, I have found that doing mindless chores that have a visible result really helps to calm me down when I feel anxious. If you can’t switch your mind off, ‘stress-cleaning’ can help you feel in control, get rid of anxious energy and decluttering makes your environment more soothing. Whether its wiping down my kitchen surfaces, loading the dishwasher, scrubbing the bath or having a good vacuum, I find cleaning to be a productive way to distract myself from worrying.

 

 

Staying active

While exercise is the last thing I feel like doing when managing two cooped-up pre-schoolers, trying to stay on top of my job and keep the house in some form of order, it is so, so important! If you are not a ‘gym person’ and don’t know how to self-motivate, lots of online companies are providing free workout sessions on social media (@rwl are doing one half hour session a day on their Instagram Live for the next two weeks). You can also access free classes if you have a subscription to Amazon Prime Video. These range from yoga, pilates, HIIT and full-body workouts. I’m doing a half hour session every morning, just in my living room on the carpet. It makes me feel much more energetic, positive, and ready to face the day.

 

 

Locally, the usual Sunday Active HIIT class is moving online, with FREE home workouts being posted to the Facebook Group, you can join here. TMG Fitness are also moving online, trialling live online classes for members.

 

I am also trying to make sure I go out for a walk at least once a day. In Ebbsfleet we are lucky in that there is a lot of open space where you can safely wander around while keeping the recommended 2m distance from others. If you have kids get them on their scooters and go for a brisk walk, take your dog out, or just yourself off for a jog on your own to clear your head. Parents have been advised to keep their kids away from busy playgrounds where you can’t monitor who your child is coming into contact with, which is advice I definitely would echo. However, we are blessed with some lovely, wide open spaces in the Garden City that are perfect places to let your kids have a run around and release some energy.

 

 

Remaining connected

This is probably something that seems very difficult for those in self-isolation, or even just wanting to minimise their contact with others outside of their immediate family. We are all in the same boat, and I have been so incredibly uplifted by the community spirit and generosity that has surfaced over the past few days. We really are very lucky to be in an era where it’s never been easier to keep in contact, be it on phone, FaceTime, WhatsApp or any number of social media platforms.

 

There are however plenty of people, particularly those who are older, who may not have access to this technology. If you know anyone in your neighbourhood you think may be potentially cut-off, please do reach out to them. While the situation is very fluid and constantly changing, organisations such as Age UK North West Kent are still offering initiatives like their Fresh Meals Service, if you are interested and able to volunteer or sign up have a look at their website.

 

Sunday Active held its first live talk on its Facebook page on Sunday and these will be a weekly occurrence, they will include some general motivation and tips to stay active. This Sunday 19th March it will be a special Mothering Sunday talk, so grab a cuppa, pop yourself on the sofa and connect with everyone watching. Ebbsfleet Baptist Church, who run the group, have stated that anyone, Christian or not who is in need of prayer, a chat on the phone, or any other assistance can always email ebbsfleet@seba-baptist.org.uk or message on their Facebook page.

 

 

I know that not everyone is on social media, however if you are a resident in Ebbsfleet Garden City I would really advise you to join one of the neighbourhood groups, where people have been posting offers of help as well as requests for certain items. Whether its nappies, eggs or the hallowed toilet roll, I’ve been really touched at how willing my neighbours have been to offer their help when people have been unable to get to the shops or find what they need. Groups that are very active include Castle Hill, Ebbsfleet – Residents Only, Ebbsfleet Green Residents Group and Springhead Park Community.

 

Wishing you all the very best in the next few weeks, please follow the NHS and government advice, stay safe, healthy and lets all look out for each other as much as we can!