Written by Hazel Naghi (Retail Assistant) As we all become accustomed to a continued life of isolation, I thought I would do some research on staying positive and upbeat. I came across an article by Lisa Walden (from Country Living) sharing her top tips for surviving lockdown. This has inspired me to write a list of tasks, approaches and tips that helped me keep calm and upbeat during this unpredictable time. I hope that they can help you through the home stretch of lockdown 2.0 and whatever lies ahead. 1) Structure is key Following a daily routine can help you stay positive and feel less disconnected from reality! I started with something as simple as getting up and dressed by a certain time, and tried incorporating any form of physical exercise into my day. It’s not just about keeping busy it’s also about being happy! So do what’s right for you. 2) Make your bed Making your bed every morning means that you have accomplished your first task of the day and it will encourage you to complete more tasks and improve productivity! After watching this speech made by Admiral William McRaven, I now cannot go a day without making my bed, no matter how I’m feeling. Give it a try! 3) Stay in touch with friends/family Lockdown has affected everyone in different ways and it’s important to keep in touch. It can make a huge impact, whether it’s a quick 5-minute phone call or a long country walk. It also helps break up your day! 4) Colouring It’s simple, easy and low risk! Adult colouring books can help occupy your mind and ease stress. I started off slowly by colouring only a small amount every other day. I liked that there was no rush in getting it done – it was all at my own pace. 5) Learn something new or rediscover an old hobby There are many YouTube tutorials out there to help you start a new skill, or you could rediscover an old hobby. I rediscovered my love of sewing and, like a lot of people, I started out by sewing masks for friends and family, which has now led to me running an online craft shop in my spare time! Clara Nicholson made masks for all our staff and was generous enough to share her instructions. You can view them by clicking here... 6) Listen to an audiobook Audiobooks have the power to boost our moods and disrupt negative thinking patterns. They can also provide a break for your eyes: if you’re working from home, staring at a computer screen all day or scrolling on your phone, it’s good to give your eyes a rest! Why not go one step further in your quest for relaxation. This beautiful candelabra is the perfect partner for downtime with an audio book (visit us or call our team on 01869 340342 - option 5 - to enquire). 7) Limit social media time Although social media can be a way to stay in contact with others and see what is going on in the world, it can also have a negative impact on mental health. It’s good to give yourself some time offline, live in the moment and leave your phone in another room for a while. Perfect time to start that hobby! If mask making doesn't do it for you, why not put your cooking skills to the test. We have a fantastic range of cook books to get you started. 8) Go for a walk Research shows that even a short 10-minute brisk walk can improve our mental wellbeing. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a walk, it could be any exercise you enjoy. Not only can movement reduce stress, it also gives you a chance to get out of the house and explore the area where you live! 9) Attract new wildlife to your garden I always feel a sense of satisfaction when I see a hedgehog or new bird in my garden, knowing that what I’m doing is providing food or a home for them. Our Tree & Hedging Consultant Stephen has written 2 blogs on how to attract new wildlife to your garden. If you’d like to get outside for a bit of fresh air and a new project, these blogs are a great place to start. Read the first one by clicking here... 10) Buy a new plant I couldn’t have written this blog without mentioning plants! As most people may know, autumn is a great time to be planting! When it comes to gardening, I’m more of a ‘deer in headlights’ and feel overwhelmed by the vast amount of variety available to choose from! We have a very friendly team of horticultural experts here who can help you with any tricky decisions for your garden. You can find our address and contact information by clicking here... I do hope some of the above points have helped or inspired you to write your own list! This is a time to stay connected and take care of yourself.