Staying at home, saving lives
FROM MINDFULNESS TO BOOK CLUBS, HERE’S HOW PEOPLE ACROSS THE UK ARE LEANING INTO LIFE UNDER LOCKDOWN
New lockdown restrictions are in place, with people all over the UK being urged to stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives.
There’s light at the end of the tunnel with thousands of vulnerable people being vaccinated every week, but for now everyone must play their part by avoiding mixing with others.
It’s tough at times, but many people are finding ways to embrace their time at home and make the most of it.
As a busy mum, Sheena Tanna-Shah is used to juggling her work as an optometrist with running a healthy snack business, Pure & Raw Goodies. But since lockdown began, she’s enjoying more time with her husband Piyus, 37, and daughters Sienna, nine, and seven-year-old Isla at their Northampton home.
“I really like being at home with the girls, and I know this is going to sound really bizarre, but I love home schooling,” says Sheena, 37.
“Both girls have Zoom at 10am, so when they’re doing that, I’ll be doing my work. They have their designated study areas and I encourage them to work independently, but I make sure I’m present so if they need me, they can come and get me.”
Sheena, who’s written a book, Perfectly Imperfect Mum, believes that it’s important for mothers to take the pressure off themselves.
“Seeing people making perfect meals on Instagram can make us feel guilty and start judging ourselves,” she says. “As long as we try our best, that should be good enough. If you want to have beans on toast or chips, that’s OK.”
What’s really helping Sheena feel calm during lockdown is practising mindfulness. “Whether we’re eating meals, brushing our teeth, looking at our phones and watching TV, we’re always multi-tasking,” she says.
“So we started practising mindfulness as a family and creating our own little videos so that other children could benefit. We go on little mindfulness walks, becoming more aware of our surroundings.
“A simple technique is when we’re eating at home, we feel grateful for the food and then talk about where it came from. You start appreciating food you’re eating and feel fuller, rather than always thinking, ‘What can I eat next?’”
As an active family who love to travel, the Tanna-Shahs have had to get creative during their time at home – and they’ve found themselves trying activities they’d 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,” says Sheena. “Before lockdown, I would have never dreamt we’d do anything like that!
“My daughter loves Enid Blyton books, so we did a midnight feast outdoors and looked at shooting stars – it wasn’t something we’d normally dream of doing. And we went to Woburn Park at 4am last summer to watch the sunrise. We’re living in the moment, and not worrying about what everyone else is doing.”
Although getting out in the fresh air
Staying home has made us get creative... we’ve tried things we’d never have done before
is important, Sheena is happy to find alternative ways to exercise at home. “In winter, it’s really important to go outside and get your vitamin D, but maybe the weather’s cold and wet,” she says. “So we bring that exercise indoors – as long as you’re moving and having fun, that’s great. There are so many things the kids can do online, whether it’s PE with Joe or yoga.”
There are things we can all do to look after our mental wellbeing at this time. Every Mind Matters can get you started with a free NHS online plan showing you simple steps to help manage anxiety, sleep better and boost your mood.
For your mental health action plan, search Every Mind Matters today.