It's time to take a breath, take stock and let things percolate. The last weeks may well have brought a lot of emotions to the surface. Perhaps anxiety and doubt, maybe a little guilt if you feel you're not coping with home working, or home schooling, or living with others in such close quarters 24/7.
But, you're getting through. And whatever you're doing... it's enough.
One way to stay grounded, keep your head above water and keep healthy is to #NoticeNature.
If you're feeling a little frazzled by not being able to get outside as much as you'd like, take five minutes to enjoy this short film of shaded forests, lapping waves and sunlit meadows (honestly, this works...)
Here's a few more tips for maintaining your balance...
Look after yourself
Make sure you take time to get outside once a day. You can go outside to exercise on your own, or with family members, for a walk or a bike ride, although you should limit the time you spend outdoors.
Find a sheltered spot to soak up a little sunshine or feel the breeze. Go for a walk; take your shoes off; stand on some grass; breathe deeply; gaze at a tree for a minute or two and lift your face to the sun. If you haven't already discovered meditation; you can meditate for just 5 minutes – Headspace is a good introduction for beginners.
Even if you're having to self-isolate, you can get into the garden, or open a window – some connection with nature will act as a restorative.
The guidance around social distancing should (we hope) be second nature by now. Yes, go outside once a day for a walk, but keep 2 metres between you/your family and others.
There is lots of volunteering to do – not least helping other families to know they can and should go outdoors. However, please ask everyone you know to pay heed to the social distancing message. Social distancing will help limit the spread of the virus, and will mean the most vulnerable among us are not put at risk. The reality is that following these guidelines will save lives and protect the NHS.
Enjoy deeper Nature Connection
A walk around the block can give you the calming moments you need, and a chance to notice nature either alone or with your children. Perhaps there's a tree just coming into leaf; a verge that's home to flowers, some native, some which may have escaped from a nearby garden.
Plan a Family Wild Walk to a quieter spot, at a quieter time. We’re updating our blog ‘Can I go outside’ regularly, giving the latest guidance on outside activities. The guidance around social distancing is simple. Yes, go outside once a day for a walk, but keep 2 metres between you/your family and others.
When you're on your walk, take a note of what you see. Maybe the hawthorn is showing in the hedgerows, or the cherry blossom is livening the parks and streets.
Take a note of what you can hear. Spend just a few quiet moments, and listen. One sliver of a silver lining... there's less traffic on the roads, and less pollution. So there's more space for bird song...
Start a Nature Journal
It's a good time to start a daily nature journal. Good for both children and adults... a place you can write, doodle, stick in leaves and flowers, record what you have seen and heard. Over time this will become quite a body of work and self-reflection. As a personal project, it could develop as a meditative practice, or it could be something that you'd like to share with friends. It doesn't have to be anything too elaborate, just a few notes on your day.
Take a break from the media...
Not easy, but this is recommended. Keeping up-to-date on developments is important, as the situation is changing daily, but overloading yourself with news and rumours will only increase your anxiety. Schedule a time to check-in on the headlines, but otherwise, give yourself a break, turn off your phone and look at ways to connect with nature.
Maybe choose a book to read. It won't distract you with notifications, dispiriting updates or the latest conspiracy theories. If you and your family can't get outside, let your favourite author take you on a journey. Visualise following in their footsteps.
Keep looking for the rainbows
Reflect on the positive changes that have come about over the last ten days. An incredible sense of community; visible in the rainbows posted in the windows, and the weekly round of applause for the NHS and front-line carers. Changes to our working patterns, which means some of the most unsustainable aspects of modern life have been disrupted. The city air is easier to breathe. There is a lot to draw upon if you want to retain your sense of optimism. A daily dose of nature may be the smallest change you can make, but if it's one that you maintain, it will serve you well.
Photo credit: Alex Jackman on Unsplash