Hi everyone! I’m sure no one expected a global pandemic to be happening in our lifetime. Fitting how it’s happened during the 2020 year of the nurse and midwife though isn’t it?

I just thought I would touch base with you all, see where you are all at. It’s a stressful time for everyone. Even if you don’t feel stressed, your body may be showing signs of stress. For example I thought I was handling all this pretty well, whereas my skin on the other hand had different ideas!

I want to remind you that quarantine and being in lockdown is not a productivity contest. I know that on social media it can seem that everyone is very busy learning new skills, constantly helping their children with homework, and in all round being very productive.

Just because the internet says you need to be productive it does not mean you have to. I have seen so many quotes, posts, articles online recently that say that now is the perfect time to “learn a new skill” or to “focus on your diet now” and even some that say that if at the end of this you have not done these, then you lack motivation and that you are lazy.

Please please please ignore this. You need to listen to your own body and your own mind. If you do want to try something new, that’s great! If not? That’s also fine! The main thing here is to look after yourself.

For me personally, before the pandemic happened I had been on a fitness/health journey of my own. So a big factor for me is to be able to continue with this regime so that I have some sort of “normality”. It’s been hard to accept the fact that because of the gyms being closed, there is a good chance that I will put a couple of lbs on which is totally fine. I have tried to make the most of my one daily exercise – I’ve been trying to walk/run 5k a day. Which helps me clear my mind, gets me out of the house and allows me to have some fresh air! It’s also been nice to learn some new simple home exercises considering I relied so heavily on gym equipment and classes.

Another thing I’ve been trying to do more of is to look after my skin. Like I said above, I didn’t think I felt stressed but my skin suddenly started breaking out. I’ve always been pretty lucky regarding blemishes, I get some once a month (ladies you will understand where I’m coming from) and that’s usually it. But the last few weeks I’ve had this constant overlap of incredibly painful volcanos!! I realised that this was in fact due to stress, so I decided to make it a pre-bedtime ritual to really focus on my skin, which also helps me wind down to sleep! I think being able to have 5 or 10 minutes to just focus on something for me is important.

I think one of the things we have learnt since being in lockdown is the importance and power of communication. As many of you know I moved to Leicester two years ago from my hometown and didn’t know a single soul here! I didn’t used to FaceTime as much back then as I used to be able to visit friends and family if I had some time off, but now I realise that there are so many other ways to stay in contact with those who play key roles in my life. All these new ways of staying in touch such as Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, and not forgetting social media! It’s definitely made me appreciate the time that I will eventually get to see my favourite people. I will admit that sometimes I am the worst person to get in contact with and it’s not that I don’t want to talk to people, it’s just that sometimes my mind is so full of other things and for those that know me know I’m how u organised and chaotic my phone is regarding notifications… but i am using this time to reach out to people that I may have lost contact with, and with those who’s connection I wish to make stronger.

One thing I have learnt in the last few weeks is that it’s okay to feel the things you feel. At times I’ve felt scared, sad, lonely, guilty, reflective, brave, happy..you name the emotion and I’ve felt it! But I think the difference is that I’ve aloud myself to feel these things, and I’ve expressed these feelings to those close to me and it turns out that I am not alone. Being able to share my feelings with others that also feel the same makes it easier for us to support each other. We can give each other a flicker of light on our darker days.

Realising that we are in this together is one of the key things that I believe is getting us through. It’s something that all of us will have in common, even years from now. This is something that will forever link us to each other. So be kind, make the most of your support network, listen to your mind and body and focus on you.