London Lockdown: how to stay happy & healthy during quarantine

The Greenwich Mummy | Family Lifestyle Blogger

I’ve always loved the idea of homeschooling but didn’t think I’d have the intelligence, patience or willpower to do so. After these two – almost three weeks – I can tell you that it’s bloody hard! I’ve always done so but now praise teachers even more for what they do with our children, it’s not an easy job with one let alone a class full of twenty plus.

We also must need to thank all of the key workers working hard to keep our country running. The shop workers, seriously – where would we be without them? It’s amazing that we can all stand together as one and as a community, helping each other out. In Greenwich there is a mutual aid group made up of locals volunteering to help out those in need who are struggling with their daily lives.

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Homeschooling is not as easy as it seems!

They have a Facebook page so if you can volunteer or know someone that may need/would like the help, get in touch. Please note that it is a private group so you will need to have a FB account to access it: https://m.facebook.com/groups/greenwichcovid19mutualaid

Life in lockdown

So we have been self-isolating since the school closures were announced on Friday 20th March. We have only gone out when necessary for essential shopping which we try to limit to no more than 2-3 a week. We didn’t stockpile but made sure we had a few extras of our normal shop to keep us going for a few weeks. We haven’t been sick or had symptoms *touch wood* and have stayed away from our friends and family.

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Credit: Thought Catalog / Unsplash

Of course, we practice social distancing and we try to only nominate one of us to do the essential shop. I get Daddy P to do it as the last time I tried to go to the shops it was a little awkward and I felt very anxious. Social distancing wasn’t entirely possible in our local supermarket and other people noticed it too. One even commented “well we’re all gonna die anyway“… okay(!)

I wanted to say something so badly but we’re all entitled to our own opinion and in these uncertain times, who knows anymore. I wrote an earlier post about the racial tension I experienced which still looms in the air. Even an NHS worker in London was recently racially targeted because she was of Asian-looking heritage. There’s only two words that people need to think of in this situation and it’s “BE KIND”. Be kind to everyone but especially those who are working flat out to keep us safe.

The outbreak is affecting us all mentally, emotionally and physically. The kids are managing well and to be honest, haven’t been asking too many questions about it. They’ve just taken it on board and got along with things. I am so grateful that they are able to have this mindset especially as they’re not allowed outside more than once a week.


How to stay happy & healthy during the lockdown

1. Keep to a routine

Keeping to a routine will not only save your sanity, it will also give the family a sense of structure to your day. Most days, try to wake up at a reasonable time like (before 10am) and get that morning routine going. Especially as most of us are now at home it’s so easy to fall into a slump and put your body clock out of sync with the world.

If you are homeschooling you might want to wake up like you would do on a ‘normal’ school day and start your studies at 9am. For us, we’re a bunch of lazy bones and will wake up around 9-10am and start homeschooling an hour after. Our morning routine includes washing face/brushing teeth, eat breakfast, set up the desk and get into homeschool-mode. So much easier that we don’t have to faff around with school uniform!

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Homeschooling Tip: have a routine and dedicate time for study and play
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If homeschooling is stressing you out, just make sure that your child reads daily

Everyone’s routine will be a little different – the same goes with the homeschooling. Before I started, I had big plans for Little Man and a good day’s schedule all planned out. After the first day, we realised it wouldn’t work and so have adapted it to suit us since then. Now we limit school work to 2 hours a day and usually try to do it before their lunch at 1pm. However, we are also flexible so if we’ve had a lazy morning, we’d carry on with relaxing and playing then do the homeschooling after lunch or during the second half of the day.

2. Eat well

Don’t curb on all the processed food as now you’ll actually have the time to cook. If you’re not great at it or stuck for ideas, just head online and you’ll find that the internet world is really your (virtual) oyster. If the kitchen is not really your forte, subscription companies like Gousto, Mindful Chef and Hello Fresh can actually be very helpful however they will be very busy due to demand. Have a look for food boxes from your local grocery, they might even deliver for free. You can even check out their boxes recipes online too, here’s a link to Mindful Chef’s latest recipes to whet your appetite.

Note: get the kids involved with the cooking! It’ll count towards their ‘life skills’ and makes great bonding sessions.

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Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods you can include in your meals
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Meal planning doesn’t have to be hard, write it down or write a bullet journal / Credit: Papier

Breakfast: make sure you have a good breakfast to start your day. Our favourite is oat porridge with a small dollop of jam or a slice of toast with cheesy scrambled egg. For myself if I’m being lazy, I have a slice of toast with tea and then coffee!

Lunch: we keep it simple for lunch as the kids usually get involved. Recently we’ve been making easy egg-less fluffy pancakes (recipe here!). There’s also a recipe for ‘protein pancakes’ on this blog if you fancy something different.

Dinner: Daddy P and I take it in turns but I would say 80% of the time, I’ll cook and he’ll clean because he’s the best at cleaning! 🙂 Our recent meals include salmon and dill quiche with salad, seafood and fish pie, easy macaroni cheese, veggie lasagne, and even fish stew! As Daddy P is pescetarian we don’t cook meat anymore – saying that I did make sticky soy and garlic glazed chicken wings the other day which was so tasty.

If meal planning or coming up with new meals is really difficult, try to have at least one nutritiously dense meal a day. Papier have come up with some planning tips that might help: https://www.papier.com/thefold/articles/menu-planning-tips

3. Dedicate some time together

We try to get in our daily “together time”. This is any fun activity that we can do all together as a family. There’s also a weekly Sunday family rave courtesy of Big Fish Little Fish events at 2pm on Facebook Live so don’t miss that one! It’s pretty amazing. They put on an amazing show, we’ve been to a few family raves in person so it’s really nostalgic to watch them on Sundays. Also an excuse for us to make noise and go crazy with dance.

When I want to workout alone, I put on Zumba Workouts (Youtube) and work up a good sweat, my favourite workouts are from a lady called Ysel Gonzalez – she has such a vibrant energy it’s amazing. Sometimes the kids join in which is nice too. I’ve also bought a rebounder to use at home and the kids are having a good workout on there too! I’ve not had a go yet but will try it out this weekend. 

If you’re stuck on ideas, here are some ‘together time’ activities you can fit into your routine:

  • Yoga
  • Reading/storytelling
  • Games – board games, console games, team player games, made-up games
  • Messy play or imaginative (role play, dressing up)
  • Arts and crafts-making
  • Cooking/baking
  • Dancing
  • Watching a film together
  • Gardening (if you have a garden) or planting (indoors or outdoors)
  • Learning a new language
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Little Man finishing off the toppings

4. Do more yoga

We’ve been doing family yoga stories together once a week, sometimes more if they’re up to it. There’s also a lot of yoga teachers offering online classes (free, pay-what-you-can and donation-based) so have a look out for them. There’s literally a class for everyone and any family. If you’ve never done yoga before, don’t worry about it – family yoga is fun and the focus is on the bonding experience between parent and child/children and having fun! If you’re still unsure, you can put YouTube’s Cosmic Kids Yoga for the kids (ideally for 3-9 yrs) to keep them busy for an hour or two.

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Doing family yoga and fun partner poses can keep the blues away!

For yourself, now is a better time than any to start your own yoga practice. Yoga really is for everybody. Don’t think that you need to be flexible to start yoga – flexibility is a by-product of yoga!

My advice for you would be to look for yoga ‘flows’ (classes/sessions) that are specifically for beginners if you have no/very little yoga experience. These sessions are the best at easing you into simple poses and will have more options for modification. Restorative yoga flows are also great for beginners and they focus on releasing tight areas and are friendly enough for those who suffer from mobility issues or injuries. It’s also great for those who just want a much slower and relaxing pace.

5. Be flexible and realistic with your expectations

It’s so easy to try and cram as much in as possible, especially when we’re provided with so much choice and now have a lot more time on our hands. Take each day as it comes and as much as having a routine and structure is important, so is the ability to be flexible and realistic with your expectations. If the children seem like they have too much energy, have some time out and maybe even skip the schoolwork for the day. Enjoy the time you have with each other.

It’s hard for the children to not be able to release their wild energy normally like they would do running about in the playground and so they can become restless, mine certainly do! Be more understanding towards them and give them a little lee-way.

6. Practice daily mindfulness

Learning to be in the moment – being present, becoming mindful is something I am trying to teach myself. I can get quite riled up from the children that sometimes I lose my sh*t and go on a shouting rampage. What good does it do? Nothing. How does it make me feel after? Like a crappy parent. So why continue to do it?

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Be present. Observe what’s around you without judgement.

Stop the cycle by observing and not judging whether it’s a good or bad situation, just accept it as it is. Only then can we move forward to a more positive outcome. I bought a mindfulness book which helps me to challenge my thoughts and behaviours – almost like a CBT book that helps me to keep calm and become more mindful of everything around. There’s also brilliant mindfulness apps for adults and children. For adults, I love the CALM app and for kids, we use the Moshi Twilight stories app. It really helps the children to relax and usually sends them off to sleep. Other mindfulness activities can include mandala colouring (great for kids too!), guided meditation and yoga nidra.

7. Boost your immunity

I’m sure you have heard this everywhere. Keep your immunity levels high to keep your health in good condition. You don’t have to purchase the world of tablets but multivitamins with omega 3 or vitamin D, and vitamin C tablets can go a long way. A good way of getting in vitamin C is through eating fruits like oranges. Try not to juice them as this extracts mainly the sugars that’s contained in the fruit. You’ll get more benefit from eating oranges whole and eat fruits with the skin on like apples as the fibre is in the skin.

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Turmeric latte / Photo by Osha Key (Unsplash)

When I’m not feeling too well, I like drinking my honey and ginger tea. Just hot water, a teaspoon of honey and a thumb-size knob of ginger (crushed) is the best thing ever.

Turmeric is also another fantastic ingredient that is an immune-booster, it’s anti-inflammatory and said to help with healing. My mother used to buy fresh turmeric root and rub it over her acne spots to help it heal faster. Unfortunately the root can be hard to find but they would be available in most Asian food stores but turmeric powder can be found in most supermarkets.

I like making turmeric lattes with turmeric powder and dairy-free milk (oat milk or brown rice milk is the best for this!) and enjoy. If you have a frothing tool you can get a really lovely foam going and a professional barista-style turmeric latte.

8. Get some fresh air

Whether you have a big garden or an apartment balcony like me, there’s always time to get some fresh air. We are still currently allowed to go outside for an hour of exercise so you could use a few minutes of this time to go on a gentle walk. If you’re up early enough, take the kids with you so they can get some fresh air too – by going earlier you’ll avoid unnecessary crowds of people. Of course, continue to practice social distancing and stay safe when outside.

If you prefer to go stay indoors the garden is a wonderful place to be, learn to make use of your green space – perhaps get the kids involved with some gardening or have a little campfire (no actual fire of course!) but you can teach them camping skills or scouts activities which you can find online. If like me you have just a balcony, leave the balcony door open for a few hours each day to let fresh air circulate inside the flat.

9. Don’t forget about yourself

When you have a family, looking after number one *yourself* can sometimes become the last priority but during this lockdown, your own mental/physical/emotionally self must be taken care of first. It’s the time to be selfish because you don’t look after yourself, who will look after your family?

I’m not saying splash out on something lavish – unless you can really afford to – I’m saying do something nice for yourself at least once a week or month. Whether it’s allowing yourself to binge on one whole Netflix series or eating that whole batch of chocolate brownies you made, just do it!

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I re-joined Birchbox last month and I’m looking forward to this little treat. Other beauty subscription boxes include Look Fantastic (check out their pretty April box here), Glossybox and Beauty Pie. If you prefer natural or vegan beauty products, I’d highly recommend trying out the LoveLula boxes. I need to start reviewing the boxes again but I stopped as it took a lot of time, though now I have a little more time… why not!

These beauty boxes are life right now and the best thing is that you can choose to pay in block to save money or pay on a monthly basis and cancel at anytime. If you change your mind, you can resubscribe at anytime too.

Above all… stay happy, stay healthy, stay safe!

Lots of love to everyone during these uncertain times. Take care of family and more importantly yourself in both mind and body. x


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Reduce Your Stress and Get Healthy

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Family & Lifestyle in London

Being healthy isn’t about how much you weigh. Being healthy is about eating foods that are good for us, as well as being active and happy. It isn’t all about your BMI (Body Mass Index), a number that so many people, including health professionals are known to obsess about.

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Eat more fresh fruit and veg / Credit: Alexandr Podvalny via Unsplash

Stress and emotional eating

Our ability to deal with stress can really have a big effect on our eating habits. Studies show that stress is linked to emotional eating. For some, both emotional eating and under-eating are signs of too much stress in our lives which can cause damage if it’s ongoing, so we need to find a way to keep it under control. Physical exercise is an incredible help in combating stress. Exercise can raise endorphin levels, produce more serotonin and gives us a general sense of well being, even though you might not feel like exercising at the start.


Any exercise will do

Exercise doesn’t mean that you need to start training to run a marathon, or invest in expensive equipment. It can also be low impact on your joints, so swimming is particularly good for this. Yoga is exceptionally relaxing and helps the mind move focus away from the stresses and strains of life. Pilates is surprisingly gentle, but very good for posture and balance and will help strengthen the body.

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Benefits of a yoga practice
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Go for a run, walk or jog / Credit: Bruno Nascimento via Unsplash

Walking, the simplest of all exercise merely involves putting your shoes on and going outside. You may not be walking the mythical 10,000 steps everyday, but let’s be realistic, very few people have the time, even if the intention is there. However, a 30 minute stroll has been proven to lower the risk of heart disease, while toning up your legs and bum. Walking outside will boost your vitamin D intake and give you energy. Most importantly, studies have shown that people who walk regularly are less likely to suffer from dementia when they are older. This is certainly an aspect of health that can’t be measured by BMI.


Mindfulness for busy lives

Mindfulness is focusing the mind on the present moment. It is an excellent way to mentally block out external stress. Using a mindfulness app like CALM is a good way to spend five or ten minutes when you have a break from work. Focusing on your breathing and learning to calm your emotions can really help you to deal with stress. If you learn to deal with stress and you can conquer emotional eating.

It is so easy to connect the idea of your health with your weight, and this just shouldn’t be the case. Where the mind goes, the body will follow. Focus on making little changes and the bigger picture will come soon enough. This could be taking 10 minutes a day to focus on mindfulness, or putting on your trainers and having a walk at lunchtime. Using these simple achievable ways to help you deal with stress will soon have you on the path to a happier and healthier you.

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Sometimes in life, we need to take things SLOW

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This contribution post was written exclusively for this blog by Jane Sandwood