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Eight tiny but powerful hacks to get you through lockdown

Losing your marbles trying to manage WFH, homeschooling and 'what's for dinner?' Sussex coach Camille of The Float Spa has these simple hacks that'll stop you surrendering to the overwhelm.

Remember back when all we had to manage was ONE THING AT A TIME, you know, school run, work, dinner, collapse on the sofa? Now somehow we’re supposed to be able to manage jobs, families and homeschooling plus produce three home-cooked meals, all day every day. It’s no surprise we’re all crumbling and while yes, meditation, journalling, yoga, daily exercise and healthy food all SOUND great, who has the time (and energy) to incorporate all that into an already-crammed day?

Luckily you don’t have to, because we’ve got eight brilliant easy tips for you from Camille Pierson, founder of The Float Spa in Hove. Camille has trained in CBT, Behavioural Science, Habit Coaching and Meditation and offers personal coaching to people looking to make lasting changes in their lives. She focuses on three main areas of healthy body, healthy mind and healthy heart, and her top tips for easing the strain of lockdown are the little changes we all need to cut down on stress and avoid the dreaded overwhelm. Over to you, Camille!

  1. Think small. I always advise my clients to create micropractices and I really do mean micro. Take exercise, for example. Most of our routines are out the window and instead we’re reaching for a bottle of wine because we think if we’re going to exercise we have to do an hour in the gym or run for an hour. But a couple of minutes every time you come down the stairs, or make a cup of tea, can help you make a change.
  2. Every time you put the kettle on, take three deep meditative breaths. Instead of rushing around the kitchen, take that tiny little bit of time to just calm yourself and acknowledge the situation.
  3. Do a weekly meal plan. I can’t stress enough how much this will make your weekly routine easier. Sit down with your family on Sunday night and decide what you’re going to eat. That way you’re not going to get to 4pm and start thinking OMG what am I going to do about dinner? You’ve already done the thinking, and this really does reduce stress.
  4. Every morning, sit down with a cup of tea and write a to-do list. Putting a line through a task once you’ve achieved it makes you feel so good. Celebrate every time you achieve something no matter how small – ‘keeping the kids alive’ and ‘getting out of my dressing gown’ both count!
  5. Get up and get dressed every day, as if it were a normal school day. This gets everybody ready to get started and it feels much better than those days you wander around in your PJs and end up totally fed up by 4pm.
  6. Create a working space for everybody. Even if your partner is upstairs in the official home-office space, there needs to be a dedicated work space for everybody. It could be on the same kitchen table or old desk, but everybody needs a space. Take regular breaks between activities and move away from your work space, even if it’s just five inches away, it’ll help you feel like you’re having a break. Walking breaks are also great, and a change of scenery makes everybody feel better.
  7. Exercise as a family. Do something every day, it could be Joe Wicks or something like Cosmic Kids Yoga.
  8. At the end of the day, all say something you’re grateful for. It’s very warming for the heart and when you wake up in the morning knowing the last thing you all said to each other was words of gratitude, it makes you feel really good.
  9. Make life easier for yourself. If you don’t get the washing done and you end up in slightly dirty clothes, who cares? If you’re knackered and can’t face pre-rinsing everything before it goes in the dishwasher, run the dishwasher twice. We’re all managing ten times more than usual, so don’t be afraid to save yourself time where you can.
  10. Allocate some time for yourself to make yourself feel good. Have a long bath, put makeup on for the day even if you’re not going anywhere. I’ve got a big gold sparkly blazer and I wore that and some black leatherette trousers to go to Sainsbury’s because when else am I going to wear my going-out clothes? It made me feel good and it put a smile on other peoples’ faces too.

And if all else fails…..what to do on those days when the overwhelm is real, the kids are refusing to go on Zoom, there’s washing-up everywhere and you’re about to blow a fuse?

Ok firstly, if the kids are refusing to go on Zoom or do their lessons today are you that bad a parent if you let them have a day off? Could you let them off just this once and email their teachers saying they’re not up to it – that’ll also let the teacher know that something bigger is going on. I think many of us are a bit scared to communicate with our kids teachers because we don’t want to feel like we’re failing. But actually I think our kids are doing a lot more at home with us and it’s very intense for them.

When we’re feeling anxious and guilty it’s important to do something you love – explain to your partner, if you have one, that you need to take some time and go for a walk or a run or do whatever it is that makes you feel happy. Disconnect yourself from the boiling pot at home. If you can’t get out of the house, sign up to a meditation course or do some breathing exercises, or try journalling. As a family, disconnect from screens and devices and try something like a puzzle or a game – something that will help everybody disconnect and use their imaginations, whilst not being stimulated by a screen.

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