• Kerry Leppier

Staying Sane During Lockdown

Although we don't know if a lockdown will occur in the UK, it seems only a matter of time. As self-employed parents of 3 young children, we understand that this will have a huge impact on people's work, income and let's face it, sanity. Day's out will be limited as most businesses will be closed and of course the advice will be to avoid crowds of people or completely self-isolate.

And so here is our guide to staying sane during lockdown:

1. Team work makes the dream work. We love a mission in our home - the kind where you have a goal and work towards it together. Our kids are 2, 5 and 7 and before our lockdown we will sit down. Together we will talk about what's happening and why. Then we'll talk about our plan for survival, ask them to contribute their ideas and get them involved. Some of the things we'll cover are: Supporting the running of the house Fun activities Less fun activities (hello purge of toys) And we'll review this every few days to make sure we're on track for our goal of a 'fun and connected lockdown'.

2. Use this time to learn something new or start a new healthy habit. Just this week I've decided to seriously look at my health. I'm eating healthier and I'm doing exercise at home. The first time I did a YouTube workout the three girls joined in and they loved it. Now whenever I start star jumping they are getting their "exercise stuff" on or stripping off (2 year old immediately insists on being naked?) and they're joining in. They have also started to meditate with my hubby which has been especially good for our second (super high energy) daughter. What healthy habit would you like to introduce your kids to? This is a great time to start.

3. Get outside. Go out into the garden as often as you can. Sit and read a book, do some gardening, feed your soul outside while the children bounce, run, scoot and argue. Do what fills you and do it in the company of nature. Get to an open field with a football. Run, walk, paddle, anything to connect you to our beautiful earth and it's natural healing properties.

4. Use this time (pre-possible-lockdown) to evaluate your spending. Look at your expenses, are they all essential? The word responsible isn't exciting is it? But man it feels good to bite the boring bullet, tighten those purse strings and simplify life a little. We've been on a mission lately to reduce our outgoings anyway and yesterday we cancelled Sky and our TV License... A brave move when you have a Peppa Pig addicted, early rising two year old and facing two weeks of isolation... But we felt great today about two less bills coming out of our account. What could you reduce or do without?

5. Limit your time on social media. Eek. What do you see on Facebook at the moment? I see drama, complaining and fear. And quite rightly most of the time. But how do I feel when I see it? Afraid mostly. This thing is coming, reading about how bad it may or may not be doesn't help us to connect with our family. We must do what we can to limit the spread, to stay sane and to not let fear into our hearts and homes.

6. Try and have fun. Stuart Brown, MD, describes play as time spent without purpose. And fellow researcher Brené Brown says that play is vital to human development.

Some of the fun indoor activities we've done include: indoor camp out - the girls absolutely love this, indoor cinema, indoor picnics, den making, obstacle course making and baking. Make your own list pre-potential-lockdown of all the things you can do indoors, get the kids involved, get creative and have fun making it as well as working through it.

7. Let them be. For those who are having or choosing to work at home during lockdown, you don't need to entertain or oversee your kids. Let them work out their own games and their own battles. Tell them when you are finished, when you can take a break. Set some boundaries, some rules and then let them explore the lockdown world without you. If guilt comes knocking, treat it as you would the virus; slam the door in it's unhelpful face and walk away.

8. Get off your case. I'm a realist, all of the above tips are practical and I hope helpful but if you get poorly, if you're trying and failing at working while taking care of the kids, if you need to sort the house, the bills, the sick dog, don't feel bad for what you haven't done, for what you've said or succumbed to.  Forgive yourself quickly. This is even more essential than loo roll right now.

9. Stay calm and remember you are not alone. If you still feel like you're losing your sh*t, that you can't cope, reach out and tell someone. And if you have no-one, reach out to us. During lock-down we'll make ourselves available so that you have someone to talk to, vent to, cry to. We'll listen, it's what we're good at.

10. Remember we are in this together. Let's not allow this to break us but strengthen us, not distance us but connect us. Let's focus on what matters and look for the gifts. If we ignore point number 5 and use social media then let's fill it with positivity, love and gratitude. If we can spread that as quick as this virus then we're a people to have pride in, and a force to be reckoned with.

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