Stay Home Save Lives Sign

How Do We Cope With Bouncing In and Out Of Lockdown?

Just when we think there is some light at the end of the tunnel, something comes along to thwart our plans. Many businesses in the health and aesthetics sectors were given a blow earlier in month when it was revealed that they would not be able to open on the 4th July, but perhaps what is even more devastating is the possibility that those who were fortunate enough to be able to open may now find themselves having to close once again.

Leicester in the UK was the first area in the country to experience a ‘localized lockdown’ after cases of coronavirus surged. Several pubs in Somerset were forced to close just days after they had reopened after it was revealed that a customer had since been confirmed as suffering from Coronavirus. And in Australia, Melbourne announced a 6 week lockdown as cases rose to levels which could not be effectively controlled by track and trace measures.

What is clear is that these events are unlikely to be localized incidents, with governments across the globe continuing to keep a close eye on daily cases at a micro level, primed to act swiftly at the first sign that levels may be rising. The knock on effect of this process is that we simply don’t know what is around the corner. Just because the current instructions are to resume certain leisure activities, visit the shops, support local restaurants and visit the cinema, doesn’t mean that the decision won’t be reversed in the coming weeks. We are encouraged to think positively, to focus on the future and to take steps to rebuild or economy, but this motivation can wane when there is a very real risk that all our best efforts will in fact be futile in the face of a global invisible killer.

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So how can we live from day to day, not knowing what might be just around the corner? The answer is to learn to ‘expect the unexpected’. Coach and author Darren Lewitt, author of Dream Create Believe Achieve agrees with this approach.

He explains,
‘During my career, I have often been faced with the unexpected. These situations are often unavoidable, but what you can always control is how you respond to them. COVID-19 is causing disruption, fear and uncertainty for so many people and it is very easy to get caught up in the news stories and literally frighten yourself into paralysis. But regardless of what lies ahead, we must find ways to keep moving forwards. There is nothing you can do about the situation now; people can point the finger of blame but we have to remain as positive as possible. It is time to step back and think harder and smarter about coming out of the lockdown. We’ve had over 100 days so far and probably the same amount to come. Being mentally prepared to deal with the unexpected is so important right now because we really don’t know what is around the corner. Ask yourself, is there any way I can be more efficient when I start up again, is there any help I can get, can I buddy up with someone else to make life easier; thinking differently will ultimately give you a better start It’s all about looking ahead and not backwards.”

Put simply, we need to accept that things are likely to keep changing when it comes to managing the COVID-19 outbreak. Certain policies are going to be relaxed and then tightened, shops are going to open then shut and we could well see spikes of the virus coming and going over the next year, perhaps longer.

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Is it frustrating?

Is it disruptive?
Undeniably so.

Can we control what will happen in the future?
Not really, no.

Part of regaining control during chaos is knowing what you can influence and what you can’t. As the saying goes, ‘grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference’. We are facing an uncertain future, but we can take steps to ensure we are as best prepared as we can be for a variety of potential scenarios. From putting away some money to cover you if a full lockdown is reimposed, to stocking up on bulk sized items such as washing powder to keep you going for longer, you can remain positive about the future whilst also being practical and realistic as to what may be just around the corner, but still out of sight.

Sadly, it is very likely that we’ll be bouncing in and out of lockdown for a little while yet, but this doesn’t mean that our hopes, aspirations and goals need to disappear completely. It’s all about changing our mindset and giving greater emphasis to what we can achieve, rather than dwelling on what we can’t.

Alcoholic Man

Have You Developed A Drinking Habit During Lockdown?

There is no denying that lockdown has had a significant impact on people of all ages and circumstances. It’s been a once in a lifetime experience for most and the sudden restrictions on everyday life and the freedoms we once took for granted have been a difficult pill for many to swallow.

At times of stress, reaching for a glass of your favorite alcoholic drink can be a welcome distraction from any uncertainties and worry, allowing you to momentarily forget the pressures you might be facing at work or personally. And I think most people would agree that now more than ever there are certainly plenty of things to be worrying about. Whether its making ends meet due to no income as a self employed beautician, or the struggle to make up the 20% shortfall on the 80% furlough payments, to the stress of managing the children at home full time as well as their school work. Or perhaps you are in a difficult relationship anyway and the cracks are now even bigger than they were before. Whatever the motivating factors, the correlation between alcohol and stress is clear, as reports suggested that in the UK, off-license sales have soared by 31.4% in volume terms during the lockdown period. Despite the pubs being shut for business, although they are now reopening, people have still felt the need to reach for a drink to help see them through.

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Most people have a love hate relationship with alcohol and with good reason. It’s ability to help numb worries, boost confidence and generally help people to relax and enjoy themselves are its most alluring qualities. But regardless of how enjoyable it may be during the moment, there is the invariable crash the next day, be it through a serious hangover that leaves you feeling at death’s door, struggling to maintain concentration during working hours, or noticing those extra pounds creeping on despite still eating endless amounts of rabbit food. The reality is that alcohol in whichever format you love, is a poison, and doesn’t deliver any benefits at all to the body, mind or soul.

The thing about drinking is that everyone has different perceptions as to what constitutes a ‘problem’. You may think that someone has issues when they have developed a routine of 2 bottles of wine a night, or can’t get through the afternoon without a couple of beers, just leisurely ones of course. The reality according to sober coach Lizzie Shearing of The Flavor of Sober, is that it’s always a problem when you notice it is missing, whether that’s 1, 2 or 5 drinks.

Lizzie explains, “Firstly, it’s important to realize that as you have been drinking more, you are likely to experience stronger urges to reach for a drink when you do try to cut down or stop. Alcohol raises the dopamine levels in your brain which makes you feel good temporarily – much like a sugar hit. Your brain then creates less dopamine naturally, leading to an overall lower mood. So as soon as the alcohol wears off, you are likely to feel like you need and want another drink quickly, in order to get your “hit” again. This may not even be something you are aware of, but it does explain why you have possibly experienced the need to drink more than ever during lockdown. It’s the classic reason why alcohol truly is like a slippery slope and is one of the main reasons that alcohol is so damn addictive.”

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If you are beginning to notice the urge to reach for a drink is stronger than it was previously, it could be time to give your body a detox. The only way to break the cycle is to stop drinking, and ideally for around 7-10 days, advises Lizzie. This amount of time is enough to give your body a chance to detox and re-balance itself. It won’t be easy though and often it is the first couple of days that are the hardest, so it’s useful to come up with some effective ways to keep you distracted. Lizzie suggests that the urges tend to last around six to seven minutes, so if you can find a way to ride the wave, you’ll soon notice the feeling subsiding.

Often, a drink in the evening is viewed as a bit of a ‘treat’ or a celebration to mark the weekend. In such cases it is necessary to find an alternative way to treat yourself. Perhaps it’s with a warm bubble bath and face mask, calling a friend for a chat or sitting down to watch an episode of your favorite box set. Rewards are designed to make you feel good and you can still have that pleasurable feeling without alcohol surging through your body. For many, it is as much the taste and feel of the glass in their hand that sets off the feel good hormones, in which case, it’s the perfect time to experiment with a tasty mocktail. There are some really good mocktail recipes around which are created to give you that ‘kick’ in taste that you so often get with alcohol, but without any of the nasties.

Girl with her Dog

Fears As Dog Ownership Rises During Lockdown, But Is It Really A Bad Thing?

Dogs have long been known as ‘man’s best friend’ and with good reason; they can provide a host of benefits to their owners, both physically and emotionally. But just how important have dogs been throughout lockdown and what impact could this have on future pet ownership?

There have undoubtedly been a number of worries surrounding the increase of puppy sales throughout lock down, with some people opting to have a pet for the very first time. There is certainly some logic to this, particularly with a puppy, as the extended time at home means that more care and attention can be given to them at this very critical point in their transition to a new home. Yes, there are questions over whether all of these new pet owners will be able to manage the load once full time work and outings kicks back in, but I think it is also important that we recognize the positives that can come from having a companion and purpose during such a scary and uncertain time. Although it is unclear to how much each individual person’s mental health will have suffered as a result of this worldwide pandemic, having company during this challenging time is something that still remains important and can help combat loneliness and depressing thoughts.

For many, having a dog in their lives has been the one constant that has kept them going. This ownership and responsibility can teach us many things, both as an adult and as a child. A dog is always reliant on you, their health and well-being can suffer if you forget or don’t have time for them. Like us, they need regular exercise, food and water. These are just the basics.

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It is through their need of a routine that our own mental health can benefit. Making sure that they are well looked after can, without knowing it, help us to make sure we are also looking after ourselves. Without even realizing it, your fitness levels will improve when you have a dog. Even if it’s just a short walk around the block, those precious twenty minutes will make all the difference.

One of the biggest things I have noticed through lock down is my family’s new found love for our dog. Perhaps it is only by mistake that she has been taken for granted over these last few years. Certainly in her early puppy years she was the firm favorite out of everybody, by everybody. The one the children played with, cried with, spent time snuggling up to during movies and TV shows. Yet for many years now her presence in the house has often gone unnoticed. She is well behaved and predictable. Not asking for much from anybody but always there should you need a cuddle or fancy some fresh air. Loyal to the end.

Lock down has meant endless hours spent at home, extra time together that you wouldn’t normally get and our four legged friend has certainly reaped the benefits. Extra belly rubs, less time spent alone, treats on demand and walks galore to name but a few.

It is important however to remember that our dogs will also need to ease out of lock down. They have become much more used to having us around so it is equally important for them to spend some time alone, away from us, so that they are not too reliant as we begin to leave the house more and more.

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Of course, every pet will have responded to lock down differently. Those that have a less rigid routine or are used to people being at home might take it all in their stride, enjoying this extra company. Others that are used to their owners leaving for the day may be thrown by the changes. Some dogs might be finding it overwhelming having more people around and less time to themselves. Try to be as in tune to your dog’s emotions as you can and make allowances for any sudden change in behavior.

By far the best part of owning a dog is their calming presence, especially in the evenings, after a long walk or play. There is something to be said for the moment in which a dog or puppy takes a satisfying sigh as they stretch out. That sense of relief and achievement at having finished for the day and allowing both owner and pet time to unwind can help the whole room feel relaxed.

The decision to get a dog should be a huge one, it should take a lot of thought and a lot of planning. Far too often it can be done on a whim, leaving open opportunity for mistakes and heartbreak. As stated in The Guardian, ‘A dog is for life, not just for lock down’.

However when it is done right, it can be the most wonderful thing. It can shape you and your family in a way you could never imagine.

Jump Rope Workout at Home

Easy Exercises You Can Do At Home

Staying indoors has become the new normal for all of us as we endure the coronavirus pandemic. While remaining isolated is the best way to curve the spread of the virus, it’s still important to be doing things that will improve your physical and mental health, especially during times of global uncertainty. 

Exercise has long been one of the greatest things an individual can do to improve upon their physical and mental wellbeing. However, many are struggling to adjust their lifestyles to remain active and healthy while stuck inside during a public health crisis. Additionally, research shows that living an inactive life for an extended period of time can lead to an increase in depression, anxiety, and a decrease in physical health/motivation as well. 

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The main goal is simple, do something to keep your mind and body engaged for at least 30 minutes everyday. This means doing some sort of physical activity besides pacing around your house. Exercise is also an amazing way to keep your bodies systems running smoothly and efficiently, which is of the utmost importance especially during a pandemic. 

If you own an exercise ball, stairmaster or treadmill, maintaining a solid cardiovascular workout routine is easy. If not, you want to look for activities that are specifically meant to increase your heart rate; jumping jacks, sprints, climbing up and down the stairs, etc. Covid-19 aside, heart disease is normally the number one killer in the world, so these types of exercises are imperative for everyone, regardless of age or health status, to do.

Jumping rope and setting up a hopscotch course to run back and forth through are just a couple of other easy solutions for ways to get your blood pumping and heart rate going at home. YouTube is also an amazing free resource to use.

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There’s a multitude of actual fitness instructors who have accounts and upload full workout routines for their subscribers. For individuals with televisions that are WiFi compatible, you can easily pull up any of these videos on the screen so you’re not bending over the phone or computer to really see the instructor. 

If you’re more interested in developing mobility/flexibility and strengthening your muscles, you’re going to want to look for more resistance-based exercises. Typically in a gym setting these exercises would use weights and resistance bands to help your body work even harder, both of which can be found online. If you’re not looking to spend any money, push-ups against the wall, squats, lunges, and wall-sits are just a few easy at home exercises that will lead to successful results. 

Online cardio dance classes like Zumba are also available online for low prices, and you can find other hip hop choreography/exercise classes on YouTube as well. These types of classes are especially great for engaging your mind and motivating yourself to continue to exercise because it’s fun. Dancing along to popular music in sync with another person while also getting a full-body workout is just as enjoyable as it is effective. Plus, if you’re the type of person who gets shy about dancing in front of other people, this type of online exercise is perfect to do alone from the comfort of your own home. 

As the world continues to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important that we remember to take care of our physical and mental health. Make a routine, write out a weekly schedule, choose exercises that can be fun and impactful, and of course, keep health and safety as your number one priority.

High Sugar Foods

How Comfort Food Could Be Affecting Your Mood

As we have retreated into our homes to wait out the coronavirus storm, we have all been finding new ways to entertain ourselves and our families. Many of us may have been cooking more elaborate dishes, trying our hand at baking or simply finding ourselves munching on more of our favourite comfort foods. Although all foods are appropriate in moderation, some, in excess, may be exacerbating a bad mood or having a detrimental effect on a person’s overall mental wellbeing. This then may be intensified by the frustration of being inside the house for longer and all of the added stress that the coronavirus crisis has brought with it. Rather than omitting these foods completely, monitoring the amount of comfort food that you eat could be a good way to stay on top of your overall mental state.

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Most of us partake in drink choices within the categories of alcohol, caffeine and soda. All of which are fine in moderation, but can take a negative toll when too much is consumed.

Alcohol, in small doses can be beneficial to a person’s mood, but too much will harmfully impact mood. According to Drink Aware ‘Regular, heavy drinking interferes with chemicals in the brain that are vital for good mental health. So while we might feel relaxed after a drink, in the long run alcohol has an impact on mental health and can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety, and make stress harder to deal with.’ Of course, drinking to deal with stress or depression should be avoiding completely. A glass a day may be perfectly suitable, but you may also look to having a few alcohol-free days a week.

Most of us turn to a caffeinated drink to shake off the dregs of sleep in the morning, and as a pleasant drink choice throughout the day. Caffeinated drinks such as coffee or tea, are not necessarily harmful too us, but can be in excess. Huffington Post reported that: ‘Caffeinated beverages such as coffee cause the brain to release dopamine and serotonin, according to Medical Daily. This is fine in small doses, but too much — often as little as one extra cup — can lead to irritability, agitation and anxiety.’

Sugared drinks such as soda, contain high-levels of ‘simple-sugars’ which absorb quickly into the bloodstream, giving a quick boost and a heavy crash. Not only can excessive consumption of such drinks lead to long term problems such as diabetes and obesity, immediate consequences of the ‘sugar crash’ will directly affect energy levels and mood. Diet versions of soda’s are not the solution either, as sweeteners have been linked with depression and anxiety. Consider limiting your soda intake and opting for alternatives such as water.

High-Sugar Foods
Candy bars and baked goods are another item that contains high-levels of refined sugars, which cause a temporary boost and a plummeting crash. According to Eat This Not That ‘Traditional baked treats like cookies, muffins, cakes, and pies all contain high amounts of refined sugars and saturated oils—all of which lead to someone feeling heavy, lethargic, depressed and in constant mood fluctuation.’ Although, It is perfectly acceptable to indulge, if you have a particular sweet tooth, occasionally try out recipe alternatives with lower levels of sugar and nutritious ingredient alternatives.

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We’ve discussed sugars, but foods high in saturated fats, refined carbohydrates and salt, will also have a energy-boosting affect and resulting crash, causing sluggishness and irritability. These types of foods include the beloved French Fry and other fried foods, which will not sustain energy levels throughout the day as complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and whole grains will. wrote: ‘It’s natural to crave sweets, salty stuff, and fried items when you’re feeling down, but clearly research shows us that a healthy diet high in whole foods is better for your mood.’ ‘A study that evaluated the association between fatty acid intake or the use of culinary fats and depression in a Mediterranean population found a detrimental link between trans fatty acid intake and risk for depression.’

Processed Foods
Sometimes we simply do not have the time to cook food from scratch and that is okay, but if we are constantly relying on processed goods, it is not only bad for physical health, but also for our mental state. High sodium levels, refined sugars, chemical additives, preservatives and other additives can all be present in processed goods from canned goods to boxed meals. Many additives found in processed foods have been linked to health problems and mental health issues such as depression, and should be eaten in moderation.

Comfort foods can be a wonderful treat and it is not necessary to omit them from your diet. Instead avoid relying on them for your nutrition consumption and consume them in moderation every now and again like a favorite meal.


As Biking Becomes The New Lifestyle Trend Will It Stick Beyond Coronavirus?

For the past few years I have been saying that I want to bike to work. Just saying it, not actually doing anything about it. It’s not far, a couple of miles, pretty straight, except for a huge hill at the end. I’m not very good at buying things for myself, call it guilt, call it indecisiveness. Who knows the real reason. I can quite easily spend money when buying for other members of my family, I’ve always loved buying things for other people, but for some strange reason, it has taken a worldwide pandemic to push me to buy something I had wanted for years.

Working in a school meant that we did not close when most of the world did. If you believe the media hype, you will have heard of deserted playgrounds and empty classrooms. Whilst to some extent this was true, there were children that have continued to go to school every day since lock down began. For safety reasons, the staff were put on a rota system, meaning that we were not needed on site every day. This, coupled with the delightful weather, gave opportunity for a longtime idea to take fruition. Ridiculously it felt reckless and decisive as I ordered my bike online, much like the 1.3 million Brits who also bought a bike during lockdown. I wasn’t fussy, I didn’t want an expensive one. I didn’t want one with all the whistles and bells. I just needed a good bike that got me from A to B. I was determined.

It turns out, I wasn’t the only one with this idea. Can you actually believe there was a shortage of bikes as it became the one of the most in-demand items of the lockdown? Trying to buy a bike early lock down and to be fair even now, requires quick decision making and the right timing. I already knew that I would buy a new bike this time, I had decided that quite quickly. In doing so, it brought back many childhood memories as I realized I had never had a new bike. We had been a household of second hand goods. Not shamefully, that was just how we lived in a family of 6.

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After several unsuccessful attempts, I finally found one in stock that I could collect the following week. I don’t remember the last time I had felt so excited about a purchase. I mean, a new hoover or a new kettle are quite exciting, but this was different. This was for a thrilling new venture. I had a purpose and I was determined that I was going to make this happen.

The day of collection arrived. I got a lift to the shop but I had asked to be left to collect it so that I could ride it home. My bag was packed with my daughter’s old helmet and a bottle of water and I stood in a very hot and long outside line (2 metres apart of course) for nearly an hour awaiting collection. It did not disappoint, 3 months on and I am still biking to and from work every day. We have been extremely lucky with the weather but it got me thinking about my commitment to this new mode of transport and whether I would be a fair weather rider. This in turn made me wonder what other changes people might have made during lock down and if they intended to stick to them as we ease out of it.

I bumped into a friend of mine earlier in the week and my chin almost hit the floor, she had started Slimming World at the beginning of lock down, she looked like a completely different person. Two and a half stone lighter, I was so impressed. It was a very inspiring moment, although I also felt extremely guilty for the amount of rubbish food and alcohol I had consumed during the majority of my time at home! I think I was also a bit jealous because I felt like she’d used her lock down time more wisely than me. Many others have been following her path and shedding the pounds during lockdown, and I wonder how many of us are having the same feelings over other peoples experiences?

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More recently I’ve heard friends and colleagues talking about how they are going to say no to more. No to going out if they actually don’t want to go but feel they should. Being in lock down has made them realise they were going out because everyone else wanted them too, not necessarily because they wanted to. In comparison, many have commented on the fact they hadn’t realised how antisocial they actually were until not much changed for them during their time at home. How missing friends and family has made them want to make more of an effort once the chance arose.

There is a lot to be said for the realization and fulfillment of these new plans or projects and I am sure we are not alone in even the smallest of changes we have made. The question now is, will these ideas and new ways of living stick with us? Will the return of a faster pace of life see us once again losing sight of the important parts that make us who we are? I hope not.

For now I shall leave you with this thought. Wow, an incline. Let’s just say that there are roads that I had never realized had even the slightest incline. Roads I have walked so many times and not appreciated their straightness or their bumpiness. Buy a bike and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m a biker now you see, I don’t have all the gear yet but I think as the weather turns there will definitely be some guilt free purchases of a raincoat and goggles.

Oh and before lock down, I didn’t write either. I always wanted to, since my University days. Just life hadn’t taken me in that direction. It has now…and I kinda like it.

Arizona Coronavirus

Arizona Among States Shutting Down Again After Massive Spikes In Covid-19 Cases

The coronavirus pandemic is still very much a major health crisis for the entire world. Worldwide, over 500,000 individuals have died, and over 10.3 million have contracted the virus. The unpredictability of Covid-19, along with a complete disregard for safety measures enforced by healthcare professionals as opposed to government bodies and law enforcement, has led to America in particular seeing a massive surge in cases when compared to the rest of the world. 

Arizona, to be more specific, was one of the many states to prematurely reopen while the rest of the world continued to remain indoors to curve the spread. Now, the state is dealing out major rollbacks on all of the re-openings, as the state has seen one of the most “brutal” increases in Covid-19 cases within the past 30 days of being opened again. 

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Before the end of this month, Arizona had reopened its bars, gyms, and businesses. Now, Governor Doug Ducey is claiming all of those establishments, along with any others that reopened, will be closing yet again. Events with more than 50 individuals have already been prohibited, however, many are wondering if that’s enough considering the fact that the state saw an increase from 46,000+ cases to 75,000+ cases in a matter of 10 days. 

“Our expectation is that next week, our numbers will be worse. It will take several weeks for the mitigations we are putting in place to take effect,” Ducey said.

The largest increase in case numbers is among individuals who are anywhere from 20 to 40-years old; that demographic makes up about 22% of all hospitalizations for the state. However, Arizona is not alone in this, in fact, sixteen other states that have also prematurely reopened all major businesses, bars, restaurants, etc. have pulled back and begun closing down again due to Covid case numbers rising.

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Bars in Texas and California that never even fully closed down are now officially shutting down business while South Florida recently got an order to begin closing down its beaches. This upcoming fourth of July weekend has many healthcare officials essentially begging their government officials to close everything down to avoid mass gatherings of celebration. 

Arizona is already enforcing that for this weekend in particular groups of 10 or less are allowed to gather if they remain outside and socially distanced. The major drawback, however, is that even with these rules enforced, many still ignore them, and local officials aren’t enforcing them seriously enough for individuals to actually worry about getting reprimanded. 

Arizona schools in particular have also pushed back all dates to start the school year until at least August 17th; that date is also subject to change. The governor said that is a facility that’s been affected by Covid-19 wants to reopen, individuals running said facilities must enforce public health regulations and post it largely for the public to see. The governor’s goal is to open up again in 30 days, however, as we know this virus takes 2-3 weeks to appear sometimes, so who’s to say what the world will look like in a month, let alone a state that already reopened and closed again once.

Pandemic Anxiety

Coping With Anxiety When Leaving The Home

Much of the global population has been forced into lockdown due to the rapid escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst many countries are looking to ‘re-open’ and ease lockdown procedures, areas such as the UK and the USA are still facing a high number of coronavirus cases, as the virus is still in general circulation. Caution is still advised, as facemasks are advised or mandatory, social distancing is still in effect and some businesses are still working remotely. Although we have more freedom to leave the house, many are feeling a sense of growing nervousness when it comes to leaving the house.

The notion of being safe has been largely associated with staying inside during the course of the pandemic, so it is natural to feel a sense of trepidation when it comes to ‘re-entering’ the outside world. It is important to still follow health guidelines and be vigilant in preventative measures such as washing hands and staying at a two-metre distance.

It is not abnormal to feel anxiety in this regard, in fact it is quite rational, in the UK, Huffington Post reported that ‘Psychotherapist Mike Ward, who runs the London and Hampshire Anxiety Clinic, estimates that 25 to 30% of his clients are expressing concerns about leaving their homes to go back to work or outside to the shops, after becoming used to the level of social distancing we’ve been following since Boris Johnson introduced the national lockdown two months ago.’

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A study from IPSOS market research company and the Washington Post, found that a large proportion of Americans also feared returning to work, US News reported that ‘Nearly 1 in 3 Americans leave their homes to go to work at least once a week, and the percentage of those who fear getting the coronavirus overall is 69%, with 14% saying they are extremely concerned and 18% saying they are very concerned.’ Dominant fears were bringing the virus back into their homes and to their family members.

As restrictions are lifting, some may still only be going to the shops for essential supplies, others may be considering seeing family, whilst some may have to go back to work. Whether or not you have a diagnosed anxiety disorder that is worsened, or if you are experiencing anxiety for the first time, many people are having very real concerns and fears about leaving the house. Be kind to yourself, it is acceptable and normal to have those fears, however try to not let them overwhelm your life.

Speaking to the Huffington Post, Lucy Fuller, a UKCP-accredited psychotherapist, suggested taking time outside in small steps. ‘It’s almost like phobia therapy, you need to do a little bit at a time, think about when is the best time to go out, how long for (just go for a short period), and go somewhere you think won’t be busy” she suggests. “Maybe go for a walk around the block at 6.30pm when it’s not busy, then keep at it. Try to go again the next day – you might not feel like it, but keep doing it. Then make it a little bit more, so walk past the supermarket. Then next time, go and stand in the queue or go inside.”

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If you do have to attend work, many workplaces are putting COVID precautions in place. Ask your employer about these protocols and take your own precautions to make yourself feel safer. Washing your hands when you leave the workplace and as soon as you get into your house, wearing a facemask, preparing your own food and so forth.

Limit your anxiety by limiting the amount of news you take in per day. Constantly checking updates and infection rates will exacerbate your fears. When you are at home, focus on the little joys in your life, take time to relax and address your anxieties with methods that work for you. Perhaps by practicing Yoga, meditating or visiting mental health organisations to learn how to better understand and cope with your mental health.

It is also important to raise these issues with your health professionals if you feel it is appropriate. They may be able to look into appropriate therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, that would be of benefit during this time.

Returning to life as it was before will be a challenge for many people in the aftermath of the pandemic. You may not feel comfortable participating in all of the activities you engaged in before the crisis, this is quite normal. Take things at your own pace and be sure to look after your mental wellbeing in the meantime.

Man Cave

Man Caves and She Sheds Become The New Way To Socialize at Home During Lockdown

Nearly 3 months into lock down and we are beginning to see shops and schools adjusting to the new normal, following strict guidelines and opening to more customers and pupils. However, with the continued closure of the hospitality sector, including pubs, bars and restaurants, what has become the hottest new way of socializing at home? Understandably there is a clear struggle to balance safe re-openings against the cost of profit but with many of us missing the social aspects of fine dining and packed pubs, how have we adjusted at home and taken matters into our own hands.

The concept of the Man Cave is not a new one, for years, men have desired to create a space outside of the home for ‘man things’. Gaming areas, dart boards, a pool table, workout areas and so forth. But they are not alone. Whilst we continue to move into a more balanced society, women too have been inspired to create their ideal ‘She Sheds’. Fast forward to 2020 and a worldwide pandemic and the idea of having another space outside of the confines of your house becomes even more appealing. A place where you can feel like you are drinking ‘out’ and leave at the end of night provides a perfect escapism within your own land.

Whilst the cost of creating the perfect area can differ significantly, the end goal is still the same. Some prefer to source as many free materials as possible, using pallets to produce a rustic finished bar, or off cuts from finished jobs that allow for a home bar on a budget. Following You Tube tutorials and discovering a hidden talent through lock down. Others may get carried away in their design and lavishly decide to install real pumps in their brick built outbuilding, employing tradesmen to help create the flawless sports bar feel.

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The design of these areas comes in many different forms but one thing they all have in common is the ability to provide a social, communal area. The home bar has become this summer’s hottest new feature in gardens across Great Britain and perhaps even the rest of the world. Social media allows for this hot new trend to become a competition as we post our before and after pictures for our followers to eye up with envy. The promise of invites and parties as soon as possible filling up our inbox.

Since the announcement that from Monday 1st June people across England can meet with up to six people in outdoor spaces or in private gardens, those of us that have spent the last few months working hard and detailing the beloved Home Bars, Man Caves and She Sheds, now have the perfect opportunity to open their doors to friends and family and reap the benefits of this dedication.

Whether your ideal bar has optics on the wall, a Gin palace or a cozy seating area, this new way of socializing at home has not gone unnoticed in the consumer world. Online stores such as Ebay, Amazon and Etsy are offering numerous personalized merchandise to fill your bars with. beer mats, signs, bar cloths and wall mounted bottle openers to name but a few. All offering finishing touches at reasonable prices.

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Embracing this new way of living has also seen an increase in sales for other luxury items such as hot tubs and ready built swimming pools as we get ready to holiday at home this summer. With the increase in these popular features potentially putting halt to jobs being completed in the house. Is the half completed bathroom waiting for a rainy day as we swap the indoor projects for the more appealing outdoor ones?

As stated by the BBC, in the government’s recovery strategy document, published on 11th May, the date was set for a possible reopening of parts of the hospitality industry, no earlier than July 4th. With this date just weeks away, it begs the question to how much confidence customers will have in returning. A divided opinion on safety against economic loss might see many choosing to stay home and utilize their newly designed social areas. On the contrary, others may be desperate to get back to their favorite haunts. The future remains uncertain and the concerns over a potential second wave are very real. Thankfully for many, their attention they have given to getting those home improvement projects completed during lockdown has meant that the home is now a place where they are happy to spend time relaxing, socializing and enjoying the good weather. So for now, let’s raise a glass to all the hard working men and women out there as we steadily ease ourselves out of lock down together.

American Police

Seattle Police Want To Return To Vacated Precinct Located In ‘Autonomous Zone’

Seattle’s Mayor, Jenny Durkan, has addressed the group of protesters who have an established autonomous zone in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood this week, and told them all that “it’s time for people to go home.” While the mayor ensured that no one would be removed by force, she would be meeting with Black-led community organizations as a means of persuading them to leave the area while they continue out their peaceful protests. 

Police were initially pulled out of the Seattle Police Department precinct located in the neighborhood as tensions rose amid the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police. This past weekend, however, three separate shootings occurred at night in the same area as the autonomous zone, motivating officials to get all protesters out at least during the nighttime hours of the day.

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“We can still accommodate people who want to protest peacefully. But the impacts on the businesses and residents in the community are now too much,” Durkan said

The East Precinct was boarded up and abandoned by officers after protesters set up an autonomous zone directly outside of the building. Police Chief Carmen Best said that the decision to leave the precinct was not her idea and expressed her anger to citizens when the decision was made. Mayor Durkan, on the other end of it, told media outlets that she thought the autonomous zone could be “seen as the Summer of Love.” 

However, while the message behind the zone is strong and powerful, Durkan still believes she needs to get her officers back in the building, and claims it’s literally a matter of “life or death.” There’s been over 100,000 emergency calls since the creation of the zone that could’ve been more easily responded to if first responders didn’t have to work though a “hostile crowd,” according to officials.

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Protesters view the hostility as coming more so from the side of authority, as Durkan herself even pointed out, the victims of the three shootings that occurred near the autonomous zone were all black men; one of which was just 19-years-old, who unfortunately ended up passing away from his injuries. 

“It is not unnoticed that the victims were Black men, there have also been reports of rape, arson and property destruction. We cannot walk away from the truth of what is happening here. This is about life or death,” Mayor Durkan said.

Chief Best has since denied claims that her department was not responding to calls in the zone purposefully, and emphasized to the public that Seattle itself is “not under siege” and officers are “responding to every call in every area of the city.” This specific statement, however, came out directly after Seattle Police officers received a department wide email that instructed them not to respond to calls for service within the autonomous zone unless they were responding to a “mass casualty event such as an active shooter or fire.” 

Seattle Police spokesman Detective Patrick Michaud confirmed to media outlets that the email was in fact authentic but officers were still responding to any significant safety issues within the neighborhood. Other minor calls from within the zone are responded to by requesting the caller to meet first responders outside of the area.