This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
Well hello, how are you doing? Goodness it seems a long time since I caught up with everyone in the Annabel & Grace community! Where have the last four months gone? We’ve had so many changes during lockdown and so many emotions to deal with. We’ve seen the most extreme acts of kindness, community spirit, family unions, ‘bubbles’ and bereavements. Both ends of the emotional spectrum have been experienced, by us all.
Coping with these ever changing emotions and uncertainty in the environment around us really can take its toll on our mental health and relationships. Adapting to change can be stressful, but change is an inevitable and necessary part of life now.
I always recommend getting outdoors and keeping connected to others – both are key coping strategies in helping us adapt to change.
There are really practical steps you can take now towards getting outdoors. I for one have joined the National Trust and intend to travel around and visit as many outdoor gardens of the most stunning homes in Britain. Being outside, the risk of being infected by coronavirus or any other bugs and diseases is much lower and just taking in stunning floral displays and scenic countryside is invigorating.
There are many outdoor societies you can enrol in. Another I’ve invested in is the Woodland Trust, where your annual fee goes towards planting many more trees in our woodlands and forests. Creating new woodland is at the heart of what they do. They mobilise communities, landowners and volunteers to get trees in the ground, and aim to plant a tree for every person in the UK. They also hold open days and courses about nature and the countryside.
Or how about the Ramblers Association or the Ramblers as they are now called. Whether you’re new to walking or have always loved exploring on foot, you can explore their routes on your own, with family and friends or in a group. Ramblers has now mapped 100% of England and Wales in the search for lost paths and they have a mobile app you can use. Check their website for more information.
Keeping connected is vital. Not everyone is able to run off into the countryside, so being online and having like-minded interests and friends to connect with is important. Annabel & Grace dropping into our inboxes is a great source of fun, information and interest.
I’m back playing tennis and making time for that is a priority. During lockdown I had many hours to think about what really made me happy and time spent on the tennis court is certainly something that gives me great joy. If you’d like to begin playing, check out the LTA website.
An alternative to tennis, how about croquet? You can find your nearest club by visiting the Croquet Association website. Whatever it is that you enjoy, make sure you make time for it going forward.
Time spent in joyful fulfilling pursuits really can help us build up positivity and resilience for when times aren’t so good.
I won’t be joining my usual leisure club for a while. Like many other people I’m not comfortable about sharing a sauna or jacuzzi with anyone at the moment – or for the foreseeable future for that matter.
So from now on, I intend to spend as much time as possible outdoors – even when the weather becomes cooler and the inevitable rain comes. I’m just going to wrap up warm, put my wellington boots on, grab an umbrella and go for a good long walk in the fresh air.
So, I hope I may have, in some small way, motivated you to get outdoors in the fresh air and moving and mobile once again.