Staying sane: How the Serenity Digital Team is coping during lockdown
DATE: 9th April 2020
CATEGORY: company news
TAGS: employee engagement
AUTHOR: Peter Garrett
Since the Government announced the stringent measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 last month, living in lockdown and working from home has become the norm for many people. So now that you’ve been cooped up inside and social distancing for close to a month, how do you keep your spirits up?
Over the past few weeks, Team Serenity has been adjusting to effective remote working whilst still trying to keep some of the fun! Here’s our team’s top tips for those struggling to hold onto their sanity!
Whether it’s baking or cooking, this is your chance to try out that new recipe you’ve always wanted to!
Pete: With absolutely no socialising, I’m finding a little more time at the weekends to go crazy in the kitchen. Thankfully the initial panic buying seems to be over so most ingredients are still available, but I’ve been making flapjacks (great for work snacks), big batches of Falafel (which you can freeze) and homemade soup.
Stu: Despite the urge to eat all the snacks in the house, I try to eat as healthily as possible 80% of the time and have the odd treat now and then!
Dave: My partner’s a fantastic baker and she’s doing her best to fatten me up, so I’ve been enjoying some delicious baked goods from chocolate cookies to cheesecake! Yum!
Stick to a routine
In this current climate, it’s hard to keep track of time or even what day it is! This can often result in lost time and you’re left wondering where the day went! Keeping a strong routine in place is important.
Stu: I’ve been maintaining a routine whilst on lockdown. I still get up at 7am and exercise Monday to Friday, (weekends I train a little later in the morning) and I’m then ready to begin work at 8am. I’ll also go to bed at my normal time as sleep is so important for physical and mental health. Keeping my working space separate from my relaxing space is also important to maintain boundaries.
Niall: Having a solid routine is definitely helpful; as we’re still working, regular work hours add a good amount of “normality” into my day!
Vicky: Working with three young children around is by far the biggest challenge! I think it’s a good idea to balance work, childcare and home schooling so you’re giving each the attention it needs. I’ve tried various methods to fit my working hours in around the children’s needs and this week has been particularly successful as I’ve split my working day in half - doing half my hours in the morning, spending the middle part of the day with the children and the other half of my hours later afternoon/evening when my husband is able to take the childcare reigns.
While working from home it’s so easy to sit down at your make-shift desk all day and consume endless cups of tea and snacks! But it’s important to stand up, stretch your body and do some exercise. Sitting all day can have an awful impact on your muscles, joints and overall health, not to mention that being cooped up all day without moving results in a drop in productivity.
Pete: Without my daily commute I'm finding time for more exercise. Since the lockdown I've managed over 100 miles of running and walking. Strava is a great App you can download to track your progress and share with friends and colleagues. I’ve been missing the weekly running club with Stu, Charley, Vicky and Niall, so this has been a great way to show I’m still there in spirit!
Stu: As a Les Mills instructor I’m missing instructing my daily classes, but I still get up to exercise every day. People may struggle to exercise while on lockdown, but it doesn’t need to be complicated, do simple things you enjoy and you’ll be consistent with! I take walks as needed, I’ve not been out daily (#stayhome) but I do try to get out a few times a week.
Niall: I feel like leaving the house at least once a day is important, even if it’s just a walk to the end of our road as it gives you a bit of fresh air! However, I try to get a good walk often, we’re close to the beach which is a real blessing in terms of exercising.
Dave: I’m doing some home exercise through HIIT classes on YouTube, workouts we make up ourselves and going for regular runs. I definitely need to work off the aforementioned baked goods! I hope that when we return to normality, I can join the Serenity running club!
Vicky: Working out five times a week as I was before is keeping me feeling fit and healthy. I mix it up with online workouts, circuits in the garden, 5k runs and bike rides.
Charley: I’ve definitely been missing the motivation from the Serenity running club every week, but I’ve been going on walks in The New Forest as it’s right on my doorstep. Online exercise classes have been my main form of fitness, I’ll do a combination of HIIT workouts and strength classes using some old dumbbells I found lying around!
Get stuck into some DIY or gardening!
We all have those odd jobs around the house or garden that we’ve been putting off for months or even years! Now’s the perfect time to get them done...
Pete: There is so much to do around the house. Luckily I managed to get to the Garden Centre to get seeds and compost before the lock down really set in. I'm now tending to my veg patch and am looking forward to potatoes, onions, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce and broccoli - come on 12 weeks!
Dave: I’ve taken advantage of this time to catch up on little DIY projects that I haven’t had a chance to get round to before - we’ve just started painting the fence and decking!
Charley: I’ve discovered my green thumb by helping my partner with the gardening! We recently planted some sunflower seeds and they seem to be doing well already - very excited to see my flower children grow!
Document this strange time
These uncertain times aren’t like anything we’ve experienced before and we hope to never see them again, so perhaps documenting what’s going on in your life and in the wider world for future generations would be useful.
James: My mum’s been keeping a diary. These are crazy times and writing can be relaxing and will give something to look back on when normality returns. Try documenting the positive parts of your life right now and avoid getting obsessed with the news. Get the key headlines but continuous accounts of the virus and death tolls aren't good for anyone!
Pete: In the evenings on these clear nights, I've been taking my camera out to photograph the night sky. The results haven't been ideal yet, but the fresh, cool evening air makes you feel much better.
Stu: Take photos of the little things in your life that bring you joy, this will definitely be something positive to look back on!
Household quality time
Socialising with those nearest and dearest to you can help avoid any lockdown related meltdowns; ultimately loneliness and isolation isn’t good for your wellbeing
Stu: After work and on the weekends I’ve been spending some quality time with my wife. We’ve taken advantage of this fantastic weather and spent a few hours in the garden sunbathing, as well as chatting, listening to music and reading together.
Vicky: Our lovely garden has been great for not only entertaining the kids, but also for a bit of time out to enjoy the glorious weather we’ve been enjoying of late! It’s all about silver linings right now! Spending family time playing board games, doing jigsaws and joining the kids on the trampoline has made lockdown more fun!
Just because we’re on lockdown doesn’t mean you can’t interact with your friends and family outside of your household - you just have to get creative! There’s a whole host of virtual platforms that you can get together on from Skype to Google Hangouts and Facetime to Whatsapp.
Charley: I’ve been having weekly Skype calls with my friends, where we’ll catch up, have a few drinks and share any gossip from our lockdown lives. We’ve also been using Netflix Party to watch films or TV shows together - each week one of us picks something to watch, my favourite so far has been The Platform!
Stu: Staying in contact with my family and friends is really important to me and helps give a sense of normality. We’ve done a mix of video calls, games, texting and sharing top quality memes!
James: I’m definitely making the effort to keep in touch with my friends and family, particularly those who are more isolated. Supporting your loved ones who may be vulnerable is so important, so do as much as you can while still practising social distancing and staying safe!
Vicky: Lots of Facetime calls with friends and family helps us keep in touch and provides bags of entertainment!
Niall: It can be difficult to arrange video calls with a lot of people and it can be a little awkward, but it is always worth it, keeping in good contact with friends and family is vital!
Pick up a new hobby!
Now’s the time to take up a new hobby or revisit an old one! Hobbies can help keep you calm, give a purpose and are a productive use of your time. You never know, you might end up with a masterpiece at the end or new skills you can take with you once this is all over!
Charley: I’ve been helping my partner care for his houseplants; it’s been interesting learning how to care for his endless collection of plants, everything from propagation to warding off pesky insects! The plant care goes hand in hand with my next hobby - I’ve been making macrame plant hangers - they’re quite simple to make and look lovely!
Pete: I've picked up an old book - "Zen - The Art of Simple Living" by Shunmyo Masuno. It's a really simple read but gives 100 habits and perspectives which help alleviate anxiety, provide balance and perspective and "achieve inner peace". I hadn’t appreciated the positive effects of breathing correctly - on a Friday evening after work I took five minutes to sit and breathe deeply and correctly from my diaphragm - this releases serotonin and makes you feel happier and more relaxed.
Every day has been flipped upside down and there’s no one right way to live in lockdown, but we hope the tips we’ve shared go some way to help you stay positive amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. From our individual staff members to each of you, from our one team to another, we hope you, your family, friends and colleagues are well. Stay home and stay safe!
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