How we are surviving the COVID-19 isolation...

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

In the beginning, if I’m going to be completely honest, I was so blasé with the whole COVID-19 situation. Surely protecting the global economy was the number 1 priority here?! If that wasn’t the case then the affect on people’s lives around the globe would be devastating... yet here we are, 4 weeks later on some kind of lock down. Blimey!

David had been told to work from home about a week before lock down and we are incredibly lucky that both of our jobs can easily be done remotely but that didn’t stop a panicky realisation that we were going to have to be self isolating (potentially long term) from smacking us in the face on 23rd March 2020! The main issue was the apartment we were living in. Don’t get me wrong the apartment is very cute and cozy and has allowed us to save some pennies over the last year but there is not enough space for two people to work from home. This is where we had a problem. Now again, we do not want to come across as ungrateful brats, we are fully aware that our position is a million times better than a million others but that doesn’t stop your mental health from instantly deteriorating! Mental health does not discriminate and we knew that staying there would have a huge negative impact on our minds. David was in a particularly bad place, dredging up old pangs of terror, panic and a feeling of being completely out of control. I knew we had to do something so I instantly booked an AirBnB (using some of our travel savings) about 10 minutes down the road and well, here we are 4 weeks later and was one of the best decisions we have ever made!

We are due to leave the UK on 26th May to fly to Lisbon, to Barcelona on June 1st and have a flight booked to Thailand on 2nd July. As it stands we have no idea when we will be outta here but again just have to be grateful for the position we are in!

So... how have a couple of anxious lunatics been getting through the last 4 weeks? Let’s go through the things that are keeping us sane...

1. Exercise

Let me start by saying this, I never want to exercise! I would much rather sit on my ass and eat. No matter how many times I do it and feel AMAZING afterwards I still never have the motivation to get started. I have to push myself and just try and make it part of my day. If I do it I know I’ll be so pleased with myself afterwards so get that kit on and get moving!!

Running: I (Hayley) started running about 6 years ago, initially managing around 2km which at the time, killed me!! Managed my first 10k about 4 years ago and since then have gone from struggling to complete 3km to completing half marathons and back again. Running, for most, is fucking hard but my god do you feel amazing afterwards. Get your kit on and go jogging - you run for 10 minutes - there you go, you’re a runner! Build yourself up and I promise you it’s the best thing for your mind. Also it’s a great idea to listen to a book or a podcast but only when running so that you want to run to be able to listen to it ♥️

David on the other hand just has this willpower and mindset where he can achieve anything and will push himself. Running is vitally important for his mental health and also transformed him from chunk to hunk a number of years ago!

Yoga/Stretching: When I’m into it I love yoga, I’ve never been a great yogi mind you or been dedicated at practising, the most I’ve done was about 10 sessions at hot yoga in Hove but it’s something I’d love to get more into. David has always been reluctant but in lockdown he has decided he wants to give it a go. Currently considering doing a 30 day challenge on YouTube but still searching for our motivation! We are, on most days however, doing a little movement/stretch routine every morning. Give it a go... only needs to be 10 minutes and you’re done! Just look up some online videos

Circuits: We are lucky to have a 10kg bag, kettle bell, skipping rope, bands and a 2kg medicine ball at home (that has not seen the light of day for years) but you really can make circuits without any actual gym equipment. I downloaded a free app called Tabata Timer which is excellent for timing everything for you and away you go. Make up a little circuit that could involve equipment or can be sit ups, press ups, lunges, squats, jumping jacks, mountain climbers etc. And do a few rounds of each. Hard work but they are short and sharp bursts and I guarantee you’ll be so pleased with yourself afterwards!

Walking: We are so lucky to be able to either walk to the local high street to pick up food or we pop our for a walk at sunset, sunsets are amazing this time of year. Pop out when you can and fill your lungs with fresh air.

2. Netflix and Chill

Our consumption of TV hasn’t increased at all since lock down which is great but I think a lot of that is down to us now having the luxury of some outdoor space and the weather being nice for the last few weekends and during the week we are glued to our laptops working. We do however watch TV every evening and have been binge watching Money Heist. If you can get over the dubbing, wow - what a show. Four whole seasons of epic-ness!! We also loved The Nest, Ozark, Tiger King, End of the Fucking World and I Am Not OK With This - check them out! Also massive fans of Eastenders #guiltypleasures

3. Reading

When on holiday I absolutely LOVE reading and will often smash though a book in 8 hours. I thought I’d be reading a lot more on lock down but we have barely read at all. We have both started a book so a little here and there is more than we are used to at home. I love how quick the time goes when you are engrossed in a good book. I’m currently reading Eleven Minutes and David is reading A Million Little Pieces. We both have a Kindle (click for a 30 day unlimited trial) but also use Audible (click for free trial) a lot which is fab for more challenging reads. We would highly recommend Sapiens if you have the time. Absolute game changer!

4. Podcasts

Now, it’s gonna sound extreme but podcasts kinda changed our lives! No longer do we allow ourselves to consume manipulative news stories by the media, we can learn our own shit and live in our own beautiful echo chamber when we want to. There is a story highlight on our Instagram account which runs through our absolute favourites but big fans of Luminary which you pay a monthly subscription for a number of amazing podcasts. So good to listen to together and always gives us a plethora of subjects to debate and discuss. Also as I said before, podcasts are great to listen to when running and my absolute favourite is Crime Junkies and anything Tiger King, obsessed!!

5. Cooking

Having time to cook is AMAZING, especially with all the wonderful fresh veggies from local farms that we currently have access to! I’m very lucky in the fact that David LOVES to cook and even luckier that he is very good at it!

Over the last year we have a) commuted a lot for work which meant a lack of time to shop and cook b) the kitchen in our last place was too small and c) there is so much to offer on Deliveroo or to eat out in B&H that we chose to do that almost daily, especially when we had to fit in some exercise too! This lock down has re-invigorated our love of cooking beautiful, nutritious (sometimes) and delicious plant based meals. We are doing intermittent fasting so only eating between around 1pm-7ish, making two meals a day and often having a snack (usually a dirty croissant or something similar) with a hot drink at around 3pm. Food has become a very welcome ritual in lock down!

Also if you haven’t baked banana bread are you even in isolation?! I also whacked some dark chocolate, peanut butter eggs from Montezuma in mine and it was slammin'

Check out our Instagram page for photos, videos and recipes 😊

6. Cleaning

I have a confession... I’m embarrassed to say we usually have a cleaner! Both having busy jobs and not wanting to spend our minimal free time cleaning we’ve had a bi-weekly cleaner for about the last 5 years. However, in lock down we don’t have that luxury but have actually loved keeping the place clean and tidy. We are doing a weekly deep clean on a Friday where we split the chores and make the place nice for the weekend. I’ve also been washing up a million times a day and making the bed every morning. This keeps us in a routine and ensures we don’t end up living in a pig sty. So easy to get into a funk at these times! Making your surroundings clean and comfortable make so much difference so even if you can’t be arsed it’s worth the hassle, promise 😊

7. Planning

As I mentioned above we are due to leave our careers and travel for a few years, starting on May 26th. We are now in complete limbo and have no idea when we will be able to leave but I love using this time to get super organised. Looking through travellers story highlights and blogs and saving bookmarks of all the wonderful places, restaurants, sites, hotels, beaches Etc. we want to visit. I’ve also made a budget spreadsheet for while we are away and a weather matrix for Asia (this is available to download under Travel Tips). Now is a great time to start dreaming big and putting some plans in place for when everything returns to normal. Also a great time to start organising your finances and maybe look to start a savings plan for the future. I've developed a finance planner which i'm sharing with whoever wants it and i'll upload it to this site ASAP

8. Meditation

Really need to take my own advice here... meditation is so good for us and I’m sure it would be for you too! It’s super hard for some to get into, to set aside 10-15 minutes a day and the boredom of doing ‘nothing’ but I promise it’s a worthy habit to form. We use Calm which is great for super easy daily meditations and only £35.99 for a year subscription - that’s works out to be just 9 pence a day. Last year we managed a hot streak of about 3 months daily, every night at bed time and it bought so many benefits! I was sleeping better, felt more calm and confident, less panicky, less stressed and had a far clearer head. I also meditate laying down as my head tremor goes into overdrive when I’m sitting still! Really need to get back into it, actually I’m gonna go meditate now...

9. Sleeping

Not sure about anyone else but I am loving my sleep in this lock down! We rarely go to bed past 11pm and I’m rarely getting up before 8.30am. Let your body and mind rest and get into the natural rhythm of sleep. Not being brutally woken up by the alarm is a dream!

10. Learning a language

OK so for about to last 20 years I’ve wanted to learn Spanish and always had it as my New Years resolution but never stuck to it. This time I’m learning around 3 useful words a day (using a free Spanish app that I downloaded - Picture below), write them down (this is key for me) and remember them all daily. It’s worked for me so far. Don’t take on too much, even a few words and phrases you’ll be pleased as punch that you know next time you find yourself in that country!

11. Breathe

I admit it, I am a terrible breather! I don’t breathe deeply enough and I’m terrible at breathing whilst talking which really affects my confidence when public speaking. Taking some time to breathe deeply during the day really makes a difference. Download iBreathe, it’s a free and very simple app which reminds you to breathe and guides you through four different breathing techniques.

12. Coffee or tea morning ritual

Take time in the morning or whenever you can during the day to mindfully make yourself a nice cup of tea, coffee, hot chocolate or matcha latte (which I've recently discovered and LOVE as the buzz is a lot less intense than coffee!) and take some quiet time to drink it. No phones, no distractions, just you and your hot drink.

13. Get rid of all your shit!!

OK so we have HAD to do this as we are packing everything up into two backpacks as soon as we can get outta here but OMG it’s been such a therapeutic experience! Having too many options of what to wear or owning too much shit is draining (first world problems I know). Over the years we have been obsessed with buying stuff to justify how hard we work, stuff we don’t need, 8 colours of the same t-shirt or 10 of the same style earrings. We have come to learn that actually giving stuff away and living more minimally is way more pleasurable.

Go through your wardrobe and see what you can sell or give to charity. Have a good old clean out and get rid of a load of shit, I promise you it feels amazing!

14. Keep a Journal

This is something I don’t do but have aspirations to start. I think when we go travelling I’m more likely to keep a journal. David however has one that I bought him called MindJournal and cannot recommend it enough for keeping connected to your emotions, self-care and well being. These kind of journals are not just blank pages, they are full of exercises and prompting questions to encourage you to write down and understand your emotions. Can not recommend enough!

15. Talk!

Make sure you are communicating with whoever you are in isolation with. Ensure you talk about your happiness, your stresses, your anxiety, your positivity, your negativity, your fears, your dreams - talk, talk, talk it out!

It’s also never been easier to communicate with technology. Zoom, WhatsApp, FaceTime, House Party Etc. are all so easy to use. Catch up with family and friends and join some fun online quizzes.

16. Do sweet FA!

There are days, quite a few of them that I’m too tired to jump out of bed, can’t be arsed to exercise, can’t be arsed to wash or get dressed and those days are fine too! If you wanna pop on a tracksuit or your PJ's and spend the day doing absolutely nothing then do just that. Today I have a cricked neck, period pains and I feel thoroughly miserable but that’s total normal and totally OK too!

So there you go, that’s how we are filling this unusual time... If you are in a privileged position where you are still getting paid or working from home then just enjoy! This is such a unique gift of time that we rarely get to experience.

We are here if anyone needs to talk, just drop us a message on Instagram! If you’re local we are always here to support anyone that needs it too whether it’s walking your pets or collecting your shopping. We are all in this together. Much love, sunshine and happiness ♥️♥️♥️

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