Life under lockdown #5

Mental awareness blog (3)

Team Stork exercising positive mental health

Last week (18-24 May 2020) was Mental Health Awareness Week – the team spent some time collating their thoughts and ideas on what’s been helping them to stay positive and release tension during this time. We loved sharing these amongst ourselves, so wanted to share them with our supporters too.

We understand all too well what a difficult time this is for many, not least of which has been reflected in the high level of requests we have been receiving due to COVID-19. Many who were previously coping, financially or otherwise, are finding the consequences of this pandemic and the added pressures it brings to be an extremely difficult and worrying time. We hope these suggestions give some relief for you during lockdown and beyond, like they have for us.

Local walks

We know walking around our beautiful local area and discovering new haunts has become one of the most popular past times for many since lockdown began. As Sonya so rightly says: “While walking I like to really take time to take in all the smells, sounds and sights, and absorb being in nature. I love that we live in a place where you can go from being in an urban environment to feeling like you’re in the middle of nowhere in just a few steps.”

Here’s our firm favourites.

  • Reigate Hill, an alternative route – from Underhill Park Road take the footpath up to the top of Reigate Hill, turn left at the bomb crater and walk along the ridgeline until you reach the ‘saddleback sticking out bit’. Take the footpath down which are like steps cut into the hill, pass the other bomb crater on your left, go over the stile, turn left onto the footpath through the woods which leads you back along Pilgrim’s Way.
  • Priory Park woods – exploring the area behind Priory Park, whilst the kids look out for the fairy doors at the foot of the trees. Another favourite route is a walk to Skimmington Castle Pub from the back of Priory Park.
  • Gatton Park“The bluebells have been amazing this year and it’s a great cycle route too, never one to get tired of!”  (Nancy)
  • Redhill Common – lots of interesting parts, with a tree swing in the forest and an awesome climbing tree at the bottom of the open green at the top of the common.

  • Earlswood Golf Course – a great open space and a lot quieter than Earlswood Lakes in the day. The kids riding their bikes over the humps is great fun.
  • Earlswood Lakes, an evening stroll – beat the crowds by walking at dusk and seeing the sunset, but look out for the bats!

  • Earlswood to Nutfield – you can pick up The Greensand Way across the fields from Earlswood to Nutfield (the Aerodrome). Starting from behind Royal Earlswood Park, walking through the fields, past the big oak tree along the way.
  • Cycle route 21 – good for a walk, shaded run or cycle. You can pick this from Earlswood, either heading north towards Watercolour in Merstham or south towards Horley. The southernly trail is particularly wide, so good for social distancing.
  • A recommended website is footpathmap.co.uk for finding new routes.
  • Another tip is to borrow a dog, which can be a great distraction for children: “We’ve been walking a neighbour’s dog, as she’s being doing crazy shifts as a careworker. All the benefits without the commitment!” (Susy)

Online exercise classes

Keeping active is so important during these times, it keeps the blood pumping and the endorphins flowing. Have a go at one of these tried and tested classes from the comfort of your own home, which makes them so easy to fit around the kids.

  • Yoga with Adriene“At the moment she’s probably the person I see most often after my husband and the kids!” (Nicola)
  • A relaxing alternative to Adriene’s usual active classes is this one.
  • Nancy’s also been doing the 15 minute Sunrise Yoga with Adriene every morning as a great start to the day.
  • Online classes with local fitness trainer Sonja Ferguson.
  • This Girl Can workouts (with the kids).
  • Oti Mabuse classes are also fun to do with the kids.

Food & drink

For some guilt free tasty sensations:

  • A BBQ favourite in Donna’s house is Ainsley Harriot’s quesadillas which are veggie and good to eat the next day too. “One of the nice things about lockdown has been that we’re all eating together as a family more, and we’ve been BBQ-ing at weekends in the gorgeous weather.” (Donna)
  • Non-alcoholic gin – when it’s midweek and you’re trying to cut down on your alcohol consumption, switch to an alcohol-free alternative, such as Ceder’s Classic. You can buy it from major supermarkets and it’s so refreshing combined with garnish and a lovely Fever Tree tonic – you’ll hardly know the difference!

But everyone needs a treat, especially right now:

  • Charlotte’s most favourite chocolate cake recipe by Nigella.
  • Sophie’s boys love making these delicious Ben’s Cookies.
  • An amazing rocky road recipe which Donna enjoys making with her girls.
  • A DIY kit recommendation from Nicola: “Not really a recipe as such, but I ordered a Doughnut Time Kit for us and one to be sent to my Brother (it’s his birthday and their doughnuts are his favourite). We had such fun making them and the results were amazing”.

Stripey’s good read recommendations

TV favourites

  • Big Little Lies – the TV series.
  • Building the Dream on Channel 4. We’d expect nothing less from our Nancy who has a great eye for interior design and project management!
  • Some of the team have also been revisiting Spooks, The West Wing and Only Fools And Horses. Do you have any recommendations worth a re-watch? We’d love to hear them.

Stripey’s playlist

We’ve compiled our favourite tunes into a Team Stork spotify playlist. So kick back and chill out to these beautiful sounds.

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This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week particularly caught out attention, as the theme was changed at the last minute to ‘kindness’ in light of the current crisis. The idea being to celebrate acts of kindness which, being a part of, is so important to our mental health. It’s also about starting a discussion on the kind of society we want to shape as we emerge from this time.

One act of kindness which our team experienced last week was when it was suggested we each write a handwritten card to send to another team member. With people currently spending 40% more time online, receiving a personalised letter in the post was a welcomed surprise and a confidence boost for us all. A small act of kindness can mean so much!

We are privileged to see so many acts of kindness in the nature of the work we do at Stripey Stork. If you would like to share in this positivity and be involved in Stripey Stork once we are able to welcome volunteers again, please drop Charlotte an email on volunteer@stripeystork.org.uk. We are going to be particularly busy, so your help will be needed and you’ll be doing something positive for your community and your own well-being.

Many thanks to the team – Charlotte, Donna, Lydia, Nancy, Nicola, Sophie, Sonya and Susy for contributing your ideas to this blog. We have no doubt that one positive thing to come out of this crisis will be an appreciation of the more simpler things in life, spending more time with each other and the area which we live.

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