27 March 2020

MAINTAINING JOY THROUGH CHALLENGING TIMES


^^ Don't underestimate the power of being still outside and looking at the stars ^^

Given the recent state of the world, I created a couple of Instagram posts to ask people what they are turning to for happiness and calm right now. I wanted to share with you some of their thoughts and my own too. I am actually quite surprised at how my brain has adjusted to all of this nonsense; I think I have spent a long time trying to train myself to take each day as it comes and it is finally paying off!



I don’t know if anyone else is experiencing this feeling, but I have these moments of total serenity and calm; usually it happens when the sun is shining and I’m sat at the kitchen table with the doors flung open (which I am doing as I type this post as it happens!). The birds are singing and there are no other sounds other than distant tractors ploughing away or just a rustle in the bushes where the wrens are scampering about.

I have always been acutely aware of life’s little moments in a world that is quite insane most of the time, hence my years worth of Weekly Gratitude posts on the blog, but recent events have increased my sensitivity, gratitude and calmness in many ways. I’ve been thinking about why this has happened and I think it is because we are forced to live in this exact moment. We are not living by when we have to be somewhere by, or who we might need to see by a certain time that day and instead we are within a bubble that we have to keep cosy and secure for ourselves and our loved ones.

Isn’t it strange how less freedom can cause such huge calm and reflection? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think less freedom is good at all, it may be necessary right now, but as a fiercely independent person, I can’t wait for 'normal' freedom to return. All I’m saying is that we have to create new freedom within our four walls, make negatives into positives and keep smiling through it, because no amount of moaning will change things. I have discovered a much more optimistic part of my personality then I thought I would have at this kind of time. I guess it just shows that we never know how we will act in times like this!



Here are some negative things that I have tried to turn into positives for my own sanity!

:: My usual early morning training sessions at the gym have been replaced with more time on my spin bike and structured circuit training in the garage (with the lightest dumbbells in the world... and a paint tin!). My gym time is something I value more than I can say; it keeps me sane, stablises my mental health, keeps me social and is a wonderfully healthy routine that I hate missing. I had to find some positives from not having that in my life right now, and this is what I have discovered...

I can have a lie in (no more 5.30am alarms until this is over) and that means I am far less dozy at 2pm, which is my usual slump! I am also being forced to totally switch up my training style from lifting heavy, to lifting lighter but with a higher intensity through body weight exercises, plyometrics and HIIT circuits (High Intensity Interval Training). I’m enjoying training at around 4pm these days, starting off on my spin bike in the house, and then going out to the garage to do whatever I’ve planned for that day. I then come in, shower and cook dinner. I’ve built a nice routine and I’m enjoying the change.

:: I have been pumping up some awesome tunes when I’m feeling a bit...meh! I LOVE Heart Radios app so much as it has Heart 90’s (so good!) and, one that I have recently discovered and love the variety of music on there, Heart Dance! That station has a huge mixture of decades and is super uplifting; I’ve started Bluetooth-ing it whilst I’m training and it is the best!

:: I’ve had far more time to read or, at the very least, listen to audio-books. I just finished listening to Julie Caplin’s 'The Little Cafe in Copenhagen', which I really enjoyed! I never allow myself time to listen to fiction, which I’ve realised is insane. I’ve gained so much happiness and joy from listening to a book through my headphones during my lower moods or times in the day when I am doing something mundane, like cleaning. I have now built a ‘must read’ list on my audio-books app and will definitely be downloading more.

Okay, into other people’s thoughts and things keeping them sane right now! 

It’s been so nice catching up with people through this. My bestie, Helena, and I somehow managed to chat away (mostly about chocolate) for well over an hour this week! It was amazing to giggle away and just chat about mindless stuff with her... need to make it a weekly event! I think that keeping in contact with people is a necessity through this.

Peta, another one of my besties, who has the blog Nourishing Soulfully, recently asked on her Instagram stories what everyone’s favourite feel good movies, songs, books etc are and she complied an amazing list of these. There are some amazing suggestions and forgotten favourites on there... check it out. Make sure you have a look at Peta's gorgeous blog and definitely give her a follow on Instagram if you don't already - thank you so much for letting me share this Peta!



Peta and I have been exchanging voice messages during the day to help keep each other smiling, as well as memes (mostly cats of course) and general moans and groans in a humorous way! Peta commented on my Instagram post that she is also enjoying spending time on the garden, cat cuddles and cups of tea... same here to be honest! I washed down the patio furniture as a priority, and have been sitting outside and getting some vitamin D all of this week!

Another comment on my Instagram post about voice messages was from the lovely Gemma Sands, who also said how important contact with friends is to her during this time, along with opening the windows and listening to the bird song. I can’t agree more because fresh air and bird song makes me so incredibly content.

@evewray said on my post that flowers and spring being here makes her happy, along with wild birds, cats (yay!), phone calls and eating treats. Don’t get me started on the treats! We had nothing in the house at all and, when I managed to go shopping I bought a chocolate cake, which I have been thoroughly enjoying!

@the_hunnee_bee said that walking her dog and seeing him scamper and bounce about, chasing sticks without a care in the world makes her so happy hearted. I agree completely; seeing kids and animals totally oblivious to all this makes your heart so full doesn’t it? They are just carrying on living their lives and we should take a leaf out of their books as much as we can!

@forestofsilver said that seeing communities come together and support one another is keeping her going. The 8pm NHS celebration that happened last night is such a beautiful example of that isn’t it. 


^^ Fancy keeping busy/giving something to your kiddos to keep them busy? Read below to get these colouring pages for FREE! ^^

I think it will be important to see how we all react on the other side of this strangeness and I truly hope we will make some serious adjustments to what comes first, what we are the most grateful for and what we take for granted. I am positive that good will come out of this, I really feel it will.

Let me know in the comments what you are doing to keep yourself entertained and grateful in these times.

PS: I created some free cat colouring pages for you and your kiddos to enjoy, so if you are already on my Leaf Lane Studio newsletter list, I have already emailed them to you (check your junk box if you haven’t seen them yet). If you aren’t on the existing list and want to colouring sheets, they are totally free, all you need to do is print them, just click right here, sign up and you will get an email with the download straight to your inbox! Please share your creations on Instagram and tag me in @leaflanestudio as I LOVE seeing what you create!
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