Father of one cheeky little munchkin, Stephen reveals how he’s been avoiding the lockdown lows during his time on furlough. Working as an assay development scientist, his typical days working on developing food intolerant assays has been swapped with garden renovations and online gaming. He’s kindly shared this guest blog to help other parents under changed circumstances.
With ‘the’ virus running rampant many of us are either furloughed or staying home to stay safe. While this may be the dream for some, its difficult for the majority. Spending some time doing some little things could help, and here are six ways I have avoided the lockdown lows myself.
1. Avoid Negativity
Firstly, to stay positive it’s important to avoid negativity. Limit your time spent watching or reading the news or seeking opinions on social media. Distracting yourself with daily exercise, paying more attention to nature or taking up a new hobby will leave you feeling far better.
2. Getting Out
We always use our opportunity for daily exercise to get some fresh air and vitamin D. We get to appreciate natural beauty and have some space to breathe. We walk, he trikes. You’ll feel far better on return than when you left.
3. Streaming (what the internet was born for)
Disney plus came arrived bang on time. Coinciding with the start of lockdown, it’s saved my little family from daily boredom by letting us catch up on the latest releases we had missed. It’s also been a blast reminiscing with the golden oldies with the wife. Netflix has also served us well. We’re now desperate to save the big cats watching Tiger King, have been in utter disbelief with Surviving R Kelly, and beyond furious with The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez.
4. Start a project, or more likely, resume one
Being furloughed has been a great kick for me to get all of those longstanding house jobs done. I’ve finally finished filling some holes in the house and even kickstarted the garden renovation. Even without any gardening experience between us, we’ve somehow managed to put up a fence post and two panels and most recently prepared the soil by hand to lay our tuff. Our little one has loved having a natural play space to explore. You’ll surprise yourself at what you can achieve.
5. Have some ‘me time’
Put simply, do whatever makes you happy. For me, it’s my recent discovery of playing board games online. So, during our Munchkin’s nap times (and the odd evening) I’ve delved into virtual board game times with my work friends, university mates and even my Mum, Sister and Wife. It’s a great way of catching up with everyone - especially those who are not so keen on video calls. A recent Kitenest blog which summarised some fun family board games included a brilliant game called Carcassonne. You can play it online at Boardgamearena. Private play requires one premium member at only £22.80 for a year or you have the option to play other players worldwide for free.
I think what has really kept me chirpy throughout all of this is thinking about and appreciating the benefits of lockdown for me and for others. Whether that’s being a key worker (who we weekly cheer for) and seeing the value of their continued sacrifice, having reduced work hours or commitments to spend a bit of time slowing down and focusing on family or products, working-from-home (so you can do a day’s work in your PJ’s), or for me, spending time seeing the development of my Munchkin. This is certainly an area I would have missed out on more when working full time. I’m soaking up each day. I hope you are all staying sane and safe in lockdown and that these tips inspire something new this week.
Thanks for reading, Stephen.