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Little Lockdown Lessons 7

 

New Routines to Keep

 

They say life goes quicker when you get older. Well, it doesn’t really, it just seems like it does because you have less variety – it’s all about more of the same thing.

Before Lockdown, my time outside of work was relatively consistent; same experiences, same locations, same times of the day. I think this is pretty normal given all that is possible when juggling work, kids and yourself.

 

Juggling life!

 


Time for a (forced) change

 

When we were forced to change our routines, most of us wobbled. Amid looming health fears, financial worries and ‘how am I going to entertain the kids’, we all no doubt started to look at how we were spending our time now that our routines had been ripped up. 

‘Opportunity’ could be seen as a dirty word when associated with a global pandemic. Yet, we were given an opportunity to review, reflect and make small, but meaningful changes to our own lives. 

Five months on, some of the small reflections and physical changes I have made have created a happier, healthier and more positive me. I really hope that it has been the same for you; of course, we’d love to hear from you on this. 

Making time for what really matters

 


What’s important to you?

 

We all have our own stories, and while one person may wish to watch every episode of Friends on TV during Lockdown, another will learn Spanish or build a house. For me, I just looked at small, sustainable (in my world) changes. 

 


Allocation of time

 

If you have never seen it, check out Hugh Grant in About a Boy, where he plays a somewhat irresponsible 30-something who is living on his father’s Christmas song royalties. In one memorable scene he talks about ‘Units of Time’, and how he breaks his day down into 30-minute units and fills it with quite meaningless things, such as watching Countdown.  

To stop myself drifting during Lockdown, I started to break the days into chunks. My wife and I blocked out our own ‘personal’ time where we could do something for ourselves, away from the rest of the family. Of course, we also had chunks dedicated to precious family time; time we’d spend actually doing something rather than just allowing the hours to disappear.  

 


My weird obsession with cold water

 

Preparations for a dip!

 

One ‘opportunity’ during Lockdown was to spend a little bit more time researching, planning, and actually ‘doing’ something we have often pondered on. I am a sucker for unusual approaches to health; exercise, diet, mindfulness… I even had hot suction cups stuck all over my back once! 

Wim Hof – the Ice Man, was introduced to me about 18 months ago; this Austrian guy is crazy! You may have heard about him (he was recently on This Morning with Holly and Phil (skip the advert at the start)). His theories are deep but also backed with science. He has trained himself and others to strengthen their immune systems through cold water exposure, breathing techniques and a positive mindset.  

“I’ve got to get some of this in my life”, I thought. The problem is, despite spending half my life in the sea, I’m always in a wetsuit (and a bit wimpy when it comes to cold water!). 

There is a strategy behind all of this – ‘The Wim Hof Method’ as it is known. During lockdown, good-old Wim put parts of his paid-for program out on the web for free. It took me a lot longer than it’d take most, but I gradually increased the cold-water exposure from a couple of seconds on my shins to full two-minute cold water showers. Living by the sea as well, I was testing my resilience on our walks by wading as far as I felt brave. 

 

Start with the feet – it’s a lot easier 🙂

 

Fast forward a few months, and this is now part of my new weekly routine. I frequently go for swims in just my shorts (and hope to continue to throughout the year), and I start most days with a cold shower. The benefits for me have been more energy, fewer aches and pains and a more positive mindset. It might sound a bit silly, but it just shocks you out of negative thinking! 

The more I looked into it, the more I discovered that the benefits of cold-water exposure were known well before Wim Hof; it has been linked to helping with depression, as reported by the British Medical Journal. The BBC also wrote a nice article about it a few years back. 

Where I live, Sarah, one of the parents at my son’s school, invited some of the other mums to join her for a sea dip after school drop off. They started in the autumn when the water was still mild, but sustained it every single day (ice, wind, snow, rain… you name it) throughout the whole of winter. It wasn’t just a couple of them; it was pretty much half the school! I later came to learn that they had joined a national network of cold-water swimmers called The Bluetits Chill Swimmers who encourage social dips in the knowledge that it has physical and mental benefits. 

 

The Bluetits Chill Swimmers taking an evening dip

 


Puzzle: The Wheel of Time!

 

Talking of routines, Aaron at TT Towers has gone routine-crazy with the working day! The crew at TT Towers need your help to find out what time they’re allowed their daily treat! Download The Wheel of Time Tasty Treat Puzzle here!

 

Click on the image to download.

 

Easy right? So, once you’ve worked out what time we’re allowed our tasty treat, send your answer to us using the Entry Form below and include the hashtag “#TastyTreatTime“. 

COMPETITION NOW CLOSED! Congratulations to Caroline Edgson who was picked from all the correct entries to win a Treasure Trail Voucher!

Itching to know the answer? You can find it here.

 


Don’t let them slip

 

Looking back at photos from April and May, I’ve already noticed that some of the new routines we had established are slipping. I think that this is possibly due to there being a greater demand on our time, or is it just that we don’t feel the need to try so hard anymore? 

Our daily adventure walks aren’t quite so common, nor are the kid’s yoga sessions. We haven’t camped again in the garden… strangely, when we were forced to do ‘not do a lot’, I think we were actually doing more. 

Garden Camping

Thankfully, one small change we are continuing with is all sitting down together as a family to eat our tea together; something which I valued so much as a child. Our Friday night fancy-dress discos are still going strong as well. I’m not quite sure how these started, but they basically involve us raiding our fancy-dress box, ripping all the cushions off the sofa, playing loud music with the bubble machine on and watching the kids get incredibly sweaty! 

 

 

As for Hugh Grant and his units of time; I am still thinking about this. Although I haven’t got it down to 30-minute slots (or even started watching Countdown), I am filling my days with a lot more quality, and this can only be a good thing to keep up. 

 


What are your new routines?

We’d love to hear what new routines you have adopted as a result of Lockdown, no matter how big or small, so please head over to our Facebook or Instagram pages to tell us what you’ve been up to! 

 


31st August 2020

Posted In: Ideas

Tags: ,

Little Lockdown Lessons 6

 

Embracing What We’ve Learnt

 

We’ve already heard so many stories from Lockdown. We’ve learnt how vital communities can be in times of crisis, and how traffic-free streets can lead to wildlife emerging and audible bird song in the air. We’ve discovered how technology can keep us close together, even when we’re far apart, and time outdoors is so precious when you only get one chance each day.

However, with many of us suddenly finding ourselves with more time on our hands than we ever expected in our lifetimes, we turned to other forms of learning to keep ourselves occupied.

Even here at Treasure Trails, the hobbies we embraced and the way we filled our time was very different from each other! Here’s what some of us, whether Trail Writers or team members a TT Towers, have learnt and embraced during Lockdown.

Embracing what we've learnt

 


Some of us Embraced New Skills and Technology

 

Our Trail Writer for Derbyshire spent Lockdown cultivating a new skill and hobby – photography! He told us:

” I had some limitations, particularly in the early stages of Lockdown, because I couldn’t go far from our front door to take photos – so one of the things I learnt was how to do macro-photography. “

 

Peter's Macro Photography | Little Lockdown Lessons: Embracing What We've Learnt
One of Peter’s macro photos, using a glass of water, with a couple of drops of olive oil and some coloured card.

 

Peter wasn’t the only one embracing a new medium, as Claire – our Trail Writer for Cheshire and North Wales – got to grips with unfamiliar technology.

“I rediscovered my Laughter Therapy training and produced an interactive, online Zoom session (also new for Lockdown) for my library colleagues. I used the original training but as a strategy for coping Covid anxiety or just life in general. ”

 


Others were Creative Away from Screens

 

Jacqui, the Trail Packing Queen at TT Towers, taught herself how to make jewellery during her time stuck indoors. She collected shells, stones and sea glass at the beach during her daily walks to turn into gorgeous pieces when she got home. It was all a bit of trial and error, but we think they look great!

 

Jacqui's Shell and Sea Glass Jewellery | Little Lockdown Lessons: Embracing What We've Learnt
A selection of Jacqui’s shell and sea glass jewellery created during Lockdown.

 

Kylie, our Trail Maintenance Guru at TT Towers, also embraced her creative side. She turned to the internet to get her hands on a paint by numbers kit and tried her hand at a cute diamond art creation of her two furry companions. Kylie said she would spend an hour a day, away from screens, focusing on a new section of her artistic projects – which both took longer than she anticipated!

 

Kylie's Artistic Projects | Little Lockdown Lessons: Embracing What We've Learnt
Kylie’s completed paint-by-numbers and her diamond art creation, still in progress.

 


Puzzle Time: Colouring Adventure!

 

Inspired by Kylie @TT Towers’ colour by numbers artwork, we’ve dug up a colouring adventure for you to solve, so get those coloured pencils, crayons or felt tips ready!

It’s not that simple though, so pay attention! Here’s what you need to do:

Part One:

First – download the #ColouringAdventure Puzzle.

Next – get colouring! Use the colour blobs in each shape as your colour guide.

#ColouringAdventure
Click to download the first part of our Colouring Adventure Puzzle

 

Part Two:

Then, if you’ve been diligent with your colouring skills, your efforts will reveal a clue to a location in the UK.

Once you’ve worked out where it is, hop onto Google Maps, visit this location and zoom in to find an ‘island of adventure’.

Follow the line which runs SSE in the water from this location and use Google Streetview to explore the blue Streetview dots in the wide lower area at the end of the line. You’ll have to search around a bit and try a few different spots until you see the answer to this question:

What can you not do overhead?

The competition is now closed. Thanks for your entries, and congratulations to Margaret White – our winner this time! Margaret has won a Treasure Trails Voucher.

Desperate the know the answer? You can download it here.

 


We Reignited Old Passions

 

Sandi, one of our Trail Writers in the South East, spent a lot of Lockdown making time for old hobbies and brushing up some skills. She told us:

“I took to walking a great deal, a minimum of eight miles per day, exploring the local countryside with our black lab (who was in seventh heaven)! It was so nice to have near to no traffic and fresher air, whilst it lasted.

After many, many years of scarcely touching a keyboard, I decided early in Lockdown to devote an hour each day reacquainting myself with the ‘ivories’ by learning some new pieces. First up was Bohemian Rhapsody, something I’d always wanted to learn, but never got around to. I’m in the habit now, so try to spend at least half an hour each day on the piano.”  

 

Sandi Learning Bohemian Rhapsody on the Piano | Little Lockdown Lessons: Embracing What We've Learnt
Sandi revisiting the keyboard to learn Bohemian Rhapsody.

 

When our Trail Writer Claire wasn’t having a much-needed laugh and exploring Zoom, she had her head buried in a book:

“Much to my delight, I finally managed to engage with some leisure reading. A few old friends and some new authors as well. The King’s Watch series by Mark Hayden was especially enjoyable. Who doesn’t enjoy a magical take set in our society?”

 

Claire Enjoying a Good Book | Little Lockdown Lessons: Embracing What We've Learnt
Claire settling in with a good book to pass the time during Lockdown.

 

Rachel, our Resident Wordsmith at TT Towers also made time for a book or two, but she had a bit of a rocky start getting there and found relief in an unexpected place:

“At the start of Lockdown and furlough, after processing the general worries and anxieties, one thought popped into my mind: I’ll have so much time for reading! It didn’t quite go to plan though. I’m a total bookworm and often read a few books a month, but it’s been years since I read at home – normally I find the time during my commute, or sit in cafes and outdoor spaces. Despite all the spare time on my hands, I just couldn’t get into the zone to read while sitting on the sofa – and I don’t have a garden to make the most of.

However, relief from my reader’s block came from an unexpected place – non-fiction. For some, this may not seem unusual, but I have eight non-fiction books on my shelves vs around 300 fiction books, so it took me by surprise! I found the short chapters and less-immersive stories a lot easier to focus on, and I could read in smaller chunks too. I learnt so much, and I’ll definitely keep growing my non-fiction collection (I’ve just started on The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England). Not all was lost on the fiction front, though. As soon as we were allowed to sit outside, I found a nice, quiet spot in the old churchyard – my favourite place in the village – and read to my heart’s content. I still try to go there every lunch break, weather dependent. “

 

Rachel's Reading Spot at the Old Churchyard | Little Lockdown Lessons: Embracing What We've Learnt
Rachel enjoying a book at the old churchyard.

 


We Enjoyed Time with Family

 

Jane and Neil, our Trail Writers in Yorkshire, reflected a few weeks ago on their virtual time spent with family and friends across the globe, and their thoughts were echoed by Sandi, who said:

“I also ‘virtually’ caught up with lots of friends I hadn’t been in touch with for a while, and it was quite a treat spending quality time with my husband and daughter (not sure if Georgia, my teenage daughter was so enamoured with being stuck at home with just her Mum and Dad, although she put a brave face on it!). ”

But family life for Aaron, General Manager at TT Towers, changed drastically when he found he would have to start teaching his 5-year-old son at home.

Our son’s teacher would send daily tasks to do, which we always used as the foundation. But I especially, found that he switched off due to my ‘teaching-technique’. So, we looked at how we could apply some of the literacy, maths or exercise classes into something more dynamic. 

We would often incorporate learning into walks; counting, reading instructions, etc., but in the home and garden, we would apply this to games. We built an awesome assault course, and our son would have to stop when a word written in chalk approached him as he tiptoed along the beam of wood (with crocodiles below, of course). The ‘secret’ word (which were key words supplied by his teacher), had to be said aloud until he was able to pass.”

 

Aaron's Educational Assault Course | Little Lockdown Lessons: Embracing What We've Learnt
Aaron’s educational assault course – which he probably had as much fun building as his boys did playing!

 

“We also had to explain (as we still do), the benefits of learning and the opportunities it opens up, from being able to read a book on his own, to being able to get the job he would like when he is older, or travel the world and speak the local language.

Boxes of coppers were counted out into piles and then our boys would earn money through experiencing some jobs which people have as their careers; from cooking to building to cleaning the windows. They, of course, loved it all.”

 

Aaron's Boys Hard at Work | Little Lockdown Lessons: Embracing What We've Learnt
Aaron’s boys hard at work, all in the name of education!

 


New Bundles of Joy were Introduced

 

Jane and Neil had their hands full with the latest furry editions to their family – two rescue cats – and embraced their new working-from-home lifestyle.

“After adopting one rescue cat from Yorkshire Cat Rescue in January 2020, Lockdown was a great opportunity to spend lots of time with her (Chi Chi) while working from home. It was Chi Chi, back at the start of Lockdown, that prompted our ‘Work from Home Employee of the Month’ competition!”

 

Chi Chi Guarding the Treasure | Little Lockdown Lessons: Embracing What We've Learnt
Chi Chi, the Treasure Trails Security Guard, bravely monitoring the treasure chest.

 

“We then realised that she was so used to us being around all day that she might feel a little lost once we started to go out Trail Writing for a whole day again. Working from home also meant that we were fortunate enough to be in the situation where we could adopt a second kitten, Moki (nickname Little Man) this time from RSPCA Doncaster. Chi Chi and Moki are now best buddies and playmates, and endless fun to watch!”

 

Moki and Chi Chi | Little Lockdown Lessons: Embracing What We've Learnt
Moki and Chi Chi playing around and being adorable.

 


And Some of Us Learnt All About Their Ancestors

 

Kathy, one of our Trail Writers for London and the South East, undertook an enormous quest during Lockdown to discover her roots and grow her family tree. She told us:

“I’ve been wanting to document all the family names, places and occupations for the ancestors of both myself and my husband, right back to around 1800, further if possible. That means pursuing dozens and dozens of branches of the tree and trying to solve quite a few mysteries along the way. There’s still a very long way to go and plenty of gaps to fill.

However, the process has led me to some lovely virtual meetings with hitherto unknown third and fourth cousins. We’ve discovered Victorian photographs showing our shared great-great-great-grandparents, and all learned some aspects of the families which we did not know, fascinating facts and devastating tragedies.

There’s a distant half-cousin in Australia I never knew existed, who I’m now chatting to online as we attempt to work out a ‘mystery from history’ we’d both spotted. We’ll probably never know the truth about what happened, but we’re having great fun speculating all the same!”

 

Kathy's Grandfather | Little Lockdown Lessons: Embracing What We've Learnt
Kathy’s grandfather, Widred Bycroft, photographed in 1914. The picture turned up in Sheffield City archives.

 

“As well as constructing the tree and delving deep into the past, this activity has led to some very enriching experiences with my parents and in-laws as they share stories from their own lifetimes. I have started gathering their anecdotes into chapters to put into a book next year and have raided the old photo albums, demanding a ‘who’s who’ from grandma while she’s still here to put names to faces. My folks have loved this little trip down memory lane, and it’s given them something to think about and discuss with my aunts and uncles. In due course, I plan to put everything I learn about my family history into books to hand down to my daughters, nephews and nieces. 

Since we’ve been able to travel further afield, Geoff and I have also had the chance to visit some of the places that appear in our ancestors’ censuses and birth records. Several churchyards have now been combed for family headstones, and we have tracked down farms where ancestors lived and toiled. It’s been amazing to build such a vivid picture of where we came from, and it’s brought me closer to my family both near and far. If it weren’t for Lockdown, I think I would have put this all off ‘for a rainy day’ and maybe have missed out altogether. “

 

Kathy's Great-great Uncle, Richard Hobson Bycroft | Little Lockdown Lessons: Embracing What We've Learnt
Kathy’s great-great uncle, Richard Hobson Bycroft, who founded the Bycroft Confectionery company in Birmingham. Photo circa 1884.

 


Share your story 

We’d love to see how you spent your time during Lockdown, what you’ve learnt and what you’ve embraced – no matter how big or small. Please head over to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to show us what you’ve been up to! 

24th August 2020

Posted In: Ideas

Tags: , , , , , ,