Coping in lockdown as an introvert parent

Coping with lockdown as an introvert parent

Remember back in March 2020, when we went into the first national lockdown and there were all sorts of jokes flying around the internet about how this was the introverts’ time to shine?

It did seem almost like an introvert dream come true; the chance to stay at home all day, with the perfect excuse to not go out and socialise.  And chances are for a lot of people that’s still the case.

If you’re like me though, and you’re definitely on the introverted side of the spectrum and you also happen to be a parent, then you might be finding life in lockdown is actually much harder than you thought it would be.

 

Introverts enjoy having time alone.  Spending time with other people might still be fun for them, but it drains their energy and they’ll generally need to have some time to themselves afterwards to recharge.

So suddenly being told to stay at home sounds great, until you realise that you’ll never truly get to spend time by yourself at home when your family are also there with you.  All.  The.  Time.

We all love and adore our families, of course we do, and I’m so grateful not to be trying to get through lockdown on my own, but it can be exhausting to an introvert to always be surrounded by people.  It’s never truly quiet.  There are always demands on your time and attention, especially if your children are young.

I’m still working out how to cope with it all to be honest, but here are some things that I’ve found helpful and that might help you too:

 

Communicate your needs to your family

If you’re struggling and you’ve not done this already, then take a bit of time to talk to your partner and your children about what you need from them.

Chances are they all experience things differently to you, so might not know how much you need some time to yourself to recharge, even if they’re introverts too.  So tell them.  Explain that you need a bit of time, regularly, to have some quiet and to be by yourself.

Be clear and ask for what you need.  And while you’re at it, check in with them and ask what they need too.

 

Find ways to create quiet at home

Once you’ve asked for what you need, you’ll then have to find a way to actually get the quiet you’re desperate for.

You might be able to arrange your working days so that your partner can take the children out somewhere for an hour, so you can actually have the whole house to yourself.

If that’s not an option though you need to look at things like noise cancelling headphones so you can block out the sounds of a house full of people.

The other issue you might have is with needing to buy yourself a bit of time by finding ways to occupy your children that don’t require your constant input.  Card games are great because they don’t need much set-up time and most of the time the rules are simple enough that they don’t need a parent to keep stepping in with explanations.  My children have been really enjoying Dino Dump this year, but if they’re not in the mood to play together then that old classic Solitaire is always a hit too.

And if all else fails then there’s nothing wrong with the children having some more screentime than normal, as far as I’m concerned!

 

Try meditating to get your zen back

When you do manage to get some quiet time to yourself, try using it to meditate for a while.

There are loads of guided meditations on YouTube which are great for beginners who aren’t sure where to start.  Or you could try downloading an app like headspace or calm, but you do have to pay to access all their features.

If meditation feels too far out of your comfort zone then try a bit of mindfulness instead.

There are some great ideas for practising mindfulness throughout the day in this set of mindfulness exercise cards from Mindkompass on Etsy.  Each card gives you a prompt or an exercise to try to leave you feeling calmer and more grounded.

 

Say no to zoom

Video calls have been a bit of a lifeline for everyone throughout lockdown, giving us all a way to stay connected and socialise with friends and family while we can’t see them in person.

The thing with zoom though, is that it can be even more draining than actually meeting up with people at times.  The social cues are harder to read, it’s too easy to talk over each other, and it can feel like you have to be ‘on’ the whole time with the camera on you.

So if you’re being asked to join in with zoom quizzes and video chats all the time, and finding it a struggle, then pick a few nights a week that you want to keep zoom-free.  Make this a non-negotiable night off from all kinds of video chats, phone calls and other virtual meet-ups.

Having these boundaries in place can really help give you back some time to recharge your introvert batteries.

 

Make an effort to socialise in the ways that work for you

As an introvert you might find socialising in big groups draining, but enjoy spending time with a small group of close friends, or one-on-one with people.

If you’re missing those close connections that you normally enjoy then find ways to get that.

The lockdown restrictions in your area might allow you to meet up with one other person for a walk, so reach out to a close friend and arrange to get together.  If that’s still not an option, then arrange a phone call instead, to keep those connections going.

 

Create a relaxing bedtime routine 

If you find that you’re completely worn out by bedtime, but still somehow find it hard to switch off from the demands of juggling work, school work, family life and everything in between, then it’s worth creating a bedtime routine to help.

Here are some things you could try:

  • turn off the tv and put your phone away about an hour before you want to be falling asleep
  • try reading to wind down instead of watching another episode of whatever it is you’re binge-watching
  • make yourself a warm, calming drink, like a mug of night-time tea or some golden milk 
  • follow a guided sleep meditation or watch some ASMR videos to help you relax
  • use a few sprays of Rescue night spray to help you feel calm and help switch off your mind from unwanted, repetitive thoughts
  • have a warm bath with lavender bubble bath or bath salts

 

I know that none of these suggestions will make up for actually being able to take a proper break from everything and having time alone to restore your social energy supplies.  But while we’re in lockdown I’m kind of in the mindset that any little thing that makes even a little bit of difference is worth trying!

So hopefully if you feel the same way, the ideas in this post will help make a bit of a difference to how you cope in lockdown as an introvert parent.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?  How are you finding life in lockdown?

The difference between a care home and a nursing home

What is the difference between a care home and a nursing home?

Considering that the terms are used interchangeably, it’s easy to see why people easily get confused when asked to choose between a nursing home and a care home. 

While the two types of facilities are meant to offer care and support to those who need it, you need to understand that they aren’t the same. 

 

So, how do you go about choosing an ideal option

Both care homes and nursing home offers 24/7 care, including preparing meals and serving them to the residents. Moreover, the residents are also provided with any additional support they may need, e.g., with shaving or bathing. 

 

Care homes explained 

A care home is a facility that has round the clock care and whose personnel comprise of several qualified care assistants. The facility has to be managed by a professional in possession of a Registered Manager’s Award.

In many cases, the manager must have extensive experience in offering care. Some of the managers are professionals who have worked their way up after having started as healthcare staff. 

Care homes are expected to maintain detailed records of each resident and ensure they stick to a personalised care plan. The personnel at the care homes can assist the residents in performing personal grooming needs like:

  • Assisting them to wash and get dressed
  • Offering help with physical or social activities
  • Assisting them to go to the bathroom

Where necessary, a district nurse can be called to come and administer certain medication and treat residents with complex wounds. You can click here for care homes closest to you. 

 

Nursing homes explained 

A nursing home offers the same support provided by a care home, with the only distinction being that they have on-site nurses at all times. 

Residents in nursing homes will have an underlying medical condition that calls for them to receive continued attention from doctors or nurses. 

It can be the best place for a person who suffers from a complicated medical condition. The on-site nurses are trained on recognising changes in patients and identifying the symptoms associated with various diseases. 

Therefore, the nurses are in a better position to determine whether it’s necessary to have a doctor look at the resident or not. 

Given that nursing homes are intended for residents who have medical needs, the homes will have a variety of equipment to assist residents with mobility issues and specialist beds. 

Many nursing homes have recruited experts in many areas such as dementia care to ensure the residents have the best quality of life and are comfortable even in old age. 

 

Care home or nursing home: Which is the best? 

It’s impossible to draw a line on which facility is better than the other unless the individual in question suffers from a clear medical need that requires care from a qualified nurse. 

For example, a person who has dementia may not need to live in a nursing home, but they’ll struggle to live alone. 

In short, deciding where to take a loved one should be done based on their current physical and mental state.

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

Romantic ideas to make Valentine’s Day at home unforgettable

Romantic ideas to make your Valentine’s Day at home unforgettable

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and, for a lot of people, the day of love calls for a lot of celebration. The current pandemic situation has certainly taken a toll on many people’s idea of a swanky dinner or a staycation. But that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate this special occasion at all.

Valentine’s Day at home is a great idea and is likely to be on the cards for most couples. If you are of the opinion that the 14th of February at home would turn out to be a dull and boring day, think again. 

Here are some of the most amazing ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day at home: 

 

Plan an amazing menu

Any celebration at home calls for delicious food and tasty drinks. The best thing you can do is decide on your menu in advance, before the celebration begins. If you are fond of cooking, you may opt for a multi-course extravaganza. If not, you can still get creative and cook some of the most delectable dishes ranging from appetisers, main course desserts, etc., and order-in drinks.

If you are in no mood for cooking, plan on the menu and order it from your favourite restaurant. Whatever way you choose to do it, make sure you pick food and drink that feels special to you, to really make your Valentine’s Day dinner something to remember.

 

Create the perfect ambiance

Who wants to eat such fancy food at the same old kitchen table where you always eat?  To make it something special, think about adding a Valentine’s Day vibe to your home. Spruce up your interiors to create the most romantic setting and set the mood.  

You can work on a romantic theme and include things like lots of scented candles, indoor plants, sheer curtains, red pillows, balloons, and many others. Arrange the dining table artistically with the best cutlery, candle lights, and rose petals. 

 

Put on your favourite music

How about putting on your favourite romantic music and dancing with your partner? Valentine’s Day is all about love, and you cannot celebrate this day of love without tapping your feet with your one and only to your favourite love songs. 

Dim the lights, turn on the volume and dance the night with your partner. You can put together a playlist of your most-loved sentimental tracks and take a romantic trip down memory lane. 

 

Plan the best gifts

Make your Valentine’s Day more special by planning the best gifts for your partner. Valentine Day gifts include a long list to pamper your partner. Check out all the online and offline gift stores and choose that perfect gift. 

Some of the best Valentine Day gifts to buy for your loved one include jewellery for her, watches for him, a flower bouquet, edibles such as chocolates, cookies, gourmet snacks, gift combos, etc. 

 

Call your friends

To make the day one to remember thing about turning your Valentine’s Day into Galentine’s Day by planning a virtual party with your group.  

Set up a group call with your friends and their partners for the evening.  Arrange some games to play together or have a virtual movie night, all watching the same film at the same time. Get everyone to indulge in good food and good drinks. Play some party tracks in the background and let this evening be full of joy and entertainment.   You could even try hosting a virtual karaoke night for your group if you’re feeling brave enough! 

 

Call it cliché, but celebrating Valentine’s Day is a great idea to shower love upon your partner. So, what are you waiting for? Make a list of all the above-listed ideas and start planning this day of love. Happy Valentine’s Day! 

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

10 Valentine's Day present ideas from Etsy

10 lovely Valentine’s Day present ideas from Etsy

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and whether you go all out or just exchange token gifts with the people you love chances are you’re on the hunt for the perfect present.

Of course this year most people are turning to the internet for inspiration, and with the whole web to search it can be hard to know where to start.

Luckily I’ve done some of the hard work for you and spent an evening browsing the gorgeous gifts on offer over on Etsy.  There are loads of lovely small businesses on Etsy selling everything from chocolates and sweets to flowers, candles and mugs, all perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Here are my top 10 picks that will hopefully help you find just the right present for your valentine.

 

A sweet box of Valentine’s sweets

This letterbox gift is perfect if you need a present to send in the post, and is full of sweets like love hearts, jelly sweets and chocolate hearts.

Valentine’s letterbox sweet gift from SweetGiftCo – £8.95

 

A Belgian hot chocolate stirrer

If you’re just after a little token of your affection then this hot chocolate stirrer is perfect.

They’re handmade from Belgian chocolate, and when you stir one into a mug of hot milk it’ll melt into a lovely, indulgent hot chocolate drink.

Belgian hot chocolate stirrer from CocoaAndCrumble – £2.95

 

A personalised chocolate slab

I have a bit of a thing for chocolate slabs and barks, and love the fact that you can create your own from a fab list of toppings to make a brilliantly personalised gift for the person you love.

Make your own chocolate bar from SweetJesusUK – £5.99+

 

A Biscoff-filled treat

For the Biscoff-obsessed this is the perfect Valentine’s day treat – a geometric Belgian chocolate heart, stuffed with creamy Biscoff spread.

Stuffed Biscoff geometric heart from blocochoc – £2.50

 

A fun slogan mug

If you want to let someone know you love them, but aren’t the gooey, sentimental type then this ‘I love your face’ slogan mug is a great option!

‘I love your face’ Valentine’s day mug from SparksAndDaughters – £12.00

 

A secret message mug

Another mug option is this really sweet ceramic mug with a simple gold heart design on the outside and a sweet ‘I love you’ message hidden on the inside.

‘I love you’ mug from TheLetterLoftUK – £16.00+

 

A cute and fun mug

This mug is the perfect shape to wrap your hands around and would be a fab Valentine’s day present for your partner or your best friend to show them how much you love them.

“You are my cup of tea” mug from GiftsCart – £8.50

 

A sweet letterbox posy

You can’t go wrong with flowers on Valentine’s day and this letterbox posy is a really sweet twist on the idea.  The little posies are a gorgeous mix of seasonal flowers that can be sent through the post as a pretty little token of your affection.

Fresh letterbox flowers from FlowerBeUK – £12.95

 

A beautiful Valentine’s candle

Candles are another classic gift and these ones are so pretty they’re bound to go down well.

They’re all handmade, fragranced with scents like rose, patchouli and jasmine, and decorated with flowers and crystals.

Valentine’s candles from SiennaBlueHandmade – £7.90

 

A sweet little love hearts candle

This is another gorgeous candle that is small and sweet and perfect for Valentine’s day.  It’s handmade and scented with a combination of raspberry, plum, redcurrant, peach, orange, grapefruit, lemon and vanilla to create that classic love hearts smell.

Love Hearts soy candle from TinyTinCandleCo – £5.99

 

Which of these gifts would you most like to be handed on Valentine’s day?

7 little things to do to break the monotony of lockdown

7 little ways to break the monotony of lockdown

Life during lockdown starts to feel like groundhog day after a while doesn’t it?

Each day starts to feel the same when you’re so restricted in what you can do, where you can go, and who you can see.  Part of the problem is that once you get into that lockdown rut of doing the same thing day in, day out, it can be really hard to find the motivation to do things differently.

And for busy families juggling home life, work, and school it can feel almost impossible to find the time to do anything differently.  You don’t have to do anything too crazy though.  Just making a few small changes to your routine can be enough to mix things up.

Here are 7 little things you can try to shake up the monotony of life in lockdown and hopefully make things feel a bit less groundhog-day-like.

 

1. Mix up your meal plan

I don’t know about you, but I find it all too easy to end up eating the same meals week after week.  Especially if I do the food shopping online and just add items from my favourites list each time.

So mixing things up and trying some new recipes can be a great way to start getting away from that feeling that every day and week is the same during lockdown.

There are loads of ways to do this too, you could:

  • browse recipes online or flick through old recipe books for inspiration
  • hand control over to your children and get them to choose something new they want to try
  • try a recipe delivery service like Hello Fresh or Gusto
  • see which local restaurants are offering delivery or make-it-yourself boxes
  • keep it as simple as having breakfast for dinner now and then

 

2. Find new routes to walk as a family.

I know.  We’re all fed up of the highlight of our day being ‘going for a walk’, but when it’s pretty much the only thing you can do outside the house then I think we need to keep embracing it!

It is another thing that we can fall into a rut with though, walking to the same places via the same route every time we go out.

So make an effort to try and find new places locally that you can walk to.  Let the children get curious and turn down different roads and see where you end up.

You can also mix up your walks with the children by turning them into scavenger hunts, going nature spotting, or trying a photo walk.

 

3. Find a new spot at home

We’re all creatures of habit really, and when we’re at home all the time we naturally find ourselves drawn to our normal ‘spots’ during the day.

After a while though, sitting in your same old seat, looking at the same four walls around you can really start to get old.  So try looking for a new ‘spot’ to sit in.  Even just sitting on the other end of the sofa with your coffee can give you a slightly different perspective on the room!

If you’re working from home then try moving your desk to a new part of the house, or set yourself up to work from bed for the afternoon.

You could also change things up at home by:

  • rearranging the furniture in a room to give it a whole new look
  • repainting a wall or hanging up some new wall art or family photos
  • getting new bedding and soft furnishings in a colour you wouldn’t usually pick

 

4. Learn a new skill

Life during lockdown might be monotonous, but for loads of people it’s also still incredibly busy.  And you might think you don’t have any time to learn a new skill during all this, but don’t dismiss this idea out of hand.

Learning a new skill is a great way to break out of going through your day on auto-pilot, and doesn’t have to take much time.  There are all sorts of things you can learn, either by yourself or with your children, in about 10 minutes a day, like:

  • a new language – I’ve been learning Welsh on Duolingo since the first lockdown and it’s brilliant!
  • first aid – you could look for a course to follow at home or watch videos from someone like St John’s ambulance on YouTube
  • how to draw – there are so many drawing tutorials to follow on YouTube that break it down and make it fun
  • playing a musical instrument

 

5. Change up your coffee break

Along the same lines of mixing up your meal plan, trying something new with your coffee break can give you something little to look forward to and get you out of the rut of having the same thing, at the same time, day in day out.

You could try a new flavoured coffee, or if you’re a tea-drinker then try something different like biscuit tea for a sweeter drink.

And if you always have the same treats alongside your cuppa, then try mixing that up too.  Bake up some chocolate banana bread, make some oaty biscoff biscuits or try your hand at slow-cooker fudge.

 

6. Try a new type of exercise

Taking time through the week to move your body is so important for mental health, as well as keeping fit and healthy physically.  But, again, this is an area where it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut during lockdown when it feels like your options are really limited.

When you start looking though, there are so many different types of exercise you can try in the comfort of your own home.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • try HIIT workout videos on YouTube.
  • download the C25K (couch to 5k) app and give running a try.
  • follow some yoga sessions on YouTube.  Yoga with Adriene is really popular at the moment, and she has workouts for whatever mood you’re in.
  • get dancing – either stick your favourite music on and make up your own moves, or follow a tutorial online.

 

7. Give a new genre a go

Whether you relax by reading a book or watching TV you probably have a genre that you normally go for, so try picking out something new to change things up a bit.

If you normally watch horror shows then give a light-hearted comedy a try, and if you would automatically pick out a reality tv show, then try a real-life documentary instead.  The same goes for books, if you tend to read the classics then give a new voice a go.

If you’re not sure where to start with finding some new and different then ask your friends and family to recommend something that they think you wouldn’t normally pick out.

 

You don’t have to do all of these things, but just trying to do one or two things differently each week can really make a difference to that feeling that every day is the same during lockdown.

Do you have any other ideas for things to try to break up the monotony?  Please do leave me a comment and inspire me!

 

This post is shared with a moment with Franca and KCACOLS.

Tips that will help you to keep the kids busy over the holidays

Awesome tips that will help you to keep the kids busy over the holidays

Holidays can be a fantastic way for you to bond with your children, not to mention that you can also let your own inner child out a little too.

The problem is that it can also be incredibly stressful when your kids misbehave, and usually this is the result of boredom. If you want to make sure that you are making the most out of your summer holidays, then you need to try and prepare your days so that your kids don’t have much time to get bored.

 

Make your own games

If you want to have fun with your kids, then why not make your own game? Get some scissors, some glue and even some coloured cards if you want. When you do this, you can then make sure that you are making the most out of the resources you have around you.

Remember that games such as Hoopla, Snakes and Ladders or anything else similar can all be done at home and you would be surprised at how easy it is for you to make them feel happy and entertained when you explore options such as this.

 

Cooking

Once a week, try and devote an entire day to cooking or baking. Get the kids involved from the beginning until the end and even let them choose from a wide selection of ingredients too.

If your child can read, then ask them to read the recipes to you step by step. This will help them to work through any of the instructions and it will also give them more confidence in the kitchen, which is always a good thing. If you want to teach your kids how to take pictures of their creations, then this is also a good idea. You can delete any duplicate pictures on your phone by using this tutorial.

 

Make an assault course

Kids usually like being active. If you have some garden chairs, wooden boxes and buckets lying around then why not use them to make an assault course? Anything that can be jumped over, gone under or simply run around is great here.

You can also ask your children to time each other as they make their way around the assault course too, so make sure that you keep this in mind.

 

Garden patches

Dedicate a very small part of your garden, to your kids. When you do this, you can then ask them to plant certain things. This can include flowers, lettuce, herbs and plants too. Anything that grows quickly can give them the huge satisfaction of being able to actually produce something.

If your kids are very small, then give them a spade and let them loose.  This will give your child the chance to burn off some energy and it will also give them the chance to really let loose. It also gives them a valuable learning experience as they can see their hard work pay off if they have a little patience so keep that in mind too.

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

thoughtful homemade gift ideas

Six thoughtful homemade gift ideas

With more time on our hands than ever, it opens the opportunity for more art and crafts. As the year starts again and birthdays begin to roll around, why not take the time to get the kids and hand make some birthday gifts for your loved ones?

There are so many ideas out there that the recipient is sure to love – and it is a great way to really show you care, as well as keep the little ones busy if they aren’t in school! With a normal gift, anyone can just pop out to the store, spend some money and buy it.

But if you make something yourself, you can guarantee it is a unique, one-off present that they won’t have a duplicate of – and won’t get again! You can also make it a lot more personal and tailored to the person who is receiving it. The great thing about the following homemade gift ideas is that they are designed to suit a whole myriad of skill sets.

Whether you are a hardcode DIYer with plenty of tools and experience in home made things, to someone who hasn’t picked up a glue stick since they were in pre-school. The most important thing is that you have fun – don’t worry if it doesn’t turn out perfect, it just adds to the charm and the recipient isn’t likely to notice anyway!

Here are some top thoughtful homemade gift ideas for you to try…


1. A home made scrapbook

If you have known the person for a long time and have lots of photos and memories together, why not make them a scrapbook? You could try Pixa Prints to get your photos printed out in high quality to stick in.

Why not get some colourful corner stickers to stick them down as opposed to glue? You could fill the book in with different memories, times you have had together and things you have done. If you have any old concert tickets or memorabilia from places you have gone together, you can add these too!

Many shops sell scrapbook kits with different coloured papers and stickers to jazz it up.

 

2. Treat jars

Treat jars are a great homemade git and you can fill them with as much or as little as you want.

Think of all your loved ones favourite little things and see what you can fit into a jar. Why not put in a tea light, some hand cream, a mini notebook, a mini sized bottle of alcohol and something to eat in there? It is also a good idea to decorate the outside of the jar to add a real personal tough.

You could make your own label to stick around the middle and tie some beautiful ribbon around the lid.

 

3. A candle

Candles are great fun to make and not as difficult as you might assume! There are many kits online that you can purchase to create and they allow you to make many different scents. Try and think about which your loved one would like the best and make that.

You can add in different elements such as rose petals or different colours, and put them into fun shapes too. Once you have made your candle, you can decorate the jar that you put it in, and wrap it up nicely too.

 

4. Personalised cookies

Cookies are always a lovely gift to receive and are great fun to make and get the kid involved with too. Think of the recipient and what flavour they would like best, or get creative and make a number of different flavours. From white chocolate chip and raspberry to double chocolate, or oat and raisin there are so many choices.

You could also make plain cookies too and focus more on the icing. Why not buy an icing kit and you can write messages on top of them? If it is for a birthday or anniversary you could pipe nice messages for them to read on the day. Be sure to get a box for them to go in and tie it up with a bow for a really professional and thoughtful finish.

 

5. A collage

If you are looking to really delve into your art and craft skills, why not create your loved one a collage for their birthday? This could be something made from different materials that come from all the places they like to go, or that remind you of them. For example, you could get some sticks and flowers from the woods if they like to go there on walks, shells from the beach, or things that remind you of them.

You could mix this up with some photos of them, their family and friends and you and stick it all on a big board. Don’t forget to pop it in a frame so they can put it up in their home if they want to.

 

6. A scrabble name picture

Scrabble name pictures are easy to make, look great and are the perfect gift to go up in their house. Simply choose a background of colored or patterned paper and attach this to a board of a photo frame. Then get some scrabble tiles and spell out the name of your loved one, their family or something they love and stick the tiles down together like a scrabble board. Put the frame together once you are done and you have a perfect homemade gift that they are likely to treasure for years to come.

You could leave room if they are planning to have kids and when they have their children, offer to put the new names on there too!

 

These are just a few different ideas for thoughtful homemade gift ideas.

Be sure to plan out what you are going to do ahead of time to ensure you have all the necessary equipment or ingredients. The last thing you want is to be halfway through your project and find you don’t have the equipment necessary to carry on! Not only is it inconvenient, but it could ruin all of the hard work you have put in.

What is your favourite thoughtful homemade gift idea? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post