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      Covid-19 Lockdown - How nature can help to improve our mood

      Covid-19 Lockdown - How nature can help to improve our mood

      We all know that plants and trees are good for the planet – photosynthesis, the chemical process that creates food for them, uses up carbon dioxide and produces oxygen. That’s pretty handy for humans, as we need oxygen to exist, and we breathe out carbon dioxide.
      So many of us during this lockdown are unable to work, or are working from home, many of us have been inspired to explore nature in their neighbourhood and this is great because connecting with nature can help us feel happier and more energised.

      During lockdown car emissions declined, there are fewer tiny particles in the air, so it's easier to see beyond built-up areas and to the stars in the night sky. Less city noise also highlights birdsong.

      Reduce stress...adopt a plant!

      Looking at plants can be good for your mental health.
      Studies show that surrounding yourself with plant life or other forms of nature can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression, improve your memory and focus, increase your self-esteem, and generally make you happier.
      Also having plants in your home may also remove some potentially harmful chemical compounds from the atmosphere.
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      How nature has a positive effect on us?
      Being in nature or even looking at nature scenes, reduce fear, anger, stress and increases pleasant feeling.
      Also, being exposed to nature contributes to; reducing blood pressure, heart rate, the production of stress hormone and muscle tension.
      Being a "plant parent" also help us to appreciate the power we have to nurture, and gives us a sense of achievement when the plant flourishes.
      How to experience more nature on a daily basis?

      Studies have proven that we can benefit enormously if we are able to spend at least two hour a week connecting with nature.

      And if we are able to immerse not only by using our sight but also by using other senses like sound and smell, the result and benefit are even greater.

      There are many ways we can experience nature every day:

      - Open the window to catch the sounds of birds, tree  branches and leaves blowing in the wind.

      - Keep an eye on a tree close to you to see the changes to the leaves, the appearance of blossom and seeds.

      - Add natural elements in your home, plants, flowers & decorative branches. 

      - Try to take a walk either first thing in the morning or towards the end of the day. You will not enjoy just the beautiful nature feature, but also you will be able to experience wonderful warm light colours. Catching the sunset can be a wonderful experience for all the family at this time of year as it is at an early time for everyone!


      Would you like to know how flowers can help you during this Coronavirus Lockdown? Read our blog post:

      The Positive Effects of Flowers on Your Wellbeing

      The positive effect of flowers


      10 Best tips to dodge Covid Burnout

      10 Best tips to dodge Covid Burnout

      At this challenging, and  uncertain time many of us may be coming close to burnout if working from home or for those who may have lost their livelihood.

      But how, if I work from home, I don't need to commute and life is much more flexible?

      While burnout is normally associated with long days at work, it isn't just confined to that scenario.

      Yes, lots of people will need to work harder during this Corona Virus like frontline carers and key workers but for others the burnout can arrive even if your workload hasn't changed.

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      Why are people suffering from burnout due to coronavirus?

      Work-life Balance

      During this pandemic it's becoming harder and harder to maintain a work-life balance, pop-up offices have appeared in bedrooms across the UK and so boundaries between personal life and work are increasingly blurred.

      It's too easy to check your emails at 10pm, skipping lunch because you are working on an important project, and before you realise you may have worked so many more hours that required. 

      Our normal go to stress relievers are not available

      If you were a regular at yoga class, went to the theatre, attended sporting events, dance venue  you may not be able to attend your favourite class or watch your live rugby match and so are unable to wind down and destress as you may have done pre  CoVid. 

      Overload of information

      Another aspect of the equation is managing your consumption of social media and news.

      It’s understandable that many of us are glued to our screens, scrolling through what can seem like endless newsfeeds, updates and headlines relating to the current situation. Social media is now a window into current events all across the world, and when everyone’s attention is on one topic, it is understandable that consumers might reach ‘information overload’.

      How can we avoid the pandemic burnout?

      1- Separate your work life from home

      Set boundaries as soon as possible and try to separate your work life from your home life as much as you can. How about  making a pledge to yourself that at the end of normal working day you won't check your work phone and emails?

      Create a separate corner of the room just for work and leave the rest of the house for all your other daily activities. 

      Consider the set up of your new home work space. Is your screen and keyboard in a good position so that you are not hunching over for up to 8 hours a day which is going to cause you  physical discomfort. Keep your work place clear and tidy and why not adding some plants

      Do you know that plants have been proven to alleviate body's stress levels?

      2- Take holiday!

      This might sound mad and a waste of holiday leave but it makes good sense in terms of taking a break and doing something different for a few days away from the pressures of work and normal routine. 2020 has been the year of the staycation and the UK in particularly has so many relatively untouched an unknown spot waiting for you to explore!


      3- Schedule your day.

      It can be tempting to roll out of bed two minutes before you’re supposed to log in, but pretending you’re getting ready for a day at the office can help to get you into a productive mindset.

      Make a plan for what you’ll complete and when during the course of the day. 

      4- Breath!

      Take five minutes out of each day to practise some breathing excercise.

      There are many apps that you can download to guide you.

      Sit comfortable somewhere, focus on the breath and you will see the result!

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      5- Pause the self-judgement.

      Don't criticise your self, many of us unconsciously do this.

      Make a conscious effort to observe your thoughts, and when you find yourself being your own worst critic, talk to someone you trust, or do something else to press the reset button.

      6- Be open about your struggles and yes, failures.

      Choose carefully with whom you share and when, but consider that bottling up your challenges will only keep you in a negative loop.

      7- Learn to say no

      It’s all too easy to be a people pleaser. But if you are prioritising your work within the hours that are available to you, be confident enough to say no before your workload starts to become unrealistic.

      By identifying the things we don’t need to do can help to reduce any stress build up and enable us to regain a sense of control over our workload.

      8- Focus on important tasks

      We often feel compelled to do more or multitask, but this can lead us to work on tasks that are neither urgent nor important.

      Consider prioritising your activities and do the urgent and important ones first. There's no shame in admitting we can't do it all. 

      9- Stay active

      Active working is just as important when the workplace is you home.

      Try to go for a walk or run before or after work.

      Make sure that you break up your day with regular time away from a screen that gives you the chance to stretch your legs and also gives your eyes a rest from the screen!

      10- Self-Care

      Maintain social contact as much as possible (eg, video calling your friends and family), to make time to exercise and practise daily meditation or mindfulness.

      We all know the benefits of going for walks, healthy eating, taking warm baths, healthy eating and gardening.