Self Care For When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed With The Current Pandemic

Hi, loves. I hope you’re all well and enjoying your weekend despite the current world problems! I thought it was really important to change up my blogging schedule a little and write today’s post, and hopefully spread a little positivity which is so needed right now. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world at the moment with the pandemic happening; coronavirus is something completely new to all of us and we’re all trying to navigate it the best way we can, so looking after ourselves is more important than ever.

People all over the world are experiencing a lot of stress, heartache and worry which unfortunately there isn’t much we can do to change right now. I am obviously not a healthcare professional but I would advise following all instructions given (which, in the UK is don’t be in large crowds, practice social distancing and wash/sanitize your hands more often than usual). We’re all praying for a miracle guys! Any regular readers will know I’m a pretty anxious person normally, however in the midst of a worldwide pandemic I’m actually not in the big panic I expected I would be. I do find some comfort in the fact we’re being told the virus seems to be similar to the common cold or maybe an extremely mild flu for most people. It does however make me worried for the people who will not experience it to be ‘like a cold’, but you have to take the positives where you can, right?

I am feeling a little anxious which I think is only normal, but I’m also feeling hopeful and I’m praying for everyone to stay safe and healthy. For me personally I’m most concerned about mine or Matt’s grandparents falling ill (as the elderly are more susceptible to COVID19 and potential further issues), Matt’s upcoming trip to Budapest which looks like it will be cancelled and kinda selfishly that I’m starting my new job in one week. Not the best timing in light of what’s going on so I have everything crossed I start next Monday and things go well with that. Obviously I’m generally worried about any of my family/friends – or really, anyone I know – getting the virus, but I cannot physically carry all of the worries on my shoulders so I’m just trying to take it one day at a time like everyone else. That is very hard for someone as Type A as me, but we’re all in this together. It’s funny because writing down my worries somehow makes me feel a little bit more at ease. How are you holding up? What are your worries specifically centred around the pandemic?

As I’m writing this schools are not closed here and for the most part England is very much ‘business as usual’, but large gatherings are going to be banned in the next week. There’s a lot of tension and uncertainty lingering because nobody knows what will happen, and many people feel like their lives are a little bit on hold. To be honest, personally I think if that has to happen for a few weeks to stop the spread of the virus we should all be adhering to it! I know the reality and the preventative measures taking place are different for every country and we’re all suffering in some way. In England, shelves of supermarkets nationwide are bare, people are working from home where possible and almost all of our sports have been postponed/cancelled – which has very much upset my sport-loving boyfriend! However in the midst of the panic communities are coming together, people are being kinder and we’re learning as we go. The scaremongering is NOT helping anyone and it’s more important than ever to look after ourselves and each other, and I hope this post brings you a little self care inspiration over the coming weeks. Looking after yourself is the best form of self care!

Spend quality time with your loved ones and enjoying being home
There is a slight possibility we’re all going to be actually stuck indoors for a little while with government imposed bans, but even if that doesn’t happen we’re more than likely going to be spending more time indoors than usual. Disney+ can’t arrive in the UK soon enough. Take this extra time to enjoy family movie nights, do puzzles, get cosy in your most comfortable clothes, bake and/or cook new foods, play board games, take long baths, read books, catch up on your favourite shows and just enjoy being around your partner and/or your family! Matt and I are prepared with all the extra snacks (I may have stocked up on Doritos and Haribo… just incase) and I’m excited for an excuse to watch all the movies! It’s also a fun time to be creative; Matt will be working a little more on his venture NUFC Vintage and I’m going to be spending more time creating blog content. Our hobbies are really important to us so I’m definitely feeling grateful for those right now!

Drink lots of water
It’s something we’re told to do for one hundred and one reasons, but there really is so many benefits to drinking water! As a self-confessed Diet Coke addict, I really need to up my daily intake of water ASAP. Water is good for your skin, your joints (I have arthritis so this alone should be enough of a reason for me to drink more!), helps you feel less bloated, regulates body temperature, delivers oxygen to your body and can prevent headaches, and there’s tons more benefits on top of that. I love my Chilly’s bottle so much, having a cute water bottle is a really good way to encourage drinking more water and remember to take it with you on the go!

Stick to your exercise routine (or create one!)
Exercise is so important for us to look and feel our best. Personally I couldn’t think of anything worse than spending an hour at the gym, but I love easy at home workouts and there are so many great free options. Yoga is my favourite and I can’t recommend Yoga with Adrienne or Alo Yoga videos enough if you’re looking for somewhere to start! If you’re looking for a HIIT workout or something a little more strenuous I love The Body Coach and Blogilates. For most of these workouts you don’t need any props or even weights, and they’re all super easy to do from the comfort of your lounge! Also there’s no bans on being outside and we should all be going for walks as much as possible, fresh air is SO GOOD for us. Matt and I bloody love a beach walk, and we’ll for sure be making the most of those like always!

Clean, declutter and re-organise
I am happiest when our bedroom is clean, tidy and organised. I really love decluttering and I find an excuse to do it pretty often, just because it helps me to a) not have too much stuff, b) use what I have and c) sell things I no longer need or use. Annoyingly, I just fully cleared out and re-organised my wardrobe this past weekend, or I would have for sure been doing that this weekend when I’ve spent pretty much the whole time at home. Clear out your beauty products, find things to donate, clean out your car (I do this every week or so anyway and it feels SO good to drive a clean car!), list a few items you’ve been meaning to on eBay, wash your makeup brushes and maybe even re-organise your space. Could the couch be placed differently? Should you put your bed under the window for a change? Can you switch up your shelves or vanity table? Also, if you’ve avoided all Marie Kondo hype until now… this could be the best time to get invested in her Netflix show and book!

Carry out your full skincare routine morning and night
It wouldn’t be self care tips from me without a little mention of skincare now, would it? Seriously though, during times that we’re a little more stressed out than usual it’s extra important to be consistent with your skincare! My skin reacts very quickly to changes with my diet or a lack of routine, so I’m for sure going to be keeping on top of that. Remember to clean your hands thoroughly prior to removing your makeup, and for the love of God stop touching your face. Has anyone noticed over the past few weeks just how much you touch your face?! ME TOO. That’s a huge way the virus can be transmitted so please be cautious of this! Encourage your partner and family to stick to their skincare routine too, and hey getting everyone involved in a little multi-masking party sounds like a fun way to pass the time!

Meal plan and eat lots of fruits and veggies
I’m so grateful Matt and I meal plan because it takes away all of the ‘what are we having for dinner?’ conversations and also saves us a heck of a lot of time! We grocery shop once per week – usually on a Sunday – then we may pop into one or two stores during the week to grab a few extras, usually more fresh fruit or veggies. As panic buying is going a little crazy right now I’d really encourage to write down your meal plan; literally each day what are you having for breakfast, lunch and dinner? What do you currently have in your cupboards/fridge/freezer and what else do you need to buy? Then make your shopping list from there and keep your fingers crossed you can grab everything you need! The government are telling us there are plenty of plans in place to keep supermarkets stocked no matter what happens over the next few weeks so just don’t go too crazy and please leave things for others. Opt for a few more frozen and tinned items than you usually would and try to buy products with long use by dates. Also be prepared to switch up your shopping list/meal plan whilst you’re actually in the supermarket! You can read all about how we meal plan (in normal circumstances) for some extra tips.

Be mindful of how others are feeling
People are feeling very mixed emotions right now; some are not at all fussed by what is happening, and some are beside themselves with worry. There’s no right or wrong way to feel, and honestly I think we just have to let everything run it’s course (which is the only thing we can do) and try to stay calm for ourselves and each other. Check in on elderly relatives or neighbours who may not be able or willing to go shopping, avoid overexposure to news, don’t buy into the scaremongering and try to live your life as normal, whilst still adhering to government advice!

Listen to podcasts/music instead of the radio whilst driving
I started doing this a long long long time ago and I can’t recommend it enough. There’s something to be said for being in your own little world whilst driving, especially as most of us are in the car for a long time each day! Whether I’m singing my heart out to Disney songs or having a giggle at my fave duo (Rosie and Chris Ramsey, obviously) I can’t tell you how much happier I feel not listening to the radio. The songs are repeated hundreds of times and the news bulletins every five minutes are filled with doom and gloom, especially at the moment. You’re mostly in control of what you consume, so open up Spotify and choose something that makes you happy! In addition I’d really recommend not watching or reading the news 24/7, and instead point you in the direction of this Reddit thread for all the happy feels.

Ensure you’re getting at least eight hours of sleep per night
It is SO very important for our health that we sleep as we well as we can. I’m going to be posting in a few weeks about things I’m doing to enjoy Matt and I’s evening routine more and sleep better! I really do love pillow sprays because they help me to relax and feel calm – Matt loves them too! – and I’m a huge fan of a cosy bubble bath before bed. Try to turn Netflix off a little earlier the next few weeks, keep bedding clean by washing your sheets regularly, and make your bedroom as comfortable as possible. Sleep is also great if you’re feeling under the weather or run down – which is extremely common this time of year without the ongoing world issues – as your body fights infection even harder when you’re sleeping and rested.

Read, read and read some more
Oh you mean we may have to stay in the house for an unknown amount of time? You’ll find me snuggled under a blanket, drinking a cup of tea and reading my Kindle for the foreseeable! #suchagrandma Matt has never understood how I can love reading so much but I swear since he bought me my Kindle Paperwhite my love has got even deeper. I downloaded a few new books this weekend; including two I’m very excited about; The Two Lives Of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver and In Five Years by Rebecca Serle; and I’m so excited to get stuck in! If you don’t have a Kindle or Amazon Prime, you get free delivery on any orders over £10, or you could pick up some books when you’re next grocery shopping! There are great deals in places like Asda and Tesco for books, sometimes even cheaper than Amazon. Be sure to shop your stash too, I bet you’ve got a few books stashed away for a rainy day… today is that rainy day! Reading is good for the soul, and I’d personally recommend fiction books for an escape.

Stay healthy, spend more time indoors, eat good foods, look after yourself and your family/friends/neighbours, don’t panic and hopefully the pandemic will blow over as quickly as it arrived! This post will be my one and only post regarding the COVID 19 outbreak as I really want to post happy and positive content going forward. I already mentioned this on Twitter, but I’m only going to be posting once per week over the next few weeks/months as life is super busy right now (nothing to do with the outbreak, more with preparing to start a new job!)

-G x

Travelling 101: Tips & Tricks To Get Your Holiday Off To The Best Start

Hi loves! Holiday season is fast approaching, and I know lots of people that are going on holiday soon! Matt and I leave TOMORROW, and we’ve been talking a lot over the past few weeks about the preparation and planning to make sure we’re feeling organised. This is definitely more my input than Matt’s – I hate not having a plan together, and I try to do anything that will make our lives easier. Planning trips is one of my most favourite things to do from the second we book our flights, and I feel like there’s a ton of things that you should do in the build up/during your travels to make things run a little more smoothly. This post is packed with handy tips and tricks that we’ve learned over the years, I hope you find them useful for your next holiday!

So, your travel insurance is all arranged, your countdown is fast approaching 0 and all you can talk about is your upcoming holiday. What should you be doing in the build up to, or during, travelling?!

Use a backpack for your carry on. Seriously, no matter how cute your new beach bag might look, you’re going to wish you took a backpack, especially if you’re an over packer like me. Matt and I both take backpacks, and they’re so easy. Backpacks can fit so many things (Mary Poppins who?!), there’s lots of compartments to organise your things, the weight is distributed evenly on your back so it’s easier to carry and you get to keep it under the seat in front of you, which is way easier than putting it in the overhead bins. Have I sold you on taking a backpack? Yes? Good. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Pack a crossbody bag inside your carry on with all of your essentials. It just makes sense; this is where you can keep all the things you’ll want to have to hand before, during or after your flight. I always keep Matt and I’s passports and my card holder in here! I use my crossbody bag throughout the holiday during the evenings, and it’s just big enough to fit what I actually need. I always need to make sure there’s a little room in there for my boyfriend’s sunglasses, wallet, and whatever else he decides to throw in, lol! There will be a post up all about my carry on essentials this coming Wednesday, but until then, you can check out what I took last year here.

Check in for your flight online. It saves waiting in so many lines at the airport, you can allocate your own seats and you feel a little bit smug just having to drop off your checked luggage! Matt and I checked in two weeks before the date of our flight and it made us even more excited, it actually made it feel real then. When it comes to booking our seats, we always try to allocate them on/around the wing because you don’t feel any turbulence as much here!

Always take cash in all of the currencies of the countries you’re travelling from/through/to, as well as your debit card. In the airport in England we’ll just use our debit cards, but we’ll make sure to have cash just in case too. If you’re planning on purchasing things on the plane you’ll need the currency of the country you’re going from/to, but sometimes you can be caught out on exchange rates making things a little more costly. Also be sure to keep your cash for your destination safely zipped away deep inside your carry on!

Print out all of your information so you have hard copies: boarding passes, hotel information, transfer details, travel insurance documents. I’m a planner, what can I say? Even though we have all of this information on our phones, I’m a little paranoid we might run out of battery (even though I’m obviously taking a battery pack) or our phones may not connect to the new service provider properly. Having hard copies is just good practice, I think!

Download the app for your airline, the airports you’re travelling from/through/to and your holiday provider. You can get flight information, including which terminal/gate you’re flying from sometimes before it’s announced in the airport. We use the countdown on our TUI app from the moment we book our holiday – we’ve been counting down for over 130 days and now we’re literally one day away today. What the heck! You can get all of your transfer and hotel information in your holiday providers app, as well as weather, transport and excursions details.

Take a fully charged external battery pack and the appropriate charging cables. Matt and I will each have our phones, Fitbit’s and toothbrushes to charge, and we’re also taking one of our Echo Dot’s so we can play music when we’re getting ready in the evenings. The likelihood of sitting in an airport next to an outlet is very low, and not all planes are equipped with USB ports, although come on people, it’s 2019! I always carry a battery pack, it charges our phones like five times! I know Matt will use this before me as I always have my low power mode on and the battery on my phone just seems to last longer!

Weigh your bag before you leave to avoid delays or extra charges when you arrive at the airport. During family holidays when I was younger, we’d fly to Florida with three suitcases, and return with eight. Seriously. The deals were just that good! Now, Matt and I take a suitcase each, but there’s wiggle room between the two of us if one of our bags were overweight. It’s pretty easy to stay underweight when you’re travelling to a tropical location as your clothes weigh less, but sometimes toiletries really increase the weight. You can buy luggage scales for super cheap on Amazon, and they’re reliable! Just make sure to pack them so you can check all your new souvenirs aren’t weighing you down before your return flight too.

Carry a re-usable water bottle – just don’t fill it up until you’re through security! My Chilly’s bottle is LIFE. I’ll be using this during our holiday too, and we’re for sure going to be grateful for it during our super long transfer from the airport to our hotel so we don’t need to buy bottles of water. Last year when we got to Kos, we made it to the bus in record time (our suitcases were literally the first two off the conveyor belt) and were so smug waiting for everyone to board. However, we didn’t think about the fact it was still 27 degrees at 11pm(!!) and we had to wait over an hour to get water! NOT smart(water). Get it? I’m here all night.

Wear (or pack in your carry on) a comfy sweater or jacket. And fluffy socks, if you’re like me and are always freezing. Seriously, planes are SO COLD and no matter what lovely warm climate you might be heading to, you’ll wish you had at least a jacket with you for your journey. In Europe, it often feels a little cooler in the evenings (even when it’s technically still 25+ degrees, lol) and there is also air con in most restaurants and bars, so it’ll come in super handy during your trip too!

Take lots of reading material in your carry on bag. Keeping yourself entertained on a flight is SO important. Matt and I talk so much, but we also like to unwind with our book or magazines and just switch off. We’re in vacay mode the second we set foot in the airport, and it’s the best feeling to get lost in a new book!

Allow enough time to browse duty free leisurely. If you take shopping as seriously as me (lol) you don’t want to be rushing when there could be amazing deals to be found! Ever since I was younger I’ve loved browsing duty free, and since I was around 11 my mum and dad made a big deal of me being allowed a fancy perfume each time we travelled. They’re so good to me! My love of buying perfume at the airport never stopped, and I still do almost every time. This year I’m hoping to pick up a bottle of Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet! Matt is also hoping to get a new aftershave, I love that we’re now making our own traditions together.

Pack your liquids in a see-through bag. You will seriously regret not following the rules if you have to step to the side and try to squeeze your liquids into a teeny little airport-provided bag. That you have to pay for. You’ll also be super embarrassed, or I would be anyway! You can pick up clear, travel approved bags almost anywhere nowadays for really inexpensive prices, although I have this one from Space NK that I love. I’ll also be sharing what I pack in here in Wednesday’s post!

Take the essentials to keep you feeling (and smelling) clean/fresh in case of a delay, or a super stuffy airport/airplane. Planes might always be cold, but they can be pretty stuffy too! Deodorant, bio-degradable wipes, lip balm, your favourite rollerball perfume, a face spray. These are the things that if you don’t take, you’ll wish you did! It’s better to be safe than sorry, and the travel sized versions of these products are so small you won’t even notice the space they take up!

Buy food in the airport for the plane, and to cover you for your transfer at your destination. I’m not a big fan of airplane food, and to be honest I don’t think many people are! I’d much prefer to grab something I like from before we jump on the plane, and any delays getting to your hotel could leave you hangry. Matt and I always pack sweets and protein bars , and we’ll grab our favourite crisps, maybe a sandwich and plenty of water in the airport. And of course, Diet Coke!

Pack travel adaptors in your carry on. You don’t want to be rummaging around your suitcase for adaptors when you get to your hotel, especially after a long travelling day. Also, we take an extension cord with us (in our checked luggage) which means you can charge up to six items with only one adaptor!

Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that are easy to take off/put back on at security. It’s just common sense; it makes the lines move quicker, and it gives you more shopping/drinking time in the airport, which is the best part of being there! I’m wearing my Birkenstocks to travel in because they’re just so flipping comfy, and not at all a hassle to slide off through security. My travel outfit is still being decided, but I’m pretty sure I’m going for a Levi’s t-shirt, black leggings and an oversized denim jacket I can throw on if when I get a little chilly!

Take at least one outfit, swimwear and fresh underwear in your carry on bag incase your luggage gets lost or delayed. Okay, this is maybe just for the worriers and anxious travellers like me, but I would much rather have the peace of mind knowing I’d be able to get through a day or two without my suitcase, if it were to get lost. I’m so scared of this happening!

Carry ibuprofen, paracetemol, travel sickness tablets and any other important medication in an easy-to-find spot. These are the kind of things I used to throw into my bag then have to empty the whole contents to find what I’m looking for. Matt and I sometimes suffer with a little travel sickness and I’m prone to aches and pains caused by my arthritis – there’s so much sitting around during travel days! I always keep these in the outside facing pocket of my backpack, so they’re super easy to reach.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this was somewhat helpful to you, and maybe gave you a few ideas of things you wouldn’t normally think about. What are your best tried and tested ideas to ensure a smooth journey? Are you a super strict planner like me, or do you ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ like Matt?! Get it? Fly?

-G x