Staying Calm during COVID

Welcome to our Wellbeing during COVID-19 resources blog. Each of our blogs links directly to one of our 6 rules for keeping calm during the COVID crisis.

The power of words when writing about fear; success from adversity.

There was exciting news this week for J K Rowling fans. Her latest story The Ickabog will be published online for free as a means of keeping children entertained during lockdown.

Rowling’s personal history is both humbling and inspirational. Her persistence, despite poverty to pursue her writing ambition is remarkable. It would be difficult to imagine our lives Harry Potter-less, so great was her success.

Whether you enjoy her writing or not, her personal struggles and rise through resilience have born about some delightful quotes that can inspire us all. 

This blog post offers a little of her history and 16 wonderful quotes to inspire strength through adversity.

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The kindness of strangers

The kindness of strangers will never, ever fail to move me. 

There have been so many examples shared with us: key workers arriving home to hampers of food, young people offering their patiently awaited first place in the queue to elderly shoppers, and jigsaws and books pushed through the letterboxes of families with small, fractious children in need of entertainment.

By far and away, the most moving story I read this week was of a man desperate to travel home to his family in India. His plight was captured by a photographer and the story reached us here.

Whilst his tale is a sad one, his gratitude towards the woman who helped him so significantly serves as a reminder that you never know how far your act of kindness stretches.

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Stay alert for the extraordinary.

Stay alert - not just for signs of the virus, but for the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Demonstrations of amazing street art have transformed neighbourhoods with everything from uplifting rhetoric to artistic takes on safety messaging.

The ever elusive Banksy used this opportunity to create a piece that celebrates some of the heroes of the pandemic and is showcasing the piece at Southampton General Hospital until the Autumn when it will be auctioned for NHS charities.

Needless to say, you can encounter the extraordinary everywhere if you choose to. Intrigued? This great read offers several tips to tap into taking a more extraordinary perspective.

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The importance of a sense of purpose

Captain Tom, the veteran who has raised over £30m for NHS charities, celebrated his hundredth birthday this week after completing his walking challenge. It’s interesting how his efforts have captured the public’s imagination; he has become something of the Lockdown hero. 

This, for me, has been a really interesting example of how our nation needs some hope at this time, how people still want to be generous and show gratitude and support to our frontline workers and honour the older generation, many who have known much worse suffering in their lifetime. 

In this interview with the BBC, Tom’s honesty on how his hip operation affected his confidence and this challenge gave him a sense of purpose is humbling.

The sense of national pride and celebration in the face of adversity has been channelled by this charming old man. Happy birthday Captain Tom!

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How the F**k it mentality can fix things

Here's a great analogy about change. Imagine a river. The riverbanks are our constants, the things we can be certain of, and the flowing river is the things that are changing.

I discovered this amazing video of a school of fish following a duck upstream like a golden rainbow. Something that, with our now clearer waters was beautifully visible.

The change we're facing is also presenting things we hadn't expected. For a slightly different way of looking at things in episode 15 of You Are Not A Frog, John C Parkin talked to me about the F**k it mentality, based on his book. John offers a great evidenced way to beat stress and change your life.

I'm not sure the fish had a collective "F**k it" moment when they decided to follow the swan, but I enjoyed the casual following the river of change.

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Something to Celebrate on Earth Day

While we look to how to stop ourselves burning out, the planet is thriving without our usual burden on her. 

The celebration of Earth Day this week usually comes with various stories about how we are continuing to fail the planet. So in some good news, this - the 50th annual Earth Day, has finally shown some positive changes.

Yes, it did take putting humanity in detention BUT, the results speak for themselves. Less polluted air, cleaner water and thriving animal life.

What will this moment of pause teach us about just how powerful an impact we have on our environment? I hope we come out of this with a kinder attitude to the 'home' we all live on. 




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Simple Route for Mind and Body Strength

There is a single exercise you can do to make your mind and body stronger. One that has proven its uplifting and powerful effect in many studies. 

Practice gratitude. 

Whether you have tried gratitude writing or not, now, more than ever is the time to take up this practice. 

This article explains some of the neuroscience behind gratitude.

It’s important to remember, as the article states, that the opposite of gratitude is not ingratitude, but despair. And that’s an emotion that, if you let it consume you, will destroy you. Where we have previously discussed the contagious effect of laughter, so too is despair.

Struggling to know where to start? Simply pick up a pen and notepad at the end of each day and ask yourself; Who am I grateful for today? What has gone well? 

As I look back over some of my journal entries I’m surprised by the regularity of ‘coffee’ as a point of gratitude. But then again, the warmth and comfort from a cup of...

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Looking up: How the super moon has us all enraptured.

This week nature provided us with a spectacular show with a bright super moon. Thanks to the improved air quality around the world we saw some spectacular images.

One benefit of our lockdown situation is that many religious services from around the world will be available online. If you’ve ever wanted to visit the Vatican (or many other significant settings) for an Easter service, this link here will show you how you can!

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Keep looking up, unite in song.

The power of a choir won’t be belittled by lockdown.

Whilst there are thousands of great videos to enjoy on platforms such as YouTube (this one of the cast of Lion King aboard a flight is a personal favourite), many choirs have found ways to unite their sound and bring collective voice to people at home.

Popular contemporary group, House Gospel Choir have a great Instagram account if you prefer to watch rather than participate. 

The Sofa Singers was set up by James Sills as a result of lockdown. It brings hundreds of people together in real time for simultaneous singing.

And lastly, we’re excited to hear about Gareth Malone’s latest project involving professional and amatuer singers and musicians. You can find out how to take part here.

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