Finding joy and gratitude in the beauty of everyday
Today, it is a funny day. I think the impact of lockdown is beginning to take its toll on my eldest two boys and although I am fully aware that these feelings are normal for us all, the boys don’t know how to handle their emotions so well.
We are trying our best to be patient with one another and as parents we are trying really hard to accept the large outbursts of anger and anxiety and choose to comfort the boys as best we can, but it still remains hard.
Just earlier today I said to my husband that I was exhausted. From what, he asked. As I thought about it, I answered, I am exhausted emotionally from trying to manage all of our feelings, entertain and educate four children and keep myself stable and afloat.
Every day is completely different. There is no normal and it is okay to not be okay.
The worry for loved ones that we can’t see also became far more real today. I can’t remember the last time I saw my mum and the reality of the risk to her hit me today. I had to take a moment to myself and really observe these feelings. What is this fear and how can I alleviate it?
Even when we feel we are doing our upmost to help the ones we love in this situation, so much is still out of control and I think we have to accept this despite how hard it sometimes feels.
One thing that is really helping me is connecting with others online.
I am really enjoying sharing the nature photos from my daily walks and creating uplifting images to inspire others to connect with nature.
I have created an online gallery for people to view and enjoy nature through photography for those that can’t get outside and I’m also asking others to share their photos from their daily walk or from their garden to lift others up too and build a community though nature photography.
It feels even more important right now.
By viewing a nature image you are able to relieve anxiety and boost your mood.
By taking five minutes outside to walk, connect with nature and create your own image, you allow your mind to move into a flow state, release tension, slow your mind and boost your happy hormones.
It is also a wonderful way to connect with your children and to inspire them to connect and learn with nature too.
This week we began creating our own “nature rainbow” online in the Connect and Create photography group. Please feel free to join and get involved, Connect and Create or join the Kids Connect and Create group here.
After seven days, I will be creating our own “natures rainbow” to share online and in the group to thank the NHS and all the frontline workers.
What else is working for you right now? I would love to know.
Have you let go of any standards in your house? I have had to let go of having a relatively (ish) tidy house. I could spend my whole day following the boys around picking up after them but instead I am choosing to just let it be and to get everyone involved in the tidy up at the end of the day.
I’ve also had to let go of peace and quiet and I’ve had to learn to work amongst the noise and chaos. I imagine you can all relate to this right now.
Another thing I’ve learnt is that if I do not embrace this time with a bit of silliness and fun then I will not survive.
There’s been silly dancing, lots of tickling and lots or raised eyebrows from my eldest at my wonderful opera voice.
Simple acts of screaming into a pillow has become a family activity too. It helps us all to release a bit of tension and it makes you giggle.
We’ve watched the brilliant video of the family reenacting the Les miserables song and are currently thinking of which song our family could re-enact.
And we’ve created some brilliant stories in the garden with the boys toys. They have loved taking photos of their toys themselves and creating their own story board of images.
It has been wonderful to be able to enjoy watching the nature around us bloom and change these past few weeks.
It’s strange to think that it takes a lockdown to slow us all down and to really take notice of what’s changing in our everyday environment.
I have loved watching the first bluebell emerge in the hedgerow which I initially thought was a bit early but now many more have now bloomed.
There is a little copse near us which is now a gorgeous sea of bluebells and the blossom that I began capturing three weeks ago has now turned into leaves on the blackthorn bushes.
You can view a lovely video from the Woodland Trust all about the blackthorn bush here
The benefits of nature…
I truly believe that nature can help us at this time. The simplicity and peace that nature offers us is so beneficial to our health.
Nature allows us to be still, to be present and to observe our own emotions. The beauty of nature inspires us, grounds us and reminds us to be thankful for the everyday simplicity.
We can learn from nature too. Just this week we felt the sadness and loss of our much loved turtle doves that have been visiting our garden for well over a year.
Two doves visit each morning and night but on Easter Sunday, only one dove came and he was injured. The other dove had not returned. Despite our sadness, we were able to watch and talk about the experience. My boys showed genuine concern for the dove, compassion for his loneliness (Turtle doves mate for life) and they willed the little dove to be strong and resilient. When the dove returned the following morning and began to take peanuts from the bird feeder the boys and I were so happy.
Just by observing the simple state of nature’s processes over these past weeks and in coming weeks we can find hope for the future.
I hope you all are safe, well and well supported and connected at this time.
Let’s continue to support and thank those on the front line. Let’s support those around us and let’s reach out to connect and spread kindness, love and joy where we can in the many different ways that we feel we are able to.
Please do continue to get involved and share your photos with me online. I would love to see them and to hear from you.
And most importantly be gentle with yourself and be kind to you.
Lots of love
C x x
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