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'LOVE IN LOCKDOWN' EPISODE 7: 'SINGING FOR SANITY WITH FLO GALLOP'

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'It's important to hold onto our passions throughout this challenging time.' As we continue through our third lockdown, we're faced with our own hurdles. Whilst it's important to stay updated, safe and follow government guidelines, it's also acceptable to have time away from the constant hold of Coronavirus and tune into what makes you feel good within the premises of what you can take part in from home. Aspects of the situation we're in can become overwhelming, so it's vital to find your own coping mechanisms that aren't a detriment to your wellbeing. Your own release, way to relax, feel good, shift emotions and tune out of the unnecessary noise for a while.  Although the circumstances at home will be different for everyone, we're all able to ensure we take some time for ourselves to unwind and take part in what we enjoy. It may be learning something new, it may not, there is no pressure attached, just freedom and enjoyment. Explore, experiment

'LOVE IN LOCKDOWN' EPISODE 6: 'WOODWORK WONDERS WITH SHELBY CARLING'

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   Along with the challenges of Lockdown, there could perhaps be the time to explore ones interests and new beginnings, support small businesses, experiment, and step outside our comfort zones. Lockdown has brought its fair share of hurdles, we're all facing our own difficulties whether it be income, working from home, looking after children, loneliness, anxiety, boredom or simply feeling both frustrated and exhausted by the situation. But a silver lining of some time with ourselves or families is that we're able to experiment with new things, engage with activities to look after our mental and physical well-being. It could be a walk, getting some fresh air and appreciating nature. Perhaps you joined in on the viral banana bread making. Having a relaxing bath, watching a new series, trying out some yoga, starting to learn a language, reading a book or completing a puzzle. Of course, this is a demanding time for all of us, our emotions and state of mind will change and go throug

'The Hazy Beginning?'

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'Starting a new calendar or diary with so little routine and plans to fill it with.'                                         2021 has begun and we're all hopeful that this year will be better than the last, as the vaccine is distributed and Tier 4 guidelines are followed, we're all holding on for cases of Coronavirus to fall and allow restrictions to eventually reduce, resulting in reunions with families and friends and having our freedom restored. For many January is a difficult month anyway, let alone with a global pandemic continuing to influence our choices and daily lives. It's usually a month of challenges regarding starting up work after the celebrations and time off over Christmas, cold, dark and getting ourselves back into routine, perhaps with new goals and new year resolutions. So despite the difficulties that usually come with January and the post holiday blues, there is always a slight glimmer of optimism for the new year ahead and what it might entail,

'New Year, Same you?'

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              Perhaps we should reframe the phrase 'New Year, New Me'. Every year as we get closer to New Years Eve on the 31st of December, considering our 'New Year's Resolutions' becomes a common tradition, thinking about what we would like the New Year to bring us, or perhaps certain behaviours or habits we would like to alter or work on. Personally, I have always found a certain pressure comes with this outlook, and instead of being something to question optimistically, it can often become stressful and slightly anxiety inducing as our minds can focus on what we may view as negatives regarding ourselves and set certain goals for the New Year to change ourselves as if we are magic or superhuman, setting our standards too high. Sometimes, with this mentality comes the term 'New Year, New Me', the idea that we are going to become someone new as one year ends and another starts, someone better or perhaps closer to the 'ideal, perfect human'. However

'A TIER 4 CHRISTMAS?'

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                    'Further restrictions for London and South East resulting in a Tier 4 Christmas.'  On the evening of the 19th of December, Boris Johnson announced that due to rising cases and level of infections there will be further restrictions in place for London and South East areas from Midnight, resulting in the original plan of a little more relaxation and mixing households over the Christmas period to be cancelled. You must remain with only the people in your household when indoors, or those in your existing bubble. Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household. Three households are able to mix on Christmas Day alone, rather than the original plan of 5 days (23rd to the 27th.) Further details are on the Government website:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home . Of course, this is extremely frustrating and upsetting for us all. Christmas will not be the same this year, and unfortunately most of us won't be able to spend it with family,

'LOVE IN LOCKDOWN' EPISODE 5: 'THE BIG WALK...'

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So far my 'Love In Lockdown' series has been made up of others stories and experiences, selfless acts carried out by other people to help support those in need. This week I'm sharing my own story. After researching, learning about so many charities and hearing the inspiring stories of others and how they're offering support, I wanted to get involved and help those in need in any way I can. Even more so after learning that there are so many simple ways to offer support, every little goes a long way, and due to Covid19 this is a particularly challenging time for everyone.  Today, the 13th of December, I took part in a 10K walk to raise money for the charity 'Shelter'. Shelter is a charity that helps to combat homelessness with advice, support and legal services. For every £1 you donate, 79p is spent directly on helping people through advice, campaigning and support, and 21p is spent on fundraising. If you are concerned about someone you have seen sleeping rough, y

'LOVE IN LOCKDOWN' EPISODE 4: 'GOOD HEARTS AND GOOD WILL'

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  'There are simple yet effective ways to help others throughout lockdown and onwards' With my 'Love in Lockdown' series focusing on stories surrounding good will and selflessness throughout lockdown, I've been passionate about sharing tales of happiness, comfort and support to bring us together through this challenging time, put smiles on faces and most of all, encourage others to do the same. Encouraging caring for ourselves and others in ways that we can, and learning about the work of charities and how to help out is an effective way of doing that. A friend of mine has kindly been working for two charities throughout Lockdown, whilst continuing to work in order to fend for herself, she has been selfless and giving in using some of her time around her own work to support these two charities. One of which is 'City Harvest' , a London surplus food redistribution charity, and the second is a drug and alcohol recovery service. It's hearing from individu