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Why you should be using this time to upskill

The one thing lockdown has given us is extra time but are you making the most of it?

Why is it important to upskill!

We are heading into uncertain times especially when we come out of lockdown. It is likely the world will be different when we are allowed back to normality and the jobs we did before Covid-19 may not be the same or in the worst case exist at all. That is why it is so important to take this time and learn what we can to broaden our skill range and ensure we have the best chances coming out of this pandemic . 

How to upskill while on lockdown!

When I say we should all be upskilling I am not saying you should go out and sign up to year long courses that are going to cost the earth. There are more ways to learn and develop our skill set without breaking the bank and if you are willing to spend a little bit of time investing in yourself you will be a lot better off.

1. Reading is an effective way to acquire knowledge and there are books for every subject imaginable with a wealth of information just waiting to be picked up and read. Books are generally inexpensive and with the birth of kindle you can order and start reading instantly. 

Even if you don’t know what to learn about subjects like digital marketing or even motivation are topics that can benefit everyone in this age. After I was recommended it I recently read ‘The Subtle art of not giving a F**K’ and this was a brilliant book for motivation and learning to analyse what is important in your life.

2. Short courses are another great way to boost your skills during lockdown. I have found that Reed.co.uk has a database full of online short courses in a vast array of subjects some at amazingly low prices. 

These are perfect for boosting your skill set. I have carried out courses in digital marketing, basic portuguse and I am currently doing a photography diploma. If you are just looking to do these to gain knowledge then you can find courses for peanuts but a lot of the cheap ones charge quite high fees to obtain a certificate after you have finished the course. So please make sure you check what the certificate price is and if you want to have the proof of doing the course then make sure you factor in this cost before signing up. 

3. Social Media and the Internet is bursting full of knowledge all at the tip of our fingertips just waiting to be explored. You can find information on any subject you want on the internet. Experts will often give away a lot of free advice and tips on blogs and social media that can provide you with those all important learning opportunities. I read blogs and join social media groups specific to my interests all the time to grow my knowledge. I have learnt more about photography from social media groups than anywhere else.

Through a social media group I found a Facebook marketing course for £12 through Mums in Business Association that has provided me with so much information it was well worth the money spent.  

4. Podcasts and online videos can be full of information and provide great learning opportunities. The benefit of these is that you can listen and learn whilst carrying out your household chores. 

5. Trial and error is a great way to learn especially with the extra time we have been given with lockdown. This is probably one of the most important ways we can upskill and keep continually learning. We shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes but be prepared to learn from them. 

I wanted to upskill my photography skills so I sat in the garden all day practicing taking pictures of bees using trial and error. I must have had 100’s of rubbish pictures but I finally learnt what settings I needed and ended up with pictures to be proud of.

Since I took a pledge to keep constantly investing in myself and upskilling my knowledge my life has changed dramatically and my confidence has boomed. In the space of 3 years I have built 2 websites from scratch without any prior knowledge, created a vibrant parenting blog and become an award winning children’s author.

Before I started upskilling myself I was just the girl with dyslexia that wasn’t that great at spelling and grammar. When I recently built a new website I went back and reread all of my previous blogs and I will be the first to say they were awful. My writing has evolved tenfold since then and all because I am constantly upskilling and never giving up.

So why not spend at least one evening a week investing in yourself and growing and upskilling your knowledge.

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

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Mental health & Wellbeing

Small steps you can take to help improve your mental health during lockdown

Lockdown is a hard time for us all and everyone is coping differently. I felt compelled to write this post after reading that the suicide rate has increased during lockdown which is just heartbreaking. To hear that people are feeling that down and isolated they feel that taking their own life is the only option is so sad and more needs to be done to reach out and help people feeling this way before it is too late.

Staying positive and trying to ride this out is great but it is not going to help you in the short term. It is not a good idea to base your current happiness on a thought for the future that is out of your control. 

The best thing to do is take a minute to think about what small changes you can implement now to make life more bearable until the day arrives that we are allowed out again and to fulfil a normal life. 

Here are some simple steps you can do now to try and help with your current mental health:

Let it out

First thing is let your emotions out and don’t try and ignore them. Having a good cry can help with this and release some stored up emotions.

It is also important to think about what made you feel like this in the first place and not just lockdown in general but what parts are you struggling with. Writing them down will help you to understand and have a better picture of the areas where you need to implement small changes. 

Limit or cut out social media

If you are feeling down and struggling then seeing pictures plastered everywhere of everyone happy and enjoying lockdown is not going to help. We always seem to judge ourselves by what we see others doing especially over social media. However social media is very subjective and not an accurate outlook of how people really feel. By limiting or taking yourself off social media you will be taking away that unrealistic standard of which to judge yourself by. 

Limit the news exposure

With all that is happening at the moment the media channels seem to be showing an endless cycle of bad news so watching constantly can make anyone feel sad. Watching too much of the news can be overwhelming and will cause you to feel sad and panicked by what is going on so limiting your exposure to it can help improve your mood. 

Set a routine 

Now this doesn’t have to be a military style routine but having some kind of routine will help put some structure to your days during lockdown. We keep the routine of doing an exercise video every morning. This isn’t always at the same time every day but Monday – Friday at some point in the morning we do the video all of us together. I try to then do homeschooling until 3pm (notice the word TRY as it is not always successful), even if home learning isn’t going well I still will do my best to not let them on their tablets to play until after 3pm. The other part of our routine is going for our daily walk after dinner everyday. As you can see this is a very relaxed routine but it helps massively to bring some structure to the day.

Find a Hobby

Finding and participating in a hobby will keep your mind occupied and off what is currently happening and will also lift your mood and help improve your mental health. 

Drawing, painting, knitting or writing are all great activities to keep your mind occupied and will help lift your mood. I know this can be hard if you have young children but if you are really struggling with your mental health then there is no shame in leaving your children in front of the TV for a bit so you can take some time for yourself and do an activity that is going to help your mental health. Parenting can be hard especially during this current situation so if needed use the power of TV and electronics to create some time for yourself. Once you are feeling better you will be in a better frame of mind to help your children. 

You could also take some time in the evening when the children are in bed to do a hobby that you enjoy even if just once a week instead of sitting down to watch TV. Being creative and achieving something will help boost your mood and improve your mental health.

I have spent a lot of time drawing, writing poems and stories which I could lose myself in for ages and completely forget for a while what is going on. Once I have finished writing or drawing I feel so much happier and calmer. I have put together a post of lockdown poems that others and I have written.

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Take a look at my post – Art is good for the soul (even if you are not very good at it) for some benefits art can have on your mental health.

Make a List

With the days all merging into one and us having no commitments to adhere to like work and school runs it is hard to keep the motivation going. Week by week the motivation is slipping further and further away. That is why making a short list everyday of things to do can help give you motivation. I put things like hover, clean bathroom, fold washing, on my list, things that normally I would just get on and do but with lockdown my motivation is slipping so writing them down helps. I find that having these little tasks written down that once I have completed them and tick them off the list it gives me a sense of achievement and a bit of motivation to take on other tasks that weren’t on the list. As well as cleaning my list also contains things like, get the children to draw a picture, drink more water, eat 2 pieces of fruit and other small things like this that can help make the day more positive when achieved. 

Reach Out

If everything is getting too much for you then please reach out either to family, friends, mental health charities or there have even been lots of support groups set up to help others during lockdown. So many people are suffering from mental health issues at the moment so please don’t feel you have to suffer alone. The NHS have a list of helpline numbers you can call for help and advice.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

We have all been thrown into a situation that we were not ready for and have no control over when it will be over. No one was prepared or expected this and we are all trying to find ways to cope. I don’t think there is a parent or individual who has not struggled and found things hard at least once during lockdown. 

If you do have a bad day where you feel down, homeschooling has been a flop, you have all eaten crap all day don’t feel guilty about it we all are having these days. Just try and make some small steps (maybe write a list of things to do, see above) that you can do to make the next day slightly better. 

It is important that you take things easy and one step at a time making small changes to help with your mental health and well being.  

If you are struggling with homeschooling you need to remember that teachers go through years of training to be able to do the task of teaching our little ones something we have not had so don’t feel guilty if your home lessons don’t always work out. Do take a look at my post. Please stop worrying about homeschooling your children.

If you are looking for further ways to improve your mental health then I have also written a post – Ways to improve your mental health during lockdown.

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Why not also read my other post –

Review of the educational Human Heroes App

A collection of lockdown poems

Ways to help with mental health and anxiety during CV-19

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Mental health & Wellbeing

Lockdown Love

In a difficult and challenging time when everyone is struggling and having to change their way of life it is so amazing to see just how much love and positivity there is.

Everyone seems to have joined together even though they are being kept apart to help spread some lockdown love.

Children have created rainbows that you see in window after window when out walking to help spread some cheer and happiness.

Every Thursday neighbours have come together from the safety of their front doors to clap and cheer for all the key workers risking their health to save others and to keep the country going.

There are whole social media communities that have been created to bring people together and share tips and help one another. In fact nearly every where on social media right now you can find people coming together to help one another and support each other through these difficult times.

Even on the daily walks despite not being able to getting within 2 meters of each other people are all friendly, smiling and saying hello to one another.

Some supermarkets have donated their increased profits to charity and people and business everywhere are doing what they can to help charities and equip our key workers from helping to make masks and visors to simply baking a cake to show appreciation.

It is amazing to see the determination that everyone has to help one another through these challenging times and to work together so as not to let this horrible virus break us.

We are stronger together and together we will get through this.

Please do share in the comments any other ways that you have been helping to spread the lockdown love.

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Why not also read my other posts –

Indoor crafts and activities for children

Ways to help with mental health and anxiety during the corona virus

Please stop worrying about homeschooling your children

Why I wrote The Book of Silly Rhymes and how it can help children that struggle to read