We never would have imagined that we’d find ourselves isolated at home for a week, let alone several weeks and very possibly months. It all happened so quickly and the nation has had to make major lifestyle adjustments almost overnight. 

Since the theory is that new habits form over a repetition period of 30-days, we discussed as a team what new habits we’d like to retain after 30-days of lockdown and why. This time has given me (Layla) the rare opportunity to have a little mind space, which has allowed me to assess my lifestyle in more scrutiny than ever before. I asked the team to share three new habits they want to retain and also something they can’t wait to experience again. Below I share my thoughts, followed by the team’s.

I’ve been aware of the damage humans have been doing to the planet my whole life, as my Mum is a long standing member of both Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. She took us on demonstrations in London when we were children and brought us up to be aware of the effects of climate change. With the increased amount of media attention this topic is now finally getting, I’ve been trying to take more personal action (why it’s taken me so long, I don’t know, I guess I got swept along with the crowds). We’ve dramatically reduced our purchasing of single-use plastic at home, although could still do much better by shopping in the right places (while still trying to stay local makes it difficult). We’ve recently sold our second car and will be replacing it with a cargo bike for shopping and the daily nursery run. We don’t use a tumble dryer and are mindful of energy consumption around the house. We’re generally buying less stuff, recycling more, making the most of what we have and being quite minimal. My biggest fail is flying, I tend to go on multiple work and personal trips throughout the year. Just before lockdown set-in, we were planning on a more local Summer holiday by the coast and I did dial into to a meeting in Zurich, that I may have normally attended in person. This gives me confidence, that I am seriously addressing the thought process related to flying in a different way now and we will all start to weigh up the necessity of trips much more, alongside carbon offsetting if trips are deemed essential. I still have a lot to work on mind you. 

In order to establish some sort of routine each day, we’ve been doing a family exercise session early each morning. This consists of me running with our dog and Jimmy cycling with Wilma in the bike trailer. We go along the river and back, then I start work. I’ve never been a morning exercise person, but have always known that if I don’t do my exercise then, I’m likely to skip it completely. It’s really helping me with motivation for the day ahead and the structure is providing some normality to the working week. This is something I really hope to retain, it massively supports my mental wellbeing, creativity and productivity levels. 

I know that reading is essential for my job and also for personal development, which is something that’s hugely important to me. However, over recent years I’ve been struggling to make time for reading. I’ve now been building reading into each day, making sure I read something someone has shared, catch-up on the industry publications, order a new book that’s been recommended. I believe keeping this up will make a fundamental difference to my development and that of Aspire. I just need to schedule in the time for reading as if it was a meeting or a piece of work. 

There’s many things I’m really missing, but having mulled it over, the one thing I am looking forward to most when things get back to some normality is a Saturday morning Parkrun. We’d established a nice routine – I’d get there really early, walk the dog and then run with Wilma in her buggy. After the run we’d have a flask of coffee and a snack in the van or catch up with anyone we knew that was running. All wrapped up by about 10.30am, we’d already had a wonderful day.  

Josh is mixing up running with more home workouts and slowing down with long walks.

Home workouts – I used to do a lot of this kind of thing, so I’m glad I’ve picked it up again! I’ve been focussing on bodyweight workouts, which I find good fun and easy to fit into the day. They only require a little bit of prep and build great all-round fitness, which helps when playing football and other sports.

Long walks – now that I’ve been doing most of my exercise inside, I’ve been walking on my one trip a day outside. This is has been really nice as it offers you time to think and slow down a little. The local area in some places of south London is lovely, and it’s been a nice way for Ellie and I to avoid the crowded parks, too.

Video calls – I think we’ve all been doing more of this… It’s been an eye opener for some of my friends and family; it’s easy to do and definitely brings everything to life. Recently I’ve been on a virtual dog walk, played a high-pressure card game and been shouted at by five nieces and nephews – the variety!

Spending time outside – whether it’s spending the afternoon in the park, playing sport, socialising with friends and family or sitting in a pub garden – having no garden during this period has made me realise how much I value being outside!

Time at home has given Becky the chance to eat better and pick up a book again.

Community work – if there is one thing that this uncertain period has taught me is that community and helping others is key to a happier and kinder way of living.  I’d like to continue helping others locally that can’t get to the shops or need a friendly phone call once in a while.

Reading – time is a luxury and during this period I’ve been able to read before going to bed, not just the news online but an actual book!  It has been a good way to relax, switch off and immerse myself into a different world.

Healthy eating – having three meals a day has definitely stopped the snacking!! Also planning meals in advance has made this possible and reduced the unnecessary items that often found their way into the trolley. 

I can’t wait to get back to hugging my family and friends – human contact is so powerful and it’s not until you don’t have it that you realise what a huge comfort it can be.

Vikki is homing in on family values.

One thing we have learnt as a family is to ration food supplies a little more and make food last longer over the week. With less popping to the shops as part of a daily routine and being careful with portion sizes we have seen our cupboards and fridge looking fuller than normal. Once we have eaten all the crisps and Haribos in the cupboard we’ll really be eating healthy again! All jokes aside, it’s been a good way to manage our food whilst not taking anything for granted. 

We have used this time to re-evaluate our house. We were due to have an extension on our conservatory which has now obviously been put on hold. Therefore we decided to re-create what we were going to have built, we dug out the brushes and ordered some paint and spent the Easter weekend giving it a new lease of life and it looks great plus it has saved us a lot of money which my husband is very happy about!

Living at home isn’t as bad as we thought it was going to be, we’ve actually pulled together as a team and managed daily chores a lot better. Penny has been brilliant with helping around the house which has made her realise what Mummy has to do to keep a happy house. Spirits have been generally high and we’ve really enjoyed spending some quality time together.

One thing we have missed and are really looking forward to getting back to is the school run, we all miss it. I miss the morning drop-off when Penny is at her best, some of the conversations we have walking to school are priceless and funny enough I also miss pick-up when she’s tired and hungry and moans the whole way home.  Seeing all the school mums will be lovely as well, we have such a lovely school community that I am so grateful to have. Seeing Penny’s face light up when she walks through those gates again will fill me with such joy and emotion.

The Coronavirus is a global disaster and we never wish to make light of it, but we can use this unusual time to create positive habits that make us better people. Supporting each other through this time and communicating with those around us can still create a sense of community and nurture meaningful relationships. Extra time to ourselves can lead to self-reflection, self-development and more balance for a sense of inner peace.