Our emotions are still changing by the day with the shift in our lives in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The uncertainty of our world as we know it makes me (Layla) very anxious, and one way to deal with this anxiety is to focus on any positives we can gain from this terrible situation. By no means am I trying to put a positive PR twist on things, but if we can find things to give us comfort and hope at this time, that’s OK.

I started Aspire 10-years ago and during this time we’ve had many ups and downs, but nothing like this. A very challenging time for me was when my daughter came into the world. I struggled to let go of work and found myself ploughing on as though nothing had happened. I was too scared of everything I’d worked so hard for falling apart. I also was terrified of losing my identity.

My daughter is now two and I had a moment of great lightness this weekend. The sun was out, we were simply playing in the garden and her pure happiness was overwhelming. I thought to myself; this is what’s important now. I’ve struggled to reignite my love for running over recent years, always having something more important consuming my mind and taking priority over my energy. A simple run with my dog this weekend brought real fulfilment to me. I must use this time to get fit again, I thought to myself.

I haven’t come to any ground-breaking decisions, it’s still all so overwhelming, but the very simple things in life have brought me the most joy over the last few days and I think that’s the way it should always be.

I asked the team how they’re feeling, how they will cope and stay positive over the next few weeks, and here’s what they shared…

Becky will be getting creative in the kitchen, keeping the family active and supporting the local community

I plan to stay as active as possible and will be encouraging the whole family, especially the boys, to get out for a run or cycle – all football and rugby has been cancelled till September so it’s really important that they stay active and get some fresh air. It’s all good for their physical and mental health.

I’ll also be getting creative in the kitchen using a wide range of herbs and spices, aiming to keep dishes as healthy as possible.  I’ll be raiding the freezer so there will be a few freezer roulette meals thrown in, too…

Finally, helping others in the community where I can with essential food deliveries and phone calls to neighbours that live alone.

Vikki’s home-schooling skills will be put to the test and virtual hangouts will be a priority

I am going to focus my time on being active solo and with Penny (taking her out for bike rides/runs with the dog) and doing school work with her at home – but making it fun to keep her interested.

My friends have set up a WA group called “Too Cool for School” and have been sharing some useful online resources, YouTube channels, Instagrammers and free learning websites to encourage this… I will be sticking to a daily set routine – the same as school times to keep this consistent for her.

Instead of a girl night out, we have a number of online calls lined up on Zoom instead – my friend is pulling together a pub quiz and even the husbands can join in the fun too.. It’s essential to stay in touch with family and friends in these uncertain times, albeit in a virtual way!

Josh will be making the most of his time, exercising daily and doing his bit to help

I’m trying to make the most of my time and keep in touch with people that I know. I’m spending more time with Ellie at home, using technology to speak with family and friends and my previous commuting time is now used to better prepare for my working day.

Living in a London flat with no outside space will no doubt be a challenge, though, so I know that running will play a big part in life over the next month or so! I like to run for a variety of the benefits it brings, so I’ll try make the most of this for as long as we can.

Hopefully this tough time will end soon and a positive, brighter future is formed as a result. I’ll be looking for ways to help out in my building and in the local community, so if we can all start doing more of this, it’ll be a great change for those in life who need a helping hand.

Kate will be keeping some order in her life, letting her creative juices flow and tackling some home chores 

A seismic shift is underway and sometimes it feels too overwhelming. To keep myself sane, I know I need to keep occupied so I am creating a list of things to do – getting out on my bike or for a walk, a little bit of DIY, the annoying chores I never seem to get round to, as well as more creative activities (I really want to start drawing again). 

What I’ve been really heartened by, just in this past week, is video calls – both for work and at home. Being able to see people’s faces makes a huge difference, and you also realise that everyone else is feeling exactly the same and being able to talk about our shared experience helps to mitigate its utter strangeness somewhat. I’ve offered to help my elderly neighbours and am investigating letter writing and sending postcards to stay in touch with people through another community initiative.

While we all continue to adjust to what is an unprecedented situation, it is important that we all remain as positive as we can. We are all in this together, and by remaining a collective we are a lot stronger. We are continuing to change as needed as an agency as the days go on, as we are as individuals in our home lives.