Earlier this week, we took 5 minutes out of our busy schedule to catch up with our friend and guest blogger Alex Hurt, writer of our recent lifestyle series and wellness guru! We were keen to find out how we could all learn to combat the challenges of working in a pandemic environment, post lock-down and how to deal with the anxiety/stress behind it. So we asked her few questions and challenges that we may all be dealing with.
Q: What has been the biggest wellness issue for you recently?
Honestly, it’s been the transition in returning to work. Having a schedule again, balancing my new found loves from lockdown with an extremely busy job. In fact, there was a day last week where the phone went on do not disturb and I stayed in my pjs all day.
It felt indulgent, but for me it was survival. I can’t give anything less than my best, I always try to keep to commitments and be the fixer – it’s exhausting. My anxiety kicks in and disables me. With experience on my side, I now know the difference between pushing myself out of a funk and the need for solace and to just be for a while. Last week it was the latter.
Q: How do you manage your daily mental health?
Ooh good question. My anxiety tends to be the worst when I wake. My cats are normally hungry at silly o’clock and take great pleasure in scratching my beautiful bed to make me spring out of bed in a cartoon like fashion.
I spend time in the morning on preparing for the day ahead. I prepare all my food, brew the tea, make the smoothie and grab my breakfast. It’s the process of taking my mind off the niggling anxiety, and forgetting the rather fraught dreams.
A process or a ritual has been my answer. At times when my overactive mind takes of my stream of consciousness I have to meditate. I need loud plinkity plonk music, aromatherapy and the floor… and between 20-30 mins of meditation. In a bad patch I’ll need guided meditation to sleep, with a cup of Sleep Well Tea on the side.
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of going back to work?
In fear of repeating myself, it’s balance. Lockdown allowed me to evaluate in a way I’ve never done before. For my whole career work has been the priority, and although since moving back to the UK I’ve made boundaries, this time allowed me to see that I was exhausted from work, unable to make life outside of it.
I’m working 2 days a week at the moment and trying to cram 5 days work into 2 days leaves me cross eyed and pressing the off button.
Q: What positives have come out of the pandemic for you?
So many positives… time mainly. I’ve never felt so me, and the time and solitude allowed me to connect with myself in a way I’ve never done before. It’s also allowed me time to speak to my family daily. My dad and I would sometimes have 2-3 hour philosophical conversations over FaceTime and other days we’d speak complete nonsense. It was great, and I know my dad misses it as he lives far away and I won’t be seeing him anytime soon.
My productivity increased as I was able to really focus on my love of writing. Not only did I continue to write my personal blog, but I wrote for Camellia’s Tea House, which I really enjoyed. I’ve been writing and creating copy for my whole career, as part of my role and beyond with writing for magazines. Lockdown gave me the permission I needed to tie my work in a bow and create my own website, showcasing my writing and creating an offering for others.
Now launching my own website is a manifestation of my time in lockdown, and a new trajectory for my future: www.alexandrahurt.co.uk
Q: Do you have a new work life balance?
Yes, but I’m still working on it. Until I go full time again, I’m still incredibly busy with volunteering in the gardens of Kentwell Hall, a stunning stately home near by and keeping up with my writing.
Q: What’s your go to SOS de-stress technique?
Run a hot shower, turn up the plinkity plonk music and apply a heavily infused aromatherapy relaxation blend to your chest and arms. Stand in the shower and allow the water to wash over you, take deep breaths and let the water set to work of your aches and pains or washing the day or the worry away. This is a cleansing ritual for the soul and not the skin. The shower is therapeutic. Then it’s clean pjs and my favourite spot on the floor for some meditation.
If I’m at work, it’s my scentered ‘escape’ aromatherapy balm rubbed on to my pulse points, eyes closed and a few minutes of deep breaths. Or if time allows ten minutes outside on a small bridge looking onto a lake.
Q: What’s your favourite cuppa?
This is easy, I love sitting in my big armchair nursing a cup of Camellia’s Beautiful Skin Tea. This is the calming comfort I need, and I know it’s doing me good.