As lockdown enters week 9 (we think?) are you finding this enforced time together relaxing or tiring? According to recent You Gov figures, 87% of us think we are coping pretty well, although 25% felt it was putting a strain on their relationship.  So, if you’re looking for new ways to find a little me-time away from it all, look no further.

Just chill

Even though we are confined to a much smaller space than we are used to, it is possible to create a special place in the house or garden to just chill. Treat yourself to a comfy chair, some colourful new cushions from Claire’s and the perfect footstool. Then pick some new mindfulness books from The Works and create a new lockdown relaxation playlist. It’s all about recognising the need to walk away from work/family/the phone and taking a little time out before moving onto the next task.

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Find a new relaxation routine

Many of us have found time to add one hour of permitted exercise into our lives. Whether it’s a gentle walk around the block, a vigorous jog or a speedy bike ride, it’s all good news for our mental health.  Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, and stimulates endorphins in the brain that act as natural painkillers and mood enhancers. So now the one hour restriction has been lifted, you have all day to get some fitness magazine inspiration from WHSmiths before you get going…

Pamper yourself

Online sales of toiletries have increased, showing that with non-essential stores closed, many of us have rushed to order that special moisturiser, bubble bath or face pack. Good to see that taking care of our skin and looking good is still high on the agenda. Check out the luxury body and bath range from Boots and the latest health and beauty star buys from Superdrug.

Learn to paint

From getting DIY tasks done around the house, to enjoying the challenge of painting by numbers, we seem to have been getting creative. And with offers on kids art and crafts supplies from The Works and great deals on stationery essentials from Poundland it’s no surprise that local schoolchildren from the John Ray Infant School in Braintree have been hitting the paint pots to create rainbow displays that spread hope and happiness during this period of lockdown Plenty of evidence that the nation’s artistic skills are on the rise. The perfect way to relax the brain after a busy day.

This picture has been taken from the John Ray Infant school website – well done to all involved!

Here are lots more ideas for colourful fun at home, thanks to our George Yard retailers:

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Paint rocks with positive messages thanks to Claire’s.

Challenge yourself to complete all 10 printable activities from The Works.

Make colourful Berry Cheesecakes in Jars with Cath Kidston and WHSmith.

Make crazy creatures from pencils thanks to Poundland.

Learn how to paint flowers in water-soluble pastel with WHSmith.

We hope to see you at George Yard Shopping Centre again soon, but in the meantime, please stay safe, keep healthy and stay in touch!