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Mumsnet users share their experience of time outdoors during lockdown with Samaritans

228 replies

JustineBMumsnet · 14/05/2020 16:04

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Lockdown has meant that we’ve been spending most of our time in our homes, with precious time outdoors for exercise being treasured more than ever. This July, Samaritans are launching their second Samarathon, where you can run, jog or walk 26.2 miles in your own time and pace to help Samaritans save lives.

Now that many restrictions on exercising outdoors have been eased, they’d like to hear your experience of making the most of your time outdoors so far, and what you think that looks like in the weeks to come.

Plus, if you’d like to take part in Samarathon - alone, with a friend or with your family - click here for more information.

Ruth Sutherland, a mum of two, Samaritans listening volunteer and Samaritans CEO, says; “Now more than ever we know getting active works wonders for the whole family’s mental health. Our fitness-fundraising initiative, Samarathon, is focused on feeling good, and doing good! Why not sign up with friends, family or work mates and support each other’s progress wherever you all are?”

Perhaps you’ve been stretching out your daily exercise for as long as possible or ensuring you visit beautiful spaces that help you relax? Perhaps the routine of going for a walk before or after a day working from home helps separate work and home life? Are you looking forward to spending more time in the outdoors with your family now that the rules have been relaxed?

Whatever your experience of making use of time outdoors during lockdown and how that has made you feel, share on the thread below and you’ll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £200 voucher for the store of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck!


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Mumsnet users share their experience of time outdoors during lockdown with Samaritans
OP posts:
DuckingMel · 18/05/2020 17:47

Walking every day helps us with anxiety and passes the time. We are lucky enough to have a big garden and gardening also keeps us fit. I love seeing my potatoes grow.

foxessocks · 18/05/2020 18:14

We've done lots of bike rides, my daughter learnt to ride without stabilizers so we've been taking her out a lot. My son is sticking mostly to his scooter. My husband has got into cycling again and I've been out a few times on mine!

MrsFrTedCrilly · 18/05/2020 19:17

We walk most days as an end to the school day. I’m enjoying the birdsongs and the fresh air it brings a bit of closure and calm to the day

BellaVida · 18/05/2020 19:54

We’ve done a few of things.

  • my DH and I take it in turns to walk the dog. On each walk we take 1 of our 4 DC. That way each of them get some private time with us to share and concerns, talk about their day, let of steam or just have a joke.
  • we are taking long walks together as a family, taking time to notice things we spot, such as plants, animals, even different smells. We take a ball and stop on the way in a field or part to all play together.
  • the DC have a mix of live lessons and tasks, but we try to keep morning and lunch breaks the same so that they can have some time in the garden, whether that is on their own, playing with each other, or playing with the dog.
  • I have been doing a bit of gardening and getting them involved with simple tasks like raking or sewing seeds.

All of our screen time has been forced up and we have to do our work separately. This way we stay connected and take time to listen to and support one other.
TheModicum · 19/05/2020 00:48

My thing is swimming, which I can't do at the moment, so I've been walking instead. I live on the edge of farmland and every day, whatever the weather, I walk all around the perimeter of the field adjacent to my house. Anyone who wants to join me is welcome, but if everyone's busy with other things I go on my own. There's never anyone else around and once I'm away from the house the land stretches away from me in every direction. I never realised how big the sky was. I realise how silly that sounds but because it's so clean with the reduction in pollution it looks bigger and shinier somehow. Away from roads and human noise, I notice birdsong and the sounds of breeze in the trees and grasses. Daily life and the things that have been on my mind feel further away and in better perspective. I find it easier to make decisions about things I've been mulling. If my partner or children come too, we get a chance to talk and connect. I know I am really lucky to have this peaceful time in nature, and despite everything I'm grateful for the lockdown because I wouldn't have discovered it otherwise. Even when the swimming pool reopens, I'll continue my daily walking ritual, and I will do the Samarathon too, now I know about it. Thank you to the Samaritans for the work that you do.

Ashhead24 · 19/05/2020 08:45

I've been relearning to ride a bike for the first time in 20 years. It's been hard work but have got a great sense of achievement.

Otherwise we've been limited in getting out as the almost 2 year old hates the pram and there's no where close enough for her to walk. Wasn't a consideration when we bought the house as always assumed we'd be able to drive to places.

AnnieDoolally · 19/05/2020 11:07

I've walked semi-regularly. But, for me, it's really important that I walk without any of my household members as I really need time alone, which I miss painfully.

Lemonsherbets78 · 19/05/2020 14:30

Interestingly, outside spaces locally seem less busy now we can travel for exercise and go out multiple times a day. I assume this has something to do with living on the coast, so most people are down at the beach and cliff areas. In light of this, we've been to our local arboretum and park to have picnics and pick flowers to press, feeding the ducks and exploring the hidden gems in the countryside around us.

AgentCooper · 19/05/2020 17:30

I’ve been out for a two hour walk with my two year old DS every day. I struggle with anxiety and depression anyway but after 5 weeks of feeling weirdly well I really crashed.

Fresh air and movement makes a big difference. We go car badge spotting every day and he’s nearly ticked off all the badges in his wee book!

PickledChicory · 20/05/2020 00:36

I always knew living in the middle of nowhere would pay off. Me and my 3 kids and 2 dogs have enjoyed wonderful walks exploring local woods and all the areas near our house which we hadnt walked before. It used to be such a chore dragging the kids out for a walk but now they really enjoy it. We have used it as a learning experience, time to chat, talk about our feelings and have lots of fun.
I had to work all day yesterday and didnt get out. I actually felt really sad and out of sorts. Going out for a decent walk everyday has really helped us all.

SunsetOnTheHorizon · 20/05/2020 02:17

We discovered our local canal routes, and it was awesome! We've been walking pretty much every other day and ending up miles away from home. The trek back was fun, singing songs all the way home.

Ijustneed · 20/05/2020 04:41

I try to go for a walk every day, although I don't always manage it. I suffer from depression and have definitely found that getting outside and walking helps my mood. Sometimes it's only quarter of an hour round the block, but even that helps.

Aretheystillasleepbob · 20/05/2020 10:47

We live by the beach so go to the seafront almost every day, and with the lack of traffic the kids are getting to ride their bikes safely on the roads so we can go further than on foot.
Getting out everyday for a few hours is keeping us all healthy and clear headed and is an unexpected plus to lockdown.

MrsCaplan · 20/05/2020 18:10

We used to be unashamed couch potatoes but have now been driven to brave the great outdoors out of sheer boredom - at first. It turns out it's actually a LOT of fun, and we've had a wonderful time discovering local woods, walks and views that we would have never otherwise explored. It's official - we are reformed characters!

Gingerkittykat · 20/05/2020 19:43

Sitting outside this morning with a cup of coffee as the sun came up listening to the birds dawn chorus really lifted my mood.

Mummymummums · 20/05/2020 20:03

We have been walking more as a family. Sometimes we incorporate a scavenger hunt. Twice in a week the children (12 & 13) run with my husband while I walk.
We'd like to cycle but our local forest has banned cycling due to high number of accidents during usual times that would put more strain on NHS now. Still plenty cycling there but we're rule followers generally and worry about being caught too!

Cd89 · 20/05/2020 22:39

We've tried to make the best of the situation and think of the positives. Spending so much time together is unusual but we've really enjoyed exploring our local area. The kids take it in turns to choose the directions and we just walk. Sometimes I might engineer it to go via the cake shop, or cider shack, or in a smaller loop but generally we follow their noses and see what we can find.

Mintjulia · 21/05/2020 09:07

I’m furloughed with my ds 11.

Home schooling is ok after a shaky start. I allocated an hour per afternoon for “PE” which is a mix of cycling, walking, catching practice (for cricket when he goes back to school), zoom karate and football kick about.

Apart from helping with general mood and sleep, my son has learned that his bike is transport, not just a toy, and he can easily cycle to any of his friends’ houses in other villages. He’s learnt to deal with traffic while it is relatively quiet. And because he isn’t sitting passively in a car, he has learnt the routes.

Out walking, he has learnt the difference between a red kite and a buzzard, can spot swallows, swifts and sky larks.

And best of all, he talks to me when we are out walking. No distractions from computer games. Before lockdown I would have had to physically drag him out on a walk. Now he joins in, almost enthusiastically Smile

TooOldForThis67 · 21/05/2020 18:31

I'm lucky I live in a town with plenty of parks and must admit I am appreciating it all more now and making the most of it. I have a young son and he is enjoying the variety and we treat each outing as an 'adventure'. We also have many places which are a short car drive away and it's been great being able to go further afield now restrictions are easing.

KateOxford · 21/05/2020 20:42

We’ve been taking walks together, as a family around our neighbourhood. We’ve lived here for 4 years but we’ve seen things we’ve not seen before; we’ve been down the little alleyways we’ve never had a reason to go down, we’ve walked around the edge of the park and looked at the bushes and flowers growing, when normally we just go on the swings in the play park. We’ve stopped and talked to neighbours and admired their front gardens. Generally, the pace has slowed and we’ve been able to soak in and enjoy a lot more of what is around us on our doorstep. None of it has changed, it’s just that we’ve had the time and reason to appreciate it more.

kimmy121 · 21/05/2020 23:44

We've walked 3 to 8 miles a day - found places and things we didnt know existed.
Dug the garden up ( something we've put off for 6 years) and levelled it ready for a new patio.
Painted the front of the house.
Litter picked a local beauty spot.

Fresh air and the calmer pace of life has been wonderful.

OhYouBadBadKitten · 22/05/2020 09:23

Being able to get out running, cycling and walking has helped immensely. The rhythm is soothing and it makes me feel less trapped. I've discovered so many new paths and new perspectives on the local area.

jacqui5366 · 22/05/2020 13:14

We have been so lucky to have good weather over the lockdown period, so I have been able to before the children get up, go for a walk with the dog, I need to feel the fresh air on my face, and lungs, I have got out our trampoline with the safety enclosure and the children have jumped, made jumping games with balls and times tables, we have made home made kites, planted peas in the garden (which are just climbing up the bamboo canes as we speak). In the evening I have taken up yoga before bed - just half an hour on a youtube channel - but it's cleared my mind and stopped my worrying as much before I go to bed.

zingally · 22/05/2020 15:40

I've been furloughed from my job in a pharmacy, while my husband is still at work as a social worker. I have 3 year old boy-girl twins, and "outside time" has been a saviour!
Luckily we'd already planned, and budgeted, for buying some outdoor play equipment for the twins for this summer, so we got a climbing frame and a trampoline. We don't have loads of space, but the trampoline has been especially loved, and has earned it's space on the grass! The twins have been out in the garden every day, bouncing, climbing, or just pottering, as 3 year olds do! The bushes are getting picked to shreds!
Honestly, we're just trying to be outside as much as possible. We've done chalk on the patio and the side of the garage, we've painted rocks, we even bathed the dog!

We haven't done a whole lot outside the home unfortunately. My mobility isn't very good at the moment, and 2 toddlers plus dog on a walk is a bit more than I feel capable of. That being said, this past weekend, we (plus hubby) went to the country park in the neighbouring town and practically had the place to ourselves! We saw baby ducks, had a picnic, and it was really, really lovely. :D

Lurkingforawhile · 22/05/2020 17:47

I was shielding for the first four weeks, and although I have a nice garden my mental health really suffered from not being out walking in the lovely countryside nearby. On the day I found out that the shielding criteria had changed I couldn't stop smiling. The next day I had a walk on beautiful bluebell woods, with the beech leaves just coming out. I saw dog walkers and one horse rider, and smiled at them all. I didn't realise how much my walks in the countryside meant to me, until I lost the freedom to do them.

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