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Work, Wellbeing & Walks – How lockdown taught me the value of time

Words by Nic Spindler, Founder of ParentFolk

In partnership with Next and their ‘Gym of Life’ Campaign. Explore the activewear collection here. 

‘Like many working mothers, I’ve always been poor at making guilt free time for myself. There’s always something that needs doing, right? Always another meeting, another call, another pile of laundry! I’ve always reasoned out things in my head as ‘having too much to do’, mixed with a slathering of ‘woe is me’ and a healthy muttering of ‘am the only one who does anything around here?’  Turns out the reality is there was only one person stopping me having that time to myself- me.


As a mother of 4, with a growing and demanding business and an ever evolving events calendar (usually), carving out time for myself is something I’ve never been good at. Being busy, being creative, growing my brand, prior to March 2020 this defined list represented my ’me time’. So when the pandemic pressed pause on life as I knew it,  like for many others, I struggled to realign with my purpose and to find a new rhythm and pace of life. I was so used to being ‘busy’ (even that word now makes me shudder). . 


Last year ‘Growth’ was going to be my word of the year, by March ‘Pause’ was a more accurate description, but whilst the sudden change in pace initially threw me into a blind panic, the slowing down gave me back something I didn’t realise I was craving, time. Time to think, time to reflect, time to hear my own thoughts, time to plan. Don’t get me wrong I have as many hours in the day as anyone else but the forced pause brought about by the pandemic, also forced some serious reviewing of habits and time to think about how I had been spending my time. 

The last 10 months, like for many people, brought lessons. I’ve spoken at length with friends, and other mothers who have been equally as challenged with the work/home school juggle and pressures. The homeschool and work juggle has been so hard at times, the feelings of missing friends and family, no plans in the diary, no next ‘thing’ to focus on.  But the time I was handed back has without question re-shaped me for the better. 


So when our friends over at NEXT talked to me about their GYM OF LIFE campaign never has a campaign felt so relevant to me personally. You see, whilst I’m no gym bunny, if there’s one thing I do a hell of a lot, it’s move! From my 5.45am alarm to when I fall into bed in the evening, so yes NEXT, my day to day life is my gym, and getting out and about on a daily basis has without question saved my sanity since last March.

As the New Year arrived there was no new faddy exercise resolution here, just a commitment to keep moving, to keep my mind and body well, and more importantly happy! The new active range by NEXT is brilliant for taking you from school run (ha if only!) to supermarket, from hopping on a work call, to sitting in comfort working from home (because who’s got time to change?!) The best bit? You feel great wearing it, the fabrics are stylish and supportive and keep you comfortable on the go, and I”m all for anything that makes you feel better about yourself. 


During lockdown, my daily walks have been my saving grace, time to breathe, to walk, to chat with the kids, to think creative thoughts, to allow ideas to come and go, to even allow those intrusive thoughts to come and to pass. We’re fortunate to live by the coast, so all weather beach walks became our thing. On reflection those steps where my therapy, food for the soul,  and whilst I’ve never been a gym fan, getting outdoors for exercise during those months, have shaped some of my fondest memories of our lockdown time as a family, as well as keeping my mind and body active.’


The 10 BIG lessons lockdown taught me:

1. All of your time is ‘me time’ you just choose how to spend it 

2. Don’t say yes if you mean no. No is good, it gives boundaries and protects your peace

3. There’s a difference between busy and productive (eye-opener!) 

4. Choose happy first 

5. Listen to your gut instinct

6. Journal your thoughts, your plans, your to-do lists! 

7. Get out for fresh air, it helps, especially on those grey days

8.  Protect what’s yours; ideas, peace, time

9.  Invest in YOU, from reading to exercising, to getting a good night sleep. You cannot pour from an empty cup. 

10. Embrace your very OWN gym of life (it’s personal and special to you)…


The new active range from NEXT is available to shop online now 

Shoot Styles featured:

Girls sports leggings from £12  

Girls Sports Zip Top from £21

Girls Elastic Lace Trainers from £22

Longline Black Hoodie £28

Sculpting 7/8 Sports Leggings £24

Pink Active Sports Trainers £35

Women’s long sleeve slogan sweatshirt £28

Wrap Waist Sports Leggings £22

Active Sports Trainers £35

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