Hi, I am Maddie, and I’m working as an intern at Inhispania for 7 months. I am very grateful to have be given an opportunity like this, and I can´t wait to spend the next year exploring and learning in one of the most beautiful and lively cities in the world.

I am living in a flat in the La Latina neighbourhood with 6 other international students; one from Italy, and the rest from Scotland, and England. To my amazement, weare all very like-minded individuals and have similar interests such as music and cooking, therefore I am eager to try some tradition home cooking. Unfortunately, the majority of my flat mates contracted Covid a few days ago, so we all had to isolate in the flat, but at least it gave us an excuse to enjoy sit-down meals together.

Despite living in shared accommodation, I am fortunate enough to have a balcony, so everyday I am able to get fresh air and soak in the remnants of the summer sun. I have the company of others, so feeling lonely, anxious or isolated from the rest of world isn’t something I have to think about, I have a big enough room to do a ‘homeworkout’, so I am not going completely insane, and I have other friends that live near me, meaning that obtaining food was and still isn’t an issue.

homeworkout

However, I must say that I physically miss being outside. Since arriving in Madrid, I have walked almost everywhere, only occasionally needing to use my Abono (30 day travel pass). I love exploring the city by foot, often finding hidden gems down back alleys, cute brunch places, or authentic tapas bars. But, I also miss adoptingexercise as a form of exploration. Running 15km around a city is one of my preferred ways to discover a new region, andelRetiro is where I often escape, to clear my mind, immerse myself in nature, and feel grounded; with its beautiful botanical gardens, glass palace, and breath taking lake, it is one of the most stunning parks I have ever visited. (Slightly controversial, but I think it’s superior to Central Park, New York).

Without a shadow of a doubt, the moment I’m free from this isolationI will be rising early and heading straight for ParkRetiro with my running shoes on; finally being able to move my body again, and immersing myself back into nature.

This might sound slightly bizarre, but something I particularlymiss is the sensationof walking bare foot on grass: the cool, soft blades against the sole of my warm feet. Although this is not something Itraditionally do from one day to the next, it is the one thing I crave the most. I think the sense of feeling grounded is hugely important, and refers to a feeling of being stable, at ease and consciously present. When we feel grounded, we are able to accept and let go of the monetary thoughts, and we allow ourselves to be centred and balanced no matter what is going on around us. For me, being surrounded by nature is when I´m most present. It is a place where I am fully able to relax, and practice mindful thinking.

I think this slightly odd craving is also partially in response to the lack of structure and routine I´m experiencing in isolation; stuck in the house all day with little or nothing to do. It can seem hard making yourself wake up in the morning knowing that there isn´t much to get up for. However, if I´ve learnt anything from isolation it´s that YOU ARE NOT ALONE, and “We are all in this together.”- (High School Musical)

Here are my top tips to help you through isolation:

  • Be grateful for 5 things everyday e.g. it could be something as trivial as your coffee in the morning, to the roof you have over your head, the support of your family e.t.c.
  • Take time to be kind to others e.g. whether that’s ringing your grandparents, getting in contact with old school friends, or making brownies for your flat mates!
  • Make a routine and keep yourself busy! Although it might seem difficult, but its important to make a list of things you are going to do the night before. It can be small things such as put a wash on, tidy your room e.t.c.
  • Keep your body moving! Sitting all day is not only bad for your physical health, but also for your mental health. I have made it a ruleof thumb that every morning I do yoga, I make myself walk around the flat, whilst listening to a podcast (I try to hit 10k steps a day, and I attempt to do a home workout most days). **try ffitcoco workouts on Instagram (Spanish) or the Bodycoach on Youtube**
  • Try something new e.g. try learning Spanish at Inhispania (they have online classes: one to one or group classes) and it can be a fun, and an informative way to learn a new language.
  • Avoid social media! I am guilty of endlessly scrolling on Instagram, facebook and especially TikTok!! But why not start watching a Spanish TV series e.g. la casa de papel, vis a vis or Elité.
  • **Top tip**: try and get at least 15 minutes of sunshine every day, even if that means sticking your head out of the window to reach the rays. Not only is vitamin D important for boosting your immune system, sunlight also causes your brain to produce serotine which improves your mood, and makes you happy. Why not learn in the sun as well!!

Thankfully, I only have a few more days left of quarantine, so I am going to keep going back over this list, reinforcing the ideas I have mentioned. Whilst, the remaining days might be difficult, the end is in sight, so I must look to the future.

Until next time, Maddie.

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