Stay positive, stay healthy and stay home - Charity worker’s advice after living in China’s coronavirus lockdown

PUBLISHED: 18:08 24 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:13 26 March 2020

The Mabey Family live in China, where the coronavirus outbreak started and offer advice on dealing with home life during a lockdown. Pictured are Claire Mabey, husband Julian and sons Jonathan and Samuel.

The Mabey Family live in China, where the coronavirus outbreak started and offer advice on dealing with home life during a lockdown. Pictured are Claire Mabey, husband Julian and sons Jonathan and Samuel.

Mabey Family

As China nears the end of its lockdown, Claire Mabey, originally from Ely, shares her advice on getting through the weeks of self isolation with her family.

Claire Mabey, originally from Ely, currently lives in the city of Nanning, China with her family.Claire Mabey, originally from Ely, currently lives in the city of Nanning, China with her family.

She has been living in lockdown with her family since it was imposed in China on January 24, and life is only just starting to return to normal in their city of Nanning, about 750 miles south west of Wuhan.

While social restrictions were stricter in other parts of the county, the rules they have had to adhere to are gradually being relaxed.

Friends and family are allowed to meet from a distance, and schools are expected to return to normal in the next fortnight or so.

Here, Claire offers families in the UK her advice on getting through the lockdown she experienced with husband Julian, and two teenage sons Jonathan and Samuel.

Claire Mabey, originally from Ely, now lives in China with her family. She has shared her tips on getting through the coronavirus lockdown for families.Claire Mabey, originally from Ely, now lives in China with her family. She has shared her tips on getting through the coronavirus lockdown for families.

In an email, she said: “Obey and respect the measures in place and uphold what the government are asking of people, knowing that it’s short term and necessary to limit deaths and suffering. Also, care about supporting those around you, including the healthcare workers who will be put under a lot of stress during this time.

“Stay mentally positive. The vast number of people will recover and will be able to fight the virus. Don’t feed the fear factor! Look at the news once or twice a day, limit the negative influences. Don’t listen to scare mongering.

“Stay healthy! Eat well, exercise, laugh, dance, enjoy your family time and make the most of it!! I worked as a nurse in UK for 17 years, something about illness and dying makes you put things into perspective! What really matters? If you do get stressed, reach out and find support. It’s there!”

Her final tip is: “Try to have some structure and planning to the day as it just helps get through the time. When I got overwhelmed I did have a good cry and let my emotions out, that’s normal and healthy.”

Claire Mabey, originally from Ely, shares a snapshot of life for her family living in China.Claire Mabey, originally from Ely, shares a snapshot of life for her family living in China.

Claire, a former nurse, now works as a charity worker and has lived in China for five years. Her older son David lives in London.

She has contacted the Nursing and Miwidery Counsel to let them know she’s willing to return and work in the UK to support the NHS during the coronavirus outbreak.

In her email, she does admit ‘having younger kids would have been tough to deal with’.

She said: “My children are 14 and 17. They are older and able to self-motivate and cope better with things. We have a basketball court here in our compound so they could still let off steam. They also have school work to be occupied with. I think having younger kids would have been tough to deal with.

Claire Mabey, originally from Ely, shares a snapshot of her family's life in China.Claire Mabey, originally from Ely, shares a snapshot of her family's life in China.

“Structure is key! Activities, chores, planning to keep them engaged and put their energy somewhere! Learning music is a suggestion, so many wonderful resources thanks to technology. My kids love garage band. Free YouTube lessons, books, good films, creative ideas, exercise.”

- How is your young family dealing with the lockdown? Email louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk with your experiences.

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