Sinead Harrington caught up with effervescent entrepreneur Aoibhín Garrihy to find out how she is getting on since the pandemic began. 

How are you coping with this new way of life?
Trying to navigate the now is a definite challenge. Of course, ensuring our family and extended family stay safe and healthy is the first priority. Both John and I have our own businesses which of course (like most) are directly affected by all of this and so we are trying to diversify in order to keep the ship afloat in these unchartered waters.

That requires us to work from home for the foreseeable and with two babies under two that’s certainly proving a challenge. We have set up a sort of tag team and I’m currently on my shift in the home office (A.K.A the parked car in the driveway) in order to get away and try to get some work done.

In relation to coping, it’s a whole new unpredictable, unprecedented situation and so we are just trying to ride it out I guess in the hope that it’ll be short-lived while also trying to take the positives from it all and make some self-improvement changes along the way!

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Where are you based now and who are you with?
I live in Ennis in Co Clare with my husband John, our two little girls Hanorah and Líobhan and our two French Mastiffs Reggie and Rubie. We are building a new home in Ennis at the moment too which like everything has slowed down too but it’ll move again when things get going again and we’ll appreciate it all the more when we finally move in.

I’m missing time by the sea in Spanish Point though. It’s usually my therapy and I’ll certainly embrace it even more after this. What is the one thing you do to help get through a difficult day? In usual circumstances it’s a dip in the sea as mentioned above or just time in the outdoors but since the pandemic has limited that somewhat I have been exploring other ways to limit my screen time and have really enjoyed discovering new hobbies.

I’ve taken to painting, seascapes mainly and love it. I’ve also been immersing myself in poetry and words, I find them to be really healing at the moment which brought about Breathe with BEO, a podcast dedicated to calming words to ease the mind. Since launching people have started to send me poems they’ve written or love and I’m building up an amazing collection.

I’m also running most days thanks to my sister Doireann’s #ARunADay incentive online and it’s the best start to the day. This week BEO also launched a daily Insta live at 1pm, where I chat with expert health and wellness advocates about isolations tips, self-care and adapting to this new environment. It’s really informative and it’s lovely to see so many people getting involved and learning from it. So it’s all go!

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What are you watching/listening to at the moment?
I think like most, I’ve possibly been overdoing it on the news front and so am trying to limit that now just to headlines in the evening. I’m determined to get Disney+ this week and relive the classics of my youth and introduce Hanorah to some of them too.

Podcasts are a great escape but I’ve found the Calm app and it’s narrated stories are a really lovely way to pass the time. I’ve also been immersing myself in Ted Talks this week.

Who is the first person you’ll meet when the restrictions are lifted and what will you do?
I know the grandparents are really struggling with this, as are the kids. My mom and I have the same bag and Hanorah spotted the bag in my wardrobe this morning and full of excitement said "Nana’s Bag?!" as she searched for my reply in the hope that nana had called to visit - when she discovered she hadn’t the tears rolled in. It’s so hard being away from the ones you love. We’ll be paying a visit to both grandparent’s houses as the first port of call, I think.

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Where is the first place you’ll visit when the restrictions are lifted and why?
I think it will be so so important to support our tourism sector here at home now more than ever. It will take a very long time before things start to get back to normal but let’s begin to at least help those working in tourism get back up and running. I will be so conscious and mindful of that for a long time I think and will try holiday, eat, drink and shop local.

What is the first restaurant you’ll go to and what will you order?
The Armada Hotel in Spanish Point, of course! I was there when they closed the doors and it was so sad. It’s never happened before and it’s so difficult to see something going from strength to strength and then the rug suddenly pulled out from underneath. I’ll be so happy to see it open and welcoming guests again. The Galleon (an epic array of fish) is the only way to mark the occasion! 

Is there anything that you’ve learned about yourself because of this experience?
There is so much to be taken from all of this. In my house, it has forced two people who are not great at slowing down to simply be. With two babies, business, a new build and all the other stuff I did feel like a hamster on a wheel at times which can get very overwhelming.

This situation has actually been a welcome reassessment of how things can and should be done differently. I’ve adopted new healthy habits, have found myself appreciating the smaller more meaningful moments and finally, it’s made me realise how blessed we are.

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Join Aoibhín on Instagram in conversation with some of Ireland's health and wellness advocates as they share their top self-care, isolation tips as we try to adapt to a new normal. 

Listen to Aoibhin’s podcast, Breathe with BEO, here and check out all upcoming Beo events here.