7 Lessons from Lockdown

Reflecting back on what have definitely been the busiest, strangest months of my life - I thought I would share some of the lessons I have learned from lockdown:

Lifesaver

1. People don't just look for the helpers - they strive to be them

When looking back over our Salford CVS website stats recently I saw a huge spike in visits in the middle of March. This coincided with when our Emergency Response Volunteer Registration Form went live. The spike was a result of hundreds of people in Salford stepping forward to help in their communities.

They say that during times of disaster you should look for the helpers and here in Salford people have been consistently registering to volunteer and help with the COVID-19 response. My fantastic Volunteer Centre colleagues have worked hard to match many of these volunteers to where they were most needed.

The response of new and long-standing volunteers, Mutual Aid Groups and good neighbours - supporting those most at risk in our communities - has been a source of hope in the darkest parts of lockdown. It shows that you will always find people who are helping.

Squirrel

2. Take notice: squirrels can bark

One of the Five Ways to Wellbeing that I’ve always struggled with was ‘Take Notice’, I didn’t really understand how it could benefit your wellbeing or how you actually did it.

However, since strict limitations were introduced on time spent outside, going to the park felt like such a privilege that I would venture out in all weathers and properly took in my surroundings.

This is how I discovered that squirrels can bark (technically known as an alarm call). Taking notice has made me appreciate my surroundings and turned these works into mini urban safaris!

Now that my walks have become more mindful I get so much more out of them.

FOMI

3. Fear Of Missing Information (FOMI) is the new FOMO!

With most people’s default activity recently being lounging PJ-clad on the sofa I certainly wasn’t experiencing any feelings of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) throughout lockdown.

For me, if I wasn’t washing my hands or watching Tiger King, I was reading and sharing information. There were the daily updates, changes to guidance, resources being published and lots to process and promote.

As a local infrastructure charity, part of our job is to get relevant, accurate information out to our members promptly. During coronavirus it was more important than ever to do this, so we took over our regular web news feed with COVID-19 updates and added a filter to the page to help our local VCSE sector to find the information they needed with ease.

I hope this all went some way to helping prevent FOMI for our members!

Hello sign

4. You can still be connected even while you are apart

When we heard of social distancing at Salford CVS our first thought was that it wasn’t about being socially distant – just physically separate. Cue lots of failed attempts at coming up with a hashtag that succinctly conveyed this – the best I came up with was #2gether2MetresApart. Unsurprisingly, it still lies unclaimed and unused on twitter. Fortunately, some hashtag genius created #TogetherApart and we jumped on board to join the call for staying socially connected while we physically distance.

In my experience, I’ve spent more time with many of my friends, albeit virtually, during lockdown. Online quizzes have brought together extended members of the family I’d only ever met at weddings. While I’ve seen less of my team mates, we have stayed in touch via online Monday Motivation active sessions, Slack chats and Zoom catch ups. This social connection was so important during the stressful and occasionally gloomy days of physical distancing.

Phone recordings

5. You don’t have to be Spielberg to make a video

Since the beginning of lockdown, we have more than quadrupled our video output at Salford CVS (check out our YouTube channel). This has been a result of changing the way we work and trying to stay connected with the people we work with.

I first dipped a very tentative toe in the world of video making when recording my Meet the Team video. This series of videos allowed our members to get to know our team, albeit virtually. While my first attempt at self-shooting took a lot more takes than I anticipated, I’ve now got to grips with the best way to set up my phone and I have overcome any camera shyness.

I used Windows Video Editor software to do basic editing of some of the videos. It allows you to clip videos, stitch different clips together and insert images. I also went back to basics and used Powerpoint when I wanted to animate the images featured in my videos. For more complex edits, DaVinci Resolve gave greater functionality but it did have a bit of a learning curve and older laptops or desktops may not be able to support it.

I recently took part in a webinar, which covered some great Adobe software (including free versions!) perfect for quickly making this kind of video content. If this is something you are interested in, I’d recommend you watch it back here.

Peel Tower and Moors

6. Greater Manchester has amazing green spaces

During lockdown I discovered new walks, parks and Ees practically on my doorstep (I also learned what an Ees is). As restrictions relaxed I ventured further from home, to Holcombe Moor, Broadbottom and Winter Hill thanks to some step by step walking routes on the GM Walking website.

In the midst of a mildly terrifying dash down Winter Hill in a lightning storm I managed a very brief moment of reflection to wonder at how different the landscape was only a 30 minute drive from home.

I’ve felt so privileged to live somewhere with a great range of green spaces; woodland, moors, hills and valleys – though I will be sticking to sedate strolls along the Bridgewater until the weather clears!

Smiley Face

7. Social media can be a happy place

We’ve all heard warnings about how social media can negatively impact our mental health and wider wellbeing. As someone who spends a big chunk of time on social media for work, topped with a dollop of Instagram addiction this is something that I try to be aware of and manage.

I’ve also always been inclined to see the kinder side of social media, for small charities especially it is a vital tool in raising awareness, fundraising and growing reach in a cost effective way.

During lockdown I followed trusted accounts to keep myself up to date with the latest news, which has helped me to stay informed. I’ve also found a lot of light relief in posts from those who are also struggling to get their heads around advice that has at times felt contradictory and confusing. My favourite aspect of lockdown social media has been the positive and uplifting content shared from Instagram Live videos of artists performing unplugged sets to daily wellbeing challenges.

Some of these positive activities featured in our #SalfordStories wellbeing timetables, including colour themed arts and crafts challenges from Arts Let Loose, daily wellbeing activities from START on Instagram and a weekly Facebook fitness video from Majic Sport.

If you stay aware of how much screen time you are clocking up and curate your feeds carefully you may find a happy place on social media!

This isn't forever. It's just right now.

Do you have lessons from lockdown?

If you have learned anything from lockdown or have picked up some good habits since staying home, share them with us on:

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – search for @SalfordCVS.

You can also get in touch via email: office@salfordcvs.co.uk.

Salford CVS
Author: 
Becky Roberts, Information and Communications Worker

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5 Irwell Place 
Salford, M30 0FN

Tel: 0161 787 7795 
Email: office@salfordcvs.co.uk

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Salford CVS is the city-wide infrastructure organisation for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector; providing specialist information, advice, development support and opportunities for influence and collaboration.

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