New beginnings and that anxious feeling – Covid-style!

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What a time to start a new job!

I began working for Salford CVS the week before lockdown happened back in March. My role is Meetings and Events Administrator, and of course, meetings and events were immediately cancelled! All I could do was dive right in to help where I could whilst undergoing a steep learning curve. Despite all the disruption, meeting colleagues and seeing how systems work during this crisis made me see my co-workers for who they are. What an amazing team! I have been supported, helped and welcomed so brilliantly that I feel very much part of Salford CVS.

Lockdown has been a rather anxious time for many, including myself. My boyfriend had to shield from day one due to an existing health condition. I continued to work in the Salford CVS office three days a week, in a COVID-safe environment. We haven’t been to any shops, pubs, restaurants or, up until a certain point, no public spaces. It’s a very strange feeling to suddenly be stuck inside but TV became our very dear friend, as did the takeaway driver. That’s when things had to change.

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Don’t let the BMI grind you down

I have never been the fittest or most active person. However, during lockdown this really became apparent. My boyfriend and I were too scared to go outside just in case we bumped into someone. We were so scared of catching Coronavirus. Our anxiety was soaring. For me, I was more concerned about passing on germs to my boyfriend. I always thought I’d be fine. Then the updated risk factors came out and I started to become more worried for myself.

My BMI is very high, and I was immediately deemed as at risk. Over the months of lockdown, I started to feel unfit, tired and anxious – this was affecting both mine and my boyfriend’s mental health. I couldn’t carry on living this way, I had to do something about it.

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Get your walking shoes on

My boyfriend and I decided in June that we’d attempt to go for a walk to see what it was like out there in the ‘real world’. We started by walking through our housing estate to investigate a little path which we’d sort of seen but hadn’t really paid attention to before. I have lived in our house for eight years and I suddenly couldn’t believe what we found…

Fields, lots and lots of fields and open spaces right on our doorstep! We started going out every evening after I finished work, discovering where these paths led to. Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like I was suddenly super fit. It took a LOT for me to get going. We went through motions of tears, anxiety, fear and I wanted to give up as soon as I began. I knew that I’d be scared of what was outside, scared of how unfit I was and scared of being embarrassed in front of my boyfriend. But because I know how I react to things, I tasked my boyfriend with supporting me to go out, despite what I said and what fuss I made. The tough love is what I needed and I’m so grateful I asked him to do that. Some days are a lot tougher than others, especially when I feel tired and I don’t want to go out but once I get going, it’s not so bad. It’s amazing how great you feel when you’ve come home after walking 3km (including some hills!), especially as I never thought I’d even do half a km! Even though I know 3km isn’t that far, I’m still proud of myself and we’re going to start going for longer walks soon. I’ve now started to feel fitter; my mind is clearer and I look forward to seeing what we will find on our next walk.

If you’d like to look at the benefits of walking you can take a look at this tool on the Bupa website. 

For useful local routes head to the GM Walking website.

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Create a snapshot or have some quiet time

I get bored with exercise so easily and I hate doing the same thing day in day out, especially walking in the same space. It’s a little easier as I walk with my boyfriend so we can chat as we walk. If I were to ever walk alone, I’d take my headphones and listen to some music or a podcast. On the other hand, walking is a great time to have a good think and clear your head by having some quiet space away from our households.

During my walks, I love finding new places to go and new places to see. I love discovering nature and more so, I love taking photographs. My dad has always said that I had ‘the eye’ for photography but it’s only really shone when I’ve gone for a walk somewhere and just snapped a shot. I only use my iPhone but it’s amazing what you can capture. I look back at these photos and it makes me smile and reminds me of what a great day we had. I even print some of the better photos off and put them on our walls at home. All the photos for this blog have been taken by me on walks near to where I live.

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Look after yourself the best way you can

So, I guess the point of my blog is to say, don’t worry. Don’t worry if you feel anxious. Don’t worry if you’re scared. Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start. If I can get out and do it, anyone can. All you need to do is talk to someone or give yourself a little goal. Most importantly, always be proud of the fact you’ve done something positive, no matter how small it may be.

The little accomplishments are getting me through the current situation, and I know this is what I needed to make myself feel healthier. I feel fitter each day (the takeaways have stopped too!) and I feel so much better for making the decision to do it.

My advice to anyone who wants to make a difference in their life, whatever it may be, is to give things a try. Unless you try, you just don’t know.

Salford CVS
Author: 
Helen Johnson, Meetings and Events Administrator

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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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