Reflecting on a second lockdown


I don’t know about anyone else, but this second lockdown feels harder than the last one.

Although the restrictions are slightly less… restrictive it still feels harder. Why? Perhaps the weather doesn’t help? The first lockdown I was able to take my daily half-hour walks around Lightoaks Park, especially in the evenings. But this time, in Winter, when it’s dark, that option feels less easy than before.

Last time we were in the midst of a heatwave in May, I sometimes sat outside in my backyard, internet signal permitting, and worked from there.

No, it’s not like that this time.

For the past year or so, every Thursday evening I go down to Ordsall Leisure Centre and play football. I’m part of a league called Man V Fat and the point of the league is to help guys like me lose weight. And it seems to be working! Since we came back from Lockdown 1.0 I had lost 11kg! The football is one element, but the truth is, it’s the social side that makes the biggest difference to me. You’re in a team, with teammates who all have the same aim – to lose weight. And, I’m not going to lie, since we came out of lockdown, I was on fire!

Then it got postponed.

Having realised how few steps I had done in the first months of this year, I looked for a new way of exercising and decided to join a gym after the first lockdown. I absolutely love it. It’s a bit of me-time during the week where I can stick a podcast on, and jump on a treadmill for half an hour or so. I was doing really well. My 5k time had gone from 61 to 51 minutes.

Then it had to shut.

Although it’s only four weeks (fingers crossed) I wonder if I am the only one struggling. It doesn’t help that Christmas adverts are starting to play on TV too, that big family get-together just isn’t going to happen this year I think.

Then I can’t help think about work. I help to manage volunteers and facilitate Zoom sessions for older people as part of the Age Friendly Salford project. Some of the participants who rely on our Zoom sessions have not left the house since March. If I’m struggling, I dread to think how they must be feeling.

Thankfully, I know how they are feeling, relieved that the Age Friendly Salford Project exists, for a lot of the participants it has been a lifeline. Not just because of the chance to reflect on your own wellbeing, but as a social activity that happens during the week. It sounds dramatic, but I don’t think I’ve ever worked on a project before that has felt so important to people and their lives. Crucially, it’s not just the participants either, I know from speaking to our amazing volunteers that coming and helping sessions has been a lifeline for them too. One volunteer told me it helped them realise what day of the week it was as it gave them some structure to their week. Find out more about having Wellbeing Conversations in this video on YouTube and register for our next training session​.

So there are lots of reasons why this second lockdown is harder. It’s made me realise the importance of social interaction in whatever form to our personal wellbeing. For now, I’ve got Friday night Zoom quizzes and occasional online Mario Kart sessions with friends.

I hope you have something social to keep you going for the next few weeks…

...and if you don't these links may help:

Useful Resources - ways of getting moving, mindfulness, learning and fun!

Claire Benson, Salford CVS' Development Worker for Girls and Young Women has compiled a list of websites that offer ideas and support for the community. This list was put together during the first lockdown, but as national and local restrictions mean that we are spending much of our time at home we thought they would be useful to share once again. Visit the webpage.

START Inspiring Minds are producing a weekly 'Five Ways to Wellbeing' newsletter

During this difficult time of unrest and uncertainty START is continuing to support the community using creativity, innovation and warmth. This new weekly update is intended to highlight START's work; give you an insight into alternative ways of connecting and showcase the great spirit of Salford people during times of adversity. The newsletter will also include daily inspiring activities to keep your mind and body healthy during the lockdown. View the back issues.

How to stay healthy and entertained at home

The Co-op has complied a number of great ideas on how to stay healthy and entertained at home. Visit the webpage here.

Beyond Mental Health Support

Mental health support is available from Beyond, it is for people not known to the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

You can refer yourself via the Spirit of Salford helpline, call 0800 952 1000 or visit the website.

If you are already known to a Salford community mental health team, or you have a care co-ordinator (for example a Community Psychiatric Nurse) please ring the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust telephone line on 01204 483071.

Digital Mental Health Resources in Greater Manchester

A range of support is available: Shout crisis service A 24/7 Text Service (with trained crisis volunteers who will chat using trained techniques via text responses). Kooth is an online counselling and emotional well-being platform for children and young people aged 11 to 18 years. Living Life to the Full is one of the world’s most used wellbeing support packages and aims to provide key information using everyday non-complex language. BlueIce is an evidenced-based app to help young people manage their emotions and reduce urges to self-harm. This is only available on ‘prescription’ from a clinician working in child and adolescent mental health services. SilverCloud is an online therapy programme for adults proven to help with stress, anxiety, low-mood and depression.

Every Mind Matters 

Every Mind Matters have produced some resources to help people to cope with feelings of sadness, loneliness, boredom and anxiety. View the resources.

Salford CVS
Matt Bell, Volunteering Development Worker

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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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