A collection of stories gathered and told by women about what matters to them in their lives.

If you're gonna change anything about yourself or about your job, or do write that book or read that book or I don't know, play the learn to play the piano or learn to write a blog. This is the time to do it because everybody's going through the same pain. I think a lot of the things that I learned was that the the lockdown and they could do the initial lockdown anyway. It didn't it didn't sort of stop me

It made me feel like I'm a lot more resilient than I thought. I managed to still achieve what I wanted to achieve. I made a list of things that needed doing on my house, and I wanted to do

I like to learn. My mental health has vastly improved because of that, because I feel like I've got a purpose. It's not easy being a mom and a working mom at the same time

But then staying at home, I found more difficult because I want to get on and keep myself active, keep myself busy so that I'm not sat around. I decorated the old house, so it gave me a new perspective and it it felt like a new fresh start. So, um, that was a real positive

I feel better. I've gone back to work and my mental health has improved so much. I feel so much better for just being able to go out to work

It's almost like by understanding yourself at your worth, that's quite a good motivator. To try and pull yourself out of that had this strict routine 1000 words, three till five. And then from five till six, I would, um, get some meditating in

And then from six till seven, I would go for a run. As long as she's got a routine, she's happy. So during this lockdown, we know we wake up in the morning, we'll watch our certain cartoons until a certain time we have breakfast, then we go for a walk or we do it like an activity or something, like colouring or playing or reading or something

And then she has her nap. Then we have lunch and then we'll do something in the afternoon. Even when I was very low and didn't want to leave the house, I would think, Oh, it's my group, you know you'll feel better once you've been, and it would make me get in the shower and get ready

So it gave me purpose. It gave me a routine. It stopped me from isolating, trying to keep a schedule with the kids

Keeping the kids in a routine every day felt like a Saturday. Logistically, it's been difficult. We've got to change the whole way

We do work. Basically, it's not. It's not good for me to be stuck in the house all day, and it's not good for me to like, um, be isolated

It's not good for me to to wallow and stuff, and I'm much better if I'm proactive and I'm building a routine in for myself. I am in the long run, very grateful for this experience, because I think it's the only time we're ever gonna have to like to be able to get to know yourself in this way. I've connected with nature, I think, a lot more, which has been the benefit as well, because as many of us know, being outside and connecting with nature, the endorphins fluy system and it's like a natural field of thing

So it's been very positive on the whole. Running is really, really important to me. I'm not able to do it at the moment because of damage my knee, this one

I'm finding a bit more difficult because the weather's not as nice. We can't just keep the back door open and go outside and play all the time in the Garden. We can't go out whenever we feel like, because most of the time it's pouring down with rain or it's dark

By the time she sort of like has her mental half hour that she needs to get out and burn some energy off, it's It's already dark by that time at half past four, walking the dog and we've got a specific field near me, um, where it's enclosed and it's specifically for dogs. So going on there met loads of new people, and I've been able to talk. We've got a couple of local parks where I live, so I'd make sure that I went and had a really good 15 minute walk because I wasn't getting out

Um, throughout the day that 15 walk cleared my head and it made me, um, sort of rationalise with breathing because the anxiety was very, very high at that time I started running, Um, because I I didn't have access to a gym anymore. But I did have access to, like, lots of open space to run around in. So I did that, and that really taught me that I must

I didn't think it at the time. But upon reflection, I've realised that that must mean that I was able to adapt to something quite big because that became like the centre of my week. And it gave me structure and it gave me an outlet and a distraction

When this happened again, I I obviously just relied on being outside more, and I immediately started running again and going on more walks. The word service means you are of service to others. And I think that that word has been lost that that that word has kind of been lost like it's a it

It just seems like a flippant word. It doesn't mean anything anymore. For some, I think some services have lost the way a little bit on what being of service to others are

And yeah, I think, and I think that the pandemic has shone the light on on that, um of how either good they are or how bad they are. All of the different things and activities and people and support that I would usually have in place for myself to keep, you know, to keep myself well and look after myself, I suddenly felt like I couldn't access the first lockdown. All mental health

Um, support was almost withdrawn immediately. Um, the the support groups that you go to, um, the charities that were running the support groups, it was literally sorry. You know, we've We've been told we have to close and it's like, What? What am I supposed to do? A few of the courses have started back up, and they've asked me to go back, Um, because they were doing courses before the lockdown, and they asked me to go back

So I was able to social distance to meet my friends, and I was able to work with the tutors, which made me mental health. I don't have mental illness, but I do have anxiety, which is part mental health. And that made me feel, um, more positive going back to me causes

And also back on track. He gave me a tablet, so they could do me and make sure I'm all right and, uh, as my well being. And, uh, they've been keeping in touch every week to find out how I am

And you know what I've been up to. And if there's any support they can give me my experience of lockdown has been, um, a bit of a roller coaster because you go from, um, feeling totally excited about not having to go anywhere. And I think when it got to like August, I was feeling a little bit cabin feverish

Um, not I wouldn't say needy of like people, but just aware that there was nobody around, nobody was moving. You know, there was no none of that connection. So that made me a bit more aware of how important relationships are

How important. Um, being connected to people having conversations was so, you know, I spent more time calling my, um, grandmother and other relatives. I was planning to go and see my brother in Australia this year

Obviously, that's a big no no. Australia have said they will not be letting people into the country or out of the country accept under exceptional circumstances until 2022. I just wish the whole society will come together and and make a big difference

Everybody wants Christmas. I want to see my grandkids at Christmas. I want to see my relatives at Christmas, and at the moment it's looking like and can

I couldn't see my mom, my Nana, my granddad that that that's upsetting because my Nana's my Nana's got dementia. I love going to the spiritual church, you know. But through the Corona, they they can't we can't go

So luckily, they started doing it. Now this last week, I've seen it on Zoom. That was very nice

And I must admit, I enjoyed it and I just really locked down. I felt so alone. I've not been able to hold Children

That's another thing that keeps me going. And I couldn't see my partner like I said, And I, um you know, I had to sort of be fine with that. And we we had to overcome those obstacles in our relationship, which brought us, you know, closer together

It it's like I've I've become more connected and like, say, one group, they've got all Anastasia. You might like this if you like this and put me in touch with other things, so I've ended up. But at the end of the last lockdown, going from being this little unknown person who likes to hide under the bed clothes to someone who's got writing and art online on different sites in Manchester, different support groups have picked things up

So I've actually been able to connect with people that way through talking to them and then me talking to family and friends about how, um, what their experiences are. I've managed to change their attitude and now they, um, want to volunteer. They've been donating, so that's a positive thing

It was kind of like I just learned to connect better with people over countless zoom quizzes and phone calls and text messages. And I learned about myself that actually I I have always known that's important. But I suppose it made me realise that there were people that I had lost touch with, and I really started to reach out to people that hadn't spoken, been in a long time, and that was really lovely

So I suppose I've always known I'm a very social creature, but it's it's like it reaffirms it when you're put in such extreme circumstances, I suppose. For me, the most important thing during lockdown is people talking to each other.

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