Our Guiding Vibe blogger, Charlotte Mellor, shares her thoughts on how to stay well during lockdown
We’ve now been in and out of lockdowns for a year and they don’t seem to get any easier, especially for those who have had to shield for the majority of this time. In this blog, I thought I’d reflect upon the brighter moments in lockdown which have helped me (and, I hope, others) to feel a little bit brighter during a really tough time.
I’m not really somebody who does craft which surprises everyone I know since I’m a Guider and, to an extent, I’m pretty certain everyone associates Guides with making things at some point or another. However, during lockdown, I was determined that I’d master a skill. That skill was knitting. I’d bought a kit which was supposedly a beginner’s level knitting kit. The task was to make myself a little stuffed whale. It was not easy. I had to learn how to understand the instructions, how to complete new stitches and how to be patient when I messed up so had to unpick the whole thing and start again. I’ll freely admit that at times knitting felt the exact opposite of relaxing. However, almost a year into lockdown, I finally managed to finish it. It’s a bit wonky and it certainly wouldn’t be winning any prizes at craft competitions but that little whale now sits on my desk as a reminder to myself that I can challenge myself to do new things and learn new skills. I’m already now considering making myself a scarf (I reckon I might just be done by next Christmas!)
- Calling people
My Grandma has had to shield for a lot of the last year, which has been tough for her. It’s been tough for me too, as I long to be able to go and visit her but I know that it’s currently a risk for me to do so. However, one bright spot has been having regular telephone conversations with her. In these conversations, I’ve heard about the ducks she had visit her bird feeder, the new neighbour she’s got, news about the baby one of my cousins has had. She also told me about a Guide badge her county were offering (the Lancashire East Pack Your Guiding Bags Challenge) which I did with my unit and they absolutely loved it! Alongside calling my Grandma, we’ve also been doing regular doorstep meal drops to my Grandad. Seeing him from the end of his driveway has been another nice bright spot in amongst the stresses of lockdown. It’s nice to know that people are still there even when you can’t see them as you used to. Furthermore, I also signed up to be a Check In And Chat volunteer as part of the NHS Volunteer Responders programme. Through this, I’ve had the opportunity to call and chat to a range of people. It’s very rewarding to know that this scheme is providing conversation to those who might otherwise feel cut off from society during lockdown.
When lockdown first occurred, Guiding sort of stopped for a while. Myself and my co-leader tried to suggest badges and other activities which the Guides could be doing via a parents/guardians WhatsApp group but, on the whole, it wasn’t the same as having structured meetings where the Guides could socialise with one another. Then we were lucky enough to get one of the Girlguiding zoom licenses. We held our first zoom Guides nights in September and they’ve brought a welcome structure back to the week. We’ve welcomed two new Guides during this period and done a whole range of things which, a year ago, I would have thought it impossible to run remotely (including a visit from a representative from Anglesey Lifeboats). We even had a virtual sleepover which the Guides loved (and us leaders actually got some sleep for once!) We’re now looking to join up with a Guide unit in Greater Manchester West for a virtual party night as part of the Girlguiding North West England 50th Birthday Challenge. That’s the sort of teamwork and collaboration we could never have done on a regular Guide night. So yes, whilst virtual Guiding isn’t the same as face-to-face Guiding, it has enabled us to try some new things and give the Guides experiences which they wouldn’t have otherwise had.
As summer returns and we look ahead hopefully for a return to normality, I think it’s important that we remember that lockdown hasn’t been all bad. In amongst the uncertainty and the stress there have been some bright spots which we should cherish and remember for many years to come.