How did Lockdown affect your mood and mental wellbeing?
Lockdown and COVID affected everything for me. I had put in a number of activities that aided with helping my mental health. Friends In Need provided me with the opportunity to get out and see people with similar issues and also provide help through the volunteer program, Slimming World helped with my personal weight loss and has been a big part of my life for the last few years, and finally, the cinema has been somewhere that I can go by myself (or with FIN) and have that escape time.
All of these things stopped when we were placed in Lockdown. Everyone’s opportunities to go out were few and far between and it took companies time to put new procedures in places to operate. I noticed a big drop in both my mood and my mental wellbeing, I referred myself to the Community Mental Health Team and had two changes in medication during lockdown to try and help.
What have you done to try to stay well?
I started colouring, I have never been one for art and crafts however I had gotten to the stage that I was prepared to try anything. I purchased several adult colouring books and sets of colouring pencils and pens. I then started reading more and found a series of books by Damien Boyd (Di Nick Dixon Series). Thankfully both Slimming World and FIN managed to setup Zoom sessions and I have been active on both Facebook and some of the Zoom sessions.
Who has helped you?
I have received help from members of the FIN community, I asked for a role on the buddy system so kept in contact with 2 members of my local group and said to them they could contact me if they ever needed to speak. My coordinator Kara helped to keep me up to date of what was happening with Friends in Need. My Slimming World consultant Sharon has also been vital trying to keep me on track with my weight loss.
How has FiN helped to keep you well?
FiN has helped me maintain contact with people and keep us feeling like a group, everyone has pulled together, getting out of their comfort zone and doing things via Facebook Live and Zoom chats. Perhaps the biggest thing that FiN has done is that reassurance that regardless of what is going on with COVID and Lockdown, the reassurance that they are still there.
What activities at FiN helped you?
The meetup sessions on Zoom have really helped, seeing people in other areas who we would not necessarily see often. Recently my group has started walking at Lily Hill Park once a week. Although I have been doing the walk on my own where I can, there was something about doing an activity that I am used to with FIN that made me feel like we are getting there.