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Trying to stay sane!

Tales from the Lockdown

Today’s blog is from one of our valued volunteers who has supported our delivery of community based courses and continues to support Valleys Steps during the pandemic in any way she can. We thank all of our fantastic volunteers for all the help in delivering our service.

Hi, I’m Christina. First and foremost, I am a mother to two children (well young adults) aged 22 and 19. A daughter, living in Exeter with her partner and a son in Nottingham Trent University, who is currently home safe with me. I am also a wife, sister, aunt and cousin. Before the lockdown the house consisted of myself and my husband. Both of us work and do everyday things such as shopping and eating out. 

I am naturally a busy person, who loves the company of others. I have a great job, where I get to work with both children and adults supporting Welsh language development in Welsh language nurseries. I am also an active volunteer with Valleys Steps, which would see me out one evening a week offering a welcome, support and general room set up and pack away for our sessions. I love this role, as like my job, I get to meet lots of new people. I volunteer at ‘wellbeing days’ when they fit into my work schedule, and am a member of the volunteer forum group. I have been doing this role for three years now. The lockdown has changed my contribution to the charity hugely, however, I have been part of the audience for our new online sessions, giving feedback on how the courses look and sound online. 

I think it fair to say that I am an ‘outie’, preferring to spend my weekend and work days off outside. I love being outdoors and generally walk every day, rain or shine, on the beach with my husband – no matter what the weather! I feel calm outdoors and love nothing better than my local park with my music app and my own company early in the morning.However, I often long for time by myself to collect my thoughts and reflect on my actions and words. 

Like many, I have struggled greatly with my wellbeing at this time; adapting to working from home, sometimes finding it difficult to motivate myself in the morning to switch on my laptop. I now communicate mostly through emails and text, having a staff ‘Teams meeting’ every other week.

 Due to nurseries being closed and staff on furlough, I have had to completely change the way I work. I have learnt lots of new ICT skills and am developing new teaching resources for my company’s social media platforms. Even though we are reaching many more families through these platforms than we would be as a team of language officers I miss the face to face interaction. 

So, what am I doing to ‘fill my time’ and stay sane in the lockdown?

I have spent a lot of time developing my CPD (Continued Professional Development) for work, a bit predictable perhaps but I’ve quite enjoyed it. I ensure I take ‘me time’ every day, where I meditate, walk, sing, dance, have a relaxing bubble bath with my music app on my waterproof speaker (I love that speaker) or read. These 20-minute activities definitely keep me going. 

I have also just begun volunteering with two local charities, Interlink and Homestart. These two charities requested volunteers to help with collecting food parcels and prescriptions for vulnerable adults and families as well as offering emotional support to adults struggling to cope at this unprecedented time. I have only just gone through induction and security checks but am raring to go. 

I am hoping to be able to support my local community by giving a little back. 😊

By Christina Teifion Hughes

Valleys Steps Volunteer