Before I get started with this, everything that I am discussing and talking about is my personal experience and not of anyone else.
On 23rd March it will have been a year since Boris Johnson addressed the nation to say that everyone must stay at home due to the pandemic with Coronavirus.
At first, we had massive panic buying with toilet rolls, pasta and tinned items becoming empty on the shelves in shops.
In the 13 years of me working for the Midcounties Cooperative, I had never seen anything like it.
Being a key worker, we were being constantly praised for keeping everyone's food supplies topped up with the essential items.
At first it made me so proud to work for the community.
At the start of 2020 I decided to get active with my fitness by organising monthly walks where people could get involved and I was starting to step it up in the gym but when Boris announced with the lockdown that they would shut, this honestly broke my heart.
For me, going to the gym helps me both mentally and physically but being told that I couldn't go anymore, was quite hard to deal with.
After chatting to some of my colleagues, some of us started to think of other ways to get active so we started to compete with step counts and even do step challenges to see who could do the most in 1 day.
At the end of April I decided to get back into cycling so in my training I would do a mixture of both walking and cycling when needed.
In July, Boris then announced to the public that it was mandatory to wear a mask in shops and on public transport so after this date I stopped using the bus and even cancelled my bus pass.
For me personally, I hate wearing them but do understand the reasons behind it so will do it for others and to protect myself.
Later on in the year, to help me keep motivated with my fitness, I decided to sign up to some virtual challenges online and once I complete it, I then get a medal for my efforts.
Over the last 12 months, my level of fitness has increased dramatically and I am at the level where I am training every day even if it is just a walk round my home town.
I cannot wait to get back into gym training again but until it is safe, I will continue to do walks and cycling.
A few years ago I did some family tree work with my cousin, but as with everything, life got in the way so it got put to one side.
But with everything happening last year and not being able to do much other than work, I decided to get back on my family tree again with my cousin.
Myself, my Dad and my Cousin all took our DNA to help us with the investigation.
Digging into my family history is really interesting and so far I have found out that 2 people I know through school and friends are actually my cousins.
Doing the tree is really interesting but can be time consuming however I do encourage anyone to get into their family life before it is too late.
Since the pandemic hit, we have seen a dramatic increase in suicides worldwide and for me personally to hear that, makes me feel so sad.
For me personally, the last 12 months have been really busy with my Mental Health Campaigning, Coop work and family tree work so I have been able to keep distracted but for a lot of people, all they have is their heads and this can be damaging.
If you are reading this and struggling, here are my top tips to help keep your health at a good level.
With not being able to do much over the last year I have been able to take a massive step back and work on the things that really matter.
All of those things I wouldn't have been able to focus on under normal circumstances.
Over the last week, I have seen so much awareness on the TV about Mental Health but more needs to be done.
We need to invest more into charities and education as I feel so sorry for the younger generation through this.
Something that I have had to deal with all my life is my sexuality and coming to terms with that I am gay.
Over time I had told a couple of distant friends but with everything that was going on in 2020, I thought it was the perfect time to come out to my dad.
It was one of the hardest moments in my life but I just said it and it went so well.
At the start of this year I then decided to make it public knowledge about this and all I have had since is love and support.
Dealing with this quiet for so long had affected my Mental Health so now it is in the open, it's like a weight has been lifted from my mind.
Hopefully with the way things are currently going at the moment, we should be back to our new normal soon where we can go on holidays, socialise with family and friends plus even go back to concerts. I cannot wait to be jumping around in the 02 to music again!
This is also positive news about the vaccine and hopefully mine will come through.
I do feel anxious about having it with the side effects and what the long term will do but if by taking it means we can get back to doing things again, I will be booking that appointment.
Something I would like to remind people is the power of asking twice when starting a conversation with someone.
This is something that I do and it is now habit when I communicate regularly.
It is such a powerful thing to do and could be what someone really needs to hear and be asked.
IT COULD SAVE LIVES
Make sure you all stay safe and check in with your loved ones.
All I ask is we have a normal Christmas this year.
I have regular events planned so keep an eye on my main site for more information.
DON'T SUFFER IN SILENCE
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