Hello, my names Lauren and I am an Engagement Support Officer for YEPS. I’m currently based in the Rhondda area working within youth clubs twice a week. I wanted to share with you my experience over the last couple of months since coronavirus took over our daily lives and how I have adapted in the new norm.
It’s been 20 weeks since I started shielding due to the coronavirus pandemic. The thought of shielding was something that I truly dreaded. Not being able to see my friends, family, work with my amazing work colleagues was so hard but I learnt the importance of looking after myself and keeping myself safe!
I managed to keep myself motivated from the end of March until the end of May and then I fell into a rut. I was sleeping most of the day and up most of the night and I knew I had to change what I was doing for my own mental health. So I decided that I would learn some new skills throughout the shielding process such as cooking (this was through beginners bakers with Shauna, Rhys, Martyn and Geraint), the importance of keeping active and focused and trying something new.
One day I was looking on Facebook when Les went live to promote the Go Team Squat Challenge! At first I was a bit apprehensive about joining but Les, James and Beth were encouraging me to get involved as they knew I was shielding! Honestly, it was a brilliant opportunity to engage back into something I loved! Youth work! To be able to see my amazing work colleagues and engaging with some new young people and to see them develop over a 7 week period! In all honestly, I never thought I would be able to actively join in a squat challenge considering I have had 3 knee arthroscopy operations my last one in November due to my dodgy knee! Fast forward 7 weeks and I have successfully completed 216 in one day!! Yes 216!! I was shocked but felt so proud of myself, my work colleagues and the young people for engaging in the sessions every week! The yeps go team squat challenge has truly been amazing and having the privilege to meet some inspirational young people and fellow work colleagues have been amazing! Roll on the million step challenge! Which is now the 5 million step challenge!! 🙈☺️
I decided to join in beginners bakers too on a Wednesday at 2pm with Shauna and Rhys! I knew it would be a challenge due to my egg allergy but it was a truly great inspirational idea as I managed to create some great cakes and biscuits which were tasty and egg free! Seeing the young people develop was great too and their passion for making some brilliant cakes too! I’m sure some of you would have heard about my recent disaster during beginner bakers thanks to Martyn and Andrew speaking about it on the Instagram live😂. Who knew I could set a microwave on fire melting butter! Yes melting butter! 😂😂 Safe to say it was the dearest cheesecake I have ever made!
Throughout the shielding process I have spent some amazing quality time with my family too. I’m so looking forward to returning to work at yeps, reunited with my amazing work colleagues and seeing the amazing young people back in club twice a week instead of through zoom!
If you said to me in January that I would have spent 5 months sitting in my house as I wasn’t aloud to go out shopping or to work I would have said you was having a laugh! But I have cherished the unique opportunities I have been given throughout the pandemic! What a life changing experience this has been!
All I’m saying is roll on 17/08/2020 to try and get some normality back into my life! I’m counting down the days until I can be back doing something I love in person instead of through a computer screen!
Stay strong, stay safe, stay positive and smile! We are all in this together!