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Dancing my way out of lockdown!

When I awoke this morning, I decided it was time for me to put some of my thoughts and feelings down “on paper” so to speak. My business coach has been telling me for rather a long time that I should be writing a blog. Whether it be about my dance teaching, the dancing and entertaining in the care homes or just general ramblings about my life and even if only two people read it, I should start with something, as she said, it will be good for my online presence and help promote my business! So, here goes!

As with almost everybody else in England and right across the world, my life was put on hold on the 23rd of March 2020. A few days earlier, I had been at a friends house for dinner and we had decided that things were deteriorating very rapidly and so this may be the “last supper” for a while, as we might be stopped from doing things. And it turned out we had foreseen the lockdown. For about a week, I remember feeling quite anxious about this new virus that was spreading rapidly around the world, not knowing how dangerous it may or may not be for family and friends and worrying what I was going to do about the business, which I had been slowly building up over the last 4 years.

I then did something very simple, which had a huge effect on how I was feeling. I changed the channel on the radio station that I listen to in the mornings. Instead of listening to all the updates on how bad things were getting, I started listening to Chris Evans on virgin radio. He has a knack for looking for the positive in everything. He is also very good at talking about good mental health and how we need be open and honest about it. After a day of this, my anxiety dissipated! For the next few weeks, I think my life was probably very similar to many other people. As the weather was so warm and sunny, I spend a lot of my time going out for my “designated exercise”, running past the houses of friends and students and having a quick chat at the end of the driveway with them and those people I know living on their own.

Then, life changed once again for me. I got a message from my friend Lisa-Maria, the activity manager at one of the homes that I go to. She said to me, “would you be able to come in and work for a few weeks, to help out?” I said sure, as by then I had no income and other than going for a run, learning the ukulele and playing the harmonica, I seemed to be doing very little with my life! So I went online and did all the necessary training. Had an “interview” for the role. And then on the 8th of May I did my first shift as an activities assistant in the home.

Well safe to say, I fitted into the role very quickly. Prior to Covid, I was lucky enough to be going to this home each Friday afternoon to do Ballroom Dancing and generally make a fool of myself with the residents. So as a result, quite a lot of the staff and residents already knew me. There have been a number of exhausting and heartbreaking moments since I started there. But there have also been many touching and hilarious moments, with plenty of photos and videos to capture the moment!

I’m sure I will be referencing to some of these moments in future blogs, however one thing I will say is that I have been very lucky! I have been lucky, because I have been able to leave my house, get onto my bike and go to a place of work full of people, whom I can socially interact with. And I shall tell you more about some of these interactions at a later date! The other reason I have been lucky, is that I created a bubble with a good friend who lives down the road. And so every Friday evening, I have got back on said bike, cycled to his house and enjoyed a hilarious evening, of describing some of the events of the previous week with the staff and residents at the carehome, while eating dinner and making our way through a bottle of wine, or two! We would then follow this debrief of our week, by watching an old black & white movie. These Friday evenings still continue to this day and I will be forever grateful for them!

So, where am I going with all this? Well I can hardly believe that those few weeks helping out Lisa at the home have now turned into nearly a year! But, I do feel that things are improving and life is slowly getting back to some sort of “normality” for me. And a great example of this, is the fact that I have been able to get back to doing some dancing! Albeit, wearing a mask, but it is still fantastic, after all this time to get up and dance!! And it certainly does make me think that I should be able to get back to some of my other care homes sometime soon, to see all the staff and residents again and to be able to dance and laugh with them!

Well done for making it to the end of this little blog of mine, keep trying to think positive thoughts and put your best foot forward and I will be back soon with more!

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