The shed had been open for a number of weeks and the enthusiasm had clearly not waivered during the lockdown period 1. A number of community projects that we had received prior to the first lock down have been undertaken and finished. Work has finished on cladding our container including putting a roof on and incorporating a wood store. It was certainly great to see the shed back to some sort of normality for a period of time.
We decided to manage the membership across a number of ‘bubbles’ with each bubble attending one session a week. This means that we could quickly isolate a bubble and undertake all Covid precautions very quickly. Getting used to wearing a facemask and managing to remember to lift the mask before drinking your tea has been a challenge for some with some very funny incidents. Funny how this was not the case when trying to eat a biscuit though.
It was also a time to revamp our Health and Safety and we decided to have a complete overhaul. When you think about the type of machines we are lucky to have at the shed it’s easy to see that we need our health and safety in order. One thing can be said is that safety is very high on the agenda at our shed.
Talking to a few members during the first lockdown programme the opening of the shed couldn’t come soon enough. Whilst for some it was great to spend so much time with the family, others found it to be very difficult. The shed means so much to people that we forget this may be for very different reasons. People’s mental health has come even more to the forefront of the NHS agenda during this time which is excellent in so many ways. Men’s mental health is so very important as we are notoriously bad at keeping quiet and soldiering on or simply not even recognising a change in our behaviour until it’s too late and we have pushed everyone away. Our Men’s shed is such a great support to men for many reasons, sometimes simply sitting and chatting with a mate or a group of mates can be enough to start to lift the sometimes-grey clouds that can form from everyday problems. Personally, spending time just making and creating allows me to forget about the stresses of everyday life. For whatever reason it’s great to be back!
However, now we find ourselves in Lockdown number 2 and for some reasons this one doesn't feel as restrictive, perhaps as schools are open and people feel they can interpret or bend the restrictions to suit their own needs, but let's not forget the reasons why we are in lockdown. Personally I have been hit with how Covid 19 can affect a family so I know it's not a conspiracy.
Having worked in the Health and Fitness industry for over 20 years, I know how important keeping fit and healthy is not just for the physical benefits but the effect this can have on your mental state. I always used exercise and physical activity as my pressure valve when I was working, it helped both physically and mentally. Now that I am not working I enjoy walking the dog every day, not as strenuous as my previous activities but a relief nonetheless. In many ways it allows me some time to reset and think. Other ‘Shedders’ I know enjoy Yoga and Thai Chi, others riding their bikes. There are so many different ways during this second lockdown we can keep mentally healthy so why not try an online class or simply go for a walk everyday, even if it's just for ten minutes. Every little bit helps. Even the NHS has a library of online exercise classes you can try. Simply go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-fitness-studio/.
We are looking forward to starting the shed again after lockdown but until then, stay mentally fit as well as physically fit.