As part of our new Talking About My Generation mental health series: Mind Yer ‘Ed our reporter Jodie Smith spoke to Paul Sherlock from Salford, who shared his experience of lockdown alongside wife Marylin and dogs Poppy, Pixie and Dixie.
“When lockdown started I felt quite concerned that we wouldn’t be able to go out at all, even for a walk. But when the Government said that you could still go out to exercise, we chose not to. My wife and I chose to stay put as we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t very safe.
“However during the second half of lockdown, we’ve been getting back into walking, I’ve always enjoyed it.
“The thing that brought us out was that we took ‘the boys’ to the dog groomers. That was our first venture. I haven’t run a car since 1976 – I’m a big public transport user! But I haven’t been using the bus since the start of lockdown so I can only go where I can walk to now.
“My interests are centred around local history, so I used to go to a lot of meetings but there’s also lots to do online, connecting with groups in Salford. My notifications on Facebook are always filled up! I’ve probably done more research recently than what I normally would. I’ve made a lot of progress while I’ve been stuck in.
“I’m usually really involved in volunteering with AgeUK at the community hub in Swinton. I’m keeping in touch with others over the phone and we have trustee video meetings too. So I have been in contact with people. It is a shame we can’t just pop into Critchley and have a cup of tea and a natter like we normally do!
“It does feel a bit like groundhog day which is strange but it’s not boring- I’m too busy to be bored! We all have odd days and you can feel fed up, especially when we weren’t going out for walks at the start of lockdown. But I’m in control of what I choose to do and what I choose not to do.
“Feeling ‘in control’ is important for mental health. The thing I really appreciate is my garden, so I’ve spent a lot of time there.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to using buses and trains again and going to the library for my history research. There are lots of things I’m missing but nothing I feel really desperate for.
“My next milestones are when I use public transport and when I go to the supermarket. It’ll be nice to just hop on a bus and pop into some charity shops and cafes. Bit by bit!”
For more information on how you can keep well in both body and mind, visit: https://www.independentage.org/get-advice/health/mental-health